My daughter handed me her “super secret” letter to Santa the other day. I was not to open it. I was not to read it. My instructions were to “please mail this. It’s really important.”
I’d like to say I took the high road. I didn’t. I read the note. She asked for one thing.
Now, because she also illustrated her note, I know that my Kindergartener wants a DOG for Christmas. A dog. We have a dog!
I’m wondering if I can get out of this on a technicality. She asked for god, not a dog, right? However, Santa is not new to his job, I’m sure he has lots of experience deciphering the writing of those just learning the craft. Also, isn’t our Elf on the Shelf reporting everything?
Fortunately, I got some relief from Hallmark and their new Interactive Story Buddies. Jingle, a cute Husky dog, is one of seven different Interactive Story Buddies that respond to stories as they are read aloud. Each plush buddy comes with a story book and read-along CD. Whether you read, or let the CD do the work, the buddies respond when certain phrases are spoken. For example, when reading our book Jingle All the Way there is a passage that says “You’re a good dog, Jingle,” at that point our buddy Jingle makes a happy ruffing sound.
Stealing an idea from Pinterest, I chose to wrap a Christmas book for my children to open each night as we countdown to Christmas. I wrapped up books we’ve enjoyed in former years and sprinkled in a few new books for surprise. It has been wonderful because they are getting the message that items we already have are gifts just as much as the new things we receive. Jingle and Jingle All the Way were opened on day six. Both Kindergarten girl and toddler boy hugged Jingle right away; however, they both erupted with giggles when Jingle first responded to the book as it was read.
Kindergarten girl and toddler boy love Jingle.
Toddler boy is patient no more. Perhaps this family will need another story buddy?
My children really enjoy reading with our Story Buddy, but they also play with him at other times. They will turn on Jingle when having a tea party and say key phrases from the book to get him to respond. Well, once they learned how to say the key phrases. Kindergarten girl, when first trying to interact with Jingle, shouted “YOU’RE A GOOD DOG JINGLE!” and was disappointed that he didn’t respond to her. I explained to her that Jingle is not hard of hearing, she just needs to annunciate clearly. Problem solved.
After reading Jingle All the Way, my daughter is already asking for more books for Jingle. There are two more books for this buddy, A Snow Day for Jingle and A Christmas Star. Each of the seven interactive story buddies comes with a book and read-along CD, but additional books are available as an additional purchase.
To Buy or Not to Buy
To Buy… Hallmark’s Interactive Story Buddies are a great gift for the young person in your life. Plush, cuddly and responsive, these buddies will bring a lot of smiles to little faces. My daughter is an emerging reader and Jingle has given her incentive to read the more complex text in Jingle All the Way. At $34.95 for plush interactive animal, book and CD, this is an affordable gift for Christmas morning. And while Jingle and Bell are available as holiday buddies, there are five other buddies that are not holiday themed and would make a great gift at any time of the year.
Or Not to Buy… We did not have difficulty getting our story buddy to respond to phrases as they were read aloud; however, there were times I had to repeat myself. That makes me wonder how well these buddies would respond to English as a Second Language (ESL) speakers. If you feel that might be a problem, take a buddy for a test drive at your local Hallmark store.
Shop! Hallmark Interactive Read Along Buddies are available at Hallmark stores and online for $34.95. Additional books are available online for $9.95 each. I’ve also spotted Jingle in my local grocery store and big box store.
Thanks to Hallmark for providing a sample.