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Children's Software Review:    Little Bill Thinks Big

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CD-ROM Review: Little Bill Thinks Big


For Windows 95/98/Me/XP/2000 Pentium II 266 or higher; iMac/G3 233 or higher.

By Scholastic

Released: 2003

Reviewed: December 2003

Our Recommended Age: 3-5

Our Rating: A-

 

 

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Buy: Little Bill Thinks Big

 

 

Screenshots: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Although the activities in this computer game for preschoolers are not particularly original, Little Bill Thinks Big is a title with integrity, gentle challenges, and decent replay value. Based on the Nick Jr. television series created by Bill Cosby, the program offers preschoolers a peaceful workout in early thinking skills--ones that are particularly necessary for success in math. Children are greeted by Little Bill, who asks for help creating a big surprise for his family. Children explore his house, uncovering fun clickables, little educational games, and the program's five featured activities. They earn objects like pinwheels and watering cans needed for constructing the surprise.

The surprise depends on what season players have selected at the beginning of the game. They make a scarecrow in Autumn and a snowman in Winter, for example. Of course, kids can replay the game once they've completed the surprise by selecting a different season. 

The featured activities exercise children's logical thinking skills. They put pictures in logical order to form a story, group aliens according to common attributes, construct tunnels for a hamster by matching colors and shapes, create cookies identical to the ones already decorated, and match numerals with sets of objects as they propel Bill on his submarine. 

Earning objects for the surprise is fairly easy. If children decide they want to play each activity beyond the prize point, they will reap the most benefits from the game. Why? Because the activities advance in difficulty gradually. If children display mastery of a particular level, they are advanced to the next one. Similarly, if kids are struggling with a higher difficulty level, they are kept at a comfortable level of challenge. 

The first screenshot at left shows the cookie decorating activity in which children add decorations to a cookie in an attempt to match the given cookie. The second screenshot shows one of the sorting challenges in the Alien game. Children arrange photographs in the family album, creating stories in chronological order in the third screenshot.

Again, this title is well-designed and provides a positive environment for learning. However, the game loses a few points for lack of originality in terms of activities. We love the fact that children can play the game in different seasons of the year--it not only exposes them to the whole concept of seasons, it also extends the game's life. There is also a strong and constructive theme of sharing: kids are encouraged to make surprises for their own families after helping Bill do the same for his family. 

Pros:


  • Well-designed, encouraging software for preschoolers.
  • Gradually advancing difficulty levels adjust automatically. 
  • Original voices from the television show.
  • Decent replay value.
Cons:


  • If your software collection is fair-sized, you will find the featured activities resemble those in other games for preschoolers.
        

 

Our Rating:

 

A-

 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Little Bill Thinks Big]

 

Reviewed December 2003
Comments? Email us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Buy this CD-ROM:

Buy Little Bill Thinks Big at Amazon.com

 

 

 


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