Broderbund Software, Inc., a division of Living Books’ School Division, published Stellaluna, adapted from the picture book Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. The software, first published in 1997, is intended for Grades K-3. Stellaluna is an interactive multimedia CD-ROM format for Macintosh/ Windows with a cost of $49.95 for one CD-ROM or $99.95 for a Lab Pack (5).


The story Stellaluna is about a baby fruit bat that is lost from her mother. Alone in the African jungle, Stellaluna seeks shelter in a nest of baby birds. Stellaluna and the birds learn to be a family, in spite of their differences. The universal themes of upbringing, acceptance and friendship are explored. The CD-ROM Stellaluna helps develop connections between the interactive reading and related activities in the classroom.

The CD-ROM Stellaluna provides beautiful graphics, sounds, music, and an interactive sense of being a part of the story. There are several choices to pick from: Read to Me, Let Me Play, Bat Quiz, Options or Quit. If you want to have the book read to you, click on “Read to Me”. If you want the story read and play inside it, click on “Let Me Play”. Here the students can identify the animals (primarily nocturnal) they see on the screen. The three levels of “Bat Quiz” are a fun way to discover facts about bats. You answer questions until you reach the accepted limit to complete the quiz. To explore a specific page in the story, go to “Options” and click on the arrow.

The School Edition of Stellaluna includes the CD-ROM; copies of the story Stellaluna and the non-fiction story Bats by Sylvia A. Johnson, as well as a binder full of classroom activities. The science activities explore bats, flight, and echolocation. The reading lessons build word recognition and knowledge of part so speech. The language arts lessons explore story sequence through visual images and retellings of the story. The math lessons involve creating number sentences and stories based on Stellaluna. Each area has age appropriate activities to help you integrate the computer experience into the ongoing activities. An invaluable resource in this School Edition of Stellaluna is the annotated bibliography featuring nocturnal animals.

Hardware Requirements:


Minimum Processor: 386/16 MHz Required Display: 256 Colors Required Memory: 4MB for 3.1 Other Requirements: PC Soundcard

Mac CD/Power PC

Minimum Processor: 68020/16 MHz Required Display: 256 Colors Required Memory: 4 MB Other Requirements: System 6.0.7 or later

Unless otherwise noted, all products require a hard disk, mouse, and double-speed CD-ROM drive. All Windows products require a minimum of Windows 3.1 running over DOS 5.0.

Ease of Use:

This program is easy to navigate and install. Any child with some computer skills can use and enjoy this program. The navigational buttons are very clear and easy to understand. Stellaluna guides you through the directions and discusses what each button will do. Arrows are provided to go back and forth within the program.


Learning about bats is very popular with students in elementary schools. It is educational and entertaining. The recommended target grades of K-3 are appropriate.

Other Reviews:

CD-ROM Access ( November 7, 1999
“A Living Book by Janell Cannon. How can we be so different and be so much alike? Mused Flitter. Of course, from Stellaluna’s perspective, Flitter the Bird has some pretty curious tendencies, too. Like landing upright. And eating worms instead of mangoes. These are just a few of the many surprises to be found in this Living Books adaptation. And the best part is, like all products from Living Books, your child gets to direct, using only a mouse.”


Review by Vicky Marcum Richter, graduate student in Library and Information Science at UT Austin on November 15, 1999.