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Reader Rabbit
Reader Rabbit logo.gif
Genres Educational
Publishers Encore Software
Creators Leslie Grimm
First release Reader Rabbit and the Fabulous Word Factory
1983
Latest release Reader Rabbit: Jumpsmarter
2018
Spin-offs The ClueFinders

Reader Rabbit is an educational game franchise created in 1983 by The Learning Company. The series is aimed at children from infancy to the age of nine. In 1998, a spin-off series called The ClueFinders was released for older students aged seven to twelve.

The games teach language arts including basic skills in reading and spelling, and mathematics. The main character in all the titles is named "Reader Rabbit".

Design

Plot and Gameplay

The series centers on the adventures of Reader Rabbit and his friends, including Sam the Lion and Matilda the Mouse. The grayish-blue Reader Rabbit is the protagonist of all the games. His wardrobe has included a red T-shirt and a red and blue striped sweater (similar to the Montreal Canadiens jersey, but without the logo).

Generally, the series consists of point-and-click adventure games where the player must use their inventory and interact with characters to solve a series of puzzles. These puzzles were originally reading-based challenges but different titles focus on other subject areas. Visually, the game consists of a series of static screens which the player can navigate through by clicking on certain "travel" hot-spots. Other hot-spots can trigger an interaction with a character, item, song or mini-game.

Art

In the early 1990s, artist Shaowei Liu hand painted backgrounds and animations which were then digitized for the games. In the mid-1990s, artist Frank Cirocco drew the characters and foregrounds in pencil, hiring Mick Gray to ink the line art. By 1997, the characters were redesigned for Reader Rabbit Toddler by Tracy Reynolds of Class 6 Entertainment. For the games made in the late 1990s, the characters and backgrounds were worked on by Fred Dianda, starting as sketches then refined, colored and animated on computer. For some of the games at this time, the art was provided by Chester Aldridge's company US Equity Holdings. For the later games, Dianda was made Lead Artist. Some line art was worked on by Gerald Broas, who used a 2B pencil to hand draw the backgrounds and characters on 12 field animation paper. For the story books included in the interactive journey and library games, artist Marc Diamond used a LeapPad tablet to sketch the pictures before coloring and shading. The most recent art for the iOS games was done by concept artist Federico Miniaci.

Music

Each game contains songs that guide the narrative and provide the internal monologues of characters. Composer Scott Lloyd Shelly was particularly proud of composing the music for Reader Rabbit: 1st Grade in 1998. Foreign language versions were created for many of the games to give the franchise global appeal. This extended to the games' songs; one song from Reader Rabbit Preschool was translated into French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish. A VHS video called Reader Rabbit Sing-A-Song Adventures was released in 2000, featuring a compilation of the series' best songs.

Educational Goals

Education has always been a key part of the games' design, seeking to find a balance between learning and fun. The titles in the series are researched by educators, parents, children and reading specialists to ensure the software is educational, engaging and easy-to-use. The software aimed to promote the use of computers as teaching tools in the classroom. The games covered a range of subjects such as reading, phonics, math, and memory. The A.D.A.P.T. Learning Technology was introduced into Reader Rabbit titles in 1999. The system contained a series of customization features that would facilitate the player's learning by Assessing abilities, Developing skills, Adjusting levels, Providing help, and Tracking progress.

Products in the franchise

Video games

Games Platforms, Release Years and Versions
Reader Rabbit and the Fabulous Word Factory


(aka Reader Rabbit)

  • Apple II (1983 – V1.0)
  • Atari 8-Bit (1984 – V1.0)
  • Apple II (1984 – V1.1)
  • Commodore 64 (1984 – V1.2)
  • Apple II (1984 – V1.3)
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit
    • Apple IIc (1986 – V1.4)
    • Apple IIGS (1987 – V2.0)
    • MS-DOS (1987 – V2.1)
    • Macintosh (1987 – V2.2)
    • MS-DOS (1987 – V3.0)
    • MS-DOS (1989 – V4.1)
  • Re-released as Talking Reader Rabbit
    • Apple IIGS (1990 – V2.3)
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit 1
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit 1 Deluxe
    • Mac OS 6, Windows (1994 – V1.0)
    • Windows 3.x (1996 – V1.2)
    • Windows and Macintosh (1997 – 2.0)
  • Remade as Reader Rabbit's Reading 1
Math Rabbit
  • Apple II (1986 – V1.0)
  • MS-DOS (1986 – V1.0)
  • MS-DOS (1986 – V1.1)
  • Apple II (1986 – V1.2)
  • Re-released as Math Rabbit Deluxe / Math Rabbit Classic
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit's Math 1
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit Math Ages 4–6
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit Personalized Math Ages 4–6
Writer Rabbit
  • 1986 (V1.0)
  • 1986 (V1.2)
  • MS-DOS (1986 – V1.3)
  • Apple (1987 – V1.4)
Reader Rabbit 2
Reader Rabbit's Ready for Letters
Reader Rabbit's Interactive Reading Journey


(aka Reader Rabbit's Interactive Reading Journey 1)

  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit's Interactive Reading Journey For Grades K-1
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit Reading Ages 4–6
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit Personalized Reading Ages 4–6
Reader Rabbit's Reading Development Library 1
Reader Rabbit's Reading Development Library 2
Reader Rabbit's Reading Development Library 3
Reader Rabbit's Reading Development Library 4
Reader Rabbit and Friends: Let's Start Learning!
Reader Rabbit's Interactive Reading Journey 2
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit's Interactive Reading Journey For Grades 1–2
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit's Reading Ages 6–9
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit Personalized Reading Ages 6–9
Reader Rabbit Presents: Math Journey for Grades 1–3


(aka Interactive Math Journey)

Reader Rabbit Toddler
(Titled Reader Rabbit's Nursery in UK)
Reader Rabbit Kindergarten
(Titled Reader Rabbit's Junior in UK)
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit Personalized Kindergarten
Reader Rabbit: 1st Grade
(Titled Reader Rabbit's Key Stage 1 Year 1 in UK)
Reader Rabbit: 2nd Grade
(Titled Reader Rabbit's Key Stage 1 Year 2 in UK)
Reader Rabbit Math Ages 6–9
  • Re-released as Reader Rabbit Personalized Math Ages 6–9
Reader Rabbit Thinking Adventures Ages 4–6 Macintosh, Windows (1999 – V1.0)
Reader Rabbit Playtime for Baby Macintosh, Windows (1999)
Reader Rabbit's Learn to Read with Phonics: Preschool & Kindergarten
Reader Rabbit Learn to Read with Phonics 1st & 2nd Grade


(aka Reader Rabbit: I Can Read With Phonics)

Macintosh, Windows (2000 – V1.0)
Reader Rabbit 1st Grade: Capers on Cloud Nine!
(Titled Reader Rabbit Year 1: Capers on Cloud Nine! in UK)
Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade: Mis-Cheese-ious Dreamship Adventures!
(Titled Reader Rabbit Year 2: Mis-Cheese-ious Dreamship Adventures! in UK)
Reader Rabbit Preschool: Sparkle Star Rescue
(Titled Reader Rabbit Nursery: Sparkle Star Rescue in UK)
Reader Rabbit Kindergarten: Bounce Down in Balloon Town!
(Titled Reader Rabbit Junior: Bounce Down in Balloon Town! in UK)
Reader Rabbit Dreamship Tales Mac OS X, Windows (2002 – V1.0)
Reader Rabbit: on a Mission to Help the Lion Flowers Nintendo DS (2011)
Reader Rabbit Kart Racing iOS (2013)
Reader Rabbit Smart & Jump iOS (2013)
Reader Rabbit Math Race Android, iOS (2016)
Reader Rabbit: Jumpsmarter iOS, Apple TV, MacOS (2018)

Compilations

Year Title Games
1999 Reader Rabbit Playtime for Baby and Toddler
  • Reader Rabbit Toddler (1997)
  • Reader Rabbit Playtime for Baby (1999)
1999 Reader Rabbit Math & Reading Ages 4–6
  • Reader Rabbit Math Ages 4–6
  • Reader Rabbit Reading Ages 4–6
1999 Reader Rabbit's Complete Learn to Read System
  • Disc One – Compilation of various Reader Rabbit titles plus parent's guides, workbooks, and storybooks.
  • Disc Two – Reader Rabbit's Reading Development Library 2 (1995)
2000 Reader Rabbit KS1 – 5 Pack
  • Reader Rabbit Year 1 (1998)
  • Reader Rabbit Year 2 (1998)
  • Reader Rabbit’s Math Ages 6–9 (1999)
  • Reader Rabbit’s Reading Ages 4–6 (1998)
  • Reader Rabbit Thinking Adventures Ages 4–6 (1999)
2001 Reader Rabbit: I Can Read! With Phonics
  • Reader Rabbit's Reading 2 (1997)
  • Reader Rabbit's Reading Ages 6–9 (1999)
2001 Learn to Read with Phonics
  • Reader Rabbit Preschool (1997)
  • Reader Rabbit Kindergarten (1997)

Cassettes and DVD

  • Reader Rabbit's Sing Along Favorites (music cassette)
  • Reader Rabbit: Sing-A-Song Adventures (VHS – 2000)
  • Reader Rabbit: Wordville Soup (DVD – 2004)
  • Reader Rabbit: The Great Alphabet Race (DVD – 2005)

Reader Rabbit Giant Workbooks

These workbooks were published by The Learning Company and each were supplementary material to a corresponding game. They were republished as Reader Rabbit: Let's Learn by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

  • Reader Rabbit Kindergarten
  • Reader Rabbit Kindergarten: Rhyming Words
  • Reader Rabbit Preschool
  • Reader Rabbit Preschool: Reading Readiness
  • Reader Rabbit Preschool: Colors & Shapes
  • Reader Rabbit Preschool: Sounds
  • Reader Rabbit Preschool: Alphabet
  • Reader Rabbit Starting School Level 1: ABC
  • Reader Rabbit 1st Grade
  • Reader Rabbit 1st Grade: Spelling
  • Reader Rabbit 1st Grade: Phonics
  • Reader Rabbit 1st Grade: Writing Mechanics
  • Reader Rabbit K-1st Grade: Math
  • Reader Rabbit K-1st Grade: Math – Money, Time & Measurement

Reader Rabbit Leapfrog e-books

These e-books are about phonics and were released under the LeapPad learning system.

  • Sam's Sweet Surprise
  • High Flying Circus
  • The Great Word Chase
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