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Simply Personalized Books Review by Deanna Jasper

Personalized Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Book
Disney Personalized Princess Book
My Adventure Personalized Avengers Book
Personalized Star Wars the Force Awakens Book
Simply Personalized (Signature Gifts, Inc.)
1 (866) 635-1296
PO Box 1866
Rahway, NJ 07065
http://www.simplypersonalized.com/

I've seen personalized books before, but we've never gotten any for our children until we had the chance to review some of the products offered by Simply Personalized. The company offers many different types of products, but I decided books would probably be the biggest hit in our house.

I ordered four books for my children ranging from age three to nine. Each 8.9” x 6.5” softcover book is personalized in several ways. On the title page, there is an inscription saying, “This book was especially written for [name] with love from [name],” so right off the bat they knew there was going to be something special about the book. Each story incorporated the birthday, address, and three friends' names. Some of them also incorporated the child's birthstone.

My biggest concern would be whether I could find something well-suited for each age. Thankfully, there were plenty of options, and each of the kids was delighted when they opened their gifts.

For my three-year old son, I chose My Adventures With Disney: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, since he's a big fan of that show. In the story, Minnie was planning a picnic to help celebrate his birthday. He loved hearing about how he helped all his favorite characters gather all the food they needed for the picnic before having a big party to celebrate at the end.

My five-year old daughter loves all things girly, so she was ecstatic to get My Adventures With Disney: Princess Collection. There were three separate stories, featuring three different princess. She was enchanted with the story where she and Cinderella were friends, and she not only got to go to the ball with her, but was given a special jewel (her birthstone) by the prince and got to be the flower girl in their wedding. In the story with Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), they shared the same birthday, and she got to help Aurora's friends rescue her from the effects of the evil spell. The final story features Ariel (the Little Mermaid), and my daughter loved hearing about how the two of them were friends and worked together to free King Triton from Ursula.

For my seven and nine-year old boys, I got My Adventures with Marvel: The Avengers and My Adventures in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The plots were based on the movies given in the titles, only now they integrated my sons' names and personal information to include them in the story. They loved reading the stories with themselves as a major part of the action, interacting with the characters they know from movies and other books. I appreciated that the reading level was advanced enough that the books didn't seem babyish to them.

Overall, the books were a big hit with all the children, and I loved seeing their reactions to the personalized aspects of the stories. Unlike other personalized books I've seen, their names weren't just haphazardly thrown in a couple times to an existing story.  A lot of work went into to making sure the child was a major character, while still maintaining the basic plots.  The customer service was also excellent at addressing an issue we had with one of the books and sent a replacement promptly.

The only change I would have made was concerning the personalized details. I wasn't entirely comfortable putting our address in the book, but I was afraid it would look odd not to have it. The website said it was required, but liked to see an excerpt from the books on the ordering page to know exactly how it would be worded.  I probably would have gone with something like “his hometown” or just our state, depending on how it was used in the story. (In addition to be integrated into the story, the last page of the book specifically lists the child's name and address, along with who gave it to them.) I'm concerned about the books ending up in a stranger's hands, and having the child's full name, birthday (without the year) and full address (without the ZIP code) doesn't seem safe. I've just made a rule that these aren't books they can take with them anywhere outside of our home.

Apart from the address issue, I really like all the books we received from Simply Personalized. They were unique gifts that I know my children will enjoy for many years, and at the reasonable price of  $14.99 each (more if you opt for a hardcover or larger softcover) I'll definitely want to come back and order more for my younger children when they are old enough to have their own.

-Product review by Deanna Jasper, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2017

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