What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the main character is a kid with an active imagination. Although the show is wildly creative, some of its situations and creatures can be creepy, scary, or disgusting. No parents or adults are around to make sure that everything turns out all right; the main character (a child) is the one in control.
What's the story?
CHALKZONE centers on a young boy, Rudy Tabootie, and his active imagination. He can enter a secret portal through his chalkboard -- a world where children's erased drawings go to live. With a piece of magical chalk, Rudy navigates his way through this secret world, drawing whatever tools he may need. Friends also come in handy for the hero. For example, Rudy's friend Snap, whom he once drew in the ChalkZone, helps him with a quirky toughness that provides comic relief, and Rudy's real-world friend, Penny, is smart and quick on the draw (no pun intended).
Is it any good?
What makes this show interesting is that it acknowledges that worlds of imagination are available to all of us. But while it's true that we love to get lost in a story, for the young child, getting as lost in a world as Rudy does can be scary. At times, ChalkZone can feel like a nightmare -- the creatures and monsters are surreal and often unstoppable. And it's usually up to Rudy to foil their plans, which he generally seems capable of. However, rather than having a soothing effect on the child viewer, Rudy's confidence might be misleading -- if only because he depends on that magic piece of chalk.
The Tabootie parents seem to value family time with their son but are oblivious to his secret life. This premise might seem innocent enough, but the level of stress and trouble that it causes Rudy gives reason for pause.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how kids like to use their own imagination. How does it feel to venture as deeply into the imagination as Rudy does? Can a person come back to reality so easily? What is Rudy missing in the real world when he goes to the Zone? Why don't his parents know about it? What problems might arise from too much fantasy and too few boundaries?