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 this series (a British import), while entertaining and original, sometimes has confusing, choppy storylines. The youngest viewers may find the show's dialogue (which is all performed by two male actors who use a range of accents) and pacing hard to follow and some of the messages complex. That makes it a better fit for slightly older, more sophisticated kids who have more experience sticking with a story.
What's the story?
In British import series JAMES THE CAT, children are introduced to a group of eccentric animals who live in the large garden of a grand corner house. James, the title character, is a regal, self-important diplomat who once lived the cozy life inside but was forced to start roughing it after his owners moved. The series chronicles the events in the garden as James and his wildlife cohorts -- a colorful group of animals that includes Rocky, an ex-prizefighting rabbit; Mrs. Lavender, an Irish snail; Ma and Pa Rat and their children; Citroen, a French dog that serves as a messenger between James and his faraway Aunt Maude; and Dennis, a pink, fire-eating dragon sent by Aunt Maude to look out for James -- learn to coexist. Many of the animals appreciate James' delusions of grandeur, but they also poke fun, contributing to much of the show's humor. When a problem comes up that only James can handle, he magically travels to foreign lands to resolve it with powerful international characters.
Is it any good?
James the Cat stretches young minds with magical ideas and characters, making it a refreshing departure from run-of-the-mill cartoon messages. And the idea of all sorts of animals living together in a garden is charming and appropriate for all ages. That said, the show can sometimes be a bit impenetrable for very young children. The stories move quickly, and some words are mumbled in foreign accents. For those reasons, it's a better fit for slightly older or more sophisticated kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why James travels the world to solve problems. What is a diplomat? Does James fit his role well? Why does he complain so often? Parents may have to explain the role of some characters. Why are Ma and Pa Rat sometimes sneaky? Why does Dennis the pink dragon appear from nowhere to help when James is in a bind?
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