Friday, November 14, 2014
We typically check out large bags full from the library, while both Big Sister E and Little Sister B also have shelves in their rooms (and our living room) piled high with books that get taken down and re-shelved daily.
It is far from uncommon for me to go look for either one of them only to discover them sprawled out on their beds, the couch or the floor, engrossed in the stories within any number of books. From picture books with brightly colored illustrations to large, intricate books covered with words, they both love to be a part of the magical world that books provide.
So, is it possible to make books better for a 5-year-old and 8-year-old that are already fascinated with them?
It is when you add the ability to have any book come to life at any time with the true genius of the Sparkup Magical Book Reader.
Designed to allow parents to create personalized audio recordings of any illustrated children's book, the Magical Book Reader is a device unlike any other that I have ever seen.
The innovative folks at Sparkup have designed a gadget that does much more than provide another read-along book on a screen, they have come up with a way for kids to listen, read along and feel connected with the real, physical book of their choosing.
Simply attach the Magical Book Reader to the top of a book and, by using only two buttons for controls, it is able to record the user's voice while tracking each page individually via its built-in camera. Afterwards, any time the device is re-attached to that book, the camera immediately recognizes its images and plays the appropriate recording for each page.
I'm telling you, there has never been a product that deserved to have the word Magical in its name more than this one!
I love when a company puts time into designing the packaging for their product to make it eye-catching even before it is out of the box and Sparkup did just that with the Magical Book Reader.
With a pull on a blue tab right on the front, the box pops open to revel the Reader itself, a summary of how this inventive product works and even an adorable My Magical Book Reader book that introduces the product to children. What better way to already get them excited about books?
Putting the Magical Book Reader to use is a snap, as it simply clips directly onto the back cover of your selected picture book and is ready to go (it even comes with the necessary three AA batteries included and installed).
For preloaded Sparkup audiobooks (if you place your order for this device before December 15th, you'll receive the same two that we did, Shrek and Tikki Tikki Tembo, FREE), it takes a single press of the center button to start the story. The Reader instantly knows the cover, title page and every other page of the book.
That's right, every page. Individually. When I showed the Magical Book Reader to my husband, he immediately assumed that it must count the pages to know what part of the story to read – but that's not the case, as a child can literally flip at his or her own pace through the story or even look at pages out of order and the Reader will still always recite the correct matching words.
While I was pretty blown away by the magical way that this device knows exactly where it is in the stories that come with it, that paled in comparison to realizing that it can also be used with nearly every other book that we already have here at home.
Once the Magical Book Reader is attached to a book it doesn't already recognize, it simply walks you through the extremely easy steps of recording it.
Just press the record button...
...and start speaking after the tone. Record the cover, title page, a dedication (one in the book or make up your own), and each of the pages separately and the Reader will save your voice in conjunction with the individual pages.
That's it! Once you are finished, every single time the Magical Book Reader is reattached to that same book, it will recognize it and begin your reading in your voice to your child!
I truly don't know what more Sparkup could have added to this product to make it any more amazing. Both of my children thought that the Magical Book Reader was neat when they saw that it could read the books that came with it... but they were, without a doubt, stunned when it suddenly began reading other of their favorites in my voice!
As this can store up to four hours of audio, we can easily have both my husband and me record a wide variety of books, as well as having all of our extended family join in also! How great will that be when my girls can grab just about any book off of the shelf, hook it to the Reader and follow along while their grandmother or aunt reads to them!
As an added bonus, the Magical Book Reader can easily be attached to my computer's USB drive so that I can rename, organize, copy or delete files. If other family or friends also had a Reader and a duplicate copy of a book, we could even send and receive audio files to each other!
In all, our entire family has had nothing but love for the Sparkup Magical Book Reader since its arrival and my husband (who is critical and unimpressed by nearly every toy or gadget out there) has even deemed this a must-have, top winner for the holidays.
Sparkup has managed to combine the compelling multimedia aspects of the internet with traditional children's literature and the voice of a loved one, resulting in a product that helps children learn to read (and love reading) anytime, anywhere.
As parents, we all know that reading is one of (if not the) most important skill that our children will learn and that sitting down and reading a book with them is extremely important. But let's be realistic, life is busy and sometimes due to work, travels or more, there just isn't time. As far as I'm concerned, the Sparkup Magical Book Reader is just about as close as we're going to get to the real thing!
This holiday season, Sparkup has found a way for families everywhere to embrace what truly matters most — spending time and creating lasting memories with loved ones. This Magical Book Reader would make an incredibly thoughtful gift that could then be enjoyed throughout the holidays and long into the future.
Designed for children ages 3 through 8, more information about this one-of-a-kind device (retail price $59.99 from Sparkup or on Amazon) can be found at SparkupReader.com and by connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Other than the Magical Book Reader and books that I was provided by Sparkup in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about this AWESOME product.