6 January 2012

Review: Hallmark Interactive Story Buddy

Logan has recently started getting into his books after a friend suggested I read to him when he goes to bed for the night so he takes more of an interest, and it worked! So we were delighted when Hallmark sent us one of their brand new Story Buddy's for us to try out.

Why Hallmark designed the Story Buddy: "With over 100 years’ experience in helping people connect with each other, we’re constantly looking for new and innovative ways to bring friends and family together and our new Story Buddy toys are perfect for just that. By combining such a traditional and important pastime with the latest in interactive technology, we can give our customers a completely new story time experience that we hope the whole family will enjoy."

The Story Buddy's come with thier own special books and interact with the story as you read aloud with your child. We were sent the very cute Cooper Bear Story Buddy and his book: "Cooper's Big Bear Hug". It's a lovely story about Cooper who wants to show his mummy how much he really loves her. There are key lines throughout the book which are marked in red. When you read these lines Cooper responds with his own words.
Cooper himself is a good decent sized teddy bear with soft fluffy fur and a sweet orange striped t-shirt. To make him work you simple press his ear and he speaks: "I'm ready for you to read me my story". Then all you have to do it open his special book and start reading. The book that comes with Cooper when you buy him is free and you can buy different Cooper stories online and instore if you wish too.

On our first attempt at reading with Cooper it didn't quite work. I'm not sure if it's the Scottish accent or maybe I was speaking too fast but I could only get Cooper to respond a few times which was very frustrating, not only for me but ofcourse for Logan who lost interest after about 2 minutes when Cooper didn't speak back. After a few attempts at reading with Cooper I realised that you have to speak directly to the teddy bear or it doesn't work. So when reading with Logan it does get a bit difficult trying to read a story, letting Logan hold Cooper then trying to read the key line to Cooper but we did get there in the end. I'm sure with more practice we'll get better at enjoying the story together.

Cooper is priced at RRP £19.99 but there are other friends in the range which you can buy. There is Jingle who's a sort of husky dog and there's also Watson the racoon! Jingle is currently on sale for £13.99 at the moment.

Hallmark has also developed a free downloadable app suitable for use on iPhones and iPads, to accompany the Story Buddy range.  The app includes a short animated story about each character, as well as puzzles and games to enjoy. Each story can be played aloud through the app’s internal narrator or recorded by a loved one to add a personal touch to the tale.

Overall a brilliant idea and a great way to get children involved in story time however it was a bit difficult to start with and Logan lost interest quite quickly. We did get the hang of it eventually but it's never predictable unfortunately. Pricing is fair for the Story Buddy and Book and it would make a lovely gift I just hope it works better for others than it did for us, it must be the Scottish accent?

Mummies rating - 6/10
Logan's rating - 5/10

Please visit www.hallmark.co.uk for more products and information. You can also see what Hallmark get up to on Facebook and Twitter so why not pop over and say hello! Remember to tell them The Breastest News sent you.

1 comments on "Review: Hallmark Interactive Story Buddy"

Anonymous said...

Hi. We are from Australia and had the same problem - cooper wouldn't speak back even once. The trick is to read the highlighted lines in an embarrassing American accent lol works perfectly - even when our little one is cuddling cooper tight

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