by Michelle Erica Green

This review originally appeared on the now-defunct site FamilyWonder.com, which showcased children's entertainment for parents and caregivers.

Grade: B-
Network: Disney
Best For Ages: 2-5, 6-8

Animated ducks Huey, Dewey, Louie and Uncle Scrooge try to amass fortune and stay out of trouble, but the three rambunctious boys have a knack for finding it. Four- to six-year-olds enjoy their antics. Some younger children have trouble understanding the duck-like voices, yet older kids may find the humor too juvenile.

Parental Advisory:
Educational Value: Occasionally the ducks learn a lesson about helping out other animals or paying more attention to Webby, a little girl duck, but DUCKTALES is mostly just for fun.

Entertainment Value: Classic Disney character work makes the animation fun to watch. Though lively, the stories tend to be thin, with humor centering on embarrassing the bad guys.

Emotional Intensity: Young animals occasionally get injured, causing great consternation among the others until they recover (as they generally do).

Frightening Situations: Young ducks get lost in forests, trapped by giant machines, chased by thugs dressed like prison guards, and menaced by assorted other perils.

Gender/Racial Issues: This is a boy-oriented show; girl characters like Webby often get left behind. Africa, China, and other locales are described stereotypically.

Questionable Behavior: Huey, Dewey, and Louie often disregard adult orders, as well as using machinery and equipment not meant for children.

Violence: Mild threats and occasional sabotage require quick escapes by the ducks, but there's no real violence onscreen.

Donald Duck's spunky nephews go to stay with greedy old Uncle Scrooge and get involved in his get-rich-quick schemes. The young ducks do less mischief around the neighborhood, but more often than not find trouble on a global scale. Kids get a thrill when Uncle Scrooge's schemes create more mayhem than the boys' simple games--if you think climbing trees can be dangerous in the backyard, try chasing a gorilla through the jungle in Africa!

DUCKTALES concentrates on exaggerated comic situations rather than on lessons to be learned. As one six-year-old viewer pointed out, Uncle Scrooge doesn't worry much about putting his family in danger. Of course, since this is a Disney cartoon, the threats quickly evaporate, with nefarious competitors being hauled off to prison when necessary. There aren't any great role models for kids here, either, although Huey, Dewey, and Louie sometimes show admirable initiative.

Children under four often have trouble understanding the rapid, comical speech of the ducks, but enjoy their world, which is beautifully animated in most of these stories. An endless variety of roller coaster rides, collapsing buildings, and other action film staples will keep most viewers entertained during the half-hour episodes, even if the manic pace makes it hard to appreciate the settings. MICKEY LOVES MINNIE fans sometimes find Donald and the young ducks too juvenile, but most kids love them.

Children's Television Reviews
Get Critical