Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Up Close and Personal

One of my most cherished books from childhood is not a classic. In fact, I'm pretty sure no one else has heard of it. The main character was a girl named Suzanne. It featured her mom, her dad, her two sisters, her dog, and her two best friends. And a bee that they all chased across Suzanne's home town, right to her very own house.

A book about me, of course!

As a child, I thought it was nothing short of magical that an actual book told a story about me and all the important people in my life. The illustrations cleverly hid all faces, and I would spend hours trying to figure out which set of legs belonged to me, which to my friend Chris, which to my friend Colleen.

Since becoming a parent I've wanted to find a similar type of book for my kids. And then, like a gift from above, Amy at Binkytown reviewed a customized kid's book on her blog. I commented on that post, and lo and behold the publisher contacted me (little old me, for heaven's sake, proprietor of this tiny blog) about reviewing one here.

Serendipity at its best.

I ordered one of Printakid's personalized books for children for Allison. On their website, you choose the book (there are several options), the age level (preschool or elementary school), and then a host of features to customize it to the child: skin tone, hair color, eye color, hair length, names of parents and friends. The interface was very easy to navigate, and the book arrived about a week after I placed the order.

It's a full-color, hardcover book. I chose "In the Kingdom of Nevernight," a story about an intrepid princess who embarks on a quest to find the colors missing from her kingdom. (I wanted Allie to see a princess who does something other than sit around and wait for her stupid handsome prince to save her.) The cast of characters includes Princess Allison, Suzanne the Queen (ahem), Jeff the magician, and Sean, the head of a band of nomads. I especially liked that, unlike the low-tech book from my childhood, the image of the princess herself could be roughly tailored to some of Allie's features.

The book is everything I hoped it would be, and I can't wait to see Allie's reaction to it.

But wait I will -- till I receive Sean's version. The wailing and whining that would ensue if only Allie received a personalized book are too terrible to contemplate.