PBS Kids and PBS Distribution released a trio of fun new Halloween-themed DVDs for the whole family last month from three of the network’s most beloved series. As enjoyable as all three of those new releases are for the whole family, they are hardly the only pieces that families will find enjoyable this year. WordGirl: Tricks & Treats, originally released in 2010, is another collection that families will agree is just as fitting for their annual Halloween party this year as it was five years ago. The main reason for this is its selection of episodes. While not every episode featured in this collection is necessarily Halloween-themed, that is no loss. Each of the DVDs eight (yes, eight) episodes still offers its own enjoyment, making for plenty of reason in itself for any family to add this collection to its own home DVD library. The writing behind each of the featured episodes is just as important to the collection’s success as the episodes themselves. Throughout the course of each episode, the show’s writers solidly combine a mix of vocabulary lessons and fun, original story lines in such fashion that audiences of all ages will be entertained for one reason or another. Rounding out the set’s positives is the inclusion once again of a handful of bonuses including interactive games, printable coloring pages, and even bonuses teaching material for parents and educators. Each element in its own right makes for plenty of enjoyment from beginning to end. All combined, the noted elements incorporated into this collection make it another great addition to any family’s home DVD library whether it be on Halloween or any other time of the year.
WordGirl: Tricks & Treats is another great addition to any family’s home DVD library and just as welcome in any family’s annual Halloween happenings this year or any year. That is thanks in part to its selection of episodes. Given, only one of the presented episodes—“Tobey’s Tricks and Treats”—is an actual Halloween-themed episode. The episodes that follow are just standard episodes. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. That is because each of those remaining episodes still presents its own enjoyable story that will entertain parents and educators just as much as they will younger viewers. On a side note, audiences will be interested to learn that of the eight episodes featured in this collection, two were lifted from the series’ first season and six rom Season Two. Considering that this collection was originally released almost a month after the series’ second season ended, it means that audiences get a relatively solid example of where the show was at the time of the DVD’s release. To that extent, the episodes featured in this collection show yet again—even despite only one episode actually being Halloween-themed—why they are so crucial to audiences’ overall viewing experience with this presentation. They are just part of what makes that experience so positive, too. The writing behind each of the disc’s featured episodes is just as key to the success of that experience as the episodes themselves.
The episodes collected for WordGirl: Tricks & Treats are in themselves plenty of reason for families to add this collection of episodes to their own home DVD libraries. That is even with only one of the included episodes being an actual Halloween-themed episode. Speaking of that episode, it is just one example of what makes the work of the show’s writers so important to the success of the featured episodes. In “Tobey’s Tricks and Treats” WordGirl’s writers obviously make Toby the central villain of the episode. Thanks to his obsession with WordGirl, he thinks that Becky’s friend Violet is WordGirl when Violet dresses up as the young superhero for a costume contest at the kids’ school. When Toby doesn’t win the contest, he orders his robots to steal all of the candy in town on Halloween so that he would have all of the sweet rewards of Halloween instead of anyone else. The writers make the story work surprisingly well. What’s really interesting here is that such a behavior is something more the norm for the Birthday Girl than for Tobey. Yet the writers didn’t go that route in this case. Regardless, the end result will still entertain viewers of all ages especially when Tobey realizes that Violet is in fact not WordGirl. It’s just one example of how the writing behind these episodes makes them so enjoyable for audiences of all ages.
“Lunch Lady Chuck” is another example of the importance of the episodes’ writing. This episode sees Chuck The Evil Sandwich Making Guy actually take on a job working in the cafeteria at Becky’s school. Chuck’s attempt to go straight and make a legal life for himself is nothing new in the world of television writing. But even having been used here, it is no less enjoyable of a story element. Chuck’s admission to Wordgirl that he hadn’t thought about places to get himself a comfortable hair net makes for its own share of laughs for audiences. His realization that he could have found his own hair net shows a certain innocence about him yet again. WordGirl recognizes that innocence, too, which is why she is never hard on him. It leads to so much great banter between the two foes that will have viewers laughing and smiling just as much as in any of the DVD’s other featured episodes. It is yet another way in which the writing behind these episodes proves itself so important. It shows once more that ability of the show’s writers to expertly balance the show’s educational content and its more entertaining side.
Both “Tobey’s Tricks and Treats” and “Lunch Lady Chuck” are clear examples of what makes the writing behind this collection’s episodes so important to their enjoyment. They show in their own separate way the ability of the show’s writers to balance the show’s educational content with its more entertaining side. “Class Act” is one more example of what makes the writing in this collection’s episodes so important to their enjoyment. This episode stands out perhaps more than any of the set’s others in regards to its writing because not only does it promote literacy among the series’ younger viewers but the importance of literacy among adults, too. It seemingly promotes adult literacy by having The Butcher go in disguise to a night class in order to better his vocabulary. Viewers will note that The Butcher’s classmates are all adults. This raises that possibility, again, that the writers were promoting adult literacy in this episode. If they were in fact leaning in that direction, then the subtle manner in which they did that is wholly worthy of applause. That is because it showed just as much as in any of the collection’s other episodes the expertise of the show’s writers to balance the show’s entertaining and educational content. What’s more it shows that the writers pay just as much attention to the show’s older audiences just as much as its younger viewers in every one of its episodes. Adult literacy is a hugely important topic in America today that sadly is not addressed as much as it should be. So even if it was unintentional here, viewers of all ages will be glad to see that it is tackled. It is yet another way in which the work of WordGirl’s writers proves to be just as pivotal to the success of the episodes featured in WordGirl: Tricks & Treats as the episodes themselves.
The episodes chosen for WordGirl: Tricks & Treats and the writing behind said episodes are both key in their own right to this DVD’s overall viewing experience. The featured episodes do a solid job of showing where the show was at at the time of the DVD’s release. The writing shows from one episode to the next that the writers paid just as much attention to the show’s older audiences as they did its younger fans. Both elements work together to give audiences of all ages plenty of enjoyment. As important as they both are to the whole of the DVD, they are still not all that makes it work as well as it does. Though, they do lie at the heart of that enjoyment. The bonus material included with the disc rounds out the package. Included as bonus material in this presentation is a handful of printable coloring pages and a couple of interactive flash games for kids as well as background information on the show for parents and teachers. The coloring pages feature WordGirl, Captain Huggyface, and a number of villains that WordGirl faces on a daily basis. They include: Graay May, Doctor Two-Brains, Tobey, Lady Redundant Woman, The Butcher, Birthday Girl, and Chuck The Evil Sandwich Making Guy. Of course what set of coloring pages would be complete without a page for WordGirl herself? She is there, too. The two flash games included as bonus material offer their own vocab building lessons for kids. The first of the pair gets kids to line up Captain Huggyface’s picture with a given word. If kids get three words right, they get to see Captain Huggyface dance just like he does at the end of each episode of WordGirl. The second of the bonus flash games gives kids four separate short stories in which they have to find the word that will help her beat her given opponents. Both games combine with the presented printable coloring pages to make the bonus material in whole a clear positive way to finish off WordGirl: Tricks & Treats. Together with the episodes chosen for the DVD and each episode’s writing, all three elements come together to make this DVD another treat for any family any time of the year.
WordGirl: Tricks & Treats is a great treat for any family both during Halloween and any time of the year. Even at five years old, this DVD still proves to be a great addition to any family’s home DVD library. That is thanks in large part to the episodes chosen for the DVD and the writing behind each episode. The bonus printable coloring pages and flash games included in the presentation round out the package and prove once and for all why it is a great treat for any family any time of the year. It is available now on DVD and can be ordered online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=4217783&cp=&kw=wordgirl+tricks+and+treats&origkw=WordGirl+Tricks+and+Treats&sr=1. More information on WordGirl is available online now along with even more WordGirl games, activities, and more at:
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