PB Bear's Birthday Party is a story book for the very young or early readers. Like many computer story books, children see the words lighten and grow larger as the story-teller speaks. Mini-pictures of the bear, his friends and other nouns punctuate the text. So when a child clicks on one, it comes to life and does a party-piece as the underlying word is spoken. You can swap the story-teller and have PB Bear's friends do the reading in dialects of hen, lamb and dog (a Scottish chap).Each page has the near perfect, sparkling, photographic quality which is the DK trademark. And there are 10 games covering concepts like size, colour and shape. The children have to guess what's in the parcel, or who has three sandwiches, or which dressing gown matches Bear's pyjamas. It is charming, but the story is not for street-wise, computer-wise kids. PB Bear wakes and washes, then straw-headed friends arrive. They assemble a train, go for a picnic and come back. It is easy-going, non-distracting classroom material.
* CD-Rom for multimedia Windows PC (Apple version out soon), ages three to five. Pounds 39 including VAT. Dorling Kindersley CD-Rom suppliers. Contact: DK, 9 Henrietta Street, London WC2E 8PS. Tel 0171 836 5411, fax 0171 836 7570.This is another pretty good Dorling Kindersley CD-Rom so if you've seen one you needn't read on.
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