Saturday, 12 December 2009
Love2Read Personalised Photo Book
When I was asked to review this personalised photo book for toddlers, I knew the girls would love it but I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary. I made a photo book for them a few months ago with all the photos of our dog Vicky and her puppies and they love it to bits, looking at it over and over again, even taking it in to school to show their teachers and friends.
But as soon as I went to the love2read website, I could see that this was a totally different concept. As well as presenting a selection of your favourite family photos, these books teach your children to recognise key words. I reviewed a Ladybird book earlier in the week and got all nostalgic about my childhood days reading "Here is Janet. Here is John. Here are Janet and John." Well, now you can be Janet or John ! You choose the text and complete the simple phrases - such as I like ..., I see ..., My friend ... - so that they correspond to the photos. The same simple phrase is repeated on each page and the final page asks your child to try to recognise and read the words that they have seen in the book. Pure genius ! (You can put totally different text on each page in certain templates, if you are buying for an older child.)
Making the book couldn't be simpler. The website offers a whole range of templates so you can choose the colour or phrases that most appeal to you. Then you just have to upload ten photos, complete the text under the photos and you're done ! You can alter border colours if you like and rotate photos but if you just do the basics, within about five minutes you can be ready to order(not counting the time you take to select the photos - you'll get sidetracked and spend ages looking through old photos and feeling all nostalgic !).
As we live a long way from most of our family, I decided to make an "Our family" book showing the photos and names of all our family members, including those that we don't see very often. You only have ten photos but if you choose a few pictures with more than one person in, that's plenty. One thing to bear in mind when adding your photos to the book is that the first four pictures will feature on the front cover, so make sure you put the ones you want on the front of the book in first. The back cover will also show a funky mosaic with nine of the photos (check the position of the small pictures to make sure they're centred properly, some of mine weren't - but you just click and slide them across to the right position).
I did have a slight problem when ordering my book - the website had a bit of a wobble and didn't save my changes so I had to start again - but the website owner is amazingly helpful and really listens to your feedback so that she can make things even better. I said that the problem seemed to come from me using French accents in some of the names, because it worked absolutely fine when I removed them. She replied : "This is a problem we have only just discovered as we are selling a lot of books to people in Ireland at the moment. In the New Year we are going to make some changes to the site so that it copes with accents." I also mentioned that I was surprised and a bit disappointed that there wasn't a template for "Our Family" - there's "My family", "Our Grandad", loads of other variations, but no "Our family", which seemed an obvious choice to me. Again, the lovely Caroline was very helpful and said : "It obviously isn’t clear on the site that we are always keen to hear from customers if there is a book title they want us to create. When I launched the company we only offered 4 books, we now have nearly 70 mainly due to customer requests ! The list is I think now a bit confusing and we are hoping to do some work on the site soon to “group” the books and also to offer a blank book so customers can choose their own title. We’ll add a Our family… book to the range today." Wow, how's that for customer service ! And it allows you to create a really unique and personal family keepsake that is perfectly suited to your requirements.
The book is lovely quality and small enough for little tots to flick through easily. The website informs us they are 17cm x 17cm, printed on 300gsm card, folded and stapled with a laminated front cover. The website tells you if any of your photos are of insufficient quality - a few of mine were but, as they were the only photos I had available of some family members, I still went ahead and ordered. Although they obviously would have been more defined with a higher resolution photo, the quality was perfectly adequate.
I mentioned the fabulous customer service above, and that continues after you have placed your order. The order is put through very rapidly and arrives within a couple of days.
One thing I have just noticed that is fantastic is that they do worldwide delivery (to Europe, Australia and the USA) for just £2. For families that live far apart or that may be temporarily separated, for example for daddies in the armed forces, this would make an absolutely perfect gift. The website help section says : "Contact us by email before ordering your books from other countries at firstname.lastname@example.org giving us the delivery address and we will email instructions back to you. "
If you're now thinking that this looks like a great idea for Chrsitmas, get in quick ! Last orders for Christmas are the 15th December !
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £14.99
for more information or to order online : http://www.love2read.co.uk/