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Adventures from the Book of Virtues – The Emerald Lizard

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Linda | 03/02/2016 | 1565 Videos

Adventures from the Book of Virtues – The Emerald Lizard…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 felt wealth through generosity to others.

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. The show stopped airing on September 7, 2003 on WITF; The website was retired in November 2005.  The show 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 created by Bruce D. Johnson, music by J.A.C Redford.

Plot:  The story features two schoolchildren, Zack and Annie, who have been 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.

Principal characters

Zach Nichols – Pamela Adlon (Seasons 1-2), Chio Su-Ping (Seasons 1-2, Singaporean Version), Andrew Francis (Season 3)

Annie Redfeather – Kath Soucie (Seasons 1-2), Denise Tan (Seasons 1-2, Singaporian Version), Adrienne Carter (Season 3)

Plato, the bison – Kevin Michael Richardson (Seasons 1-2), Joseph Murray (Seasons 1-2, Singaporean Version), Christopher Judge (Season 3)

Aurora, the red-tailed hawk – Kath Soucie (Seasons 1-2), Denise Tan (Seasons 1-2, Singaporean Version), Gillian Barber (Season 3)

Aristotle, the Prairie dog – Jim Cummings (Seasons 1-2), Joseph Murray (Seasons 1-2, Singaporean Version), Lee Tockar (Season 3)

Socrates, the bobcat – Frank Welker (Seasons 1-2), Joseph Murray (Seasons 1-2, Singaporean Version), Michael Donovan (Season 3)

Special appearances

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:

Edward Asner – Daniel

Kathy Bates – Girls’ Mother

Scott Bakula – Elbagast

Ed Begley, Jr. – William Tel, Alec

Dean Cain – King Charlemagne

Jim Cummings – Pythias, Camel, Ox, Genghis Khan, Mordecai

Tim Curry – King Minos, Albrecht Gessler

Olivia d’Abo – Anne Sullivan

Daniel Davis – Horse

Pam Dawber – Liese

Michael Dorn – Apollo

Shelley Duvall – Fairy

John Forsythe – Daedalus

Henry Gibson – Dick’s Please

Joanna Gleason – Della

Mark Hamill – Theseus

Mark Harmon – Ulysses

Tippi Hedren – Madame Sofroni

Charlton Heston – Cincinnatus

Michael Horse – Strong Wind

Arte Johnson – John’s Please

Dean Jones – Chauncey

Andrew Lawrence – Ben Rogers

Matthew Lawrence – Tom Sawyer

Malcolm McDowell – Indra

Ricardo Montalbán – Brother Pedro, Merchant

Esai Morales – Guillermo

Pat Morita – Mr. Straw

Kathy Najimy – Old Woman

Brock Peters – King Ahasuerus

Lou Diamond Phillips – Martin

Paula Poundstone – Jinn

Clive Revill – King Midas

Julian Sands – Henry

Chris Sarandon – Jim

George Segal – Eli

Charles Shaughnessy – Charles

Kath Soucie – Aunt Polly, Queen Vashti

Wes Studi – Scarface

Joan Van Ark – Queen Esther

Frank Welker – Aegeus, Minotaur, Dharma, Mongal Dog, The Man, The Dog

Elijah Wood – Icarus

Alfre Woodard – Harriet Tubman

Michael York – Androcles

Irene Bedard – Morning Light, Sharp Eyes

Paige O’Hara – Princess

Home releases

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

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