LeapFrog Tag Junior Reading System

I'll admit to being sceptical about this when I heard that I was going to have it to review. I had misunderstood its purpose, thinking it was more complicated than it is, and I will retract all of my scepticism now.

Because this is fab!

The reading system comprises of the handheld device and the specially created story books. The little handheld gadget is very cute and fits nicely into the palm of a two year old (aimed at 2-4 year olds).There is a very simple on-off button and when the Tag Junior is pressed down against one of the books, the reader in it interprets the specially embedded dots in the surface of the books. Most of the books have over 150 sounds attached to them, not just the written word, but the pictures and even the background have sounds accompanying it.

Set-up is a little bit of a pain because it requires you to connect it to an Internet-accessible computer, download software for each book and then install it onto the Tag Junior. I'd say it took half an hour to do this for the five books that we were provided with, so set-up is definitely needed before letting your little one lose on it. However, I love that you can program your child's name into it, so when it is turned on it greets him, and turned off it says goodbye personally. The downside to the downloading (ooh, that was clever of me) is not only the time, but also that only five books can be stored at any point. While there is a library of over twenty books available, if you wanted to put a sixth one on, you'd have to remove one of those books to upload the other.

I've got to say how completely and utterly indestructable the Tag Junior appears to be! Ok we haven't dropped it into water or driven a car over it, but The Boy has given it a fair few drops on different surfaces and it just rolls along undamaged.

The Tag Junior comes with a book to get you started: , and we were sent four others to review.

  • If I Were: This starter book, which comes with the Tag Junior, is a really endearing story of a little boy imagining his toy animals in their natural habitats. Written in prose, there are amusing sound effects.
  • ABC Animal Orchestra: for each letter of the alphabet there is an illustration of an animal playing an instrument, e.g. Baboon's bassoon. The letter name is pronounced (I'd have preferred the letter sound), the musical instrument sound is played and the words are read out.
  • Toy Story 3 To Imagination and Beyond: The story to this is quite an entertaining one with plenty of sound effects. Unfortunately the voices are not the original ones which doesn't affect The Boy's enjoyment but I find irritating.
  • Cars 2 World Adventure: This is aimed at the older end of the spectrum for the Tag Junior system I suspect. There's not many sounds, the cars' voices are again not the original ones and quite difficult to understand. It's informative rather than fun, although it does introduce the 'reader' to different cultures around the world.
  • Thomas & Friends Best Friends: This is The Boy's favourite, and mine, and daddy's! The story is really lovely, there are plenty of sounds embedded throughout to keep him entertained, and it is the one book out of all five that he keeps going back to.

I would thoroughly recommend this as a way of developing your child's enjoyment of reading books.

For more reviews on this item, please click on the banner below.

We were provided with the Tag Junior reading system and software titles free of charge as a part of the Toys R Us review programme. My opinion is, as always, honest as both a parent and a teacher.

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