Reader Rabbit Preschool

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Reader Rabbit Preschool Game Poster Image
Cute story and animation surround educational mini-games.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a variety of basic early-learning concepts, including counting, letter sounds, colors, shapes, patterns, and even direction following. It’s all wonderful stuff for preschoolers to learn; however, the motion-based Wii controls can be particularly finicky for the youngest gamers. Reader Rabbit Preschool offers great math and reading games, even if controls are fussy.

Positive Messages

In addition to the obvious educational content and the way the game makes learning fun, the story also highlights positive behavior such as helping others and being supportive of friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Reader and his lion buddy Sam are good-hearted and fun characters who are eager to use their brains. There's nothing about them that isn't positive.

Ease of Play

The instructions for each mini-game are spoken aloud in clear, simple language. The difficulty level of the games themselves feels just right for the age group, and there are three difficulty levels, so you can adjust the game to your child's specific abilities. However, pointing the Wii remote can require a lot of precision, especially in mini-games that require you to target moving object or click on very small spaces. Reducing your Wii remote's sensitivity on the console's main "Wii Options" menu may help, but preschoolers may simply find the tasks too challenging.

Violence & Scariness

The villains are pirate rats (or pi-rats) who are sometimes seen swiping sparkly objects. But there's no real conflict between them and the heroes.


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.

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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 ...

  • Families can talk about the skills learned within the game. Ask children how they think they can use these math and reading skills in real life.

  • Families can talk about how important it is to help others.

Game details

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