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Excerpt from The Tale of Peter Rabbit
With these few words begins "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", the first of a long series of children's tales that Beatrix Potter wrote at the turn of the century. In association with Frederick Warne & Co, the original publisher of Beatrix Potter's work, Mindscape recently released "The Adventures of Peter Rabbit & Benjamin Bunny", a new educative title targeted for children from three to seven.
The two stories faithfully reproduce the original texts with an exact reproduction of the illustrations that were used in the printed editions. "The Adventures of Peter Rabbit & Benjamin Bunny" explains how Peter Rabbit ventured into Mr. McGregor's garden and lost his clothes while escaping it. The second tale included on the CD-ROM retraces the perilous episode when Peter and his cousin Benjamin Bunny, decided to go back to the garden and get back Peter's clothes. Both stories are presented in the same manner as the traditional books with the text accompanied by dozens of ravishing illustrations. Yet, the CD-ROM has the tremendous advantage over the book in that it may feature animations and sounds that irresistibly appeal for children's attention. Not only can children listen to the story teller's voice, but they can also watch animations and discover plenty of others by clicking on the screen with the mouse.
Each screen or "page" is composed of an illustration placed in the upper part of the screen with a portion of text below it. While listening to the story, the text being read is highlighted in red. Some of the words used might not be understandable by all, and that's why they will remain highlighted. If the child clicks on the word, a new screen will appear with the definition in the center. Other definitions are available by clicking on one of the 26 letters of the alphabet placed around or on the two arrows near the word's explanation to either go to the previous or next word contained in the glossary. Additionally, each definition can be printed by clicking on the printer icon at the right bottom of the screen.
Within the stories, some words may be difficult to utter or simply uncommon for young children. To remedy this problem, sentences can be repeated again and again until complete comprehension. However, the children's attention may not last forever, and an easy way to keep them interested is entertainment.
The various illustrations featured in the two stories, include sensible zones often called hot spots that children must discover on the screen. The mouse cursor will turn into in a robin to indicate the presence of a hot spot. Most of the time, clicking on a hot spot makes a cute animation appear on the screen giving great joy to children. But that's not all! On some screens, you will discover short nursery rhymes based on characters from the world of Peter Rabbit, and a few hot spots that provide for certain words a visual description and the correct spelling. Speaking of spelling, this title will let you choose between American and British English.
Although there are numerous hot spots to discover, it might be boring for children to click over and over watching the same animations every time. Fortunately, the hot spots are not the only way to entertain the children. There are eleven skill-building activities accessible like the hot spots with the difference that they are indicated with sparkling stars. The activities are divided in several categories such as a jigsaw puzzle, arcade-style and memory games. The jigsaw puzzle, composed of nine pieces, allows you to print each image once you reconstruct it. In the first arcade-style game, you must catch the onions left by Peter in Mr. McGregor's garden with a handkerchief, while in the second, you must deal with nuts thrown by a squirrel. The number of onions and nuts you must recuperate is selected before beginning each game with three possibilities: 10, 15 or 20. The memory games are based on pairs of objects or animals and insects, hidden behind lettuces in the first game, and flowerpots in the second. Here too the level of difficulty -- the number of pairs -- can be chosen before hand, the goal being to retrieve all pairs with a minimum number of moves, which exercise children's visual memory. There is even an activity where you must select recipes, and help Mrs. Rabbit to make delicious desserts for her bunnies. After you have completed the recipe, you can print them out to give them a try.
In "The Adventures of Peter Rabbit & Benjamin Bunny", children may also explore the world of Peter Rabbit. From the main menu, they can click on several places such as the woods or Mr. McGregor's garden, and start their exploration. Red arrows connect together the various screens usually placed at the left and right sides of the screen, with other possible arrows placed elsewhere in the landscape. Children can still play with hot spots and mini-games, and even find new animations that were skipped the first time.
Conclusion:"The Adventures of Peter Rabbit & Benjamin Bunny" is one of the best interactive storybooks ever made, and definitely a must buy for parents in search for valuable educative products. It offers numerous possibilities that are guaranteed to keep children' interest very high and their eyes wide open with the charming and marvelous world of Peter Rabbit.
486 DX2-66 MHz or higher,
Windows compatible sound cards.
PublishersIn North America:
Web site: Mindscape
Mindscape International Ltd.,
Web site: Mindscape UK
Copyright © 1996 Coming Soon Magazine! All Rights Reserved. All Beatrix Potter materials copyright © Frederick Warne & Co Ltd.