The Hallmark Of Reading Review
When I started looking around for ideas, products and things that could help parents when travelling with their children over the December holidays, I was sent something rather different by Hallmark. A recordable book.
At first I wasn’t too sure about this. I mean, would a recordable book actually entertain my child for longer than 30 seconds before she demanded I read it to her anyway? It was worth testing out.
The book comes with detailed instructions on how to set it up and get recording. You have to do it in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed so don’t (and trust me on this) do it when your children are at home. Late at night when they are asleep, or during the day when they are at school/nursery, are the best possible times.
To record your message you turn the page, press REC, wait for the prompt and then get recording. You can easily re-record it if you think you made a botched job. It took a couple of tries for me to get the automated system to stop telling me to “turn to the page you wish to record” and recognise that I was already there, but soon I was off.
Now, if you are like me and don’t really like the sound of your voice, then you may want to get your hubz to do it, or someone whose voice you love. BUT I must tell you that, even if you think you sound like a lunatic, your child will love it.
I finished recording the book in record time and left it on her bed as a surprise for when she came back from school. When she opened it and heard me reading the expression on her face was unbelievable. Amazement, delight, joy. She loved it.
I like the fact that you can record a dedication on the dedication page – that’s really cute – and that you can alternate readers. You can record each page with a different voice if you want, which is very cute if you are giving this as a gift to a grandchild, niece, nephew etc.
I even added in some of my own sound effects, like a squeaking mouse and rustling paper and all sorts. Not a professional sound recording but loads and loads of fun.
The story is the classic Night Before Christmas and the illustrations are lovely. I really liked this book, and the idea. It is utterly enchanting and so much fun to record.
You can erase all recordings or record over original recordings very easily so I decided to really make the book personal and rope in my child. She can’t read yet but she did help me with sound effects (including much giggling) and, to be honest, it made the book into more of a keepsake for me!
This added to the value of this book, for me. If your lovely children can read then this would actually make a lovely present for grandparents instead of the usual socks and ties.
The cost of the book is £20, it is quite expensive but I think that the novelty value and the fact that you can customise it endlessly makes it very much worth the expense, especially if it is a full sized present.
The other book we got from Hallmark was the Forever Friends Christmas story entitled 'When Magic Really Happens'. This was handed over to Maggie, a huge fan of the series (and her daughter is too).
“My daughter and I were embarrassingly excited to get this book,” said Maggie, “I know that my excitement had a lot to do with being a bit tired of re-reading the other books every night and being a bit desperate for more variety.”
“The book is so sweet and exactly what you’d expect from the Forever Friends bunch,” she continued, “but I especially loved the fact that if you go to the website then you can watch the movie that ties in with the book.”
Maggie felt that the book was beautifully illustrated and would make a lovely gift.
“It only costs £4, which is good value for money when you think of how much work went into it, the hard cover, and the extras on the website,” she said.
I think that Hallmark have really pulled the rabbit out the hat with the recordable book. Maybe I’m just a complete gadget freak, but this was so much fun to make and would be such a lovely gift. Maggie and her daughter adored the Forever Friends book ‘When Magic Really Happens’ and I have to agree with them when it comes to value for money. Only £4 makes it a fantastic stocking filler or book to read on a long journey.