The Sailor Dog
The Sailor Dog (Powerhouse Entertainment – beta – ages 3-7) is the first in a new series of CD-ROMs based on that sentimental favorite of many Gen-X’ers, the Little Golden Books (remember the Pokey Little Puppy?). In this title you are introduced to Scuppers the yachting canine and a few of his sidekicks as he sets off to begin a career at sea. The CD-ROM sticks pretty close to the standard digital storybook format. You can turn the page, hear narration, click on hotspots for animations, or jump to related activities, like the de rigeur coloring book. But in The Sailor Dog, many of these storybook standards have been enhanced. The book tops out at 30 pages, more than double the average, and the vast majority have hotspots. And the action can be interrupted at any time which is a big improvement for squirmy kids. There are also several activities woven into the story, like a Frogger-style game in which you have to transport Scuppers across a highway (the thoughtful programmers avoid the issue of roadkill – failure to cross simply returns you to the side of the road), and another where you have to dress Scuppers up in a number of different outfits. Also nice is a sing-along section and bi-lingual narration (English and Spanish). The Sailor Dog also has some of the same problems as other electronic storybooks: limited repeat play, and animations that do nothing to enhance the story.