The countdown is officially on, everyone. September is finally in its final days. This Thursday, October will finally be here. And that means that it won’t be long before Halloween is finally here, too. And with it will be plenty of offerings for audiences of all ages to get into the festive mood. The problem is that it seems that most of those offerings are the same ones that are released every year. So what is a person to do in the search for something new? Well for those festive families out there, PBS Kids has an answer in the form of its latest collection of episodes from its math-based series Peg + Cat. Peg + Cat: A Totally Awesome Halloween is another fun new offering for any family this Halloween. That’s especially the case for those families looking for options for their kids’ Halloween parties. It only boasts four episodes. But even with those four episodes, there is plenty to like about it starting with the writing behind each episode. Obviously basic math skills lie at the heart of each episode. But there is far more to each episode’s script than just that such as the writers’ direct tribute to The Twilight Zone in “The Highlight Zone Problem” all the way down to the episode’s twist ending and the not so subtle pro-ecology lesson tied in to “The Parade Problem.” Those are just a couple of examples of how the writing behind each episode makes this collection a joy for every family. The work of the series’ cast is another positive to the set. Voice actors Hayley Faith Negrin and Dwayne Hill (Mean Girls, Jimmy 2 Shoes, Arthur) are just as enjoyable together in these episodes as ever. Last but hardly least worth noting of this set’s positives is its pairing of activities included inside the DVD’s case. While there are only two activities, both are great ways to keep kids and their parents busy together for quite a while. And to quote the one and only Martha Stewart, that’s a good thing. Yes, that bad joke was fully intended. Whether for those activities, for the work of the show’s voice cast, the work of the show’s writers or for all three elements together, viewers of all ages will agree in watching this collection, which is available now on DVD, that it is indeed another great fit for any family’s Halloween party this year and any year. It is also more proof as to why PBS Kids is the last bastion of truly worthwhile children’s programming on television today.
PBS Kids’s new collection of episodes from its math-centered series Peg + Cat is not the first of its kind to be released this year. Even with that being the case it is still its own great addition to any family’s Halloween party this year and any year. The central reason for its enjoyment is the work of the series’ writers. The basic math skills and their ability to reach the show’s target audience are all there as with every other one of the series’ episodes. That goes without saying. What really makes the writing in these episodes so enjoyable is that the writers have incorporated elements that will entertain viewers of all ages. That is made clear right in the collections’ lead episode “The Parade Problem.” This episode is aimed in general at younger viewers with its lessons about organizing things into groups and of recycling. “The Highlighter Zone on the other hand targets audiences of all ages. Younger viewers are targeted through the lesson teaching them about finding things that are different. Grown ups are targeted with the episode’s direct tribute to The Twilight Zone. The writers even pay tribute to series creator Rod Serling as they have Ramone (Thamela Mpumlwana–The Gabby Douglas Story, The Warrior and The Savior, Group Home) open the episode. The writers also go so far as to present the story in black and white (at least until Peg and Cat find things that are different, thus bringing everything back into full color) and tie in a double twist ending to the story. “The Bermuda Triangle” problem is another great example of how the writers target adults and children alike in these episodes. This episode sees Peg and her four-legged friend get caught in the Bermuda Triangle after trying to save Pig (Tommy Wazelle–Noah). Children will appreciate the basic geometry lesson taught as they try to escape. Adults will appreciate the presentation of one of so many theories about the infamous area of the Atlantic. There are those that believe there is actually something inside the Bermuda Triangle, including a whole other dimension of sorts. And that is somewhat presented here, just in its own original manner. In the case of this story, it is hypothesized–playfully–that the Bermuda Triangle is actually a solid, tangible thing and place. That in itself is worth its share of laughs. It is just another example of what makes the writing behind these episodes so great for the whole family. That is not to take away from the set’s fourth episode “The Halloween Problem.” This episode teaches its own equally important lessons about counting, organizing, and even sharing. Altogether, the writing presented in all four of this collection’s episodes shows in whole exactly why it is so important to the whole of the collection’s enjoyment. It is just one part of what makes this collection so enjoyable for the whole family, too. The work of the show’s voice cast is just as noteworthy.
The work of the writers behind Peg + Cat is one of the big reasons that this family friendly math-centered series has proven time and again to be such a welcome addition to PBS Kids’ daily lineup. That is evident in all four of the episodes featured in the show’s new Halloween-themed collection A Totally Awesome Halloween. It is just one part of what makes this collection so enjoyable. The work of the show’s voice cast is just as impressive as ever, too. Every one of the show’s young female viewers will love Hayley Faith Negrin once again as Peg. There s just something loveable about her that will put as much of a smile on parents’ faces as on those of their children. And Dwayne Hill proves once again to be just as entertaining as ever. Hill makes Cat such a comical character throughout each episode. From those moments in which Cat gets angry to his happier moments, Hill will leave audiences laughing together just as much as in the series’ other episodes. On another level, Thamela Mpumlwana is just as great taking the place of Rod Serling in The “Highlight Zone Problem.” It’s just one more example of how the work of the show’s voice cast adds to the collection’s enjoyment. Even with the enjoyment added to the episodes through the work of the show’s voice cast in each episode, there is still one more element to note to the set’s positive. That final element is the bonus material included inside the DVD’s case.
The work of both Peg + Cat’s writers and voice cast within each of the episodes in the series’ new Halloween-themed collection go a long way toward making it enjoyable for the whole family. While both elements together do plenty to make this collection so enjoyable for viewers of all ages, they are still not all that make it worth the watch. The bonus lessons included inside the DVD’s case round out the presentation. There are only two lessons. but both are Halloween-themed and are sure to have parents and children interacting together for quite a while. The first of the lessons uses pumpkin seeds to drive home those basic counting skills. It requires adults to cut open a pumpkin and get a little messy first and foremost. Of course they can encourage kids to get messy, too. From there, parents and kids can pull out the seeds inside the pumpkin. And kids can estimate just how many seeds they think are there after grouping the seeds. From there, kids can count for themselves just how many seeds were actually pulled from the pumpkin. The lesson is furthered with a push for author Margaret McNamara’s book How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? The second of the bonus lessons advances those sorting skills while also helping drive home the recycling lesson taught in “The Parade Problem.” It does so by showing parents and children how to make their own homemade recycling bins and sorting out anything that can be recycled. There is even a bonus within the bonus encouraging adults to take kids on a trip to a recycling center so that ids can learn even more about the recycling process and those that make the process happen. There is even a suggestion to find out about volunteering as a family at a recycling center. So not only is this a way to encourage recycling but a way for any family to do things together at the same time. It’s a win-win for all involved. And together with the lesson centered on sorting and counting pumpkin seeds, the two lessons together are the finishing touch on a set that every family will enjoy not just this Halloween but every Halloween.
PBS Kids’ new Peg + Cat DVD A Totally Awesome Halloween offers audiences of all ages so much to enjoy even with just four episodes and two bonus lessons. The writing will entertain grown ups just as much as it will their children within each episode. The voice cast’s work is just as entertaining here for viewers of all ages as it is in other episodes of the family favorite series. And the bonus lessons included inside the DVD’s case put the finishing touch on the presentation especially considering that they not only help drive home the episodes’ lessons but also encourage that all-too important family interaction once again. All three of the noted elements by themselves make this collection another great addition to any family’s Halloween party this and every year. Together, they show once again why this series is such a hit in general and why, again, PBS Kids is the last bastion of truly worthwhile children’s programming on television today. Peg + Cat: A Totally Awesome Halloween is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=66322766&cp=&sr=1&kw=peg++cat&origkw=Peg+%2B+Cat&parentPage=search. More information on this and other Peg + Cat collections is available online now along with lots of Peg + Cat games and activities at:
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