Just Grandma and Me (Broderbund)

System Requirements: CD-ROM drive; 256-color mode; 2.5 MB free RAM; JLK not required
Price: Street Price from computer catalogs or superstores: $35-40
Review by Cliff Darnall, Elk Grove High School (IL), first reviewed for ACTFL '92

Based on a "Little Critter" children's story of the same title by Mercer Meyer, Just Grandma and Me was the first of Broderbund's CD-ROM Living Book Series and is the only one to include Japanese. The user chooses the language (English, Spanish, or Japanese) and mode. The first mode is "Read to Me," a story-telling mode, in which the narration is given in clear CD-sound in the selected language, accompanied by music and various sound effects. Each page has animation, and the pages advance automatically. The text in the Japanese version is in hiragana. The other mode is the "Let Me Play" mode, in which the story is read but the computer pauses before turning the page; the user can then click on various parts of each picture. Many of these "hot spots" just produce animated sequences involving the object clicked on, but several of the sequences in this mode present humorous, idiomatic mini- dialogues in a family setting.

The program is very appealing, especially to young children. Though not designed for language learning as such, it could be integrated into an elementary immersion program or serve as listening comprehension source for a third or fourth year high school Japanese class. (Though its a book for children, many high school students were kids once and are still "kids" at heart!).

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