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Toy Story 3 Best Friends Book and Magnetic Buddy (Disney Toy Story Buddy) Hardcover – May 4, 2010
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Reader's Digest Children's Books now presents their "Toy Story 3: Best Friends Magnetic Storybook". This hardback book could be enjoyed by children of many ages, from preschool up to elementary-aged children.
Within the front cover is a windowed compartment. Inside is a small pillow-like doll of the main character, Woody. He is to be enjoyed along with the book itself. To get Woody out of his compartment, a perforated cardboard door must be opened on the back side of the cover. While it is perforated, it is not easy to open without doing serious damage to the door, which really needs to stay intact. I would recommend getting an exacto-knife and use it to gently cut through the perforations to release the door. Once the door is opened, your child now has their Woody doll to enjoy.
Before reading the book, turn to the very last page. It folds out of the book and is very stiff. This page is magnetized for use with the Woody toy as you read. Keep that last page opened out, and then close the regular pages until you see the pages with the garbage bags and the minivan. Now fold the magnetized page down, so it's lying on top of the minivan page. Next turn the garbage bag page to be on top of the magnetized page. You should now see the first two pages of the story and you're ready to begin.
As you read the first page of text to your child, have your child place their Woody doll on the page featuring Jessie the cowgirl and Buzz Lightyear. The magnetized page underneath will grab Woody's hands if the illustrated page is placed flat against it.
When you have finished your first page of reading, turn the Jessie/Buzz page. Then re-open the magnetized page. Then turn the minivan page. Then close the magnetized page on top of the Lotso Bear page. Then turn the left-hand illustrated page back to be on top of the magnetized page. You should now be open to the garbage bag and minivan pages. Have your child place Woody on the minivan page as you read from the garbage bag page. Continue this sequence throughout the book. When you are finished, place Woody in the front compartment again and firmly close the back door. If you didn't damage the door when you initially opened it, it should close well enough to hold Woody inside for next time.
"Toy Story 3: Best Friends" is a nice storybook. The narrative is simple and easy for young children to understand. The illustrations are just beautiful. The writers and artists did a fabulous job.
However, I found the concept of the magnetic page and toy Woody doll to be distracting and ineffective in storytelling. Getting Woody out of his compartment was challenging. Getting the magnetic page arranged each time we turned to the next page of the story was annoying. And my 5 year-old child didn't really see the point of sticking Woody to the book. He loved the doll though, and enjoyed playing with it by itself. In fact, when we went to see the movie "Toy Story 3" for the first time, stuffed Woody doll came along!
The book has it's nice features, but it would have been just wonderful without the magnetic page device. I doubt I'll be using that accessory when I read the book to my child in the future.
The doll is made of stitched polyester and has thin metallic disks in his hands that attach to a fold-out platform in the back of the book. To use the magnetic gatefold, simply put the page behind the page that you are reading and put the figure on the page. Woody sticks well, whether the book is held up vertically, and even when holding the book horizontally while lying down. I would love to also have a Buzz Lightyear doll version since he is also one of the main stars. Woody can also be used as a toy for free play (without the book). Detail of Woody is good (front and back). I personally recommend removing the tag from the doll, after you have read the tag.
The story makes a nice bedtime story, good book to read when traveling or even when taking your little one with you.
The pages are glossy and the illustrations are true to Disney/Pixar form with vibrant colors. The right side of the book is where you can put Woody on the book to accent the story.
If your child likes the Toy Story Series, this is a nice addition to his or her library.
I feel like they were trying to make this toy too many things to too many people. Perhaps it was meant to be baby friendly. That would explain why the doll is made of a very soft fabric material (almost like a little pillow doll) and the woody character is simply ink-screened onto the fabric. (The effect is pretty poor. The photo from Amazon makes him look better than he does in real life.) They also put VERY small magnets into each of Woody's two hands. So small, it's not so easy to get him to stick to anything unless both hands are very deliberately placed. I guess this is because of all the press that Earth magnets have been getting, so they decided that weaker ones would be safer.
Then again, if it were targeted to such a young subset, why would they make it so difficult to use? I mean, a baby or small toddler isn't going to be able to deliberately place both hands of the doll onto the book, the fridge, or whatever it needs to stick to. (I'm sort of annoyed that they didn't at least add some magnets to the feet or the head so that a kid could get a better chance of success of making it stick.) Also, the way the book is to be read: the very last page is magnetic and is to be inserted after EACH page of the story so that Woody can take part in the storytelling action. Again, this is not something many young toddlers will be able to do on their own. Besides, the story has up to 3 paragraphs (with up to 4 sentences each) on a page! THAT is not a story that you're going to be reading to a kid younger than 4.
Soooo, if the story and the function of the book seems to be targeted to a child who is probably 5-6, why did they make the toy so lame?
This is actually our second book from Reader's Digest Children's Book publishers. The first one also had a lame schtick where a little leopard puppet was included. While that story was more age appropriate, the text made no sense whatsoever, and the moral message was mixed. And the puppet there was also cheap and non-functional.
Sorry Reader's Digest, but I'm going to steer clear of any more of these cheap books that you're peddling. I think you should give your audience a little more credit and think about putting out quality stories and unless you're willing to invest more in the puppets, just try to avoid the shtick altogether.
If you found this review helpful, please let me know.