I love shoes dearly, so much so that I own about ten pairs that I've never worn. I just put them away in my wardrobe and completely forget about them. I might take more notice of them if they spoke and did sums. Which, as it happens, is what the Shoe People are dead good at.
The Shoe People is Gremlin's first release on First Class, their new educational label which is aimed at four to six year olds. And its a bit of a beauty. There are six separate programs here, and each one has two or more sub-sections. The programs are fun and colourful, yet incredibly educational as each one fits in with National Curriculum guidelines. Let's take a look at the games...
TRAMPY VISITS HIS FRIENDS
Trampy comes across loads of strange things lying in the road. At the easiest level children nave to match the first letter of the object with one of the letters at the bottom of the screen. At the hardest level, the word appears on screen for a few seconds and then disappears and the child then has to spell the word.
SGT MAJOR SORTS IT OUT
Naughty Baby Bootee has messed up Sgt Major's shell. His coloured shapes are scattered all over the floor and the child has to tell Sgt Major where to put the shapes. The idea is to have all one shape on one shelf and all of another on another shelf.
THE GREAT ALPHABET ROBBERY
There's a nasty thief trying to steal the alphabet, to help PC Boot the child has to work out what letters the words begin with and, on later levels unscramble simple anagrams.
WELLINGTON GOES TO THE PARK
On one end of the see saw there are a number of blocks. Count the blocks and choose the right number to balance the two ends of the see-saw. At the more difficult level the child has to add up the values of two dice and balance the see-saw with the right number. Get it right and Wellington jumps in a puddle.
CHARLIE'S BIG DAY
Charlie has a whole caboodle of tricks and the child has to remember what order he does his tricks in and, on the later levels, follow the pattern and predict what trick comes next. Each time the child gets it right, Charlie will add another trick
MARGOT's MAGIC COLOURING BOOK
There are two options here - drawing or colouring in. On the latter, there's a choice of pictures and using the menu bar at the side the child can colour them in. Using the drawing book all manner Of patterns, doodles and complete messes can now be transported onto the TV screen.
Now I'm quite a lot older than six, but even I had fun with these programs - especially the drawing one. I've been laughed out of the office for my lush and gorge designs, but hey! I think they're ace. Mind you, I did get a bit lost whenever Charlie did more than four tricks. For the recommended age group, The Shoe People make letters and numbers seem like a good way of passing the time. Strange but true!
A big bundle of spanky educational software with a thick coating of cuddly fun.
Stop! I'm sorry sir, but there's no admittance beyond this point. Turn back please, or I shall be forced to bring in the yellow duck.
Ladeez and gennelmen, for my next trick I will eat a rubber tyre to the sound of The Flight Of The Bumble Bee. Silence please!