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03/23/99 COPYRIGHT 1999 Ziff-Davis Publishing Company
Reviewed by Jennifer Triverio

An art program plus more traditional game play turns out to be a winning combination for any girl in the 5- to 10-year-old age range. Though certainly not a full-featured drawing or paint-ing program, Paint 'n Play Pony does stimulate children's creativity, and the girls who tested it absolute-ly adored the pony theme and activities.

Hosted by Penelope the Pig, the program invites kids to select their favorite pony to groom, name, and decorate. The game also provides a gallery for displaying your child's artistic creations and for writing original stories about the beloved equines.

Horses graze on a hillside on the main screen, from which a number of activities can be accessed. Double-clicking on one of the horses (which vary in breed, size, and color) brings up a full-screen picture of that horse. Creative possibilities abound here, beginning with hair care options that let girls brush, color, cut, or grow the pony 's hair or add braids, ribbons, or glitter. Moving on, children can add accessories, including hats, flower garlands, blankets, or leg warmers. Kids can use the 48 Crayola crayons to color and decorate their bedecked ponies.

Rounding out the creation is the selection of a name, a background, and, of course, pony friends to keep your child's horse company. Along the way kids learn about horse care, grooming, and famous horses throughout history. Completed projects can be displayed in a gallery or written about in the program's journal, which offers story starter ideas as well as Penelope's horse stories.

For all your little girl's hard work and dedication to her horse, she'll be rewarded with printable awards and certificates (as well as horse-themed stationery).

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