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Spotlighting 2 Very Different Creatures

November 23, 2000|KAREN JONES | karen@kjnyc.com

In the fickle world of children's brands, Pokemon remains a favorite--for now. Dinosaurs, on the other hand, are free from the confines of pop culture and never cease to captivate youngsters--as proved by the popularity of Sue the T. rex, on display at the Field Museum of Chicago.

Pokemon.com

According to Nintendo, Pokemon.com at http://www.pokemon.com is the company's busiest Web site. The home page has a straightforward listing of each section, most of which are product descriptions of Pokemon merchandise. It is doubtful, however, that enthusiasts, commonly known as "trainers" in Poke-speak, would mind.

Any trainer worth his or her salt needs to be well-versed in the shapes and sizes of all 150 Pokemon characters. So the PokeDex should be the first stop. Clicking on "Dodrio" informs us that he has three heads--one stands guard when the other two sleep.

This is an "official" Web site, so information and advertising overpower any kind of activity-based interactivity. For example, clicking on the Games section takes users not to a gaming room but to a catalog of offline Pokemon video games.

The Cartoons section features current Pokemon videos and television listings with the story lines of 10 episodes. The Cards section connects to the Wizards of the Coast official trading card site.

There are also News and Events sections, which are updated regularly, all Pokemon-related. For those who want their Pokemon live, there is information on the current 30-city live stage tour in the Events area.

Sue the T. rex, at the Field Museum of Chicago

The discovery, preparation and unveiling of Sue, the most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen to date, has captured the imaginations of all budding paleontologists. She was named for her discoverer, fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson, and is now in residence at the Field Museum of Chicago. Children who cannot view her personally can visit her at http://www.fmnh.org/sue.

All sections are clearly listed on the home page and serve as a guide to the story and science of Sue. Who Is Sue describes her vital statistics--67 million years old, 42 feet long, 7 tons and 58 teeth--as well as the details concerning her discovery in 1990.

As the best-preserved T. rex, she will help to solve many unanswered questions about her kind. What's New With Sue posts updates about her residence at the museum. For example, her 5-foot-long skull is too heavy to be supported by her other 200 fossilized bones and the metal structure sustaining it, so a plaster replica stands in. The actual skull is displayed on a second-floor balcony.

Sue's Timeline follows her journey from 67 million years ago to now, and Preparation and Mounting is where kids can explore fossil preparation, molding, casting and creating missing bones. All told, 25,000 hours were spent preparing Sue.

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Karen Jones is a freelance writer specializing in children's interactive media.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Kids' Web Sites

Pokemon.com

www.pokemon.com

All product promotion, all the time

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Sue at the Field Museum

www.fmnh.org/sue

"Lots of interesting tidbits about the terrible lizards"

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