The Unsung Hero of Preschool TV is a Bald French-Canadian

Naively, I used to think Maia was part of a small, niche audience of children who watched “Caillou.” Swept up in our mutual love for “hipper” and more publicized preschool fare like “Yo Gabba Gabba,” “Wow Wow Wubzy” and even “Sesame Street”, “Caillou” was that one show I assumed was exclusive to a few scattered families forced to give in to their children’s love for this Candian-born character.

Caillou celebrates his success
Caillou celebrates his success

Then a character breakfast came to town. When Caillou’s appearance was announced, we knew we had to go. At this point, Maia’s love for this follically-challenged 4-year-old was almost on par with the Gabba-gang. I honestly did not anticipate much of a turn out, and even  posted a snarky  note about it on Facebook. The amount of responses from other young parents with young “Caillou” addicts was shocking. We weren’t alone! There were other parents out there dealing with their child’s obsession with this often-whiny but usually positive-minded cartoon character.

The breakfast had a huge turnout as well and I a quickly learned something about Mr. Caillou. He is quite the unsung hero of the preschool TV market! With no celebrity guest appearances on his show, indie music bands rocking the soundtrack or ironic merchandise at the local pop culture retail store, he isn’t exactly fodder for the press. But if you look at some of the stats, this little guy deserves his respect!

Based on the books by Christine L’Heureux and illustrator Hélène Desputeaux, the “Caillou” program has been on air for 11 years now, airs in 30 counties, and has inspired the sale of five million DVDs. Other facts sure to impress:

-The “Caillou” books have sold 10 million copies
-One million Web visitors check out Caillou online
-Since 2005, Caillou has had 50 million orders on video on demand network Sprout.
-Caillou is the number one preschool series on the top children’s channel in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
-On the PBS Kids programming block, Caillou averages 700,000 viewers per episode.

For parents who aren’t fond of Caillou, but have given in to his power, there is no end in sight. “Caillou” has 26 new shows in production, with the promise of “topical themes.” Personally, this show has grown on me. Since they have fined-tuned the format a bit, getting rid of some annoying puppet and live-action segments, the show has become tolerable, if not mildly entertaining. Sure it will never inspire me to buy merchandise for myself (ex: my Brobee apparel and collectibles), but at least (bad parent alert) little white lies about the cable box being broken are a thing of the past.

Another happy day with Rosie, mommy and daddy
Another happy day with Rosie, mommy and daddy

More info on Caillou’s preschool power… (via Kids Today)


  1. My girls love Caillou. I find it very tolerable, even though I’ll never be as pitch perfect as the parents…seriously they never get frustrated/annoyed/tired!

    I like the no-merchandise thing…a lot. We used to watch instantly on Netflix, now the girls get their fix on demand.

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