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Caillou (French pronunciation: [kaˈju]) is a Canadian educational children's television series that was first shown on Télétoon and Teletoon, with its first episode airing on the former channel on September 15, 1997; the show later moved to Treehouse TV, with its final episode being shown on that channel on October 3, 2010. The series is based on the books by Hélène Desputeaux. It centres on a 4-year-old boy named Caillou who is fascinated by the world around him.
|Created by||Hélène Desputeaux|
|Based on||Caillou book series by Hélène Desputeaux|
|Country of origin||Canada|
South Africa (Season 5)
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||144 (list of episodes)|
|Original release||September 15, 1997 –|
October 3, 2010
Caillou lives in a blue house at 17 Pine Street with his mother, father, and younger sister, Rosie. He has many adventures with his family and friends and uses his imagination in every episode.
Each episode in Seasons 1–3 has a theme and is divided into several short sections that mix animation, puppet skits, and video of children in real-life situations. In Seasons 4–5, episodes are divided in 3 short sections; the puppet segment was dropped, along with the "Real Kids" version of the segment.
During the first season, many of the stories in the animated version began with a grandmother (who is also the show's narrator) introducing the story to her grandchildren, then reading the story from a book. Since the second season, the narrator/grandmother is an unseen character.
The following lists every character in the show. There are 23 major characters and 66 minor characters, making a total of 89 characters.
Caillou (pebble or stone in French), nicknamed The Prince of Imagination, is the title character of the show. Caillou was first voiced by Bryn McAuley from 1997 through 2000, then Jaclyn Linetsky in 2000 through 2003, and then, due to Linetsky's death, Annie Bovaird from 2003 through 2010. Caillou was first shown in the episode "Caillou Makes Cookies", which aired in 1997.
Caillou is an imaginative four-year-old boy with a love for forms of transportive machinery such as rocket ships and airplanes. A dreamer, Caillou is prone to frequent dream sequences in some episodes, visualizing his daydreams and hopes, and many episodes chronicle his normal daily experiences with his parents, friends, and neighbours. Caillou particularly loves his stuffed dinosaur Rexy and teddy bear Teddy, along with his pet cat Gilbert, all of whom are depicted as puppets in segments featured in the earlier episodes.
- Mommy – Caillou's mother. She is a busy homemaker most of the time but is seen to work in an office too. Caillou occasionally helps his mom with various chores and she often takes time to involve Caillou and his friends in activities such as crafts and baking. She is predominantly dressed in a red blouse with yellow trim, blue headband, blue ankle-length pants and blue shoes with green soles. Voiced by Jennifer Seguin.
- Daddy – Caillou's father. He and Caillou occasionally work on projects around the house. He wears a green sweater with a red trim, and blue pants. In the episode "Caillou The Chef" he says he once worked at a restaurant and made pizza. He is voiced by Pat Fry.
- Rosie (French name: Mousseline) – Caillou's lively younger sister who is a typical toddler. She always wants to take part in the same activities as Caillou. In later seasons of the series she becomes more talkative and independent. She wears a blue dress, red socks and blue Mary Jane shoes. Rosie sometimes fights with Caillou, but they still love each other. She appears to be the only family member with red hair. Rosie was first voiced by Brigid Tierney, then Jesse Vinet.
- Grandma – Caillou's paternal grandmother. Grandma is a very active adult who loves the arts and the outdoors. She passes that love on to Caillou. Grandma often comes up with creative ideas to solve Caillou's problems. She and Caillou paint and go birdwatching together. Voiced by Pauline Little.
- Grandpa – Caillou's paternal grandfather. He takes Caillou on adventures, often going on walks and riding the bus throughout the town where they reside. In "Caillou's Hiding Place", he showed Caillou a hidden area inside a tree in the backyard. In the episode "Caillou Goes Camping", he and Caillou camp in the backyard. He is Daddy's father and loves to tell stories about Caillou's Daddy when he was a little boy. He wears a blue shirt. Voiced by George Morris.
Caillou's friends and neighbours
- Mr. Hinkle (French name: Monsieur Lajoie) – Caillou's neighbour, introduced in the 1998 episode "Caillou's Not Afraid Anymore". He has a gold tooth. In the episode "Farmer for the Day", it is said that his first name is Paul.
- Leo – Leo started out as a mean boy in the 1999 episode "Caillou Goes to Day Care", but quickly befriended Caillou in the same episode. They have been inseparable since. According to Caillou's Holiday Movie, Leo is Jewish and celebrates Hanukkah. Voiced by Vince Davies.
- Clementine – Clementine was the first to befriend Caillou in the 1999 episode "Caillou Goes to Day Care". She can get rather bossy sometimes, but all in all she is pretty understanding. She is voiced by Brigid Tierney.
- Sarah – Caillou's friend whom he first met in "Caillou Goes Around the Block". She is of Chinese heritage and celebrates Chinese New Year. She has a cousin in an episode where she invites Caillou to celebrate Chinese New Year. In another she invites him to school for "Bring Your Younger Siblings to School Day" because she has no siblings. Sarah has a pet cat named Olly and a dog named Murphy. Sarah is voiced by Amanda Tilson.
- André – An orange-haired boy, André is introduced in the episode "Caillou's Big Friend" and usually wears red sandals. According to the song "Days of the Week" released on the Caillou music CD Caillou and Friends, Caillou plays with him every Saturday. André enjoys biking and soccer.
- Julie – Caillou's and Rosie's teenage babysitter. She has blond hair, and enjoys playing with Caillou and Rosie.
- Jason and Jeffrey – Identical twins who are of Puerto Rican descent. They both enjoy eating pizza. Initially, they wore identically coloured clothes. By Season 4, though, Jason started wearing a shirt with inverted colours, in order to tell them apart. They are both in Caillou's playschool class. The first episode they appeared in was "New House, New Neighbors"
- Billy – Clementine's older brother. He is usually seen playing in a band with his friends or playing in sports.
- Miss Martin – Caillou's preschool teacher. She has red hair and wears red overalls with a white long-sleeved blouse. According to the episode "A Surprise for Ms. Martin" her birthday is in June. Her first name is Ann; this was revealed in "Caillou Goes to Daycare".
- Jonas – Daddy's friend from before he met Mommy. He lives on a ranch and has a horse named Lucky. Jonas appears in 4 episodes and in Caillou's Holiday Movie.
- Emma – A girl in Caillou's playschool class who hates loud noises. It is revealed in an episode that she has Type 1 Diabetes.
- Xavier – A boy in Caillou's playschool class who has brown hair and wears blue overalls.
The puppet segments were used only on the PBS telecasts of Caillou from 2000 to 2003 as continuity to fill time usually taken up by commercial breaks during the original Teletoon broadcasts; later episodes on PBS did not include the puppet segment continuity.
- Gilbert – Caillou's pet cat. He is the leader of the group. He has a greyish-blue body with black stripes and loathes dogs with a passion. He especially hates the bulldog in the neighbourhood. In the puppet segments of the program, Gilbert often composes odes.
- Rexy – Caillou's toy dinosaur. Bluish in colour and speaks in a somewhat Hispanic accent, he is very playful. Rexy has the incapability to give a "good" hug. Rexy is noted for being rather pedantic. His speech impediment has been the scourge of his existence; he is often teased about it, and tends to react violently to any mention of it.
- Teddy – An old teddy bear that once belonged to Caillou's daddy, and now belongs to Caillou, Teddy is reasonable, cute and brown. He is somewhat pessimistic, but all in all, he just needs a hug. Puppeteered by Frank Meschkuleit.
- Deedee – A brown squirrel, she has a bushy tail, and is often seen playing with Rexy. Deedee first appeared as a baby squirrel when Rexy found on the ground lost from her family. Deedee lives in Caillou's backyard where most of the puppet segments take place. She was absent in Season 3. Puppeteered by Wendy Welch.
|1||65||September 2, 1996||July 5, 2000|
|2||20||September 4, 2000||July 2, 2002|
|3||13||November 15, 2002||October 7, 2003|
|4||20||April 3, 2006||September 23, 2008|
|5||26||September 11, 2010||October 3, 2010|
Caillou books have been published by Chouette Publishing Inc. since 1989.
The series was originally broadcast in French in Canada, and the episodes were later translated into English, and re-runs in English began on PBS and PBS Kids Sprout in the United States. The original books were also in French. Caillou was designed primarily for toddlers. It was created by child developmental psychologists.
In 1997, 65 five-minute episodes of Caillou were aired in Canada and in selected markets worldwide, including the US, as mentioned above. In 2000 there were 40 thirty-minute episodes of the show, containing a mixture of the five-minute episodes plus new stories, songs, real kids segment and puppets. This was followed by another 16 thirty-minute episodes containing all-new stories in 2003. The film Caillou's Holiday Movie was released on October 7, 2003.
On April 3, 2006, a new set of 20 episodes finally premiered after a three-year hiatus. Caillou started attending preschool and there were new themes and a new opening.
For the franchise's 25th anniversary in 2014, a DVD/book combo pack was released, as well as a reissue of the holiday film Caillou's Holiday Movie with a 25th anniversary logo on the cover artwork.
Criticism and reception
While Caillou has received generally positive reviews from television critics and parents of young children, the responses from audiences has been mixed to negative. In a May 2017 article from the National Post, writer Tristin Hopper identified Caillou to be "quite possibly the world's most universally reviled children's program," noting "a stunning level of animosity for a series about the relatively uncontroversial daily life of a four-year-old boy." Examples include several "I hate Caillou" pages made on Facebook, posts saying that Caillou is a ripoff of Charlie Brown, numerous parenting blogs criticizing the series, and petitions on Change.org for the show to stop airing.
A common criticism towards the series is the 'petulant, manipulative and spoiled' behaviour of the titular character, the lack of consequences Caillou is given, and the 'poor parenting' presented in the parent characters. As Hopper explained, "This has understandably led to theories that this is an accurate portrayal of Canadian parenting and that Canada is raising a generation of psychopaths. Or that Caillou's parents are so blasted on Canadian weed that they are unable to summon the presence of mind necessary to properly discipline their child." He called the series "a toddler version of Sex and the City or Mad Men," criticizing its lack of educational value: "Unlike most children's programming, Caillou makes almost no attempt to educate its young audience. There are no veiled math problems, spelling lessons or morality tales; it's just calm, non-threatening, bright-coloured people navigating everyday tasks."
A 2011 study conducted at the University of Virginia, published in the journal Pediatrics, tested the show's effect on preschool-aged children's attention spans and cognitive abilities. The study had three groups of four-year-olds each engaged in activities; one group watched Caillou, another watched SpongeBob SquarePants, and the third group drew pictures. After nine minutes, the children were tested on mental functions; those that watched Caillou had very similar results to the group that drew pictures, both of whom performed significantly better than the group that watched the SpongeBob episode.
As Caillou appeared as a much younger child in the original line of children's books, he originally had no hair. When illustrators found that adding hair made him look unrecognizable, it was decided that Caillou would never have hair.
Caillou first aired on Canada's French-language Télétoon channel on September 15, 1997, and was the first show aired on the English-language Teletoon when it launched on October 17, 1997. Caillou made its United States debut on PBS Kids in September 2000.
Home video releases
In the United States, Calliou VHS's/DVD's have been released by PBS Distribution (Originally distributed through Warner Home Video until 2004, and then Paramount Home Entertainment from 2006-2010, and now self-distributed). From 2003-2006, The DVDs with puppets and Jaclyn Linetsky were compilations from 2003 through 2006, and one of them is in memory of Jaclyn herself. There was also an album issued in 2003 titled Caillou's Favorite Songs.
In Canada, Sony Wonder originally released Caillou on VHS and DVD, and after the closure of the division by Sony, were moved to Vivendi Entertainment Canada. Since 2012, Caillou DVDs are distributed by Entertainment One and after their purchase of Phase 4 Films in 2015, are released through the KaBoom Entertainment label.
Beginning in late 2016, a new Caillou web series for YouTube premiered on the official Caillou channel and was later released onto Amazon Prime. These shorts are mainly remakes of older episodes and are produced by WildBrain Spark Studios, a subsidiary of WildBrain that produces original content for their WildBrain Spark network.
- "At last, the 2005 Caillou agreement is made public". Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec. Retrieved on November 2, 2015.
- Baillargeon, Stéphane (October 8, 2015). "L'entente secrète de 2005 dévoilée". Le Devoir. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- "Where I Live". Caillou.
- "Caillou & Stars Red Trick-Or-Treat Bag". PBSkids.org. Archived from the original on May 6, 2017.
Caillou is surrounded by stars on a personalized swag bag that's ready for Halloween treats. The Prince of Imagination is here to make it a Happy Halloween!
- Caillou Episode – "Caillou the Chef" (Season 4)
- Caillou Episode – "Caillou's Hiding Place"
- Caillou Episode – "Caillou's Marching Band"
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- "For the Kid Inside!". The Cookie Jar Company. September 8, 2010. Archived from the original on November 18, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
- "Caillou - Creation". Chouette Publishing. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
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- "KET". Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- Zahn, James (September 4, 2014). "25th Anniversary of Caillou: CAILLOU's FAMILY FAVORITES DVD/Book Combo Pack due in October..." Retrieved October 25, 2014.
- "Caillou's Holiday Movie - NCircle Entertainment". Retrieved October 25, 2014.
- Hopper, Tristin (May 1, 2017). "Tristin Hopper: Caillou is an aggressively bad show ruining the world’s children … and it’s all Canada’s fault". National Post. Postmedia Network. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
- Lillard, Angeline and Jennifer Peterson (2011). "The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children's Executive Function". Pediatrics. Retrieved September 12, 2011.
peds.2010-1919; published ahead of print; doi:10.1542/peds.2010-1919
- Public Broadcasting Service. "FAQ". Caillou.
- Chouette. "Why is Caillou bald?". Chouette. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
- "CORPORATION CINAR CÉLÈBRE LE 5e ANNIVERSAIRE DE CAILLOU À LA TÉLÉVISION" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 14, 2003. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
- "Caillou's Favorite Songs - Caillou - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved September 26, 2016.