New Media: News Briefs

Disney hatches Net pets...
April 1, 1998

Disney hatches Net pets

Virtual pet fish are now available at To adopt one of the undersea creatures, kids must select a name for their fish as well as the color of its fins and body. The fish need to be fed, played with and protected from sharks and other ocean menaces. Kids can teach their pets how to sing, do tricks and play tag. The virtual fish were inspired by Disney Interactive’s Ariel’s Story Studio CD-ROM.

Magic Tree House launches Web site

Random House has created a Web site for its Magic Tree House book series. The site ( features games, trivia contests, fan club information, book summaries, an area where kids can vote on upcoming book topics, a book review area where kids can post and read reviews and an Ask the Author area, where visitors can communicate with author Mary Pope Osborne. The site also includes a Teacher’s Tree House area, which allows teachers to exchange ideas for using Magic Tree House books in the classroom. The adventure series was ranked number four on the March 1998 Publishers Weekly children’s paperback series bestseller list. The next two books in the series, Vacation Under the Volcano and Day of the Dragon King, are available this month.

PBS teaches kids savvy surfing

PBS has launched a Web site devoted to teaching kids the ins and outs of surfing the Internet. Called PBS TechKnow (, the site promotes smart Web surfing by engaging kids in activities that encourage them to examine the sites and advertisements they encounter on-line. The site includes such features as the Get Your Web License Here area, where kids can take a quiz and the You Be the Judge area, that demonstrates how important content and design are to making a great Web site. Kids can also enter the Computers in My Future essay and Web site design contest. By submitting a brief essay describing how computers will change the way kids communicate, learn, work and play in the future and then incorporating their essays into a Web site of their own design, kids earn the chance to win a trip to an American Computer Experience summer camp. The contest runs through the middle of April.

Mindscape sold to The Learning Company

Mindscape, a leading publisher of education and entertainment software, has been purchased for US$150 million by The Learning Company. Mindscape is the publisher of such children’s CD-ROM titles as Lego Island and Swinging Safari Explore and Print, produced with National Geographic Interactive.

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