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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Caillou is about a sweet, curious child who loves to explore the world. The program sometimes deals with intense emotions such as fear, anger, loneliness, anxiety, and empathy, but they're presented in a straightforward manner that will help kids, not frighten them. The character sometimes exhibits realistic behavior typical of a 4-year-old.
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What's the story?
CAILLOU is an enjoyable cartoon about a 4-year-old boy who lives with his parents and little sister, Rosie. Each program has a theme and is divided into several short, attention-holding sections that mix animation, puppet skits, and video of kids in real-life situations. It's a colorful program, sometimes quiet and sometimes lively, and it captivates kids. In four animated stories, Caillou learns lessons about the day's theme and solves problems, often with some adult guidance. He talks and acts like a 4-year-old, which offers parents good talking points after the show.
Is it any good?
Some of Caillou's reactions to situations are quite realistic: When he breaks a friend's bucket in the sandbox, the friend tells him that she doesn't want to play with him anymore. Caillou sulks, and when his mother asks him what's wrong, he doesn't at first 'fess up to breaking his friend's toy. A narrator explains Caillou's true intentions to viewers: He's embarrassed. Caillou might also make a sour face or protest if asked to do something he doesn't want to do, but the narrator usually explains his motives. Overall, he displays realistic reactions -- which might make Caillou more companion than role model. But he always gets the life lesson -- and viewers will, too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Caillou's various themes: welcoming a new sibling, learning how to make and keep friends, the importance of caring for pets and the environment, and so on.
Young kids might see similarities between their actions and Caillou's. How do kids feel about the way the character behaves? What section of the show does your child respond to the most?
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