Monday, November 29, 2010

TOS Product Review: My Animal Family


My Animal Family, from Smart Kids Publishing, touts itself as a new kind of “kid’s club” that features books, dvds and a website that focus on various animals and their habitats.  As the website states,

We call it the MAF Kids' Club because kids gain a deeper respect for how all living things are connected and how we are part of one big "club."

As of now, there are four different animal families to learn about including elephants, lions, monkeys and polar bears.  Ds4 and I received Nanuq, the story of the young polar bear and his family.

th_Nanuq The book is sturdy, colorful and features beautiful, almost art-like illustrations.  The story is sweet and simple and not only conveys many facts about polar bears but also a lesson or two in family dynamics.  The accompanying dvd (stored in a plastic pocket on the inside cover of the book) has a more detailed look at polar bears and their habitat with wonderful footage from the BBC.  The book also comes with a My Animal Family membership card that contains the passcode you need to access the website.

IMG_0656 Once registered on the website, your child can create their own explorer to use in a corresponding “habitat” that features games and activities themed to the animal in your book.  I registered ds4 on the site and he created his explorer (who he named “Steve” for some unknown reason lol) and played for a while in the polar bear habitat.  However, we were unable to access our habitat at subsequent times.  There is a contact page on the site and I generated a query about our problem, but never did receive any resolution.

Problems with the website aside, ds4 did enjoy the book and dvd.  I think it is a delightful series and would definitely purchase the other books, not only as a resource for homeschooling, but just for kicks as well.  I really liked how the book wove facts with life lessons and how the dvd dove deeper into the theme.  They definitely provide a gentle and effective way to introduce younger children to animal families.

The books are available on the website for $12.99 each and come with the dvd and passcode for 6 months access to the website.  You can also purchase extensions to the website access.  The site states that they will be adding new animal families over time.  The “club” is designed for children 4-8.

I received a My Animal Family book to facilitate this review.  To see other TOS Crewmember reviews, click on the banner below.


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