Story Reader, from Publications International, looks like an oversized plastic book. Once the software cartridge and special Story Reader book are inserted into the gadget, the unit immediately turns itself on and starts to read the book out loud. When it finishes reading a page, it tells the child to turn to the next one. However, if the child decides to flip to a different page, the Story Reader recognizes which page is open and reads that page.
There are over 50 books available for the Story Reader. As with adult audio books, the quality of the reader varies. Some feature the voices of popular characters; others do not. The 3-pack storybook library, featuring “Dora’s Garden Adventure”, “Blue’s Perfect Picnic Spot”, and “SpongeBob SquarePants Grand Prize Winner”, all use the expected character voices. Special add-on song books come packaged with a microphone that allows children to sing along with such favorites as Scooby-Doo or Disney’s Winnie the Pooh.
Not to be confused with interactive book readers such as the Leapfrog LeapPad or the Fisher-Price PowerTouch, this Story Reader does not play games with the child nor does it ask questions. It simply reads books out loud. But it is this simplicity that sets it apart. The “Story Reader” reads with great clarity, accompanied by music and sound effects. Headphones can be attached to the unit.
The Story Reader unit comes with one book for $24.99. Add-on books run $9.99 or come in three-packs for $24.99.
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