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Monday, December 20, 2010

Hallmark Recordable Storybook: Creating Memories (A Flashback Gather Review)

A flashback Gather review from December 2009.

I was choosen to review the Hallmark Recordable Storybook from Gather. I was thrilled to have this chance and had the idea that the kids' dad would read the story since he is usually at school when they go to bed. I thought it would be a great gift to them to hear daddy every night.
The same day that my book arrived we were spending time with Jason's dad and step-mom. I didn't mention the book but we were talking about the holidays and she said she really wanted to get the kids this gift from Hallmark- the Recordable "Night Before Christmas" book! I told her about my opportunity and her face lit up. I knew right away that she would be the storyteller for our book and asked if she would do the honor. Of course she said YES and I asked her if I could either record or photograph her while she read. She agreed and we set up a date.
The Good:
The instructions were very easy to follow and we were ready to record in just a few minutes (it took longer for me to get the video camera ready). We discussed playing music in the background as some others here on Gather had but decided against it in the end.
It was super easy to record, listen then re-record if needed. Once you were happy with a page you could move on to the next one. We had to re-record a few pages, because of kids and mess-ups but we were happy with most of them on the first try. You could record to perfection if you wanted to!
You might not want to have your face too close to the speaker, or speak too loud because it picks up sound really well. Katey spoke quietly but was close to the microphone. Ours turned out a little loud but that's fine with me!
Once you are completely satisfied with your recordings you need a screwdriver to open the panel and lock the recording. If you don't lock it, it could accidently be recorded over (easily). If you ever want to change the recording or have a new person tell the story you simply unlock it and start over.

The Bad:
I would highly recommend keeping this book away from ALL children (or most) even while they are hearing the story! It's sensitive to movement so you have to hold the book pretty still while it's being "read". If you are bumped or the page moves too high/ too much (I like to have my next page ready to be turned) it will stop reading and start over when you put it back in place. You cannot hold the book up- it has to be lying flat, fully open.

I think this is a great gift for anyone who wishes to "tell" a bedtime story to someone special. I think it would be a good idea for Hallmark to come out with these for other seasons or holidays (*NOTE: As of December 2010 they have done this!!)! We haven't shared ours with the kids yet- we planned to introduce it to them at our first holiday party with family tomorrow (Sunday). Hopefully by then we will have found our regular camera's battery charger so we can take pictures of the kids enjoying it.

We videotaped pretty much all of it and I made sure to do it in clips, thinking that if I did that I could post them seperately and it wouldn't be a huge file but somehow when Jason was converting the dvd to a readable file on the computer he managed to condense Jo's birthday party and the entire recording onto one file, which made it about 15 minutes long (and a HUGE file). I'm going to try to upload it so everyone can see how simple (and fun) it was to do. If I manage to get it on here to share, please forgive my shaky hand! I usually assign the video-taping to Jason but one of us needed to occupy the kids. It seems he was just as bad at keeping them busy as I was at recording, because during one page Jonas came up and started saying "grandma, grandma!"! If I can get the whole 15 minutes uploaded and you just want to watch the recording then fast forward the video to about 6:55. The rest of the video is kind of poor quality because of the lighting, which I wouldn't think would matter considering the price we paid for that camera!

Here is the link to view the making of the recordable storybook:

Hallmark Recordable Storybook Video

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