Sparkup: The Magical Book Reader – Review

Being as how this product is a bit techy I gladly handed it over to Dave to set up so he has done the review for you as well! 


One of the things I enjoy most about being a dad is reading to Ben, Chloe and Amy. It’s lovely to have their undivided attention and both Ben and Chloe snuggle into me as I read. I have no doubt Amy will be the same. That feeling is one of the things that get me through the tough times. I’ve always wanted to read to my kids. Before I was even really sure if I wanted any children, I knew that I wanted to read to them if they ever came into being.  Being read to is one of my earliest memories, sitting with my mum as she read a book to me. I can’t even remember the story, just the feeling of happily drifting off into a fantastic land. It’s no surprise I became a keen reader. Something Colette and I both share and try to pass onto the kids.

With that being said I completely understand the point of this product. If you’re away from your kids a lot then this might just keep them a little happier in your absence. No substitute for actually being there but even if it just means they don’t forget your voice then that’s something.

I’ll say right now that this isn’t something we would have bought. I’m not giving up reading when I am here and I’m rarely away for more than a night but as I said above I get it if your situation is different.

SparkUp Magical book reader
Sparkup: The Magical Book Reader

Anyway on with actual reviewing. The Sparkup is a camera and recording system that you clip to a book of your choice that will read the story to your kids as they turn the pages. You record what’s on each page and the camera takes a picture and ties your recording to that picture. Hey presto! Show it a page and it’ll read back to you.  Without fault in my experience. The bonus of this personal system, aside from your own voice reading to your nippers, is you can be creative and tie it to your kids by mentioning them or something they like which tallies with what’s on the page. All good stuff.

Actually using the Sparkup is a fairly straight forward process once you’ve got past the long winded explanation the device announces to you on first use. You can’t skip this. Which is a pain if you’ve already read the manual. You can re-record any pages that you don’t fancy after reviewing them with the press of a button. If you’re anything like me then you’ll feel a bit of a berk performing to a inanimate object. Especially if you’ve got Colette giggling at you from the couch and spoiling your flow!  That feeling passes pretty quickly though.

Using the system is pretty straightforward. I fairly quickly recorded the book we had been sent without too many hiccups. I messed up the recordings once or twice (most likely due to giggling!) but overall the experience was stress free. The kids really enjoyed using the Sparkup. Straight after their first try they asked me to record more books which is a strong vote in its favour. I think it’s a well executed device and I recommend it for people who need something to read to their kids. Other than themselves that is.

Just to add in my two pence worth . . . whilst I agree with Dave that the Sparkup isn’t something that would be used especially regularly in our house as we do really enjoy the experience of sharing books with your children and talking to them about the stories we are reading.  I can see other uses.  Children benefit from hearing lots of different voices telling stories so it would be lovely to have Granny, Grandad, Aunty Nic, Uncle Will and so on and so forth recording a variety of books for them to hear.  I also think that as Ben is really enjoying learning to read now it would be quite cool to have him do his own recordings to listen back to – so he could hear his own storytelling voice. 

To my mind this would be a lovely gift this Christmas for a family where one or both parents often miss bedtime due to work commitments or, if like so many of my friends, you have nieces, nephews or grandchildren who live abroad.  How wonderful to be able to send to Sparkup, along with a selection of books, pre-recorded with lots of lovely bedtime stories for when they are missing you?

We're going on an adventure

*Disclaimer – We were sent the Sparkup free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are our own*

*Read more reviews here*


  1. November 18, 2014 / 8:20 am

    I find it amazing as an extra incentive to read. I feel this will be bought by parents who actually love reading with their children already as a novelty. Its good if like you say family want to read one for children they do not get to see often. For the set up, I can imagine the giggling trying to do it properly. Be great as a keepsake when they themselves will be adults. hearing those childhood reading sessions would be something I would love from my childhood.

  2. November 18, 2014 / 8:31 am

    I have seen these around and thought they sound good. x #TriedTested

  3. November 18, 2014 / 8:37 am

    We do enjoy the reading live experience. But I think this will work great on days when the parents need to rest their voices! #triedtested

  4. The London Mum
    November 18, 2014 / 8:58 am

    I think you're right, it would be lovely to have the grandparents record a book. Such a good idea, and for those parents that have to miss bed times because of work etc this is a lovely way of keeping that connection there. #triedtested

  5. November 18, 2014 / 9:02 am

    I really like this idea, I think it would be perfect given that half our family are in New Zealand and miss out on all the usual things like reading to the kids. I know Nana would love to record some books for the kids!

  6. November 18, 2014 / 9:11 am

    I've never heard of these but they would be perfect if you couldn't often read to your children or like you said for other relatives to record on. It's a lovely idea so that the children could still hear you read if you weren't there x #triedtested

  7. November 18, 2014 / 9:13 am

    I love the idea of recording other family members to read the story.

  8. November 18, 2014 / 9:30 am

    I really love the idea of this. Although we are with them to read a story every night it would be lovely to have their Grandparents record a story onto this as they live far away and we don't see them very often.

  9. katefever
    November 18, 2014 / 9:33 am

    I love the idea of being able to have granparents etc reading to the kids, and it would have been so lovely to have when Kevin was working away every night! #TriedTested

  10. November 18, 2014 / 9:46 am

    This is lovely, if you cant get home in time to read to your child at bed time. But nothing replaces the cuddling up when you read a story. My older son works and lives in Norway for half the year, so he would be able to read her stories when he is here. Amazing #triedtested

  11. November 18, 2014 / 9:46 am

    I do like the idea of this for a gift or for parents that cn't make bedtime reading time #triedtested

  12. November 18, 2014 / 9:53 am

    I think you make a really good point about the benefits children get from hearing other people read aloud with them-this could work really well if you have family that live far away and could set it up somehow to record their voices.

  13. November 18, 2014 / 9:58 am

    I totally agree with your final point colette, brilliant to hear other peoples voices, maybe something that you can preload before giving as a gift #triedtested

  14. November 18, 2014 / 10:06 am

    It is a clever idea. I love reading to my little boy, but love the idea that you could also record nanny and grandad.


  15. November 18, 2014 / 10:11 am

    I have never seen this before. What an awesome idea. Great review darling and thanks for hosting. I think I might look into this for a christmas pressie for the kids. #triedtested

  16. November 18, 2014 / 10:19 am

    A great idea for when you are not around. dinosaur roar was a favourite book here too when mine were young. No substitute for being there to read it yourself whenever you can though. Popping by from Tried & Tested

  17. November 18, 2014 / 10:21 am

    I like the idea. We read every night to 7yo and have done since she was a small baby. It would be handy for like you say when a parent is away.

  18. sharon powell
    November 18, 2014 / 10:24 am

    It is a great idea but I admit that it wouldn't get used much in our house because I enjoy the experience of reading to my children, I love doing all the silly voices 🙂 x #TriedTested

  19. November 18, 2014 / 10:56 am

    This is a lovely idea, my hubby often works away from home for sometimes weeks at a time, this would be lovely for him to be able to record the story for our little girl to listen to whilst hes away.#triedtested

  20. November 18, 2014 / 10:57 am

    This is such a clever idea….I do like the look of this x

  21. November 18, 2014 / 11:02 am

    This looks great. Such a clever idea. My hubby works long hours so a very nice idea #triedtested

  22. Sian PottyMouthedMummy
    November 18, 2014 / 11:51 am

    I'm with you in preferring to read to my boy, but this would be good as a toy in the day I imagine. A great idea x

  23. November 18, 2014 / 12:07 pm

    I read to Monkey every night but his Dad is only home to do that once a week so I can see this working really well here for some more Daddy reading time. Also my parents live in Spain, so I love the idea that they could read to him – forgetting the issue of getting the recorder to them and bakc – but nice idea! #TriedTested

  24. November 18, 2014 / 1:05 pm

    This would actually have come in real handy this past week since I lost my voice! Harry much prefers me reading to him over his Dad and has been upset that I haven't been able to. x

  25. newcastle familylife
    November 18, 2014 / 1:11 pm

    This would be great for the nights when my partner is at work and misses bedtime as my daughter gets upset when daddy is not home to read her a bedtime story and put her to bed x #TriedTested

  26. November 18, 2014 / 1:19 pm

    Sounds a great idea for grandparents and parents who can't be there at bedtime #triedandtested

  27. Clare Nicholas
    November 18, 2014 / 1:40 pm

    Like the idea of grandparents reading to the kids. I doubt I would use it personally as it would be a novelty item here I'm sure

  28. November 18, 2014 / 2:44 pm

    I saw this advertised on tv the other day. It looks great and Dinosaur Roar is my little boy's fav book. #triedtested

  29. Gym Bunny Mummy
    November 18, 2014 / 3:16 pm

    This sounds fab, agreed that I wouldn't use it very often but I think it would be perfect for when my little man stayed at grandparents

  30. Mummy Melton
    November 18, 2014 / 4:02 pm

    It is a great idea. For us it would be great for grandparents to read a story as they are far away this would be ideal x

  31. November 18, 2014 / 4:04 pm

    This is so cute! My son likes to spend time reading alone after story time at night and I think he'd love this.

  32. November 18, 2014 / 8:28 pm

    What a clever idea. I haven't heard of anything like this #Triedtested

  33. November 18, 2014 / 9:40 pm

    Interesting idea, it would be good for when kids stay at grannies house. #triedtested

  34. November 19, 2014 / 12:45 am

    I think you are right about the relatives thing….that's a great idea to have nana or grandad etc to record a story for them 🙂 I know my lg would enjoy that! #triedandtested x

  35. November 19, 2014 / 6:49 pm

    What a great concept, like you, I probably wouldn't use it all that much but when it comes to opening childrens eyes to the beauty of books anything is worth a go x

  36. November 19, 2014 / 7:31 pm

    I agree that it isnt an everyday thing but is good if one parent isnt around as much or family live far away. Plus i love the idea from Jo that they could listen to their voices when theyre older! #triedandtested

  37. November 19, 2014 / 7:44 pm

    The technology these days is amazing. What a clever idea. Beats the cassette player I used to record stories on!

  38. Jo Nicholson
    November 19, 2014 / 9:03 pm

    It does seem a good idea for parents who are away a lot but I do love our bedtime stories so O will be stuck with me for a while longer. Great to hear your views on it though xx

  39. Eline Alcocer
    November 21, 2014 / 8:46 am

    I like the sound of this, not for my husband or I but for the grandparents to record something with. We live very far away from both sets of grandparents and M is now getting to an age where he misses them.

  40. Stacey G
    November 23, 2014 / 10:10 pm

    This looks brilliant, what a fab tech device!

  41. November 24, 2014 / 9:50 am

    What a great idea for when a parent is travelling, lovely that the child can still hear them read a story 🙂 #Read with me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.