________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 14 . . . . March 2, 2007


Joe Rock and Friends. Book 1.

Penticton, BC: Boggle Noggin Media Inc. (120 Dunant Crescent, V2A 3E9 or www.bogglenoggin.com), 2006.
CD-Rom & DVD, $24.99.
ISBN 0-9739069-0-1.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 3-9.

Review by Gregory Bryan.

*** /4


Joe Rock and Friends. Book 2.

Penticton, BC: Boggle Noggin Media Inc. (120 Dunant Crescent, V2A 3E9 or www.bogglenoggin.com), 2006.
CD-Rom & DVD, $24.99.
ISBN 0-9739069-1-X.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 3-9.

Review by Gregory Bryan.

*** /4



Joe did not like his green hair or his butterfly tattoo. Joe did not like his paper ear. "I've had it," thought Joe. "Playtime is over. Please take me back to the garden where I belong."


As his name suggests, Joe Rock is a rock! That is not, however, to suggest that his is anything but a rocking life filled with adventures, challenges, exploration and drama. Boggle Noggin Inc has put together a selection of stories that they promise will "boggle your noggin" and, while this might be overstating the case, the stories are entertaining and engaging.

The adventures of Joe Rock and his friends are presented in combination sets of interactive CD Rom and bonus DVD. Each "book" contains three stories and three songs. The catchy songs prompted a spontaneous burst of energetic dancing from both of my daughters (and some considerably less rhythmic dancing from their father too)!

Depending on the option chosen, the computer audio reading can be listened to word-by-word or by sentence. Each story is presented and read in English, Spanish and French, making the disks an ideal resource for EAL and multi-lingual students. My own grade two daughter attends a French immersion school and Joe Rock could prove an invaluable tool for her to enhance her French. Indeed, I was delighted to hear her tell her parents that she could translate the French into English for us.

Each story is also presented in three different reading levels: few words; more words; and longer words. As an example, the first two pages of the "Joe's New Look" story in book one appear as:

Level 1: Joe was a happy rock. He liked the way he looked. Joe liked where he lived.

Level 2: Joe was happy. Joe liked the way he looked. Joe liked the garden where he lived.

Level 3: Joe was contented. He liked the way he looked. Joe liked the beautiful garden where he lived. It was filled with wonderful flowers, sounds, and delicious smells.

     The stories and songs contain lots of tongue-in-cheek humour, reflective of the fun-loving, upbeat atmosphere Boggle Noggin Inc seems to have taken in producing these resources. Such an atmosphere is conducive to reading development. The aim of the Joe Rock series is to provide motivational materials that will encourage children to practice their reading and the materials here seem likely to achieve that goal.

      Joe Rock is simple to use. The CD Rom does not need to be installed on a computer. The program runs right from the CD. The instructions are not complicated, and the icons are easy to work with. The "help" option is also easy to access and provides straightforward, concise and useful directions.

      Each CD contains one hundred pages of text at each reading level. The graphics are engaging and high quality. With the bonus DVD that can be watched on television sets, each book represents good value for money. At $24.99, I expect that most consumers will be well satisfied with the value they get for their money. During 2007, Boggle Noggin Inc plans to produce three further books in the series. It will be interesting to see if future books contain the bonus DVD.

      It is said that the proof is in the pudding. My two daughters' enthusiastic responses to the DVDs and CDs are proof enough that these products appeal to young children.


Gregory Bryan is a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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