It is not as if there was a want to hate 'The Little Stranger' before viewing it. Actually really like to love a lot of what Fleischer Studios did (as a big lifelong animation fan), and on the most part the late 30s was a prime period for them thanks to some of the best Popeye cartoons made during it. The idea for the story was also interesting, reminding me of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Ugly Duckling' (a story that gets me emotionally every time), and potentially very relatable.
'The Little Stranger' underwhelmed me unfortunately and it was disappointing that a rather average effort was made in one of the studio's best periods. It is not an awful cartoon and could see the effort put into some of its elements, but it boasted one of the "Color Classics" series' most potentially interesting stories and doesn't do enough with it. As far as this particular series goes, 'The Little Stranger' is not one of the best, but it just about avoids being one of the worst at the same time.
Will start with the good things. The music has plenty of character and lushness, as well as adding a lot to what is going on. The animation is mostly attractive enough, with the beautifully detailed backgrounds faring best by quite some way and the colours are very vibrant.
Of the characters, the vulture is by far the best and most interesting, also being a genuinely formidable adversary. The titular character is an easy one to remember and the ending is cute.
Conversely, the story structure is interesting on paper but 'The Little Stranger' does far too little with it. Despite it being quite eventful action-wise, there is just no oomph to the content and it is very derivative. Which made the cartoon feel very run-of-the-mill and pedestrian. Felt very little emotion, which made it a rather cold experience when it is a story that should be touching.
Humour is completely absent and even having a little here would have balanced things well (it felt rather overly-serious which added to the dullness). And there is no tension due to the outcome being obvious as soon as the vulture is introduced, we have seen it so many times and it was done to death long before 'The Little Stranger' was made like in the Terrytoons cartoons. None of the rest of the characters make much of an impression and the characters have been much crisper and more appealing before and since for the studio.
Summing up, just about borders on average but somewhat underwhelming. A meek 5/10