Adapted by: Ruth Koeppel
Publisher: Reader’s Digest Children’s Books
Publication Date: June 2009
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: July 2009
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea and has written a book for you and for me? SpongeBob SquarePants! And this time he’s included a toy for you and for me!
The latest offering in the SpongeBob SquarePants franchise is a book/’electronic voice changer’ combination that is sure to intrigue youngsters. Unfortunately, beyond the initial curiosity, this book/toy falls flat.
The product description for SpongeBob SquarePants Undersea Party claims four stories, but the book actually contains ten very short stories based on episodes from this popular cartoon series. In fact, these stories were so brief that they really should be described more as synopses. The voice changer is the unique aspect of this book. It has three buttons to, claim the makers, recreate the voices of SpongeBot (note: not SpongBob?), Scary Pants, and Bubble Boy. It is battery operated and does come with batteries, which is much appreciated by busy parents.
The hardcover book measures 9.5 inches wide x 10 inches tall. But because there is a handy plastic holder for the voice changer, the interior pages of this book measure only 6.5 inches wide. The pages are too narrow for the crowded text which makes the layout cluttered and busy.
After reviewing the book, I gave it to my son, a huge SpongeBob fan. He was intrigued by the voice changer, pulled it from the book and started playing with it immediately. Directions say to use the voice changer where the text is in the bold font, with a jellyfish symbol beside it. That worked for just a page – then it was off to play with the voice changer, making silly sounds. I asked my son to read the book and then asked his opinion of the book/toy. His comments (translated to adult lingo) are as follows: the voice changer does not work well because you must speak loudly making it hard to hear the outcome over your own voice, and there is frequent feedback. On the book: the stories are odd, branching out into different episodes, but they’re too short to make much sense.
Quill says: This book/toy may work for diehard SpongeBob fans but others may want to save their money.