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

Mia's Language Adventure- The Kidnap Caper

Mia's Language Adventure- The Kidnap Caper

Fall 2004 Software
Ages: 6 - 10 yrs.
Price: $19.95
Platform: Windows/ MAC
If you want to be wowed by amazing, cinema-quality, 3-D animation, you must see the short movie that introduces this fun and frolicky foreign language program. And brilliant animation continues throughout the learning fantasy itself.

And in this as in previous Mia titles, what you see is what you get. Following a similar format as other Mia games, this one stars the adorable little mouse in another adventure that sets into motion a lengthy mission through the miniature world of micedom that provides frequent opportunities to learn micey amounts of either Spanish or French through mini-activities, puzzles and games.

This time, Mia's Grandma Mimi has disappeared just as she was about to accept the first-place prize in an art show. So off Mia goes, with your help, to rescue Grandma. The scenery is quite fantastic, and so are the characters such as Sam, the nasty Romaine and Jet Turtle, among others. But the language learning is from-the-blocks basics, so don't expect fluency by the time you find Grandma.

What you will get is familiarity and a comfort level with whichever language you choose at the beginning--Spanish or French. And because there are three difficulty levels, players can start where they are most comfortable, from raw beginner to practicing what you may already know. Advice: Start at the lowest level since these lessons aren't always easy.

It all starts inside the art gallery where you and Mia explore, stopping for the first of more than a dozen activities based on foreign vocabulary. Soon you're matching fruit and vegetables with their foreign names, learning numbers in French or Spanish, and linking short sentences to pictures.

As difficulty levels increase, the lessons go from phonetic alphabet sounding and word recognition to learning names of animals, professions, the alphabet, verbs and adjectives, and even simple sentence building and dialogues.

Trés bien! If you're trying to introduce your child to a Spanish or French via your home PC, this program should not be considered as the primary practice-and-drill program. But the graphics and animation are unmatched and certainly will draw even a reluctant language learner into its clever adventure-related lessons. And that’s how learning begins.

Don Oldenburg   ©2004 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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