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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The New Adventures of Figaro Pho centers on a boy who works hard each day to conquer his many fears by trying things that are outside his comfort zone. Though there's a lot of humor, most of which is physical because there's no dialogue in the show, there are also moments of triumph when Figaro pushes through his phobias and achieves something new. Those with weak stomachs for gross-out humor may want to avoid scenes that include Figaro's friend Snotty Ronald and his icky nasal discharge. Some jumpy moments could scare younger kids, but empowering messages round out this show that's really fun to watch.
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What's the story?
In THE NEW ADVENTURES OF FIGARO PHO, multi-phobic Figaro Pho decides to look past his fears and try new things such as ice-skating and martial arts. Even with his newfound positive attitude, things don't always go as planned for Figaro, especially when Obsessive Prudence and Snotty Ronald are around to make things messy (often literally, in Ronald's case). But Figaro can always count on his faithful pet, Rivet, who seems to sense the boy's feelings and always wants to lend a paw in helping him along.
Is it any good?
This exceptionally rendered Australian CGI series has an unusual hero in Figaro -- a chronic worrier who approaches new experiences with a mixture of anticipation and terror -- but it works here. His quirks make him relatable, and the fact that he confronts them rather than allowing them to dictate his actions shows kids the value of facing your fears and trying new things.
Initially it's a surprise that the characters don't talk, and there are some times when you wish they'd share their thoughts through words, but sound effects and music do a good job conveying what's needed in The New Adventures of Figaro Pho. There are scary moments and a decidedly unappealing character in the perpetually boogery Ronald (kids will love it, though), but there's also the joy of accomplishment and the excitement of discovering new things.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fears and overcoming them. How does doing so seem to change Figaro Pho? What are some of your kids' fears? Have they ever had to face them head-on?
How does having a loyal friend make it easier to face difficult events? Kids: Who are some of your closest friends? What kinds of things have you helped each other through?
How would this show be different if the characters spoke? Did you ever have trouble following what was going on without dialogue? What other clues are you given to help you along?
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