The Belarusian government ministry in charge of managing disasters and national emergencies has produced a cartoon show. The series, called “Magic Book,” features animals in Looney-Toons-style misadventures, and teaches children how to stay safe.
There's a happy trio of protagonists: a curious rabbit, a clever beaver, and a nervous bird — all armed with a computer spouting safety instructions. They face off against Volchidze the Wolf, who wants very much to eat them, though he inevitably lands himself in trouble, instead.
Since February, the ministry has shared three short cartoons on its YouTube channel. In the first episode, the wolf lures the animals to a frozen lake, where he hopes to eat them after they drown. The animals think about going ice skating, but their computer warns them that it could be dangerous, foiling the wolf's plan.
In the second episode, the good animals play in a band. The wolf tosses them a box of anthropomorphic matches, which burst out, begging to join the jam session. Again, the computer tries to spoil the fun, warning that it's very dangerous to play with matches.
This time, however, the animals ignore the machine, and the matches are invited into the band. As you'd expect, the get so excited moments later that they burst into flames, running around spreading the fire. The safety computer comes to the rescue, of course, telling the animals how to call for help and get rescued.
In the third episode, the beaver becomes a popular blogger. Jealous of his success, the wolf decides he wants to become famous, too, and tries to launch a cooking Web series. Antagonist that he is, the wolf ignores safety precautions, and quickly overloads a power circuit and starts a fire. Things go from bad to worse, when the world tries to put it out using a bucket of water, electrocuting him and reducing him to a small pile of ash.
Meanwhile the beaver follows all the electrical safety tips and cooks up a batch of delicious pancakes.
This animated effort isn't the first time the Belarusian government has dabbled in video entertainment. In September 2015, the Ministry of Emergency Situations released a public service announcement featuring a boy who shares lessons in “taking cool selfies safely.”
“When I want to surprise my friends, I don't do silly things, imitating daredevils,” the boy in the PSA explains. “I can make selfies absolutely safely. When someone wants to challenge me, I use my brain,” he says, explaining how Photoshop is as good as an extreme stunt.
On Jan. 19, “Rescuers Day” in Belarus, the ministry released a short video about firefighters’ everyday work.
These creative efforts seem to be paying off with the general public. On YouTube, the Ministry of Emergency Situations has recorded more than 2.5 million views, and its news cartoons are, by far, the most popular clips in recent months.