‘Nature Cat: Winter Dance Party’ Gives Audiences Plenty To Celebrate

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/Public Media Distribution

Winter is here again, and just in time for the season’s return, a new collection of winter-themed Nature Cat episodes is available on DVD in the form of Nature Cat: Winter Dance Party.  The new 4-episode, 50-minute collection is a wonderful way to entertain and educate children on those days when the weather forces them indoors.  That is proven in part through the stories featured in this latest collection.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lessons taught in each of the lessons are important in their own way to the whole of the new DVD, and will be discussed a little later.  The DVD’s average price point is money well-spent, and will be discussed later, as well.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Nature Cat; Winter Dance Party.  All things considered, they make the DVD a wonderful winter treat for the whole family

PBS Kids’ new Nature Cat DVD, Winter Dance Party, is a welcome new way for the whole family to pass the season’s coldest days indoors.  That is proven in part through the stories that make up the collection’s body.  All four of the stories featured in this collection are pulled from the series’ first season.  They are not presented precisely in the chronological order, but that is not the most important item to note.  What is most important to note of the stories is that all four follow the central theme of winter, and focus on Nature Cat’s ongoing rivalry with Ronald.  The collection’s title episode finds Nature Cat and Ronald having to work together to celebrate the winter solstice while “Ice Is Nice,” the DVD’s second episode, finds both felines having to find out why their mugs of hot chocolate broke.  “A Jump To Remember” finds Ronald trying to keep Nature Cat from breaking his ski jump record, and of course getting what he deserves in the end while the disc’s finale, “The Groundhog Way” once again finds the two cats competing to see who is the better meteorologist after the groundhog says he is not going to try to predict whether winter will end early.  Those common threads of Nature Cat having to deal constantly with Ronald and of winter – and the fact that each story boasts its own identity separate from its counterparts, goes a long way toward making the episodes entertaining and engaging for audiences of all ages.  The stories themselves are just part of what makes this latest DVD another entertaining offering from the science-based animated series.  The lessons taught in each story are just as important to the collection as the stories, which form the episodes’ foundation.

Just as the stories boast their own identity from one another in each episode, so do the lessons that are tied into each story.  “Winter Dance Party” boasts a lesson that is focused directly on the winter solstice.  It explains the direct role of the angle of Earth’s rotation in the amount of sunlight seen prior to and after the solstice.  This is a lesson that might actually enlighten just as many grown-ups as children.  As is explained here, there are more hours of daylight, post winter solstice because it takes longer for the sun to make its way across the sky after the solstice than before.  In other words, the days are not necessarily longer.  It is just that the angle and speed of Earth’s rotation collectively just widens the arc through which the sun travels, not necessarily lengthens the day per se.  The manner in which this lesson is explained makes it accessible to audiences of all ages.

“Ice Is Nice” features an equally simple lesson about the phases of matter after Nature Cat and Ronald’s mugs of hot chocolate break.  The lesson here reveals that when water freezes, it expands, which is why the pair’s mugs broke.  This is just as important for grown-ups to learn because it explains exactly why pipes burst in extremely cold temperatures.  Frozen water expands in pipes, causing the noted breaks.  Yet again, this is proof of the accessibility of the lesson for audiences of all ages.  The only complaint that one might have with this episode is that Nature Cat and Ronald each used water for their hot chocolate.  There was no mention that milk also expands, as it is roughly 80 to 90 percent water.  So, it would have been even more interesting to have seen one of the pair use water and another use milk, to the same end.  That would have covered all of the bases.  Regardless, even using just water for the hot chocolate mix still gets the point across clearly enough.

“A Jump To Remember” teaches a relatively basic lesson about how water turns to snow on a cold day.  The lesson is taught as the group runs water through a hose on a very cold day and uses a specific type of nozzle to help create the snow.  It is basically what many ski lodges do in warmer winters in order to generate snow and keep guests.

“The Groundhog Way” is perhaps the most important of this disc’s episodes because its lesson makes clear that a rodent is not a weather forecaster.  It takes time to point out that the groundhog’s shadow does not determine one way or another the length of winter.  It drives this home by having Nature Cat and Ronald using their own “old wives tales” to try to prove they can determine when winter will end, with neither one winning in the end.  Some might dislike this lesson, as it debunks the pseudo-science of Groundhog Day and proves the absurdity of the day at the same time.  No one, not even the most experienced meteorologist or even the Old Farmer’s Almanac can actually determine when winter will end and spring begin.  This is a lesson that adults need to take in just as much as children, and is yet more proof of the importance of the episodes’ lessons to the whole of the DVD.  When the lessons noted here and their companion stories are considered together, the whole of those elements goes a long way toward entertaining and engaging audiences.  Even with their importance, they are just some of the DVD’s most important elements.  They collectively make the DVD’s average price point money that is well-spent.

The average price point for Nature Cat: Winter Dance Party is $6.44.  That price was determined using prices listed at PBS’ online store, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble Book Sellers.  Apparently, the DVD is not listed at Target, but the series’ debut DVD and its upcoming title, Nature Cat and Mr. Hide are listed there.  With an average price point of $6.44 and a mode price (mode is the most common number in a set of numbers) of $5.99, this DVD hardly breaks the bank.  It is more than affordable, as a matter of fact.  What’s more, the entertainment and education offered collectively through the course of the DVD’s 50-minute run time will leave audiences feeling that the money paid was very well-spent.  Keeping all of this in mind, audiences will agree that Nature Cat: Winter Dance Party gives audiences of all ages plenty to celebrate.

PBS Kids’ new Nature Cat DVD, Winter Dance Party is another entertaining and engaging offering from the animated science-based series that audiences will leave grown-ups glad they spent the money on the more than affordable DVD.  That is proven in part through the story featured in each episode.  The stories stand on their own merits while following two central themes from one to the next.  The science lessons featured in the episodes are accessible for audiences of all ages, and are themselves all winter-themed.  The average price point, as noted, is money well-spent, considering the breath and depth of the set’s content.  Keeping this in mind, this latest Nature Cat DVD gives audiences of all ages plenty to celebrate.  More information on the DVD is available online along with lots of Nature Cat games, activities and printables at:




Website: http://www.pbskids.org/naturecat

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/naturecatshow




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