My First Encyclopedia
My First Encyclopedia (Knowledge Adventure – ages 3-7) introduces kids to ten areas of learning. The giant tree that serves as the interface looks terrific, from roots deep in the earth to branches stretching to the sky. Perched on it are ten kids (plus some animals) who lead you to different sections of the encyclopedia. It’s a clever idea and it works well, except for the fact that none of the kids identify which section they’ll take you to until you click on them. It’s obvious that the one with the telescope will lead to astronomy, but less obvious is that the one with her hands sticking out in the air will lead to transportation. When your pointer hovers over something, it should display an identifying message. Sure, the manual tells you, but this is for little kids so more on-screen information would make this an easier program to explore. Once you choose an area, your video guide will supply you with facts. There’s nothing to read, and things are phrased simply (a cat is “a fuzzy animal with sharp claws” that has a tail and purrs) so little kids will understand. Most areas have a coloring book and/or a puzzle game. There’s a Q & A module where you can watch kids ask questions and have them answered. The graphics and overall aesthetic are excellent. Treat this as an introduction to an encyclopedia and a fun virtual world to explore, and you won’t be disappointed.
– August 1995