In a few short weeks I will have a sassy seven year old. As each birthday approaches I struggle with not only what gift to get for my child, but how much to spend on said gift. I realize this sounds like I’m a a conflicted person, coming from a woman who writes a blog about toys. Truth be told, my kids are aware of this blog, and in some non-sensical way I find that it adds pressure to my gift giving. I feel that they somehow expect a fantastical toy that I have ‘discovered’. In all reality, I walk a very tight line between wanting to be the coolest best birthday present giving mom/aunt/sister/wife, while at the same time feeling that there are many unnecessary hullabaloos surrounding birthdays. This year I am going green!
Kid 1 happens to be a voracious reader. I didn’t do anything to make her this way (I wish I knew the secret, it is probably worth millions) but rather, she garners the “if you can’t beat em then join em attitude.” There have been MANY days I have done nothing short of neglecting my kids because I couldn’t a) put a book down or b) pulled a dorkowitz all-nighter by staying up reading. We have reached the point where she has read most of the books she is interested in at the local library, spent most of our savings at the local bookstore, and simply run out of room on her bookshelf. My solution is to buy her an e-reader for her birthday (with some e gift cards I’ve been saving up) and call it a day! If you have been following my blog, you already know that I am a HUGE fan of ECHOage (www.echoage.com) and I will be using their fabulous site for her big PARTAY.
The first device I looked at was the iPad, available everywhere – but mostly through Apple at www.apple.com/ipad. It is so extremely beyond anything I ever thought I wanted cool. We are an “i” family so this Kid 1 is familiar with the single swipe and totally gratifying accompanying swoosh noise. It is decidedly user friendly and, also serves as an awesome gaming platform. On the other hand, it is ridiculously expensive ($500 +), and a bit heavy for my kid to hold in bed, BUT and this is a big BUT they have an app called Overdrive (www.overdrive.com) that links to our local library’s ebook program. Thanks to Overdrive and the wonderful people at our local library, I would not have to buy that many books because they can be ‘borrowed’ for up to two weeks at a time. Additionally, there are just so many things to love about the iPad and I really do think it is worth what the Apple godsd charge for it, but at 7 years old my practical parenting sense kicks in and I am forced to think it is way more technology (and cost) than my child needs.
Next I looked at the Barnes and Noble color Nook (www.barnesandnoble.com/nook/index.asp). This device is a happy cross between the iPad and the Kindle. It has a color touch screen, and some limited, but popular apps. It is smaller than the iPad and uses the “e-ink” technology which makes reading on the device feel more like a traditional book than a computer. Barnes and Noble got smart and made tons of kid books available starting with classic story books thru to chapter books. That feature alone is worth its weight in gold. Imagine all the money you’ll save at the airline counter if you didn’t have ANY books stowed away in your luggage. The Nook currently sells for $249, and is around the size of a medium size chapter book. The Nook also has Overdrive available, so we will be able to borrow from our local library (YAY).
The third device I gave a look-see at is Amazon’s Kindle. I didn’t have to look much farther than my nightstand, and I am finding it hard to be objective because my Kindle and I are very close. We travel together, spend time in car pool together and give each other great comfort on sleepless nights. I have never wanted to read a book that I haven’t been able to find on Amazon. I am able to share my e-books with other people in my family who also have a Kindle, thru our Amazon account. That means that if I decide to buy Kid 2 a Kindle later on, he would have access to the books that Kid 1 has already purchased (very appealing). The Nook sort of has this feature but it is almost non-existent for the kid books. The iPad does not, unless I logged everyone in under my iTunes account. Side Note 1 - the combination of my family’s varied tastes in music has currently messed up my iTunes recommendations beyond repair, so the idea of sharing books here isn’t quite so appealing. Side Note 2 – I also have the cutest protective Kindle case with a built in light. Neither the iPad, nor the Nook have an available case with a built in light. This is probably not yet important to my sassy almost 7 year old, but I vividly remember hiding under my covers with a flashlight reading late into the night as a kid, and I know it will be very important to her soon. Kindle currently does not have color, or Overdrive available. Given that this technology is widely available I am guessing/hoping that they are going to put out the Kindle of my dreams just before December holidays (and right after the big birthday).
As you can see I am torn. I am thinking I might take her to look at the color Nook, and even tell her to read a book on my Kindle to see where she is most comfortable. There is also a strong possibility that I will bribe that little cutie with a Mom’s Day Out and give her a late brithday gift in hopes that the fabulous Kindle of my dreams is released.