A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Reader Rabbit Preschool presents basic, early-learning lessons in a fun video game format. The lessons cover basic topics such as numbers, letters, colors, and shapes, and they are integrated into an animated story that is well suited to the age of the audience. While there are pirate villains in the story, there is nothing scary or violent in any of the imagery. While all instructions are spoken, allowing kids to ostensibly play by themselves, some younger children, especially preschoolers, may have difficulty being precise with the controller and may require help from an adult in that respect. Reducing the remote's sensitivity through the "Wii Options" menu may also help.
What's it about?
In Reader Rabbit Preschool, Reader and his lion friend, Sam, witness the stars vanishing from the sky and fly to Sparkalot, the land where stars are born, to find out why. It turns out the mischievous \"Pi-Rats\" have crashed their ship into the top of Mount Brill, a volcano that's supposed to blast stars into the sky every night. Reader and Sam help out by collecting pieces of magical \"brillite\" that they can use to unclog Mount Brill and refill the sky with stars. To get each piece of brillite, preschoolers have to complete mini-games -- counting the number of spark people that load into a rocket, painting blank flowers according to the directions given, matching baby gloworms to their similar-but-larger parents, and more.
Is it any good?
Reader Rabbit Preschool has a great, fun, age-appropriate story, complete with humor and original songs. It's all presented in animation that cleanly matches the style of the graphics during gameplay, providing kids with a seamless experience while playing. The mini-games are all entertaining for young kids and the lessons in each are solid. It's especially nice that there are moments for pure creativity and self-expression, such as a section where kids get to choreograph a dance for Reader and Sam to perform, and a part where kids can paint flowers any way they choose.
However, the controls are a problem. Point-and-click controls are great for preschoolers on a touchscreen (as in the DS version of Reader Rabbit Kindergarten), but aiming a remote at a TV screen to do the same thing requires a level of dexterity and understanding that a lot of preschoolers simply don't have yet. Even if you reduce the Wii remote's sensitivity, you may find that very young kids still get frustrated trying to, say, color in the very tiny flower petals on the color-matching mini-game. To get the most out of the game's educational content, you could always turn it into a family event and play along with your children to assist them.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii
- Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, spelling
Math: counting, patterns, shapes
- Skills: Communication: listening
- Price: $29.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Graffiti Entertainment
- Release date: May 17, 2011
- Genre: Educational
- ESRB rating: EC for no descriptors
For kids who love learning from 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.