The Motherloot Blog: Product Reviews

Publications, International Ltd has released a new set of electronic books for children, appealing to the budget-minded parent. These electronic books include a book, but also an electronic gadget for children.

The company contacted us to see what we thought about their product and sent us three wonderful books to get our opinion on them for their company.

These books are hardback and durable. As a mother of a child who enjoys chewing things and tearing paper, I find board books are the best bang for our buck right now. These books are durable and will last through several of my child’s beatings, but also include handy gadgets that mimic those of their parents that are also durable and made with a child in mind. Things like cell phones and digital music players are attached to the book in lieu of the push button sounds that usually are accompanied on the side of these types of books.

They have many types of books to choose from including all of your child’s favorite characters. Some of the ones you can choose from are Elmo, The Wiggles, SpongeBob Squarepants and Strawberry Shortcake.

To be honest, I love just a plain good old-fashioned book, but it seems to be the craze to release electronically formatted types of entertainment, rather than the plain paper books of my youth. I have been known, however, to spend a pretty penny on the LeapFrog books & cartridges because I knew how much it would interest my child and I want to foster loads of learning in our home.

The bottom line is that no matter what format you present these books to your children, the one thing you want them to walk away with is a desire to read. Publications, International Ltd seems to know this and they have come up with some creative books to help instill the love of reading within your child.

While LeapFrog products will run you twenty bucks and up (just for the books, not the media to make them work), these books are made for the budget-minded consumer and are priced under twenty dollars, perfect for a parent that wants to give this type of book to their child but doesn’t have the funds to do so.

Out of all of the books, our personal favorites were the Fold & Go Car Books. What little boy would not love to create a vehicle and then have it make sounds as they push it along? This was an instant favorite in our house.

Here are some of the options available:

Cell Phone Book (Ages 3-8)

The Cell Phone Book features a removable cordless flip phone with working number buttons and an LCD screen that simulates a real camera/video-phone by featuring both still and moving visual images. Fifteen number and function buttons (including camera, movie, on/off and voicemail), allow the child to view and “call” different characters shown in the book. The camera button mimics cell-phone photography with a flash of light and a pixilated image related to the 10 different spreads in the book, while the movie button plays one of 10 different animated sequences related to the book.

An envelope symbol on the phone screen prompts the child to “check voice mail.” When the child does so by pressing the corresponding button, he/she hears a character’s message. The Cell Phone Book also features a cradle for storing the cordless phone, a volume control, and a speaker located on the back of the phone to ensure safe use by little ears. The Cell Phone Book titles will include Elmo and Dora the Explorer and will sell for around $20.

Digital Music Player Book (Ages 3-8)

Also new for 2006 is the Digital Music Player Book, a portable-music-player-and-book combination that blends the learning aspects of reading with the entertainment of music. The 11”x11”, fully illustrated, hardcover board book features a detachable music player that looks and plays like an MP3 player. The technology allows kids to “download” up to nine melodies by pressing the player’s code reader against carbon barcodes on one of five spreads in the book. The music player features an on/off switch, shuffle mode, forward/back arrow buttons and nine light-up, colored icons that correspond with illustrations in the book. The player can be stored in a holster mounted on the book cover. The Digital Music Player Book titles will include The Wiggles, SpongeBob Squarepants and Strawberry Shortcake, and will sell for around $16.99.

Fold and Go Cars Book (Ages 3-6)

The new Fold and Go Cars Book is an interactive soundbook featuring a built-in electronic “chassis,” complete with sound effects that correspond to cars in the book. Kids can pop out five perforated cars from pages of the book, fold them along scored lines and slide them – one at a time – onto the chassis mounted on the front cover. When the wheels trigger a mechanism in the chassis, the book makes sounds specific to the vehicle. The Fold and Go Cars Book is filled with vehicle facts and stories and will sell for around $12.99. NASCAR, Scooby Doo and Tonka versions will be available.

ActiveMinds® Bilingual 30-Button Book (Ages 3-8)

The ActiveMinds® Bilingual 30-Button Book offers kids aged three to eight the unique opportunity to learn and read in two languages, with added sound effects to enhance the learning experience. Ten spreads in this colorful, educational book feature icons that correspond with a 30-button sound module to the right of the text, which is shown in both English and Spanish. Kids can flip a switch to hear the word in either language for a total of 60 sound triggers, and after each word a meaningful sound effect plays to reinforce the word used. Four titles of the ActiveMinds Bilingual 30-Button Book, “Let’s Go to School,” “My First Words,” “I Can Count” and “The Magic Book” will be available and sell for around $12.99.

For more information on these books, and other books offered by this company, please visit their website.

We want to express many thanks to Publications International for giving us the opportunity to review their wonderful product.

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