Reading Rainbow

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PBS (ended 2006)

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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Salamander Room

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 4 - 10/14/93

    LeVar explores the rain forest and animals in their habitats by visiting a park that recreates the rain forest environment artificially to make the animals comfortable. This episode also includes a film of scientists who study the region's animals from above by climbing inside a tree's canopy. Lynne Thigpen reads The Salamander Room, about a little boy who finds a small newt while on a nature walk, and all the rationalizing he does to convince his mother to let him keep the salamander as a pet by turning his bedroom into a model rain forest.moreless
  • Mrs. Katz and Tush

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 3 - 10/13/93

    LeVar pays a visit to a family friend, who is Jewish, to learn how to prepare special foods served during a Seder dinner, like Challah bread and potato latkes. Reizyl Bozyk and Rick English read the featured story of an elderly Jewish lady and how she befriends her neighbor's young son after she is widowed and he gives her a pet cat to keep her company.moreless
  • The Furry News

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 2 - 10/12/93

    The feature book has animals putting together all the parts that make up a newspaper. Some, but not all parts, are further discussed in the live-action sequences. As LeVar discusses his favorite parts of a newspaper and interviews other people for different viewpoints, other functions of a newspaper staff are explored. Cartoonist Ray Billingsley, who draws Curtis, shows how he illustrates a comic, and a high school newspaper staff is profiled making a weekly publication.moreless
  • Amazing Grace

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 1 - 10/11/93

    LeVar visits a theater to discuss acting and how pretending to be someone else sometimes helps people express themselves in different ways. He also visits with his friend, Whoopi Goldberg, who was launching her own talk show, and discussed how her unique look has sometimes helped, and hindered her career as an actress/ comedienne.

    Tyne Daly reads Amazing Grace, a story of a little girl who loved acting out all the stories she read and heard, and how she wouldn't let her classmate's prejudiced remarks prevent her from auditioning for the lead in the school play.moreless
  • Berlioz the Bear

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 10 - 10/16/92

    LeVar cruises the musical realms of New York in a program featuring the Boys Choir of Harlem. James Averynarrates the tale ofBerlioz the Bear, a story about a bass-playing bear who gets in a jam. His animal friends who play music help him out, but all fail until a bee from inside Berlioz's bass saves the day.moreless
  • Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 9 - 10/15/92

    What is it like to be adopted? In what may be the high point of the 10th season, this show has a lengthy sequence about adopted children in families. Andrew Lei narrates Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies, a story about a boy who was adopted by a pair of parents who wanted a child very much.moreless
  • Seashore Surprises

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 8 - 10/14/92

    LeVar journeys to the shores of Sanibel Island, off the Gulf Coast of Florida, to witness the tides, feel the sand, and examine some plant life.
  • The Piggy in the Puddle

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 7 - 10/13/92

    A program devoted to mud sees LeVar get his hands into the claymation of the featured book, The Piggy in the Middle.
  • Come a Tide

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 6 - 10/12/92

    LeVar discusses the weather: how it is traced, tracked, and covered in the media.Kids our shown how they can make a "soda bottle tornado",how a barometer works, and read the book, "Come a Tide". All this is prelude to the dramatic footage of Hurricane Hugo as it wrought havoc on South Carolina in 1989.moreless
  • Sophie and Lou

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 5 - 10/9/92

    LeVar takes a spirited leap into the world of dance. He gets a mambo lesson from Latin dancer, Jackie Rios, and has a hop while learning some fresh hip-hop moves. LeVar also shows that there are different kinds of dancing done all over the world. Lola Falana narrates Sophie and Lou, a story of a young lady who is very shy and lives all alone. Sophie learns to dance by herself until she meets her match.moreless
  • Rechenka's Eggs

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 4 - 10/8/92

    LeVar takes up decorating eggs and shows us that they're one of nature's extraordinary wonders. The author of the featured book shows us how she got the idea for the story. We also see how animals in nature hatch their eggs.moreless
  • Sam the Sea Cow

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 3 - 10/7/92

    LeVar goes to Florida to help take care of manatee with a crew of marine biology experts. He gets to feed a baby manatee, and assists in returning a rehabilitated manatee back to the ocean. Jason Robards reads the feature story of a true tale about a young manatee named Sam whose curiosity caused him to get stuck in drain pipe, and how he was rescued and returned to the sea.moreless
  • The Wall

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 2 - 10/6/92

    LeVar visits the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, and discusses its historical significance to helping people learn about the service men and woman who died in the war. Artist Mia Lin, who designed the black granite wall, is profiled as she describes the reasons she chose the materials and design style for the monument. Jason Ruggiero reads the featured story of a boy who accompanies his father to the monument to search for his paternal grandfather's name on the wall, and his observations of other visitors.moreless
  • Tar Beach

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 1 - 10/5/92

    LeVar's presence looms over New York once again, this time literally. He's taken to the roof of one of the nondescript skyscrapers, very close to the bridge mentioned in the featured book, Tar Beach.moreless
  • Snowy Day: Stories and Poems

    Full Episode

    S 9 : Ep 10 - 9/27/91

    LeVar travels to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It is a perfect spot for a few poetry readings and winter observations. Some of which include sledding down hills, playing in the snow, building snow-people, and even meeting someone who races in the famous Iditarod.moreless
  • Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express

    Full Episode

    S 9 : Ep 9 - 9/26/91

    LeVar takes a train ride from California to Washington state. Along the way, we learn about trains and how the transcontinental railroad came to be. Brian Dennehy narrates the true story of how a young teen named Kate Shelley risked her life to save the engineers of a train that crashed into a river when the bridge near her home collapsed, and how she had to get word to the nearest station to alert them to stop the express train.moreless
  • The Lady with the Ship on Her Head

    Full Episode

    S 9 : Ep 8 - 9/25/91

    Turning even crazier, the show plays with our heads in more ways than one. LeVar is the "Head reporter" of a mock-news program called "HEADline News Report" and "reports" on a truly head-spinning array of all things ridiculous about the head. Included is a "Head-to-Head" interview with The Grateful Head, a fictitious musical group of singing heads...no necks, just heads. They sing a song called, "I Ain't Got No Body." Marilyn Pasekoff reads the featured story of a vain French woman, trying to win a fancy hat contest, unwittingly has a miniature sailing ship land on her head, and wins the contest when the judges mistake the boat for her head ornament.moreless
  • Raccoons and Ripe Corn

    Full Episode

    S 9 : Ep 7 - 9/24/91

    LeVar spends the day following around wildlife artist and children's book author Jim Arnofsky, who shows LeVar how he is inspired to create the stories by the signs of animals around the woods near his home.

    Julia Barr reads several of Arnofsky's books: Raccoons and Ripe Corn, about a family of raccoons that feast on a nearby corn crop; Come Out, Muskrats!, about some shy muskrats hiding in their pond home; and Deer at the Brook, about a family of deer taking a drink at the stream.moreless
  • Opt: An Illusionary Tale

    Full Episode

    S 9 : Ep 6 - 9/23/91

    Exactly what its title says it is, Reading Rainbow this time all is not what it seems as LeVar demonstrates optical illusions from the book by Arline and Joseph Baum. He also shows how special effects are created for television; meets artist Christian Thee, who paints trompe l'oeil, or "trick-the-eye," paintings; and shows clips of kids creating their own optical illusions as well as optical illusions in nature--camouflage tricks that animals use to deceive predators.moreless
  • Fox on the Job

    Full Episode

    S 9 : Ep 5 - 9/20/91

    There's a wide job market out there, but just what kind of job does a person want? In this program are both conventional and unconventional occupations to straddle the flow of the feature book.moreless
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