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

Magic Town

Magic Town

Fall 2012 Website
Ages: 2 - 6 yrs.
Publisher: Mindshapes

Magic Town bills itself as a virtual world based on popular children's book characters. In our review of the website, we were charmed and intrigued by the illustration style, the navigation design, the intelligent interactivity, the narration, and the ability to customize each child's visits. Putting the child in control of which stories to read and activities to explore is a very compelling feature. It encourages young learners to sculpt their experience, broaden their learning opportunities, and get a real sense of the magic that reading has to offer. What does the character do when not in the story? What games does he like to play? What colors does he like? These are just some of the questions children are invited to answer.

As of this review, the subscription collection of more than 100 stories includes tales both old and new: digital originals, retold Fairy Tales, and popular titles licensed from publishers. The stories are presented as Livebooks™, Magic Town's proprietary, interactive story format. Each book offers four different ways to read. Explore reads the book to you and activates interactive elements, Read Together is for parents and children to read together without narration and without interactive elements (they play automatically), Watch automatically reads the text and plays the interactive animations automatically (it's the most passive mode, for bedtime and car trips), and in Play the narrator reads, but children control the interactive elements and the pace (page-turning) of the story.

Subscription pricing includes a customized profile for up to four children is quoted at $11.99 per month, $59.99 for six months, and $74.99 for a full year.

Parents' Choice   ©2012 Parents' Choice

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