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Software review: The Magic School Bus Explores the World of Animals

By Sebastian Dortch

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 5, 1999

For me, the true test of an educational CD is whether it strikes a balance between being educational and entertaining. Scholastic has done that with this latest offering.

Although the Magic School Bus is recommended for children ages 6 to 10, my 4-year-old has spent the most time with it. So I asked him why. "Because I like this kind of school,'" was the reply. I thought that was neat. My pre-kindergartener views this CD as his classroom, and he is inferring that his teacher does a good job. What more can a parent -- or an educational-softwaremaker, for that matter -- ask?

Children who spend time with the Magic School Bus will travel the globe with Ms. Frizzle and her students, helping return animals to their native habitats. The CD offers 14 games and puzzles, video clips, more than 60 photographs and seven experiments. They will learn about animals that reside in seven parts of the world, including Arctic Ocean and tundra, the Brazilian rain forest and the Himalaya Mountains.

Parents, you also will pick up bits of trivia you can use the next time a dinner conversation slows. "Which is faster: a dragonfly or an Olympic sprinter?"

Get the CD and find out the answer.

Platform: Windows

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