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Topical Tuesdays from The Week Junior – Tom & Jerry turn 80


This week we look at the classic cartoon characters Tom & Jerry, who turned 80 on 10 February 2020.

The duo, who have starred in more than 150 cartoons, made their very first appearance in a nine-minute-long film released on 10 February 1940, called Puss Gets the Boot.

This original film, created by animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Animated Short category.

The early episodes are still considered the best. Although Tom and Jerry are still very popular today, some of the older cartoons are criticised for showing certain human characters being treated unfairly because of the colour of their skin.

This PDF resource includes this article, as well as accompanying activity ideas:

  • Tom and Jerry cartoons feature a lot of violence, even if it is slapstick. Some believe that they should not be shown anymore because they encourage children to attack each other. Debate whether you agree or if this is just overreacting?
  • Poor Tom the cat is always getting painfully outwitted by Jerry the mouse. It’s time he got his own back. Write a set of instructions for a way you think Tom could play a good (but not too vicious) trick on Jerry. Don’t forget to give a set of numbered steps, use imperative verbs and include sequencing conjunctions.
  • Imagine you are either Jerry or Tom and write a letter to the other, explaining that you have had enough of all the fighting and want to make peace. It might help to apologise for all the times you’ve hurt him too!
  • Conduct a survey amongst your friends and family to find out who their all-time favourite cartoon characters are. Decide how you want to present your findings.

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See the whole range of free Topical Tuesday resources here.