Dora's newest computer adventure, Dora the Explorer's World Adventure!, takes kids around the world to France, Russia, Tanzania, and China. Released in conjunction with the November 19 launch of the Dora's World Adventure television special on Nickelodeon, the software focuses on Dora's organizing an international Friendship Day.
Part of the celebration involves distributing sparkling friendship bracelets to friends around the world. Unfortunately, Swiper, the mischievous fox, has stolen the previously-distributed friendship bracelets from France, Russia, Tanzania, and China. When Dora explains to Swiper that they are necessary for a world Friendship Day festival, he volunteers to travel with her to the four countries to show her where he stashed the bracelets.
To pull off this international festival, Dora needs the player's help. Each time Dora travels to a foreign country, the player "drives" the vehicle by using the computer mouse. For example, to travel to Tanzania, the cursor becomes a hot-air balloon, and youngsters move it around the screen in a side-scrolling game. The object is to keep Dora and Swiper from crashing into trees and storm clouds.
Upon arriving in a foreign country, Dora asks the player to select clothing items for her to wear. Dora's friend, Backpack, produces a variety of both clothing and non-clothing items, and kids must sort through them. While in Africa, Dora will wear sandals; but when she is in Russia, she will don boots.
In each country Dora visits, she meets with a local friend. In France, that friend is Amelie. Players help Amelie and Dora navigate through the streets of Paris to get to the Eiffel Tower. The player follows clues provided by the Smiling Gargoyle, which use geometric shapes and colors. For example, if the gargoyle shows a picture of a green square stone, the player will know to choose the street made of green square stones.
In each of the four foreign countries, there are two games to play. Some involve hand-eye coordination to provide youngsters with much needed practice in moving a computer mouse. Others, like the one in Paris, involve using colors and shapes in sorting, matching, and patterning activities. In Tanzania, kids even get to hunt for hidden animals in a game park.
This charming learning adventure is a perfect fit for preschoolers who are new to the computer. The mechanics of the games are extremely simple, and only require moving and clicking the computer mouse. The learning games are leveled: the easy level is for children as young as 3, medium is for 4- and 5-year-olds, and difficult for 5- and 6-year-olds. The software provides help when children are struggling, and offers positive feedback.
World Adventure! is full of multicultural learning gems. In each country, Dora teaches the player how to say hello in that country's language. The background music changes to reflect music typical of that country. With the player’s help, Dora dresses in native costume. The scenery provides children with a sense of what that foreign country looks like, including showing them the Eiffel Tower, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the Great Wall of China.
World Adventure! delivers an outstanding computer adventure that teaches young children about the world. Children cannot find a better travel companion than the sweet and curious Dora.
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