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Elephant’s exceptional ears earn him star status

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DumboRated G

Your little “ginger” has endured red-head jokes, taunts and jeers since kindergarten. Those adorable red curls you love are the very feature she despises. Your efforts to change the way she views her hair have been a failure. So the start of a new school year prompts the old familiar fears — for you and your daughter.

But a new teacher changes everything. Your daughter’s classroom teacher is everybody’s favorite — and she’s a ginger, too! When she points out that she and your daughter share that special trait, your daughter’s classmates are just a tiny bit jealous. The teasing stops, and your daughter learns that “the thing that brings you down, can carry you up and up and up!”

That’s exactly what Timothy Mouse points out to his dejected little friend Dumbo in the classic Disney animated film, “Dumbo.” Available this month on Blu-ray and DVD is “Dumbo: The 70th Anniversary Edition,” complete with special features, interactive games and more. Watch it with your children and then discuss its poignant story using our Talk Together points. Later you can play “Up, Up and Away!” with our Play Together game.

In “Dumbo,” Mrs. Jumbo, the elephant, is thrilled when her little bundle of joy arrives via stork. But when his oversized ears unfurl, the other circus elephants make some cruel comments. At the circus, a mean boy taunts Dumbo and even tries to drag him away. That’s when Mrs. Jumbo steps in to defend her baby. The crowd runs screaming from the tent and Mrs. Jumbo is chained and labeled a “mad elephant.”

Dumbo is all alone when Timothy Mouse befriends him. Together, they discover that Dumbo can use his large ears to fly! With Timothy’s help, he becomes the star of the circus, earning his own private train car and freedom for his mother. He learns that what makes him different also makes him special — in so many wonderful ways!

Talk together

Mrs. Jumbo loves her new baby from the start. How do you think she feels when she sees Dumbo’s big ears? Why do the other elephants make fun of him? Why does Mrs. Jumbo react to them the way that she does?

Dumbo thinks the boys who are teasing him are just playing. When does he get scared of them? Why does his mother respond so violently?

At first, Dumbo is not ashamed of his ears. When does he realize he is different? How does he feel about his ears? Everybody has something that makes him unique. What makes you special? For instance, it could be your red hair, your sense of humor, or your beautiful singing voice.

Why does Timothy Mouse become friends with Dumbo? What does he do to help Dumbo cope with being away from his mother? What makes Timothy a good friend?

Play together: Up, up and away!

Just how far will your individuality carry you?

You will need:

• Balloons (1 per person)

• Music

Players should sit in a circle on the floor with their balloons in their laps. Choose someone to be “it;” he or she should stand in the middle of the circle. Someone else should be able to start and stop the music.

When the music begins, “it” should begin tossing the balloon into the air and keeping it afloat. Don’t let it hit the ground!

When the music stops, “it” calls out the name of another player who joins him or her in the middle. The new “it” now must keep both balloons in the air while the music plays and the first player sits down.

Continue playing until everyone has had at least two chances to be “it.” Point out that you should always look for ways your uniqueness can carry you “up and up and up” — just like that special flying elephant!

Missed a Cinematters column? Visit us at Facebook.com/Cinematters and read recent articles for your family’s next film adventure! © 2011, Cinematters

Updated 4:30 pm, July 9, 2018
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