The very beginning
The Caillou character was created in 1990 as a nine-month-old baby without a hair on his head. He owes his popularity to the combined talents of author and publisher Christine L’Heureux and illustrator Hélène Desputeaux.
From the very first Caillou book, Christine L’Heureux’s goal was to help children develop their own unique personalities while learning to live in harmony with the world around them. She wanted to create a human figure for children’s books, a departure from the common practice of using animals as the main characters in books for babies and young children.
As a result, children can more easily identify with Caillou because they are so like him.
The concept behind Caillou
The Caillou books are inspired by the work of French psychoanalyst Dr. Françoise Dolto (1908-1988). Recognized worldwide for her studies on child development, Dr. Dolto succeeded in making her theories accessible to the general public. Her solutions all revolve around a single fundamental premise: respect for the child as a person.
Is a child’s life really carefree?
For the most part, adults believe that young children live a carefree life. Actually, Dr. Dolto learned by studying children talking among themselves, that children experience difficulties in everyday life, just like adults. But children do not possess the communication skills that adults take for granted to resolve these difficulties. Learning how to deal with everyday life experiences throughout childhood is what the Caillou books are all about.
Dr. Dolto believed that while identifying and verbalizing a problem cannot make it disappear, the communication of a problem relieves anxiety, making it less likely to hinder children’s development. Children become happier and their quality of life improves considerably as a result.
The beginnings of communication
The Caillou books are meant to serve as intermediaries between children and their parents or other adults who play a significant role in their lives – for example, grandparents, teachers, day care workers or preschool teachers. Every Caillou book is designed to encourage communication between children and adults and to help youngsters grow in harmony with themselves and the world around them, giving children much-needed opportunities to discuss their emotions.
Life, step by step
In the books, Caillou grows along with his young audience and becomes a faithful friend to young children as they discover life. With them, he explores objects, words and actions, as each book leads children to new discoveries and helps them form connections to the world around them.