Reading Rainbow

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PBS (ended 2006)

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  • Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin

    Full Episode

    S 15 : Ep 5 - 10/11/96

    Music and orchestras are profiled in this tuneful show. The episode soon gets rhythmic when LeVar introduces the viewers to the theatrical percussion group, Stomp. Gregory Hines reads Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin, a counting story that mentions all the different types of instruments that are played in bands and orchestras and the kinds of groups they make based on many play at once.moreless
  • Someplace Else

    Full Episode

    S 15 : Ep 4 - 10/10/96

    LeVar is in his travel room where he has a collection of maps. He shares the wonders of traveling across the United States and seeing all the different sites, as well as exploring the excitement of using maps. Carol Kane reads a tale about a lady who decides to visit her children all over the country, but never stays long because of a need to be "someplace else."moreless
  • Hotel Animal

    Full Episode

    S 15 : Ep 3 - 10/9/96

    Big and small is looked at in different ways. John Cunningham reads a story about a lizard couple who go on vacation, only to find that the hotel they booked is much more equipped to service large animals, so they end up sleeping in a dollhouse.moreless
  • Bread Is for Eating

    Full Episode

    S 15 : Ep 2 - 10/8/96

    How all different types of bread are made, and how just about every culture has some form of bread, is explored in this episode.
  • Always My Dad

    Full Episode

    S 15 : Ep 1 - 10/7/96

    BJ Crosby narrates the story of a young girl and her brothers, who spend the summer with their grandparents while both their parents work at jobs out of town, and how their father visits whenever he can.moreless
  • How Much Is a Million?

    Full Episode

    S 14 : Ep 5 - 4/12/96

    Using New York once again, LeVar takes a stab at a vast array of numbers: How much food is delivered in a stadium? How many tickets are counted? How many people are expected to come and watch a football game? LeVar even takes the viewers on a tour of a factory where millions of crayons are made every year.

    Nick Sullivan, along with a curious of children, read How Much Is a Million?. In the book, they explore how to measure large sums like million, billion, and trillion, and how they would be explained in different terms, like how long would it take you to count up that high, how big a gold fish bowl should be to hold that many fish, and so on.moreless
  • Owen

    Full Episode

    S 14 : Ep 4 - 4/11/96

    It's easy to get flashbacks while watching Reading Rainbow. Now it's LeVar's turn, as he gets in touch with visions of "his boyhood." Matthew Broderick reads Owen, about a little mouse who's very attached to his security blanket and doesn't want to give it up, even if it means he will be teased when he starts school.moreless
  • How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

    Full Episode

    S 14 : Ep 3 - 4/10/96

    LeVar and a friend point up that following recipes and cooking foods tend very much to be science experiments. They work on recipes which include lasagna made with rice, a marinara sauce, and apple raisin muffins.

    Helen Mirren reads How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, a tale of a lady who goes to elaborate lengths to get all the ingredients to make a pie after she finds her local grocery store closed.moreless
  • Uncle Jed's Barber Shop

    Full Episode

    S 14 : Ep 2 - 4/9/96

    LeVar visits his favorite barbershop for a trim, and reads the featured book while waiting his turn. Regina Taylor tells the story of how Uncle Jed, who had a dream of owning his own barbershop and kept saving up despite several financial setbacks, including the bank crash at the start of the Great Depression, finally achieved his goal at the age of 79.moreless
  • Fly Away Home

    Full Episode

    S 14 : Ep 1 - 4/8/96

    Homelessness is discussed as families have lost jobs and homes through tragic circumstances. One family, who lost their home in a fire and now reside in a shelter, is profiled.

    Daniel Saltzman reads Fly Away Home, the story of a young boy and his father who secretly live at the airport after the father lost his job and they became homeless when the boy's mother died, so they couldn't pay their rent. The little boy finds a lost bird flying around the terminal and helps it get back outside.moreless
  • Archibald Frisby

    Full Episode

    S 13 : Ep 5 - 10/6/95

    LeVar gets in his share of scientific method while at an amusement park. He answers questions by observing and using trial and error. Along the way, we learn how different kinds of scientists find answers to their own questions.

    Arnold Stang reads the featured tale about a young boy, obsessed with science and mathematics, whose mother sends him to summer camp to help him improve his social skills, but his scientific knowledge helps him learn even more, and makes him into a camp hero when he figures out how to win the softball game by calculating trajectories.moreless
  • The Sign Painter's Dream

    Full Episode

    S 13 : Ep 4 - 10/5/95

    LeVar is back in New York (as he always seems to be), this time on Broadway. It's a sign mecca, and part of this program shows the making of a huge advertisement. Jamie Farr tells the story about a cranky sign painter who has a revelation about his job when he's asked to commission a sign for free as a good gesture.moreless
  • Alejandro's Gift

    Full Episode

    S 13 : Ep 3 - 10/4/95

    LeVar visits Indian Canyons to learn how Native American Indians lived near a desert oasis, and why water is such a precious thing for our planet. Francisco Rivela reads Alejandro's Gift, a story about a man who lives in the desert and decides to build an oasis for the animals that come to his garden to drink, but run away when he tries to be friendly.moreless
  • The Wonderful Towers of Watts

    Full Episode

    S 13 : Ep 1 - 10/2/95

    LeVar visits the suburb of Watts in L.A. California to talk to some of the young people in the area and find out how they are trying to change the negative image of the town due to incident like the Watts riots in 1964.

    Angela Bassett reads a true story of a man who worked in a ceramic dishware company, and brought home broken scraps of pottery to create his own massive sculpture that he spent years building that eventually became the Watts Towers.moreless
  • Ruth Law Thrills a Nation

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 10 - 10/14/94

    Once again the show looks into firsts in air travel, recounting great pilots such as Bessie Coleman, Amelia Earhart and the featured book's heroine, Ruth Law. Linda Lavin narrates the story of Ruth Law, who traveled from Chicago to New York City in a single engine airplane, without benefit of headlights to keep the weight down, in the early 20th century, in two days.moreless
  • My Shadow

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 9 - 10/13/94

    Shadow art is looked at, as LeVar interviews an artist who creates brilliant shadow puppetry with his hands. Robert Guillaume reads the poem My Shadow, by Robert Louis Stephenson, about how shadows are cast by light and are reflections of our image.moreless
  • Stellaluna

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 8 - 10/12/94

    Bats are explored in this episode, showing the different kinds and their natural habitats.

    Anne Jackson reads Stellaluna, about a baby fruit bat who gets separated from her mother and accidentally falls into a bird's nest, and gets adopted by the mother bird.moreless
  • Hail to Mail

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 7 - 10/11/94

    Al Roker reads the story about how mail is delivered all around the world by following a letter that keeps getting forwarded every time it misses reaching the addressee, who is moving around on a long term trip.moreless
  • The Lotus Seed

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 6 - 10/10/94

    Young people who emigrated to the United States from Asian countries are interviewed and discuss having to learn a new language and fitting in with other children their age while dealing with language and cultural barriers. Rona Figueroa reads the story of The Lotus Seed, about a woman who flees her native country during wartimes and manages to save only one memento, a lotus seed given to her by her mother from the garden she tended for the emperor.moreless
  • Appelemondo's Dreams

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 5 - 10/7/94

    Creativity is the theme as LeVar spends the day painting a mural and other artwork. Michael Learned tells the story of Appelemondo, a boy whose daydreams were so vivid that they could be seen developing above his head, and how his friends learned how to capture the dreams to make beautiful paintings to decorate their town.moreless
  • Once There Was a Tree

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 4 - 10/6/94

    There is still use to a tree stump, as the feature book entails. Eli Wallach reads the story about the lifetime of a tree, and how different animals and people made use of the tree during its many stages, from sapling to tall tree to a cut down stump.moreless
  • Summer

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 3 - 10/5/94

    Not just summer, but all the seasons are highlighted in the feature book. Ossie Davis narrates a photographic pictoral book about animals that are more active during the summer months, and great photos of weather conditions during the warm months, like sunsets, night skies filled with fireworks, and fun activities like swimming and boating.moreless
  • Borreguita and the Coyote

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 2 - 10/4/94

    LeVar spends the day in a barrio in East Los Angeles studying Mexican culture as he visits friends who make their own guitars, eats some traditional food, and discusses the cultural differences that are practiced in both Mexico and the US. LeVar even meets up with the popular Latin rock band, Los Lobos.

    Olga Merediz reads Borreguita and the Coyote, the tale of a clever lamb who continually outsmarts a coyote determined to eat her.moreless
  • Nosey Mrs. Rat

    Full Episode

    S 12 : Ep 1 - 10/3/94

    Observing people is the theme of the day, as LeVar finds himself with time to kill before a business meeting and chooses to watch children at a playground while he waits.

    Faith Prince reads Nosey Mrs. Rat, about a snooping neighbor who always spies on her friends and family for gossip to spread, and how a young boy, looking for revenge after she informed his parents about a school incident, gives the lady her comeuppance using a video camera to spy on her.moreless
  • June 29, 1999

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 10 - 10/22/93

    What's fact and what's fiction? What's the truth and what's absurd? LeVar looks into unusual stories and tries to distinguish the actual news from fabrications. Charles Kimbrough reads a story (set in the future from the time the show was originally broadcast) about a young girl's science experiment to grow vegetable seeds in space, and how weeks later the country was inundated with giant plants falling from the sky.moreless
  • And Still the Turtle Watched

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 9 - 10/21/93

    LeVar discusses how people can help to preserve animals and plants in nature that are in danger of extinction. Stories profiled include scientists working to improve the bald eagle population by raising chicks and re-releasing them into the mountains, and an elementary school class that decides to plant trees in their neighborhood. Michael Ansara narrates an unusual story, told from the viewpoint of a turtle sculpture carved in a rock, and how he wishes to preserve the history of Manatoo native Americans, despite being vandalized and thought to be ignored by later generations after he was carved.moreless
  • Is This a House for Hermit Crab?

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 8 - 10/20/93

    LeVar sets out to build a bird house, prompting an examination of animal habitats. Eartha Kitt reads the story of a growing hermit crab, who is now too large for his current shell, and all the difficulties he has trying to find a new place to live, all the while trying to avoid predators who want to eat him.moreless
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 7 - 10/19/93

    One thing leads to another in this episode, with LeVar in a bowling alley, showing how certain actions lead to consequences. Included is a piece on an expert at domino displays and domino art.

    Beth Howland reads If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, the tale of a little boy who offers a cookie to a mouse, and all the events that occur afterwards as a result.moreless
  • Follow the Drinking Gourd

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 6 - 10/18/93

    LeVar reflects on a time when Africans were brought to America as slaves. He talks about how African-Americans risked their lives for freedom, and discusses how the music from slavery times effected the African culture. Keith David reads the featured story, which explains that the African-American folk song, "Follow the Drinking Gourd," was in fact a coded message to slaves giving them instructions on how to take the Underground Railroad north to states that abolished slavery.moreless
  • Silent Lotus

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 5 - 10/15/93

    This episode takes a look-in at deaf culture. LeVar discusses forms of communication that doesn't involve words, like hand signals, mime, and gestures, like in charades. He also asks a friend who is a deaf actress to teach him some sentences in sign language. Lea Salonga reads the featured story of a shy young girl in Cambodia, whose parents realized her lack of communication was due to being a deaf mute, but in noticing her natural talent for dancing, approached the king to request that their daughter be allowed to join the royal dancing troupe.moreless
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