A koala bear hosts a singing competition to save his failing theater when a simple typing mistake lands him in hot water. Can he pull together a box office smash in time to save the theater? Meanwhile, the contestants he selects pursue dreams of their own.

SING is an inspirational movie encouraging children to pursue their dreams, rise above what others think of them, believe in themselves, and ignore societal pressures. All these messages are further conveyed with a fantastic soundtrack! SING came out the same year as Finding Dory, Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, Moana, and Trolls, so it was overshadowed. Overall, 2016 was great year for animated films.

The Princess and the Frog

An enchanting fairytale about how hard work and perseverance are great characteristics to have, but everyone needs to enjoy life and love. Tiana has worked hard every day of her life to achieve her dream of owning a restaurant in New Orleans, but some Voodoo magic comes along and messes up her plans. Or does it? The Princess and the Frog is a humorous and touching story kids will love for the music and animals. The Princess and the Frog is not your typical Disney princess origin tale.


Based on the book by Neil Gaiman of the same name, Coraline is the tale of a girl who moves into an old house with a deep secret. After she finds herself in a different world, she believes it is everything she is missing from home. Can she find her true home before it’s too late?

Children will love the humor and spookiness of this touching tale. Family is not perfect, but they do love you even when things are changing. In the words of my 3-year-old daughter, ” Spooooky movie. I love it. It’s my favorite.”


9 awakens in a desolate landscape with only vague clues to who he is or his purpose. There is a mystery surrounding the creation of the post-apocalyptic world. Can 9 solve it and save his numbered companions? The deeper meanings and more somber tone of this movie makes it more appropriate for older children. Produced by Tim Burton, 9 is beautifully animated with a complex story line. This movie is so underrated it is actually on sale for $5 as an “add-on” item on

Planet 51

Imagine if we, humans, were the ones invading a new planet. A teenager in the 1950’s era is transitioning from boy to man. He begins to leave his boyhood obsession with alien movies behind as he starts to get a job and grow up. When, suddenly, there is a mysterious creature crash landed in his backyard. What can these kids learn from this mysterious creature? Or will the creature consume them like they have seen in so many movies? Planet 51 is a hilariously fun approach to an alien invasion movie the whole family will enjoy.


Epic is epically beautiful! Mary Katherine is still reeling with grief from the loss of her mother when she moves in with her eccentric father. She believes him to be obsessed with imaginary creatures. When she gets lost in a storm, M.K. learns a deep message about the life of the forest around her. Can she save the forest and change her life?

Epic is gorgeously animated! It truly teaches children to believe in the impossible and open their eyes to the world around them. Colin Farrell, Beyonce, Pitbull, Josh Hutcherson, and Amanda Seyfried are just a few of the talented voice artists in this sweet movie. The story is loosely based on The Leaf Man and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce.

The Book of Life 

The Book of Life is a beautiful Day of the Dead inspired love story. Two boys from different walks of life vie for the love of the same beautiful girl. As the three grow, they are unaware they are all part of a cosmic wager. Who will win the heart of the maiden?

The originality of the Book of Life is refreshing in an age of remakes. The Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) plays a central part in the plot of the movie, so children learn about Mexican culture and customs in an enjoyable film. Great music is paired with unique animation in a Guillermo del Toro production. Other great names participating include Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Ron Perlman, Diego Luna, Ice Cube, Cheech Marin, and Danny Trejo. If you enjoyed the recent movies Coco and Ferdinand, you will enjoy their predecessor, The Book of Life.

Strange Magic (PG)

Lucasfilms produced this beautifully animated musical love story. Strange Magic is not the typical love story, but really a message about finding love in the most unexpected places. After the princess suffers from a broken heart, she discovers the darker side of life and swears off all love. Add in several more colorful characters pursuing love for noble and devious reasons, you end up with the recipe for a love potion that causes amusing upheaval. The most enchanting part of this unique love story is the random snippets of popular music. Even adults will find themselves singing along with this movie. Watch this movie for yourself and do not trust the critic reviews. Everyone in my family thoroughly enjoyed Strange Magic.

Mune: Guardian of the Moon

I found this gorgeous and unique French animated film on Youtube. (I would link, but I do not want them to get in trouble.) Mune is a delightful and energetic fawn who finds himself often falling into predicaments. Glim is an adventurous girl who is made of wax and forced to live always in the shade. Sohone is the Guardian of the Sun with an ego as large as the sun. These three opposing characters must find a way to come together to save their planet. Mune: Guardian of the Moon is a completely different and inspiring story. My daughter loved the colors and I loved the messages. Everyone can learn something from each of the characters; be more confident in yourself, accept help and curb your ego, or accept differences.

Delhi Safari

Delhi Safari is the tail of a young cub’s adventure to save his home. Deforestation is a horrible epidemic in many locations around the world. Many people do not consider it, because we are not the creatures being directly affected by it. Animals, such as leopards, bears, and monkeys, are losing their home everyday due to constant human expansion. Embarking on a humorous and heart-warming journey these animals decide to fight against the humans destroying their homes. Can they make themselves heard? Great film for the family!

This post contains my own honest opinions of all these films. Each title is an affiliate link to purchase the films. Affiliate links provide Back to Fiction with a small commission at no extra cost to you. To support the site directly please Buy Us a Cup of Coffee.


15 thoughts on “10 Underrated Children’s Films”

  1. This one’s older: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I never saw it as a kid, but my daughters were obsessed with it when they were little. They even liked it more than Mary Poppins!

    1. I haven’t seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in forever. Loved that movie, but Mary Poppins is my top.

  2. I haven’t heard of a lot of these films but I love that you’ve included such an underrated Disney film! I’ve also wanted to watch Sing since it came out at the cinema but still haven’t got round to watching it so I need to add it to my watchlist! My favourites as a child were The Parent Trap, Madeline and Matilda!

    Jess //

    1. Matilda and Parent Trap were favorites of mine and my sister. Another underrated Disney favorite is Treasure Planet. It would have been included on the list but I aimed for more recent movies.

    1. They really are! I found most of them randomly playing on TV or YouTube. Most can be found for super cheap on Amazon because they are so underrated! Enjoy! 😊

  3. My toddler watches SING all the time! It’s one of our favorites. Also Planet 51 is so good! This is a great list, Definitely taking note of these to find!

  4. Thank you thank you thank you
    The last children’s animated movie I loved was Tangled – I know, centuries ago, I’ve a good long term memory a.k.a I’m old.
    My son is 2 now but he really liked Under The Sea and Kiss The Girl music videos. I’ve got more material now to dazzle him with before he realises I’m a has-been. So thank you!

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