Arthur's adventure arrives on CD-ROM

October 26, 1998|By Chris Morrill | Chris Morrill,HARTFORD COURANT

Arthur Read, the animated aardvark with a pesky sister named D.W., has grown into an enviable franchise. The books spawned a PBS television, stuffed animals, lunch boxes, jigsaw puzzles and, of course, CD-ROMs.

The latest entry in the interactive field is "Arthur's Computer Adventure," a tale for 3- to 7-year-olds that teaches our hero the danger of disobeying Mom. In the story, Arthur persists in playing a deep-sea adventure game on the computer despite his mother's warning and pays the price.

Like previous Arthur titles, this $30 CD-ROM for Windows and Macintosh computers allows the child to move through the book, clicking on dozens of images while a narrator reads aloud. And in this new adventure, programmers have added five play activities to keep kids coming back.

The best of these activities is Arthur's personal weakness: an arcade-style "Deep Dark Sea" game. Players can learn a little about geography and ocean life while diving for treasure and dodging unpleasant creatures.

Other activities include "D.W.'s Store," where kids learn counting skills; a toy helicopter; a build-your-own-fish game; and a "Treasure Hunt" reading challenge.

There's no doubt that the bonus activities help this product. After one or two read-throughs, that's all my two youngsters wanted to do. And Arthur's smiling face on the cover only makes it better.

But like most other children's books adapted to multimedia, it just isn't as good as sitting on the sofa with your child on your lap and a stack of books next to you.

For information, surf to www.

broderbund.com.

Pub Date: 10/26/98

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