Proxy Parent Value
This software routinely held my 4 year-old daughter's interest for 30 to 45 minutes the first several months we used it. Giggles and shrieks of, "you've got to see this mom!" were common for quite some time. One of her favorites was a scene by a bubbling brook where the animals were really musicians in disguise. For example, the beaver was a rap-singing drummer, the frog played the pink flamingo's legs as a bass, and the squirrel was a sax player with an acorn stuck in his instrument.
This is a great piece of software, but less as a learn-to-read tool than for its other values. The Tortoise and the Hare is an excellent bedtime story, whether read from a [paper] book, or this Living Book. What the software version offers is a large number of captivating enhancements that attract a child's attention. These enhancements also make the software valuable as a surrogate baby sitter for those moments when you're trying to get dinner ready, clothes changed, or voicemail from work cleared up.
Overall, we would give this very high marks for intuitiveness, ability to hold our daughter's attention for long periods of times, truth-in-packaging, and parent friendliness. Will it teach her to read? No. But it will continue to expose her to the connection between text and speech, while telling a valuable story. We would definitely buy this software again.
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