Sesame Street Numbers Count logo

Merit Software/ID £19.99
As the education market starts to expand, CU takes a look at the best titles currently available. American primary school teacher, Chris Kennedy, and his English counterpart, Helen Reidy, are our guides.

This electronic colouring book gives you thirty different pictures on which to practice your artistry. All of them have something to do with the hit TV programme, Sesame Street, and involve the numbers 1-10. For example, Big Bird is skating along making 8s on the ice, Bert has just one sock and one shoe to put on as he dresses, and Count Dracula is grinning at six little vampire bats.

The palette is extensive - 24 colours to choose from with a mix facility taking your possible total colour scheme to over 500. And it is so simple to manipulate that a three-year-old using a mouse managed to operate by himself.

If you decide that something is slightly the wrong shade, you can go to the 'oops' button (yes, really) and it will remove the offending colour. You can even throw an artistic wobbly, scrap the lot and start all over again! For the tiny tots this is a truly sophisticated painting-by-numbers program. The older ones might have liked to be able to express their creativity and draw their own masterpiece though, which this package does not allow.

Unfortunately, you need two disk drives to get both sound and vision. And if you create a real stunner, you will need a rather sophisticated colour printer to make a permanent copy of your picture. Neither fact is made clear in the copy blurb and some people may fee slightly conned.

This package apparently came out in 1987 in the US. What took them so long to let us have it? Anyone who has got a young Big Bird freak will love this - you can just let them loose and leave them to it!


Sesame Street, the American early learning television show, was the breeding ground for Jim Henson's Muppets. They dayglo spongy figures with their ping-pong ball eyes and mop-head hair went on to develop a mythology of their own. Where would we all be without Kermit and Fozzie, and who can ever forget Miss Piggy's 'pas de deux' with Rudolph Nureyev as she danced 'Swine Lake'? No-one can fail to be touched by the humour and gentle wit of the late Jim Henson, the ageing hippy who first dreamed of these totally mind-boggling monsters! The educational work of his company, the Children's Television Workshop, still goes on in the US today, and is a fitting tribute to his many talents.