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spacer all reviews > > > art software

Create & Draw in Elmo's World

Mattel Media

Ages 3 and up

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
3.5
Kid Appeal
4.0
Ease of Use
3.0

Create & Draw in Elmo's World Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Despite the insistent charm of its main character, this program has one major flaw. It is, for the most part, too difficult for the target age. Although there are activities that young children can enjoy with ease, the main focus of the program is to use the mouse to outline and color pictures of animals which then animate. The concept is wonderful -- children create animated virtual menageries, with their own original drawings filling the screen. Unfortunately, however, young children have a hard enough time tracing and/or drawing on paper with chubby crayons and large felt tip markers. Drawing satisfying pictures with the mouse is nearly impossible, even for older kids and adults.

Educational Value
A number of drawing activities exist in this program, all equally adorable in concept, yet equally difficult for young users to execute. The 'Drawing Page' offers the outline of a figure, with a sample of what it should look like when completed in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Kids use this outline as a pattern from which to begin their creation. Tools include crayons, an eraser for eradicating small mistakes and a broom with which to sweep the screen clean. There are no flood-fill, or stamp options in this section, so coloring is a painstaking task.

In 'Picture Poem', Elmo recites an animal poem, and draws three animal's parts to go with his poem. The child then supplies the remainder of the animal, again using the mouse as a drawing tool. 'Draw a Song' takes the child to a scene that includes three uncolored objects, which must be completed before the associated song can be enjoyed. In this section the child can color or stamp the objects, making it much more suitable for young users.

In addition to the above mentioned drawing activities, Elmo's World includes additional, entertaining mini-activities, each of which encourages creativity and imagination in young users.
Kid Appeal
Because of the mismatch between this program's target age (preschool) and the ability level required for its use, kid appeal suffers. Our young testers loved Elmo and enjoyed the clickables and non-drawing activities, but were frustrated with the drawing portion of the program. While older testers were more adept at creating drawings that could animate, they found the subject matter too juvenile and quickly lost interest. Kids who used the program in conjunction with the SketchBook Studio had slightly more success with the program than those who used the mouse only as a drawing tool. "My 5 year-old could do little more than scribble," commented one parent reviewer, "She wanted me to do all the drawing, and even my creations were not all that great!"

Ease of Use / Install
This program installs without difficulty. Navigation is simple and straightforward, and no program glitches were encountered during our testing of the product.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Although Elmo's World is a cute concept, with nice animation and graphics and clever activities, we found that it was much too difficult for the target age range. Because of this we do not recommend it for preschoolers and caution that it may be difficult for grade-school children as well.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other art software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, Multimedia PC Pentium 133 MHz or equivalent, 10 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 256 color monitor 640x480 screen resolution, 4X or faster CD-ROM, Windows compatible sound card.

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium166 with 48 MB and 12XCD
  • PentiumII 450 with 128 MB and 24XCD
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