PBS Kids’ New ‘Arthur’ Special Is An Enjoyable Way To Get Into The Holiday Spirit

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Kids is doing its part to get families ready for Thanksgiving with a new Arthur special.  The network is scheduled to air An Arthur Thanksgiving Nov. 16 on PBS Kids.  That is a little more than two weeks from the day of this posting.  The almost hour-long holiday special is a mostly enjoyable new offering from the long-running animated series, though is not without at least one concern, which will be addressed a little later.  The concern in question is tied in to the special’s writing and the series’ as it relates to the series’ overall history.  Taking a step back, the story that is featured in the story makes for its own interest.  It will be discussed short.  The story’s pacing couples with the story to make for even more appeal.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the special.  All things considered, they make An Arthur Thanksgiving a special for while audiences will be thankful.

PBS Kids’ forthcoming Thanksgiving special An Arthur Thanksgiving is a mostly enjoyable new way for families to get into the holiday spirit.  That is due in part to its story.  The story in question is a two-pronged presentation that one side, follows Arthur’s search for his dog Pal.  Pal goes missing after Arthur puts him outside on a chain.  Pal is put out after Arthur’s dad accuses Pal of eating a plate of food that he (Arthur’s dad) prepared.  Not to give away too much here ahead of the special’s airing, the accusation stems from something that Arthur does, which results in a communication breakdown and Pal being put outside.  When Francine’s cat Nemo comes along to tease Pal, Pal gets off his leash and chases after the Nemo, leading Pal to get lost.  He tries to find his way back home and meets some new four-legged friends along the way, and shares a Thanksgiving meal with them so to speak.  In the midst of all of this, Arthur is searching for Pal while also preparing for the annual Elwood City Thanksgiving Parade.  When things go awry with the parade, the group ends up joining the search for Pal.  The search and the problems with the parade lead to a unique Thanksgiving dinner at the Read family home.  The story involving Pal and that involving Arthur’s preparation for the parade (and the problems that stem there from) are well-balanced throughout the approximately 56-minute special and is sure to entertain and engage audiences of all ages. 

For all that the story does to make the special so special, it is not without at least one fault.  That one fault comes from one specific element within the special’s story.  It involves the introduction (or rather re-introduction) of Arthur and D.W.’s aunt, Minnie.  Minnie reveals in a letter that she is coming to Elwood City for the family’s Thanksgiving.  When she does show up, she and Arthur apparently do not know one another.  This is shown as Arthur asks her who she is.  This is problematic because Minnie was involved in this special’s most recent predecessor, The Rhythm and Roots of Arthur, which aired in January of this year.  Arthur and D.W. travel to the Read family farm in Ohio in the noted special to celebrate a family member’s birthday, and Minnie shows up for that celebration, too.  Arthur and D.W. each met Minnie in that special, so to that end, having her a stranger to Arthur and D.W. in An Arthur Thanksgiving shows that someone either forgot about that special or they knew about it and it was just allowed to pass.  It is a minor issue with this element of the special’s overall story, but is still problematic in its own right.  Of course it is not such a detractor that it makes the special a failure.  On another note, Minnnie makes a revelation that means audiences may well see more from her in the series in the not too distant future.  That revelation will be left for audiences to learn for themselves.

The one plot hole that is evidenced in An Arthur Thanksgiving’s story cannot be ignored, but is not enough of an issue to make the special a failure.  The story’s pacing couples with the story itself to make it more appealing to audiences.  Considering the number of plot elements that are at work in the story and that it is a multi-faceted story, it would have been so easy for the special to get bogged down in itself.  The writers did not let that happen, luckily.  Audiences are able to follow everything happening without ever feeling left behind or even getting lost in everything.  To that end, the story will ensure even more that audiences remain engaged and entertained.  That is even with the one negative taken into account.  All things considered, An Arthur Thanksgiving proves itself another enjoyable way to get into the holiday spirit as Thanksgiving nears.

PBS Kids’ new Arthur special, An Arthur Thanksgiving is, overall, an enjoyable way for families to get into the holiday spirit as they count down the days to Thanksgiving.  That is proven in part through its multi-pronged story, which finds Arthur’s family and friends coming together to celebrate Thanksgiving in quite the unexpected way.  The story does feature one plot hole that audiences cannot ignore.  Even as noticeable as it is, it is not enough to make the special a failure.  The pacing of the special’s story couples with the story itself to make the special that much more of a success.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the special.  All things considered, An Arthur Thanksgiving proves itself a presentation for which audiences will be thankful.

More information on An Arthur Thanksgiving is available along with lots of Arthur printables, activities, games and more at:



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5 thoughts on “PBS Kids’ New ‘Arthur’ Special Is An Enjoyable Way To Get Into The Holiday Spirit

  1. The vast majority of the series takes place during Arthur’s third grade year, but “Rhythm & Roots” takes place during the summer between third and fourth grade…So Minnie would’ve already met Arthur at this Thanksgiving gathering (assuming it is indeed during the third grade year). Basically, the two specials were aired out of order, but this is nothing out of the ordinary for the series, as it continually jumps around within the third grade timeline.

    Is there anything that suggests this special moves onto the fourth grade that would make this not true?

    • The hard thing here is that in the series, Mr. Ratburn does move on to become the kids’ fourth grade teacher. So we have to assume at this point that Arthur and company are in fourth grade. To that end, again, the timeline just is out of whack. If in fact this took place during the fourth grade year and the special that aired back in January took place during the summer between 3rd and 4th grades, then again, why did Arthur not remember her, yet she remembered him.

      You could be right. Maybe this was supposed to have taken place prior, but again, considering the timing of the specials’ releases, one has to assume this Thanksgiving special was meant to coincide with the fourth grade year, again, leading to the concern of this problem with this aspect of the writing.

      • Yeah, Ratburn moves to the fourth grade in “The Last Day” but that episode aired in 2016. All episodes/specials since then still depict the kids in third grade. Release date is hardly ever indicative of anything in the timeline.

        With that said, the timeline has been screwed up long before this. Still waiting to see the special next week. Hope it’s good!

      • Other than that one notable issue with the writing, the special is otherwise pretty good. The main issue of Arthur’s dad accusing Pal of eating the plate of brussel sprouts is a little problematic, but the writers did do a good job of making sure viewers can sustain their disbelief.

  2. Also, if you get this, I’m watching the special again on TV now. Arthur is looking through his scrap book and states he remembers the year that Aunt Minnie visited the family for Thanksgiving. That was a different year than the year in which the special is taking place. So yet again, there is a serious issue with continuity there. If he remembers that year, then why do neither Arthur nor D.W. remember her when she visits in this special? It really is a problem in the writing that either was ignored or just overlooked irresponsibly.

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