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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Julius Jr. is a preschool series inspired by a popular character from a line of clothing and accessories, so if your tots recognize him, they're bound to want to see him in action. On the other hand, if this is their first encounter with Julius' image, they'll probably start to notice his products in stores after watching. Content-wise the show is suited nicely to this age group, and the messages about teamwork, friendship, and problem solving are very worthwhile. The half-hour episodes are separated into two stories, making it easy to limit screen time, and each explores an emotion familiar to preschoolers, such as feeling afraid or wishing you could change something about yourself. Musical sequences reiterate the show's friendly themes.
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What's the story?
JULIUS JR. centers on a young sock monkey and his group of friends who hang out in their tricked-out playhouse made from a cardboard box. There's no shortage of fun or adventure when Julius (voiced by E.G. Daily), Clancy (Julie Lemieux), Sheree (Athena Karkanis), Worry Bear (Ben Israel), and Ping (Stephanie Lynn Robinson) get together, and the fact that things around them magically come to life adds to the fun. But, when troubles arise (and they always do), it's all hands on deck until the problem's solved.
Is it any good?
A younger version of cartoonist Paul Frank's most recognizable character comes to life in Julius Jr., a cute preschool series that makes it clear it won't bank its success on Julius' existing popularity alone. His is only one face in a sea of darling characters, each with its own personality and talents to contribute to the group. If parents could design the perfect community for their kids, it would look a lot like this show: unique minds, kind hearts, and patient friends, and the freedom for self-expression. Of course, magical furniture and a hall of doors that lead to unpredictable places don't hurt, either.
The messages kids will take from Julius Jr. are as delightful as the characters themselves. Through the cast's problem-solving process, they'll learn that every mistake is a learning opportunity; in hearing the characters' kindness to each other, they'll understand that expressing their thoughts helps others understand them. Some of these points might not be obvious to them at first, but, with some help from you, they'll come to identify examples of these essential social skills.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the problems the characters solve in the stories. Kids: Can you identify with how the characters felt? How did the friends pitch in to help? Did their efforts work on the first try?
Kids: Have you ever seen Julius' picture on items in the store? If so, did that make you want to see this show? Why do we like to buy items with our favorite characters' pictures on them? Does a familiar image influence your likes and dislikes?
Help your kids identify examples of positive communication in the stories, and discuss ways for your kids to have their voices heard. How does it feel when other people don’t understand what you're trying to say? What are some coping techniques for frustrating times like this?
- Premiere date: September 29, 2013
- Cast: Athena Karkanis, E.G. Daily, Julie Lemieux
- Network: Nick Jr.
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Character strengths: Communication, Curiosity, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: Streaming
- Last updated: September 29, 2020
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