COMMENTARY: The Best of Both Worlds

My fondest childhood memories always involve some sort of book. Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, and the Baby-Sitters Club series played a huge role in my adolescence, and I still feel the pang of sweet nostalgia when I see these titles today. Part of my job is to round up toys, mobile apps, games, music, and books to feature in Toy Insider, but in recent months I find myself frantically searching for books to include while games, toys, and especially apps appear in abundance. I am a bit resistant to change, as I still prefer to hold a book in my hand to a Kindle or Nook, so the decline of printed books had me bogged down a bit. As I began searching for books to feature, I realized that reading is reading, and anything that brings a child to find his or her inner bibliophile is A-OK with me. There are so many new platforms for reading that don’t leave out books but take them to a new level, and we have to keep up!

8341295_0_9999_med_v1_m56577569853114439I am fascinated by the LeapReader Read & Write System by LeapFrog. This company is known for its kid-friendly tablets, but this new product has the coolest gadgets and gizmos that should make any child excited about story time. Starting with the very basics, the LeapReader Read & Write books will help your child learn to read and write by sounding out words and guiding letter strokes interactively. The set includes the LeapReader Reading and Writing System, an activity sampler book, one learning paper writing sheet, and free downloads of one audio book bundle, one music album, and one trivia fun pack. I think the coolest part is that interactive handwriting guidance helps children learn to write stroke-by-stroke on mess-free, no ink LeapFrog learning paper—which is also ecofriendly! There are more than 150 books and audiobooks available to add to the set, of which my personal favorite is Learn to Write Letters with Mr. Pencil. [Read more...]

Steve Light, Guidecraft Create Storytelling Storyboxes

Author, illustrator, storyteller, and pre-K teacher Steve Light has teamed up with Guidecraft to create Storyboxes based on classic stories from around the world. Storytelling and fantasy play are crucial to a child’s development, forming the basis for language comprehension and reading skills.

Perfect for home and classroom, each Storybox features characters, props, and settings cast from Light’s hand-carved originals, as well as a booklet containing his original retelling of the story. In addition to the main characters, each Storybox contains unique elements, such as the bag of “breadcrumbs,” witch’s house, cauldron, and recipe book from “Hansel and Gretel.”

With Steve Light Storyboxes, kids can use the miniature figures and props to retell stories over and over, acting them out in their own words and creating new stories. The first Storyboxes feature Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Little One Inch (Japan), and The Girl Who Loved Danger (Congo).

Watch the video of Steve Light using a Storybox to tell the story of Rapunzel.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.