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Bugsby Reading System

I am a reader. I love the written word.

You would never have known, right?

Since before she was born, I have been reading to Grace. There was a time, early on, when I was seriously concerned that Grace might never develop the love affair with books that I have. I was distraught.

It turns out that Grace loves to read. At 2, Grace's favorite toys are her books. She wants to be read to all the time, and she loves pretending to read to others.

When V.Tech contacted me to review their new Bugsby learning system, I was happy to agree. The system uses a worm-shaped stylus to select words and press buttons. (Really, there's no pressing involved. You just have to tap the stylus to the page in certain places.) Depending on what button you select, a woman's voice reads the page, reads the whole story, tells you about the picture, or guides you through a game. If you tap the characters, they talk, recapping or elaborating on the text of the story.

My sister had wanted to get a similar system for Grace's second Christmas, but we decided together that she was a bit too young. Mostly, I was afraid that she'd tear the paper-paged books into confetti, and we'd be left with a toy that could read if we had any books.

Anyway, by the time V.Tech sent us the Bugsby, Grace was handling paper-paged books with no trouble at all. Occasionally, we'd have a creased page, but nothing of concern.

I was excited to see that Bugsby's books included some of Grace's favorite characters – Dora, Diego, Max & Ruby, and the Wonder Pets. One of the books that we received for the review was the Wonder Pets Save the Chimp, and it is the only one she's ever read. Other books teach about trips to the art museum, counting, and the alphabet.

I have peeked at the other books when Grace wasn't looking, and I think they are nice. The stories are cute and appropriate, and Grace has a lot of room to grow into the stories and games.

Bugsby himself is supposed to be a book worm (though I think he looks more like a chubby caterpillar), and Grace quickly figured out how to make him work. Not quite twenty-eight months old, she turns him on and off, makes him read words and pages, and makes the characters talk. She knows that some of the pages have games, but she hasn't totally figured out how they work.

I would like to branch out and get some other books eventually (maybe for Christmas), because I think the Bugsby worm gives Grace a sense of accomplishment.

She's doing it by herself, not having to ask Mommy or Daddy to read it to her. Anyone with a 2-year-old can understand the allure of that.

Update (October 23, 2009) – I just want to say that Grace now asks for her Bugby by name. If I don't recognize what she's saying at first, she'll say Where my book worm? My want to read by myself. And then she goes to town. We definitely need to buy a few more books. It's great!

I'd like to thank V.Tech for this review opportunity. I received the products above to evaluate before posting.

© 2009 – 2017, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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