The Great Book of Nature is an Italian animated series produced by Mondo TV in 1999 through 2000 with two seasons and a total of 80 episodes consisting of a compilation of stories somehow revolving around animals that was inspired from Simba the King Lion and the 1990 Japanese anime series, The Jungle Book.
Each episode is framed as a story told by a bear to a group of animals gathered in the forest. Aside from the opening and closing sequence, episodes feature wildly differing art styles, indicating they were likely produced separately - possibly as North Korean theatrical cartoons - before being compiled in this format for TV.
This first season is composed of 54 half-hour and non-sequential episodes hosted by an anthropomorphic bear, this series features various kind of animals, such as fish, insects and birds, while depicting their different habitats whether on land, on sea and in the air.
A particular attention has been paid to outline the characters of the animals and the instinctive abilities given them by Nature, but their position in nature's big picture which sometimes means that a fight for survival will be played out and also the power which some animal possess.
At the end of each episode, the audience is treated to a little educational section that resumes the topics and instructive sets of questions and answers that teach young viewers about a given creature’s various kind of behaviors, for example: "where an animal lives", "what does it eat", "which are its enemies", "how is its relationship with the human beings".
An Arabic dub was produced by Venus in Syria under the name أسرار الغابة, or "Secrets of the Jungle" - this version also credits the Hong Kong company Animation International.
- This show was telecast in India in Just Kids! on Sahara TV.
- This show was shown in various countries in different languages after Mondo TV went public.
Animal Games is also an Italian animated series produced by Mondo TV, a second season and in an almost identical format to the series, The Great Book of Nature.
This is a wonderfully entertaining educational series plus the second season that consists of 26 episodes in which animals teach us about the ethics of nature and, in effect, life ethics, over the course of their vicissitudes. Some of these wonderful stories include “The Cat’s Lifebelt”, “Little Players of the Sunny Garden”, “A Leopard Frog in a Spring Pond”, “The Wise Red Turtle” “A Rabbit's Repentance”, “Story of a Bat” and “A Picture Drawn by a Frog”. A happy ending is assured in each of these marvelous stories, sure to please those who enjoy seeing animals with almost human-like expressions.
Unlike The Great Book of Nature, Animal Games features a Korean title written on the book in the opening sequence, 곰이들려준이야기 gom-ideullyeojun-iyagi or loosely translated as "Stories Told by the Bear". This may be its original title as broadcast on North Korean TV.
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