Grolier's Prehistoria is an explorable reference CD, built around a database of 500 prehistoric animals. The database is both searchable and browsable, through six viewing areas:
Grolier Museum is the most fun and educational part of the program. Here, the user gets to select and watch video clips of paleontologists and other scientists in the field, explaining various aspects of prehistoric creatures lives, as well as animated sequences of prehistoric creatures. Although the clips are smaller than screen-sized, and relatively short, they captured the attention of kids as young as six, and as old as 16! Interetingly, most of them left our kids reviewers with questions beginning with the word "why." Our teachers felt that this "inspiration toward intellectual curiousity" was a valuable feature of Prehistoria.
The Gallery groups and displays the animal kingdom into seven categories ranging from the traditional birds, fishes, and mammals, to the more creative, "ruling reptiles." Selecting a category takes the user through a series of screens that allows further segmentation. Ultimately, the user comes to a collection of screens that briefly describe and picture specific animals. Creature Show presents a random sequence of the Gallery's screens with forward and back buttons added, to allow continuous viewing.
Time Tracker allows the user to pick animal categories and a time period, and discover which animals were contemporaries. This is a neat idea, and clearly presented. As one of our parent reviewers noted, "If this CD had existed when I was a kid, I wouldn't have believed that cave men were fighting dinosaurs to save Raquel Welch in "One Million Years B.C."
Search is an effective boolean search engine (key words seperated by and/or/not) that finds animals in the database which meet the user's criteria. Classifications illustrates each animal's place in the animal kingdom, in outline form.