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Interactive Books / Early Reading Software Reviews

Baba Yaga and the Magic Geese
by Davidson

For Ages 3 to 9

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:
Childrens Software PowerMac 6100/60 with 8MB and a 2XCD, and
Pentium90 with 8MB and a 2XCD

Content
Baba Yaga and the Magic Geese is a beautifully animated adaptation of a classic Russian folktale. (In fact, this CD was developed by Capital Multimedia, with help from its staff in St. Petersburg!) This is the story of a small girl named Tasha, who is asked by her parents to watch over her little brother, Niki, while they go off to the store. Tasha becomes distracted, and little Niki is abducted by the evil witch Baba Yaga's magic geese. Tasha sets off to find and rescue her brother, and ... well, we won't give the story away!

Ease of Install / Use
Baba Yaga was esy to "install' on the Mac and PC test machines used by our reviewers. Actually, since the software runs from the CD, installation was limited to the creation of an icon and program group on the PC. On the Mac, our 5 year-old tested loaded the software herself, and was ready to go in seconds.

Use of this interactive book was totally intuitive for all of our reviewers (yes, the adults too!). The user is given an option at the beginning to simply listen to the story as it is read, or to have the option to click and explore each page following the narration.

Methodology
Built around a dozen screen shots, Baba Yaga has near cartoon-quality animation and excellent sound. The story is told by a clear-voiced narrator, with dialogue from a small cast of characters. Each screen has a single sentence of text at the top, with words highlighted as they are read by the narrator. After the narration concludes on each page, the user may click and explore a large number of objects on each screen.

Like many books of this genre, "Baba Yaga's educational value is primarily its ability to build interest in books in young children," according to our teacher reviewers. "When a parent or care-giver asks the child about the story, and encourages its retelling, the development of the child's reading comprehension is reinforced."

Proxy Parent Value
Proxy parent value is SuperKids' measure of how well a program holds the interest of its user, while providing some level of educational value. Baba Yaga scored well on this measure, based on the clarity of the storyline, the quality of the graphics and sound, and the number and variety of clickable opportunities.

Best for...
Baba Yaga was best liked by younger reviewers (3-6), and among reviewers with less extensive exposure to interactive books.

Bottom-Line
Nice story, excellent animation, good choice for pre- and early readers.


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.



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 3.1;
WIN 95
System 7.1 or higher
CPU Type and Speed 486SX/33 or faster LC 575, Performa 575, or faster
Hard Drive Space minimal none
Memory (RAM) 8 MB 6 MB with 3 MB free
Graphics 256 color Super VGA 256 color
CD-ROM Speed 2X Speed 2X Speed
Audio Windows compatible sound card n/a
Other Needs


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