Parents these days may struggle with being able to find entertainment for their young ones without having to resort to putting them in front of a screen. Audiobooks are a great alternative, but without the ability to interact, little ones might get bored. That’s where something like My Fabulous Storyteller comes in: it’s screenless (mostly), and interactive—all in an attractive device that is robust and easy to use. And while it has a lot to love, it does a few things that might prevent a happily ever after.
My Fabulous Storyteller is an interactive audiobook player for children age 3+ by Lunii. It’s a robust little player with simple controls that doesn’t need the internet to tell its 48 included audio stories. These stories are slightly interactive, giving kids the ability to choose things about the story like the main character, setting, and items which drive the plot. If you hook the My Fabulous Storyteller up to the internet, you’ll get a couple more free stories and access to a selection of over 100 stories—for a price.
While you’re encouraged to hook up the My Fabulous Storyteller to the Lunii store, there’s a fair amount of content even if you don’t. The “choose your own adventure” aspect also adds a fair amount of content, as little ones probably won’t systematically work through each story. Each story has added music and occasional sound effects to spruce up the narrator’s efforts. And each of the storytellers I’ve heard do a great job of not only telling the story, but shifting voices and acting out parts in amusing ways. There is over three hours of content included if you play the stories back-to-back.
However, if you do decide to dip into the Lunii store, there are hundreds of stories to choose from. Content from the store is divided into three age groups: “Little ones” (3+), “Medium ones” (from 5 years) and “Big ones.” (from 7 years). To use the Lunii store, you’ll need a desktop computer and access to the internet. And adding new stories to the My Storyteller is definitely something an adult has to do, especially since there are payments involved. And some of these books are surprisingly expensive, with some at $12 for about an hour of content. There are some familiar names in the shop, like the Babar series and a selection of Peanuts stories. If you don’t want to spend money to add stories to My Fabulous Storyteller, there’s an app that lets you record your own.
I really like that My Fabulous Storyteller allows you to record your own stories. To do this, you have to download the app on your iOS or Android phone. While it’s easy to record stories, and there is a small amount of customization—like the ability to choose a story icon, for instance—I wish there was more you can do to customize the stories. There’s no way to add sound effects in-app. I also wish you could record stories through the desktop app, where I already have a setup to record audio. You also can’t create branching, choose your own adventure style stories, which takes away the interactivity of the My Fabulous Storyteller.
The My Fabulous Storyteller is an attractive little device. It looks like it’s plucked right out of a cartoon, with simple controls. It has a knob for volume, a home button, and a knob for making story selections. The volume knob doubles as a power switch, which I’m not too fond of. There is also a type of screen that lights up an icon representing your current selection—but the rest is up to your child’s imagination.
While it takes about three hours to charge the My Fabulous Storyteller, I was able to have it run stories off and on for a few days, without any sign of the battery dying. It has a speaker that is loud enough to be heard across the room. It’s also a pretty sturdy, and could survive a few drops from child height, but I’m not sure it could survive the type of punishment kids can dish out—and its suggested use is under parental supervision.
If you want to travel with the My Fabulous Storyteller, and don’t want to listen to every adventure that Ben and Suzanne go on, you can pair the device with the Octave headphones. These child-sized headphones are customizable with several included decals. They actually give some pretty decent sound, but aren’t ear splitting at the highest volume. The headphones include a pass-through so you can hook up with your own headphones or earbuds to listen along with your little one.
While the Lunii store has a decent selection, the stories are a little pricey. I do appreciate that you can add your own stories, however, I do wish the software was more robust. Still, The My Fabulous Storyteller is a neat little device that can easily entertain a child, especially one with a love for stories.
A My Fabulous Storyteller and a pair of Octave headphones were provided to us for this review.
Article edited to include additional product details.