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I was so excited about this item since my 5 yr old daughter lives away from me. Ordered it for Valentine's Day but unfortunately will return.
First, it's a book that has 5 spreads (or pages). Yes, only 5! I'm saying spread=page because that's how it is designed. There's a picture that extends through both pages of the spread and one short sentence (yes just one) on each. There's no story or anything. It just talks about how the dolphin misses the sea, how the eagle misses flying, in one short sentence! That's the 'story' you're buying, be aware of that and do not expect anything like Snowwhite or Hansel & Gretel. (OK, I've been advised enough times that what may be a 'huge hit' for kids may not appeal to adults, but thought I should let you know).
The real disappointment though, is that the technology does not work, period! I had read some nagative reviews before ordering it. Thought they were the exception because disappointed customers are more likely to write feedback. I had hoped that mine should work fine. Turned out the negative reviews were right on the mark. The book cannot even play the prerecording right. It got stuck in the eagles page. I was hoping it would read the other pages (dolphins, bears) but no. The eagle sentence kept repeating on every page I turned next. I tried doing my own recording, hoping it might correct the situation. Nope! It keeps recording the last statement I read over what I recorded before. So beginning on p. 4 you keep hearing the ending. Tried over and over. Their technology simply doesn't work.
Don't recommend this product at all. Waste of your time and money. Now I have to scramble for another gift since I have less time left.
I purchased this book and eagerly went to recording my story. After completion the book played perfectly. However, after I gave it to my daughter the pages skipped or didn't play at all. Leave it to my dear sweet hubby to note the small holes along the interior pages of the book. Thinking this was not relevant I simply glared at him for missing the point of how to fix the darn book. The TA DAAAH moment was when he took a flash light and allowed the light to shine on the interior of the book. The book then played PERFECTLY and FLAWLESSLY!!!!! The book either needs to be read on a flat surface in a well lit area or the child should be given a flashlight that would allow them to shine it on each page for the mechanism to function properly. The holes detect additional light that corresponds with the number of holes on the surface of the page to be read. Once it receives the signal it will play the correct sequence of pages. This should have been noted so as to avoid a lot of people throwing the books away. (Which is what almost happened in our case.) However, after this mystery was solved it has now become a huge hit in our household. Especially with our six year old who loves going to bed with her book and flashlight. Note of caution ... make sure the flash light is suitable for a child before leaving them alone with it. Therefore, the book must be in a brightly lit area or a flashlight will need to be utilized. As Scooby Doo would say "this mystery is now solved."
I found it easy to record, and it sounded good in playback. My two-year-old granddaughter tells everyone that "Grandma is in the book!" I really appreciate that the recording can be locked, so parents don't have to worry about the kids accidentally (or on purpose!) re-recording the story.
The only concern I had was with the screw to the battery area (where the lock/unlock is located). You have to have a TINY phillips screwdriver, and even then, you have to be very careful not to strip the screw. Other than that, I am impressed and more importantly, so are my granddaughters. I would love to see more of these available!
I too found it easy to use. The light sensor idea is intuitive and fairly accurate. Recrding it was fun. However, My wife and I agree the story was mind-numbily uncreative and dull. The wacom tablet photoshop drawings were great but the story itself was drab and a real snore. "I miss you like a dolphin misses the sea". How about "I miss you like a foot misses a sock"? Lame. They clearly had the book idea before the story written.
We got this book for my daughter to read when my husband is deployed and I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because it is wonderfully sweet, short enough for a 2 year old to sit with happily, but obviously and especially because we can hear his voice when he is far away. I get frustrated with it because it is a bit finicky to work and with a 2 year old driving I have never had a perfectly smooth run through. There is a series of holes in the pages that allow photo sensitive cells to 'read' what page you are on and then trigger the messages you have recorded. The problem is that the holes are small and the book has to be laying perfectly still and flat in good light to function. It takes a few seconds for the cells to register and start reading each page, just long enough for my daughter to think that something is wrong and try to fix it or just fidget. Also if a hand or anything else passes over the holes the page automatically restarts the page, including intro music, and it usually takes multiple tries to get through each of the pages. So it is a wonderful and frustrating thing to do right before bed when everyone is already tired and impatient.