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Papa's Boy


Film info

Title: Papa’s Boy
Running time: 3 min.
Director: Leevi Lemmetty
Country of origin: Finland / United Kingdom, 2010
Language: No dialogue
Genre: Animation
Suggested age group: 6-7 years


A young mouse boy wants to dance, and change the expectations his father has of his male gender but his father is very disapproving. The father wants the boy to be very virile and encourages him to take up boxing. The boy is not enthusiastic and the father is more and more disappointed with his son until the boy saves the family from a cat by dancing. This changes his father’s perception and opinion of his son.

Main themes

Gender expectations
Personal happiness
Perseverance and determination
Breaking down barriers – fighting for rights
Conflict resolution




A. Before the film:      
  Exercise 1  Boy or girl things groups/together 30 min.
B. Introduction+ showing the film:   5 min.
C. After the film:    
  Exercise 2 Discussion with film stills together 15 min.
  Exercise 3 Thaumatrope individual 15 min.
  Exercise 4 Let’s try something different together 45 min.

A: Before the film
Exercise 1: Boy or girl?

Divide the class into small mixed groups of boys and girls. Give each group two big sheets of paper, a stack of magazines and/or advertising leaflets, scissors and glue. The pupils look through the magazines and cut out pictures of things they find appropriate for boys and appropriate for girls. Make sure that pupils cut out items they consider appropriate for their own and the other gender. Write boy on one sheet of paper and girl on the other. Glue the pictures onto the appropriate sheet.
Put up the sheets from the different groups and discuss:

Why did you choose this?

Why do you find this a typical boy or girl’s thing?

What would you think if a girl would use/have/play with... this?

Could this be used by boys as well as girls?

Would you find it strange to see a boy with this? Does that mean is it not allowed?

Would you find it ok if you know it would make that boy very happy?


If the children are agreed that there are images which are less gender specific, cut out the picture and glue it onto an ever bigger sheet – the ‘boys-and-girls’ sheet.

Let’s see if we can find some pictures to go on the ‘boys-and-girls’ sheet.
Try to move as many pictures as you can.



B: Introduction and showing the film

Show the children pictures of a tutu and a pair of boxing gloves (or an actual tutu and gloves if possible). Refer to the sheets of the previous exercise.

Where would you put a picture of the gloves? And the tutu?

Which would you prefer to play with?


We are going to see a short film about a little mouse that has both...


C: After the film
Exercise 2: Discussion with film stills

Put the film stills up on the blackboard (mouse in room full of boxing gear, mouse in tutu, father mouse with disappointed look on his face, father mouse hugging his son).

What does the father expect of his son? How do we know this?
(poster of himself as boxing champion, room full of boxing gear...)

What does the mouse like to do?

How does this make father mouse feel? How does his father’s disappointment make the little mouse feel?

What happens to make father mouse change his mind? How come he feels different now?


Exercise 3: Thaumatrope

Explain to the pupils that PAPA’S BOY is an animated film. This means that the story is not acted out by living people, but the characters and settings are drawn and / or models. The term ‘animation' comes from the Latin word animo, meaning "soul”. In an animation film the filmmaker is indeed giving ‘life’ and a ‘soul’ to his drawings and the characters.

Animation is shot frame by frame. In this way lifeless things (drawings, puppets, pictures, plasticine figures, scraps of papers, objects ...) can be made to move. In each successive film frame the animator alters his drawing (or object) a little bit from the previous image. If you look at such a series of images one after the other, very quickly (such as a film, in which you get to see about 24 frames per second), it seems as if the characters in the picture really move.

The pupils can practice this simple principle of motion pictures themselves by making a thaumatrope.


You can download an example of a thaumatrope to copy. On one side it has the mouse wearing a tutu, on the other side a pair of boxing gloves. By spinning the thaumatrope it will look as if the mouse is wearing boxing gloves.

Cut out the circles out and glue them with their backs against each other: on one side the mouse, on the other side the boxing gloves. Make sure the little signs are aligned (otherwise the optical trick won’t work). Now punch two holes in the rim of the disc. Attach a rubber band to each hole. Make the cardboard disc spin on its axis really fast... and it appears that the mouse is wearing the boxing gloves.

Explain that this effect is called an optical illusion: it only seems like there is movement or fusion of the two images. In reality this is not the case: the drawings themselves remain unchanged.

Exercise 4: Let’s try something different

Invite into your class people working in an area which is stereotypically considered suitable for the opposite gender (for example a male nurse, secretary, nanny or child care worker; or a female police officer, truck driver, member of the armed forces or construction worker)

Have pupils prepare to interview the person by writing down individually a few questions they would like to ask him/her. They should all come up with at least one question that has the word boy or girl in it.

At the end of the interview undertake a practical recreational activity related to the profession of the interviewee, such as learning how to put on a bandage, how to direct traffic, how to build a sturdy wall, how to change a nappy etc. Ensure that both boys and girls take part.

Afterwards ask the pupils (ensuring you ask both boys and girls) if they enjoyed the activity. Would they consider a career in this particular field?







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