Super Why!

Super Why!

Infobox television
show_name = Super Why!


caption = The cast of "Super Why!" (clockwise from right:) Super Why, Wonder Red, Alpha Pig and Princess Presto.
format = Children's television series/Education/CGI Animated
runtime = 24 minutes
creators = Angela C. Santomero and Samantha Freeman Alpert
country = USA, CAN
network = USA: PBS CAN: CBC UK: Nick Jr.
first_aired = September 3, 2007
last_aired = Present
num_episodes = 36 (32 aired through 9/4/08)
website = http://www.pbskids.org/superwhy
imdb_id = 1105469

Infobox TV ratings
show_name = Super Why!
usa_tv = TV-Y E/I
can_tv = C
uk_tv = U

"Super Why!" is a 2007 CGI animated show developed by Angela C. Santomero, co-creator of the Nickelodeon popular pre-school kids' show "Blue's Clues", and Samantha Freeman Alpert, a former executive at Nick. "Super Why!", which airs on PBS Kids in the USA, Nick Jr. in Great Britain and Kids' CBC in Canada, is aimed at children from ages 3 to 6 and teaches critical reading skills such as the alphabet, spelling, pronunciation, writing, phonics, and word usage. The show is produced by New York City-based Out of the Blue Enterprises and Toronto-based DHX Media through its Decode Entertainment division. The show debuted on PBS stations around the USA on Labor Day (September 3), 2007.

toryline

The title character introduces himself as "Whyatt", and welcomes the viewers to "Storybrook Village", a place where all fairy-tale characters reside. Then Whyatt hears a ringtone from his "Super Duper Computer", which resembles a small red PDA. He answers the call and discovers that one of the other characters has a "Super Big Problem". After investigating the nature of the problem, Whyatt summons the "Super Readers", sending out the call: "Calling all Super Readers! To the Book Club!" The four characters--Whyatt, P is for Pig, Red Riding Hood, and Princess Pea--then appear in front of the aforementioned Book Club, which is a building made of books. Whyatt then tells the viewer to "say YOUR name", including them among the Super Readers.

Once the characters are assembled, Whyatt's Book Club Mainframe, the main computer, is activated. He plugs in his Super Duper Computer and uploads data about the problem. Meanwhile, the character with the problem stands behind a small podium made of dominos and explains the situation.

Once the problem is discussed, Whyatt states, "When we have a problem, we look...in a book!" Pig wonders, "Which book should we look in?" and in response, Princess Pea casts a magic spell to summon the appropriate book:

:"Peas and Carrots, Carrots and Peas."::"Book come out, please, please, please!"

The book then descends from the shelves, and Whyatt, inviting the audience to read along, summarizes the problem faced by the book's characters, drawing a parallel to the problem the Super Readers are trying to solve.

The goal of the Super Readers is to follow the storyline to solve the problem. As they progress through the events of the story, they encounter obstacles, which can be solved by applying their literacy skills to change the story (for instance, changing the prince in "The Frog Prince" back into a frog because the princess liked him better that way). As they overcome these obstacles, they are rewarded with red glittery "Super Letters". These Super Letters are then uploaded into the Super Duper Computer, eventually forming the word(s) that make up the solution to the Super Big Problem. The audience members are encouraged to look for Super Letters throughout the story, and to identify them when they appear.

Characters

The program is centered around four characters known as the Super Readers.

* Whyatt Beanstalk - The leader of the group of characters who become the "Super Readers", Whyatt is a six-year-old olive-skinned, brown-haired alter-ego who wears a polo shirt and khaki pants. In the episode "Jack and the Beanstalk" (Episode #104), we discover that Whyatt's older brother is Jack, the hero of the English folk tale of the same name. Whyatt lives with his mother, who writes stories, and his father who illustrates them, along with his brother and baby sister Joy. When he introduces himself at the Book Club, he says, "Whyatt here!"
* Little Red Riding Hood - The title character from the fairy tale, she only refers to herself as "Red Riding Hood" and is a freckle-faced brunette who wears a red dress and red roller skates as well as a red flat cap. When she is introduced, she says "Red Riding Hood rolling in!"
* Princess Pea - Princess Pea was named after the children's story "The Princess and the Pea"; we learn in the episode based on said story (Episode 116) 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 a girl of biracial descent who wears a lavender princess dress and loves to dance. When she enters, she says, "Princess Pea at your service!"
* Pig - Referred to in the credits as "The Littlest Pig,", he introduces himself as "P is for Pig," but throughout the show he is simply known as "Pig." As we learn in the setup for the episode "The Ant and the Grasshopper", Pig is the youngest of "The Three Little Pigs" and loves to pretend he is a construction worker. He always wears a hard hat and overalls.

The characters live in Storybrook Village, an imaginary realm where storybook characters from many children's fairy tales interact with each other. Storybrook Village is situated in a live-action library and is accessible through a hidden panel denoted by an invisible question mark which Whyatt can activate - when Whyatt transforms into Super Why, he holds a pen (the "Why-Writer") in the shape of this same question mark.

Transformations

Just before entering the book, the Super Readers all "transform". They put their arms in (the audience members are asked to do the same), then transform with the super hero cry, "Super Readers... to the Rescue!"

* The Littlest Pig transforms into Alpha Pig with "Alphabet Power". He becomes a superhero construction worker with goggles and a hard hat, as well as a special alphabet toolbox that he uses to construct letters of the alphabet.

* Red Riding Hood transforms into Wonder Red with "Word Power". Her uniform is a spandex leotard and inline skates. Using her tool — a Wonder Word Basket — she generates rhymes to create objects needed in the story.

* Princess Pea transforms into Princess Presto with "Spelling Power", a fairy godmother-esque princess who uses her Magic Spelling Wand to write letters, building on phonetic principles to spell relevant words.

* Whyatt transforms into Super Why with "The Power to Read". His tool is the "Why Writer", a light pen that not only writes words but also highlights when Super Why reads with the audience.He dresses in a green spandex leotard ith a blue underwear.

* Finally, Super Why acknowledges the audience member as "Super You, with the Power to Help!" Thus the audience is given a chance at interaction with the Super Readers.

The Super Readers then board their "Why Flyers", which are vehicles they use to fly into the book to begin their Super Story Adventure.

The Super Story Adventure

The Super Story Adventure starts out by reading the introduction to a storybook. Some of the stories, however, can follow little of the well known plot of the original story. An example of this is the Three Billy Goats Gruff, in which the main characters (three goats and a troll) and the basic setting (a bridge) are almost the only parts of the original story to be shown and the story shown in the episode varies greatly from the well known plot of the original, which in many cases is darker in tone.

Super Why uses the plot of the book as a comparison to the Super Big Problem to show cause, effect, and evidence behind the chosen solution. There are up to four methods of problem solving that are used in every Super Story Adventure.

* Alpha Pig usually starts out by having the audience recite the letters of the alphabet as he builds them with his Alphabet Tools. He sings a variant of the alphabet song called "ABC, Sing with Me." Sometimes, he then encourages the audience to look for letters in a certain word clue. Other times, he builds stepping stones or stairs out of the alphabet, with a few pauses to ask the audience what letter comes next. When he is successful, Alpha Pig shouts out, "Lickity Letters!" ("Lovely Letters! in the UK version). He thanks the audience by saying, "Let's give ourselves a big thumbs up!"
* Princess Presto uses her magic spelling wand to spell out a clue that will bring the Super Readers closer to the ultimate solution. "Wands up," is her command as she uses phonics to help readers identify letters in the word she attempts to spell. She isn't always correct, but she acknowledges her mistakes with the exclamations, "Oh my peas!" or "Split peas" However, when she is correct, she says, "Spectacular spelling," and thanks the audience by saying, "Let's take a bow!"
* Wonder Red uses the power of her Wonder Word Basket to change certain words into other words that rhyme or sound phoenetically the same in order to alter the story and bring the Super Readers closer to their goal in song. She typically identifies the ending letters of the word and changes the first one or two letters in order to find out how to keep the super readers on the path to success. If she is successful, she shouts out, "Wonder-iffic! You were terrific!"
* Super Why uses the power to read and his Why Writer to "zap" certain words in a sentence of the book in order to change the story and create an alternate ending. This alternate ending is usually similar to the solution of the Super Big Problem. The words that are zapped are replaced by words written by the Why Writer. These replaced words can be opposites or complete alternates. Super Why will then ask the audience if that particular word that was used as a replacement actually helped the storybook character in peril. If so, he says, "Super job, Super Readers!"

olving the problem

At the conclusion of the Super Story Adventure, all of the Super Letters collected through the episode are plugged into the Book Club mainframe after the Super Readers resume their actual identities. The Super Letters are spelled out to show the "Super Story Answer."

"But why?" asks Whyatt. Then one of the Super Readers gives the reason why that particular word or phrase serves as the solution to the Super Big Problem. Once the solution is reached, it is used to wrap up the original problem. With that resolution, Whyatt shouts out, "Hip hip hooray! The Super Readers save the day!"

Episodes

eason 1

* "The Three Little Pigs" - Pig is playing with blocks, but Jill keeps knocking them down.
* "Hansel and Gretel" - Red eats one of Peter Piper's peppers without asking, and he gets mad.
* "Humpty Dumpty" - Pig climbs to the top of a slide but is too afraid to come back down.
* "Jack and the Beanstalk" - Whyatt's little sister Joy won't stop crying.
* "The Tortoise and the Hare" - Red and Princess Pea can't decide how to win a potato sack race: go fast or go slow?
* "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" - Whyatt makes a mess out of his big brother Jack's room.
* "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" - Whyatt hears his baby sister Joy say her first word, but nobody believes him.
* "Rapunzel" - Princess Pea's kitten is stuck in a tree, and she doesn't know how to get it down.
* "The Ugly Duckling" - Princess Pea's important recital is coming soon and she wants to make sure she does her best.
* "The Elves and the Shoemaker" - Whyatt is trying to identify his secret admirer.
* "The Ant and the Grasshopper" - Pig has gone on a picnic but forgets to pack a snack.
* "The Little Red Hen" - Red is gathering apples, but none of her friends will help her.
* "The Frog Prince" - Princess Pea and Spider want to play together, but want to play different things.
* "Little Miss Muffet" - Red wants to play with Little Boy Blue, but he keeps running away from her.
* "Cinderella" - Red is invited to a party but doesn't have a pretty dress like the other girls who will be in attendance.
* "The Princess and the Pea" - Princess Pea is worried she won't be able to pass the test to gain her own Princess crown.
* "Little Red Riding Hood" - Wolfy is having fun scaring Pig, but Pig isn't enjoying it, and he doesn't know what to do.
* "Tom Thumb": Pig wants to go on an adventure by himself, but his brothers won't let him.
* "Little Bo Peep" - Whyatt can't find Mister Lizard anywhere.
* "The Emperor's New Clothes" - Jill wants Pig to wear a bucket on his head for a game, but Pig doesn't want to.
* "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" - Whyatt tries to find out why his family is acting sneaky.
* "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" - Gramma will not let Red into the kitchen to get some red velvet cake.
* "Thumbelina" - Pig loses his favorite stuffed animal before a sleepover.
* "Goldilocks and the Three Bears: The Mystery" - Whyatt investigates who broke a guitar string on Jack's guitar after he was blamed for it. This is the only episode thus far to use the same characters in a story using a different format.
* "Tiddalick The Frog" - In this Earth Day themed episode, Whyatt wastes water.

eason 2

* "Beauty and the Beast" - Princess Pea does not understand why Wolfy is so angry.
* "Rumpelstiltskin" - Princess Pea's father does not have time to help her tie up her skates.
* "Sleeping Beauty" - The Three Little Pigs want Princess Pea to play pirates with them, but she would rather have a tea party, and vice versa.
* "The Foolish Wishes" - Whyatt can't decide whether to buy a race car, a bubble potion or a comic book.
* "The Goose and the Golden Eggs" - Red wants to keep all the apples she has for herself, but her friends want her to share.
* "The Magic Porridge Pot" - Pig can't stop his toy robot when it goes haywire.
* "Pinocchio" - After accidentally knocking over Mister Lizard's birthday cake, Whyatt tells a lie and feels guilty about it.
* "Momotarō The Peach Boy" - Pig and his brothers argue over how their new fort should be built.

These episodes will premiere the week of October 13th:
* "The Gingerbread Boy" - Poppa Pig warns Pig about going very fast at the playground.
* "The Ghost Who Was Afraid of Halloween" - In this Halloween-themed episode, Pig is too scared to go trick-or-treating with his friends.
* "The Stars in The Sky" - After her mother says that it's impossible to play inside a rainbow, Princess Pea and her friends find out why.

Cast

Main cast

*Wesley Singerman as Whyatt Beanstalk/Super Why
*Zachary Bloch as Littlest Pig/Alpha Pig
*Elissa Knight as Red Riding Hood/Wonder Red
*Tajja Isen as Princess Pea/Princess Presto

Additional voices

*Ryan Ehrenworth
*Lucas Casale
*Dylan Everett
*Patricia Gedge
*Bianca Pisciola as Audience Kid
*Adrian Truss
*Dallas Jokic
*Graeme Jokic
*Catherine Disher

Licensing

As of 2008, PBS Kids' Home video has produced DVDs of select episodes, while individual episodes are available for download on amazon.com and iTunes, costume supplier Disguise Inc. has Super Why Halloween costumes for each of the four main characters for toddlers and younger children, and Grossett & Dunlap will publish books based on the episodes. In addition, Learning Curve Toys will introduce a line of toys based on the series in 2009.

External links

* [http://www.worldscreen.com/newscurrent.php?filename=blue031507.htm WorldScreen.com "Blue's Clues Co-Creator Sets up Kids' Content Venture"]
* [http://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/Super-WHY.html Common Sense Media Super Why! Review]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/10/arts/television/10supe.html?ei=5088&en=3c2d0e3e56caa4e3&ex=1347076800&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1190400354-FTgnJzvu3y34t/kNKof8ZA New York Times Review of Super Why]


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