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★★★ Open House ★★★
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CTR Weekly 4/17/2019
Barbie Wheelchair and Prosthetic Limb; Construction Simulator 3; Toca Life World Waterfront; and lets learn more about the Notre-Dame Cathedral
"If they are staring, I'll say 'Don't stare, just ask.' I actually have a shirt that says that. I want them to come up and ask me. I want them to know that it's OK. It's not a bad thing. We all find our own way to do stuff." Jordan Reeves, who was born without a forearm, and who helped Mattel design a Prosthetic Barbie (reviewed below).

Interested in the Notre-Dame Basica?
Here are some links to help children learn more about the history and construction of the famous structure.

Start with this link for general information:

Next, take a tour with an expert

Or see some architectural drawings:

Why was the fire was so hard to fight? Watch this dynamic article in today's NYTimes. It will help you understand why the structure burned so quickly

Here's some videos from YouTube including a drone's view, and a look from Google Earth's point of view:

Good teachers learn that the real world is the most effective curriculum.

Barbie Fashionistas Wheelchair and Prosthetic Limb
Mattel, Inc., , ($call), for ages 6-up.
During the 2019 Toy Fair in New York, Mattel told us that the 2019 Barbie Fashionistas line of dolls will be "more inclusive for children with disabilities." Mattel worked with UCLA and a young disability activist named Jordan Reeves who was born without a left forearm to create a doll with a prosthetic leg. Another doll set will include a sturdy, realistic (we examined one) wheelchair that is scaled to fit standard Barbie dolls. The new toys are an attempt to expand the definition of beauty, and make the Barbie brand more inclusive and inviting to the general population. We like the concept. The wheelchair includes a ramp that fits existing Barbie playsets. Release date June 2019.
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* Construction Simulator 3
astragon Entertainment GmbH,, ($3.99 plus IAP of up to $23, for ages 8-up.
Are you looking for a serious construction machined simulation experience? Made in Germany, this real-time, highly detailed machine operation simulation is one of the best we've reviewed. But it takes a while to learn. Your job is to complete each challenge as you develop your skills -- changing machine modes, camera views and steering controls. Sometimes you have to do two things at once, and it is possible for things to go wrong. Fortunately, you can reset your vehicle and start over. After make an avatar and account, you start on 70 missions, spread over a nearly 4 square mile area. Content includes 50 licensed building machines and vehicles from brands including Caterpillar, Liebherr, Case, Bobcat, and Bell. Machines include the E55 compact excavator, the T590 compact track loader, the 150 EC-B 8 rotating tower crane and the Liebherr LB28 rotary drilling rig with a detailed cockpit. Testers noted that the game is hard to learn, but liked the realism and choice of machines. It's important to learn how to reset your machine early in the game, because it is possible to get stuck. Learn more at Made in Germany.
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* Toca Life World: Waterfront Location
Toca Boca,, ($3.99 on iPad, Android, Kindle, for ages 3-12.
Here's another well designed content pack for Toca Life: World that includes three areas -- a seafood-themed restaurant (the Krill Grill); an aquarium and an underwater playspace. As with the other Toca Life titles it is easy to mix and match hundreds of items which can be moved between locations or used in short puppet-show productions that let you mix in your own narration. Note: Each level starts with some sort of addition puzzle which our testers found to be confusing.
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* Denotes Editor's Choice