Multimedia Cats: The Complete Interactive Guide to
Boulder, CO: Inroads Interactive, 1995. CD-ROM (PC and Mac), $24.95
256-Colour monitor and 486 / 040 CPU recommended.
Cats-Juvenile interactive multimedia.
Grades 2 - 6 / Ages 7 - 11.
Review by Diane Fitzgerald.
One should not be fooled by the seemingly diminutive size of the Serval.
Its narrow frame and long legs give the appearance of a small body, but
this animal maintains the survival skills and feline instincts of its
larger (and better known) wild cat cousins. Able to run, climb and swim,
Servals also employ excellent sight and hearing to hunt for food during
any part of the day or night.
They prefer solitary and hidden lives, rarely seen by humans or other
animals. They live in enclosed spaces, such as rock crevices, old burrows
or among long thick grass. Hunted for their exotic fur, Servals have
moved into sparsely populated regions for protection.
Multimedia Cats sounds like one of those no-fail titles
publishers joke about (like, "Finding Your Diet Angels"). But of course
it's really a CD-ROM aimed at elementary-age children. The content is
nothing special, but Multimedia Cats works smoothly while
managing to be informative and entertaining.
Children who just like cats, or wish they had one, will like the
sections on domestic and wild cats. The information is not too detailed
(the excerpt above is the complete section on Servals, for instance), but
it compares well to introductory picture books. There are links to larger
pictures, brief video-clips, and more detailed information -- "Feral
Facts" for wild-cats, which include the latin name, the conservation
status, and a "Fascinating Fact"; or "Ideal Breed Characteristics" for
Younger children will appreciate the "Loudspeaker" icon on these
pages linked to an audio clip of the text read aloud (a male voice for
wildcats, a female for domestic). In the longer and more detailed
information -- on Feline evolution, for example -- in the sixty-four page
reference section, there is no loudspeaker, but there is also good basic
advice on selecting and caring for cats (that it's a good idea to have
two cats to keep one another company if they're going to spend
much time alone, for example), on cat illnesses and caring for your
cat's health, and so on. There are also short, narrated videos on
adopting, grooming, and training cats in the reference section.
The "Cat-Scan" section provides a computerized way of selecting
ideal breed of cat for prospective owners (based on factors like
temperament, short or
long hair, and affinity for children). The "World" section lets
you locate breeds or species by geographical origin.
There is also a "Fun" page that includes quizzes and
entertaining video clips of
cats (kittens chasing their tales; cats morphing into one another) which
also ought to amuse
Throughout, the CD-ROM keeps a sense of fun; there are plenty of
puns, and there is a little mouse named Herman who shows up in unexpected
places. Clicking on him triggers some odd or humorous result.
Multimedia Cats is a decidely American
product; in the contacts for adopting a cat, for example, only U.S.
organizations are listed. That aside, if Multimedia Cats is
un-ambitious, it is also successful -- it's an accessible and pleasant
title that will entertain young cat-lovers and provide some basic
information for those a little older.
Diane Fitzgerald is an elementary-school teacher in Saskatoon.
To comment on this title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association.
Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice
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The Manitoba Library Association
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