April 4, 1997 in Seven

Bennett’s ‘Virtues’ Out On Tape

Scott Moore The Washington Post
 

Virtue has its rewards. It also carries a price: $12.98 per half-hour.

Those who recognize thriftiness as a meritorious quality can get six virtues on video for $59.98.

The “Adventures From the Book of Virtues” collection is compiled from the animated series that appears periodically on PBS and it wouldn’t be morally right to tape them, would it? These mini-messages of morality, based on the William J. Bennett anthology book, are conveyed through lively retellings of classic, family-friendly tales.

The stories come from the mouths of book-learned beasts and fowl encountered by ordinary kids Zach and Annie in the mountains above the town of Spring Valley. The leader of the animals is Plato - a buffalo modeled after Bennett.

The six episodes:

Courage: Includes the classic Greek “Minotaur”; Aesop’s “The Brave Mice”; the Swiss tale of archer “William Tell”; and a reading of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If.”

Work: “How the Camel Got His Hump”; “The Bundle of Sticks,” a Greek story of co-operation; and Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer Gives Up the Brush.”

Responsibility: “Icarus and Daedalus,” the Greek lesson about the consequences of irresponsibility; “King Alfred and the Cakes,” showing the significance of even small promises; and “The Chest of the Broken Glass,” about the shame of letting down a loved one.

Honesty: The Native American tale of “The Indian Cinderella”; the English story of “The Frog Prince”; and the infamous American untruth about George Washington and the cherry tree.

Compassion: The Bible parable of the Good Samaritan, who renounces prejudice to save a life; the Norse “Legend of the Dipper”; “Androcles and the Lion,” a Greek story of compassion and kindness; and the poem “The New Colossus.”

Self-Discipline: The Greek tale of obsessive King Midas and “The Golden Touch”; “The King and His Hawk,” an Asian tale about temperamental Ghengis Khan; “The Magic Thread,” a French lesson in the penalties of impatience; and the inspirational poem from Ecclesiastes, “For Everything There Is a Season.”

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