Growing Up with Hello Kitty: Hello Kitty eats her vegetables; Hello Kitty learns to share

HellokittyHello Kitty and her sister Mimmy tackle a series of life lessons from manners to sharing. Each episode is about 8 minutes long and opens with the upbeat theme song and a view of the kitty family’s remarkably pink and plastic house. In the first volume, Kitty and Mimmy learn to eat their vegetables and earn shiny medals from Mama for finally eating tomatoes and bell peppers. Next, Kitty learns about the importance of cleaning up her messy room after dreaming of all her toys and books crying because they want to go home to their places. This is a little creepy, especially as they advance on her in a circle. In the third episode Kitty and Mimmy learn how to go to sleep with just one bedtime story and not exhaust their parents. The fourth episode shows them helping at home. In the fifth episode, where they learn how to answer the phone, they use a rather clunky wall phone and a mobile phone the size of Kitty’s arm. Finally, with some cheery songs and determination, Mimmy and Kitty learn to dress themselves when Mama is sick.

In the second volume, Kitty is beset by a good angel and a bad devil as she learns to be patient and share. In the second episode, her friends help her learn to say sorry when she touches Papa’s computer without permission. She breaks down in hysterical tears, which makes her parents’ calm and amused smiles a little odd. Kitty next learns a lesson in sharing when she and her friends have a fight over the sandbox. The fourth episode is supposed to be about table manners, but is mostly about Kitty eating instead of talking and not getting distracted. In episode five, Kitty has trouble knowing the right time to go to the bathroom. She has frequent accidents, but only her overalls being washed or hanging up to dry are shown. Finally, with the rather terrifying aid of a gaseous green monster, Kitty learns not say “yeah what?” and to answer promptly when called.

There are two copyrights, 1976 and 2012 but it isn’t clear if it’s the characters or the actual show that was copyrighted. The older styles of phones, computers, etc., as well as Kitty and her friends apparently walking off to the park on their own seem to point to this being an older show, only now released in this format. The characters don’t have much range of movement and there’s not a lot of detail in the backgrounds and accessories, but that’s not uncommon in TV shows for very young children. It’s very cheerful and brightly colored, and the songs are catchy and upbeat. I found the voices, especially of Kitty, very high and breathy, with a distinct whiny quality, but after a few episodes I got used to them. This collection shows a very traditional household. Papa works, often long hours and is too tired to play with the twins. Mama does the cooking, cleaning, and sewing. In episode “Changing our clothes” Mama is sick with a cold and Papa has trouble helping the girls change clothes, get ready for bed, and he burns all the food he tries to cook. In the end, while Mimmy and Kitty practice getting dressed, he practices cooking.

While I personally found the episodes ranging from boring to annoying, I am really not the target audience for these shows. Parents who like educational cartoons will adore these. They’re cute, colorful, and there are multiple lessons in every story. Public libraries will find them useful for parents who want cartoons about life skills and lessons and very young fans of Hello Kitty will enjoy them for the cute stories and characters.

Growing Up with Hello Kitty: Hello Kitty eats her vegetables; Hello Kitty learns to share
Sanrio, 2012
directed by Hiroshi Iwata
45 minutes, Number of Discs: 2, Single discs