We've all seen these things on TV but wonder what do they really do. Well the Franklin Discover AnyBook Reader is fundamentally a reading "toy". In this age of electronics, I will classify it a toy. Many parents understand the importance of developing the love of reading early and want to explore any avenue of interest they can create for their children to help that love bloom.
The Anybook Reader works like this: Press some buttons and paste some stickers and record. Yes, that's the easy way of putting it. After all your work, your child can simply press the reader to a sticker and hear that page being read. To be completely honest it took a little time sitting with my husband's Grandmaw who has the perfect Grandma voice to figure out just exactly what the different beeps mean. Since there's only three buttons to manipulate, how long you hold each, and what noise it makes is important as to whether you are recording, deleting, or listening. But once you do get it right, well it's total smooth sailing! Even my baby's Great Grandmaw was reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas into it like a pro!
The microphone and playback are fairly clear. It really depends on how far you hold the reader from you when recording but it does have volume control for playback.
On the whole, I think this is a great idea for a gift, especially from a relative that lives far away. I've enlisted some of my son's relatives that he doesn't get to see very often to read some books and I sit with my 15 month old and the Anybook Reader and he can hear their voices reading to him. Yes, he does want to play with the Reader and push the buttons but the general idea is being met. Grandparents, this would be a great educational and loving gift to give a preschooler!