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 centers on a 4-year-old boy named Caillou who is fascinated by the world around him.
Caillou lives in a blue house at 17 Pine Street (as mentioned in the episode "Where I Live") with his mother, father, and his 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 kids 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 currently 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 average, imaginative, bald 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.
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.
|Hot-Dog Man||The Hot-Dog Man is a person who only appears in the episode "Caillou and Daddy", in which he serves Caillou and his Dad with hot-dogs and mustard for their lunch. He is also a wrestler.||1|
|Pierre||Pierre is the head of Camp Brome. Pierre was featured in the episode "Caillou Goes Camping".||1|
|The Doctor||Featuring in the episode "Caillou Visits the Doctor", she treats Caillou for an earache.||1|
|The Mailman||The Mailman was first featured in the episode "A Letter for Mommy", and later appeared in "All in a Day's Work".||2|
|Olly||Sarah's pet cat. He appears in the episodes "Gilbert Goes to Vet", "Chinese New Year", "Sarah Goes to China". His last appearance was in the 2006 episode "Where's Gilbert?", shown in Caillou the Detective.||5|
|Rover||A dog that belongs to one of Grandma's friends.||2|
|Mr. Washington||A Black Canadian bus driver who drove Caillou's dad to school many years ago.||1|
|Barbara||An old friend of Caillou's mom. She is blind, and appears in the episode "Dogs with Jobs".||1|
|Maxwell||Barbara's guide dog. He is a special dog and helps Barbara see where she is going. He appears in the episode "Dogs with Jobs".||1|
|Helen||One of Caillou's parents friends, she owns a boat.||1|
|Carol||A friend of Caillou's mommy with whom she went to high-school. She only appears in the episode "A House in the Sky".||1|
|Kevin||Carol's son. He appears in the episode "A House in the Sky".||1|
|Robbie||A boy who is deaf. He knows Sign language.||2|
|Allan||A child who went to Caillou's playschool one day to join the class. He has Down's syndrome and a rather loud voice.||1|
|Frankie||A boy who lives in the house Caillou's family helps build in the episode "Caillou's Building Adventure".||1|
|Sam||Frankie's father. He appears in the episode "Caillou's Building Adventure".||1|
|Evelyn||Robbie's mother. She only appears in the episode "Caillou and Robbie".||1|
|Bob||A plumber who fixes the pipes under Caillou's house. In a season 3 episode, he fixes the sink.||2|
|Kristen||Jonas' wife. She only appears in the episode "Caillou's First Wedding".||1|
|George||Caillou's skating instructor who's really silly. He only appears in "Caillou's Skating Lesson".||1|
|George||Grandpa's friend. He only appears in "Grandpa's Friend". He is older than Grandpa and teaches Caillou how to play croquet. He has the same voice as Mr. Haney from Arthur||1|
|Mary||A life guard who appears in the Season 4 episode "Caillou and the Big Slide".||1|
|Erik||A firefighter who rescues Gilbert from a tree. He is only seen in the episode "Caillou and the Fire Truck".||1|
|Stacy||A firefighter, she is only seen the episode "Caillou and the Fire Truck", although she is in Caillou's Holiday Movie.||2|
|Sparky||A Dalmatian at the fire station. He is seen in "Caillou and the Fire Truck" and "Caillou the Fire Fighter".||2|
|Emma||Grandma's friend. She lives on a sheep farm.||1|
|Mary||Emma's daughter. She shows Caillou around on the sheep farm.||1|
|Mr. Jenkins||One of Grandma's friends. He is allergic to dogs and lives at the retirement home. He appears in the episode "A Helping Hand".||1|
|Mrs. Murphy||One of Grandma's friends. She has a granddaughter named Amy. Her only appearance is in the episode "A Helping Hand".||1|
|Mrs. Wilson||One of Grandma's friends. She appears both times Grandma visits the retirement home.||2|
|Zoey||A zoo worker who shows Caillou different animals when he visits the zoo. She appears in the episode "Caillou Goes to the Zoo".||1|
|Bryce||A photographer who takes a picture of Caillou and Rosie.||1|
|Henry||The Zamboni driver at the skating rink. He only appears in the episode "Caillou's Skating Lesson".||1|
|Chinook||A Husky who pulls a sled. She is seen when Caillou and his family go tobogganing.||1|
|Tammy||A child who uses a wheel chair. She is seen when Caillou goes swimming.||1|
|Mr. Stanley||The conductor on the train Caillou rides in the episode "Caillou's Train Trip".||1|
|Nancy Hinkle||Mr. Hinkle's sister. She owns a farm and appears in the episodes "Farmer for the Day" and "The Mystery Carrots".||2|
|Santa Claus||A Santa Claus in costume who appears in the episode "Holiday Magic". Rosie is afraid and not fond of him.||1|
|Vanessa||A librarian. She appears all 3 times Caillou goes to the library.||3|
|Bravo the Great||A magician who only appears in the episode "Caillou the Magician".||1|
|Jack Jr.||A tow truck driver who tows Caillou's car and has his dad Jack Sr. to repair it. The episode he appears in is "Broken Car", due to "Sunday Brunch"||1|
|Jack Sr.||A mechanic who works with his son Jack Jr.|
|Emma's Dad||He appears in the episode "Captain Caillou".||1|
|Rafiel||One of the skaters in Caillou skating class. She appears in the episode "Caillou's Skating Lesson".||1|
|Mrs. James||The owner of a pumpkin patch at which Grandpa and Caillou pick pumpkins. She appears in the episode "Pumpkin Patch Kid".||1|
|Lee-Wun||Sarah's cousin. She first appears in "Happy New Year!" celebrating Chinese New Year with Sarah and her family. Later, she joins Caillou's playschool class in the episode, "Deep Sea Caillou". She later makes cameos at the playschool.||7|
|Rocky||A lost dog. He appeared in the episode "Caillou and the Lost Puppy". Caillou called him Scruffy because he didn't know his name.||1|
|Dr. Orange||Gilbert's vet, He appears in the episode "Gilbert Goes to the Vet". He is also Olly's (Sarah's cat) vet.||1|
|Mara||A child who was in Caillou's playschool class when they play games at the park. She appears in the episode "Playschool Games".||1|
|Buddy||Leo's pet hamster. He appears in the episode "Leo's Hamster" and has white fur.||1|
|Goldie||A goldfish. She appears in the episode "Clementine's New Pet".||1|
|The Captain||A Captain of a ferry that Caillou's family ride on in the episode "Caillou's Road Trip".||1|
|Jim||One of Caillou's friends he meets at the park. Jim appears in the episode "Caillou Makes a Friend". At first he didn't like Caillou, but soon became fast friends.||2|
|Bella||A dog that Sarah walks in the episode "Caillou Walks Around the Block".||1|
|Wendy||A child first seen in the episode "Caillou the Firefighter". She later makes cameos at Caillou's playschool.||7|
|Snowball||Nancy's (Mr. Hinkle's sister) rabbit. Snowball appears in the episode "The Mystery Carrots".||1|
|The Policeman||Seen in the episode "Caillou and the Police Officer". He gives someone a ticket for parking near a fire hydrant.||1|
|Lucky||Jonus' horse. He appears in the episodes "Cowboy Caillou" and "Caillou's First Wedding".||2|
|Herman||A goldfish that who appears in the episode "A Surprise for Ms. Martin".||1|
|Aunt Joan||Leo's Aunt. She appears in the episode "Leo's Lost Dinosaur".||1|
|Melanie||A child who appears in the episodes "Caillou the Spaceman" in season 2 and "Deep Sea Caillou" in Season 4.||2|
|Bernie||A parrot who appears in the episode "Where's Gilbert". He can talk and says "Keep an eye out for Gilbert".||1|
|Dylan||A brown dog that Billy walks. Dylan appears in the episode "Dogs with Jobs".||1|
|Fire Chief||Appears in the episode "Caillou the Fire Fighter". He is the fire chief and teaches Caillou's playschool class about fires.||1|
|The Pilot||Appears in the episode "Caillou Rides an Airplane". He shows Caillou the cockpit of the plane.||1|
|The Dentist||Appears in the episode "Caillou Goes to the Dentist".||1|
|Whiskers||A tiny white kitten Caillou finds. Whiskers appears in the episode "Kitty Conundrum". Caillou names Whiskers "Jolie". Samantha is Whisker's owner.||1|
|1||17||September 15, 1997||July 5, 2000|
|2||16||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 made since 1989 by Chouette Publishing Inc.
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. While the original episodes were made by a South Korean company, the producers animated the new episodes in-house using Adobe Flash. On November 14, 2012, PBS Kids announced a 4th season of Caillou of 26 episodes to premiere March 11, 2013.
The year 2014 is celebrated as the franchise's 25th anniversary. For the 25th anniversary, a special DVD/book combo pack was released, as well as a reissue of the holiday film Caillou's Holiday Movie featuring a special 25th anniversary logo on the cover artwork.
On May 1, 2017, 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 whiny and temper-tantrum behavior of the titular character and the lack of consequences Caillou is given for it. 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.
The DVDs with puppets and Jaclyn Linetsky were compilations from 2003 through 2006, and one of them is in memory of Jaclyn herself. The new DVDs from 2006 through 2010, were from Paramount Home Entertainment. There was also an album issued in 2003 titled Caillou's Favorite Songs.
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!
peds.2010-1919; published ahead of print; doi:10.1542/peds.2010-1919