6 June 1983
What can you do with very little money? That's what the featured book and LeVar must face. To set the tone for the entire series, LeVar shows a friend a wealth of fun at the local library. Patrick McCaffrey reads Tight Times, a story about how a little boy talks his parents into letting him adopt a stray cat even though they have to make budget cuts after the father is laid off from his job.
7 June 1983
As part of his birthday celebration, LeVar gets made-up like a movie monster, and then gets involved in Harry Blackstone's magic act. Ruth Buzzi reads Miss Nelson Is Back, all about a group of rowdy students who try to take advantage of their teacher's absence when she's out sick one day, and how she gets revenge on them by pretending to be "the meanest teacher in the world, Viola Swamp."
8 June 1983
LeVar is already worn out after working on several scenes all day long on the production of the series. He feels he needs to take on another identity, segueing into introducing the featured book, Bea and Mr. Jones. Madeline Kahn reads the book about a kindergarten student and her father who get so bored with their jobs that they decide to experiment by switching places for the day.
9 June 1983
How do you envision the rain, or any kind of weather? Some of the things to ask about in this show of weather legends. When LeVar's plans of attending a picnic and softball game are derailed by a downpour, he decides to stay home to read a few books instead. James Earl Jones reads Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, an African story written in the style of "The House That Jack Built," about how one action leads to another to help bring water to a drought torn region.
10 June 1983
Starting at the New England Aquarium, LeVar gets into a lengthy observation of aquatic life. Vincent Gardenia reads the story of Louis the Fish, a fanciful tale of a man, forced to take over his family's butcher business but secretly longing to take care of fish instead, wakes up one morning to find he magically turned into a giant salmon.
Technically not the first science-related show in its history, LeVar seeks a place where archaeologists retrieve dinosaur bones. At the end of the program, LeVar buries a time capsule, containing (among other things) a can of old Coke and his picture. Linda Gilman reads Digging Up Dinosaurs, a story about how paleontologists unearth dinosaurs skeletons and preserve them in museum exhibits.
LeVar goes to Chinatown for a look at Chinese culture. In something completely different, a New York technology institute draws a traditional Chinese dragon boat.
In the featured book, a young boy and his family move from New York City to the Southwest and he has many misconceptions about what his new home is like.
LeVar takes a camping trip with some young friends. They make a photo album of their trip and some other kids share their photo albums they made to show what they did over the summer. Carolyn McMahon narrates Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe, a story about a girl and her cousin who go on a camping trip with their mothers and ride in a canoe on the river.
17 June 1983
The first of many programs favoring Native Americans. In this instance, a Midwestern legend suggests how horses arrived to the tribe. Later in this episode is the song "Ancient Places, Sacred Lands" which lists several words originating from various locations of the United States and the tribal meaning of their names.
Today's subject is goats and what they eat.
LeVar spends a day at the beach, where he notices that everyone is reading the book of the day, Three by the Sea. Improvisation Comedy Troupe members of Chicago City Limits read the story of three children who challenge each other to come up with different stories using the same topic material. Later on, the improvising actors work with a group of children to teach them improv acting.
LaVar explores seeing and our other senses, as Bill Cosby tells the story of how the young aardvark, Arthur Read acquired his pair of glasses.
LeVar visits a pet store to discuss the featured book, and imagines that one of the pets from the store followed him home. It's a field day for the farm animals, and not a place for the faint of heart (or so the featured book would have it). The show also attends a state fair to investigate livestock competitions. Kaleena Kiff and Laura Hicks read the featured story of a little girl telling her mother about a school fieldtrip to a farm, and the chaos that ensued when her classmate brought along his pet snake to introduce it to the farm animals.
LeVar is ready to find music everywhere, and he does. This show includes the animation Onomatopoeia. Lou Rawls reads the story of Ty's One-Man Band, about a man who teaches a boy how to make music using household items.
LeVar goes to South Carolina to ride a hot-air balloon. In another study of how air travel has advanced, schoolchildren visit the Space Camp for Aspiring Young Astronauts. William Windom reads the story of Hot-Air Henry, the misadventures of a cat who sneaks on board his family's hot air balloon and how he gets back down again.
4 September 1984
There's nothing more LeVar enjoys than doodling. In the featured book, a doodle goes on the loose and it's up to Simon to tame it. The reality is, books take many people and special machinery to make. Such is explained in the song "In the Bindary." Ruby Dee reads the book LeVar is studying, Simon's Book, about how the characters in an unfinished child's drawing come to life and finish the details the artist left out before going to bed.
5 September 1984
LeVar visits Old Sturbridge Village in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to experience reenactments of life in Colonial America. Lorne Greene reads the story of Ox-Cart Man, all about a man who goes to town to sell all the hand-made items he and his family made throughout the year to earn a living.
6 September 1984
As LeVar explores the docks, Raul Julia narrates the story of Ralph, a short order cook who foils a kidnapping plot to hold Eduardo, a famous opera singer, hostage.
3 September 1984
LeVar and eight other actors are rehearsing for a musical number called "Teamwork." Amy Linker("Square Pegs")reads A Chair for My Mother, about a family that has to save up money to replace furniture lost when their apartment burns down in a fire. It also tells about how the rest of the neighborhood pulled together to help them during their loss.
1 July 1985
Lavar visits a lumberjack camp in the forest. Today's featured book is based on the legend of Paul Bunyan, the giant woodsman.
2 July 1985
LeVar visits the Boston Children's Museum to participate with other children to design a patchwork quilt with everyone having their own individual square. Isabel Sanford reads The Patchwork Quilt, a story about a young girl who learns how to make a special quilt from her grandmother, and how she and her mother spend the next year collaborating on the quilt after grandmother falls ill.
3 July 1985
LeVar visits Hawaii to get a closer look at active volcanoes. He studies lava and the way the earth changes after an eruption. Fernando Escandon reads Hill of Fire, a true story of how a volcano suddenly started to build up in a farmer's field in Mexico, and how the city then had to evacuate.
4 July 1985
LeVar has entered a bicycle race. He's in competition not just with the other bikers, but with himself as well. This program also includes a lengthy piece on a karate class. Comedienne Gilda Radner reads the Aesop's tale of "The Tortoise and the Hare," about an arrogant rabbit that's over confident that he can beat a determined turtle in a foot race.
LeVar visits a pig farm in Hawaii to find out why pigs are so popular. He also interviews Kermit the Frog to ask him about his famous girlfriend, Miss Piggy.James Coco reads the story of Perfect the Pig, about a little runt pig who makes a wish to have wings in order to be special, and how he found a special person to be his friend and companion.
23 June 1986
LeVar goes to a 24-hour diner to look into night jobs, and profiles people who have occupations in the evening and early morning hours, like radio DJ's, bakers, cab drivers, and police officers. In a separate story, a man ventures into a cave to see bats and other nocturnal animals. Martin Short narrates the story of "Animal Cafe," about a cat and dog who operate a third shift restaurant for all the animals in their neighborhood while keeping it a secret from their human owner.
24 June 1986
LeVar checks out the Library of Congress. Among the activities shown: how a book is delivered to the front desk, the vast film library, and how damaged books are repaired. Arnold Stang reads Alistair in Outer Space, a story about a young boy that is so dedicated to returning library books on time that he doesn't even let getting abducted by space aliens stop him.
Season 3, Episode 8: Feelings25 June 1986
LeVar seems to have a lot of things going wrong for him as he spends a day in the park, causing lots of different emotions. In an animated feature, a group of school children read poems about feelings and how to deal with situations. In another profile, LeVar introduces Koko the Gorilla, who learned to communicate through American Sign Language.
26 June 1986
Videotaped at Ellis Island in 1985, this show is truly American or, more correctly, a salute to all those who immigrated to America. Laura Haymann reads Watch the Stars Come Out, a true story about a young boy and girl who ride a boat from their native country to New York in order to join their parents and older sister, who emigrated to the United States earlier and sent for them.
27 June 1986
LeVar shows how music can help interpret a situation, from meeting alligators in a Louisiana swamp to joining a party on a Mississippi riverboat. Fred Newman narrates the story of Mama Don't Allow, about how a young musician starts his own swamp band with his friends. Viewers are then treated to a recording session with Fred Newman as he makes up all the sound effects for the book, including the band's music.
Season 4, Episode 1: Space Case1986
Is there life on other planets and stars? LaVar sends a message to aliens who might be watching and a radio telescope in Puerto Rico is profiled. Today's featured story is about a being from outer space who visits Earth.
LeVar spends a day at the dairy seeing how cows are milked and understanding what care cows need. Alaina Reed Hall reads the story of The Milk Makers, detailing how milk is collected from cows, processed in dairies and sent to grocery stores.
LaVar visits the zoo, to learn about animals with horns and antlers. In the featured story, a young girl wakes up one morning to discover she's grown her own pair of antlers.
LeVar goes on a search for microorganisms, distinguishing the good ones from the bad. An animated satire of Hill Street Blues (which ran 1981-1987) shows white blood cells ready to fight germs. Molly Mandlin reads Germs Make Me Sick!, explaining how people can catch colds and diseases from exposure to germs.
Season 4, Episode 5: Abiyoyo1986
In one of the rare times Reading Rainbow uses a studio set, LeVar tells about storytelling through music. The then-new art of music videos is first up, with clips of "Who's Johnny" (among others). Pete Seeger appears on the set to perform his version of Abiyoyo. Pete explains that he adapted an old African folk tale, about a boy who helps get rid of a giant terrorizing his town, when Seeger's children pestered him to come up with a unique bedtime story that included music. Also unique to this episode: all the book reviewers share the stage with LeVar.
LeVar visits a beehive to look into beekeeping and how honey is made. Barbara Feldon narrates The Life Cycle of the Honeybee, which goes into detail about how bees make hives in natural habitats such as trees.
Sada Thompson reads the story of Abbie, the eldest daughter of a family that tends a lighthouse, and how she had to keep the lamps working during a storm while her father was in the city getting supplies. LeVar visits a family that runs their own sailboat tourism business and actually live on their small craft.
LeVar wants to find the answer to the old question, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Posing as field reporter for E.G.G.-TV , he uncovers other discoveries instead, such as loggerhead sea turtles emerging onto the sand to lay eggs. Georgia Engel narrates Chickens Aren't the Only Ones, a book told in rhyme showing all kinds of animals who lay eggs like chickens.
LeVar provides insight on Japanese culture. Keye Luke reads the story of a kind restaurant owner who is thanked by a customer with a magical crane made from a napkin, whose dancing spectacle soon brings in the guests to make the failing business prosperous again.
In a small boat on the Chesapeake Bay, LeVar is on the lookout for ducks who are spending the winter. During the trip, he gets a chance to see a duck up close and show how a couple turns a block of wood into a duck. Orson Bean reads The Runaway Duck, a story of a toy duck named Egbert who gets tied to a car by accident and how he then travels all over the world when the car drives off.
A totally unreal hat store called "Hats... to Where?" sells hats that transport customers to all parts of the world. LeVar whisks himself to the horse racetrack at Turf Paradise, to a model train display in Three Bridges, New Jersey, and to the Nassau Coliseum, where he gets a goal tending lesson from Kelly Hurdey of the New York Islanders. Zelda Rubenstein reads A Three Hat Day, a story about a man who loves hats very much, and how he meets his soul mate when he goes shopping in a new hat store.
This looks like an extension of the previous episode, but it is a separate venture. LeVar appears in proper attire for an English Renaissance festival. Ralph Waite reads the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a poor miller's daughter who is stuck between a greedy king and a conniving elf to get out of a difficult situation.
The best of friends are those whose friendships endure everything. And it extends to all walks of life, particularly to dogs. Liza Siegler reads the story of two girls who are best friends, but their relationship is strained when one girl goes on a vacation with relatives and the other girl feels lonely and neglected, until a new neighbor moves in and asks her to help him look after his dog.
LeVar travels to an old west town made to look like life in the 1880's to see how times have changed in the last 100 years. He explores how cowboys lived and traveled, and he also shows how stunt riders practice tricks on their horses for western movies. Hoyt Axton reads the featured book, a story told in comparisons about a rancher who decides to spend the day in a town 84 miles from home, and the strange happenings at his ranch back home while his wife stayed home to plant potatoes.
LeVar spends a day on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. With the featured book as his guide, LeVar drives around the coastline, visits an open market, and gets a glimpse of a mountain frog. Ron Foster narrates the featured book, My Little Island, about a young boy who visits his cousins on the island and how it is much different than his life in the United States.
15 August 1988
In both the featured story and on the set of the show "Star Trek: the Next Generation" (which LaVar also stars on) we learn how TV shows are made and how actors in costumes and special effects can make imaginary things seem real.
Season 5, Episode 2: Bugs16 August 1988
With microorganisms under his belt, LeVar now goes on the lookout for insects.
17 August 1988
LeVar tries to have lunch at a diner, but soon finds himself thrust into work. For some reason, he just doesn't understand luncheonette lingo.
Season 5, Episode 4: Brush18 August 1988
Can inanimate things come to life, as the feature book suggests? LeVar finds out for himself in a factory where all the goods for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are stored.
19 August 1988
In New York again, LeVar goes to get a tailor-made jacket. In between comes a visit to the Fashion Institute of Technology.
27 March 1989
LeVar is in Tennessee where he is going to a barn dance. Along the way, he meets the band who will be playing their Bluegrass music and meets a man who makes his own fiddles. At the barn, LeVar also learns a few dance steps for the big night Roy Clark narrates Barn Dance!, a story about a hoedown that is unlike any other.
28 March 1989
There's more to the cat than meets the eye. It culminates with one of the stars of what was then believed to be Broadway's permanence: CATS. Jane Curtain narrates the featured book about a girl who wants a cat. In the story, Duncan and Dolores learn how to be themselves and earn each other's friendship.
29 March 1989
What's a handicap to a determined individual? With LeVar camping out by himself, the show banks itself on a news anchor who had been born with deformed hands and feet. The featured story, Knots on a Counting Rope, tells about how a boy who is blind faces his own fears.
30 March 1989
A camel is out of place in the city, but LeVar rides one in preparation for a show that takes a close look at mummies. Corrine Orr narrates Mummies Made in Egypt, a book that gives all the facts about what mummies are, how the ancient Egyptians were mummified, and what they resembled.
31 March 1989
LeVar celebrates the culture of Africa in New York City's Central Park where he learns how African drums are made. Phylicia Rashid narrates Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, an African tale about a villager who has two beautiful daughters with completely different personalities. Mufaro presents his daughters to the king who is looking for a wife.
LeVar is sailing on the Atlantic coast whale watching. He and a team of scientists learn about how whales eat and how they live in their habitats in the ocean. Jane Pauley narrates the true story of Humphrey, the Lost Whale, all about a humpback whale who gets separated from his pod and gets stuck under a bridge over the Sacramento River.
LeVar decides it's time to clean out the things cluttering up his house. What he finds is only memories of his entire life. None of this is junk, as it turns out. Michelle Mariano reads the story of a young girl visiting relatives who befriends the local junkyard manager, even though the rest of the town avoids him and spreads rumors.
LaVar makes a pizza, while "The Wonder Years" star Josh Saviano reads a story about about a boy who's father runs a pizzeria.
LeVar is assigned a comedy makeover to learn more about comedy. Phillis Diller narrates "Ludlow Laughs," a tale about a man who never smiled at all until one strange night when he started to laugh out loud.
It's spring 1989, and LeVar gets in the training camp of the Oakland Athletics (back when it was Tony LaRussa, Dave Stewart, Mark McGwire and Terry Steinbach) for a program on baseball. Edward Asner reads the story of a family who meets a dinosaur who they soon find out loves to play baseball.
Within the sea, lies a combination of scuba diving and (just slightly) snorkeling as LeVar and a friend of his dive beneath the ocean to explore a living coral reef and the life around it. Fran Brill narrates Dive to the Coral Reefs, a book that shows the life and structures of the beauty that lies beneath the sea.
27 March 1990
LeVar explores the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, photographing its natural environment and learning about how animals in the desert adapt to this kind of climate. Philip Basco narrates the feature book on the natural world of the famous desert cactus, the giant saguaro.
LeVar, the jack of all trades, becomes a garage mechanic for this episode. Much of it fantasizes about dream cars. Then comes a real dream car, which a man has decorated, followed by stock footage of an assembly line and a piece on a solar-powered car named the Sunraycer. Victoria Jackson narrates Tooth-Gnasher Superflash, the story of a family that buys a car that is not like any other.
Focusing on planes in this episode, LeVar takes a flying lesson and flies a plane himself. Also included: the activities of a top-notch airline in flight, as well as a look at the people who made the dream of flying come true, like Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindburgh. Alex Borg and David Hyman read the story of two boys who decide to build their own airplane, using household items, after their mother sends them outside to play when they complain of being bored.
Levar Burton works out in a gym and talks about the determination it takes to succeed in sports. Burton narrates two poems from "Sports Pages" by Arnold Adoff. Burton visits with a young Olympic gymnast who talks about the preparation she must go through before competition. Burton talks to a brother-sister figure skating team, the skaters show how hard they must work to achieve their goals.
10 September 1990
Burton introduces the episode by talking about cavern and cave exploring. The featured book, "The Magic School Bus Inside The Earth", is narrated by Keshia Knight Pulliam. Eccentric Ms. Frizzle takes her students on a science field trip to the center of the earth while teaching them about geology. Burton then visits California Caverns, where he learns about stalagmites, stalactites, and other crystal formations and goes spelunking with a cave expert.
11 September 1990
LeVar takes a journey aboard a fishing boat to explore small ocean wildlife, such as plankton, sea horses, and small sharks as he learns information from oceanographers about caring for the seas and oceans. Leslie Uggams reads the featured story of a fisherman who decides to educate his neighbors about prevention of water pollution after he must rescue a small seal trapped in debris.
12 September 1990
Wheels are set in motion for this program. In-line skating, then a brand-new commodity, get featured side-by-side with bicycles. Tom Matsusaka narrates The Bicycle Man, a story about an American soldier who visits Japan and performs amazing tricks on a bicycle.
13 September 1990
LeVar visits a famed wax sculpture museum, where an expert wax artist makes a statue of him. Julia child reads the story of two children helping their grandmother plan a party, and how they accidentally mistake a fancy decorated hat for a cake decorated in the same way.
14 September 1990
LeVar has a suspicious-looking treasure map, which he uses to help track down something of immense value to who knows? Robert Morse reads Sunken Treasure, about the search for the sunken Spanish merchant ship The Atochia, and how it was recovered centuries after it sunk. In another featured story, news footage of the raising of the Titanic is shown.
16 September 1991
LeVar goes to a totally-fictitious spot to find inventors from all eras. True to form, these inventors come from the distant past, Reading Rainbow's near-present, and the future. Arnold Stang narrates Alistair's Time Machine, the story of a boy who invents a machine that takes him centuries back in time.
17 September 1991
LeVar is a taxi driver in New York for a day, but the focus of this show soon lands on the subject of a service dog as well as how dogs are such good pets to us. Vincent Gardenia reads the story of an adopted stray dog who helps his new owner, a cab driver, get better tips when he entertains the customers on rides.
18 September 1991
Today's episode focuses on Native American art. The featured story, a young Indian man finds his calling in life as a painter and he is assigned a special task that will make him and his work remembered forever.
Season 7, Episode 9: Galimoto19 September 1991
Viewers learn the many uses for wire: from creating objects of wire art and transporting people on the longest tramway in the world, to playing an integral part in a circus act.
20 September 1991
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.
23 September 1991
In this episode, 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 camouflage tricks that animals use to deceive predators.
24 September 1991
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.
25 September 1991
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.
26 September 1991
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.
27 September 1991
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.
Season 8, Episode 6: Tar Beach5 October 1992
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.
Season 8, Episode 7: The Wall6 October 1992
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.
7 October 1992
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.
8 October 1992
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.
9 October 1992
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 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.
12 October 1992
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.
13 October 1992
This episode of READING RAINBOW, "Piggy in the Puddle," features a look at the art of claymation and the joys of mud. Claymation artists Becky and Cody introduce host LeVar Burton to the art of claymation and create a claymation interpretation of Charlotte Pomerantz's PIGGIE IN THE PUDDLE. This program also features kids creating their own clay figures and a trip to a mud racing show. Kids review THIS HOUSE IS MADE OF MUD, THE HIPPOPOTAMUS SONG, and OINK.
14 October 1992
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.
15 October 1992
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.
16 October 1992
LeVar cruises the musical realms of New York in a program featuring the Boys Choir of Harlem. James Avery narrates the tale of Berlioz 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.
11 October 1993
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.
12 October 1993
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.
13 October 1993
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.
14 October 1993
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.
15 October 1993
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.
18 October 1993
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.
19 October 1993
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.
20 October 1993
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.
21 October 1993
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.
22 October 1993
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.
3 October 1994
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.
4 October 1994
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. Olga Merediz reads Borreguita and the Coyote, the tale of a clever lamb who continually outsmarts a coyote determined to eat her.
Season 10, Episode 8: Summer5 October 1994
In this episode of Reading Rainbow, Levar shows the kids the different sights and sounds of Summer. The different wildlife of Summer, and how they live. Also, there are segments on the different seasons and how they effect different parts of the country. The featured book is "Summers" written by Ron Hirschi, and read by Ossie Davis.
6 October 1994
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.
7 October 1994
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.
10 October 1994
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 wartime and manages to save only one memento, a lotus seed given to her by her mother from the garden she tended for the emperor.
11 October 1994
LaVar explains the postal service and shows how important mail as a form of communication.
Season 11, Episode 3: Stellaluna12 October 1994
LaVar discusses bats and the importance of sleep. The featured story is of a bat who is separated from her family and adopted by a bird.
Season 11, Episode 4: My Shadow13 October 1994
In this episode of Reading Rainbow: Levar shows the kids how shadows and lights make up our everyday lives. Andrea Davis is featured as a photographer who shoots different parts of the city and develops the pictures in her own studio. Also, the children review the books SHADOWS AND REFLECTIONS I HAVE A FRIEND and SHADOW GRAPHS.
14 October 1994
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.
2 October 1995
LaVar visits Watts, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. The featured story is about Simon Rhodia and The Watts Towers. Also featured are young Watts residents trying to make the neighborhood a better place.
3 October 1995
Luke, LeVarâ€ôs favorite pooch, steps to the forefront and takes over the show. As a result, viewers get a dogâ€ôs eye view of life, and get to meet some incredible canine daredevils who prove that a dog is truly a kids best friend - no bones about it! Jo Haden reads a story about Martha, a dog who eats a can of alphabet soup and suddenly discovers she can talk!
4 October 1995
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.
5 October 1995
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.
6 October 1995
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.
8 April 1996
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.
9 April 1996
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.
10 April 1996
LeVar and a friend say following recipes and cooking foods are very much like 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.
Season 11, Episode 14: Owen11 April 1996
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.
In this episode of Reading Rainbow Levar ponders what it takes to count to one million. Levar visits a Crayola factory and learns how crayons are made into many different colors and sizes. Levar then visits Giants stadium in New Jersey to see how stadium officials count the number of fans who attend different events. Finally, a vendors of Giant stadium discuss and how they use mathematics to estimate the amount of food they need for an event. The book "How Much Is A Million," by David Schwartz is read by Nick Sullivan. The kids review the books "Only One," "One Hundred Hungry Ants," "How Many Stars In The Sky."
7 October 1996
This episode of "Reading Rainbow" teaches a lesson about family. Levar Burton reminences about his childhood with his mother and two sisters. His parents were divorced when he was eight leaving him without a father. In this episode. we visit with children that come from different types of family structures--not all of which are traditional.
8 October 1996
LeVar Burton focuses on the art of baking bread and its cultural value throughout the world. Bread is considered to be the most basic food that we consume. It can be fun to make, tasty, and it's part of a balance daily diet. But in many cultures, the making and comsumption of bread takes on an even larger meaning for many. The Hopi Tribe of northern Arizona bake their bread, bekee, on a hot stone outside. In keeping with Native American tradition, the stone is always borrowed and a family member is invited to help with preparations. This time is viewed as an opportunity to draw closer to one another and nature. In the Indian culture, no meal is complete without bread. Nan, the basic bread is spicy and baked in a clay oven. This episode's suggested books are "Bread is for Eating", "Bread, Bread, Bread", "The Tortilla Factory", and "Walter the Baker."
9 October 1996
Levar dreams he is miniature size and everything around him is "so very big." When he Awakes, everything is back to normal. He learns that size can influence your perception. Things look bigger and a little scary when you're small. But as you grow, your perception changes. The suggested books are "Hotel Animal," "The Three Bears," "Mr. Tall and Mr. Small," and "Zoom."
10 October 1996
Levar shows us his travel room, a place very dear to him. His travel room has many maps and globes of places that he's visited. While we all love our own homes, we often imagine what it would be like to live somplace else. In this episode, we see what life is like in New York city, on the high seas, and in Hawaii. Books used in the this episode include "Somplace Else," "Me on the Map," "Town Mouse, Country Mouse," and "Somewhere in the World Right Now."
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.
7 April 1997
How babies are born is explored, in great detail, in this episode, as a family welcoming their fourth child is profiled during the last few weeks before delivery. Patrick Stewart reads a poem about how special each person is when they come into the world, and how every birth should be celebrated.
Season 12, Episode 8: Hip Cat8 April 1997
In this episode of the "Reading Rainbow," Levar Burton visits with The Bill Saxton Quartet and Saxophonist Joshua Redman. We learn about jazz and the concept of improvisation. Books featured in this episode include: "Hip Cat", "Conga Crocodile", "Charlie Parker Played BeBop", and "Willie Jerome."
In this episode of the "Reading Rainbow," Levar Burton visits with The Bill Saxton Quartet and Saxophonist Joshua Redman. We learn about jazz and the concept of improvisation. Books featured in this episode include: "Hip Cat", "Conga Crocodile", "Charlie Parker Played BeBop", and "Willie Jerome."
10 April 1997
LeVar discusses how people show gratitude for kind acts and how we can repay each other in acts of kindness to spread good will in the world. Nicholson Earl Billey reads the featured story, a poem of greeting that Native Americans say each day to bless the earth and pray for all the gifts they have been given by respecting the planet.
11 April 1997
This episode of "Reading Rainbow," teaches a lesson about legacies. The book "Carousel", narrated by Sarah Hubbard, shows that a legacy is a special gift passed down from generation to generation. Other books recommended are "The Long Silk Strand", "The Always Prayer Shawl", and "Up and Down on the Merry Go Round."
Season 13, Episode 1: Math Curse5 October 1998
6 October 1998
Scott Irby Ranier tells a tale of a boy who is followed home by a wave of water after a vacation at the beach, and how he and his family must convince the wave it is better off living in the ocean than in his bathtub.
7 October 1998
LeVar attends a rummage sale to observe how people sometimes barter for items when they don't have money to buy them. Josie de Guzman reads the feature story about a girl who follows her grandmother around the farmer's market to trade items to get the ingredients for their weekly chicken stew after they discover they are out of all the groceries they need and don't have cash to buy them.
8 October 1998
LeVar explores Broadway as he looks at live entertainment options. Lucie Arnaz reads the feature story, about a young girl who decides to put on a show for her aunt, who usually treats her to Broadway play matinees, but now Aunt Lena is laid up in bed following a fall, and she gets depressed because she's missing her stories.
Season 13, Episode 5: Work Song9 October 1998
This week's episode is about performance. In "When Aunt Lena Did The Rumba" a little girl puts on her own musical to cheer up her sick Aunt Lena. The Boy's Choir of Harlem shows us the beauty of music through voice. Comedian Peter Patovsky shows how he makes people laugh. Then travel to Broadway for a glimpse of the hit musical "CATS". Books featured this week are "My Mama Had a Dancing Heart", "The Dancing Man", and "The Old Man Who Loved To Sing".
23 October 2000
LeVar visits the Amazon rain forest to meet the real people profiled in today's featured book, a story about how a young man was chosen to follow around his tribe's medicine man to learn all the natural methods of treating injuries and illness using plants of the rain forest.
20 November 2000
"Pet Stories You Don't Have to Walk", read by Jason Alexander, features stories about pets. LeVar Burton throws a birthday party for his golden retriever, Roy, and treats the dog to a bath at a pet spa for his special day.
19 January 2001
LeVar explores way that young people can earn money before they're old enough for official jobs in this show. Andrea McArdle reads the feature story of a group of kids who decide to run a lemonade drink stand to raise money to make repairs to their clubhouse, and how a new neighbor helps them drum up business.
16 February 2001
In the first of two map shows, LeVar Burton wants to show how to use maps. But he is not Rick Steves. Tim Conway reads a story about two boys who decide to try a new route to school after getting there late all the time and being reprimanded by the teacher.
16 March 2001
Levar takes us on a literary tour of the United States. From Hawaii to Maine and Montana to New York, each state is different in its own way.
20 April 2001
LeVar discusses cathartic ways to adjust to losing a loved one in this episode. He and fellow viewers talk about family members that are now gone that they miss, and how they try to remember the good times rather than dwell on the pain. Ruby Dee reads the featured story about an aging Badger, who knows he doesn't have much longer to live and tries to prepare his friends for his passing.
LeVar visits a school in New York City to ask the class how they have coped since the past year when the World Trade Center was destroyed nearby and they had to evacuate and some children lost family members. Jeff Bridges reads the story of The Tin Forest, about a lonely man who builds a metal forest of trees and animals in hopes of attracting real animals to ease his sadness
Season 14, Episode 8: Max2002
LeVar profiles people who are considered "Everyday Heroes" for doing important jobs to provide services, like firefighters, doctors, police officers, nurses, and even jobs like lawyers, judges and teachers. Regina King and Ian Desdone read the story of Max, a boy born into a family of superheroes who hasn't shown any signs of having powers yet.
Season 14, Episode 9: Enemy Pie5 September 2002
LeVar observes activity in a playground to see how people do and don't get along with each other. Ed Harris reads Enemy Pie, a story about a boy who dislikes one of his new classmates, and how his father helps bring the two boys to start a friendship by making a secret recipe Enemy Pie.
LeVar visits the United Nations building to learn more about how different countries of the world try to work together. Naomi Judd reads Our Big Home, a poem about how everything in the world is connected to each other and how we all must work together to make it succeed.
15 December 2004
The series tackles a delicate subject of how some children must deal with a parent in prison. Alfre Woodard reads Visiting Day, a tale about a young girl preparing to visit her father in jail on his birthday, and how she and her grandmother get ready for the trip to the prison. Afterwards, LeVar visits a real family planning to see their father and husband in jail as he finishes his prison term for shooting at a man during an argument, and how they have to cope with the social stigma of having to explain an ex-convict.
19 January 2005
Eliza Dushku reads a story about a girl attending private school who attempts to create her own unique style without breaking any of the school's strict dress code rules.
19 January 2005
Wayne Brady narrates the story of an elderly man who decides to go back to school to learn to read, even though he is almost 100, and his relationship with his young neighbor as they wait for the bus every day.
Season 15, Episode 4: Beegu24 January 2005
As LeVar investigates types of communication, Freddie Prinze Jr. reads Beegu, the story of an alien who visits Earth while lost from its parents and befriends a group of young children who help Beegu contact her family.
29 April 2005
Jordan Puryear reads "Two Old Potatoes and Me," about a girl who works with her father to recycle two rotted potatoes by replanting them using the sprouts to grow a whole new crop of potatoes. LeVar, working with his daughter, is inspired to make potato dishes from recipes in the book.
7 January 2012
LeVar profiles Children For Children, a New York based youth organization that creates care packages for relief to children affected by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Elizabeth Jute reads a story about a US penpal who sends care packages to her friend in war-torn Holland after WWII.
Excitement-anticipation-butterflies-JITTERS! Everyone knows the jumble of feelings that go through a child's head as the first day of school approaches-especially if it's the first day at a new school. Will they like me? Will I make new friends? What if I don't like it? These are questions Sarah Jane Hartwell asks herself as she tries to build up courage to embrace her new school. Children and adults alike will sympathize with Sarah's feelings and laugh out loud at the surprise ending.
Game Day, written by NFL superstar twin brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber, share the story of how, as youngsters, they learned that success is built on team effort. Follow as athletes train for, play and enjoy a variety of sports, and we learn that every player on a team has a special role in contributing to the success of the group. As Host LeVar Burton points out, the lessons learned in sports can help you achieve your goals.
I Lost My Tooth in Africa, written by a girl and illustrated by her father, tells the tale of a young girl who loses a tooth while visiting her fatherâ€ôs family in Africa. In the African tradition, she places the tooth under a gourd and in return gets two chickens from the Tooth Fairy. Host LeVar Burton explores with youngsters how things have changed for them as theyâ€ôve grown, and how taking care of our teeth is part of that process. Then itâ€ôs off to attend a Quinceanera -- a celebration for a 15-year-old Hispanic girl in honor of her transition into womanhood.
Show Way traces the lineage of one familyâ€ôs women who began creating quilts with secret maps to freedom during the years of slavery and continued in the generations beyond as a tribute to the past. Host LeVar Burton and his family discover some items from earlier relatives, and then we meet a grandmother who inspires her grandson, family members and others with her childhood memories of surviving the Holocaust during World War II.
In addition to discussing accomplishing difficult tasks, LeVar profiles the New York children's theater group Tada, as they prepare auditions for their newest show. Richard Gear reads The Biggest Test in the Universe, a story about a grade school class having anxiety over an annual aptitude test.
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