With all the high-tech ways to connect with our grandchildren you’ve got to hand it to Hallmark for coming up with another clever way: Recordable Storybooks. These high-quality cardboard books were first introduced in September 2009 and they’re especially popular during the holiday season. Currently, there are 15 different titles that include The Night Before Christmas and Frosty the Snowman as well as I Love You Grandma and My Grandpa and Me.
Each recordable book comes with voice-capture technology that allows you to record each page in your own voice and have it played back over and over as your recipient turns the pages. The books are recommended for ages 18 months and up and the possibilities for recipients are as broad as your imagination will allow.
Here are some of the ways the books can be used:
- Long-distance grandparents can send them to grandchildren who live far away when they can’t be with them.
- Parents who are stationed overseas in the military can record them for their children waiting for them at home.
- Adoptive parents can send them to a child they are awaiting in another country so the child will get familiar with their voices.
- Families can send them to an adult child who lives far away and can’t be with them for the holidays.
- Elderly family members can record them with the help of children as a family heirloom for future generations.
I received a copy of Counting Kisses and decided to record it together with my granddaughters who are seven and three. Before we recorded we practiced reading it together and decided the little one would say the numbers and her older sister would read the text. I made kissing sounds for sound effects. We had so much fun and laughed hysterically over some of the goofs.
The process for recording is fool-proof. At the bottom of each page there are two buttons: record and stop. When you press the “record” button, you’ll hear a prompt: Begin recording after the tone and press “stop” when finished. After recording each page, your recorded voice will play back automatically. If you’re satisfied, you move to the next page. If not, you can re-record. Once you’ve recorded the last page, you’ll get another prompt to unscrew the battery compartment and slide the switch to “lock” to prevent the pages from being re-recorded. Then, like magic, you open the book, turn the page and hear your voice!
The books retail for $29.95 and include three AA batteries. There are easy directions to follow on the inside and back covers. They suggest you lay the book on a flat surface about 12 – 18 inches away from you to record. The sound quality is excellent but there’s no volume control so you may need to try recording a few different volumes to see what suits your recipient’s needs.