A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that ItzaZoo software is a great way to get kids interested in reading. By playing with charming zoo animals who communicate with you via talk bubbles that can be read aloud, kids join in adventures by creating their own artwork for the animals. The drawings get incorporated into the game and animate via a revolutionary technology called "Living Ink." The technology behind this game is truly amazing to behold.
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What's it about?
In ItzaZoo, a downloadable PC game, elephants, lions, turtles, polar bears, and monkeys invite your child to come inside their enclosures for silly adventures that teach your child to read. When kids click on the animals, they talk to them via word bubbles. By mousing over the words, kids can have them highlighted and read aloud. The animals ask kids to help in their adventures by drawing objects. Using crinkly translucent paper that magically appears on the screen, kids can draw objects that then come alive and get incorporated into the ongoing story. Kids will also have to be creative in helping the animals, because sometimes the animals' requests aren't obvious. For example, when you need to find 10 penguins and you only see one, you learn by experimenting that if you click on the one, it will lay an egg to produce more.
Is it any good?
ItzaZoo is truly a remarkable piece of software. It brilliantly uses funny, silly characters to attract kids to the game, and then delivers a story in a way that motivates kids to read. By asking kids to contribute to the story by drawing things and then animating their drawings and incorporating them into the story, kids commit to this game. They are motivated to read the questions asked by the animals so that they can figure out what to draw next. This amazing "Living Ink" technology anticipates what the child might draw and then takes what is drawn and makes it fit within the story. It fills in the child's drawings with appropriate color and detail and then resizes them to fit the situation. For example, when you are playing with the turtle, he asks you to draw him a new shell. Whatever you draw, the game resizes it to magically fit on his back.
Another great aspect of this game is its replayability. Every time you play, you have a different experience because your drawings will always change. This game is appropriate for kids ages 4 to 8; and perfect for those just starting to read. It helps them to decode words by associating highlighted words with objects that they draw. This is children's software at its best – don't miss this one.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading comprehension, vocabulary
- Skills: Communication: multiple forms of expression
Thinking & Reasoning: deduction, investigation, solving puzzles
Creativity: making new creations, producing new content
- Price: $19.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Sabi Games
- Release date: November 1, 2009
- Genre: Edutainment
- ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
- Last updated: August 31, 2016
For kids who love preschool games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.