ONCE UPON A TIME … II
Sharing stories with friends makes writing a popular activity. Now with Once Upon a Time … II, a one-stop publishing center, students can write stories, draw illustrations, and print "published" books. The package includes a simple text processor. Young writers enter as many as four lines for every picture screen, backspacing to make corrections. They save story pages to disk and call up saved files to make further revisions. Since kids produce neatly written copy with every printout, there's no need to worry about messy handwriting.
Once Upon a Time … II also has graphics capabilities. While these tools are limited when compared to full-powered desktop publishers, they're adequate for the writing assignments of young children. The program includes underwater, forest, and dinosaur picture sets; each with a library of different graphics images. For example, the underwater library offers 24 pictures, including a clump of seaweed, a shark, a manta, a puffer, a clam, and a dolphin. Kids use these pictures to illustrate their stories. Although they can't use graphics from more than one picture set at once, there's an adequate selection within each graphics library.
Children may publish single-page pictures or multiple-page storybooks. Title pages can be up to 30 characters in length and there's even room to enter the author's name. Eight nontoxic colored pencils come in the box and can brighten up all of your black-and-white printouts.
Students begin by picking a theme and then must decide whether to work on a picture or a book. When they choose the picture option, they start with a blank screen. Four sample pages come with each picture set and can be loaded to get the story started. Graphics on the sample pages may be modified, deleted, or repositioned. Sample text may be erased to leave room for a new script.
The book option enables budding writers to publish stories by linking individual picture pages. They determine the page arrangement by selecting insert or delete from the option menu. They won't be able to edit story pages from the story mode. There's a view option so that children can read their books before printing.
Navigating from section to sections is very simple using the space bar and the enter key. As an added educational twist, children can't select a graphic by simply running the cursor through a picture list; they must type its name. They can, however, scroll through an alphabetized list to see what's available.
You can view your finished story in full color with Once Upon a Time … II.
Once Upon a Time … II doesn't offer a choice of fonts, type styles, or type sizes. It supports a variety of printers.
This well-designed program is sure to complement any language arts curriculum or greatly encourage writing at home. Its audience is children in grades 2-4, as older students might find the picture themes a bit limiting. But younger children will enjoy combining text with graphics as they write their very own published stories.
CAROL S. HOLZBERG
IBM PC and compatibles—$49.95
78 Olive St.
New Haven, CT 06511