A sneaky peek at Princess and the Frog

We've been having a bit of a Disney week, because on Sunday we took Ben, 6, and Harriet and Daisy, both 13, to a preview of the much-talked about new film The Princess and the Frog.

The movie has caused quite a lot of controversy in the US, because it features the first African American lead character, the beautiful Tiana. But as Whoopi Goldberg pointed out on last night's Royal Variety Performance, Tiana spends 70% of the film as a frog. She isn't a princess, either. The movie is set in 1920s New Orleans, and that means Tiana is poor (but rich in spirit, obviously).

I guess the fact so much fuss is being made that Tiana is African American says quite a lot – but it does seem a bit bizarre, particularly when you consider that Mulan was Chinese, Pocahontas was Native American and Princess Jasmine was Middle Eastern, so it's not the first time there has been a non-white Disney lead. Still, it's been a long time coming, as they say, and Tiana can now take her place among Mulan, Belle and the rest as one of the best Disney heroines. There has also been some controversy about the inclusion of voodoo in the film, but it is set in New Orleans, so I'm not sure what anyone expected. Anyway, the kids appeared not to notice anything unusual – they simply thought the movie was 'fantastic'. And it made me really hungry, because Tiana, who's a chef, keeps making beignets, lighter than air square doughnuts.

I'll put up a proper review of the movie closer to the release date (5 Feb 2010) but meanwhile here's a little peek:

written by Liz Jarvis