Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Storytime Friends Review and Giveaway

Giveaway now closed, thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to Tj and Amy, comment #9, who said,"I follow u."
Yesterday we got a very special delivery from My Storytime Friends. I had to share this great company with you right away, because I know it would be a wonderful holiday gift for someone special on your list. As you'll see, it's a gift that's enjoyment is ongoing with fun new material and content each month available on their website for FREE, that your child will have access to with the included lifetime membership.ER was thrilled and began jumping up and down as soon as she saw the box. She just knew something special was inside, and was there ever! A 13 inch cuddly bear and a 32 page hardcover book set were quickly revealed and she immediately had to give her new friend a big hug and kiss. You can also begin enjoying the benefits of the free lifetime membership that comes with your Storytime Friends interactive toy and book set right away. Each set comes with a special code so you can access the new monthly books and resources. That membership is where the real value in this toy is at!
But first things first, enjoying what we got in the mail! I can't tell you enough how happy ER was to get her very own package with a surprise just for her in it. Daddy had to come see what all the excitement was about and got to read ER her new book.

A Winning Dream is about Brady Bear who finds his talent at skiing and uses it to help rescue a little bear in trouble. I liked the positive message to overcome challenges and finding your strengths and using them to help others, instead of just focusing on winning the race. It was also nice to find out that Brady grows up to be a rescue skier who's an everyday hero.

There is a fair amount of text, and at three years old, ER is only just now ready for a story of this length. I wouldn't shorten it though or it won't be detailed or interesting enough for children at the top of the age range, ages 3-8, that the set is geared toward. I think it would be best to give this set to a child aged 3-5 and let them grow into it. Parts of the online resources are appropriate to the entire age range. Kids who have the toys and like them would probably be interested in continuing to use the online materials up to age 8. I just don't think I'd purchase it for a child who is already 8 years old. It would however, be a great gift and learning tool for a struggling reader aged 4-8 to help get them interested in reading and to give them extra help at home.
ER was very interested in the online components of the set. Since she's at the early stages of being ready for the toy, the library activities were best suited for her. She really liked listening to each of the interactive version of the book that would reads the story aloud and flips the pages on its own. I liked that the oral reading modeled good flow, pacing, and intonation. That it self turned pages was important for us because ER hasn't quite mastered using the mouse yet.

Afterward, we downloaded some of the pages of the book Going Up and ER enjoyed coloring several of them. You can download entire books in a coloring book format, get a full color PDF version to print or view online, and also get an MP3 audio version of the book. A hardbound version of each new book of the month is also available for $6.95, shipping included in the price. This is a nice option if there is a book your child likes in particular and wants read over and over and less than seven dollars for a hardcover book is a good deal too.
For older kids there are additional online features that look like fun. At the newsstand you can download a newsletter from Bear Corners, featuring familiar characters from the books and even a step by step illustrated recipe for pizza grilled cheese sandwiches in the issue I looked at. It looks like Storytime Friends may be expanding to include other animals too, according to one article in it.

At the post office kids can practice their writing skills by submitting a book review, sending a character from the books an letter, or by making a suggestion. There is also a monthly activity book section where actual activity books are available for download, the one that correlated to A Winning Dream included activities such as making a coffee filter snowflake, a word scramble, everyday hero badges to color and cut out, find the differences page, and a maze.

Also on that page are sight word flash cards, a cute full color Read It Myself booklet perfect for beginning readers, build a story cards with words you can use to make sentences and then a story with, and a very nicely done themes and values parent guide. All are downloadable, come with instructions on how to use them, and new ones are available each month. I liked how you also continue to have access to past months too.
Most of these activities are best suited for four year olds and above and are a really great component that make Storytime Friends a wonderful gift. Find out if a store is near you! Long distance family members this is a great gift to send at the holidays, for birthdays, or for any special reason. The recipient will get a toy to love and squeeze, a book to read over and over, and something new to enjoy and learn from each month.

I know from teaching that making reading a positive experience at a young age is crucial, this interactive set will capture their interest and hold it, provided parents are there to help guide their child and do the offline activities with them. Having their bear, a tangible character to play and learn with will, I believe, increase their connection between reading and fun. What is fun is done more often and children who read more, as we all know do better at school. The new materials, with a strong education and literacy focus, each month mean that it'll never get old and boring.
Additional bears and outfits for them are available in the Friend's Store. My daughter has already requested a pink bear and found two outfits she loves. Your bear can dress in the same outfits as each month's book character, how fun! You can also get them play clothes, party dresses, and pajamas. Your child will enjoy and love the interactive toy and book set and online activities, even without these extras though. But they sure do add to the over all interactive experience and round out the collection of products available for your bear.
Giveaway!
An interactive bear and book set would make a wonderful gift! I have a set to give away to one lucky winner from Storytime Friends, retail value $39.99!
To Enter:
Tell me who you'd like to surprise with a special delivery from My Storytime Friends.

Extra Entries:
Publicly follow my blog, using Google Friends Connect
Subscribe via email to my blog posts, use the gadget in far right sidebar.
Post about or text link to this giveaway, leave me a link to it.
Post my link button.
Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. Include @KTnestingspot in your tweet and leave a link to your tweet in your comment.

Good Luck!  Open to US residents through December 29 midnight EST.

Disclaimer: I received My Storytime Friends interactive toy free from My Storytime Friends because I am a reviewer for the Mom Bloggers Club.

75 Friends Said:

LollyChops said...

hmmmm I think this would have to go to the girl across the street from me. Everyone in my family has older kids now and I think she's the youngest I know. What a terrific idea to have the bear linked with so many activities!

Bird learning to fly... said...

Katie,

Firstly, thank you for your visit at Bird Crafts! Katie,

I agree with your comment too! I love strawberries and my little girl's room is strawberry "flavoured" :D

I decorated stuff with because in my head practical AND ornamental, make sense and this way I feel less indulgent hehehe

So here I am looking and loving your blog! I have become a follower...

I love your post, but do you think it would apply to someone living in France?(me)

I would love to take part too...

Thanks again,
Bird

Amanda said...

My 3 year old would LOVE this!

Amanda said...

I am a follower too!

Annette said...

Oh boy! Meghan would love the bear, book...and the interactive computer time! So I would give this to my own daughter!

Amanda said...

I also have your button!

Annette said...

I am a follower.

Tj and Amy said...

my daughter would be thrilled with this at our doorstep. amypugmire@live.com

Tj and Amy said...

I follow u. amypugmire@live.com

Jo Shabo said...

i would LOVE to surprise my little daughter (almost 3) She would just love something like this- so cute!
thank you!
sunshine12345678@hotmail.com

Tj and Amy said...

emailsubscriber. amypugmire@live.com

Tj and Amy said...

I have your button. amypugmire@live.com

Jo Shabo said...

I am subscriber to your blog!
thanks!
sunshine12345678@hotmail.com

Tj and Amy said...

follow on twitter and tweeted. amypugmire@live.com
http://twitter.com/1amypugmire/status/6699133601

Jo Shabo said...

I am follower of your fun blog too!
thanks!
sunshine12345678@hotmail.com

Jo Shabo said...

I have your cute button to on my blog!
http://somewhatorganizedlslightlycrafty.blogspot.com

sunshine12345678@hotmail.com

Andrea (ace1028) said...

I'd love one of these for my daughter, but might also have to get one for my niece, too. TOO cute!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

I follow you!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

And I have your button, too! :) (Lower rt-hand side!)

brandon and jakell said...

my 6 year old would love it, so cute! thanks
jakellcth@msn. com

brandon and jakell said...

follow your blog

jakellcth@msn. com

brandon and jakell said...

i subscibe to e-mails

jakellcth@msn. com

Joannof10 said...

My three year old, Kimberly, would just love this!!

Joannof10 said...

I follow your blog

Joannof10 said...

I subscribe via email

Joannof10 said...

I have your button on my blog
www.tenkidsandadog.blogspot.com

Julie said...

I would love to win this for my daughter's 3rd birthday which is coming up in February!

Julie said...

I follow your blog

Carmen said...

This is so cute. I would surprise my nephew with this who will be 3 in January. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog. I came over to check you out and look at that, I get to enter a giveaway. :)

P.S. Your daughter is a cutie!

The Harris Family said...

What a great gift! Aubrey would LOVE it!

The Harris Family said...

I follow your blog

Norma V. said...

I would give this to my son he loves story time.

Norma V. said...

I follow your blog.

Norma V. said...

I subscribe via email as well.

susan said...

I subscribe Susan

susan said...

I would give it to Ashley. Susan

Jane Jeffress Thomas said...

I know just where this prize would go - straight to my little great-granddaughter, Zoey. She loves being read to and I know she would love that cuddly bear. She is only 8 months old.

Mama King said...

My 4 year old and two year old would love this!

By the way, Katie: as a former K teacher when do you introduce sight words to kids? Lu seems interested - points out words like GO and ZOO if she sees them. I don't want to drill her - just want it to be fun and encourage her.

Mama King said...

I am a fan, follower and wanna be!

Julie said...

I would love to give this to my girls. They would love it!!

minishoes1 said...

My nephew Maxx would be tickled! Thanks! jacquecurl1@gmail.com

minishoes1 said...

i follow. jacquecurl1@gmail.com

minishoes1 said...

i subscribe. jacquecurl1@gmail.com

alwayshopeful said...

oh this is great! i would give it to my grandson kolby..he loves bears and stories..thank you n merry christmas
alwaysatryin at gmail.com

alwayshopeful said...

email subber
alwaysatryin at gmail.com

alwayshopeful said...

follow u
alwayshopeful
alwaysatryin at gmail.com

alwayshopeful said...

http://twitter.com/nannato5/status/6719248569
follow n twittered
alwaysatryin at gmail.com

alwayshopeful said...

http://beginanewwithjesus.blogspot.com/2009/12/want-some-giveaways-come-on-in.html
blogged ya
alwaysatryin at gmail.com

Vindiciti said...

My three year old daughter would LOVE this! She asked for a bear for Christmas, and this would be perfect. Her other favorite thing is to read books. Perfect!!!

Vindiciti said...

I follow you!

Ashlee said...

You're little girl is SO darling! And she is getting so big! If I win, I will have to give this to Mary, because she loves stuffed animals, reading and the computer.

Thanks for the fun giveaway!

Clemencia said...

Awww! I would defenetly would love to win this to surprise my daugther who is 4 and very interested in learning to read :), thanks for the chance

Clemencia said...

I am also a follower of your blog :)

Clemencia said...

I am also a subscriber via email :)

jillykat07 said...

I'd give this to my adorable 2 1/2 yr old daughter! I swear this would be perfect for her!

Jill Kathan
jillmsu@yahoo.com

jillykat07 said...

I follow your BLog via Google COnnect....

Jill Kathan
jillmsu@yahoo.com

jillykat07 said...

I subscribe to your e-mails

Jill Kathan
jillmsu@yahoo.com

brandon and jakell said...

I would love to suprise my grandkids with them!
thank you

bevimdmom@hotmail.com

Bev's Blog said...

oops sorry I signed in under my daughters account..in the entry above.

i follow your blog

bevimdmom@hotmail.com

Sammi Jo said...

My son would be thrilled! What a nice gift!

bethany said...

I bet my little ones would just LOVE this! I have two little girls would love to cuddle up and read stories :) Thanks for the chance to win!

bkost3@hotmail.com

bethany said...

Follow with google friends
Bethany Cooney

bkost3@hotmail.com

bethany said...

Follow on twitter (theivytwines) and tweeted!

bkost3@hotmail.com

http://twitter.com/theivytwines/status/6904468633

Nancye said...

I would surprise my 6 year old daughter with the bear and book. She would LOVE it!!!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

email subscriber

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Jennifer T. said...

I would surprise my daughter with this!

I'd seen this toy/story set elsewhere but didn't "get it" til I read your review. Thanks for doing such a good job of explaining and showing it's attributes.

Jennifer T. said...

I'm an e-mail subscriber.

Jennifer T. said...

I follow through Google Friend Connect.

ale_d_o_l said...

would love to surprise my twin daughters, their bday is next mo, TY!!
aleoliver72@gmail.com

ale_d_o_l said...

http://twitter.com/aleshamom4/status/6943008296
aleoliver72@gmail.com

ale_d_o_l said...

GFC
aleoliver72@gmail.com

ale_d_o_l said...

em sybsc
aleoliver72@gmail.com

ale_d_o_l said...

u r on my GBlg
aleoliver72@gmail.com

Amy said...

I think my son would love this! He's so into reading.

loobyamy(at)yahoo(dot)com

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