Video Review:    Caillou's Reading Adventures

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"I'm just a kid who's four, each day I grow some more, I like exploring, I'm Caillou."

Caillou is a 4-year-old boy who is learning about life, one step at a time. This animated character, first introduced to the world in storybook format, is believable and fun. Caillou's adventures involve rather simple stories about growing up--learning exactly what his limits are, developing patience and understanding, and solving problems that many real children his age face. 

This video features a number of Caillou stories. In the first episode, Caillou looks forward to receiving the Saturday morning newspaper for his favorite comic strips. But not only has the wind blown the paper all over the lawn, Gilbert the cat chooses that very moment to play with the page of comics! A little tape fixes the page, but Gilbert knocks a cup of milk onto the page. Caillou is (perhaps uncharacteristically) patient with the little problems he faces, and everything works out just fine in the end. In the next episode, Caillou goes to the library and borrows books. When it comes time to return them, he worries about the crayon marks he has left on the books' covers! Another story explores wordless communication. Caillou makes a friend, named Robbie, who is deaf. Once again, communication is the theme in a story about keeping a secret--a surprise present for Mommy!

In between Caillou stories, children watch vignettes starring live-action puppets. These puppets are meant to be Caillou's pet cat, Gilbert, and his toy stuffed animals, although it is hard for many children to make that connection, simply because this puppet world is very different than the animated world of Caillou. In these interludes, the puppets learn new words (such as "plethora") from the dictionary, Gilbert tries to compose an "ode" but struggles with writer's block, and Teddy is sad but he can't find words to express himself. Other vignettes feature live-action song-videos all about books and wordless communication. 

Although we are not quite as smitten with the puppet vignettes as we are with the Caillou stories, the video is worthwhile for its social lessons and simple stories. Even though the video's title might suggest that kids will learn some reading basics, the video is actually an exploration of communication in general.

Notes: This video is also available. along with Caillou: It's a Party!, on DVD in Caillou: Family Collection #2. A chaptering option is featured as well as the option to play the DVD in English or French. Interactive games are also available on the DVD.


  • Life's little lessons are explored in believable animated stories.
  • The video demonstrates that with a little patience and understanding, problems can be solved.


  • The puppet vignettes included in the video are less engaging than the animated Caillou stories.


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VHS/DVD   Ages 2-5 Published: 2002


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Reviewed September 2002   Comments? Email us.

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