Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Movie Review: Brother Francis Let's Pray

I was recently given the opportunity to review the first episode of the Brother Francis series entitled Let's Pray.  After having watched this DVD a few times with Ellie, my five year old, I have to say that I'm quite impressed with it.

Brother Francis is a fun character who will easily elicit belly laughs from your youngster.  My daughter was instantly sucked in by the friendly basketball playing Brother Francis.  In this episode, Brother Francis teaches little ones about prayer and how we can do it anywhere.  He tells them why it's important and demonstrates why prayer should not be boring (this is where your little one is sure to laugh).

My daughter and I both enjoyed the catchy songs that were woven throughout the episode. There's a great song about the Sign of the Cross that little ones will easily latch on to.  I particularly liked this song because it doesn't just teach children how to make the Sign of the Cross, but it also tells them why it's important.  Then there is a song called "Let's Pray" that talks about how you can pray anywhere.  There's a very sweet song where the Our Father is sung.  Ordinarily I don't like when the Our Father is sung, but I wasn't bothered by this rendition at all.  I suspect that little ones who don't already know this prayer could easily learn it by watching this DVD.  And finally, the last song found on this episode is called "With God's Love."  It's a fun song about how you can do little things with God's love to change the world for the good.  The song beautifully conveys the message that you can do small tasks and please God by doing so.

As if the songs and fun natured Brother Francis weren't enough to make this DVD a hit with my daughter, there was also a portion of the episode called Stories of Saints.  In this episode of Brother Francis children learn about St. Therese the Little Flower.  St. Therese is already one of Ellie's favorite saints so this story simply delighted her.  The story of St. Therese and her little way beautifully illustrated how she did little things with great love.

My overall impression of Brother Francis is that he's sort of like the Catholic children's show version of the Backyardigans.  Like the Backyardigans, Brother Francis is that fun sort of bubbly CGI animation. Other portions of this episode are done in regular animation.  I liked the combination of the two types of animation and I think it adds a bit of interest to the show.   The music contained in this show is catchy and will certainly appeal to children.  Brother Francis was certainly a hit with my younger daughter and my nine year old also thought it was a pretty interesting show.  I think this show would be a fun little treat for religious education classes to.  I'd recommend it for preschool-1st grade classes.

This episode of Brother Francis also has a sixteen page activity guide that you can print out.  The activity guide reinforces everything that was presented in the episode.  I like how the activity guide prompts children to pray and to reflect on the lessons they learned from Brother Francis.  I found the activity guide to be a nice touch.

To learn more about Brother Francis and to view a few previews from the DVD, visit the homepage for Brother Francis.  While you're there, I'd highly recommend checking out their awesome Catholic Heroes stories.

I was provided with a review copy of Brother Francis Let's Pray by Herald Entertainment in exchange for my honest review.

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