Storytime Pets is a “talking” stuffed animal that they say reads from 12 stories and 20 songs from an app that is included with your purchase. To use it, they say to plug it in (via its included USB or audio cable) to your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. But is it as magical and musical as they claim?
Storytime Pets is sold by Emson Inc, a direct marketing company they say has been family-run for 65 years and is based in New York City. Emerson sells items like the XHose and Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer, amongst other gadgets, which have spotty track records, according to consumer reviews. (However, they still get an A+ from the BBB.)
“Story time is any time with Storytime Pets!” is the refrain from the jingle in the ad. The infomercial goes on to show kids watching with amazement as their stuffed animal speaks and sings a variety of stories and songs. Moms chime in too, saying how much their kids love their new toy.
How Storytime Pets Works
There isn’t a lot that we know about Storytime Pets as of this writing. There is no size information on the website or at customer service. (They make it appear to be large and cuddly enough for a small child to hug and sleep next to.)
According to customer service, Storytime Pets has both a USB plug and an audio cable poking out its rear (although the infomercial seems to only show an audio cable); inside the plushie is a speaker. They say, when you plug in the toy to your iPhone or Android smartphone (with the audio cable) or into a iPad or tablet (with the USB) it will connect to an “exclusive” app. (They say the app information is provided upon purchase.)
Next, you or your child will scroll through the available stories and songs (12 and 20 respectively) and click “play”. The toy’s mouth will then open and close in sync to the pre-recorded voice, and the sound will appear to come from inside.
Storytime Pets Stories and Songs
Storytime Pets comes with an array of classic stories and songs every child at least knows if not loves, including:Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, LIttle Red Riding Hood, Tortoise and the Hare, and 8 more; songs include B-I-N-G-O, Do Your Ears Hang Low, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Old MacDonald.
However, stories and songs are only as good as their performance, and there is no way to sample the quality of the audio. (A search of the iTunes store returned no results, and neither did Google.) It’s also unclear how long each story is, or the quality of the pictures that supposedly go along with it in the app.
Storytime Pets includes:
- Storytime Pet (Unicorn, Dragon, Monster, Puppy, Lamb, Boy Bear, or Girl Bear)
- App with 12 stories and 20 songs
Storytime Pets Costs
$36.94 ($29.99 plus $6.99 S&H). They say you have 30 days to try Storytime Pets; if you don’t like it, return within that time frame for your money back (minus S&H and what it costs for you to ship it back.)
The Arbitration Agreement
Some companies (like Emerson) feel they need to protect themselves from class action lawsuits or jury trials and limit the amount of damages people can claim from using their products. When you click “Process Order” on Storytime Pets, you are indeed signing away these rights, which automatically make us suspicious as to what they are selling. (The fine print does indicate you can nullify this agreement by returning the product within 15 days.)
Bottom Line: Is Storytime Pets a Scam?
This product may indeed be interesting and fun for your child if it does work as they say – the key word here being “if” – because there is no information as to its size or how it functions. It doesn’t indicate it needs batteries: a USB plug usually powers itself, but not an audio cable. It says it works with iPhone – if it does, and you use the audio cable, what makes the toy’s mouth open and close? (We are awaiting word from Emson.) In the meantime, if you really do want a stuffed animal to talk and read to your child, you may consider buying a puppet and adapting a goofy voice. If you do order Storytime Pets and you don’t like it, be sure to return within 15 days or you lose the right to sue when your child cries themselves to sleep because of nightmares.