Caillou is an animated series based on the books by author Christine L'Heureux and illustrator Hélène Desputeaux. The series originally premiered as a set of 65 five-minute shorts in which the premise is that the Caillou stories are actually a story from books a grandma was reading to her grandchildren. In 2000, the series was picked up by PBS, and was revamped into half-hour episodes with three or four shorts strung together with puppet segments, a song and a "real kids" segment. Along the line, the grandma-reading-to-kids Framing Device was dropped. However, when the fourth season rolled around, PBS made the decision to can the puppet segments. After new episodes of the program came to an end in 2010, a fifth season was slated to follow in 2011; the new episodes instead began airing in March 2013. These newer episodes are presented in widescreen High Definition where available. (Segments from earlier installments are presented a letterbox format with a border of colorful stars.)
The show provides examples of:
Accidental Misnaming: In "You're Not Miss Martin!," the substitute teacher at Caillou's playschool, Ms. Shelley, repeatedly calls him "Kyle." Caillou is at first irritated by this and a number of things about her, but Mommy helps him to relate to her by reminding him how he felt on his first day of playschool. The next time she calls him "Kyle," he decides to be patient and politely remind her that his name is "Caillou." The final time she calls him "Kyle," it's just to joke with him.
Caillou and Rosie in the original books look very little like their animated series counterparts.
The show had an art de-evolution once it changed to Flash.note Actually, it switched to an animation package called Toon Boom Harmony, which when used by inexperienced animators can result in animation that looks like Flash, since it works on similar principles and workflows as Flash, but has the ability to look much better if properly used. Also, animation work is outsourced to an animation company in South Africa with only 5 animators working on the project. Go figure.
Award Bait Song: Everyday from the credits of Caillou's Holiday Movie. It was performed by a Canadian-French artist known as Marilou. While it has every single quality of an Award Bait Song, it didn't even get nominated. The film's soundtrack album features an extended version.
Baths Are Fun and Hates Baths: There was one episode with Caillou not liking baths, but then Mommy put some bubbles and bath toys in and made it fun. This was later memorialized in a song for one of the show's music albums.
Free Prize at the Bottom: In "No Tradebacks!" in the fifth season, Caillou gets a small toy shovel as a prize in a cereal box, but is upset because it's not the stickers that he wanted— ones like those that Rosie got when it was her turn to get the free prize. He trades it with a friend Jay for a set of the stickers and they agree to "no tradebacks," but then Caillou is upset that he traded it away when he sees that Jay attached it to his dump-truck, this being a feature of the shovel. He cajoles Jay so much that Jay finally agrees to a tradeback anyway, but when Caillou sees how upset Jay gets, he finally honours the original agreement.
Hiccup Hijinks: In "Caillou's Hiccups" from the fifth season, Caillou gets the hiccups. At first, Caillou's parents tell him to be patient and they'll go away on their own, as patience is the theme of the episode in which this story is featured. But when Caillou keeps hiccuping, his parents start up with the various "cures," only for them to go away on their own, just as his parents first suggested. Then Daddy gets them.
Match Cut: Happens in one episode, when Callou's family needs their luggage onto a train.
Meaningful Name: Caillou actually means "pebble" in French. Or rather, the word is a Québécois slang term for bald-head.
There's also Andre, who is really big compared to the others.
Merchandise-Driven: Like many Animated Adaptations, it was originally created to sell the books but quickly spun out of control. Yeah, among tons of merchandise, there is even Caillou branded shampoo out there. For those who don't get it, Caillou isbald. But then again, he's been shown on the program getting a shampooing in the bath, despite his baldness. You can even see it here.
Mr. Imagination: Caillou developed into one in the fourth season, though these segments were discontinued in the fifth season. Despite this, these episodes retain the opening sequence that was created for the fourth season, even though it heavily features clips from these segments.
No Antagonist: Well, Leo was an antagonist in the episode that introduced him... for two whole minutes. He's all friendly with Caillou after and for the rest of the series.
Not Now, Kiddo: Caillou and Rosie get this sometimes especially in the first 3 seasons.
Rail Enthusiast: Calliou comes by it honestly; his father and grandfather love trains.
Santa Claus: In Caillou's Holiday Movie, the "Where Santa Has a Different Name" song provides details on Christmas traditions around the world, including Denmark, Slovakia and Greece.
Screen Tap: In Caillou's Holiday Movie, Caillou throws a snowball at Rosie and it hits the "camera."
Surprise Party: In "Blueberry Point" from the fifth season, one is given to Grandpa for his birthday. They put the finishing touches on the surprise party while Caillou is out with Grandpa on a trip to Blueberry Point.
That Reminds Me of a Song: There was a song segment once in every episode when PBS Kids picked the show up, though these were ditched in the fifth season.