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Early Learning Software Reviews

Reader Rabbit's Toddler
from The Learning Company

For Ages 18 months to 3 years

Also see SuperKids'

Reviewed on:
Children's Software Screen Shot Macintosh Performa 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD

Creating a software program which is at once simple enough for a toddler to use and enjoy, yet not tedious or annoying for the parent or caregiver co-user is a challenge. This program clearly meets that challenge. Reader Rabbit's Toddler is the entry level in a series of multi-subject early learning programs from The Learning Company.

As the program commences, Mat the Mouse, while on a visit to Reader Rabbit's treehouse, enters a storybook-world filled with adventure. Eight brightly illustrated places loom within her view, and the user chooses from among them to undertake the activity that it represents. Each of the activities is appealing and familiar. Mouse use is introduced, but pinpoint control is not required. The toddler simply moves the mouse around the screen--clicking is seldom needed. Unlike some programs of this genre, keyboard strokes, while they do elicit limited action throughout the program, are not a substitute for mouse use.

Activities, while simple in design, are clever enough to maintain the interest of even a much older child. They feature such toddler favorites as animal babies, music-making flowers (that bring to mind Disney's "Fantasia"), bubble castles, jack-in-the boxes, peek-a-boo games, shape sorters, and finger-play songs. Songs and rhymes abound, some familiar, some unique to the particular activity that is being played.

Ease of Install / Use
The program installed without difficulty on our reviewers' Macs and Windows 95 machines.

The Parent's Handbook is complete and informative, although not necessary reading --the program is simple enough for a toddler to use.

Educational Value
This program provides a safe, fun-filled first computer experience for the blossoming young personality. It gives the toddler an opportunity to use the computer on his own terms and at his own level. Because of its simple mouse use, with only minor clicking required, the program encourages familiarity without frustration. As with most interactive experiences at this age, language skills are strengthened, and exploration is encouraged. The young user undertakes new experiences with colors, shapes and sounds while enjoying music and creativity with newfound friends.

Kid Appeal
With endearing friends Mat the Mouse and Reader Rabbit as guides, and favorite activities galore, this well-planned program is as fun as it is educationally valuable. Graphics throughout the program are big, bright, and filled with personality despite their simplistic style. SuperKids' reviewers especially liked the Follow-Me Theater where they watched and joined along as Reader Rabbit acted out catchy finger-plays to classic nursery rhymes and songs.

Best for... Bottom-line
This program does a fine job of introducing the young mind to the wonders of the computer. It appeals to adults in addition to its young intended users, making it work well as a parent-child shared experience.

Educational Value 5/5, Kid Appeal 5/5, Ease of Use 5/5

Also see SuperKids'

Children's Software System Requirements


Operating System Windows 3.1, Win95 System 7.1 or higher
CPU Type and Speed 486/66 or faster 68040/25 or faster
Hard Drive Space 10 MB 10 MB
Memory (RAM) 8 MB 8 MB
Graphics 256-color SVGA 13" 256-color
CD-ROM Speed 2X 2X
Audio Windows-compatible sound card n/a
Other Needs mouse mouse

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