When I was offered the chance to order a "personalised photobook for children" to review from Bookadoo, I was convinced it would be one of the normal photo scrapbook type of albums that many digital photograph printing websites offer. They're nice enough and the kids love looking at pictures of themselves or people they know but they're not particularly exciting or innovative. I wasn't at all prepared for the fantastic magical worlds that Bookadoo were about to transport me too !
These aren't just personalised photo albums, they're bedtime stories that your children star in, becoming the heroes and heroines with their own faces and names appearing on every page. I'd seen these sorts of books as text-only stories and had even ordered a personalised letter from Father Christmas for the girls a couple of years back which blew their minds because it contained "information that only they could know" like the names of their best friends and the colour of their slippers ! These Bookadoo books were the very first time I had seen this concept used with photos and the resulting storybook is a magical, totally unique family gift that the girls will treasure for life.
There are a choice of titles which you can select depending on the age and sex of your children ranging from Superkid to potty training to a girlie pop star. The absolutely perfect title for Juliette and Sophie was the Princesses in Dreamland one - which is a stroke of luck because it was the only choice which could feature two children. Even then, the girls are supposed to be best friends and not sisters, so if you have a girl and a boy or more than two children, you'll be hard pushed to find a book option to suit. I did bring this up with the company and apparently, they are looking into creating new options to overcome this problem so keep an eye on the website.
Once I'd understood the concept, my next thought was that it would be really complicated to order. Nope, wrong again ! With just a few clicks, it's done. You just have to select a good clear photo of your child facing forwards, hair back if it's a girl with long hair, no need to worry if the photo has red eyes because they can fix it, type in the child's name and that's it. The website will tell you if they think your photo quality isn't good enough but don't worry too much - they told me mine was of insufficient quality but it looked fine to me so I went ahead and ordered anyway and I'm thrilled with the result.
The book itself is a sturdy hardbacked book like an annual with glossy A4 pages (although there is also a cheaper paperback version available). The story is lovely and the girls, especially 5-year-old Juliette, were totally enchanted seeing themselves dressed up as princesses, riding unicorns and hot air balloons and numerous other magical scenarios. Even I was impressed and, although the face photos are the same in each montage, you really don't notice this because you're swept away by the magical costumes and the look of absolute delight and wonderment on your little reader's face ! The girls haven't stopped looking at the pictures since it arrived and their little eyes light up every time !
This would make a fantastic gift for a young child but I would also love to see a humorous novelty version available for adults too, for example for a wedding or birthday gift with a difference.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £24.95 for hardback, £17.95 for paperback
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