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Western Animation / Super Why!

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Hip hip hooray! The Super Readers saved the day!

Super Why! is an educational animated children's show aimed at very young children (young enough to still be practicing their abcs). It features Fairy Tale characters who turn into superheroes known as the "Super Readers", who can literally enter into books to help solve problems. They are:

The show is also interactive in that the viewer is also assumed to part of the group, as the unseen Super You, "with the Power to Help!" whom the other heroes
address directly.

The show is produced by the same people who made Blue's Clues, and can be seen in PBS Kids.

The series is highly formulaic, following the same pattern in virtually every episode: One of the main characters has a problem, and the group sets out to find a solution to it by changing into their heroic selves and entering a book. There they try to help the story's characters with their problems, eventually changing the story (by replacing words in the text) to give it a different ending. In the process, they find special "super letters" that Super Why collects in his "super duper computer" which eventually spell out a word that is the solution to the original problem. After that too is resolved, the Super Readers, now back in their normal forms, dance a little victory dance to the show's tune, and the episode ends.


It should be noted that not all the books the kids enter are the typical fairy tales most children know; some are from other countries (such as the Japanese fairy tale of Momotarō, the Peach Boy), others are folk tales instead (such as Juan Bobo and the Pig, a Puerto Rican folk tale) and some are modern books such as Doctor Dolittle. The stories are usually changed to make them simpler and safer for a very young audience. While the Super Readers are animated in 3D, the storybook characters are all two-dimensional, resembling the type of pictures you see in such books.

Do not confuse with Big "WHY?!".

"Who's got the power, the power to trope?":

  • Adaptational Heroism: As depicted in the episode "The Nutcracker", the Mouse King is just a jerk at worst, with the explanation being a cheese shortage that had taken its toll on his mood. When in a better mood, he proves to be quite personable.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Whyatt's siblings and friends (in later seasons) often call him "Why". Joy also calls him "Why-why" in later seasons.
  • Amazing Technicolor World: The world of Beauty and the Beast is purple for some reason.
  • An Aesop: Every episode has one, though sometimes it is different from the one the traditional tale told. For example, in the Ugly Duckling episode, the problem was that the duckling couldn't swim, but should keep trying!
  • Anatomy Anomaly: The blue-skinned witch from the "Hansel and Gretel" story has a nose that looks awfully like an elephant's trunk.
  • Art Evolution: The Super Readers look distinctly different after the show was renewed for a third season.
  • Artistic License – History: In "Galileo's Space Adventure", Galileo is portrayed as a modern day astronaut with dark skin who lives in outer space with a cat. In real life, Galileo Galilei was an Italian 16th century astronomer. Imagine the rage of astronomy geeks everywhere.
  • Art Shift: When entering the books. Note that the Super Readers remain 3D characters while everybody else is flat.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Pinocchio uses this as an excuse for continuing to lie before Whyatt zaps a word into his story.
  • Be Yourself: The moral of "Cinderella", where Red is invited to a party hosted by Sleeping Beauty, but worries that she won't fit in.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Woofster (golden retriever), Whyatt/Princess Pea (brunette), and Red (though it's debatable whether her hair is red or brunette).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Constantly. A pretty funny example pops up in "Little Red Riding Hood", where Wonder Red shoots the camera a "who is believing this?" look.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!:"Super the rescue!"
  • Captain Ersatz: Pig's brothers' clothes are clearly based on Mario and Luigi.
  • Catchphrase: several, the ones above are just examples.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Whatever happened to Mr. Lizard?
  • Color-Coded Characters: Whyatt/Super Why is green, Red/Wonder Red is... red, Princess Pea/Princess Presto is pink/purple (more often pink), Pig/Alpha-Pig is purple, and Woofster is blue.
  • Cool Plane: The "Why-fliers"- every hero has got one, except Woofster who becomes a passenger for Super Why's.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: Red.
  • Derailed Fairy Tale: Doing this is the whole point of the missions.
  • Darker and Edgier: Opposed to the usual Lighter and Softer concept, in Humpty Dumpty, the Super Readers have to save Humpty Dumpty from falling off his wall, which is a lot Darker And Edgier than most premises of the stories the Super Reader's travel in. Even the background music that plays when Humpty Dumpty cries for help makes it Darker and Edgier.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In one episode, the characters go into Red's story. When they meet the Big Bad Wolf both times, although her tone doesn't reveal it, Red's expression as she delivers her well-known lines to the wolf just screams this.
  • Disneyfication: All the Fairy Tales with any potentially disturbing content are made much Lighter and Softer, oftentimes well into Political Correctness Gone Mad territory. For instance, in the "Hansel and Gretel" episode, the kids eat the witch's roof, the witch says "how dare you eat my roof!", the heroes help H&G say sorry, and the witch accepts the apology and gives them house-shaped cookies. The end!
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Woofster is merely called "Puppy" when outside of the books. This was dropped in Season 3.
  • Dub Name Change: The French dub renames Whyatt to Tom.
    • While Pig, Princess Pea and Red are renamed to to Bidule, Cerise and Princesse.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The heroes' "Book Club" headquarters.
  • Excited Show Title!
  • Expy: Aiden, who appeared in "The Rhyming Carnival", looks almost identical to Alex Porter. He's even voiced by Christian Distefeno!
  • Fairy Tale Free-for-All: The show takes place in "Storybook Village, where all our fairy tale friends live!" And the place is populated with characters from pretty much every popular fairy tale ever, including Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Sleeping Beauty. The main characters are related to or adapted from these fairy tales (namely, Princess and the Pea, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk). Even characters from well-known nursery rhymes are included, such as Peter Piper (and his peck of pickled peppers) and Little Boy Blue.
  • Fantastic Flora: Flowers shaped like books grow in Storybrook Village.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Wonder Red.
  • Five-Man Band: The Super Readers solidified the trope by adding Woofster in season 2.
  • Five-Token Band: A borderline example. Red is white, Whyatt is (maybe) Hispanic, Princess Pea is of mixed race, Pig is, well, a pig, and You has a tiny head.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Of course the Super Readers will solve all the problems! Played with, however, in that sometimes they guess wrong, and Super You must make the correct choices for them.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The tales often are changed to be Lighter and Softer.
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: Pig.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Red wears her hair like this. They turn into Braids of Action when she turns into Wonder Red.
  • Growling Gut: It happened to one of the Super Readers and the characters in the storybook.
    • Whyatt's stomach growled twice in "Tiddalick the Frog".
    • Pig in "The Ant and the Grasshopper".
    • Princess Pea in "Snow White" due to a bad tummy ache.
    • The characters in the episodes "The Swiss Family Robinson", "The Ant and The Grasshopper" and "The Prince and the Pauper" suffered this too.
    • Wolfy in the episode "The Rolling Rice Cakes".
  • Hanukkah Episode: In the episode "Judith's Happy Chanukah", we learn that Red Riding Hood is Jewish, and the Super Readers jump into a book to learn more about Hanukkah.
  • High-Class Gloves: Princess Presto.
  • Hyperspace Wardrobe: The super readers transform by spinning to work around having to show how super-deformed people dress and undress.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: The male Super Readers all have these.
  • Intrepid Fictioneer: What the whole show is about.
  • Kid Hero: The Super Readers are all young children who jump into books to solve the characters' problems.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Pig the anthropomorphic pig is among the otherwise mostly human characters inhabiting the story world. There's even an episode where he notices he's the only pig out of Whyatt's group of friends and is afraid he might be a bit too different from them.
  • Little Red Fighting Hood: Red.
  • Never Bareheaded:
    • Seriously, have you ever seen Pig or Red Riding Hood without their hats on? Same goes for Alpha-Pig and Wonder Red.
    • Also, Princess, be she Pea or Presto, is always wearing her crown.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: See above under Disneyfication, but the champion here may be "The Little Mermaid" episode. The title character is afraid to play with the kids on the island because she has a tail. This serves to make an Anvilicious point in the frame story about "being different."
  • Pinocchio Nose: An episode takes place in Geppetto's workshop in The Adventures of Pinocchio.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Alpha Pig, Wonder Red and/or Princess Presto, and Super Why always help in every episode, and in that exact order too. "Super You" also helps each and every one of them.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The antagonists in the storybooks will point out that the only reason they're being evil is because the book says that's what they're supposed to do.
  • Punny Name:
    • Whyatt.
    • In the French dub, he's named Tom, which is an anagram for the word "mot", which means "word".
  • Reality Warper: In the books they enter, Super Why's pen can zap words into a story. Most of the time, it's changing a specific word(s) to something different (usually its opposite), but a few episodes (I.e the cookbook episode) mix it up and have him fill in a blank.
  • Scooby Stack: In the Jack and the Beanstalk episode, the team does this around a door when they first enter the giant's castle.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: In the French dub, Whyatt is renamed Tom, which when spelled backward is "mot", the French word for "word".
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: Occurs quite often as Whyatt uses his Super Duper Computer to call the other team members, even if they're all in the same area.
  • Show Within a Show: There seem to be two fairy tale worlds (Or rather, two layers of fairy tale worlds), the one the characters share and the one in the books they enter.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's often spelled "Wyatt", when it's properly spelled "Whyatt" with an "H".
  • Stock Sound Effect:
    • Joy had her voice provided by stock baby sounds in the first season.
    • The usual overused baby cry is heard in "Jack and the Beanstalk", when Baby Joy throws a tantrum.
  • Strictly Formula: Every single episode has one of the Super Readers having a problem and wondering what the answer is (the kind of problem little kids have like not being able to play the game he or she wanted). They all gather at the Book Club and pick out a story. They transform and fly into the story. Along the way, they collect Super Letters which help answer the question they are wondering about. After reading the story and meeting the main character, 3 problems occur that require the usage of the Super Readers' powers in order to help the character(s). Another problem occurs at the end of the story and Super Why has to use his power to change the story and it ends happily. The Super Readers fly back to Storybrook Village and solve the problem they were wondering about.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: "We're ready to FLY into this book!"
  • Super-Deformed: The art style is super stuck this way.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: The Super Readers. Princess Presto's cape almost looks like a repurposed wedding veil!
  • Take Your Time: Despite resolving real life problems, the characters have to leave for the clubhouse, travel through the book, insert the letters they found on the computer, then go back to where they need to before they can solve the problem. No one else seems to notice the length of their absence.
  • Talking Animal: Woofster is a talking dog.
  • The Unseen: Super You. Justified, as it is meant to be the viewer (or one of them, if 2 or more people are watching this show in this same room).
  • Token Non-Human: Alpha Pig. No longer the case starting in Season 2, as a super puppy named Woofster joins the team.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Wonder Red and Princess Presto.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Red shows some concern about what to wear to a ball in one episode, and in another she really enjoys herself figure skating in the Land of Snow.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Snow White in the version of the fairy tale the Super Readers enter. Even though her friends are telling her repeatedly not to trust the Obviously Evil Queen, she always does.
  • Tyop on the Cover: As the super readers enter the story of Pinocchio, Pinocchio's name is misspelled on one of the pages.
  • Transformation Sequence: Happens before they travel into the book. During which, the characters spin around to change their clothing (except Woofster, who does a backflip instead), likely because the characters are children and their heads are huge.
  • Two Girls to a Team: One of the few examples with an even split between the two genders. (With the addition of Woofster who is a boy puppy, the gender scale is tipped.)
  • Team Hand-Stack: The team does this when going off to solve the problem, with Super You (the viewer) invited to put out a hand too.
  • Underwear of Power: Super Why.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Wonder Red's voice gets a bit more mature throughout the series, due to her voice actress hitting puberty.
    • Alpha Pig's voice gets deeper in the second season for the same reason.
  • Working Through the Cold: Princess Pea isn't feeling well in "Snow White" but goes on the mission anyway.
  • Youthful Freckles: Red has these.


Video Example(s):


Super Why!

The Super Readers' once-per-episode transformation, as they change into their super forms and announce their powers.

How well does it match the trope?

3.33 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TransformationSequence

Media sources:

Main / TransformationSequence