Super Why!

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Super Why!
Sw super why.jpg
GenreChildren
Educational
Created by
Voices of
Theme music composerSteve D'Angelo
Terry Tompkins
Opening theme"Who's Got The Power?"
Ending theme"Hip Hip Hooray" (Instrumental, S1-2)
"Super Readers to the Rescue" (Instrumental, S3)
Composers
  • Lorenzo Castelli (seasons 2-3)
  • Jeff Morrow (seasons 2-3)
  • Steve D'Angelo (entire run)
  • Terry Tompkins (entire run)
Country of originUnited States
Canada
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes103 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Angela C. Santomero
  • Samantha Freeman Alpert
  • Steven DeNure
  • Anne Loi (S2-3)
Running time30 minutes
Production companies
DistributorPBS (US)
Decode Enterprises (S1-2)
DHX Distribution (S2)
Release
Original network
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Original releaseSeptember 3, 2007 (2007-09-03) –
May 12, 2016 (2016-05-12)
Chronology
Related shows
External links
Website

Super Why! (stylized as Super WHY!) is a computer animated children's educational series created by Angela C. Santomero. The series was produced by New York City-based Out of the Blue Enterprises, and Toronto-based DHX Media (originally through its Decode Entertainment division for seasons one and two).[1] Originally created as a stop-motion pilot in 1999 for Nick Jr, the show debuted on September 3, 2007 on PBS Kids and ended on May 12, 2016 with a total of 103 episodes.[2][3]

Plot[edit]

The show is set in Storybook Village, where the title character, Whyatt Beanstalk, lives with his friends Woofster, Littlest Pig, Red Riding Hood, and Princess Pea. In each of the episodes, one of the main characters (sometimes two characters, or even all five) has a "super big problem", a "super big question", and a "super big mystery". The main characters then discuss their problem, question and mystery at the Book Club, agreeing to look in a perfect book to solve the problem, question and mystery.

The goal of the Super Readers is to follow the storyline of the book to solve the problem, question and mystery. As they progress through the events of the story, they encounter various obstacles, which can be solved by applying their literacy skills to change the story. As they overcome each of these obstacles, they are rewarded with red glittery "Super Letters" that form the solution to both the "super big problem" and "super big question", aswell as the "super big mystery."

At the conclusion of the adventure, the Super Readers fly back to the Book Club. The Super Letters are put onto the giant computer screen and are spelled out to show the "Super Story Answer." Then one of the Super Readers gives the reason why that particular word or phrase serves as the solution to the Super Big Problem, the Super Big Question and the Super Big Mystery.[citation needed]

Episodes[edit]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
165January 6, 2008 (2008-01-06)February 26, 2011 (2011-02-26)
215September 4, 2011 (2011-09-04)October 27, 2012 (2012-10-27)
323August 2, 2015 (2015-08-02)May 28, 2016 (2016-05-28)

Characters[edit]

  • Whyatt Beanstalk / Super Why (voiced by: Nicholas Castel Vanderburgh (season 1), Nicholas Kaegi (season 2), Johnny Orlando (season 3) - The host of the series and the leader of the group of characters who become the "Super Readers", Whyatt is an olive-skinned, blue-eyed, brunet boy who wears a dark blue polo shirt with green stripe patterns and khaki pants. In the episode "Jack and the Beanstalk", it is revealed that Whyatt's older brother is Jack, the protagonist of the English folktale of the same name. Whyatt lives with his mother Mrs. Beanstalk, who writes stories, and his father Mr. Beanstalk who illustrates them, along with his baby sister, Joy. Jack appears in some episodes but is generally "away at college." When Whyatt arrives at the book club, he introduces himself, saying "Whyatt here!". His super reader form is Super Why. In this form, he has a green mask, pair of grayish blue and gray turbo sneakers, a blue cape, gold belt around his waist, grass green skin-tight garment, and blue briefs. His symbols are a blue book and a question mark and his signature colors are green and blue. He has "the power to read", which focuses on vocabulary. In episodes where either he alone or all the members together are the focus of the problem in Storybrook Village, Red asks him what the problem is. Otherwise, he asks one of the other members.
  • Littlest Pig / Alpha Pig (voiced by: Zachary Bloch (seasons 1 & 2), Samuel Faraci (season 3)) – He is referred to in the credits as "The Littlest Pig," he introduces himself at the book club as "P is for Pig!" but throughout the show, he is simply known as "Pig". Pig enjoys pretending and dressing up like his father, a construction pig. He is pink and generally wears a hard hat, with a toolkit belt and safety goggles. His super reader form is Alpha Pig. In this form, he wears a blue-violet short sleeved outfit with orange accents, an orange belt with a triangle on the center, an orange hard hat with a purple triangle on the center, safety goggles, yellow cape and orange sneakers with yellow and brown accents. His toolbox has various equipment in it. His symbol is a triangle and his signature colors are blue-violet and orange. His "alphabet power" focuses on the alphabet.
  • Little Red Riding Hood / Wonder Red (voiced by: Siera Florindo (seasons 1–2), T.J. McGibbon (season 3) - She is referred to as "Red" in the TV series. The title character from the fairy tale, she only refers to herself as "Red Riding Hood" and is a freckle-faced pale skinned brunette/redhead who wears a red hooded long sleeved outfit and skirt and red roller skates as well as a red flat cap. When she is introduced, she says "Red Riding Hood rolling in!" When turned into her super reader form, Wonder Red, her attire becomes a purple sleeveless one-piece outfit with red trim. Her skates are turned purple and her main item is the Wonder Words Basket and her symbol is a spiral and her signature colors are red and purple. She has "word power", which focuses on rhyming and word families like "OP", "AT", "UN", "UMP", "OG", etc. In the episode "Judith's Happy Chanukah", it is revealed that Red is Jewish, as she invites Whyatt over to her Grandma's house for Hanukkah.
  • Princess Pea / Princess Presto (voiced by: Tajja Isen) – Princess Pea was named after the children's story "The Princess and the Pea"; it is shown in the episode The Princess and The Pea that the princess in that story was Pea's mother and the prince in that story was her father. However, in this case, "Pea" is her surname. She is dark skinned, with large green eyes and curly black hair, wears a lilac princess dress and loves to dance. When she enters, she says, "Princess Pea at your service!" Her super reader form is Princess Presto and in this form, she pulls her long hair into a bun, and she wears a sleeveless pink dress with green accents and a purple star in the middle, pink crown, pink evening gloves with green accents, pink sparkly transparent cape, and pink shoes. Her symbol is a star, which matches her Magic Spelling Wand and her signature colors are pink and green. She has "spelling power", which focuses on spelling.
  • Woofster (voiced by: Joanne Vannicola) – Woofster is a puppy dog with light brown spots. He also lives with Whyatt and his family. When he turns into his super reader form, he has dictionary power and can find the meaning to any word. His Super Reader form has a blue cape and a collar with a small red dictionary, and allows him the power to talk like persons also and his symbol is a dog bone and his signature colors are blue and red. He is also declared the fifth Super Reader. He officially became a Super Reader in the episode "Woofster Finds a Home". He cuts the "Super You" part after Whyatt's transformation in the series' second and third season.

Reception[edit]

Super Why! is received very positively on Common Sense Media, where reviewer Emily Ashby rates the show 4/5 in the categories positive messages, positive role models, and educational value. Ashby's review additionally states while extremely mild sequences of suspense and peril do occur and how the show partnered with Post Consumer Brands for a branded cereal, there are very low amounts of violence/scariness and consumerism, as well as no "sexy stuff", profanity, or drinking, drugs, and smoking at all. Ashby additionally credits the merit of the show to its usage of classic children's fairy tales and the usage of characters from them, specifically the Three Little Pigs.[4]

Susan Stewart, a reviewer for The New York Times, criticized the show for taking classic fairy tales with traditionally dark lessons, specifically the Three Little Pigs and Hansel and Gretel, and morph them into etiquette lessons. Stewart also criticized the use of interactive questions for viewers to answer and their length, specifically questions like "what comes after the letter E?". Despite its flaws, Stewart does state that the show is brilliant in educational value.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Official Program FAQ". Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  2. ^ Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. pp. 303–304. ISBN 9781476672939.
  3. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20000816033018/http://www.cuppacoffee.com:80/portfolio/series.htm
  4. ^ "Super WHY! - TV Review". www.commonsensemedia.org. February 20, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  5. ^ Stewart, Susan (September 10, 2007). "And They All Read Happily Ever After". The New York Times (in American English). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 7, 2021.

External links[edit]