Arthur Wiki
This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the book, the VHS, or the DVD.
"Arthur's Chicken Pox"
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 18a
Original Airdate: United States October 30, 1996[1]
Canada January 29, 1997[2]
Germany January 7, 2002[3]
Written by: Marc Brown (original)
Kathy Waugh (adapted)
Storyboard by: Russel Crispin
"Arthur, World's Greatest Gleeper"
"Sick as a Dog"
Read transcript

"Arthur's Chicken Pox" is the first half of the eighteenth episode in the first season of Arthur. It is based on the book Arthur's Chicken Pox.


Arthur may miss out on the family outing to the circus because he has chicken pox. Meanwhile, D.W. is jealous of the attention he's getting.[4]


Arthur eats cereal at the breakfast table. Jane is on the phone. He says that this morning is "a typical Monday morning" at home. David is cooking. The kitchen is very noisy - D.W. searches a cupboard and throws pots and pans as Baby Kate sits nearby, crying. D.W., wearing a tutu, starts banging two pot lids together, excitedly announcing that the circus is coming to town. Arthur is rather annoyed by this, and comments on how he sometimes wishes he lived in a quieter place ("like the middle of the desert, or Mars, maybe"). D.W. bangs the lids right next to his ear. She bangs the lids again. David takes the lids away. Arthur says that he isn't unexcited for the circus, because it's really fun when they go. In a flashback, the Reads sit in a circus ring with many other people. A shadow falls on D.W. as an elephant grabs her cotton candy with its trunk, making her gasp and yell. The flashback ends. Arthur paints a picture of a circus elephant in art class. He adds that the circus "isn't until Saturday and, besides, [he's] feeling a little funny".

Arthur's Chicken Pox

At school, the kids are painting in art class. Binky uses his brush viciously. Some red paint from Binky's brush falls on Buster's easel, where it forms an interesting comet shape. Muffy is painting a $1000 note. She notices that Sue Ellen is painting blue trees, and tells the art teacher, Ms. Bryan, that the trees are "the wrong color". Ms. Bryan says Sue Ellen's trees are lovely, and color doesn't matter. She points out how Arthur has painted a blue elephant. The elephant is portrayed in a circus arena. Suddenly, to Arthur's shock, the elephant becomes animated and trumpets. The whole easel turns into a life sized, blue elephant. The elephant looks at Arthur and trumpets again. Arthur walks backwards and bumps into Francine. The easel and painting are normal again; Arthur had been hallucinating. We next see Arthur lies on a stretcher in the nurse's room. The nurse shines a light on him and puts a thermometer in Arthur's mouth. Francine, Muffy, Buster and Brain stand in the door, and are concerned about Arthur. The nurse tells Arthur that with some rest, he will be "good as new". Arthur smiles.

That afternoon, Arthur sits on the couch at home, wearing pajamas. He drinks apple juice and eats crackers while watching TV. D.W. comes home. She stands in front of the TV and asks Arthur what is wrong with him. Arthur plainly answers that he is sick. D.W. is skeptical, and thinks that he has a big test coming up or Binky is going to pound him, but Arthur dismisses both claims, saying that he had to go to the nurse. D.W. still doesn't believe him. She takes some of Arthur's crackers. A while later, Arthur and D.W. sit side by side and watch TV. Jane comes in with a tray for Arthur. When she sees the kids being entranced by a TV commercial, she turns off the TV. A short while later, Arthur eats from his tray on the couch, while D.W. sits at the dinner table. David serves spinach. D.W. still believes Arthur is just faking being sick. She watches Arthur. When she tries to taunt Arthur, he responds by blowing a raspberry at her, and D.W. chuckles nervously. She tries to look innocent while her parents stare at her.

That night, Arthur lays down in his bed. In his dream, a lady performs on a flying trapeze. Arthur realizes that his bed is high up in a circus arena with the tightrope attached to it. He looks down. Suddenly, the bed is gone and Arthur stands in front of the tightrope wearing a leotard. A performer hands him a unicycle. He says Arthur needs to ride the unicycle across the tightrope. D.W. appears, wearing the tutu she wore earlier. Wobbling on the unicycle, Arthur tells her he doesn't feel well, but D.W. calls him a "faker" and to "go on". Arthur falls into a colorful spiral. He wakes up and is covered in red spots. Arthur walks into the bathroom. A moment later, he runs out screaming. He runs into his room and hides under the blanket. His parents come in with D.W. and Kate. David feels Arthur's forehead. He finds out that Arthur has the chicken pox. D.W. feels Arthur's forehead. Jane arranges for Grandma Thora to come over to take care of Arthur. D.W. looks delighted. Jane says that Arthur won't be able to go the circus with the chicken pox, because of how contagious it is. D.W. tells Arthur she'll take good care of him. She smiles and rubs her hands.

The next day, Arthur reads in bed. Buster sits in the tree outside and throws a can with a string attached to it into the room. Arthur tells Buster he has to save him. Buster asks if Arthur is referring to being saved from the chicken pox, but when Arthur is about to say what he really needs to be saved from, D.W. closes the window. She is wearing a nurse's costume. She holds an oversized toy thermometer. She rubs calamine lotion on Arthur's chest. Grandma Thora comes in. She tells D.W. that, since Arthur "is an especially difficult case", it might be best for her to "take over". She asks Arthur if he would like "something really special." Arthur smiles and nods.

D.W. puts oatmeal in the bathtub through a sieve. Arthur sits in the tub holding a drink with a crazy straw. He scratches himself and lies back, taking a sip. D.W. puts oatmeal in his drink. She gets splashed by Arthur, and complains about this to Grandma Thora, adding that Arthur has been scratching himself. Thora tells Arthur that he should not scratch, because he could cause an infection. D.W. tells Arthur she will bring him a balloon from the circus if he can be a "good little boy" and refrain from scratching. When Grandma Thora suggests D.W. go to her room to draw, D.W. says she has to monitor Arthur to make sure he doesn't scratch. Thora leads D.W. away, saying she thinks Artur can be trusted. D.W. disagrees with this sentiment.

When Arthur comes out of the bathroom, D.W. watches him scratch through binoculars. She blows a shrill whistle and runs into the kitchen, where Thora is finishing preparing a bowl of ice cream. D.W. tells her that Arthur was scratching, but Thora doesn't seem concerned. D.W. thinks Arthur should be punished, but Grandma Thora holds a tray full of goodies, which she says will help Arthur feel better. D.W. sees that Arthur's drink has a crazy straw, and wants to drink from the straw as well, but Thora tells her she won't be able to, because it has germs on it. She tells D.W. that her lunch is by the sink. When D.W. pushes up a chair so she can reach the tray, she sees to her disappointment that there is a sandwich and a mug without a straw.

Later, Arthur lies on the couch and looks at his reflection in a mirror while Grandma Thora rubs lotion on his back and tells him her recollections of when he was born. D.W. sits on the couch end looking annoyed. She asks where she was, and Grandma tells her she hadn't been born yet. A short while later, Grandma Thora heats water and is making tea for Arthur while D.W. sits at the kitchen table. She wants to hear about when she was born, but Thora can't tell her about it, because she was away at the time. D.W. asks if she can get a back rub like her brother, but Thora tells her maybe later; right now, she is making tea for Arthur.

D.W. gets more and more jealous and comes up with a plan: she powders her face in the bathroom and uses her crayons to make herself look like she has the chicken pox, and therefore, get some attention from her grandma. Meanwhile, Arthur and Grandma Thora watch TV while Arthur is enjoying his tea. Hearing D.W. moaning, Grandma Thora turns off the TV and goes to see what is wrong. D.W. comes down the stairs with red spots on her face, saying she doesn't feel well. Thora is fooled and thinks D.W. really has the chicken pox. She picks up D.W. and carries her up the stairs. D.W. says she needs an oatmeal bath and would like juice with a crazy straw. Thora says she will give D.W. those things, and D.W. smiles. A short while later, D.W. plays in the bathtub behind a shower curtain. Grandma Thora comes in with a cup and a crazy straw. She pulls back the curtain and discovers that D.W. doesn't have spots anymore. The crayon got washed away to prove that D.W. felt better. She scolds D.W. and says she is very angry and disappointed. (That is, as she --Grandma Thora-- says to D.W, "DORA WINIFRED! I am very angry and disappointed!".) And she proves to D.W she (D.W) was just faking it.

That night, D.W. sits on her bed. She expresses to her father her jealousy over Arthur's chicken pox, and insists that the chicken pox are "more fun than anything" - even the circus. David tells her she has until the following day to decide whether to go to the circus or not.

The next day, Buster is on the phone. Arthur sits on the couch next to Grandma Thora. There are less spots on his face. Buster asks if Arthur is able to go to the circus, and Thora determines that Arthur is fact well enough. Arthur excitedly shouts "Yes" and at the other end, Buster smiles.

D.W. comes into the kitchen where the parents are washing up. She says she's decided that she too will go to the circus after all, and adds that she had just been jealous of Arthur. Her parents turn around and realize that D.W. is covered in spots: she has caught Arthur's chicken pox for real. Both parents try unsuccessfully to hide their laughter. D.W. feels her face and looks at her reflection in the toaster. She realizes that she has the chicken pox. Jane expects her to be upset, but D.W. dances around the kitchen, excited about her chicken pox. She slides over the floor and knocks over Pal's dog dish, showing him her spots. She runs up to her grandma, and asks if she can have the special things Arthur got. Thora agrees. D.W. meets Arthur who is coming down the stairs. Arthur is shown to have fully recovered from the chicken pox as D.W. shows off her chicken pox to Arthur. Arthur tells her that she will now miss the circus, but D.W. doesn't seem to mind, saying that the circus comes every year, but you only get the chicken pox once. She runs up the stairs. Arthur then turns to the camera and smiles, closing the episode.






  • At the end of the 2000 rerun intro on PBS Kids before this episode, Arthur’s crashing sound changes to pots and pans.
  • It is revealed that D.W. can’t count days until properly, because Arthur said “It’s a typical Monday morning in the Read house”, and later, “The circus isn’t until Saturday”, so that means it’s five days away, not six.
  • Grandma Thora gets disciplinary in this episode when she gets disappointed with D.W. for faking having chickenpox for an oatmeal bath and juice.
    • Therefore, this is the first episode in which Grandma Thora gets mad at D.W. (for tricking her by faking having chicken pox).
      • It is also the first episode where D.W. is called by her full name (Dora Winifred).
  • D.W.'s line, "Uh-huh. Sure." is recycled from the opening of "Arthur's Baby".
  • It's revealed Grandma Thora was not around for D.W.'s birth as she claimed that was likely in Florida at the time.
  • Grandma Thora is said to know "all about chicken pox," but she is fooled by a four-year-old with a magic marker.
  • When Arthur is sick, D.W. stayed home even though she goes to preschool.
  • When D.W. says "Or did Binky threaten to crush you?", she knows Binky's name. But in "Revenge of the Chip", she does not know his name.
    • It’s possible that this episode took place after "Revenge of the Chip."

Differences from the book

  • Right before Arthur catches the chicken pox, Arthur has a circus nightmare. Also, after he catches it, he finds out in the bathroom and his family then finds out over the night. In the book, Arthur didn't have a circus nightmare, and his family walked into his room the following morning, and found out he caught the chicken pox.
  • Ms. Bryan is introduced in this episode, although in the book, Arthur was the only one shown in the art class.
  • In one scene, Arthur is communicating with Buster can-to-can from his room window to outside. In the book, Arthur's friends were giving him get well cards and bringing his homework
  • D.W. is seen putting calamine lotion on Arthur after he caught the chicken pox. This did not happen in the book.
  • When Grandma Thora gives Arthur a back rub after his bath, Arthur is lying on his stomach on her lap and is shirtless. In the book, Arthur was laying on his stomach on the sofa, his legs were behind Grandma Thora, and he was still wearing his pajamas while she was rubbing his back.
  • When D.W. fakes the chicken pox and runs down the stairs, Grandma Thora picks her up and brings her back upstairs for the bath. In the book, Grandma Thora was taking D.W.'s temperature after D.W. came downstairs, and before giving D.W. a bath.
  • In the book, when Arthur's chicken pox heals up, he goes out to dinner with his family. In the episode, the scene is omitted, save for the scene of Grandma Thora allowing him to attend the circus with Buster.
  • When D.W. finally catches the chicken pox from Arthur, she runs down the stairs, prances around and even knocks over Pal's bowl, which surprises David and Jane and also makes them laugh a little in the process. A healed-up Arthur tells D.W. that she is going to miss the circus, but she does not mind a bit, as the circus comes every year, but she will only have chicken pox once. In the book, D.W. walks down the stairs while her family gets ready for the circus, and surprises them when she finally caught it; however, only Arthur laughs at her. Then Jane tells D.W. to go back to bed, and when D.W. is upset over missing the circus, Arthur promises to her that he will bring her home a balloon if she was good and did not scratch, just as D.W. did earlier in the story.
  • In the book, Arthur was wearing a bow tie with his clothes while he and his family were ready for the circus. The appearance is absent in the episode.
  • The scenes where Arthur's family goes to dinner, D.W. pretending to call her friend Emily, the scene where David and Grandma Thora bring Arthur some treats and the scene where Arthur's classmates bring him get-well cards and homework were not shown in the episode.
  • Just like in the book, Arthur gets to eat his dinner in the den and watch TV due to being sick. However, there are a couple differences: In the book, after D.W claimed Arthur was faking being sick, David scolds D.W. to eat her dinner. In the episode, after D.W. says Arthur is faking being sick, Arthur sticks his tongue out at D.W., and she does the same gesture to him only to be met with surprised reactions from David and Jane.

Episode connections


  • While Grandma Thora is taking D.W. upstairs to give her an oatmeal bath, when Grandma Thora blinks, her glasses frames disappear for a second.
  • When D.W. takes a bath after faking the chicken pox, her hair is in its dry, styled appearance behind the shower curtain, but when Grandma Thora opens the shower curtain, her hair is wet and straight.
  • This is one of the episodes from the first season in which the characters have white tongues. This was a coloring error, and was fixed later with "Buster's Dino Dilemma."


  • The chicken pox (varicella) vaccine was approved in the United States between the book's publication and the episode's first airdate.[5] The vaccine was approved in Canada in 1998.[6] Chicken pox was reduced by 97% since vaccination programs began,[7] and is thus far less common than when the episode was created.

Home Video




Main article: Arthur's Chicken Pox (episode)/Gallery