New Dinosaur Train Compilation More Prehistoric Fun For Families

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

The latest addition to the long line of DVDs released from PBS Kids’ hit science show, Dinosaur Train is another great group of outings from the Pteradon family.  It’s just as fun for teachers, parents and children alike to watch.  Nature Trackers offers audiences eight more adventures from Tiny, Shiny, Don, and everyone else at Pteranodon Terrace as they ride the Dinosaur Train through different times and learn about even more kinds of dinosaurs.  That’s not all the kids learn in the episodes culled for this compilation.  This time out, the kids learn a little bit about astronomy, life cycles of plants, and even about gardening.  Along the way, they also learn valuable life lessons such as compromise and teamwork.  And for those teachers, parents and kids worried about keeping up with the dinosaurs that are introduced, worry not.  Dr. Scott’s segments are included, too.  They are included along with printable coloring pages and a DVD rom game.  All Of these extras are great bonuses.  They work with the hefty load of episodes contained on the single disc to make this new release another enjoyable addition to any Dinosaur Train fan’s DVD collection.

Dinosaur Train: Nature Trackers is much like previous compilations from this hit PBS Kids show.  Audiences get to learn all about even more different dinosaurs in each episode.  They also learn which creatures aren’t dinosaurs.  They learn specifically the differences between dinosaurs and other creatures of the different time periods.  That’s not all that viewers get from this collection.  Unlike previous Dinosaur Train collections, viewers learn extra lessons in this set.  Among those extra lessons are those of astronomy, biology, and even a small lesson on botany in “Tiny Loves Flowers.”  Perhaps the most important lesson of all that’s taught in this compilation is of compromise and teamwork.  That lesson is taught in the compilation’s title episode.  The lessons included throughout this set are wonderful additions to the overall theme of learning about dinosaurs.  This is a tribute to the show’s writers.

The individuals responsible for writing each episode’s script throughout the show’s run have done an impressive job of crafting each story.  This compilation is proof positive of that.  They have been able to craft a handful of shorts that expertly weave multiple storylines together without allowing one to take precedence over another.  The stories’ secondary plotlines are just subtle enough to work in partner with the primary storylines rather than overpower them.  Again, this shows the level of professionalism from the show’s writers.  And in turn, it shows exactly why the show has remained such a huge hit among viewers of all ages.

The lessons and the writing in the episodes culled for this latest compilation do so much to make it enjoyable for viewers of all ages.  The bonus features do even more.  Among the most important of the bonus features included on this disc are the side segments with Dr. Scott the Paleontologist.  Each segment that would normally be included with the episodes on television are included on the side here.  This is a smart way of doing things on the DVD.  That’s because it helps viewers to better keep track of the dinosaurs featured in each episode.  It makes for a wonderful starting point for any young viewer interested in dinosaurs.  It’s just as impressive for adults, as most grown-ups will find that they know about as much as their children and students about the different species of dinosaurs that once populated the Earth.  Along with the bonus dinosaur measuring game and coloring pages, it helps to make the compilation a complete experience for viewers of all ages.  It will be available Tuesday, July 16th and can be ordered online direct from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=20571606&cp=&sr=1&kw=dinosaur+train+nature+trackers&origkw=Dinosaur+Train+Nature+Trackers&parentPage=search.  And for all of the latest news on Dinosaur Train, parents, teachers, and children can go online to http://www.facebook.com/DinosaurTrain and “Like” it.  Parents, teachers, and students can also stay up with the latest on Dinosaur Train on its official website, http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain.

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Arthur Stands Up To Bullying Another Impressive Compilation Of Episodes From PBS Kids

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids

Everyone’s favorite aardvark, Arthur Read, is back with another set of adventures for audiences of all ages.  PBS’ latest compilation of episodes from the hit children’s TV series is just as important for viewers as it is entertaining.  That’s because it is one more shot in the battle against bullying.  Arthur Stands up to Bullying includes four brand new episodes from the series.  Two of those episodes directly tackle the issue of bullying, while other pair offers its very own lessons that parents, teachers, and children will enjoy and appreciate.  Parents, teachers, and children will enjoy and appreciate each episode first and foremost because of each episode’s script.  The writing that has become standard for the Arthur series is continued here.  While the show’s animation is based more on flash animation than hand drawn animation, it is still more impressive than so many of the CG based shows that dominate commercially run networks.  It all works together to make this compilation one more that will be welcomed in the classroom and the living room.

Arthur Stands up to Bullying is anchored by a pair of important episodes centered on the ongoing problem of bullying that so plagues America’s youth population today.  Both episodes are important in that they examine bullying from two fronts.  The first of the episodes, “The Last Tough Customer”, tackles bullying head on.  It examines bullying from the angle of Molly, a member of the Tough Customers gang.  She knows that she is being a bully and that she always has been.  Through flashbacks, audiences learn how she became a bully. And because of something that he brother James does to someone else, it refreshes her own memory of how she became one, too.  This, in turn leads to an epiphany that leads her to apologize to everyone she has bullied.  She goes on to tell her friends they all need to stop being bullies, too.  This is an important lesson because it could make those that are bullies to perhaps give a second thought to their own actions and make their change.  In making a change, maybe those same individuals will take the time to tell others to stop bullying, too. 

The second of the episodes centered on bullying is taken from the polar opposite angle as that of “The Last Tough Customer.”  “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh” finds Arthur losing his friends because of his own bullying.  The catch here is that Arthur doesn’t even realize that he is being a bully at first.  He was making jokes about his friend Sue Ellen because of a sweater that she wore to school.  He made all kinds of mean comments about her for what she wore.  It led to a lot of hurt feelings all the way around, not just in her.  It’s a very well written secondary lesson about bullying.  It teaches audiences of all ages (yes, even adults do this) that it’s not right to bully someone just because of what they wear or simply for how they look in general.  This secondary storyline is wonderfully interwoven into the primary plot of Arthur not knowing he was being a bully.  Together, the two storylines make this episode as good as the prior episode, if not even better than that episode. 

The interactivity of the dual storylines in “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh” is just one example of the continued solid writing of the episodes in this latest compilation.  It’s a standard that was set from the show’s very first season years ago.  And it is a standard that has continued to this day.  The writing makes the episodes easy for young audiences to understand and appreciate.  There are also subtle jokes from Arthur’s parents and other adults that teachers and parents will enjoy and appreciate.  It all combines to make all four episodes entertaining for the whole family any time.

The writing behind each story’s script is as solid as it has been in the past.  That’s obvious in the episodes in this collection.  The show’s animation is just as good.  There are those that have lambasted the show and those behind the scenes for its animation.  That is because the show’s animation is now based more in flash animation than hand drawn animation.  But by comparison, the animation is still quite impressive.  So many commercial programs that call themselves cartoons are anything but.  They are CG-based shows that completely lack any originality.  Arthur, on the other hand, still at least maintains some sense of the hand-drawn animation for which it was originally known even in flash animation.  It’s one more aspect of the show and these episodes that makes them just as enjoyable as the show’s older episodes.

Parents and teachers can order this DVD on Tuesday, July 16th.  It can be ordered direct from the PBS store online at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=20571566&cp=&kw=arthur+stands+up+to+bullying&origkw=Arthur+Stands+Up+To+Bullying&sr=1.  Parents, teachers, and children can watch “So Funny I Forgot To Laugh” and its companion episode, “The Best Day Ever” online now on the PBS Kids Go website at http://pbskids.org/arthur/video/index.html.  New episodes are always being uploaded to the website along with games for kids.  And to keep up with all of the latest news on Arthur and his friends, parents and kids can “Like” the official Arthur Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PBSArthur

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Wordgirl wins Daytime Emmy

NEW YORK, NY–WordGirl has become famous for fighting robots and evil supervillains every day.  Now, everybody’s favorite little literary superheroine can add another title to her long list of accolades.  Wordgirl won a Daytime Emmy this past Tuesday, June 17th at the 39th Annual Creative Arts & Entertainment Daytime Emmy® Awards.

The Emmy win was for Outstanding Writing in Animation.  Scholastic Media President Deborah Forte shared her thoughts on the honor.  She said, “I am thrilled the Academy has once again chosen to honor the WordGirl writing team for excellence.”  She added, “This latest recognition of the program is a testament to the tremendous talent and dedication of our writers, who, like WordGirl herself, demonstrate the power of choosing the right words.”

WordGirl is now airing on PBSKids GO! and is in its fourth season.  Since its debut three seasons ago, WordGirl has won thirty awards and nominations, including seven Emmy nominations and a 2008 Emmy award win for “Best Writing in Animation” and many others. 

Parents and kids can get more information on WordGirl online at http://www.PBSKIDSGO.org and http://www.PBS.org/pressroom.   

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Wordgirl returns with a new episode Monday

PBS Kids’ hit vocab building based show, Wordgirl, returns next week with another brand new half hour episode.  Wordgirl is facing two familiar foes in next Monday’s new episode.  First, Wordgirl has to face off against the evil boy genius, Toby, in “Wordbot.”  And then Mr. Big is up to his old tricks, taking over the townspeople’s minds.  This time it’s so they’ll build a gianttributeto him in “Mount Rushhere.” And what episode of Wordgirl is complete without everyone’s favorite vocabulary based game show, “May I Have a Word?”  That’s right.  Bo Handsome and his young contestants are back with another new episode, too.  We’ve got a first look at Monday’s new episode right here int his edition of Reel Reviews.

“Wordbot” takes the first half of Monday’s new episode.  In this episode, Wordgirl faces off against her old foe, Toby, the evil boy genius.  As long time fans know, Toby faces off against Wordgirl a lot.  Ironically, he is also quite devotedto her.  But this time, Toby is so fed up with losing to Wordgirl that he builds his own version of little literary superheroine, that he dubs, “Wordbot.”  Wordbot can do everything Wordgirl can.  There’s just one problem.  In commanding Wordbot to show her devotion to him, Toby makes Wordbot toodevoted.  In fact, she’s more than justdevoted.  She turns jealous whenever Toby talks to Wordgirl, thus causing his evil plan tobackfire on him.  It leads him to have to workwith Wordgirl in order to get the batteries out of Wordbot and stop her.  And of course, what episode featuring Toby is complete without his mom catching him? 

In the second half of Monday’s new episode, Wordgirl has to face off against another old foe in “Mount Rushhere.”  In this new episode, Wordgirl has two problems to deal with.  While in disguise as Becky Botsford, Becky and her friends discover that all the adults in town have suddenly disappeared one day.  What they don’t know is that their parents’ minds have been taken over by Mr. Big.  Mr. Big has taken control of the adults’ minds so that they’ll build atributeto him that he has dubbed, “Mount Rushhere.”  His idea is that everyone will “rush here” (thus the name) to see histribute.  In the process, he tells his assistant, Leslie, that he’ll sell everyone that comes lots of souvenirs and become rich.  Of course, when Wordgirl realizes that all the adults have fallen under another of Mr. Big’s mind control schemes, she and Captain Huggyface come and destroy his latest mind control device, releasing the adults from his control.  Having Captain Huggyface with her yet again gave her theadvantagethat she needed to defeat him and destroy Mr. Big’stribute.  In the process of everything, Becky learns an important lesson herself.  She learns just how important it is to have her parents around and to have limits.

And of course, what episode of Wordgirl is complete without the hit vocabulary based game show, “May I Have a Word?”  In Monday’s brand new episode, the contestants have to define and show an example of the word, “shatter.”  Just as one of the contestants it about to define it, Captain Huggyface swings in and accidentally shatters the contestants’ podiums.  Because of that, the judges allow her to answer.  Young audiences will love not only the familiar antics of Captain Huggyface in this episode, but the always funny prizes that the contestants win.  So stay tuned Monday for that and the adventures of Wordgirl for another brand new episode, only on PBS KidsGo!  Check local listings to find out when the episode airs in your area.  Families can also watch it for free online at http://pbskids.org/go

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