THE ADVENTURE BOOK OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
Executive producer, Colette Dionne
Volume 22 Number 4
This interactive CD-ROM traces the story of Christopher Columbus in an historically accurate account presented in eighty-two text pa ges to be read either at self-paced speed or an adjustable speed autoplay. O ver 200 words are underlined and are linked to a glossa ry through the click of a mouse. In addition, maps and famous gallery paintings beside each page can be "zoomed in" to provide visual detail and authenticity. The pictures a re accompanied by voices recreating characters in the s tory or providing f urt her narrative information. Other options to select from the opening sreen provide information for parents, notes on the music composed for this CD, credits for the paintings, a word processor, and demos of other timebox inc. CD products.
The appeal of interactive CD-ROM may encourage many children to try this version of the story of a man who changed the course of history through courage and determination. Unfortunately, this reviewer found the exercise to be somewhat tedious and relatively unimaginative. On autoplay, the story proceeds too slowly, even at the fastest speed, and, when used on self-play, the program takes too long to respond to the clicked commands. The dialogue accompanying the pictures is a mélange of accents, mostly Canadian; however, in the parent notes, parents are asked to point out Columbus' accent and why he would have it.
The music, while authentic in nature, is too often repeated due to the lengthy presentation. The paintings and maps should be f eatured more prominently on the page, saving the "zoom" feature to enlarge a portion of the picture, perhapes a face or other important detail, for greater clarification. Also the viewer might activate the dialogue voic es with a click on a face in the picture rather than having them sou nd automatically. Surely the meaning o f "interactive" requires more involvement on the reader's part than merely the so phisticated page turning provided here.
This production is recommended as an optional purchase for situations where children require a gimmick to inspire them to read further.Grades 3 to 6 / Ages 8 to 11
Ila D. Scott is Assistant Reference/Collections Librarian at the Herbert T. Coutts Library, University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta
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