Stories are my 3 year old's grand obsession at the moment; it's hardly surprising, given how book-nerdy our entire family is. Apples, trees, and all that :-)
She loves to be read to, and she loves stories with a degree of interactivity. She's also been watching with growing irritation as a steady stream of parcels have arrived in the mail for 9 year old A (due to her birthday) and 7 year old E, who's been lucky enough to be sent several things recently for various purposes.
So when we were offered the opportunity to review Hallmark's interactive book toy, Abigail the Story Bunny, I said yes rather fast, as it featured a book, included a cuddly-looking bunny rabbit, and would come in a parcel! by the post! for C!
C's delight at receiving the parcel was only outstripped by her squeals of pleasure at the cute (and it is reeeeally cute) soft bunny, and her discovery that the storybook, Abigail and the Balance Beam, was about gymnastics, C's very own sport. The story is a pretty sweet one and certainly one C relates to; she's asked for it more than daily ever since we got it.
The basic concept of the Abigail package - of all the story buddy range, really - is that when you read the storybook that comes with the toy, the toy is programmed to contribute phrases and exclamations at particular narrative points. It mostly works like this, but, we have discovered to our amusement, not always.
This makes the story-reading experience rather excitingly random, as Abigail seems to struggle sometimes to understand Australian accents, and so remains silent when she is suppposed to speak, and chips in with observations unexpectedly at other times. My older girls have amused themselves to no end sitting in front of Abigail spouting random phrases to see which are similar enough to the key sentences in the book to provoke a response. ("Hey, it's an experiment in robotics!" protested the 9 year old when told her to knock it off :-)
This is not the first time we've had a talking toy, but I would say that it's probably the cutest and most useable such toy. C adores Abigail and her storybook and I think most preschoolers would too; it's just such good fun for the pre-reading crowd.
As well as being sent our own Abigail, we have been offered one to give away to a blog reader. If you're interested in winning one of these little cuties, just read the competition details below and give it a go!
If you'd like to win an Abigail, please leave a comment below telling me what your favourite preschool book is at the moment, and why. The most creative answer (as judged by me) will be the winner.
1. Competition only open to Australian residents.
2. Entries close at 5pm on Thursday 23 August. No late entries will be accepted.
3. The judge's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
4. Winner will be announced on the blog on Friday 24 August. It is your responsibility to check back to see if you have won and email me at kathypllrd248 AT gmail.com with your postal address details.
5. If the winner has not contacted me within three (3) days of the announcement, an alternative winner will be selected and announced.
Disclosure: I was provided with one Abigail the Story Bunny pack for review purposes by Communicado on behalf of Hallmark. No financial incentive was offered or accepted for this post, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.