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 the characters in this lackluster cartoon are very gender-stereotypical. Every girl wears a dress, boys are more inventive and adventurous than girls, and adults are usually assigned typical roles -- the teacher is a woman, the police officer a man.
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What's the story?
TIMOTHY GOES TO SCHOOL is a simpler, less-charming version of Arthur that in no way does justice to the book (Rosemary Wells' Timothy Tales from Hilltop School) on which it's supposedly based. Timothy himself is a raccoon whose cartoon form never achieves half the expression of the original book creation. His school friends are a largely indistinguishable band of rodents and house pets. The few who stand out do so because they've been given one strong trait (the mouse is shy, the twin dogs dumb) rather than an actual character. Each half-hour program contains two mini-episodes in which Timothy copes with some small social or ethical dilemma.
Is it any good?
Watching Timothy Goes to School won't hurt kids, but since it's neither educational nor particularly amusing, they -- and you -- are likely to choose one of the many other options out there. The stories are harmless and mildly entertaining. The problem is that the set up and situations are of a type usually more familiar to older children, while the problems and their resolutions are presented at the simplest and tamest level.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Timothy's mild difficulties and their solutions are simpler than those a child might actually experience at school. For example, when Timothy has to choose between two friends: Don't you think Timothy can be friends with both? Why can't they all play together? Questions about plot shortcomings might also start a good discussion about what makes a story work.
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