Parent reviews for Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

Common Sense says

Engaging adventures through history could be more factual.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 17 reviews
Adult Written byChristina Caracciolo March 5, 2020

Great for kids (and parents too!)

Fantastic series! Love watching with my kids and great to learn new things about history that I didn't know myself. Very inspirational too! Plus the characters are sooooo cute!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byKikigo March 25, 2020

Any kid can change the world!

The show translates well from the books . My children love the characters and we use this as a stepping stone to learning more about the historical figures that interest them. Comparing this show to other PBS shows is silly, the shows mentioned in other reviews are different topics entirely.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byKoenigna May 28, 2020

Incredible

This show is incredible. My five year olds talk about Susan B. Anthony and everyone having a vote. Great educational show. Ignore reviews that say it contains anything inappropriate for kids.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byMkerivan January 10, 2020

Great intro to getting excited about historical figures

The other day my child (age 5) recited to me definitions of who Helen Keller, the Wright Brothers, Bach, George Washington, George Washington Carver, Charles Dickens and many other historical figures - when they were born and what they are known for. He then was inspired by the Wright brothers to create wings for a car he had to make it fly and kept reinventing it until it worked.

Whiny voices and animation quality aside, this is not meant for theatrical value, but as far as inspiring my 3 and 5 year old to learn this has been an exceptional tool.

I can’t wait for more episodes because my son is absorbing the facts like a sponge. He’s constantly asking me when things were invented, the years that people were born and to learn more about the characters in this show. They also mention nutrition and good eating habits as well as making good choices to solve problems in their everyday life.

I think this show is a great example and I highly reccomend.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byDubbieB December 23, 2019

Outstanding

This show is a fantastic opportunity for kids to learn about a myriad of historical figures in a way that they can connect to and thoroughly enjoy. The characters and your children also learn great lessons like kindness, empathy, patience, teamwork, determination and the list goes on. Traits that everyone needs to flourish in the future. As an educator, I encourage all ages to watch this groundbreaking show.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bymsnsaf February 15, 2021

Political Agenda gets in way... or is it the point?

Watching my kids choose an episode of Xavier Riddle, I was disappointed by several things, the following are illustrative:

First, I was shocked to see the name Caesar Chavez, a Labor Activist, amongst the shows [which I looked up immediately after the show they watched about Rosa Parks an american hero, (more on that in a bit). I found out it was about Organizing, i.e. organized labor. See more here - https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/CesarChavez They called it "teamwork". ] I am not sure I would call that an objective view of what organizing means, and whether issues of class struggle is appropriate for impressionable youth. Following the show, I had a talk with my kids about watching this show.

The show about Rosa Parks, was a lost opportunity, and had some not so subtle elements that confused the message with inappropriate emotional content. What it did to well, it could have been better, had it stuck to the main idea, which was about standing up to a system of racial segregation and that "separate but equal is not equal." Instead (i) it was an oversimplified discourse on general discrimination against people of color, and not about the remaining vestiges of slavery and racial segregation, which is not generic. (ii) The cartoon, took the opportunity to portray a "white" mean boy on roller skates, as the expression of such hate in the South, but it you were to look at it from a child that knows nothing of the history, they would be unable to distinguish between - the hoodlums he was supposed to represent including (KKK and others) - and the regular white skinned boy who was a mean boy roller-skating rudely into Rosa Parks who stood her ground.

Such subtleties are not picked up by the kids and are reckless exaggerations that don't accomplish the goal, of fostering respect and acceptance of diversity, it instead, takes a buck shot, approach towards "mean boys" rather than an identifiable racist person.

This show effectively, misdirects the focus from segregation to racial bias by white people, not the system, which enforced it or the people that stood by and watched, or the people who flamed the fire of hatred and racism. This was a missed opportunity.

Second, the episode took the opportunity to portray Rosa Parks as and Xavier as seething with popular rage, and hatefulness toward the "mean boy" rather than righteous indignation. I think it did a disservice to the memory of Rosa Parks.

The emotional reaction of public outrage, and popular anger, and ultimate schadenfreude expressed by Xavier and (a sympathetic audience) "your child", when the boy falls after being stared down by the "Rosa Parks" character, should give a parent pause before allowing their child to swallow Junk Food for the mind, without digesting the subtle messages that the child is taking with the bathwater. Rosa Parks was about dignity, not schadenfreude or mob anger.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byJay B October 16, 2020

This show teaches about Conficius,

S1Ep23, I Am Confucius. As the title says, This show teaches about Conficius. which is a religious figure. This liberal network wouldn't be caught dead teaching anything good or positive about Jesus, why are they teaching about Conficius, so much for separation of church and state. Defund PBS.
Parent of a 4 and 7-year-old Written byBwhamilton September 25, 2020

Grabs kids attention while teaching them about history

My 4 and 7 year old love this show and have learned a ton about various historical figures. Thumbs up!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byBecky L. January 2, 2020

Gets kids interested in history

One of my degrees is in history and though I prefer highly-researched works to teach history (even to kids), I've realized that there's a place for animation and humor in engaging kids to get interested in history to study it further. This series does just that. It's a similar style as the Ordinary People Change the World series of books-- real history combined with childish (& a-historical) elements. It's not meant to be a documentary for kids, but an engaging introduction to something they may want to study more.

Stylistically, it has the same kind of whiny voices found in too many other PBS Kids shows, the animation is pretty basic, and the characters can be pretty stereotypical. But, it's causing my six year old girls to ask some great questions about different historical figures and different events in history.

Each episode includes two different historical figures, and the plot tries to relate the history to a problem being faced by the main characters in their modern life. Those problems are very preschool-ish and don't engage my kids at all. Because there's not much time in the show, it doesn't go into enough depth to fully explain any of the historical figures. The whole concept of the "secret museum" feels like a random add-on But, despite those obvious flaws, I like the show. It's caused my kids to talk about women's suffrage, different leadership styles, and the importance of education for all kids.

It's not perfect, but I like it a whole lot more than a ton of other options out there. It gets us talking, and that's fine with me!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written bysarduini December 5, 2019

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.
Adult Written byIsabelle Mona November 28, 2019

I can't even.

This show is a disgrace. Sadly, I think they are replacing the Wild Kratts shows with this. As lame as the near 50 year old's cartoon series was, it was still FAR more educational than this, and far more entertaining.

This show is really about the level of quality of catdog meets the angry beavers. Seriously, it is really weird and nothing of value.

I am considering ending my funding to KPBS because of this show. If it continues beyond, say, 1 season then I will be ending all funding and encourage anyone else who financially supports this channel to do the same. This show is terrible.