Arthur TV Poster Image


A thoughtful cartoon for kids to grow up on.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series promotes positive relationships with friends and family, in addition to the importance of books and learning. Overall, the tone is fun and lighthearted, but the show also explores some complex social lessons, from the death of a pet to serious diseases like cancer.

Positive role models

The characters don't always model perfect behavior because they're all still growing up and learning (for example, kids can act selfish or bossy at times). Girls and boys are represented equally and often break gender stereotypes.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that despite the fun, lighthearted nature of Arthur, its social lessons (which cover a wide range of situations) are more complex and original than you'll find in most cartoons. Children of any age can watch alone, but those 5 and over will understand the stories best. The show explores the challenges of sibling relationships through Arthur and his sister DW. It's worth noting that sometimes their arguments can be a little too true-to-life (i.e., loud and whiny).

What's the story?

The 8-year-old title character of the animated series ARTHUR is a sweet, curious kid with more than his share of self-consciousness. He shares insecurities, adventures, and the spotlight with a varied cast of friends and family members. Although technically Arthur is an aardvark and his friends are other kinds of animals, they act just like real people. Based on the book series by Marc Brown, Arthur premiered in 1996 and is a recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award and multiple Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Children's Animated Program.

Is it any good?


Just as Arthur is a smart boy with lots of playful energy, the show is both educational and lighthearted, weaving themes in so well that they seem to result from -- rather than instigate -- the story. Viewers of Arthur will find demonstrations of solving problems creatively, appreciating differences, and other lessons on display. Situations resolve creatively rather than predictably. In one episode, for example, Arthur's smart friend, Brain, refuses to go to a birthday party at a water park, and the kids get mad and accuse him of being stuck up. Arthur is torn between sticking by his friend and sticking with the group. Rather than choosing sides, he investigates and figures out that Brain has a fear of water. Brain doesn't get over his fear of water -- instead, the episode helps viewers see that it's okay to be afraid of something and admit to your fears.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about sibling struggles in Arthur. How can brothers and sisters work out their differences? Do Arthur and DW have a good relationship? How is it like your kids' relationship with their siblings? How is it different?

  • What are some of the lessons that Arthur learns in the show? Does he handle them in a realistic way?

  • How do the characters in Arthur demonstrate gratitude and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Premiere date:September 2, 1996
Cast:Cameron Ansell, Daniel Brochu, Michael Yarmush
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Book characters, Friendship
Character strengths:Gratitude, Integrity
TV rating:TV-Y
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Arthur was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Postcards from Buster TV Poster Image
    Kids who like Arthur will enjoy Buster's travels.
  • Sesame Street TV Poster Image
    Classic show endures changes, but learning content remains.
  • Zoboomafoo TV Poster Image
    Preschoolers will go wild for this animal show.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byfandlsmom April 9, 2008

Better for kids 5+

My older daughter (now 6) started watching Arthur when she was 3. I would have waited until she was 5 because the characters don't always treat each other respectfully. While kids 5 and up will likely grasp the lesson that this behavior is not ideal, younger kids might just observe the behavior and miss the message that it's not ideal.
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008


I have not let my kids watch Arthur because I don't like the way that Arthur interacts with his siblings. It does not promote a positive attitude toward family members, but rather animosity and blaming. There are lots of other shows with a positive message and we choose to watch those (or nothing) instead!
Kid, 11 years old May 14, 2011


I am eleven and this is my favorite show. It has a lot of mature episodes. It once had a reference to South Park which was really funny. XD
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models