Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Liberty's Kids

Liberty's Kids

Spring 2003 Software
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Price: $24.95
Platform: Windows, Mac
Based on a new PBS show that looks at the American Revolutionary War through the eyes of youngsters Sarah Phillips and James Hiller, this is an exciting and fun live-in lesson in history embodied in the intriguing lives of two teens young players will relate to and like.

Sarah, just off the boat from England to reunite with her frontier-trekking father, is sympathetic to the British viewpoint concerning the colonial rebellion; James is a dyed-in-the-wool rebel convinced of the colonists' cause. But both are young journalists in search of the truth as they report on famous incidents of the war--like the Boston Tea Party and Valley Forge. Helping them is none other than Benjamin Franklin, who publishes their accounts at his Philadelphia press.

Players help Sarah and James interview interesting and famous colonial characters (such as George Washington and Sam Adams), investigate key events and battles, and search the sites of these events for evidence and eyewitnesses. In look and scavenger-hunt play style, the game is sort of an 18th-century Carmen Sandiego with a little Oregon Trail added in--and that's good. And the same way Carmen introduces kids to locations around the world, this introduces them to the Revolutionary War. There's even an excellent reference feature that fills players in on people, places, issues and events of the times. And, based on their journalistic legwork, young reporters get to choose quotes and write headlines to newspaper stories covering the day's events. Animation and graphics are rich and straight from the TV show--which one need not watch to play this game. The opinion juggling is an excellent exercise for youngsters to understand and resolve conflicting viewpoints. This is a genuinely entertaining educational foray for kids into the American Revolution.

Don Oldenburg   ©2003 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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