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Adventures from the Book of Virtues

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Adventures from the Book of Virtues

Adventures from the Book of Virtues
Genre Animated series
Created by Bruce D. Johnson
Directed by Walt Kubiak
Voices of Jim Cummings
Pamela Adlon
Kevin Michael Richardson
Kath Soucie
Frank Welker
Composer(s) Stu Goldberg
J. A. C. Redford
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 39 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Bruce D. Johnson
William T. Baumann
Marry Mazur
Producer(s) Tom Gleason
Fred Schaefer
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) KCET
PorchLight Entertainment
Release
Original channel PBS Kids
Original release September 2, 1996 – December 17, 2000

Adventures from the Book of Virtues is an animated television series which originally aired on PBS Kids in the United States for three seasons, beginning in 1996 and ending in 2000. There was a two-year gap in between the second and third seasons. The show stopped airing on September 7, 2003 on WITF; in its place was aired the new show Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks. The website was retired in November 2005.

Zach and Annie learn various life lessons from their friends Plato the bison, Aurora the red-tailed hawk, Aristotle the prairie dog, and Socrates the bobcat. These lessons are told in the form of animated segments based on stories from a variety of sources including the Bible, fairy tales, fables, mythology, and folk stories from different cultures.

Production

The show sought to illustrate themes of common virtues through well-known international heroes and stories, based on the Book of Virtues collected and edited by conservative commentator and former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett. The core audience were families with children who were between the ages of 2 and 9 years old. It was created by Bruce D. Johnson, music by J.A.C Redford.

Plot

The story features two schoolchildren, Zack and Annie, who have been neighbors and friends for many years. In each episode of the series, one of them commits an act contrary to that day's chosen virtue (loyalty, compassion, courage, moderation, honesty, etc.) and suffers pain as a result (be it physical or moral). They seek counsel of one of their animal friends. These animal friends are four anthropomorphic mountain-dwelling entities who between them possess immense knowledge of legends and literature as well as common sense and a lively sense of fun. They utilize classical works of famous authors, philosophers, poets, as well as fables and myths to communicate the truth of virtue to Zack and Annie. Plato, the oldest, is a scholarly bison; Aurora, the most gentle, is a Red-tailed Hawk; Socrates (or "Soc" as his friends call him) is a rambunctious bobcat; and Aristotle (Ari) is a prairie dog who is seldom without his bag of books. These four, whose existence seems a secret from the majority of humans in the town of Spring Valley, advise Annie and Zack patiently and often. The children then proceed to live according to the virtue of the day, completing what they have begun.

The episodes do not seem to take place in linear fashion; no character speaks in memoriam of a previous incident, and there is no intimation that the children act based on a previously referenced virtue.

Episodes List

Season 1: 1996-1997

# Title Aired Summary
1 Work September 2, 1996 A thunderstorm strikes the forest, knocking a tree into the Rainbowl river. Zach and Annie volunteer to clean it out, along with Plato, Ari, and Aurora, but Soc isn't interested in helping. Plato tells him the story "How the Camel Got His Hump", where the camel's refusing to work gave him trouble, and "Tom Sawyer Gives Up the Brush", where it was learned that working is more enjoyable than laziness. Stories:
  • How the Camel Got His Hump
  • Tom Sawyer Gives Up the Brush
2 Honesty September 2, 1996 Zach is sorely tempted to touch his father's beautiful antique camera, despite promising not to - and when he does, he breaks it and lies that it fell off its display table naturally. Plato tries to convince Zach to tell the truth by telling him the stories of "Cinderella", where a Native American warrior only wished for an honest companion. Even the poem "Truth" shows how good it is to be seen and how much joy it can give through life. Stories:
  • The Frog Prince
  • George Washington and the Cherry Tree
  • The Indian Cinderella
3 Responsibility September 3, 1996 Annie agrees to put her brand-new bike to good use by delivering cakes from her mother's bakery, but can't resist Zach's offer to race - and is angry with him when her bike crashes and the food is ruined. Plato and Aurora try to convince her that responsibility is always handy to keep around as shown in "Icarus and Daedalus" where a boy had too little responsibility to obey his father
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