Stanley’s Sticker Stories
Simplicity is important in a kids’ program, and Stanley the friendly otter – star of Stanley’s Sticker Stories (Edmark, ages 3-7) – offers a lot of it. Stanley gives children the chance to create a storybook using words, pictures, and sounds. The cast of characters is recognizable from Edmark’s Early Learning Series, and they’re not a bad group of actors, as animals go. A lot of features in the program help keep things easy and clear, from spoken help to large buttons (not a ton of them, for a change) to automatic perspective-shifting as your characters move forward and backwards in a setting. Other facets of the program, however, severely limit what kids can create. If you add music to a scene, the music will play before any actions are executed. Only one thing can happen at any given time. The occasional bow to children’s abilities, like the fact that you can record your own voice for dialogue, does not balance the fact that the program can only go so far – and not very far, at that. When a character throws a ball, the ball disappears into thin air before reappearing so he can catch it again. His partner in the game of catch suffers from the same affliction, and there’s no way to actually make the ball go back and forth between them. Simple, yes, but even a 3-year-old knows a ball shouldn’t disappear into space. It’s fine with us that Stanley Sticker Stories should not be terribly involved, but what it does do, it should do right – that is, if it has animations, they should be real animations. When a program becomes so simple that its flexibility is severely limited, it’s too simple, even for the littlest ones.
– October 1996