Your kid probably already has a fully fleshed-out an imaginary friend -- but just imagine if this character came to life on TV. It could happen!
Through March 31, kids can send in drawings and descriptions of their ideas for the newest character on PBS's television show Arthur. Your whiz kid will star in a special segment, too, and get to meet Marc Brown, Arthur's creator.
What are your hopes for the contest?
Marc Brown: I get 100,000 letters a year from children, and I collect drawings of Arthur. No two are alike. The shape of his head is different, the glasses, the ears. I think that's what is going to happen here. Then we get to look at the characters and think about which ones have potential for story lines and interaction with the other characters.
Tackling real issues is what Arthur is all about. Buster has asthma, Marina deals with blindness, Binky has food allergies, and George is dyslexic.
What made you want to go there? Dyslexia and head lice aren't exactly popular topics for kid's TV.
MB: We want the show to reflect real life. Our kids got head lice. So we thought, if Arthur gets lice, how does he deal?
How'd you come up with Arthur?
MB: I had just lost my job. It was the mid ‘70s and we were going through rough economic times. I was tucking my son into bed, and he said, "Tell me a story!”. I thought, I really don't feel like it. But he said, "Come on, maybe it will make you feel better." I said, "Okay, about what?" And he wanted it to be about a weird animal, and I thought of the aardvark. Aardvarks are underappreciated in the world of children's literature. He liked the story, and asked me to draw a picture. I liked it too, and thought, this would be a wonderful job. How can I make this my living?