For my money, the best children’s animated feature of all time is Hayao Miyazaki’s classic My Neighbor Totoro. When we were growing up, it was always believed that the best movie for children to ‘experience’ death was Bambi. We’d all ask our parents– where is Bambi’s mom? It gives the parents a chance (or a push) to explain some things to the kids Well, Totoro works a bit differently and a bit more subtly. There is no fiery death, but this is the story of a Japanese family dealing with a major crisis. The father is taking care of the his two he young daughters and moves them to an old house so they can be close to the hospital where the mother is convalesces from a serious illness. As the girls explore their old new home and surrounding countryside, they meet Totoro a magic forest sprite and they go on a series of adventures. Miyazaki never hits the audience over the head with what he is doing, but eventually everyone will get it. Our family has been watching this treasure for the past ten years and i am hoping we continue to do so forever. This picture book perfectly captures all the excitement and wonder (and great art!) of the movie and can be shared over and over. I wish it was available when my daughter was younger. Buy the book–see the movie!