I have a thing for personalization.
The problem being, a lot of personalized gifts are just, well, tacky. Either it’s something engraved in a font that’s not remotely modern (or legible – yikes!), or it feels DIY or forced. Or both.
I’ll never forget a book I got for what must have been my sixth birthday. It came with a 45 (for you young birds, that’s a small record that played one song on each side), and it was a “Happy Birthday, Andrea!” song. It must have mentioned my name at least a dozen times.
Oh, how I loved that book. I would listen to it on my Winnie The Pooh record player over and over and over. Long before my birthday came and long after it had gone for another year.
It was magical and I completely thought, in my six-year-old brain, that my parents had actually found someone to make that record just for me.
When the creators of the I See Me! line of personalized books for kids asked me if I wanted to review the July book of the month – My Royal Birthday Adventure for Boys – I was on the fence. But with The K Man’s birthday in June, I thought it would be ideal timing. And I’m so glad I agreed…
First and foremost, I always like to make sure before I accept any product for review that’s coming from another country that shipping to Canada isn’t a financial nightmare for Canadian customers. I always ask for a company’s policy on duty charges, and I refuse any product that costs as much to ship as it does to buy. Even though half of my audience falls outside of Canada, this is my home (true north strong and free!) and my Canadian readers’ wallets are important to protect. So I was thrilled to learn that I See Me! books are shipped to Canada quickly and without premium shipping charges tacked on. Just remember that shipping from the USA can take up to six weeks, so plan accordingly.
Let’s start with the level of personalization in My Royal Birthday Adventure for Boys: my son’s name is on the cover, and he is very clearly the star of the book from beginning to end. His name is not only in the story itself, but also features in the illustrations from page to page – lurking in flags, bushes and in the stars. Nearly every page we turned, The K Man squealed in delight at seeing his name. “Oh, look, Mommy! There’s my name again!” The look on his face, pure joy.
Now, I’m no poet; but as someone who’s got an English degree and writes for a living, I can throw down a solid haiku or limerick. I’m not usually too impressed with rhyming sequences that aren’t from Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss. I have to admit, though, the author of this book did a really fine job. It’s a fairly long story and the rhyming couplets flow effortlessly. And they make sense. There aren’t words all jumbled up as if Yoda’s reciting it just to make something rhyme. Well done.
The illustrations are equally as fantastic.
I think $34.95 is an extremely good price for this book from I See Me! It’s hardcover, and the quality of what’s inside that cover is truly excellent. For people looking to spend about $40 on a birthday gift, this is perfect.
Details like your child’s friends are also cleverly built into the story and scenery. This is part of what makes My Royal Birthday Adventure for Boys extra-special (and, of course, I’m sure the girl version does the same); the page where all of my kid’s friends are invited by name – by royal proclamation, no less! – to join in his birthday feast. This honestly sent him over the edge when we read it together the first time. So awesome.
Ooh, OOH! You also get to provide a dedication that’s printed at the beginning of the book.
I’ve got nothin’. Really. It’s that good.
So…where can you get it?