Monday 25 October 2010

Children's book review : The Night Before Christmas - Hallmark Recordable Book

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ...

Everybody knows at least the beginning of the classic Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore which was unbelievably written way back in 1822. Just as a lovely illustrated story book, this would already make a nice gift for a child but the great thing about this Hallmark book is that you get to record the poem so that your child can turn the pages and hear you reading it as if by magic !

This made me smile because, when I was about 3 or 4, my dad decided to use his old tape deck to record himself reading me a bedtime story. Then, instead of reading the same old books over and over again, he could just press play and get on with whatever else he would rather be doing than reading me another story ! This was a cunning plan but he had the bad idea of recording it while I was in the room. The resulting recording with me incessantly interrupting with childlike questions such as "Why did he say that ?", "What did the man do that for?" and "Can I have a drink, Daddy ?" has been brought out repeatedly and still makes us laugh every time ! The lesson you should learn from this is, either do the recordings when the kids are out of the house or in bed, or else go the whole hog and get them involved in the reading. 

Another idea that instantly sprang to mind is that this would be an absolutely amazing gift for someone in the Armed Forces or working away from home for long periods. Either the kids could make one and send it to dad (or mum) or they could make one and send it home so the kids can have an amazing surprise on Christmas morning. Many a tear will be shed, I predict !

You could also ask several family members - parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, for example - to record a page each which would give you a fabulous family keepsake to treasure for years to come.

The book is really easy to record and, just like an answerphone message, you can delete the first attempt and have another go if you don't like the way it sounds. You could even go all out and add some sound effects like jingle bells - I guarantee you'll have as much fun as the kids and they'll absolutely love it !

It's a really lovely idea and, while it's not cheap, it will give you a wonderful keepsake to treasure for many years to come which makes it well worth the price.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £20

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