Monday, April 5, 2010

Wiglington and Wenks

The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World is an on-line game for kids ages 7-14. The site was created based on a children's book series by British businessman and author, John Bittleston. Wiglington and Wenks, mice extraordinaire, live in an interactive time traveling virtual world where children learn history, geography and environmental science as they visit. Currently, anyone can travel with Wiglington and Wenks for FREE in a limited fashion, but an Elite Quest Traveler membership costs $5.99/ mo, $16.99/ 3 months, $29.99 for 6 months, or $59.99/ year. Our family received a free one month Elite membership in exchange for this review.

Wiglington and Wenks are adventure-seeking water rats from England. Wiglington's ancestor, Carto Wiglington, left a series of magic maps which unlock secrets of the past, present and future by enabling the owner of the maps to travel through time and space. The lost maps recovered by Wiglington, were brought back to his hometown to be used for good. Virtual travelers to Wiglington Town, re-named in honor of Wiglington's heroic recovery of the maps, may use the magic maps for time travel after graduating from the Traveling Academy of Wiglington Town and earning a passport. With passport in hand, the fun begins as travelers visit with historical figures, real and fictional, in various locations around the world.
Count Carneggio, a selfish, evil rat, attempts to foil the fun. Carneggio desires to have possession of the maps for financial gain. The evil Count is suspect of creating a time portal which accidentally traps historical figures, placing them in different time periods and locations. The confusing experience inevitably causes the misplaced people of the past to suffer from amnesia. Travelers must search for clothing, inventions and other historical items to prompt the amnesiacs memory and restore order to the world.

Although the description of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World seems complicated it really is just a great story come to life. Kids participating in the virtual world easily learn the details of the storyline (read rules of the game) by attending the Traveling Academy and watching animated videos. Within minutes young travelers are seasoned enough to navigate throughout the world. All the animation of Wiglington and Wenks is engaging and snappy. The characters are cute, but smartly dressed with a contemporary flair drawn with sharp defined lines, slightly exaggerated heads, and clever expressions.

The introductory video on the homepage alone was enough to draw my 5 year old son, Aidan from across the room. Aidan stood intensely watching the video and obviously excited about all the potential this virtual world had to offer. After listening to my explanation of Wiglington and Wenks to his younger sibling, my 15 year old son said, "Man! Aidan is so lucky! I would have been all over that site when I was his age. I mean it has characters, adventure, games...."

Wiglington and Wenks has over 100 educational real world and imaginary locations to travel. For example, adventure seekers can visit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Great Sphinx of Egypt or future imaginary locations in outer space. While visiting, players engage in educational games, facts and information is learned and "money" is earned for future virtual costumes and attire that allow special powers and moves. A chat feature is also available to allow travelers to interact with others visiting the virtual world.

"I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it!" said Micah, age 12. "It's fun to communicate with other kids playing. I like all the random fun facts about different things in the countries. I also like that Wiglington and Wenks is challenging and gives you a mission. I like to have a purpose when playing games on the internet. I will definitely tell my friends that they need to check Wiglington and Wenks out" she concluded.

Aidan, age 5 was filled with enthusiasm when asked for his opinion of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World. "It is awesome! I like the maps and Wiglington and Wenks. I like the people and the games. We get to buy clothes and costumes with money from the games. I really like those!" he said.

Fans will be thrilled to note Wiglington and Wenks merchandise is available for purchase at The webpage offering hats, t-shirts, mugs and of course, mouse pads can be found here.
Since Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World is available for limited use for FREE, I highly recommend readers give it a whirl. It's engaging storyline, graphics and fun atmosphere make it a wonderful educational resource for elementary and middle grade students. Clever homeschool parents can easily use this virtual world to light a fire of enthusiasm for history and geography study and maybe even some adventure story crafting of their own.

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