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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Calico Critters is a series from Japan based on a popular toy line by the same name (though they're known as "Sylvanian Families" outside of the U.S.). The toys are tiny, flocked animals wearing clothing, and are highly collectible -- the series only makes them seem cuter and more desirable -- so the biggest challenge here for parents will probably be discouraging their kiddos from begging to own every last toy the company makes. Content is very mild, and most episodes (they actually call them "mini-episodes") tap out at around three minutes.
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What's the story?
CALICO CRITTERS is an adorable anime series consisting of 3-minute "mini-episodes" that follow the lighthearted adventures of a happy young bunny named Bell Hopscotch, as well as her various pals and relatives who call Calico Village home sweet home. We meet new friends in each episode, from the peppy, overalls-clad chipmunk Dominic to young Aidan, a cuddly teddy bear who has a troublesome habit of getting into other people's baked goods. Episodes feature town events such as concerts and surprise birthday parties, holidays like Halloween, and some fun dream sequences where fuzzy friends imagine what their future lives will be like. Inspired by the toys that bear the same name, the show is made in a style that almost mimics stop-motion animation, so it appears that the toys are actually moving.
Is it any good?
With each episode calling it quits by the three-minute mark, there's no time to get bored even if the storylines aren't thrilling you (and the visuals are so cute it almost doesn't matter). Calico Critters won't win any awards for screenwriting -- the "adventures" here are slight and fluffy stuff -- but they're innocuous enough, with a mellow tone and super appealing visual style that may be just the ticket for families looking to have some harmless fun in front of the TV. Parent beware, however: the Critters come off so charming and sweet in this series, kids may end up wanting to rush out and bring home more of the toys in real life.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the length of Calico Critters episodes. Would you like to see the gang having longer adventures? What are some fun stories you can imagine these characters being a part of in the future?
What did you think of the animation style used for Calico Critters? Did you like the way it looked as though the toys were actually walking and talking, or would these stories have worked better in another style?
Families can talk about imagination. Kids: How do you play with your toys? What kinds are your favorite for playing pretend?
For kids who love animal friends
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