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When I was a child I had a pen which read books for me and I can remember I loved it, I was pleased to see that they had something similar now. I bought this in Toys R Us back in November ready for Christmas I paid £24.99 for it and was gutted to see it was £14.99 in Argos the week before Christmas.
Leapfrog make two types of 'reader' the Tag Junior which is for 1-4 years old and the Tag which is for ages 4 and over.
The reader comes in two different versions green which is Scout the dog and Purple which is Violet the dog. The reader requires 2 x AAA batteries. You need to set the reader up before you use it and you can do this by connecting it to your computer via a USB cable which comes with the reader. You then load the books onto the reader it holds about 6 books in total. You do get a book free with the reader but it is just a preview of other books that you can buy. I bought 3 books separately. As it is a Junior reading system the books are board books in comparison to the older system which has paper books. There is a good selection of books I chose a Winnie the Pooh book, a Disney princess book and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. There were also Seasame Street books, Dora, Thomas the Tank Engine and Scout and friend books. The books are quite expensive £10 each although they are often on offer and I managed to get two of mine for £7.50.
The reader is in the shape of Violet the dog and is purple in colour. The on of button is situated on the side and on the front of Violet is a volume button which allows you to choose two volumes. The batteries are in a compartment which requires a coin to open so will prevent little hands from removing the batteries.
It was very straightforward to download the audio, you can save all the books to your computer then connect the reader to add and remove them as you wish. I hadn't tried this before Christmas as I wrapped the books separately and they were sealed.
The first time my daughter used this I was very impressed, I opened the book to find a few simple sentences and lots of pictures which is what I would expect from a board book, the reader is fantastic though you can touch anything on the page and it will interact with your child. The first book we tried was Winnie the Pooh, when you first turn the reader on it says hello and your child's name. There are a large selection of names to choose from so most names are there. You then place the reader anywhere on the book. Initially I had to show my daughter how to use this, when you place the reader on the words the reader reads the story to your child. There are various pictures on the page and if you hold the reader on Pooh for instance he will say a phrase. The voices are authentic and true to the films/television programmes. If your child holds the reader on the background of the book it plays songs. The reader will also count out items on one of the pages Tigger is holding flowers and the reader counts the flowers and tells your child the colour.
It took my daughter a few attempts but now she can use this independently. She loves to touch the various characters to see what noise they make. The songs in the book are cathcy and there is so much to do on every page. I was very impressed by this as I thought the books were overpriced, I didn't realise just how interactive the reader would be, even small drawings on the page like the bees in the Pooh book make a buzzing noise. It is nice to be able to have songs and noises while you read the book.
I would recommend this as it is a great learning tool for your little one and something that they can enjoy alone or with you as part of their learning and development. My daughter loves books and has spent a lot of time playing with this. I also purchased the case from Amazon which holds the reader and 4 books with a carry handle to take it on the go. There are various books in the range starting from basic books like shapes, numbers and letters moving onto the 'get ready to read series' which is a little more involved and has more words. We enjoy pointing out the characters and counting and identifying various items on the pages. It is so simple to use your child only needs to place the reader gently on the book and cleverly it knows what you are pointing at.
The only downside to the reader is the on/off button is placed where your child can turn it on and off too easily which amuses my little girl!
The reader also has an automatic switch off if your child doesn't use it for a while Violet will bark and say goodbye then your child's name.
This is a brilliant toy to have and I am looking forward to adding more books to our collection 5 out of 5 from us.
"Fun and easy to use, the Tag Junior book pal can store up to five books, allowing children to easily move from one book to another and comes with an included book ""Scout & Friends"" You can even personalise Tag Junior Scout Book Pal with your child's name or nickname. With over 10 books to choose from, each Tag Junior book introduces a different preschool skill-such as the alphabet, counting or social play-through 24 playful activities and more than 150 audio responses. Open-ended questions and fun sound effects encourage children to take charge, as they touch any part of any page to bring words, pictures or activities to life! The Tag Junior Scout Book Pal has been designed to allow children to grip with their palm, as children are still developing their fine motor skills and find this easier to use rather than a pen shape. After your child has played, you can connect the Tag Junior Book Pal to the online Leapfrog Learning Path to see your child's progress and get printable activities to expand the learning! Included Sampler book teaches: time & patience, daily routines and plant lifecycle which has 24 playful activities and 150 audio responses. Helps the child develop their motor skills, social and emotional development, speech and language, hand to eye co-ordination, visual development, sound awareness and creativity. Weight 1.12kg. 1 player. Won '2009 Practical Pre-school Gold Award', '2009 Practical Parenting Award Finalist' and '2009 Right Start Awards Highly Commended' Size (H)26.6, (W)27.9, (D)8.4cm. Batteries required: 2 x AAA (not included). For ages 12 months and over."