Sometimes, when watching NickJr. with my four-year-old, certain imponderables are raised: How come there’s a preponderance of cartoon pigs? Why do Little Bear’s parents wear Victorian clothing while LB himself walks around stark nekkid? Why is Dora the Explorer so irritating? One thing that always comes up with either the tv shows or when reading a book with my precocious little fellow is the fact that there are lots of animals who walk, talk, and think like humans. When we recently added a standard poodle puppy to our household, it was funny to see my son addressing himself to her as if she were another kid, explaining why she had done something wrong and he was annoyed or trying to make her understand the rules of a game he wanted to play with her. I wonder whether these interactions were informed by the expectation that Cleo the dog would suddenly respond not with an “Arf, arf” but with a perfectly formed sentence in the Queen’s English.
This lovely piece in the Guardian discusses animal characters in literature. But it doesn’t explain why Little Bear’s parents wear clothes.