A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Portrays first day of school experiences for a number of students in order to show similarities and differences at different grade levels. Could quell nervousness about going into a new grade or school.
Change is good. Teamwork makes the dream work. It's OK to give someone a second chance.
Positive Role Models
DW tries to make friends with Emily and stands up for Emily when other students ridicule her.
Samir is a Sikh student who Buster becomes friends with on the first day. He wears a traditional Sikh head covering called a patka, as well as a bangle called a kara. Though Samir dons these identifiers of his faith, his identity as a Sikh is not central to the story.
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Two instances of very mild name-calling: "Wrong locker, doofus!" and "liver girl!" in reference to a student who brought a liver sandwich for lunch.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Arthur's First Day is a celebration of the first day of school and all of the excitement and anxiety that comes with it. Viewers young and old will be excited to see the long-running show's popular cast of characters -- Arthur (Roman Lutterotti), DW (Ethan Pugiotto), Buster, Binky (Bruce Dinsmore), Muffy (Melissa Altro), Francine, and more -- as they navigate new beginnings. The youngest viewers may be sensitive to scenes containing mild name-calling and bullying or the angst that some characters face in new roles. For example, Emily, a student in DW's class, struggles through several awkward social experiences on her first day of kindergarten. Perfectionist Muffy struggles with perceived failure in a leadership position. All in all, positive messages and images (including Samir, a Sikh student who becomes friends with Buster) will leave children excited about the first day of school.
Is It Any Good?
The long-running series Arthur has the recipe for a classic show that is appropriate and enjoyable for young viewers, and the one-hour PBS Kids special is no different. From the upbeat theme song to the lovable characters, kids will be hooked on Arthur's First Day, and parents who grew up on the original show will tap into the nostalgia of their childhood. Despite those warm fuzzy feelings, parents may start to tune out after another dream sequence that runs longer than necessary or the unrealistic portrayal of students who are rarely supervised by adults at school.
Nevertheless, the show does an effective job of capturing the positive and not-so-positive emotions related to the first day of school from many angles: kindergartners who are just getting started, fourth graders who know what to expect, and older kids who are seasoned enough to help others have a positive experience. This special is unique in how characters creatively solve a problem, which should give families plenty to discuss on the first day -- or any day -- of school.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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