New from Hallmark is a line of Interactive Storybooks and Story Buddies that will bring a new twist to reading to your child. Using voice activated technology, you and your child will enjoy the responses of your plush friend as it responds to key words that you read from the corresponding book. As you read from the book, your story buddy will respond to you. One of the Story Buddies, Bigsby, for example, laughs, tells you how shy he is, and worries about his hiding place when you say his key words, highlighted in red in his book. Those with accents should not have any problems interacting with these Story Buddies, they picked up everything that was read to them the first time. Retailing for $29.95, the package comes with a buddy, a book, and the coordinating iPod and iPad applications. You can choose from six options, with a seventh on the way. There is an ON/Off button, and the toys do turn themselves off after a few minutes not being played with.
These Story Buddies are quite a lot of fun for children and encourage reading time. Reading with your child is one of the most important activities that one can do, and this is a fun way to introduce some technology and variety into the routine. There are other books available in each Story Buddy series, so you can add on to your collection if so desired. With each new book, new phrases will be unlocked and spoken by your buddy. Free from the App store, the iPhone and iPad applications will give your child additional games, narrated and animated story time fun, and even the ability for you (or someone far away yet near to the heart) to read and record the story for your child. The app coordinates with it’s buddy.