We got two of these Vtech Rhyme & Discover Books for our twins last Xmas (December 2008), and they played with these at least half an hour at a time, several times a day. At 10 months later the kids (now a little over 2 years old) still play with them regularly, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes a day, sometimes more. The books have been smeared by sticky hands and wipe clean well, and they have been dropped countless times without damage. Just recently, 10 months later, we have changed the batteries (two AAAs) in one of the books, and the other one is still going on the batteries that came inside it.
The pros are: *Price (you get lots of bells and whistles for this amount of money) and batteries included *Durability *Cleanability *Visually interesting (Four panels or "pages," for a total of seven different pictures/sides to look at, plus a couple of two-sided movable pieces that make sound effects, and three light-up "tab" buttons in the shape of a lamb, kitten and puppy, each with their own sound effects) *Huge musical variety -- some songs have a couple bars of vocals and some are just instrumental ("Ring around the rosie," "Twinkle twinkle little star," "Mary had a little lamb," "Little Bo Peep," "Hey diddle diddle," "Bingo," "Three little kittens," "This is the way we ...," "Old McDonald had a farm," "The farmer in the dell," "Rockabye baby," "This old man," "London Bridge is falling down," "Three blind mice," "Sur le pont d'Avignon")
The cons: *The on-off switch has two volume choices, but the louder option is a little too loud for young ears. The lower volume is fine, and it would be nice if toy makers would put the volume switch somewhere less accessible to the child. My kids, and the ones I've babysat, all seem to like to crank the volume to the highest setting, and the highest setting seems as though it has the potential to damage hearing over the long term. (This is a problem with many toys, and not unique to this one.) *It would be nice to have the entire song for some musical selections (you get only part of the song and not all the lyrics either), but it's not a huge minus considering how many songs are included
Overall, based on my kids' experience with this toy, I would recommend this to my friends and/or give as a gift.
Update October 2010: These books are still in the toy box rotation and going strong in spite of many falls to the floor and some banging on the play/train table. We changed batteries again, so in total one book has had its batteries changed once and the other has had batteries changed twice. Now that the kids are 3 years old, they don't play with these books as much, so we're getting ready to hand these down to a younger cousin.