- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2008

Each week, the Browser features some pop culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free interactive sounds and action.

The imaginative world of Dr. Seuss once again is tapped for a major motion picture in 20th Century Fox’s just-released effort, “Horton Hears a Who.”

The computer-animated film is perfect for the Web medium, as the opening screen features a colorful, interactive world in a widescreen format (www.hortonmovie.com) primed for the younger visitor.

The familiar bellow of Jim Carrey — as the voice of Horton — greets visitors, mimicking his Count Olaf’s “Hello” from “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events,” as sounds, music and characters mix within an outdoorsy environment.

Each of the story’s stars offers a section to check out (with a dialogue snippet) and targeted specks around the terrain lead to other fun places. The pink speck to the far right of the underbrush leads to the spot where most visitors will spend their time. ‘Tis, of course, a games-and-activities area nicely varied for the film’s targeted age demographic.

Those looking for a challenge will appreciate Unicycle Streets, an homage to the classic Pac-Man in which the player helps control the mayor of Whoville as he picks up fishbowls while avoiding crazy cars.

Horton’s Bridge Breakdown is an unforgiving matching puzzler; the player must press the correct sequence of boards to help the elephant cross a rickety wooden bridge.

The seven games offered also include an art program and the chance to build your own Who instrument.

Activities in the section are of the away-from-the-computer variety and range from coloring pages to bookmarks and stickers.

Another fun experience can be had with the Adopt a Who simulation (found in a drop-down menu accessed from any screen). Potential owners name their new friend and place him in a customizable environment. Once it’s complete, they get a Whoville Adoption Certificate perfect for color printing and framing.

Their Who now becomes part of a widget to embed on any of 17 blog or community sites. He can be personalized further with landscape items, food, facial hair and clothing. The little guy also can perform four actions, such as dancing or answering a question.

Citizens sympathetic to Whoville’s plight also can download a Save a Speck package containing messages and art printable for a poster, bumper sticker and T-shirt.

Visitors should not forget the origins of the story and can jump to Random House’s Seussville cyber-stop (www.seussville.com) for a look at the mighty Dr. Seuss library. Saturated in color, characters and whimsicality, the experience introduces Theodor Geisel, the man behind the books, with a text biography that covers most of his life and legacy.

A rich playground also spearheads the site with online games such as the One Fish, Two Fish Matching Game, Stop the Grinch from Stealing Challenge, Green Eggs and Ham Picture Scramble and Help Mr. Brown Color Letters.

Most relevant on the site is a Story Maker simulation based on “Horton Hears a Who.” The creator puts together three scenes using a selection of backgrounds, characters, music and text.

Finally, dozens of printable activities immerse children in the world of Dr. Seuss and offer more learning possibilities.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail to jszadkowski@ washingtontimes.com).

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