Adventures from the Book of Virtues

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Adventures from the Book of Virtues
Adventures from the book of virtues.jpg
Genre Animated series/Fantasy/Comedy-drama
Format Children's television series/Education
Created by Bruce D. Johnson
Directed by Walt Kubiak
Voices of Jim Cummings
Pamela Adlon
Kevin Michael Richardson
Kath Soucie
Frank Welker
Composer(s) Stu Goldberg
J. A. C. Redford
Country of origin United States
Production
Executive producer(s) Bruce D. Johnson
William T. Baumann
Marry Mazur
Producer(s) Tom Gleason
Fred Schaefer
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) PorchLight Entertainment
Fox Animation Studios
KCET Los Angeles
Distributor PorchLight Entertainment (USA)
20th Century Fox Television (Non-USA)[1]
Broadcast
Original channel PTV September 2, 1996-September 5, 1999 and PBS Kids September 12, 1999-December 17, 2000
Original run September 2, 1996 – December 17, 2000

Adventures from the Book of Virtues is an animated television series which originally aired on PTV and PBS Kids in the United States for three seasons, beginning in 1996 and ending in 2000. There was a two-year gap in between the second and third seasons. In 2003, it was end on September 7, 2003 on WITF, It became the new show Jakers! The Adventures of Piggly Winks debuted in September 2003. The Website was retired in November 2005. In 2008, the series aired twice daily on Qubo Channel, and in 2010 began airing on BYUtv. As of 2011, reruns occasionally air on Qubo, and mostly air on BYUtv.

Zach and Annie learn various life lessons from their friends Plato the bison, Aurora the red-tailed hawk, Aristotle the prairie dog, and Socrates the bobcat. These lessons are told in the form of animated segments based on stories from a variety of sources including the Bible, fairy tales, fables, mythology, and folk stories from different cultures.

Production[edit]

It sought to illustrate themes of common virtues through well-known international heroes and stories, based on the Book of Virtues collected and edited by conservative commentator and former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett. The core audience were families with children who were between the ages of 2 and 9 years old. It was produced by PorchLight Entertainment, series created by Bruce D. Johnson, music by J.A.C Redford.Adventures from the Book of Virtues is an animated television series which originally aired on PBS Kids in the United States for three seasons, beginning in 1996 and ending in 2000. There was a two-year gap in between the second and third seasons. In 2008, the series aired twice daily on Qubo Channel, and in 2010 began airing on BYUtv. As of 2011, reruns occasionally air on Qubo, and mostly air on BYUtv. Zach and Annie learn various life lessons from their friends Plato the bison, Aurora the red-tailed hawk, Aristotle the prairie dog, and Socrates the bobcat. These lessons are told in the form of animated segments based on stories from a variety of sources including the Bible, fairy tales, fables, mythology, and folk stories from different cultures.

Plot[edit]

The story features two schoolchildren, Zack and Annie, who are neighbors and friends for many years. In each episode of the series, one of them commits an act contrary to that day's chosen virtue (loyalty, compassion, courage, moderation, honesty, etc.) and suffers pain as a result (be it physical or moral). They seek counsel of one of their animal friends. These animal friends are four anthropomorphic mountain-dwelling entities who between them possess immense knowledge of legends and literature as well as common sense and a lively sense of fun. They utilize classical works of famous authors, philosophers, poets, as well as fables and myths to communicate the truth of virtue to Zack and Annie. Plato, the oldest, is a scholarly bison; Aurora, the most gentle, is a Red-tailed Hawk; Socrates (or "Soc" as his friends call him) is a rambunctious bobcat; and Aristotle (Ari) is a prairie dog who is seldom without his bag of books. These four, whose existence seems a secret from the majority of humans in the town of Spring Valley, advise Annie and Zack patiently and often. The children then proceed to live according to the virtue of the day, completing what they have begun.

The episodes do not seem to take place in linear fashion; no character speaks in memoriam of a previous incident, and there is no intimation that the children act based on a previously referenced virtue.

Episodes List[edit]

Season 1: 1996-1997[edit]

# Title Aired Summary
1 Work September 2, 1996 A thunderstorm strikes the forest, knocking a tree into the Rainbowl river. Zach and Annie volunteer to clean it out, along with Plato, Ari, and Aurora, but Soc isn't interested in helping. Plato tells him the story "How the Camel Got His Hump", where the camel's refusing to work gave him trouble, and "Tom Sawyer Gives Up the Brush", where it was learned that working is more enjoyable than laziness.

Stories:

  • How the Camel Got His Hump
  • Tom Sawyer Gives Up the Brush
2 Honesty September 2, 1996 Zach is sorely tempted to touch his father's beautiful antique camera, despite promising not to - and when he does, he breaks it and lies that it fell off its display table naturally. Plato tries to convince Zach to tell the truth by telling him the stories of "The Frog Prince", where the title character received a punishment for breaking his word and "George Washington and the Cherry Tree", whose protagonist too broke something he promised to guard but learned his lesson in a different way. Annie even tells a family tale of "The Indian Cinderella", where a Native American warrior only wished for an honest companion. Even the poem "Truth" shows how good it is to be seen and how much joy it can give through life.

Stories:

  • The Frog Prince
  • George Washington and the Cherry Tree
  • The Indian Cinderella
3 Responsibility September 3, 1996 Annie agrees to put her brand-new bike to good use by delivering cakes from her mother's bakery, but can't resist Zach's offer to race - and is angry with him when her bike crashes and the food is ruined. Plato and Aurora try to convince her that responsibility is always handy to keep around as shown in "Icarus and Daedalus" where a boy had too little responsibility to obey his father and paid for it, or "King Alfred and the Cakes" where even a renowned English ruler was forced to admit he neglected his simple duty. Ari tells "The Chest of Broken Glass", where a mother reminds her family what rewards responsibility versus irresponsibility bring and how much can be owed to those in a family. Even the poem "If You Were" sums up what responsibility everyone has to humanity for making the world better.

Stories:

  • Icarus and Daedalus
  • King Alfred and the Cakes
  • The Chest of Broken Glass
4 Compassion September 3, 1996 Emile Zigrodny, a classmate Zach barely knows, loses his house in a fire, and Zach is hesitant to show him support since their first meeting would be his giving charity. Plato and the others try to push him in the right direction by pointing out that anyone can be kind since even the least likely are capable of it as shown in the Biblical story "The Good Samaritan". They encourage him that anyone can make a difference no matter how young by reading "The Legend of the Dipper", or how it proved to have lasting effects for the giver and the receiver in "Androcles and the Lion". Even the poem "The New Colossus" shows what many hope America and all people should be to the needy.

Stories:

  • The Good Samaritan
  • The Legend of the Dipper
  • Androcles and the Lion
5 Courage September 4, 1996 Annie is defeated badly by a formidable opponent in a hurdles race, and her confidence leaves her after that. Plato tries to help her get her it back by telling the story of "Theseus and The Minotaur", where an opportunity was taken to protect people in spite of the danger, and of William Tell, who put plenty at risk for his own sake and others'. When Zach acts confident, Ari points out to them both that different levels of courage are needed in different situations, as shown in "The Brave Mice". Even the poem "If" is read as a reminder about how much courage life demands all in all.

Stories:

  • Theseus and The Minotaur
  • The Brave Mice
6 Self-Discipline September 4, 1996 Zach offers Annie and all the others favors for money since he wants to buy a new game and can't get an allowance-raise at home. Plato urges him to remember that waiting pays off, as shown in "The Magic Thread" where a boy learned that experiencing only the good moments in life didn't turn out as he expected, and Aurora points out how wanting something too badly leads to pain, as shown in "The Golden Touch". When Zach later reveals that he got into a fight with his mom about not giving him more money and said something hurtful, she also mentions how painful a short temper is for the one with the temper by reciting "The King and His Hawk" where even Genghis Khan didn't control his enough to not regret his actions later, when his hawk warned him of a viper in the lake and he eventually lost his temper and killed it by slashing it across the chest. Even a set of Bible verses from Ecclesiates points out that "To Everything There is a Season".

Stories:

  • The Golden Touch
  • The King and His Hawk
  • The Magic Thread
7 Friendship February 9, 1997 Annie is disheartened when her recently made friend Sarah decides to choose a partner other than her on their school field trip canoeing, even though she agreed to pair up with her. Plato points out that friendship can take a lot of strength to build but it takes more to get through life without it by telling "Why Frog-child and Snake-child Never Play Together", where two creatures regret the lack of friendship in their lives. "Waukewa's Eagle" shows how compassion is occasionally found in real friendships by a Native American's relationship with a bird and saved it when his father advised him to put it out of its misery, and he reminds her of just how much true friendship is worth, as proved in "Damon and Pythias", where two best friends put ultimate trust in one another. Even the poem "New Friends and Old Friends" sets a good example of how long friendship should last.

Stories:

  • Waukewa's Eagle
  • Damon and Pythias
  • Why Frog-child and Snake-child Never Play Together
8 Loyalty February 9, 1997 Zach enjoys birdwatching with a man from town, but in climbing on a plaque to get up to a tree he breaks it and doesn't get why Mr. Cleveland is so worked up over it. Plato explains the meaning of one of the words on it, "loyalty", by telling the stories of "Yudisthira at Heaven's Gate", where a king is challenged to choose between a companion and his dreams, and "The Cap That Mother Made", where a boy is tempted with great things for a homemade cap. When Plato remembers that the plaque was a war memorial and Zach remembers that Mr. Cleveland knew someone who died there, he also brings up the story of the Jewish Persian queen Esther, who had to make the choice of risking life itself if she wished to save her own people. Even the poem "The Thousandth Man", shows how strong and great true loyalty is.

Stories:

  • Yudisthira at Heaven's Gate
  • The Cap That Mother Made
  • Persian Queen Esther
9 Respect February 16, 1997 Zach and Annie are building a go-cart out of scraps from a friend's junkyard, but don't strike gold with every piece they find right away, and are ready to blame Jake Jeeters when he kicks them out after they yell at him. Plato hears their complaints and points out that manners leave a lasting impression, just as they did in the story "Please", and that the results for using and not using them are different by reading "Diamonds and Toads". & finally Plato points out that everyone deserves respect no matter who or what they are, with the telling of "The Bell of Atri", when a horse gets justice for its master improperly treating it.

Stories:

  • Please
  • Diamonds and Toads
  • The Bell of Atri
10 Faith February 16, 1997 Annie is saddened when her faith-devoted neighbor and friend Ruth passes away, and wonders whether faith is really worth it because of that. Plato tries to convince her that it is very much worth it by telling the stories of the Hebrew Daniel in the lions' den, who looked to faith always and saw how times of trouble caused it to prove strong, and Harriet Tubman's determination to use faith to continue taking risks throughout her life. Even the 23rd Psalm is a good example of why there's enough reason for faith to live throughout life.

Stories:

  • Daniel in the Lions' Den
  • Harriet Tubman's determination
11 Humility February 23, 1997 Annie is delighted to win the class presidency, but upon receiving it becomes proud of her position, creating conflicts with other students and teachers. Plato reminds her that a ruler's not swallowing pride often brings a painful fall to humiliation as proved in "The Emperor's New Clothes". On the other hand, "King Canute at the Seashore" is noted as a reminder of how humility is a good thing for anybody but especially those trusted with power, but the mistakes made by a noble-blooded youth who thought only of what he could do with his power brought suffering to many in "Phaeton". Even the Serenity Prayer is read as a reminder of how much peace humility can bring.

Stories:

  • The Emperor's New Clothes
  • King Canute at the Seashore
12 Generosity February 23, 1997 Plato learns that Annie and Zach are collecting canned goods for a homeless shelter, but their first priority is the rewards they'll get instead of helping the hungry. He tries to explain how true giving requires selflessness, as shown in the story of "Rocking-Horse Land" where it's done between friends, and how it can be more satisfactory than receiving by telling "Old Man Rabbit's Thanksgiving Dinner". "The Gift of the Magi" is read as a reminder that even the thought of attempting to give something helps since it is the thought that counts. Even the poem "Count That Day Lost" is read as a reminder of exactly what giving, in any form, is worth in life.

Stories:

  • Rocking-Horse Land
  • Old Man Rabbit's Thanksgiving Dinner
  • The Gift of the Magi
13 Perseverance March 2, 1997 Zach and Annie have been taking lessons in karate and guitar, respectively, but now decide they don't want to stay in them anymore. Plato tries to remind them of how rewarding persistence can be by telling the stories of "Scarface", about a Native American warrior who was rewarded based on how hard he tried for something he wanted after saving a god's son from giant vulture-like birds of prey, and "The Stars in the Sky", where a girl learned how pleasing staying with a goal was afterward. A Greek hero's story in "Odysseus and the Cyclops" proved how important tenacity is in times of trouble. Even the poem "You Mustn't Quit" shows how important perseverance is through life.

Stories:

  • Scarface
  • The Stars in the Sky
  • Odysseus and the Cyclops

Season 2: 1998[edit]

# Title Aired Summary
1 Trustworthiness February 15, 1998 Zach is excited that a college football player that he has as his role model will attend his school pep rally, so volunteers to help out in order to meet him. But he doesn't think cleaning up for the assembly is worth it, and is prepared to go back on his word. Meanwhile, Sock is reluctant to help Ari find his misplaced glasses as promised because of his fear of tunnels. Plato explains that character is shown by letting actions compare to words as shown in "The Bear and the Travellers", where a badger learned of his companion's nature in a bad time, and in "The Knights of the Silver Shield" where one was rewarded based on his choices on how to see his job completed.

Stories:

  • The Bear and the Travellers
  • Knights of the Silver Shield
2 Determination February 22, 1998 Zach and Annie take off on a biking trail, determined to complete it before sun down. But when Zach has an accident and sprains his ankle, he and Annie tell each other stories of determination such as the myth of Proteus and Menelaus and the true story of courageous Jinkyswoitmaya.

Stories:

  • Proteus and Menelaus
  • Jinkyswoitmaya
3 Integrity March 1, 1998 Annie gets more orders for her craft weather vanes than she can deliver right away, so rushes through them to sell them on time - then gets complaints about how they're dysfunctional. Plato encourages her to consider what the results show by telling "For Want of a Horseshoe Nail", where one incomplete task led to a remarkably high amount of trouble, and "Charlemagne and the Robber Knight", where an English king's thoughtfulness in how to deal with people proved life-saving.

Stories:

  • For Want of a Horseshoe Nail
  • Charlemagne and the Robber Knight
4 Gratitude March 8, 1998 Zach plans to invite a lot of classmates to his birthday party—more guests means more gifts!--until his parents tell him that they can only afford a small party for Zach's closest friends. Disappointed, Zach retreats to Plato's Peak where he hears tales on gratitude: "The Discontented Stonecutter", which warns that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence and "Cornelia's Jewels", where a proud mother reminds a snobbish rival that people are more important than riches.

Stories:

  • The Discontented Stonecutter
  • Cornelia's Jewels
5 Selflessness March 15, 1998 Annie's enthusiasm about her family's upcoming spring vacation doesn't last when she learns her mother wants her to be a part-time sitter for her little cousins. Plato tries to explain how helping out can bring rewards, as shown in "The Line of Golden Light", or should at least bring joy, as it did to a knight in "Saint George and the Dragon".

Stories:

  • The Line of Golden Light
  • Saint George and the Dragon
6 Honor March 22, 1998 Zach needs a 90 on his history test to get an A minus on his report card and just make the school honor roll. And it looks like he's done it...until he realizes his teacher added the points wrong and he only got an 87. If he tells, he'll lose the honor he wanted so badly to win. But the tales of "The Honest Woodsman" and President Abraham Lincoln help him realize there's a more important kind of honor at stake.

Stories:

  • The Honest Woodsman
  • Abraham Lincoln
7 Patience March 29, 1998 Annie volunteers to tutor a younger student in math, but grows openly frustrated with him when it doesn't turn out as easy as she hoped, then regrets her offer to help to begin with. Plato tries to convince her that patience can make a difference, just like it did with another teacher, Anne Sullivan, who was forced to test every bit of hers to help her pupil, Helen Keller. He also shows how swallowing impatience in front of others brings satisfaction in "How the Brazilian Beetles Got Their Coats".

Stories:

  • Anne Sullivan & Helen Keller
  • How the Brazilian Beetles Got Their Coats
8 Charity April 5, 1998 Annie and Zach are saddened to see some families in town don't have any heat or warm clothes for the cold winter, and wish someone could help. Plato explains how anyone can make a difference and even tells them the story of how a monk's giving to those in need was enough reward for him throughout his life in "The Emerald Lizard". The two are eager to donate many clothes to the families who need them, and Annie is even willing to offer her favorite coat - but soon wishes she never had done that. Hoping to bring out the satisfaction for her that everyone should feel after giving, Plato tells the story "Mr. Straw", where a poor man finds wealth through generosity to others.

Stories:

  • The Emerald Lizard
  • Mr. Straw
9 Leadership April 12, 1998 Zach doesn't think much of his football captain, until he's elected to the job himself and sees how hard it is to lead. Plato tries to encourage him how to make the job work by telling "The Tower to the Moon", where selflessness was needed to guide people through a task, and "The Gordian Knot", where the ability to think clearly was needed before any glory.

Stories:

  • The Tower to the Moon
  • The Gordian Knot
10 Citizenship April 19, 1998 Annie is disappointed that her family's vacation is postponed since her father has jury duty, and wonders why he simply doesn't skip it. Plato explains citizenship can reward good character, as shown in "The Stone in the Road" where those with and without it are repaid accordingly, and even if it doesn't, can make differences for the better, as a Roman demonstrates in "Cincinnatus" by leading when and how he believes he must during war.

Stories:

  • The Stone in the Road
  • Cincinnatus
11 Diligence April 26, 1998 Zach decides he wants to be a photographer. He is diligent in his study of photography, until the school newspaper offers him what he considers a thankless assignment taking pictures for their new classified ads section. Zach is disappointed. With guidance from Plato and Aurora, he realizes he should apply himself to this assignment with the same diligence he originally had for learning photography.
12 Moderation May 3, 1998 Annie wants to play baseball so works hard at it, but starts to spend too little time on schoolwork. Plato points out that involving too much in something doesn't mean it brings reward, as a creature learns in "The Spider's Two Feasts" where determination to take much forced him to make a decision he didn't handle well, and a farmer learns in "The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg", where working too hard for something and not thinking of anything else proved disappointing.

Stories:

  • The Spider's Two Feasts
  • The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg
13 Wisdom May 10, 1998 Faced with the prospect of attending a new school, Zach wonders whether he is wise enough to make new friends or handle his new, more difficult studies. A story told up at Plato's Peak, and a recap of his and Annie's past adventures, help him realize that he is wiser than he thought.

Season 3: 2000[edit]

# Title Aired Summary
1 Courage September 24, 2000 Zach is asked to deliver his father's film to the film laboratory, but is distracted on the way and chooses to go hiking first - then is trapped by a steep wall. Ari and Sock arrive with a rope after they find him, and while helping him, tell him the moralized version of the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk" (actually, replacing Jack with Zach) to help him face his obstacle - and his problem of admitting he missed the opportunity to do his work.

Stories:

  • Jack and the Beanstalk
2 Honesty October 1, 2000 Annie agrees to give Zach $15 if he'll paint her fence for her, but later is reluctant to pay up. Plato tells the story of "The Pied Piper" as a reminder of how those who don't keep their word usually end up paying a higher price for dishonor than they would otherwise.

Stories:

  • The Pied Piper
3 Work October 8, 2000 Annie chooses to build an electric motor for her science project but has a tough time with it so is ready to quit. Plato reminds her of a pair who wanted to build a machine but had to put a lot of effort into making the first airplane in "The Wright Brothers".

Stories:

  • The Wright Brothers
4 Perseverance October 15, 2000 Racing with Zach in the woods, Annie is quickly outrun and is unhappy enough about it to want to quit when she runs into Plato and the others. They remind her of another racer whose odds were against him but managed to win something even greater than a race when he persisted in "The Tortoise and the Hare".

Stories:

  • The Tortoise and the Hare
5 Friendship October 22, 2000 Zach's new track-teammate is so skilled, Zach thinks he has to compete with him rather than try to befriend him. Plato points out that friends are interesting people since they can come from anywhere, and proves it by telling the story of another pair of rivals who ended up friends in "Robin Hood and Little John".

Stories:

  • Robin Hood and Little John
6 Self-Discipline October 29, 2000 Zach spends too much time playing a video-game when he should be reading his scout manual, so isn't ready for their camp-out. Plato reminds him too much of a good thing can hurt, as shown in "The Dancing Horses of Sybaris", where a whole community ended up suffering because they put pleasure before work.

Stories:

  • The Dancing Horses of Sybaris
7 Responsibility November 5, 2000 Annie is left to tend her uncle and aunt's garden, but is distracted by an invitation to play ball with some friends, so neglects it badly. Plato recites the poem "The Pupil in Magic" as a reminder that not taking care of duties quickly leads to trouble, as learned by a magician's apprentice whose trick of transforming a broom to carry water for him caused chaos.
8 Gratitude November 12, 2000 Annie is glum when she gets a postcard from a New York friend and wishes she lived somewhere more interesting like New York. Plato points out that Spring Valley has its fair share of advantages and tells the story of "The Country Mouse and the City Mouse", where a creature becomes grateful for the plain and routine home she has for its safety.

Stories:

  • The Country Mouse and the City Mouse
9 Moderation November 19, 2000 When a new TV channel showing all the most popular movies airs, Zach promises his family he'll keep doing well in his work at school and at home if he watches it, but is unable to keep his promise. Plato reminds him that moderation is a good way to live, proved in "The Cat and The Parrot", where a greedy animal gained nothing but trouble from his indulgence.

Stories:

  • The Cat and The Parrot
10 Humility November 26, 2000 After boasting about how good she is at snowboarding, Annie feels bold enough to take a dare to ride down Deadmans Bluff, without thinking of the dangers it might bring. Nobody can convince her to change her mind, until Plato tells the story of "Pecos Bill and Slue-Foot Sue", where a foolhardy risk led to a bad situation.

Stories:

  • Pecos Bill and Slue-Foot Sue
11 Integrity December 3, 2000 Zach's dad brings a model replica of an artifact from Egypt for him to use on his history project, but Zach is embarrassed that it is fake and claims it is a real artifact - then trouble occurs when his teacher wonders if he can put it on display at a museum. Plato reminds him that exaggerating tall tales never pay off, as another found out in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" when he wasn't believed even when he was truthful since he had a habit of lying.

Stories:

  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf
12 Compassion: Part 1 December 10, 2000 Annie is elected to be president of the drama club just in time for the Christmas pageant, but soon becomes obsessed with how much money will be made so forgets about the point of the message the play is trying to send (she tries to make a play called I'm Dreaming of a Galactic Christmas when they always put on A Christmas Carol). She has several confusing dreams in which she's taken on the role of Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, with Zack in the role of Bob Cratchit, Plato in the role of Jacob Marley, Aristotle in the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Socrates in the role of the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Aurora in the role of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Stories:

  • A Christmas Carol
13 Compassion: Part 2 December 17, 2000 Annie mentions her dreams to Plato, who reads A Christmas Carol to explain what they tell her - and remind that throughout the year, but especially at Christmas, giving to others is the greatest gift to give and the greatest reward.

Stories:

  • A Christmas Carol

Cast[edit]

Principal characters[edit]

Special appearances[edit]

Adventures from the Book of Virtues featured prominent celebrity voice talents, with 32 such recognizable voices appearing on the show's 39 episodes, including the following:

Home releases[edit]

Turner Home Entertainment, under license to PBS Home Video, released various videotapes of the series during 1995-1996. They were later re-released through Warner Home Video and Paramount Home Entertainment.

Jeffrey L. Bewkes stated he would like to re-release the DVD titles through Warner Home Video if the company gets the rights with the TV show or else they'll lose the deal to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

During 2008 and 2010, PorchLight Entertainment released various DVDs of the series.

Funding[edit]

Funding for this program is provided in part by:

References[edit]

External links[edit]