„I’m already big and four, come and play with me – I invite you, I’m Caillou“.
What parent doesn’t know the catchy theme song from TV or YouTube? The series „Caillou“ is about the little boy Caillou, who lives with his parents and younger sister Rosie in a beautiful, large family home. In total, more than 150 short episodes tell about the normal everyday life of a kindergarten child: Caillou goes shopping with his mom, to the zoo with his family, visits grandma and grandpa, is afraid of a high slide and looks forward to his birthday.
Why does Caillou have no hair, so he’s bald? Does he have cancer? Explanation
Surprisingly, this question is often asked – even if it is not at all relevant for the target audience of the series. Young children either don’t care about the fact, or they don’t even notice this detail. But many parents obviously find it remarkable that such a prominent series character was illustrated entirely without hair.
There are various theories as to why Caillou is completely bald despite being four years old. At first, the very simple explanation seems credible that the children’s books on which the later developed TV series is based were aimed at very young children, who often have no or very little hair. Incidentally, translated Caillou means „pebble“ – a little play on words in relation to the analogy of the smooth surface of the stones to the boy’s head.
Caillou: High Identification Potential for Young Viewers
Another attempt at explanation assumes that the absence of concise characteristics of the protagonist facilitates identification with him. For example, if Caillou had been created with a luxuriant curly mane or a modern, concise haircut, his character would be less universal and timeless. Children who come from a different cultural background with a different hair style might have trouble identifying with him. As a hairless, inconspicuously dressed boy, Caillou in a sense lends himself equally to every child as an identification figure.
Caillou is not sick. He is not suffering from any serious illness (cancer). He simply has no hair.
Philanthropic approach to explanation
The series creators‘ desire for a setting that is free of prejudice and cross-cultural can be readily observed in many other places as well. The various protagonists of the series are of very different origins: dark-skinned, Asian or white. Leo’s family is of Jewish faith, and the topic of inclusion is also treated quite naturally and playfully. There is no fear of new things, and Caillou’s world embodies a vision of open togetherness, as children can live it, brought up without resentment. In such a world, what role does the question of hairstyle still play?
Caillou’s family: Mom, Dad, Rosie and Gilbert
This is the kind of parents every child wishes for! Mom and Dad always have a lot of time for their Caillou, are understanding and take his wishes, but also his fears very seriously. Grandma and Grandpa also regularly take part in family life and lovingly take care of Caillou and his little sister Rosie. The family also includes Caillou’s beloved cat Gilbert. Caillou’s best friend is the red-haired boy Leo, and Caillou also enjoys spending time with his girlfriends Sarah and Clementine. The neighbor, Mr. Hinkle, the charming kindergarten teacher Miss Martin and the patented babysitter Julie are also part of the permanent ensemble of the series and help the boy to cope with quite normal everyday problems.
Age-appropriate series for younger children
Caillou is a lovingly told series for television beginners. The dramaturgy is built up very slowly, the format avoids fast cuts and hectic images, and almost seems like an animated children’s book. Children are confronted with quite normal situations from everyday life and learn a lot for their own lives from Caillou’s approach. Values like tolerance, understanding or friendship are conveyed quite incidentally and parents don’t have to be afraid of their children being confronted with inappropriate content.
Series based on children’s books and also successful on German TV
The first Caillou books were written in 1987, and ten years later the Canadian TV series was developed on this basis – with the help of experienced psychologists. In Germany, the series enjoyed great success thanks to its broadcast on children’s TV market leader SUPER RTL, which aired the series daily for years on its preschool program „Toggolino“.