Monday, November 29, 2010

Story of a Polar Bear - New TOS Review!

Our family was chosen as one ofthe reviewers for a book from Smart Kids Publishing. It is a My Animal Family book about Nanuq.

Our Experience:
Well the first day we received the package the girls were wanting to know what was inside.  So within minutes of it arriving the package had been carefully opened to reveal a very nice hard back book with a beautiful cover.  I think the front cover is exquisite.

When I told the girls that they were sending us this book as one of our review items, they were happy.  Then when I told them it also came with a special DVD Arianna replied, "Well that was very nice of them.  None of the other reviews have come with one."  I thought that was quite cute.

A few days later we were able to sit down and read the book together.  In actuality, this was the second time I had read the book.  I read the booth initially with Seanan.  He has been becoming more interested in books and being read to lately and on a night when his sisters were on a sleepover, I took the opportunity of a quiet reading time with him.  He seemed quite engaged (as you can see in the pictures below.)

But lets get back to the reading of the story all together.  The girls sat quietly as I read each word bringing the story alive.  They love it when I make different sounds or act out parts in the book and this one was not any different.

The story is about a baby polar bear, Nanuq, his brother Suku, and their mother.  It's really a warm story of how they live as polar bears in the cold arctic regions of the earth.  We come to find out that one brother  is a little less prone to being attentive. Audrie was a bit scared when that same brother ran into some troubles, but was relived when it all worked out.  I don't want to tell you many details of the story itself, but I will say I'm sure we will be reading this many times over.

Then as soon as we completed the story I let them watch part of the interactive DVD.  It showed real life polar bears in their arctic world.  The story that goes along with the DVD is spoken by a child so I think that helps make it appeal more to children.

There are several different options on the DVD including, fun facts.  We decided to explore the Fun Facts on our first time watching the DVD.  We learned that a mother polar bear is a sow, a father is a boar and an infant is a coy.  When the infant becomes one it then is called a cub.  The girls loved learning all the names.

When we finally went and accessed our 'habitat,' (by entering our secret code) I was not as big of a fan as I thought I might have been.  First of all I had heard that others had trouble even getting on the site, so I wanted to follow the directions given on the card that came in the book.  Those directions did not seem to work at first. However, I then just entered the code in a different place (not sure where and now that I've entered the information I can't seem to recreate the original event) and voila! access was granted. 

Once you gain access to the website you come to a welcome screen where you get to dress your figure (or avatar) to look like your child.  Then you choose your book and then enter the habitat.  Once in the habitat you have loads of different games, like dot-to-dot, match 2, mixed up puzzles, etc, that have 3 levels.  Each game gives you points.  Once you have collected enough points you can then go to the Gear Shop and get items that you need to discover more within your habitat. 

My Thoughts:
My children ALL loved the book.  That is a given because we ALL like to read and we have books EVERYWHERE!  The girls really enjoyed the DVD and all the fun 'activities' included on it.

When it comes to the website, I was a bit disappointed in the point system.  It seems like you need 4,000 points for EVERY object in the shop.  It was taking a loooong time to get the points so I ended up helping my girls by doing one of the games over and over so we could finally get a tool (the ice pick) and be able to see what it does.  I guess if you are wanting something to keep your child happy and occupied, then it's not such a big deal.  It just was annoying me I think more than my girls.

The Product:
You can purchase your very own My Animal Family book through Smart Kids Publishing.  The book with an interactive DVD is only $12.99.  They have 5 books to choose from: Nanuq (a polar bear), Tahi (a dolphin), Ella (an elephant), Leo (a lion), and Korow ( a chimpanzee).  I think I would love to have ALL of them.

What's more is that you also get access to a special kids website.  Once you purchase the book you also receive a secret passcode to gain access to the website.  Once there your child is able to explore the "habitat" that corresponds with your child's book.  Check out this free 14 day trial!

The books are geared for ages 3-9 while the website is geared for ages 4-8. I think for the price the book DVD, website combo is a GREAT value.  Please make sure you go and read what others are saying about My Animal Family.

*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of  my reviews.  My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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