Kids like to Be Scared!

I'm not joking with the title: we need to remind parents that every good story involves some sort of danger for the protagonist(s); and when kids see action, you need to put the protagonists in danger of getting killed or hurt. (This is called suspense.)
Why is this necessary? You ask. Well, in our world, brutality occurs on a daily or monthly basis. The CIA starts civil wars in Guatemala. The FBI considers Martin Luther King a communist. When we face reality, we need a fiction in which the good guys win. But if the good guys win too easily, the
Case in point: Magic School Bus Episode 16. While on a field trip to the past, a T-Rex is attacking the bus, but Ms. Frizzle easily adds humor to the situation, as do the bright colors and the blatant Jurassic Park parody. We cannot deny, however, that the kids are in danger. When Ms. Frizzle casually suggests that getting eaten is a learning experience, her students do freak out. Yet they all get out alive and unharmed, and they learn more about dinosaurs and to keep an open mind.
Second case in point: Pluto's Judgment Day. This is a twisted, sick, cartoon, but it does put us in suspense and enthrall us as the cats put Pluto in trial for his crimes. While at the same time commenting on our biases when we have to prosecute a loathed criminal, it provides an interesting dilemma that Pluto can't get out of (and doesn't escape, to be honest).
Another correlation: you need a competent, scary, and interesting villain if the story demands one. We love Ursula, dislike Syndrome, fear Jafar, and pity Frollo, but they all pose threats against the heroes.
That's why Teen Titans also functioned well against Slade, their main nemesis, because he keeps them guessing at his intentions, resembles Robin at his worst, knows how to defeat them, and can outsmart them in order to get what he wants. (Episode Apprentice: WATCH IT.) Yet they defeated them not once, but thrice, and not without a lot of effort. And the viewer watches because they want to know how five teenage heroes can defeat an adult mercenary without a conscience.
So don't worry about making your villains too scary for children. Children want suspense, they want danger- so give it to them!
. . . But only give them the best.

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