Super WHY!: Around the World Adventure includes: Around the World Adventure; Naila and the Magic Map; and Jasper's Cowboy Wish.
Designed to encourage reading comprehension skills, this computer-animated PBS Kids series centers on a more-relatable-than-usual superhero. In his civilian guise, Whyatt is an ordinary boy who lives in Storybrook Village. His alter ego, Super Why, uses reading power to solve mysteries alongside his friends, three Super Readers with fairy-tale-inspired personas: Alpha Pig (alphabet power), Wonder Red (word power), and Princess Presto (spelling power). His canine companion, Puppy, also gets into the act when he transforms into Woofster (dictionary power). With their outsized heads and doll-like eyes, they look like a cross between the cast of The Family Guy
and The Powerpuff Girls
. As a team, they ride flying machines that allow them to enter books and interact with the characters. These literary experiences teach them how to deal with similar situations at home, and when they get into a jam, they spell out words to create helpful tools, like the R-O-P-E they use to escape a pool of quicksand. In these season-two episodes, the gang circumnavigates the globe to find the home of a long-distance friend ("Around the World Adventure"), search for hidden treasure in Egypt ("Naila and the Magic Map"), and teach a young man how to be a cowboy ("Jasper's Cowboy Wish"). Most of the lessons are easy to follow, though a multisyllable word like hieroglyphics
may prove too advanced for some preschoolers (the Super Readers clearly define it as a pictorial language). Extra features offer three music videos plus DVD-ROM games and printable coloring pages. --Kathleen C. Fennessy