Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Nickelodeon Toon Twister 3-D

Nickelodeon Toon Twister 3-D

Fall 2004 Software
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Price: $19.95
Platform: Windows
Personally, I'd like to wring SpongeBob's neck for soaking up more attention from kids than his silly and loud cartoon show deserves. But this dynamic create-a-cartoon program is good enough to whet anyone's appetite for the SquarePants squire and 18 other Nickelodeon characters, including the Rug Rats gang, Jimmy Neutron and friends, and the zany parade from Fairly OddParents.

Toon Twister 3-D puts kids squarely in the director's chair, choosing from 19 cartoon characters, 40 background scenes, and 50 props to create their own multiple-frame cartoon movie--just like on TV! Everything's already drawn. All you have to do is think up a funny script frame-by-frame, set the scenes with character actions, movement, words and stunts, add special effects, music, titles and credits, then watch your cartoon play out on the screen. Kids whose computer systems have microphones can even record their own voices into the cartoons.

It's easier to do than you'd think because an animated alien provides constant guidance from start to finish. My cartoon? Jimmy Neutron sorta wringing SpongeBob's neck, then saying, "I didn't do it!" before running off stage laughing.

When the cartoon's done, the program saves it and even can email it to friends. The educational content doesn't prepare anyone for SATs, but this program does let kids explore their own ideas of what's funny and how cartoons are made.

Don Oldenburg   ©2004 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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