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Review: Arthur's Preschool

MacWorld Online

(IDG) -- When you were a kid, did you ever wish you had a treehouse?

The Learning Company's Arthur's Preschool features a nifty treehouse where the player chooses a friend to play with. After selecting one of eight characters from the Arthur television show, the player and digital companion explore exercises in phonics, matching, counting, letter recognition, and building with shapes. Each game is preceded by clear instructions spoken by Arthur and his friends, making it simple for a young player to start playing with ease.

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Arthur's Preschool personalizes the experience for players; the player's name appears on each of the screens. Each character is friendly, enthusiastic, and encouraging.

The games range from counting baseballs to matching puppet parts according to pattern to fitting differently sized coins into differently sized piggy banks. The exercises are paced for preschoolers: instructions are repeated if there is a pause in response, the characters speak very clearly, and everything onscreen is read aloud.

Like the other Arthur interactive games in the series, Arthur's Preschool includes three skill levels for players to choose from. While the highest level will be complex for most preschoolers, the variety of skill levels make the application appropriate for kids slightly older or younger.

When the player does a good job, the reward is a printable certificate that features fun activities such as connect-the-dots. The first CD-ROM includes eight learning games; the second CD-ROM involves fun activities for the preschooler.

Arthur's Preschool ratings

Rating: **** (out of five)
Pros: The games and activities are stimulating, fun, and educational.
Cons: Some games may be too complex for the preschool level.
List Price: $30
Company: The Learning Company (1-800-716-8506)

Macworld's buying advice:
Arthur and friends provide an array of learning games that reward preschoolers with personalized and printable certificates. Arthur's Preschool delivers hours of stimulating activities and educational games for children ages 3 to 5.




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