I'm Ready to Read with Spider-Man (Play-a-Sound)

 Title: Spider-Man Books (Play-a-Sound)
 Posted: Aug 2017
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


The guys from Phoenix International Publications, Inc. (formerly known as Publications International Ltd.) are back again with their relentless quest to flood the market with physical press-button audio books. This is part of a batch of three I grabbed on my latest trip to the mall.

This one is in the smaller format, at 7.5" x 9" and with 21 internal pages.

Story Details

  I'm Ready to Read with Spider-Man (Play-a-Sound)
Aug 2016
Publisher: Phoenix International Publications, Inc.
Writer: Erin Rose Grobarek
Illustrator: Andrea Cagol, Disney Storybook Art Team, Francesco Legramandi
Narrator: Jarod Facknitz

This book is slightly different from those that have come before, in terms of the audio samples.

The traditional use of these audio buttons is that they play a short (one second or so) audio sound-effect or voice fragment. And with that "traditional" approach, each page references several audio fragments within the text for the page for the reader to press at the appropriate moment while reading.

But this one is different, in that the ten buttons play a longer audio sample, around eight seconds long. The audio sample speaks the entire written text for a two-page spread. So the audio for button five speaks "So I invented a special juice. The juice is sticky. It is like a spiderweb!"

In this way, the audio narrates the entire story, meaning that nobody has to be able to read at all.

General Comments

The "story" (such that it is) gives a quick introduction to Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Peter is a student. He has a job at the newspaper ("What's a newspaper, mommy?"). A spider bites him, and gives him powers. He dresses in red and blue, now he is a super-hero.

Spider-Man defeats robbers, and Sandman, and Doctor Octopus. He stops runaway trains, and rescues cats from trees.

My original instincts rebelled against the concept of an audiobook which took the whole story out of the readers' hands. I like the idea of the short fragments that punctuated each page, each button needing to be hunted out and pressed in the correct sequence. This new approach feels lazy to me, simply narrating the entire story.

But I showed it to my kids and pressed some buttons for them, and they assured me that it was "Awesome!" So I guess I have to go with that.

Overall Rating

My kids tell me that this book deserves four webs out of five.

 Title: Spider-Man Books (Play-a-Sound)
 Posted: Aug 2017
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)