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

Click & Create with Mia

Click & Create with Mia

Fall 2003 Software
Ages: 5 & Up
Price: $19.95
Platform: Windows, Mac
Once again the star is Mia, the cute and resilient franchise mouse, but this title detours from past award-winning storyline adventures known for their innovation and graphic imagination into the free-roaming realm of creativity software. And being standout innovative in this realm is like trying to invent a new mousetrap.

To start, choose from five different modes--projects, draw, paint, shapes, and multi-media. Mia runs through a tutorial to clue in players on how to get started, and it's a good idea to sit through it since this creativity studio isn't the simplest on the shelf. Click & Create really is about random exploration, so once you've got the idea, diving in wherever you like is advised.

In the projects section, youngsters can make greeting cards, calendars, trading cards, banners, certificates, diary pages--the usual crafty applications found in most creativity programs, but with the amazingly animated Mia adding ideas, options and even silly jokes. Templates and tons of clip art that are easy to drag into place and resize are there at your fingertips. A nice feature that is standout: You can create artwork in one section and bring it over to another section (some multimedia functions excepted).

The shapes section is totally back to basics--squares, triangles, circles, ovals, the things that make up reality, and endless artwork that with adding colors becomes a lesson is visual relationships.

The draw mode enables youngsters to sketch freehand or follow simple step-by-step art lessons that add a new twist. In the multimedia studio, wanna-be directors can choose backgrounds, props, characters and the music that brings those characters to life.

It's hardest to swing through the paint section without hanging around awhile. The huge portfolio of different strokes--brushes, spray paints, fine pencils, pens, markers, stamps and other artist tools that simulate their real-life counterparts' texture and appearance--make it a blast to paint original artwork from a blank canvas or color the couple dozen predrawn pictures of animals and other objects. But while the paint zone is nicely rendered and fully stocked, it's not fantastically different than paint studios in other top-notch creativity software.

All of the sections are intuitive--once you've familiarized yourself with the many possibilities and tools. And the camera icon shoots and saves finished artwork in albums. Just blending colors is a great start to introducing kids to artistic pursuits on the home computer. But the biggest difference is the animation Mia adds. And for Mia fans, that's probably enough.

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.

Look for this product at:
Kutoka Interactive
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers

Share This