Living Books series

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Living Books
The Living Books Logo
Parent company Random House/Brøderbund
Founded November 23, 1994
Defunct November 27, 2001
Status Currently owned by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Country of origin United States
Australia
United Kingdom
Location Eugene, Oregon
San Rafael, California
Novato, California
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Syracuse, New York
Phoenix, Arizona

The Living Books series is a series of interactive animated multimedia children's books, first produced by Brøderbund and then spun off into a jointly-owned (with Random House) subsidiary, which were distributed on CD-ROM for Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows. The series began with the release of Just Grandma and Me (an adaptation of the book by Mercer Mayer) in November 23, 1994; other titles in the series included The Tortoise and the Hare, Arthur's Teacher Trouble (and other adaptations of books by Marc Brown), Dr. Seuss and Berenstain Bears titles.[1] Nicely produced "play-through" videos on most Living Books titles can be found on YouTube and Several former Brøderbund leaders are now releasing the titles on iOS and Android as Wanderful interactive storybooks.

CD-ROMs in the series[edit]

Story Author Year Other Language(s) Notes
Just Grandma and Me Mercer Mayer November 23, 1994
  • Japan (V 1.0)
  • Spain
  • France (V 2.0)
  • Germany (V 2.0)
Version 2.0 released in 1997, which included a game.
Little Monster at School Mercer Mayer October 4, 1995
  • Spain
Arthur's Teacher Trouble Marc Brown October 18, 1996
  • Spain
The Tortoise and the Hare Aesop December 4, 1996
  • Spain
Ruff's Bone Eli Noyes December 4, 1996
  • Spain
An original Living Books story that is not based on any real books, because Mark Schlichting, founder of Living Books, retold this classic fable. This version uses hilarious twists and cartoon animal characters.
The New Kid on the Block Jack Prelutsky and James Stevenson March 4, 1997
  • Spain
The second original Living Books story, but it's actually produced by Colossal Pictures and created and written by Eli Noyes, the producer of the 1964 short claymation film Clay or the Origin of Species. The style is different from the other two original Living Books games.
Sheila Rae, the Brave Kevin Henkes June 27, 1997
  • Spain
A game and 7 sing-a-longs are included.
Dr. Seuss's ABC Dr. Seuss December 17, 1999 (2 Versions released in 1997) Sing-a-long is included.
Harry and the Haunted House Mark Schlichting November 18, 1998
  • Spain
The third Living Books game that is not based on anyone's books. This is the only original Living Books story that was officially created by Mark Schlichting, founder of Living Books. This was actually written and published in 1987 as a paperback book.
Arthur's Birthday Marc Brown February 2, 1999
  • Spain (V 1.0)
2 Versions released in 1999, which includes two games.
The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight Stan and Jan Berenstain September 22, 1999
  • Spain
The Berenstain Bears in the Dark Stan and Jan Berenstain October 8, 1999 2 games are included.
Green Eggs and Ham Dr. Seuss November 16, 1999 3 games are included.
Arthur's Reading Race Marc Brown November 18, 1999 3 games are included.
Stellaluna Jannell Cannon November 24, 1999 A game is included.
The Cat in the Hat Dr. Seuss December 14, 1999 A game is included.
D.W. the Picky Eater Marc Brown December 21, 1999 New menu system. Four games are included. Last book released in the Living Books series.
Arthur's Computer Adventure Marc Brown February 1, 2000 Five games are included.
Just Me and My Dad Mercer Mayer October 17, 2000 Three games are included.
Henry Babysits Robert Quackenbush and Frank Asch November 6, 2001 Five games are included.
George's Store Robert Quackenbush and Frank Asch November 6, 2001 Three games are included.
The Napping House Audrey Wood and Don Wood November 6, 2001 Two games are included.
Milk and Cookies Robert Quackenbush and Frank Asch November 6, 2001 Two games are included.
Pearl's First Prize Plant Alex Delaney November 6, 2001 Four games are included.
The Giving Tree Shel Silverstein November 27, 2001 Two games are included.
Just Me and My Mom Mercer Mayer November 27, 2001 Five games are included. This CD-Rom was the final Mercer Mayer CD-Rom and it was final Living Books CD Rom in 2001.

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World in 1993 praised Just Grandma and Me and Arthur's Teacher Trouble, describing Living Books as "Broderbund's acclaimed series".[2] Publishers Weekly, in a review of Dr. Seuss' ABC, called that title "one of the best children's CD-ROMs to date" and stated that, "[...] the producers' fondness for Dr. Seuss and their fidelity to his sense of refined silliness spill into every sequence."[3] Simson L. Garfinkel and Beth Rosenberg found that the CD-ROMs played better on Macs than on PCs. Although they found the titles to be of high quality in a market flooded with "questionable" releases for children, they stated that not all of them lived up to the company's educational claims (noting Dr. Seuss' ABC and Arthur's reading Race as exceptions) and felt that the added dialogue supplementing the book's text was sometimes "out of character".[4] Arthur's Teacher Trouble, The Tortoise and the Hare, Ruff's Bone, and Little Monster at School all received a very high score of over 90.00 in the book CD-ROMs Rated by Les Kranz; in the review for Little Monster at School, the graphics and the number of clickable areas were described as positives.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Series Review "THE LIVING BOOKS Series by Living Books/Broderbund." McMath, Chuck. Game Bytes Vol 1. Num. 21. 1994. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
  2. ^ "Forging Ahead or Fit to be Smashed?". Computer Gaming World. 1993-04. p. 24. Retrieved 6 July 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "Multimedia Reviews: Dr. Seuss' ABC". Publishers Weekly (New York: Cahners Publishing Company) 242 (35): 41. 1995-08-28. ISSN 0000-0019. 
  4. ^ Garfinkel, Simson L.; Beth Rosenberg (1998-02-05). "Bringing kids' books to life". Boston Globe Online. Globe Newspaper Company. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  5. ^ Kranz, Les (1994). CD-ROMs Rated: A Guide to the Best and Worst CD ROMs & Multimedia Titles. Laura L. Armer, Adrienne Brown, Joel Gershon, and Pamela Thomasson (Senior Reviewers), and Marjorie Glass, Brian Harrison, Douglas W, Horner, Corolyn Huesman, Dan Laxton, Vivian Laxton, and Josh Sinton (Reviewers). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-912052-0. 

External links[edit]