Making the Grades
Although this animated Christmas movie is easier to purchase than rent, you may find that it is worth the price difference because you and your children will undoubtedly want to watch this Academy Award nominated short, again and again. Whether it's the simple charm of the pencil-drawn cels or the compelling nature of the fantastic score created by Howard Blake, Raymond Briggs's The Snowman has the ability to transport the viewer to other worlds--including the North Pole.
Amazingly, the entire story is told without dialogue, except for a short prologue that introduces the setting. (One of the two available versions of this film also contains lyrics for one song).
With the score gently leading the way, we follow the efforts of a little boy as he works all day to build the perfect snowman. But he can't get to sleep when bedtime arrives, and anxiously peers out the window to see if his creation is safe and sound. Then at midnight something magical happens. With a flash of light and a turn of the head, his snowman comes to life.
Under the circumstances, the boy does the only logical thing--invites his fat friend into the house to show him around. For the snowman, even the magic of a light switch is new and exciting. He finds great fun in trying everything from watching television to putting on mom's makeup. Wanting to give his human friend something in return, the snowman takes the boy on an amazing flying tour, where they end up on Santa's doorstep.
As you watch this incredible movie, keep in mind the laborious efforts of producing this style of animation. There are no computers here! Accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, this lighter-than-air experience (especially during the flying sequence) provides a peace of mind that adults will appreciate, although very young children may find the ending a little sad.
So, if you are stressed out over the holiday season, The Snowman may be just what the doctor ordered.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Snowman.
The artists of this film include a species of animals in their drawings that are not indigenous to the setting. Can you spot the mistake?
How do changes of mood and tempo in the music help to tell the story? Did you think that including dialogue would enhance or detract from the film?