Sunday, September 13, 2009

VTech's Bugsby Reading System

We already have and love the LeapFrog Tag reading system, so I was very interested to see what VTech's similar toy, the Bugsby Reading System was like.

I assumed that it would be almost exactly the same, but I was wrong. There were some very different—and cool—variations with the VTech version.

First, and most obviously, the "pen" is a character: Bugsby. This is really fun, especially for younger kids. Plus, many of VTech's books feature Bugsby, which makes for fun interaction between the pen and the book.

I thought Bugsby was incredibly adorable. His little antennae light up when you turn him on, which I thought was extremely fun. My kids liked him too.


The other major difference between Bugsby and the Tag is that the Bugsby system doesn't require a computer audio download to read the books. Each book comes with a cartridge (in a handy little compartment attached to the back cover) that you can put into Bugsby's back and then immediately start reading.


I LOVED this. The thing that bothers me the most about the Tag is that you have to download the audio for each book into your Tag before you can use it with your book. Honestly, it's not that hard, but each Tag Reader only holds five to ten books, depending which version you have. So if you have a lot of books, you have to go back and forth to your computer to switch the audio files in and out.

This is much easier. It is a little difficult for kids to get the cartridges in and out of Bugsby (my kids couldn't do it by themselves), but it is much easier than dealing with audio downloads. The downside is that cartridges can get lost, so you have to be very careful to stow them away back into their books when your child is done.

The books themselves are really cute and a lot of fun for young kids. Kids can touch Bugsby to any page in the book to hear the story or sounds. Plus there are games for every page, as well as a game at the end of the book that has the child look for things throughout the book, which is great to teach kids about the structure of books, page numbers, and the like.


There are a lot of Bugsby books to choose from. They are hardcover with thick, quality paper. Some are new and feature Bugsby. Some feature popular characters that your kids already love, such as the Wonder Pets, Max and Ruby, Scooby Doo, Olivia, and more.

All three of my kids (ages 4, 6, and almost 8) liked Bugsby. But Quinn (4) and Jack (6) loved it most.


I have to say that I was really pleased with the Bugsby Reading System and would definitely recommend it for young kids.

Honesty Clause: VTech gave me a complimentary Bugsby Reading System (which comes with a book) and two additional books. The Bugsby Reading System sells for $29.99. The books sell for $12.99 each.

10 comments:

Angel said...

So for someone deciding between the Vtech and Leapfrog reading systems, which one would you recommend? Are there advantages to the Leapfrog system?

Stimey said...

Hey, Angel. Honestly I think it is a matter of preference. If your kids tend to lose little parts, go with the LeapFrog. If they don't, go with the Vtech. I also think you should look at the libraries and see who has books your kids would prefer. The two readers are very similar, so I think if you're looking for a reading system, you can't go wrong with either of these.

Diana Glade said...

Thank you for this review. I have been trying to decide between the 2 versions for my older son and also debating about the Junior version for my younger son. I just have to ask...how did you get started doing this? How do you get companies to send you things to review? Just curious!

Stimey said...

Diana: I don't have your email, so I'll hope you end up back here. I would definitely chose one of the bigger kid versions. The Junior Tag is less likely to grow with your child.

I started getting inquiries after blogging for at least a year. After I started writing reviews (which you can do with things you buy or things that are sent to you), the pitches started increasing in frequency. I actually might write a post about this. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Alexis said...

Now that you have both reading systems, which one do you see your kids prefering more to play with? I'm still so undecided which one to get for Christmas. I'm drawn to the fact Tag has so many more books. I have three kids 6,4,and 2 so should I get both and let them share? If you personally were going to go out and buy one now which one would you go get?

Stimey said...

Alexis: I honestly think that the two systems are comparable, but honestly, I get a little annoyed at having to go to my computer to switch which book files are on the TAG. Although now they have Tags that have more memory, so you probably have to do that a lot less. And I think the TAG does offer a lot of book selections.

The VTech one is great. The only risk is that you might lose a cartridge (although some houses are more organized than mine. ;) )

I would really say you couldn't go wrong with either system, but go with whichever has the books you are interested in.

Meloney said...

Ok, I know this was a while ago, but I need help. I can't decide on which system TAG or Bugsy. Does the Bugsy system let the kids "sound out" words the way the TAG does? I can't find a post anywhere to answer this one question. Please help!

Stimey said...

Hey, Meloney, I honestly don't remember if Bugsy has that functionality. I would recommend emailing the people at VTech. I bet they would get back to you with an answer.

Anonymous said...

HANKS A LOT TO LET ME KNOW ABOUT BUSBY READING SYTEM. I ORDERED A BOOK FOR THE BUGSBY SYSTEM FROM MEIJAR, WHICH WAS ON SALE FOR 3.00 AND I BROUGHT THE BUGSBY SYSTEM FROM TARGET.COM FOR 18.98 FOR THIS YEAR CHRISTMAS FOR MY 2 YEAR OLD GRANDAUGHTER 2011. BEFORE YOU BUY THIS YEAR WHATEVER YOU GET. COMPARE PRICES ON NEXTEX. WHAT I BEEN DOING THIS YEAR. GREAT DEALS. BOUT FINISH WITH CHRISTMAS 2011 ALREADY. KIDS NEED LEARNING TOYS NOW TO HELP LEARN. I THINK BUGSBY IS GREAT FOR KIDS OF ANY AGE LEARNING IN SCHOOL OR AT HOME. OCTOBER 14,2011. 9:30PM

Nicole said...

I just bought the Bugsby reading system at Big Lots yesterday for $15. I called Vtech and was told that they stopped making that item this year and no longer have any of the books or systems available. They told me that I would only be able to find the books at the store if anyone even had them anymore. I'll be returning the one I purchased.