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"I have this little sister Lola. She is small and very funny." These are the words that Charlie uses to introduce each episode of Charlie and Lola, a fifteen minute cartoon from Britain currently airing in the USA on The Disney Channel, but he might as well be describing the show itself. This charming, lighthearted romp, based upon a series of picture books by Lauren Child is about Charlie, a wise, kind and very responsible boy of perhaps seven or eight years and his tiny adventures being big brother to quirky, determined, demanding and adorable Lola, age five. A typical episode concerns Charlie convincing fussy eater Lola to eat the foods on her list of things she "absolutely will never not ever eat." Rarely do we see a depiction in modern pop culture of such a healthy and loving sibling relationship as offered here. Charlie may at times be exasperated by his little sister, but he is always caring and respectful of her as he gently guides her through life, and most episodes end with the happy laughter of two children enjoying each other's company. Technically the animation is not much more advanced than that of South Park (to which this in no other way can be compared!) but is more imaginative and finely detailed. And the superb voice cast of actual children (usually child characters in animation are played by adult women, i.e. Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson) lifts this up to a whole other level. Pure delight.
"Charlie and Lola" is a lovely, sweet show, done with respect for its
young audience. Far too many shows seem to come from creators who think
"Hey, they're just kids, we don't have to make it good!"
My daughter is 8, a bit above the age-level at which the show is aimed, but she loves it and I tape it for her every day. I love it too!
I second Chris451's comment that it's wonderful to have real children doing the voices--Lola's best friend Lotta's giggle is particularly delicious!
If you haven't read them, find the books (not widely available in the US, but not impossible to find)--the show is quite true to them, but both are charming. "I Am Not Sleepy and Will Not Go to Bed" is particularly nice for a bedtime stories.
For starters, Lola Sonner is one of the most realistic characters ever
devised for a children's cartoon, and maybe even for TV shows in
general. Based on an actual Danish girl who writer Lauren Child met on
a train, she might feel eerily familiar for anyone who ever dealt with
kids - and that's due to both small, simple acts such as "typing" a
letter and then "reading" individual letters out loud as if they meant
anything, and to her attitude and personality in general. As for
Charlie, well, Mr. and Mrs. Sonner should thank all deities daily for
having him, heh heh.
Now, onto the show itself. The two title characters form the very core of the show, Lola being the 4-year-old sister of 7-year-old Charlie. He narrates the stories, which are almost all built out of very banal, commonplace, "house held" topics. The trick lies on everything that surrounds the stories. The animation mixes childlike drawings with fancy montages of real pictures, and through any episode, you'll never know if, the next minute, you'll be watching a simple scene depicting children talking or a delightfully abstract montage mixing imagination with true visual symphonies. Charlie narrates the stories, though the narration only pops up once in a while. Most of the time, we're focused on the characters - which includes their neighbour Marv and his dog Sizzles, Lola's classmate and best friend Lotta, and Lola's imaginary friend, the cleverly named Soren Lorenson. They are all insanely realistic, special, likable and fun to watch, so the "banal" stories really do turn into something else entirely - a very rich, profound and gentle kind of entertainment and storytelling which is enlightening and constructive for people of all ages.
Another interesting aspect of the show is that the voices are done by actual children. The actors are different for each season, but the changes aren't really too noticeable. The British accents are extreme, and for fans of British accents (like me), that's a thrill and a half. And the music is exceptional - not only the eccentric, catchy theme tune by Tom Dyson and Søren Munk, but most incidental tunes, which sometimes form the backing of choreographies and "mini musicals" within the stories. Basically, everything works here. Let this be a recommendation for parents, kids, and everyone else. And if Lauren Child's books are available to you, get them too.
Charlie: Jethro Lundie-Brown, Lola: Maisie Cowell, Lotta: Morgan Gayle, Marv: Ryan Harris
This is a GREAT show! The animation is strange, but delightful. I think it promotes a great relationship between a brother and a sister. Whilst some of the situations Charlie and Lola find themselves in seem somewhat mundane (i.e. going to a birthday party, playing in the snow for the first time, etc.), I experienced a similar daily relationship with my younger sister when we were children. It is good clean fun for young children. It is drawn very simplistically with a "crayonesque" type of animation, but the real draw is the voice talent behind the characters and the creative dialogue. Though she is not part of the intended audience, our 6-month-old daughter loves the bright colours used in the animation. Many of today's kids' shows are tainted with PG humour that goes over their heads. This show is just good clean fun. Kids are safe to watch this one without parents worrying about them picking up on any vulgarities or rude behaviors displayed in other animated series that are presently on TV. I wish there was more attention given to it here on IMDb.
This cartoon really is a little gem. My 2 year old son and 5 (and three
quarter) year old daughter both really enjoy it. I find this very funny
too, which is not the usual case for kids' cartoons. Lola's speech,
e.g. excessive use of the word "completely", or Blossom trying to
wangle the word "actual" into every sentence, ring very true. So does
their 180 degree change of stance once they understand situations
better; we experienced the "I Do Not Ever, Never Want My Wobbly Tooth
to Fall Out" recently, and even our 5 year old saw the similarity and
laughed about it. The surreal, imagination scenes like flying on a
bird's back, are always well done and hold our 2 year old's attention,
which is not easy.
I'm always slightly wary when a show is described as "good clean family fun" because that usually translates as "incredibly boring for adults", but in this case it really doesn't. Highly recommended for all ages.
I can only add to the wonderful comments here so far! My 6 year old
daughter and 3 year old daughter absolutely love it! My eldest is
infatuated actually! She thinks it is absolutely the most best show
ever! lol I have bought most of my books online as in Australia there
is not a lot you can get from the shops. I think it is growing in
popularity and will get bigger here for sure.
Highly recommended for all ages even my hubby will watch it! lol Beats all the other rubbish they have on TV! Seems to be simple and back to grass roots a little which in my opinion is just what kids these days need!!! Enjoy it!
This show is FABULOUS! It is brilliant, positive, wonderful. I am a 47 year-old woman who has no children and I am not embarrassed to say that I delight in starting my weekday by watching Charlie & Lola. I laugh, have my heart warmed toward humanity, and am thoroughly entertained by the wonderfully executed lessons and graphics. These two children and their relationship with each other and their world is priceless. I found this gem because I am currently out of work and am seeking another position. I have to say that the only thing that I will miss about not being employed is the pleasure of being able to exist in Charlie & Lola land for a short time each morning.
Even though I'm nearly 21 and I hardly ever watch the preschool channel
CBeebies, 'Charlie and Lola' is one cartoon that is definitely worth
watching at the moment. In addition to the three original 'Charlie and
Lola' books and the 8 spin-off books from the TV series, I own the
complete first series of the cartoon on DVD. Every episode is
beautifully animated with an appearance that is reminiscent of the
original books and the characters have developed as well. It goes to
show that Lauren Child can add a touch of sophistication to this
cartoon as well as her picture books.
Episodes that are particularly enjoyable include 'I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato,' 'We Do Promise Honestly We Can Look After Your Dog,' and 'Snow Is My Favourite And My Best.' My favourite characters are Charlie, Lola and Marv's adorable sausage dog Sizzles (a very appropriate name for a sausage dog).
Overall, this is an entertaining cartoon for children and adults alike. I'd definitely like to see the second and third series. 8/10.
I have been buying the Charlie and Lola books for my children since
they first appeared.
Now I'm thrilled to see that they've been brought to the screen with every bit as much imagination, visual flair and originality as the books.
Everything from the theme tune to the children's voices is spot on perfect.
I have bought a DVD for my 3 year old, but my 7 and 9 year olds will happily forgo Tracy Beaker to watch it, and I'll quite happily sit through the odd episode too! Well done to the team who made it.
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