Parents seeking an animated Easter television special that will teach kids about the religious side of Easter in a clear, fun, appropriate, and theologically sound way can try VeggieTales An Easter Carol. If children are frightened by the idea of death or more interested in Easter candy and plastic Easter eggs than in thinking about the true meaning of Easter, this computer animated special can gently shine some light on what Jesus’ life and death mean to believers.
Veggie Tales An Easter Carol – Computer Animated Easter Special Plot
This companion piece to the VeggieTales DVD VeggieTales The Star of Christmas (which should actually be viewed first, since it deals with the birth of Jesus) is once again set in 1880s Victorian London. In a loose retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, this computer animated Easter special narrates how Mr. Ebenezer Nezzer learns that Easter is about hope, particularly the hope of life to come, rather than trying to preserve the present forever.
Mr. Nezzer has inherited from his Grandma Nezzer a huge factory that manufactures Easter items. Her last words were “Tell everyone that Easter means no death.” Mr. Nezzer, missing her terribly, misunderstands her to mean that as long as he makes Easter eggs and celebrates Easter, it will be as if she were still alive. So, obsessed with things that seem to last (like plastic Easter eggs), Mr. Nezzer plans to knock down the village church to make way for Easter Land, a theme park designed celebrate Easter all year-round, complete with daily Easter egg hunts and a buffet of chocolate bunnies.
To stop this plan, Hope the Music Box Angel (played by Grammy Award-winning Christian pop-rock singer Rebecca St. James) takes him on a tour of his past and present, ending in a future where everyone in the town has lost hope. Using a lovely ballad and the beautiful stained glass windows in the church, she explains the story of Jesus’ life and death to Mr. Nezzer. Finally, he understands that death isn’t an end but a new beginning.
Cavis and Millward (Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber) appear in this CGI animated special as factory workers, and when the factory explodes at the end (thanks to overworked robot chickens), Mr. Nezzer bravely saves Cavis and then vows to use his money to help other people.
Veggie Tales An Easter Carol – TV Easter Cartoon Special Review for Parents
As is usual for Veggie Tales DVDs, this Veggie Tales product is careful to be reverent and theologically correct in the midst of the fun. For example, when Grandma Nezzer appears, she makes it clear that she is a vision, not a ghost. And the producers explain on a bonus feature that they used the stained glass windows to tell the story of Jesus because one of their rules is never to depict Him as a vegetable.
Some parents have expressed concerns that the story seems to imply that a community depends upon a physical church building to be able to have place to worship (and thus continue to keep up its faith). That’s an understandable concern, but perhaps the story’s point is instead that hope was lost in the future not specifically because the church was gone, but rather because secular priorities (symbolized by Easter Land and all its plastic eggs) had been substituted for spiritual ones (symbolized by the church).
While it does not include trademarks of other Veggie Tales products (like Veggie Tales Silly Songs), this computer animated holiday special is still funny and entertaining. That said, it does not flinch from addressing serious issues like illness, death, and loss in a sober and straightforward manner. Parents wishing to explain to children the Christian meaning of Easter and Christian beliefs about the life and death of Jesus can definitely use this religious Easter special as a starting point for a thoughtful discussion of these subjects.
Veggie Tales DVD Extras
This computer animated holiday special offers several educational bonus features including:
- An audio commentary.
- A behind the scenes short feature explaining the ideas that led up to the making of this Easter holiday special.
- Concept art.
- A stained glass documentary.
- Progression reels showing the same scene at different stages of animation.
Fun VeggieTales DVD extras are also included, such as a trivia challenge, an Easter egg hunt, karaoke for Veggie Tales songs, a maze, storybooks, a family fun activity, a craft activity, how-to-draw activities, and then additional DVD-ROM activities.
Easter Veggie Tales Products
Parents looking for additional VeggieTales Easter basket gifts can get the Veggie Tales CD Easter album VeggieTales: A Very Veggie Easter, and the Veggie Tales book An Easter Carol: A VeggieTales Picture Book by Cindy Kenney [Zonderkidz, 2004].
In fact, if children have specific problems with which they are currently dealing (for example, being afraid of monsters) parents can select Easter basket gifts from an entire line of Veggie Tales products, such as Veggie Tales CDs, Veggie Tales books, and VeggieTales DVDs on an array of topics relating to common childhood fears and issues.
Parents seeking family-friendly entertainment that will teach children morals and religious information would be well served by investing in a copy of VeggieTales An Easter Carol. Such parents may also be interested in more secular, but still appropriate, animated Easter specials, such as a review of Here Comes Peter Cottontail.