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The Real Reason Why Caillou Is Bald

Once the television set became available to consumers across the globe, the creation of children's programming wasn't too far behind. Production studios quickly realized the viability of educational yet entertaining shows for younger audiences and started pumping out classics left and right. Favorites such as "Sesame Street," the once Steve Burns-led "Blue's Clues," "Bear in the Big Blue House," and countless others have since succeeded greatly in providing junior viewers with endless hours of enjoyment and real-world lessons. 

However, not every title in this class wound up earning straight A's, case in point, the infamous Canadian children's cartoon "Caillou." Based on the series of books of the same name by Christine L'Heureux and Hélène Desputeau, "Caillou" arrived on the TV scene in September of 1997 and departed in 2010. Each episode is fairly straightforward across the board: Caillou (Bryn McAuley, then Jaclyn Linetsky, and finally Annie Bovaird) spends time at home with his parents and his sister, Rosie (Brigid Tierney, then Jesse Vinet), often using his imagination to have fun while learning about the world around him. 

Though this premise seems harmless enough, as the National Post claimed in 2017, "Caillou" is "quite possibly the world's most universally reviled children's program." It's no secret that many parents and children share this sentiment — largely due to Caillou's whiny personality and the show's lack of educational substance — but this emotional reaction has led Caillou to become an infamous TV icon. Whether you like him or not, you can't miss his colorful outfit and bald head, the latter of which has led rise to many urban legends about him for years.

To finally settle the debate, here's the real reason why Caillou's head is devoid of hair.

Caillou's bald head was a conscious design choice

For decades, a debate has raged over the true reason for Caillou's bald head on the small screen. A disproven yet persistent theory is that he's suffering from a form of cancer, and the treatment has led to extreme hair loss. This would explain why his parents seemingly give him everything he wants no matter how unruly he behaves — a common complaint from adult viewers that worry about their impressionable "Caillou"-watching children — but that's not the case. In reality, it has to do with the source material the character was adapted from.

According to the Chouette Publishing website, when Caillou came into being back in 1989, he was written and illustrated as a nine-month-old child. When he was aged up to four years old for his television series, adding a full head of hair made him completely unrecognizable. Therefore, the animators elected to leave his dome exposed as not to confuse kids. "Caillou's baldness may make him different, but we hope it helps children understand that being different isn't just okay, it's normal," the website reads, making this design choice a prompt that kids can learn from.

Additionally, the official Caillou website (via The Huffington Post) has noted that young viewers tend to overlook his hairlessness completely, so if it doesn't bother the target demographic, then it's the least of everyone's worries when it comes to "Caillou."