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Review CornerSoftware
Curious George Paint & Print Studio
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
This paint and print program is packed with features and thus, requires a bit of effort to understand. Once kids get accustomed to all the tools, colors, textures, patterns, and stamps, there's no stopping what they can do, and they can derive a lot of satisfaction from the things they create.
Award
Ages: 3-8  Subject: Creativity/Art  Brand: Houghton Mifflin Interactive
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
image Product Overview
This is an impressive paint and print program that features the lovable Curious George and his friends. Curious George Paint and Print Studio provides lots of opportunity for children to have fun using a wide variety of stamps, exploring their creativity with art/paint tools, and preparing printable projects featuring Curious George.

The Main Map consists of a number of places to go: Space, Farm, Home, Downtown, Park, Zoo, and Circus. Each of these special areas contains 6 canvases that are backgrounds with the theme of the area, in addition to a blank canvas option.

The Projects are available by clicking on the Crown icon and contain a number of pre-made projects ready for printing, as well as project starters that require kids to complete before printing. The projects include:

  • 2 "My Room" pages
  • "This Book Belongs to..." tags
  • Invitations
  • Stationery
  • "My Name is ..." tags
  • A crown
  • Build a Farm project plus Add Your Own Animals
  • Postcards
  • A mask
  • Space mobile
  • Puzzle
  • "Can You Find Me?" page, which involves locating stamps of the animals that match the given clues.
  • Storybook pages — some with text and kids must fill in the illustrations, and others without text.
  • ABC book — pages of a book with each letter of the alphabet, and kids must find stamps of appropriate objects to fill in the pages.
  • Blanks, and clipboard blanks.
Kids choose from a huge amount of colors as well as textures and vibrant patterns.

Click on the question mark icon to launch a mini-tutorial. I suggest doing so, because there are a lot of things to learn and the tutorials give inspiration and useful ideas.

There are 3 levels of difficulty, which is an uncommon feature for paint and print studios. The game goes to level 2 as a default. Level 1 is very easy and is appropriate for babies and toddlers with very little — or no — mouse skills. Level 2 will suit most players within the suggested age group. Level 3 presents more advanced tools and options.

Tools include a paintbrush with a variety of options (square, round, or "fun"), circle and square that automatically fill in with the chosen color or pattern, paint can, spray can, etc. These options are all nice, and you can even choose to do some of these with stamps — for example, you can select a bunny stamp, select the circle tool, and create a perfect circle filled with bunnies.

The stamps are plentiful and can be made smaller or bigger, flipped, and rotated to suit your needs.

The ABC book project is almost worth the price of the program alone. For pre-readers, what fun it is to try to find stamps of animals and things that start with each letter of the alphabet! Older kids can create their own ABC picture book for their younger siblings.

There's nothing like a paint program to inspire a bit of creativity in young children. This one is loaded with features and, as a result, your child will likely require some help to get started and to understand all that the program has to offer. I recommend going through the tutorials with your children and showing them exactly what all the options and tools can do. Once they get the hang of it, they'll be ready for your computer paint program.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a 486/66, 12 Mb RAM, and 2X CD ROM. Mac users require a 68040/33 or higher with 8 Mb RAM, System 7.1 or higher, and at least 2X CD ROM.

Skills Covered
creativity, computer tools, computer skills, pre-reading skills

Educational Value
A creativity program like this contains a lot of educational value — kids need to think about what they want to do and how they can use the tools to do it.

Entertainment Value
Kids can play with this game for hours creating and experimenting with all the wonderful options.

Design
There are a lot of features and options for kids to get accustomed to. Don't expect your preschooler to play the program without any help. Additionally, the icons are rather small for kids on the lower end of the suggested age group. This simply means that a bit of dedication to understanding the options is required, but how fast kids learn will surprise you. It is not often that you find a paint program with difficulty levels, but this one has them!

Replayability
We expect this to have a long shelf life — the open-ended and almost limitless possibilities makes it something that kids will come back to time and time again.

Dollar Value
The title retails for only $19.95 US — you certainly get your money's worth. This is an excellent paint program with more advanced features then others on the market.

Released: 1998