It was an ordinary day for little Molly Pickens. She was playing in the back of her dad’s antique store when she discovered an old box which turned out to be a portal to The Fantastic World. This DVD-based curriculum series, published by Abingdon Press, follows Molly as she journeys each week to the Fantastic World to learn from her Fantastic friends: Charles, Bill, and Box-maker.
I must say, I wasn’t a big fan of the cover. It looks a little dated and jumbled — not something I would have picked up off a shelf for a closer look.
Promo videos are included on the DVD – what a great feature. The one with Cranky Cactus was very funny, but mostly for adults who understand the downfall of HMO’s. The other one seemed… well a little odd without any context of the story line. Great concept, but might use a little tweaking.
Trailer – also on the DVD. This was great. Catchy, not too long, and would pique my interest if I were a kid.
Large Group (DVD section)
In this 10-20 minute video (each week varies), kids watch as Molly journeys to the Fantastic World and learns a lesson about God’s love. In the first segment of the series, “Strength”, Molly is reminded that she can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).
Bill and Charles Peterson, brothers who live in the Fantastic World, are exceedingly stupid. Annoyingly so to me, but funny to my husband. We couldn’t agree on how kids would perceive these “less than bright” brothers, so I agreed to show it in Children’s Church the next day to test it out. To me however, the brothers low IQ was a serious distraction to the storyline.
The power of love seemed to be very overplayed in this movie — almost to the point of self-glorification. Molly was told that she had “powers beyond belief” and that love could do countless things like heal the lame, etc. Molly said it was Jesus that did those things, but the power of love was emphasized much more than Jesus. After talking with Matthew Young, one of the producers of this curriculum, the emphasis on love makes more sense. Check out the whole story here.
Even in the later episodes, the emphasis is on “power of service”, “power of humility” and “power of love” again. I think it really shifts the focus the wrong direction. I would like to see the Bible story a little more obvious. God is mentioned a bit more in the later episodes, but not enough to really consist of a “lesson”, I would say.
A few more things…
- Why is Santa being presented as truth in this series? For those kids who know Santa isn’t real, is this going to make them think everything else in the lesson is “make-believe”, including Jesus?
- If Rainy Day is supposed to be mean, why doesn’t she look the slightest bit threatening? And why does she live in a cardboard castle? Bill and Charles have a real house, shouldn’t she have a real castle?
- Love the sound effects – the boinks and stretches, etc. I think this really helps to keep kids engaged.
- Good dad/daughter relationship. That’s always nice to see.
- Cranky cactus is a pretty big hit. I particularly like his rendition of “Little Strummer Boy” in one of the later episodes. I can just imagine kids falling on the floor laughing at this one!
- Love the review at the end… from the “fly on the wall” perspective. It’s great that the series has a built-in review for the kids.