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Leap Frog Tag Junior Review

Bringing Board Books to Life for Toddlers and Preschoolers

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

TAG Junior photo
©LeapFrog

The Leap Frog Tag Junior is a small handheld device, that engages children ages 2-4 by bringing board books to life with music, words and sounds. Over 20 additional board books can be purchased, and feature several well known childhood characters such as Disney Princesses, Sesame Street, the Backyardigans and Curious George.

Features

- Suggested for Kids Ages 1-4

- MSRP - $29.99

- Book Pal can be purchased in 2 different colors (green or purple) or as 1 of 3 different characters (Violet, Scout or Disney Toy Story 3 Special Edition)

- Each Book Pal can hold up to 5 different story books

- Requires 2 "AAA" batteries (not included)

- Includes USB cord to download from the computer

- Includes computer software that is both PC or MAC compatible

- Parents can download their child's name onto the device

- Automatic shut-off is included

- Parents can track child's progress using the Leap Frog Learning Path online

- Over 20 different board books can be purchased separately to enhance the experience

- Additional accessories can be purchased separately such as carrying cases

- Compatible with Leap Frog My First Book line "Good Night Scout"

My Review

Sesame Street TAG Junior Book©Leap Frog

My now 2 1/2 year-old son has been playing with the TAG Junior Book Pal since he was about 18 months old. He thoroughly enjoyed the Leap Frog hard plastic infant book Good Night Scout that is also TAG Junior compatible. Once he was then provided with the TAG Junior board books, the transition was very easy for him since he was familiar with how the device operated. He very easily figured out how to hold the device flat on a picture in the board book and wait for the response, whether it asks a question, reads the words, or makes a silly audio response. Now that he is older and able to follow more directions, he interacts with it in a totally different way than when he was younger.

Initially once opening the box, if you purchase the TAG Junior as part of a bundle, it will read the book that comes with the purchase. However, if additional books are purchased, you will need to connect the device to the computer via its included USB cord and download the software. Then after personalizing the device with your child's name, you will need to search for each individual book that has been purchased, download the audio, then transfer the audio to the actual device. It is a pretty self-explanatory software to use. However, this may take several minutes. The device will hold about 8MB's of data, most of the books are about 1 MB. However, we also own the Read to Read Book Set which is about 3.6 MB's and includes 7 small books. If downloading this set we are only able to download 1 other book to the device and we own 7 other board books. So one major downfall is that you may either need multiple TAG Jr. devices (which if you have multiple children would be a great alternative), or will need to schedule the time to load and unload the device with the audio. If using this system is something you use with your child prior to bedtime, you will definitely need to plan in advance.

After the software is downloaded initially, once the device is connected to the computer on a different occasion, it will automatically recognize the device and update the software each time it is reconnected. Again, plan ahead, this could also take several minutes. I would suggest setting time aside during a nap or at night so you don't have an impatient child waiting for everything to download.

The board books are very durable and sturdy but a little more expensive than a traditional board book (MSRP about $10.99). The titles that can be purchased feature familiar children's characters from popular Disney movies such as Cars, Toy Story, Winnie the Pooh and Disney Princesses. Popular childhood authors such as Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss and Jane Yolen have also had books reprinted in board book form to be accessible with the TAG Junior. During the holidays, make sure to check the small toy or novelty aisles, I have been able to purchase holiday related books for Easter and Christmas that often include a $5 off coupon towards a new TAG Jr. boo pal. Spanish titles are also available. Given the educational nature of the content included in the book and the audio, though it may seem a little more expensive, I think the price is justifiable.

Bottom Line

Aside from the download time and minimal storage on the actual device if you own multiple books that can not all be accessed immediately, this is an excellent toddler toy to purchase as a holiday or birthday gift for children ages 1-3. For a child who is 4, for longevity I would suggest purchasing the next system in the line, the TAG Reading System, which is recommended for children learning to read who may be within the ages of 4-7. Some children naturally have a love for books which will be fostered even more as they "unlock" the different experiences and sounds present on each page. However, the technology is so engaging and amazing, it may be a great way to help children who are not typically fond of books, learn to experience books in an entirely new way.

Here's a link to other LeapFrog educational toys.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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