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Bob the Builder: Can-Do Zoo
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an age-appropriate preschool software game with no offensive content. Girl fans of the show will miss Wendy, the female co-worker of Bob the Builder. The game is currently downloadable for $19.95 from www.beanstalkgames.com, and boxed versions of the game will be available in stores in August 2009.
What's it about?
When Bob the Builder, the cartoon handyman of PBS fame, discovers penguins in the ice cream shop, alligators in the public pool, and a lion on top of the Mayor's desk, he swings into action to build the Bobland Bay Zoo. But Bob the Builder and his animated truck friends can't do all this building alone. They need the help of your child in BOB THE BUILDER: CAN-DO ZOO, a downloadable preschool computer edutainment title. Kids join Bob and his truck friends to build five enclosures for the elephants, penguins, monkeys, alligators, and lions.
To construct the enclosures, kids play a series of building games with Bob. The games can be played on three levels of difficulty. On the easiest, kids will do things like paint the fence for the enclosure by completing a simple pattern of alternating colors. On the harder levels, the patterns get more complicated and incorporate more colors of paint. In all, there are seven educational games that teach patterning, color and shape recognition, object classification and problem solving. These games can be played separately from the adventure. Every time children finish a round of a game, they earn a Bob the Builder sticker that can be used in a separate art activity.
Is it any good?
If you have a Bob the Builder fan in your house, this software is a good choice. The games are easy to play and appropriate for preschoolers. With three levels of difficulty, the games grow with children as they learn. And the games are designed to never let your child fail, a hallmark of good preschool software. For example, one of the games has your child sorting paint brushes and saws. If you child tries to put the paintbrush in the wrong bin, the game won't let him and tells him to "Try again."
While the graphics are flat and the animations won't win any awards, the game does a good job of staying true to the license. Little girls' favorite Wendy is missing, but otherwise Bob and his friends make for fun gaming companions. This software would have been better if it were longer, with more enclosures to build and additional games to play. As is, it's still a good title for preschoolers.
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