As the youngest in the family, Holden frequently gets hosed. Hollis's every move was diligently documented in a baby book and in scrap books. Holden's baby book is nonexistent. Hollis has enough stuffed animals to open his own Toys R Us. Holden has 5 or 6 that belong only to him. Hollis gets to help Mommy and Daddy in the kitchen and in the yard. Holden is pretty much limited to emptying the kitchen cabinets and pushing a wagon filled with sticks around the yard. Or pulling my flowers out of the pots. You know, whatever strikes his fancy.
So when PBN offered me the opportunity to review some new personalized books for children, I jumped at the chance to get a personalized book for Holden. When he's spent thousands of dollars in therapy sessions to get over the emotional havoc "second child syndrome" has wreaked, I can point to the book and say, "See, I did do some things just for you!" Because nothing says, "I love you just as much as your brother," like a free book. Right? Right?
Anyway, I went to the Printakid website, chose my book, and entered some personalized information about Holden. There are several books to choose from, including A Fantastic Birthday, In the Kingdom of Nevernight, Laughing All the Way to School, The Robots of Sedna, and In Giddyland. I chose A Wacky Christmas Journey. Then I entered Holden's name, hair color and style, skin tone, and eye color. The site also asked for my name, my husband's name, and the names of some of Holden's friends. I entered his cousins' names.
The book came quickly, it only took about 2 weeks, and is really quite cute. You can write a message to your child on the first page and mine, "To our little Hurricane Holden," got me all teary before I even read the book. Darn hormones. The story itself is a bit corny. It focuses on Sniffy the Wet Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph's brother. Sniffy sneezes on part of Santa's list of nice kids, losing Holden's name and the rest of the family.
Wanting to fix the mistake, Sniffy makes Holden tiny and drags him into a Christmas ornament and to the North Pole to fix the mistake. Along the way, they encounter a pink sea elephant and go on a bender in Santa's sleigh. Reading the book, I immediately thought of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. (I just hope the Printakid authors haven't been out licking mushrooms.) But kids seem to love wacky stories and this one doesn't disappoint. Holden loved this book and his opinion is the most important one for this review.
The little boy in the book really does look like a cartoon version of Holden, with wavy blond hair and big brown eyes. Holden loved hearing his name over and over again on all the pages. Now, he loves to bring the book to us with a, "Want to read Holden!" The story nicely incorporates Mommy and Daddy, Hollis, Holden's cousins, and it teaches a lesson. It's a fun book, but ultimately the book is about the spirit of giving more than you receive.
The only disappointment was the CD. Each book can be ordered with an Audio CD to follow along. Unfortunately, we haven't received Holden's. Apparently we incorporated some names into the story that, unfortunately, Printakid doesn't have in their recorded database. So we'll probably receive the CD shortly after Christmas. I'm willing to bet 10 bucks the name that stumped them was Hollis. So once again, Holden gets hosed! If you're ordering a book for a child with an unusual name, be sure to give yourself a little extra time.
Despite the delay with the CD, I'm really happy with the Printakid gave us for Holden and I'm sure I'll be purchasing one or more of the books as gifts in the future.