P.B. Bear’s Birthday Party
P.B. Bear’s Birthday Party (DK Multimedia – ages 3 & up) is an eighteen page story which follows P.B. Bear, a classic plush teddy bear with a penchant for pajamas, through his special day. Each page offers a camera-lapse animation sequence in which P.B. and his stuffed animal friends act out a part of the text. You can have the story read aloud by a human, or choose one of the animals to read a page. Pictures replace many of the key words in the text, which is a helpful touch for pre-readers. There are ten very simple games which can be accessed from each page of the story or from a menu. The activities – like finding the path that returns the animals to their homes, or popping the balloons before they fly away – are too limited to encourage much repeat play. Also, you might anticipate many more hot spots from the folks who published The Way Things Work. You might also expect that a young child would be able to play any part of the program in any order, but that’s not quite true. If you click on the animation before hearing the story, you need to double click on the screen to get the text started. If you don’t, the screen is static. These glitches aside, this is a sweet story made especially winning by the use stuffed animals rather than conventionaal graphics. A nice change.
– August 1995