Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Arthur Premieres All New Season Monday, Oct 12 on PBS Kids Go

For twelve years, ARTHUR has helped children and families talk about important issues–from asthma, to dyslexia, to the death of a pet. Now, in its 13th Season, the series once again takes on a difficult topic that impacts kids and their parents in a profound way–cancer. Lance Armstrong returns to Elwood City for the two-part episode “The Great MacGrady,” about an illness that affects the lives of so many children. The special story is part of five new episodes premiering Monday, October 12 on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings).

When Lakewood Elementary’s beloved lunch lady Mrs. MacGrady is diagnosed with cancer, Arthur and his friends all react differently to the news–Arthur and D.W. rush to her side with heaps of chicken soup and stuffed animals, Muffy tries to pretend that nothing in her life has changed, and Francine is so upset she can’t even bring herself to visit Mrs. MacGrady. In this moving episode, both parents and kids learn how they can come together to support Mrs. MacGrady and each other–and Lance Armstrong makes a special appearance to show Francine and the Elwood City residents how they can take a stand, or ride a bike, for cancer survivors. “The Great MacGrady” will air every day the week of Monday, October 19.

“Cancer affects nearly everyone in some way,” said Executive Producer Jacqui Deegan. “We hope that this two-part episode will empower kids, families and caregivers to talk about all the feelings that can come up when a loved one has cancer, and how they can work together and remain positive and hopeful through difficult times.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman Kicks off the Season in “No Acting Please”
Kicking off the season, Academy Award-winning actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman lends his voice as director Will Toffman, in “No Acting Please,” a unique premiere episode about theater and the joy of the performing arts. When Fern lands a role in the Elwood City community production of “It Began With a Whistle,” she fears she’s not talented enough to be a star actress. But Will Toffman teaches Fern how to have fun, be herself and truly shine.

Additional episodes premiering this fall include “Prunella and the Disappointing Ending;” Prunella and Marina are thrilled that the latest volume of the Henry Screever series, The Knights of the Boillabiasse, is finally out. The two friends immediately begin competing to see who can finish the book the fastest, but quickly learn that speed-reading doesn’t always pay off. Then, in “MacFrensky,” when Francine and Brain are locked in a stiff competition to win student of the month, Muffy talks Francine into “borrowing” Buster’s toy and letting Brain take the blame for it. As the lies grow and the prize gets closer, however, Francine’s guilt increases. Can she come clean and wash her hands of this dastardly deed? Finally, in “Brain Gets Hooked,” Brain is hooked on the latest tween reality show “Junior Island.” When he starts to ignore his friends and his schoolwork, he knows he’s got a problem. But what can he do to break the addiction?

Tune-in for these episodes and more when the all-new Season of ARTHUR premieres Monday, October 12 on PBS KIDS GO!

ARTHUR Adds to New “Social Networking”-Themed Activity Area Online at pbskidsgo.org/arthur!
The award-winning ARTHUR Web site is home to many games and activities, including a new activity area, “The Tree House,” which launched in April 2009. Coming in October, “The Tree House” will merge with the site’s Friends section, to create a small-scale social networking space for Arthur and ALL his Pals. “The Tree House’s” goal is to demonstrate community and interconnectedness amongst the Arthur gang online, with each character hosting a page that represents their unique interests and activities related to the season’s theme. Kids can see what their favorite characters are doing to help the environment and also participate in a ‘Go Green’ Challenge. The ARTHUR Web site is also home to most of the series educational materials including resources, lesson plans, and activities and has features to help kids understand their neighbors, near and far, and gain a better appreciation for the world around them. Kids can also watch video clips and full episodes of ARTHUR at pbskidsgo.org/video.

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