With this week's release of Ponyo, the latest animated masterpiece by Hayao Miyazaki, it seems a perfect time to look at the best animation for young children, especially with half term around the corner.
I'm going to avoid Disney, as there are only so many talking animals I can stomach, but if you look a bit further afield, there are plenty of outstanding (and often better) animated classics for children.
First to Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki! Obviously there's Ponyo (pictured on the right), which is released in cinemas on 12 February, but if you delve a bit further into their back catalogue there's the beautiful My Neighbour Totoro. A film full of adorable forest spirits and spot-on representations of children, this film will break your heart.
Then there's the delightfully quirky Russian cartoon of the Hedgehog in the Fog. Okay, it's a talking hedgehog, but it's nothing like any talking hedgehog you've seen before. You can watch it here in its entirety:
A little bit sad, a little bit magical, this film is totally unique.
Next up is the wonderful Aardman series of Shaun the Sheep. This is funny, completely mad, and as enjoyable for parents as it is for children. There's even a spin-off series for really young children in Timmy time. Equally funny, and with a devilishly catchy theme tune, it can't be beat.
And last but not least is Lost and Found, a perfect adaptation of the Oliver Jeffers picture book by Studio AKA, (more popularly known for their Lloyds TSB adverts). Narrated by Jim Broadbent, it's a quiet, thoughtful tale about the friendship between a penguin and a boy. It's also dead cheap on Amazon at the minute, and needless to say, it puts the BBC version of the Gruffalo firmly in the shade...
Know any other good animation for young children? Tell us about it in the comments!
Also on Parentdish: Our favourite nostalgic cartoons.
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