Parents' Guide to

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Engaging adventures through history could be more factual.

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 4+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 5+

Historically Inaccurate

Just more white washed historical lies. Not even the characters that are supposed to be poc are poc voice actors. Leaves out racism and sexism in the backgrounds of the so called historical "heros". Had to explain to my nephew that they put out George Washington as a great leader and hero when hes not a very good guy. He was a slave owner and assaulted black women. Thats just an example. They praise other racists and calls them heros.
age 4+

Uses history to inspire relevant action

Granted, our family likes history and loves most PBS Kids and the Brad Meltzer books. Was pleasantly surprised by how they adapted the book concept to a show, as well as creating a show that introduces kids to history. As someone who works in history and education, the show does a good job picking a diverse (discipline, chronology, race, gender) range of historical figures for the main characters to "visit." It also does a good job to avoid reinforcing gender or racial stereotypes, though it doesn't get into too much of the nuances of some of the historical figures or the messy/complicated parts of history (the books do a much better job with this), but it's enough to introduce a variety of people that make my kids curious to want to know more. Like Daniel Tiger, each segment has a simple motto that we've used with our kids when it comes up in conversation or just life -- from "taking it one step at a time," or even "everyone should get a chance to vote." Sure the main characters are a little flat and format is a bit repetitive, but not really more so than Daniel Tiger or other programs for younger kids/early elementary. I didn't find the kids whiny (they're not Caillou), but rather found their emotions and frustrations similar to what my 4 and 6 year old experience when they face a challenge. Parents might get a little bored watching multiple episodes in a row, but I also found myself wanting to learn more about some of the historical individuals that they featured.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9 ):
Kids say (15 ):

As an appealing "you can do anything!" adventure cartoon for kids, this animated show is moderately successful, but its tendency to play fast and loose with historical facts is puzzling. The idea of a secret world that lies beneath our ordinary one is a time-honored literary and cinematic setup, so the subterranean museum that Xavier, Yadina, and Brad have discovered beneath a regular science museum is a cool entry point into the trio's adventures. It may even spark imaginative fantasies for young viewers, already seeking Narnia in closets and Platform 9 3/4 in train stations.

But the series' many historical inaccuracies are odd for a show that clearly wants to make history come alive for kids. "Go for it!" is an unlikely motto for Amelia Earhart, who disappeared in 1937, and she certainly didn't complete her solo Atlantic flight as a grade schooler, as Xavier Riddle depicts. George Washington Carver did have a secret garden as a child, in which he learned important lessons that impacted his career in botany, but it's a real stretch to imagine him having to defend plants from renegade soccer players in 19th century Missouri -- and the show seems to overlook his importance as an activist for ex-slaves and champion of sustainable agriculture, instead boiling his messages down to "take care of plants and you'll take care of the earth." Parents who let their kids watch may want to supplement the lessons learned.

TV Details

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