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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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