Bing’s Animal Stories – Bing’s Animal Stories (2021)
Directed by: Nicky Phelan, Declan Doyle, Mikael Shields | 71 minutes | animation, family | Dutch voice cast: Teun Batenburg, Zahra Boomsma, Joanne Telesford, Famke Telderman, Nout van Heusden, Cystine Carreon, Beatrijs Sluitjer, Jan Elbertse, Ingeborg Wieten, Florus van Rooijen, Tineke Blok, Juus Piek, Peggy Vrijens
Bunny Bing and his friends are back for the second feature film adventure. After ‘Bing’s Christmas and other stories’ (2019), the market for toddler films was not yet saturated. Just like the first cinema film, ‘Bings animal stories’ (2021) is an excellent and educational pastime for three- and four-year-olds. For many two-year-olds, the cinema is perhaps still a step too far, but then the home entertainment release offers a solution.
Connoisseurs of the series and the first movie already know the setup. ‘Bings animal stories’ consists of seven short films, in which Bing learns something in a playful way. The overarching theme in this film is, of course, animals. Pico is looking for stickers, where the shape in the picture book already gives away somewhat what kind of animal is wanted. Between the videos, toddlers receive extra basic lessons, such as counting, a maze and how to be quiet.
In the first cutscene, Flop and Bing go to the park to throw a ball. An unexpected playmate arrives when they discover a dog. The dog is lost. Flop teaches Bing how to deal with (unknown) dogs, because some dogs can be dangerous too. When Bing and Flop befriend the dog, they play with the ball together. But then the owner comes to look for the dog. Bing is briefly disappointed because he is not allowed to keep the dog, but of course there is a solution.
In the second story, Bing, Flop, Pando and Sula turn the barn into a playhouse. In doing so, they learn what recycling is and what advantages it has. Once the cottage is furnished, Bing discovers a bird’s nest in the house. They go looking for the mother. When they have found these, they are faced with a dilemma. If they use the playhouse, the bird will no longer go to its nest. Also in ‘Ducks’ is taught what animal love is. Flop tells Bing and Zula how best to feed ducks. The trick is not to make too much noise, a lesson Bing learns only after a large goose approaches them.
Dealing with disappointment is also something that not many toddlers have yet mastered. It happens to Bing in “Fire Truck,” when his friends in the park get the chance to see the inside of the fire truck. When it’s Bing’s turn, the fire truck suddenly has to go to an emergency. Bing is terribly disappointed, but on the way home, they see what the fire truck has been called to do (don’t worry, nothing scary, it’s about the kitten Arlo that needs to be rescued from a roof).
In the next cutscene, Sula and Bing help Flop in the garden when they discover a frog. That’s great fun. Wanting to keep her, Bing invents a frog house for the frog. But what does a frog find important in a house? There is a good chance that that is not milk, grapes, a bed and a leaf of lettuce. Bing and Sula learn that every animal has different needs.
In ‘Scribble’, Bing, Coco and Charlie are drawing. When Lili comes to visit, Bing decides to make a drawing for her, but then Charlie takes the drawing in an unguarded moment and scribbles on it. Bing is angry and disappointed that Charlie ruined the drawing, but Lili has a solution: the scribble game!
‘Cat’ is the last cutscene and in it Bing discovers that there is another cat walking around next to Arlo. When he wants to play hide and seek with this, the cat starts hissing. It shocks Bing, despite Flop warning him about this.
All in all, the seventy minutes running time of ‘Bing’s animal stories’ is over before you know it. The structure is well-arranged and thanks to the recognizable situations it is very much in line with the perception of young children. The lessons are useful and not annoying and what argues for the film is that toddlers also get to know the less fun sides of life, such as that you have to scoop poop if you have a dog.