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Review CornerSoftware
Maisy's Playhouse
Rating: four and a half stars
The Bottom Line
This simple and sweet program features vivid screens, solid activities, and lovable characters. The easiest difficulty level helps build confidence in even the youngest user, and level three gently challenges preschoolers.
Award of Execllence
Ages: 3-6   Subject: Early Learning  Brand: Sound Source Interactive
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
Maisy's Playhouse Product Overview
Kids meet Maisy, the star of many popular kids' storybooks and board books. Maisy is a curious and confident mouse who invites preschoolers to explore her charming little house. Maisy's bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen are waiting for kids to explore — they are filled with clickable surprises. Players will find 7 activities, each with 3 skill levels, as follows:
  • Dressing Up allows kids to help Maisy find the right outfits for various occasions.What should Maisy wear if she wants to play in the sandbox? Or go swimming?
  • The Gingerbread Cookies activity involves helping Maisy put broken cookies back together again, then decorating them with sprinkles and other goodies! Kids can print out their cookie masterpieces when they are done.
  • Messy Room is a sorting game in which children help Maisy put toys and clothes back where they belong.
  • In Painting Pictures, kids first choose an item that doesn't belong with the others, then Maisy will replace it with one that goes with the others.
  • In Coloring, kids help Maisy finish her drawings by listening to directions such as "Color Charlie's boat purple". Kids can print their finished creations, or they can print out the unfinished drawings to color away from the computer.
  • Train Station is a counting activity in which kids help Maisy board the train with the correct number of animals. On the simplest level, kids need only match the animals with the flags on the train cars.
  • Kids search for Maisy and her friends in Hide and Seek. Where could they be?
Each activity has 3 difficulty levels that kids can easily select for themselves, and a printable certificate for successful completion of a level. The levels provide a good range. For example, in the coloring activity, level one practically guarantees success for the youngest user, as a player need only click on an object and the correct color is displayed. On level three, kids must, for example, color Maisy's pajamas light purple by selecting the right paint from the palette.

The narrator is kind and encouraging and, happily, understands Maisy's gibberish and translates it for the players! Kid testers simply couldn't get enough of this game.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a Pentium 90, 16 Mb RAM, and 4X CD ROM. Mac users require a Power PC with 16 Mb RAM, System 7.X or higher, and at least 4X CD ROM. It takes up 20 Mb of hard drive space and is easy to install and load.

Skills Covered
self-sufficiency, following directions, reasoning, categorizing, number recognition, colors, motor skills, shapes

Educational Value
This title, unlike most on the market, doesn't contain even one weak or inappropriate activity. Very basic skills are covered in a format that allows children to feel free to explore and learn.

Entertainment Value
With playful background music that is never jarring, bold graphics, and fun characters, this program is sure to please.

Design
Even young and inexperienced children will have no problem working through the activities. Instructions are clear and navigation is straightforward.

Replayability
This program scores especially high in this category. Children played this game happily for some time and asked for it every day during the test period. Young users found it particularly attractive, perhaps because of its simplicity.

Dollar Value
The program retails for only $19.95 US, which is very reasonable for a software title featuring a popular children's character.

Released: 1999