Game review by
Jinny Gudmundsen, Common Sense Media
ItzaZoo Game Poster Image
Exciting learn-to-read game incorporates your drawings.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn skills for reading comprehension and problem solving as they add free-form artwork to colorful kid-themed landscapes in ItzaZoo. Kids read or hear questions that prompt them to draw in objects. Objects are then brought to life in the story. Maybe they sketch in a snowflake that then falls from the sky. The story line helps kids associate words with objects and action in a fun and fanciful way. Questions also challenge kids to think logically and experiment to find answers. Learning to read is a magical experience as kids' art comes alive within the game.

Positive Messages

This game sends the message that reading can be fun. It also encourages kids to express themselves through art, because everything they draw in the game comes alive and is incorporated into the ongoing stories. Kids can play with animals that are either female of male.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The animals that you interact with are friendly, kind, and silly. They express emotions in response to what you draw. If you fail to provide something essential (like a door in the house you draw for them), they may express dissatisfaction, but then they simply ask you to fix it. Kids can play with animals that are either female or male.

Ease of Play

This game comes with just the right amount of help. The controls are easy to figure out.

Violence & Scariness

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byrnauful June 28, 2013

Doesn't work, don't buy

The Sabi Game Inc company knows the CD doesn't work but continues to sell it
Parent Written bymulcyber September 5, 2010

My 4-yr-old's fave computer game -- and MINE too!

Thanks to the unique mouse-over reading function, my four-year-old daughter picked up on the concept quickly. Where she would normally employ me to help her fig... Continue reading
Kid, 4 years old June 18, 2010

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 ...

  • Families can talk about how fun it is to talk with the animals. Do you wish you could do this is real life?

  • Did the software make learning to read fun?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading comprehension, vocabulary
    Arts: drawing
  • 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: November 11, 2020

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