Remember the personalized books that were available when we were little? I had one, my husband had one, maybe you had one too. They were standardized stories with typed text, with child’s name filled in here and there, and perhaps a mention of your town and state somewhat awkardly as well. Good literature, they were not. Smooth transitions, they were not. But they were ours, and we loved them, didn’t we?
Well, today’s technology has brought personalized books to a whole new level. One company, Imagitales, now offers books not only personalized with the child’s name, but also his picture! That’s right, the books can feature your baby or toddler acting as part of the story. Each of the thirteen books puts your child’s picture right in the action, as the main character of the story, and inserts his or her name every so often as well.
There are a variety of titles. I chose Nature Time, Things That Go, and On the Farm. Nature Time is a two-person book, featuring a small child and a parent, friend, or sibling. We used our baby as the second person, with some success, although it would have come out much better with an adult (from the size of the shoulders on several drawings). Also, the skin tone was off in these books. The pink tone, which we selected, came out much more yellow and spotty than in the other two books. I wasn’t very happy with this one at all, and contacted the company. They offered to send me a replacement of another book, and I’ll let you know what I think when it arrives.
Things That Go and On the Farm are single-character books, and they came out beautifully. The drawings are simple and cheery, with the body sized so that the face is emphasized, in a cartoonish but pleasing way. The stories are simple and appropriate for a two- or three-year old, as designed. There are actually two levels of story for each title. The standard story was written by the creators of the series. The beginner level story was written by a speech language pathologist, and I much prefer these.
The books came out really cute. They’re inexpensive, viewable online, and are a fun birthday gift for a friend or stocking stuffer for a little cousin. They do take time to create, however, and this is the big drawback to the books. The pictures must be uploaded to the site and the parent/friend ordering must do some digital cropping to trim the photo down to the face itself. This consists of pointing and clicking 15-30 dots around the face; more is better, as in most digital image processing. It’s not hard, but it does take some time. Luckily, once an image is uploaded to the library, it is saved and it’s very quick to order duplicates or other titles.
The other difficulty I had with this site is its accessibility. There seem to be issues with Java; I’ve had trouble getting into the site predictably. Part of that was due to the new Java release last month, but part of it is a persistent problem. Maybe that won’t be an issue for you, but I mention it here as a caveat. It might take more time than you expect to order these little books.
But the look on your child’s face when they see a story featuring themselves is worth it.
This review was done as part of the Parent Bloggers Network.