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early reading software
Arthur's Computer Adventure is the latest in the long line of successful Living Books titles, including several we have previuously reviewed: The Cat in the Hat, The Tortoise and the Hare, Green Eggs and Ham, and Stellaluna. Like it's predecessors, the program is based on a well-known character or story, this time Marc Brown's incredibly popular "Arthur" of PBS fame.
In this story, Arthur is dying to play his new computer game on his mom's computer (sound familiar?), but is told not to, because she needs it to do her taxes. When mom has to run into work, Arthur and his friend Buster ignore her instructions -- and suffer disaster when they crash the computer and are unable to resuscitate it.
In Arthur, Broderbund has increased the number of words shown per screen, but decreased the total number of reading pages, apparently in favor of increasing the number of activities. Our seven-year old tester was comfortable reading the story, but disappointed in it's brevity. Our parent testers were similarly disappointed, but also noted that although the number of activities increased from the three found in a title like Green Eggs and Ham, to five here, "only two of them seemed to have a meaningful educational value." Those two provided practice with counting and change-making skills, and matching words with pictures. Other activities focused on arcade-game, hand-eye coordination skills. Not a total waste for new computer users, but of limited educational value.
Our testers reported repeat usage focused on the three less academically focused activities: a helicopter water balloon target practice exercise, a create-your-own-fish mix-and-match, and a scuba diver treasure hunt.
Users with older CD-ROM drives beware: loading time between screens is a little long if you're computer only has a 2X drive.
PC: Windows 3.1 or Win95, 66 MHz 486DX or faster cpu, 8 MB RAM, 640x480 256 color display, 4X or faster CD-ROM, Windows compatible sound devicereturn to top of page
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