Cool Summer Reading for Kids! – Review by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
I love cool stuff, as many of our readers know. When it comes to books, though, I’m a little “old-fashioned.” I prefer to hold a book and read it over listening to an audiobook or reading on my iPad. Sometimes, new technology prompts me to come out of my “shell” and see how some of this “cool stuff” can be applied to enhance the experience of reading. In this review, I have a couple of new, interactive ways to make reading a whole different experience for children. I also have a review of a couple really “cool” books that kids can actually hold and enjoy for the pleasure of reading. Whichever way your child prefers, the bottom line is that we all want our children to read or be read to. That is what makes each of these review products so special.
Introducing StorySticker, the Next Generation of Customized Children’s Audio Book Technology
StorySticker is the next generation of children’s audio book technology that enables anyone to create their own personal children’s audio book for the little ones in their life.
“The joy of reading a physical book with a child is universal,” said Mike Newman, President of stkr.it, LLC. “StorySticker creates that joy for out of town grandparents and traveling parents – anytime, anywhere. With StorySticker, any children’s book can become a personal audio book.”
StorySticker makes recording any children’s book simple, easy and fun. The StorySticker audio book works through the combination of a free mobile app (available for Android, iPhone and iPad) or the StorySticker website and a unique coded sticker that attaches to the inside of any children’s book. Any adult who wants to record themselves reading a children’s book can purchase the stickers at a retail bookseller and follow the fun and easy prompts in the app to record an audio book. The recording is forever linked with their StorySticker which is then placed in the book itself. The personal audio book is played back by scanning the StorySticker code or selecting the book from your app library – and the child simply listens and follows along!
StorySticker recordings are saved for a lifetime, turning the book into a family keepsake. “The response and participation we’ve had from parents, grandparents, retailers – and children – during the development of StorySticker has been overwhelming,” Mike Newman added. “Reading real, physical books to children is so important to parents and we’ve created a product that keeps the focus on the physical book, not the digital screen.”
Okay. I admit it. I am hooked. This concept is both highly unique and has a very cool tech factor. It also has the ability for children to either read along or listen to a book being read. Both which I endorse.
I bought a “keepsake” book for my son a couple years ago. I decided to try out StorySticker with this book so that he could not only listen to me tell the story, he could also hold the book and follow along. I even ad libbed certain parts of the book as I recorded it to give it an even more personal feel. I used my iPhone to download the App (also available for iPad and Android) and recorded the short book. All you need is a code scanning App (I used “Quick Scan”) and once you scan the code on the bear’s belly (see photo above), you are prompted to set up an account and are then given step-by-step instructions on how to create your own book.
Within ten minutes, I scanned the StorySticker bear to start the procedure, added a photo of the book, a photo of myself so that my son could “see” my picture as he listened to me read the book, added a personal introduction dedicated to my son, recorded the book, decided I wanted to personalize it a little more, re-recorded it and saved it to the “Library.” That was it. I then adhered the StorySticker bear to the inside cover of the book to identify that this was his book and that he could chose this book from the StorySticker library and either listen to my recording alone, or read along with the book. Simply awesome! You can add as many books to your “library” within the StorySticker App as you like. What delighted me even more was that although I was using an iPhone to record, the quality of sound during playback was pitch perfect! Clear, and volume friendly. Incredible! All in a mere ten minutes! I now want to record other meaningful books and add them to my son’s “library” not only for today, but for years to come. When he is 21 years old, he will be able to hear my voice reading a touching or memorable story to him. That, to me, is priceless!
Learn Spanish with Little Pim: “Colors”
Foreign Languages App for Kids
Join Little Pim as he embarks on an interactive language learning adventure!
Little Pim is the #1 language learning program for young children. Little Pim’s award-winning Entertainment Immersion Method® is specifically designed to teach kids at the age they learn best.
In this brand new eBook App, Little Pim will teach your kids Spanish as he goes on a very special adventure. Join Little Pim as he looks for special balloons on his way to a surprise destination. He asks lots of questions along the way, introducing key Spanish vocabulary words and phrases for colors and everyday objects.
Read it aloud – click on different parts of the story to have it narrated at your child’s own unique pace. Featuring vocabulary in English and Spanish, you can teach your kids even if you don’t speak Spanish yourself!
Press and Reveal – a fun feature that allows children to guess what’s hidden behind different pictures, and learn colors and vocabulary as they guess and play.
Record it Yourself – Parents, grandparents and other loved ones can record their own voice reading the book and have it play back to their children at the touch of a button.
Question and Answer – This method reinforces vocabulary while also teaching basic phrases
Color it in – Kids can color in each page of the book, and parents can email their masterpieces to friends and family!
More cool tech! I love it! My ten-year-old son wants to learn Spanish. I decided to have him test out this App because, let’s face it, even when I learned to speak Spanish in school at age fourteen, starting simple is always better.
My son was a little reluctant because he thought the App was too young for him (Tweens!!), but as he went through the “pages” and found himself choosing the wrong answers several times, he was motivated to go back, try again, and choose the correct answer. He then ventured into recording himself pronounce some words in Spanish to see if he could duplicate the correct pronunciation. I was impressed. Now he sneaks opening the App to practice more Spanish when he thinks no one is listening. That is perfectly fine with me. The more he learns now, the easier it will be for him later!
Younger children will love the drawing option and the colorful display of Pim the Panda with his balloons! This is a terrific App for educating young children on long car rides, or even when their older siblings are doing their homework. Younger children can feel like they are doing their homework too by using this App. You can even set them up to practice what they learn as meals are being prepared. The best use, in my opinion, is to sit down with your child and go through the App together! The perfect combo: Education through bonding! Muy excellenté!
All this for a retail price of $2.99! Ages 0-6 years.
Look for this, and other Little Pim Apps in the Apple Apps iTunes Store or through their website at www.littlepim.com.
Little Pim Feelings
English – Spanish – French
Little Pim Feelings incorporates an exciting blend of illustrations and photographs, as well as flaps and pull tabs to keep readers engaged. The stories are told in English, with words featured in Spanish and French. Pronunciation guides for parents are included.
Feelings focuses on emotions and expressions, weaving its vocabulary into a hide-and-seek story featuring Little Pim, and concludes with a helpful review of the words learned.
My son didn’t want to review this board book with me, so I enlisted my 4-year-old nephew instead. He had the most fun lifting the flaps. When I engaged him in repeating the feeling words in all three languages, he became more interested, especially when I used facial expressions to enhance the translation of the Spanish or French word. It took a short while, but with repetition, he eventually spoke each word quite well! My Sister-in-Law was very impressed. She now wants to purchase more Little Pim language books for her son!
Retail price: $8.95
Little Pim books can now be found at Costco as well as other local and online booksellers. You can also find their entire selection at www.littlepim.com.
Red Connect Online, a new company that is joining Little Pim is hosting a Little Pim giveaway. They will be giving away a Little Pim 3-pak in the language of the winner’s choice. Entering the giveaway is really easy – all you have to do is “like” Red Connect Online on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RedConnectOnline) and post your desired language on Red Connect Online’s wall. One winner will be picked by next Wednesday, 7/24. Check them out!
The Interactive Art Book
Ron der Meer and Frank Whitford
The Interactive Art Book presents art in a way that is understandable, entertaining, and exciting for older children and art lovers. Brought to you by one of the world’s foremost paper engineers, Ron van der Meer, subjects come to life: From the Dutch masters to the impressionists up through Picasso, this fun and informative activity book will inspire all ages.
The book includes:
- 7 gatefolds on subjects including: How Art is Made; Picturing Reality, Light and Color; Movement, Pattern and Composition; Stories and Puzzles; and Style and Subject.
- 60 art masterpieces—25 of them with lift-the-flaps—and all of them illustrating something about the process of making and appreciating art including works by Thomas Gainsborough, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Salvador Dali.
- 12 three-dimensional models showing perspective, color-mixing, the illusion of movement, abstract composition, and more.
- 18-page removable Activity Book with instructions for composing pictures and making prints, collages, scratch pictures, potato prints, sculptures, and more.
Ron van der Meer is considered one of the world’s foremost paper engineers. His oversized Architecture, Music, Brain, and Earth Packs have been hailed as revolutionary in their combination of complex paper engineering and wealth of information. He lives in the United Kingdom.
What an amazing book! I plan to keep it as a reference book! It is almost beyond description. Every single page is filled with fascinating facts on every aspect of art: How art is created, pop-up designs illustrating how art can be viewed in a plethora of ways, 3D glasses are included to enhance and visually demonstrate, light, color and movement are described in elaborate detail. This is simply not a “book.” It is a reference book inside of an incredible educational book. To add to it’s incredibleness is an Interactive Art Activity Book in a pocket attached to the back inside cover. It comes complete with instructions on how to make your own collage, sculpture, scratch pictures, printmaking and more! I simply cannot rave enough about this book. It is truly something you must see for yourself. If you have a budding young artist, I urge you to seek it out. This book is a must for your bookshelf. In a word, it is astounding!
This book can be obtained from local and online booksellers.
For more information on this book and others, visit www.insighteditions.com.
14 pages, 9 ½ X 11 ½
Tags: android, App, audio book technology, Cara Potapshyn Meyers, Costco, FaceBook, iPad, iPhone, iTunes App Store, Learn Spanish with Little Pim: "Colors" App, Little Pim "Feelings" book, Little Pim Giveaway, Ron der Meer, StorySticker, The Interactive Art Book