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



Disney/Pixar's Buzz Lightyear Learning 1st Grade

Disney/Pixar's Buzz Lightyear Learning 1st Grade

Fall 2000 Software
Ages: 5 - 7 yrs.
Price: $19.99
Review:
The upside of this grade-based software is that Buzz Lightyear's familiar animated heroics creates an immediate learning rapport as he leads his "young space rangers" through the nine skill-building activities. The downside is that the educational content is hit-and-miss and hardly comes close to a comprehensive educational approach. Though the graphics come right off the big screen, the animation isn't nearly as crisp and innovative as you should expect from Disney and Pixar, and the design of the activities is disappointingly uneven. Sarge's Math Maneuvers is a thinly camouflaged arithmetic lesson while Jessie's Number Race sputters around the race track mixing simplistic arcade motor skills with counting and number-pattern recognition skills. Most innovative and fun is Mr. Spell's Word Search in which kids use Andy's flashlight in the dark to find hidden letters and words. Globe Builder lets kids position areas of countries onto the correct continents and provides simple facts about some of the nations--but the names of countries and their global placement aren't well coordinated. Jesse's TimeTeaser is another example of how one-dimensional some of the activities can be: Rascally Jesse disrupts the analog clock so kids have to reset the digital to match it. Snooze alarm, please! And while Disney boasts its Active Leveling Advantage feature for automatically adjusting the challenge to each child, no sign-in at the beginning means it isn't relevant from one play session to the next. Warning to parents: Because about half the activities in this first-grade program (including Bo Peep's Story Time and the musical Sonic Arranger) are recreated with a marginal academic booster-shot in Buzz Lightyear's 2nd Grade sequel, kids who graduate from this title to that one will have already worn some concepts threadbare.
Don Oldenburg   ©2000 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:
Major Retailers
Disney Interactive Studios
800-900-9234
http://www.disneyinteractive.com
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004U5QY/parentschoice-20

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