Snowtime! 82 min. Dist. by Shout! Kids Factory. 2016. $14.99 UPC 0826663167504. DVD/3-D Blu-ray/digital download $24.99. UPC 826663167511. Rated PG.
Gr 1–4—Based on the 1984 Canadian film The Dog Who Stopped the War, this 2016 animated remake tells the story of a group of kids from a small village who engage in a prolonged snowball fight during their two-week winter break. Eleven-year-old narrator Luke, whose father died in a real war, leads one side into battle. The opposition is led by Sophie, also 11. She and her younger sister Lucy are new to the village, but they quickly find their place among the group of friends, who include self-proclaimed "Four Eyes" Frankie and Piers and his eager but flatulent Saint Bernard, Cleo. After one side builds an elaborate snow fort, it is decided that whichever side occupies the fort at the end of the break will win. Things start out pleasantly, but the ensuing battle escalates, and lines are crossed. The themes also intensify, and what begins as a simple tale about friendship and, ultimately, teamwork also touches on war, romance, and death. This film is beautifully animated, with vividly portrayed winter scenes that give it a realistic feel. Both funny and poignant, albeit a bit slow-moving at times, this movie is chock-full of lessons for young viewers and features songs by such artists as Céline Dion.
VERDICT While this film would certainly appeal to the intended audience, it has definitely earned its PG rating with some slightly more mature themes, including a tragic Old Yeller—like ending. Purchase for large library collections.

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