For those that don’t know, The VeggieTales series features animated vegetables that teach children history and values while telling an entertaining story. Bible verses area a key part of that mission, but, the teaching is done in a gentle way and does not heavily push a religious agenda. The latest installment works on the idea of helping others.


After a very funny preview of “The Pirates Who Won’t Do Anything,” the video opens with the vegetables meeting in book club fashion. Instead of reading the book, they all have been using “Norm’s Notes” which gives a condensed version of  classic books along with some criticism of the book for vegetables on the go. While some of this may skip over the kid audience, adults will certainly get a few chuckles out of this as well as the numerous pop culture references throughout the video.


Bob the Tomato soon reads a question from a child who knows another child who is being picked on. The child wants to help, but is scared if he does, will get picked on too. An issue that any parent or teacher will have to deal with regarding the kids in their lives. After a brief discussion on the topic which hasn’t really settled the issue, the video segues into the story “Tomato Sawyer & Huckleberry Larry’s Big River Rescue.”


Narrated by Clark Wayne, the story tells about life along the big river aka” The Mighty Mississippi” and focuses on Big Jim who is working at Dooley and Sons Lumber Camp as punishment for a crime he did not commit. Through song, conversation and narration, history in the form of the Homesteading Act, Federal Tax Laws and other facts are told as well as a very good story.


Big Jim manages to escape the Lumber Camp and eventually winds up with Tomato Sawyer and Huckleberry Larry. He wants to be reunited with his Mama. Tomato Sawyer and Huckleberry Larry figure out that he used to have a singing career with his Mama and was very famous. They soon figure out that Dooley and Sons aren’t telling the truth, that Big Jim is, and that he needs help.


Help in getting away from the evil clutches of Dooley and Sons. Help in getting to St. Louis to reunite with his mom. Help that Tomato Bob is willing to give up to a point. When it comes down to it, while Huckleberry Larry realizes that not helping someone is the same as hurting someone, Tomato Sawyer is a bit slower to grasp the concept. Once he does, he arrives in the nick of time to help Huckleberry Larry and Big Jim and participate in the feel good conclusion of the story.


Justice is served, Big Jim is reunited with mom and Clark Wayne puts the final touches on a well done tale before viewers are returned to the book club. The overall theme is reinforced by a bible verse and a discussion between Tomato and Pickle about what it all means. They refer to the child’s letter and suggest various ways to help the child being picked on.


The video runs about 50 minutes and doesn’t suffer from blaring music and unhearable dialog as so many do these days. Bonus items include a “Behind the Scenes” feature (writing a Biscuit silly song, studio commentary, among others), “Fun and Games” (songs, a puzzle game, more on how to draw), “Parents” feature (details on the computer CD-ROM items) and a “discussion guide.”  The bonus items are concluded with the “Studio Store” feature with references to many more items available at


The Veggie Tales have always been a big hit around here and this latest installment is another one. It isn’t preachy and serves to gently guide and teach while telling a great story.  It will tickle the funny bone of children and adults alike with a gentle story and plenty of pop culture references while reinforcing a great message.


VeggieTales: Tomato Sawyer & Huckleberry Larry’s Big River Rescue (A Lesson in Helping Others)


July 2008


50 Minutes


Review copy provided directly by the company in exchange for my fair and objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2008


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