Socrates (also known as "Sock"), a bobcat, voiced by Frank Welker
Aristotle (also called "Ari"), a prairie dog, voiced by Jim Cummings. Keeper of the Book of Virtues.
Aurora, a hawk, voiced by Kath Soucie (who also voices Annie)
This is the first television series from PorchLight Entertainment, as well as the first prime time animated series for PBS. It is dedicated to teaching Christian life lessons to kids, such as of courage, faith, honesty, loyalty, compassion, gratitude, responsibility, perseverance, self-discipline, and friendship. For a TV series, the animation uses quite an advanced movie quality, giving most of the designs a Disneyesque art style.The series is currently available on qubo on weekends, and on the Mormon channel BYUtv on weekdays. Episodes from the show are also seen on YouTube (US viewers only) (link).Check out the Characters page and the Recap page.
Art Evolution: The animation design in season two has been changed, noticeably streamlining the designs on Zach and Annie to make them look a little like teenagers, in addition to darkening the backgrounds a bit and making the cells lighter. Finally, in season three, the animation quality is a little less smooth than the first two seasons and also added black outlines on the characters, even though the backgrounds are lighter again and the character designs are completely unchanged.
Art Shift: Depending on the tone of the story segments, stories about historical or Biblical figures will feature realistic animation while fables will have a cartoony look, plus comedic stories will have a wacky style to the drawings and others will have stylistic designs.
Babysitting Episode: The plot point of the episode "Selflessness", in which Annie was forced to babysit her toddler cousins, skipping a trip of hers.
Binocular Shot: When a binocular or spyglass is used by the characters in some episodes.
Blinding Camera Flash: This happens to Zach at the beginning of "Honesty", when he touches his dad's camera and accidentally breaks it.
Bolt of Divine Retribution: At the beginning the first episode "Work", a raging thunderstorm occurs, so everyone rushes to the cave—except for Sock, who just sits on a branch of a tree. When told by Plato that the tree isn't very safe to sit on during thunders, Sock disagrees, thinking the tree is very safe. Cue a lightning strike hitting the branch he's sitting on, and thus he falls on the ground.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: On occasion; near the end of "Honesty" (2000), Sock appears in front of the screen and talks directly to the audience right after Zach accepts Annie's apology letter.
Broke Episode: "Self-Discipline", "Generosity", "Integrity", "Charity" and "Honesty" (2000).
Call Back/Continuity Nod: In "Trustworthiness", Zach's backpack is found by Sock, who digs into it looking for something. This makes Zach toss the backpack away and shoo him, causing it to spill its contents. Zach gives his lunch bag containing a sandwich to Annie and quickly packs them up in frustration but Annie immediately eats his sandwich, which leads him to accuse her of eating it. Then Annie holds out another bag containing a sandwich, making him happy. This is later repeated at the end of "Honesty" (2000) where Zach and Annie are having a picnic, but Sock steals Zach's bag of sandwiches, which makes Zach angry. Then Annie holds out another bag of sandwiches and Zach turns pleased again.
Clip Show: The ending of "Wisdom", where Annie and Zach told recaps of their previous adventures.
Clutching Hand Trap: This happened to Sock in "Moderation", when he tries to take a cookie out of the jar Zach gave him.
Conspicuously Light Patch: While early episodes avoid this trope, other episodes seem to use it a lot. Especially noticeable is that the dirt could be colored lighter if animated.
Contemptible Cover: The various picture book adaptations published when the show premiered, which feature illustrations that are slightly Off Model and a bit rounded, such as on the noticeable covers. Just wow.
Covers Always Lie: The logo of the series, which depicts a lineup consisting of black silhouettes of the main characters standing against a red background with the show's title underneath them, along with a large yellow jungle font for "ADVENTURES", seems like it would fit well for an animated nature series, but the actual show itself is more about characters telling Christian values, fairy tales and other famous stories. However, the logo could be accurate, given that the show involves a Native American girl, wild animals that talk, and even a jungle-style theme song.
Critical Research Failure: In-Universe; in "Integrity" (2000), Zach takes to school his dad's replica of his school report from Egypt, which causes a lot of embarrassment in the class when he reads it out loud. Annie lashes out on him for lying about it.
Diving Save: Sock does this to Annie in "Responsibility" after Annie falls off her bike and slides down the cliff.
Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: In "Honesty", Zach's dad tells him not to touch his old fashioned camera. But then when Zach ignores what he said and touches it, he accidentally breaks it.
Dream Sequence: In the two-part Christmas Special, Annie has several of them in which she's a female Ebeneezer Scrooge (named Annie Scrooge) because, in the first part, she was in a bad mood and finally criticized her classmates (and Zach) while they're setting up the Christmas Carol play.
Dropped Glasses: Happens to Ari in "Trustworthiness", for most of the episode.
At the beginning of "Generosity", Zach was carrying a load of canned goodies for donation. Sock walks in feeling sleepy and accidentally bumps into him making the cans fall on the ground burying him and roll down, and even one of them rolls down into one of Ari's tunnels. Then the kids went on to gather up the cans in boxes.
Plus an original song will play after the reciting of the poem.
Face Palm: Zach's dad in "Honesty", after he sees his camera broken by Zach.
Zach himself also does it in one episode.
Failure Is the Only Option: In "Courage", Annie has to race with another girl at the school field. As they run, they jump over a hurdle, even though Annie trips over it and falls flat on her face and the other girl wins making her lose. Annie gets upset because of this, pounding on the track with tears coming out of her eyes.
Furry Confusion: Besides the main animal characters, some episodes have non-anthropomorphic animals show up when Zach/Annie isn't at Plato's Peak. Some examples include a dog that Zach plays fetch with in "Loyalty", Jake's pet dog in "Respect", and two squirrels that Zach mistakes for Sock and Ari in "Determination".
Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: In the episode "Charity", Plato is seen wearing only a large white sheet around his body, and Ari and Sock are only wearing green and blue jackets respectively, due to the snow. However, in another episode involving snow, "Humility" (2000), they lack these clothes, just as in all other episodes.
The Hyena: Sock always laughs maniacally. For example, in "Honesty", when he hears Plato say "big picture" and thinks it's funny (inducing a Lame Pun Reaction from Plato), and later in "Loyalty", when he watches Ari with his binoculars.
"I Can't Look" Gesture: In "Wisdom", Ari does this near the end just as Sock was about to take the honey from the beehive.
In the first one, Zach and Annie give up on their guitar and karate lessons respectively, because Zach said that playing a guitar is boring and Annie said that karate is very hard. At the end of the episode, after being told stories with the episode's virtue, the kids get over their problems and happily revisit the two topics.
In the second one, Annie was racing with Zach on their bikes in the woods, but gets outrun by him when he wins the race and becomes so disappointed about it that she wants to quit. Later on, Annie tries racing with Zach again after resolving her problem and somehow manages to outrun him.
Negative Continuity: The episodes do not seem to take place in linear fashion; no character speaks in memoriam of a previous incident, and there is no intimation that the kids act based on a previously referenced virtue.
Never My Fault: In "Responsibility", Annie blames Zach for her bike accident, but he keeps telling her that he didn't ask her to race. This leads to an argument between them.
Later in "Integrity", Annie tries blaming Zach for making her sell their weather vanes really fast, but it was actually the fact that she cut the corners.
In one scene of "Trustworthiness", Zach doesn't believe Annie for taking his sandwich and eating it.
Not the Fall That Kills You: In "Responsibility", Annie falls off her new bike after crashing into a rock because she accidentally races with Zach (while actually delivering her mom's cakes), but is eventually saved by Sock from hitting the ground.
The Odyssey: The story of the cyclops appears within the show.
Off Model: In certain shots of many episodes, you can see that a character's body part, clothes or articles of their skin or fur is filled in with the same color as their main body or clothes by mistake, and even in a few shots, one color disappears. Also, the designs on Zach and Annie are noticeably different in some episodes.
Oh, Crap: In "Responsibility", the animals get this look when they see Annie racing towards the rock.
Zach also has one at the beginning of "Compassion", when he sees that his neighbor's house is in flames.
Then in "Courage", Sock does this by screaming when a spiral (which he thinks is an earthquake) is being dug around him and Ari pops out underneath him.
The characters may have this reaction during some of Sock's Epic Fails.
Ari in "Charity", when Sock is about to shove a giant snowball on top of him.
Playing a Tree: Not an inanimate object, but in the first part of the "Compassion" Christmas episode, during a school play based on A Christmas Carol, Annie apparently got cast as Ebeneezer Scrooge by her teacher because she yells at her classmates for not making up their minds.
Ari: Talking brave and being brave; they're two different things.
Plato: Aristotle, you're as eloquent as your namesake, the great philosopher.
Right in Front of Me: At the beginning of "Perseverance", the kids let Sock use their binoculars so he can see Plato's Peak using it, but then Plato steps up in front of him and asks Sock what is he looking at. This startles Sock, who jumps into Zach's arms screaming as Annie catches the binoculars.
Running Gag: Ari popping out of the ground accompanied by a Screen Shake, which often startles a character (usually Sock).
Say My Name: Done by Zach in "Responsibility" when Annie hits a rock on her bike and goes flying.
Scenery Porn: Most of the backgrounds for the episodes had the quality of paintings.
Shoo Out the Clowns: This happens twice to Sock: Once in "Perseverance", where he only shows up at the beginning; and again in "Courage" (2000), where he goes away when Ari (who has been toned down during this part) tells Zach the story of Zach and the Beanstalk.note However, this trope excludes Samuel the mouse, the story character. Also, he's completely absent in "Responsibility" (2000).
At the beginning of "Perseverance", when the kids tell Sock that Plato's Peak looks just like Plato, he reminds them "Next you'll be tellin' me there's a mountain in South Dakota that looks like four presidents!". He's actually referring to Mount Rushmore.
When a new kids' movie cable channel arrives in "Moderation" (1998), Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz were mentioned in the letter that the cable company sent to Zach's family. Also, at the beginning of the episode, The Black Stallion was seen as one of the movies playing on the channel.
Title Confusion: Some people think the show was called "Tales from the Book of Virtues" or "Stories from the Book of Virtues". Neither of these titles are true.
Title Montage: The opening contains clips from early episodes of the first season, mostly combining them as Welcome Titles of the kids entering Plato's Peak and meeting the animals for the first time. However, the last few shots in the intro are exclusive.
Watch Out for That Tree!: At the end of "Humility" (2000), Sock slides down the snow hill on a snowboard and accidentally crashes into Ari, resulting in both of them rolling into a Human Snowball, and finally, they (especially Sock) crash into a tree.
What the Hell, Hero?: Zach and Annie will frequently give each other these type of speeches though how deserved they are varies from episode to episode.
"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Almost every episode ended with footage of one of the kids getting more used to the virtue of the day after having solved their problem.