It is no secret to my readers that books are among my most favourite things in the world. As far back as I can remember I have enjoyed immersing myself in a story, losing myself between the pages of a book and living vicariously through the characters. One book I particularly remember from my childhood was a gift from my sister, a personalised book that had my name printed at strategic points in the story. Looking back, it wasn’t particularly well done, but that didn’t detract from the feelings of awe – I was in the book! So when I was asked to review one of the Peppa Pig, personalised books, I jumped at the chance to give one of our children the same moment I remembered, discovering myself in a book.
The first step in the process is visiting PeppaPigandMe.com. Here you will find the books to choose from – they are not just for Christmas! There are birthday books, going to playgroup books even Peppa Pig & I go swimming – there are lots of choices. Once you have chosen your book, you begin the personalization process.
This sounds like it may be a complicated process but it is in fact very simple to do. The site takes you through, step by step, beginning with your child’s name and a special message you would like to include. Then you move onto gender & hair. Once you have chosen boy or girl, there are a number of hairstyles and colours from which to choose. All of the hairstyles are in keeping with the animated nature of the program, so the character you build looks like they belong in the book.
The final step in your ‘child creation’ is the opportunity to select skin tone, eye colour and whether or not your character will have glasses. If you try to move on without completing these steps, the site prompts you to go back and finish. When you are happy with your creation, the next page runs through the information you have given again and shows you how the font of the book will look. The whole process is as easy and foolproof as it could be.
We sent off the details and waited, expectantly for the book to arrive. Considering this came from the UK, I was amazed at how fast it arrived. In under a week, there was a knock at the door, and our mail carrier was there with a sturdy cardboard package. Within the box, the book was wrapped carefully with shrink wrap against a stiff cardboard backing. They took lots of care to ensure that this book arrived in excellent condition – always a worry when you order something through the mail.The book itself is a lovely paperback that looked exactly like the mock-up on the website – no discrepancy here.
Gabriel doesn’t yet recognise many words but he does know his name, and he was immediately excited when he saw his name on the cover and a cartoon that looked like him with Peppa Pig.
The message we chose was printed on the first page setting the scene for the rest of the book.
We had to sit down and read it together straight away. The book is good quality with the personalisation elements seamlessly integrated into the pictures and the text. We had chosen ‘Peppa & Gabriel’s Christmas’, and it tells the story of Peppa Gabriel & Santa ensuring that all of the gifts get to the right people in time for Christmas day after Santa looses his list (silly Santa! said, Gabriel!). I won’t tell you any of the detail because I wouldn’t want to spoil the story for you!
There is no ‘clunky’ or false feeling to the story because your child’s name is always placed in such a way that it flows naturally with the text. Gabriel’s picture and name featured often enough for it to be a truly personal book that he loves to have read to him over and over again. The look on his face that first time he saw himself on the cover was priceless and to see his little eyes light up like that brought tears to my eyes. This book is something I believe we will truly treasure both for the book itself and for the special times together it has given us.