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spacer all reviews > > > interactive book software

The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss


Ages 3 to 7

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

Screen shot from The Cat in the Hat System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Once again the creators at Broderbund have done it with another in their series of "Living Books." This one is based on The Cat in the Hat, the much loved Dr. Seuss classic currently celebrating its 40th year of bringing joy to young readers.

The story is a simple and familiar one. Two children, left home alone with nothing to do on a "cold, cold, wet day", are visited by a six-foot tall, charismatic cat. This is no ordinary curl-up-in-your-lap cat, but rather The Cat in the Hat, a total entertainment package, certain to cheer and amuse with the help of his friends ‘Thing One’ and ‘Thing Two’. The children encourage him despite dire warnings from their conservative-minded goldfish, and pandemonium ensues.

Educational Value
As with many other interactive book titles, The Cat in the Hat includes two use options: a passive ‘read to me’ mode, in which story characters read a passage with text becoming highlighted as it is read; and an interactive ‘click and explore’ mode, where every click uncovers another surprise. Certain words transform as they are read into appropriate mini-pictures. These pictures, when clicked, first revert to highlighted text, then become animated delights, reinforcing for the young child the written-text-to-meaning concept.

The Cat in the Hat thoughtfully includes the complete, illustrated print version of the story, so that users can practice their reading skills at bedtime - without booting up their computers.

Simple games and activities exist throughout The Cat in the Hat. Users arrange a puzzle, shoot baskets, create funny faces on a framed picture, or draw on a mini whiteboard. They join Thing One and Thing Two, the ever-available playmates, in chase and counting games. Each activity increases familiarity with the computer, while some additionally strengthen spatial and/or causal relationships.

Kid Appeal
SuperKids’ reviewers of all ages were delighted with this clever yet simple program. The Cat in the Hat is not only comfortingly familiar, but also a natural for animated fun. Silly things occur at every turn: words come to life, the Cat dances jigs, the fish warns and wails, and Thing One and Thing Two do everything the young child yearns to do at home on a rainy day (but dare not).

Ease of Use / Install
The Cat in the Hat installed without difficulty on our reviewers’ PCs; no installation at all is required on a Mac - simply insert the CD and click on the icon.

There is no real User’s Manual included -- other than the skinniest CD jewel box insert we've seen, and a generic Broderbund troubleshooting guide -- but the box in which the CD is packaged details what to expect while using the program, and a digital Readme file provides additional information. Some younger reviewers mentioned that they missed activities on their first run through and that it was not always obvious when and where clicking should take place.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
One of our older kid reviewers summed it up best: "Take it from the Cat, and Thing Two and Thing One, This program you’ll like ‘cause it’s fun, yes it’s fun!"

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

System Requirements
PC: Windows 3.1 or Win95, 486/66 or faster cpu, minimal hard drive space, 8 MB RAM, SVGA 640x480x256-color display, 2X or faster CD-ROM, Windows compatible sound device, optional: printer

Mac: System 7.1 or higher, 68040/25 or faster cpu, no hard drive space, 5.5 MB free RAM, 13 inch or larger color display, 2X or faster CD-ROM, optional: printer

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium90 with 24MB and 2XCD
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