Tree Fu Tom: Spellcasting for 2 Year-Olds

LC asks: “I would love to see a review on the cartoon “Tree Fu Tom” from the Sprout channel. I was watching it with my 3 year old until the character said to get up and do the spell pose. Apparently it is supposedly geared towards getting children to get up and be active while watching TV, but this goes above and beyond by introducing children to the occult. Unfortunately this is a trend that seems to be on the increase.”

I agree wholeheartedly, LC. This show is quite controversial with many parents who express the same concerns you do about the occult element  that is very prevalent in this cartoon.

For those of you who have never heard of this cartoon, it is shown on PBS Kids Sprout and NBC Kids in the U.S. and is aimed at children ages two to six. Set in a miniature fantasyland called Treetopolis which exists on the top of a tree trunk, it is inhabited by anthropomorphized arthropods(animals, insects or other beings that are depicted as human). The main character is named Tom who utilizes a vast array of magical devices during his escapades through Treetopolis.

For example, a power belt enables him to dart around like an insect through this imaginary land that is full of magic that he is adept at harnessing and using, such as the tree’s magical orange sap.

Sometimes Tom will instruct the audience to “send the magic to me” which shows up on the screen as a kind of orange goo that Tom catches and forms into a ball, then uses for some purpose. The movements are said to encourage children to get up and move in ways that are beneficial for development, particularly in children with dyspraxia.

In fact, the Dyspraxia Foundation (DF) was closely involved in the development of the series.

The DF website describes developmental dyspraxia as an impairment or immaturity of the organization of movement. “It is an immaturity in the way that the brain processes information, which results in messages not being properly or fully transmitted. The term dyspraxia comes from the word praxis, which means ‘doing, acting’. Dyspraxia affects the planning of what to do and how to do it. It is associated with problems of perception, language and thought.”

While it is wonderful to provide beneficial programming to children, especially those with special needs, this can certainly be done without the incorporation of occult themes which teach children to rely on magic and spell casting in order to get what they want. This is a dangerous thing to do in today’s world, which has become increasingly inured to occult devices thanks to popular fiction such as Harry Potter, et al.

I share your concerns, LC, and found this on-line forum of UK parents on which several commenters share their concerns about the series (and others who think it’s perfectly okay – just like Harry Potter). One mother said she became unnerved by the show after her three year-old began talking about casting spells!

The prevailing culture will call us “extremists” or “old-fashioned” for refusing to see this as just a “harmless” cartoon; but knowing what I do about the dark forces represented in these shows and books, I would much rather be called names than risk leaving myself vulnerable to what I know to be pure evil.


Comments are closed.