________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 4 . . . . October 15, 1999

cover Has Anybody Seen My Umbrella?

Jane Churchill (Director/Game Designer). Tamara Lynch (Producer). Tim Latchem (Associate Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1998.
CD-ROM, Teacher's Guide, User's Guide, PC/Mac, $59.95 (single), $189.95 (lab pack).
Order Number: 193C 0198 069/E9832 (single), 193C 070/E9832 (lab pack).

Subject Headings:
Reading (Elementary)-Interactive multimedia.
Language arts (Elementary)-Interactive multimedia.

Kindergarten - grade 2 / Ages 5 - 7.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

Interactive CD-ROMs are a part of school life now, and those aimed at early years students concentrate on skill building in language arts and mathematics. Has Anybody Seen My Umbrella? is intended for very young children in kindergarten to grade 2 who are developing reading and language capability.
     The CD-ROM can be used on both Windows and Macintosh applications. It requires an up-to-date system (the specifics are outlined in the User's Guide) to run smoothly. On earlier machines, it runs slowly and becomes tedious to operate.
     The premise for the CD is a whimsical story about a prince who did not like school and only finished grade one. His reading knowledge ended with three-letter words. When he fell in love with a princess who lost her shoe, he misread her name written in her glass slipper. He interpreted 'Cinderella' as 'Umbrella.' The fairy godmother saves the day; the two lovers are united, and both sent off to improve their education level. (Cinderella had also left school after grade one.)
     The National Film Board, producers of this CD-ROM, have done a good job creating an interactive reading and language development kit around this tale which was written by former CBC announcer Max Ferguson. Ferguson reads the story in the animated section. The body of the text version includes highlighted words that display a definition when clicked. The narrator's voice can be turned off. Headphones are advisable if other students are engaged in different work at the same time as this program is being played. The activities for children to choose include Rhyme Time (matching rhyming words), Word Games (three levels), Lamify (unscrambling word puzzles), Nose Knows (matching words and sounds), Pigs in Spring (word activity), Undercover (unscrambling picture puzzles) and You Choose (matching concepts). Children can also choose Musical Activities as well as Writing Fun, where they are prompted with story ideas to do their own writing.
     The kit includes a teacher's guide and 10 activity sheets for the classroom. Word Lists, activity cards, etc. correspond to the activities on the CD-ROM. Has Anyone Seen My Umbrella? can be a useful tool to teach and reinforce early literacy skills. The story adds an element of fun and humour to the task. The activities included in the kit provide adequate pencil and paper work to prompt a child to work at what is being taught in the program. The difficulty for a teacher is that only one or two students at a time can use the CD-ROM unless multiple copies or a site license are purchased. As a small group project or as part of a larger unit on the study of fairy tales or Cinderella, this CD-Rom can be a positive asset to a language arts program.

Highly Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364