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FUNNYBONE Interactive's
A Day at the Beach with the Fuzzooly Family

For Ages 3 to 8

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Interactive Book software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.


Reviewed on:
Children's Software Screen Shot PowerMac 6100/60 with 8MB and 2XCD
Pentium90 with 8MB and a 2XCD

Content
A Day at the Beach with The Fuzzooly Family is an interactive storybook about a family’s beach adventures. The words are highlighted as the narrator reads them -- which could help with word recognition if your child pays attention. More on that later. In a variation on the standard animated book motif, the user is allowed to "jump into" each of the screens to participate in the story through games and activities. For example, in one scene there is trash all over the beach and the child must help clean it up and decide which trash is recyclable.

There are many things to explore within each activity, and the games and activities change slightly each time they appear -- at least that's the claim and was true in our tests. In one activity, Herman the Hermit Crab has lost his shell and the child must help him pick a new one. Each time this activity comes up, there are different shells for Herman to pick from. “My son was very proud about new discoveries he made within the program,” one parent wrote. “Each animation held so much to see.”

Ease of Install / Use
Installing the Fuzzooly Family CD is fairly simple. Once the program starts, you will need the manual. Minor tasks such as how to turn pages in the story (click on the screen margin in the direction you want to move) and how to skip over songs or animations are not immediately obvious. The manual is concise and helpful.

Methodology
The Fuzzooly Family has wonderful graphics, sounds and games that will entertain your child and help him or her with introductory computer skills. However, this is more entertainment than educational reading software. While the reading part of the program may help with reading skills, just as any reading you do with your child is beneficial, it is not the focus of the program. In fact, most of our kid testers skipped the reading altogether, and jumped right into the exploration activities. When questioned as to why they skipped the story, the more computer-experienced kids replied that "the story isn't nearly as interesting as the [activities]." We think that they're right; when compared with other interactive books, the Fuzzooly Family has a weaker story, but better interactive options.

The activities will help a young child improve beginning computer skills, small motor skills, and eye-hand coordination. Most of the activities require some planning and involve use of the mouse to click and drag items on the screen. Some of the games are environmentally focused. Several of our parent reviewers felt that the Fuzzooly Family “would be a great beginning program for a child.”

Proxy Parent Value
The Fuzzooly Family is an entertaining program for kids. The instructions within the program are clear and there is a lot of feedback for the child. Once a child has mastered the basic skills necessary to use the software, he or she will be happy to play alone with it. “My daughter took the program over once we had worked through it. She was so busy with it, I cooked dinner in peace,” wrote a parent reviewer.

Best for...
Davidson recommends the Fussooly Family for children age three to eight. Some three year-olds will not be ready for it and many eight year-olds will be bored with it, but the age range works as a guideline. The program should be popular with most kids -- your child does not need to have any special interests to enjoy it.

Bottom-Line
Our reviewers would buy The Fuzzooly Family again. It is fun and entertaining, it helps children gain and improve upon basic computer skills, and it appeals to most kids. One child’s biggest complaint was, “My friends all want to play with it all the time.” Our only caution: don't expect your kids to read along with the narrator before jumping into the activities, unless you're sitting alongside them.

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Interactive Book software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.



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Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Win95 or Windows 3.1 or higher System 7.1 or later
CPU Type and Speed 486/33 MHz or faster Centris, Performa or better
Hard Drive Space 1 MB n/a
Memory (RAM) 8 MB 8 MB
Graphics 256 color monitor, 640 x 480 256 color monitor
CD-ROM Speed 2x 2x
Audio Sound Blaster or compatible n/a
Other Needs QuickTime SW (incl) QuickTime SW (incl)


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Rating Tables

The Big Picture

Davidson's
Fuzzooly Family
Parent Rating * * * *
Kid Rating * * * * *
SUPERKIDS RATING * * * *




The Details



Davidson's
Fuzzooly Family
Ease of Install * * * * *
Ease of Use * * * *
Manual Utility * * * * *
Technical Support n/a
Fun Factor * * * * *
Educational Value * * *
EDITOR'S RATING * * * *



Davidson's
Fuzzooly Family
Interest Holding Power * * * * *
Parent Friendly * * * *
Independent Activity Value * * * *
Educational Value * * *
Purchase Value * * * *
PARENT'S RATING * * * *



Davidson's
Fuzzooly Family
Ease of Use * * * *
Sound/Graphics Quality * * * *
Fun Level * * * * *
Long Term Appeal * * *
Educational Value * * * *
KIDS RATING * * * * *



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