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{Holiday Gift Guide} Hallmark Story Buddies

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Hallmark Story Buddy

Hallmark has recently introduced its new line of “Story Buddies” available at Hallmark Gold stores.  If you haven’t heard of them yet, Story Buddies are cuddly, lovable, plush friends that talk and respond to you when you read their own interactive storybooks.

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Getting them to “wake up” and listen for storytime is pretty easy, just press their ear. (This is Whistler’s “job”) Then, as you start reading the book that comes with each buddy, they will add their own comments each time you read a phrase marked in red. The first time Jingle the Dog did this, Whistler just squealed in delight. He was totally not expecting the cuddly stuffed animal to talk.

I mistakenly assumed that I might have to teach myself how to properly say each phrase thinking that the buddy would have a limited sort of “understanding” capacity. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that he responded to each phrase on the first time, every time. I also wasn’t expecting that the response from Jingle per phrase would be so varied. You can say the same prompt a few times back to back and the buddy will respond with a variety of choices..not just the same one over and over. As a parent, I really appreciate that!

While Jingle completely understood me each time, unfortunately he doesn’t “understand” Whistler’s alien toddler speak. But thats ok – It doesn’t seem to bother Whistler at all :)

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While each buddy is equipped with a small electronic box, that’s just it – it’s small. I really like that its a squeezable, lovable doll that isn’t completely overtaken with a hard middle section. If your child walks away from the toy, it will turn itself off after 5 minutes to save battery life. Speaking of batteries, each Buddy includes batteries when purchased (bonus points!!) and takes three AA lithium batteries when they need to be replaced.

Whistler’s favorite buddy is Jingle – he loves to howl and sing along with him. Mine is Cooper – because his voice is so cute and he says some really sweet things about his mom!

Each Interactive Story Buddy retails for $29.95 which includes the first Interactive Storybook. Extra books for each story buddy can be added to your collection for about $9.95 per book. Currently there are three books available for each buddy.  There are even coordinating iPhone and iPad apps that are available for free on iTunes to further enhance your Story Buddy experience!

I’m continually impressed with the unique products that Hallmark continues to introduce. Even though they are modern electronic type toys, they all promote family time and bonding (instead of playing by yourself), which is hard to find nowadays. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year!!

There are five buddies to choose from:

  • Watson the Raccoon
  • Abigail the Bunny
  • Jingle the Dog
  • Bigsby the Cuddly Monster
  • Cooper the Bear

Thank you to Hallmark for providing these Jingle and Cooper for review purposes. No compensation was received and all thoughts are original.

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