SUMMARY: Gena the Crocodile and Cheburashka attempt to join the Pioneers by doing good deeds, unwittingly committing various acts of petty theft and vandalism in the process.
WHY IT’S HERE: The second of Roman Kachanov’s celebrated Cheburashka shorts, ‘Cheburashka’ once again follows the charming adventures of the title character and his friend Gena the Crocodile. Although it doesn’t quite live up to the first instalment, 1969’s classic ‘Gena the Crocodile’, ‘Cheburashka’ continues in the same sweet-natured vein. The overwhelming niceness of the short is never allowed to drift into tweeness, thanks to a gently satirical edge which examines the capacity of good intentions for causing havoc. Gena and Cheburashka cause mayhem in their attempts to join the Pioneers (a sort of Soviet scouts), vandalising an electrical storage unit, stealing a jackhammer and carting away an anchor from a moored boat. For these unintentional misdemeanours, the pair receive no comeuppance and learn no lessons. It is refreshing to not be preached at by a children’s animation and it is enough that we laugh at the obliviousness of the characters to ensure that children will not imitate their behaviour.