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Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

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Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum
Xavier Riddle Thumb Official.jpg
Who's that kid who can travel through ti-ime?
Genre: Educational
Children's television series
Running Time: 22 minutes
Country: United States
Canada
Release Date: November 12, 2019 – present
Network(s): PBS Kids
TVOKids
Created by: Todd Grimes
Distributed by: Brown Bag Films
Starring: Aidan Vissers
Zoe Hatz
Wyatt White
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 33


Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum is an animated PBS Kids series based on the children's book series, Ordinary People Change the World by Brad Meltzer and Chris Eliopoulos. It premiered on PBS affiliates on November 11, 2019.

Plot

The series follows the adventures of Xavier Riddle, his sister Yadina and their friend Brad. In each episode, they face a problem and turn to the Secret Museum, a hidden room under an ordinary museum, to help them solve it. The museum allows Xavier, Yadina and Brad to travel back in time to meet real-life historical figures when they were kids. They witness pivotal moments that shaped each of these iconic people and learn social-emotional lessons – such as being resilient in the face of adversity and making and accomplishing goals. Each episode is designed to help viewers make the connection between the attributes that made each historical figure a hero, and those same attributes within themselves, while approaching history in an engaging, age-appropriate manner. Each episode of the show will include two animated 11-minute stories with accompanying interstitial content.

Why It Has What It Takes To Change The World

  1. The animation is decent, but it especially stands out when the kids travel through time.
  2. The character designs are adorable and go great with the Peanuts/Calvin and Hobbes-esque art style.
  3. Very educational, as it teaches about history and social-emotional concepts. It actually intertwines the two as it uses historical figures to teach the morals. Even heavier topics such as racism and gender roles are touched upon, a rarity among preschool programming.
  4. Very good role models that appear in the show like Harry Houdini, George Washington, Helen Keller, George Washington Carver, The Wright Brothers, The Bronte Sisters, Amelia Earhart, Zora Neale Hurston, Not to Mention the PBS Kids Star Mister Rogers and so many others.
  5. All 3 main characters are very likable. Xavier is an energetic kid who loves to go on adventures, Yadina is his little sister who has a strong moral compass and is eager to become president one day, and Brad is the nervous and neurotic one who is very relatable to many viewers. The show breaks gender stereotypes through the characters of Yadina and Brad, as Yadina is very strong-willed and Brad has a gentle side and likes butterflies and ballet.
  6. Offers lessons like "There are many ways to learn" and "Tell stories your own way".
  7. Very catchy theme song.
  8. Funny jokes, such as Yadina's bad puns (which they're so bad they're funny).
  9. It's quite faithful to the book series it's based on.
  10. Heartwarming moments, such as when Brad reveals how he got his signature cape.
  11. Pretty good voice acting.
  12. The premise is pretty interesting, as traveling through time is a cool concept.

Bad Qualities

  1. While the animation is decent, it can get cheap-looking from time to time.
  2. Cookie-cutter plots in some episodes.
  3. The Jackie Robinson episode was rather controversial, to say the least. It's partially praised for tackling racism (something rarely done in modern preschool shows), but it's also criticized for comparing serious issues like systemic racism to minor disagreements between kids; Yadina wasn't allowed to play on the swings because of her red coat, which is something she can change, unlike skin color. Jackie befriending Sarah, who was racist to him, was also criticized for teaching kids to befriend bigots, which can have disastrous consequences. The episode was even banned from re-runs on PBS Kids (along with its sister episode, "...Anna Pavlova".)
  4. The historical accuracy of the show in terms of the "heroes'" designs is debatable, as it depicts them as children but with appearances more closely resembling their adult selves. The reason why is because this is how they appear viewed through the eyes of children. Despite this, the majority of facts about the historical figures presented via the episodes are true.

Trivia

  • Yadina has the same voice actress as Miss Weather from Charlie's Colorforms City and Honey The Hamster from Let's Go Luna!.
  • The voice actor of Brad would later voice Ari from Elinor Wonders Why.

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