Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary for Kids
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary for Kids (Mindscape – ages 6-12) is a mixed bag. With 33,000 entries, it qualifies as a “real” dictionary, and it has many features found in its grown-up counterparts, like pronunciation, full definitions including parts of speech, a good search function, a Word History that saves your selections, and a print function. You can scroll alphabetically or select a letter from the ABC blocks along the bottom of the screen. There is animation for some words and hot spots that provide more information for others. You can play five games, including Monster in the Box (a hangman variation), Cryptograms, and Read our Lips (like Concentration), and you can set the level of difficulty for each game. The games are the least engaging part of the program. They’re unimaginative and short on rewards. For instance, in Monster in a Box, you need to make the word before a cartoony monster breaks out of a wooden crate. Most kids didn’t much care if he got out or not. In Read Our Lips, listen to a word or words, and click on them in the same order. Again, not a thrill. But, for sheer word power (which is the real point of a dictionary), this is a weighty title.
– August 1995