Do you have kids? Can you help me out with Arthur(the aardvark)?

I know there is probably a link to a site that tells all about Arthur. What I need to know is what part of the whole phenomenom do the kids like best?

You see, starting next Saturday the library I work in(I’m the baker in the cafe) will be having a whole series of Arthur events, to promote reading or something. The place will be swarming with kids no doubt, and my boss and I figure some of them will come down to the cafe, with their folks, to eat a meal or have a snack. So if I made cookies or something, what would fit Arthur best? Cookies shaped like chocolate covered ants?(he’s supposed to be an aardvark, even if he does dress in jeans and a sweater.) What about friends? Are they aardvarks too, or some other kind of animal. Does Arthur have some sort of theme to tap into?

Arthur likes reading. He has a friend that is a rabbit and does not like reading as much as Arthur, unless it is Robin Hood books.

As far as I can tell most of Arthur’s friends are not aardvarks. They are all different kinds of animals, although this never seems to be mentioned, and it isn’t always obvious (to me, anyway) what type of animal some of them are supposed to be. The stories are mainly about things like friendship, telling the truth, being nice to others, etc.

PBS Kids
This should help. My son loves Arthur, too, but he’s starting to outgrow it.
His friends are all different animals. His best friends are Buster, who is the bunny, and Francine. I don’t know what Francine is exactly. She looks a little like a monkey, but she doesn’t have a tail.
I can’t remember all the others off the top of my head (Binky, Sue Ellen, The Brain), but I know at that site there is a coloring book page with all the friends listed.

Brach’s makes Arthur fruit snacks. They’re in the shapes of Arthur characters. Each box has six individual envelopes. The boxes are about $2.50 each (maybe cheaper at Walmart or warehouse-type store).

I forget which brand it is (Juicy Juice?), but there’s also Arthur juice. It’s just juice or juice boxes with a picture of Arthur on the container.

Hope that helps!


Arthur doesn’t look much like an aardvark these days, and his aardvarkness isn’t mentioned much. In fact, he looks much different now than he did in his first book Arthur’s Nose. In that book, Arthur the aardvark is ashamed of his long nose. He considers getting a nose job, in fact. However, after trying on all kinds of different animal noses, he decides that his nose isn’t so bad after all. Nice, right? And yet it seems in all the subsequent books that Arthur did in fact get a nose job, along with the rest of his family and the whole of aardvark-kind! Nowadays, all of the aardvarks in the series look more like bears than aardvarks. I doubt that my kid even knows that Arthur is supposed to be an aardvark, to tell you the truth.

I think that what kids like about the whole Arthur phenomenon is that the series features good, realistic (except for the aardvark nose thing), interesting stories about being a kid. The universe, especially in the TV show, seems very “complete”, too. I bet that kids find it pretty easy to put themselves into Arthur’s world. I know, this doesn’t really help you much. Arthur does like to read (his last name is “Read”, after all), so a book theme goes along with this series rather well.

Here are two food-related things I remember from the series. Arthur’s dad is a caterer and he is known for his elaborate desserts, especially cakes. Also, Arthur’s sister, D.W., loves spinach pie (even if she hates just about everything else.)

Agreed that Arthur doesn’t exactly inspire thoughts of ant eating mammals. Buster is a rabbit, Francine is an ape (or so I guess), Mr. Ratburn is a rat (go figure) but most of the rest defy easy description. I think Binky has a burlap sack of mulch for a head, so look at him. I think Sue Ellen is a cat, Prunella is a poodle and Fern is some other dog. Muffy is a monkey as well. Now that I write it out, Marc Brown really sort of crapped out on coming up with animals…

Anyway, as was said, Arthur seems to appeal to the young’uns in that it’s a fairly real seeming world and not overly preachy or moralizing. I’d think you’d have better luck with riding off trademark things from the series than any obscure references. Arthur’s yellow sweater and glasses, Buster, Bionic Bunny, D.W. etc.

Check out the PBS Arthur Site for more details and ideas.

Being a non-child-rearing fan of Arthur (hey, he’s an interesting personality), I can assure you that Francine is a monkey. On the Arthur site, Marc Brown himself answers the question of Arthur and his friends’ animalocity:

Yes, DarkWriter, Juicy Juice features Arthur and his friends on the packaging, seeing as Juicy Juice is a PBS Corporate Sponsor of the show.

I never really looked into the whole Arthur mythos deeply, but I guess I have to agree with everyone else-Arthur is like a real child. He has likes, dislikes, and has problems in life, but has friends to help him get through his day. (Very interesting…I should start looking at more things philosophically!)

Thanks to everyone for their replies so far. I think that one about Arthur’s dad being a caterer is great! And about his sister liking spinach pie. We already do a spinach-bacon quiche in the cafe, maybe I can make it into smaller tarts and plug that. And I will check out the links folks gave me. Appreciate the help!

considering the kid i babysit, i should probably try and help, but all i can think of is the SomethingAwful photoshopped book cover…

“Arthur; kills a hobo for his clothes!”

I just remembered what they call the spinach pie in the books–“Little Bo Peep Pot Pie”.

It’s from the book D.W. the Picky Eater

I always assumed the Brain, the Tibble Twins, Mr. Hainey the principal, etc. were all aardvarks because they look just like Arthur and his family–that is to say, like bears. Now the author comes out and says that they are bears, but the Read family are still aardvarks. Looks like Arthur must have gone for that nose job after all.