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

A Sailor's Life For Me!

A Sailor's Life For Me!

Spring 2012 Website
Ages: 8 & Up
Developer: David Schaller
Illustrator: Stephen Biesty
Writer: Richard Platt

An enjoyable and informative history lesson, "A Sailor's Life for Me" simulates life aboard a naval ship - specifically, the USS Constitution during the war of 1812.

There are three main sections of the site, plus downloadable ancillary materials such as puzzles and different printouts. "Meet Your Shipmates" describes different jobs on the ship and the men needed to do them. "Explore Old Ironsides" offers a thorough overview of life on the ship from dawn to dusk. Finally, "Sail to Victory," an interactive game, lets users apply what they've learned to have a go at the sailing life themselves.

The game is as educational as it is entertaining. Starting out with the rank of "boy," users receive $16 to buy gear and some skimpy instructions of how to make it on the boat. A number of different characters offer stories, guidance and scolding along the way. Depending on how you perform various tasks-scrubbing the deck and emptying chamber pots, for instance-you can build points to get promoted (or demoted), earn money and the respect or scorn of shipmates.

The site's graphics and pace are well-suited for its content; it's a fun and leisurely way to take in a very interesting piece of history.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is a writer, editor and mother in Vancouver, Washington. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and the Oregonian, and she writes a movie column for Vancouver Family Magazine. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a passable souffle.

Look for this product at:
USS Constitution Museum

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