“The Artist” has been having a lot of fun as our
test subject reviewer for a wonderful product from Star Toaster. It is an online “book” called Orphs of the Woodlands, but seriously, it is SO much more than just an online book!
Within the book “The Artist” is reading, “The Treasure of Hightower”, he “became” a character who is a grey squirrel. He chose the name Wingnut for his character, and was able to choose character traits, as well, though he’s just informed me that he doesn’t remember what they are, so we had to log in and find them. Which took a while, since he had also FORGOTTEN his pass word, because he told it to just stay logged in. That was on HIS lapbook though, and I’m on the big desk top. No matter, we finally figured it out when I tried from the parent side to change his pass word, only to find that what I attempted to change it to was already in use within our family. That would be him, since he is currently the only one using this program, so the momentary crisis was averted!
As I said, this is so much more than just an online book! While “The Artist” enjoys reading, he is like me in that he prefers a real, in your hands, turn the paper pages book. However, within the pages of this book come interactive adventure!
As he is reading this book, “The Artist” comes across highlighted words which he can mouse over for the synonyms and definitions he can get sound effects, etc.
As the book “The Treasure of HighTower” begins, Wingnut (“The Artist’s”) squirrel is introduced, and the reader finds out just how it was that he became an orphan himself. The reader finds out that his home is in Ivythwaite. The grey squirrel is recruited to join an underground group called W.A.K., which was formed to fight the “Night Creatures” who have been responsible causing the little orphs to BECOME orphans. Unfortunately, when the resistance begins sending him books (like MATH, for goodness sakes!), he just piles them up in his home, not realizing they are books filled with knowledge he will need, and the night creatures come and raid his home, taking the books while he is hiding. Now, he must journey to HighTower, where the orphs live, to become further involved with the resistance, help the orphs, and make a home for himself in the process.
During “The Artist’s” journey through this story, he is not just reading. At the end of each chapter, he is given “jobs” which cover many learning categories, such as math, science, literature, art, life lessons, memory, wild life lessons, thinking skills, etc.
As he completes these jobs, he receives gold stars, which is the currency in the world of this story. Earning more stars means he can begin helping the orphs by purchasing things like plots of land, food, weapons, clothing and such, in order to take care of the orphs. The system also gives him more orphs to care for occasionally, based on how many gold stars he has accumulated.
When I asked him what he liked about this program, while I was writing this review, one of the things he said was that he really liked the quotes. He especially liked the one “Never work before you eat lunch. If you must work before you eat lunch, eat lunch first”. “The Artist said he thought it was by a famous comedian, but unfortunately, he can’t remember who it was. He also liked it that sometimes while holding the mouse over something in Latin, it would give him the translation. He is just about to begin chapter 7, and is really enjoying the book!
Here is a candid shot of “The Artist” while he is reading the book and doing jobs. I wanted a candid shot that he didn’t know I was taking, so that you would see that he really is enjoying the world of the orphs!
I like that this is more than just an online reading book, as I said above. There are cross curriculum lessons throughout, and it is made fun for the student. That is always a big plus for me, as you know! 🙂
“The Artist” and I give this one a big thumbs up, and we think you will, too!
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