The Tree, The Key & Me Personalised Book Review


Reviewed by Jayne Knight

A personalised book with a difference.

We have all experienced personalised books that are mass produced with a generic character. This book breaks the boundaries.

Published by Librio at a cost of £19.99, this book is the ultimate in personalisation. At the start of the process you are asked the initial question of boy/girl and name. It is from this point that the creativity really begins with endless permutations. By clicking on to a variety of options; language, skin tone, hair colour and style, eye colour and glasses you can build up a profile of the child for whom the book is intended, putting them into them firmly in the action.

Along the way you can preview your ‘person’, returning and tweaking your selections if you are not entirely happy. The only disadvantage I can find is the failure to include children of all ethnicities. This may be pernickety, but in a country of diverse communities, I feel this could be addressed.

Thus said, because of the degree of information given to the publisher, you do truly have something special. In total I have counted inclusion of the child’s name 26 times and 22 pictures which prevents any ideas of mass production but will inevitably slow down the print process. I would recommend that when ordering this book, you leave adequate time for delivery. You are informed at the final point of order where you stand in the print queue.

From the front cover, which states ‘a story for…’, there is a picture of the child. The first page is a dedication, which is scripted in such a way that the purchaser can sign it before passing it on to the intended recipient, making the intended gift all the more special.

The following 36 pages, all made from recycled paper, tell a story which is both engaging in its fiction and educational at the same time. There is so much to explore within the text, written by Madeleine Sheen, whilst the illustrations by Nicholas Elliott add emphasis to the story, in their own way promoting further discussion.

The story is one of an incredible journey of friendship, bravery and magic, when ‘me’ finds a key that opens the door into another realm, where woodland creatures can talk. With the help of ‘me’ a colourless forest is put to rights, once the grumpy witch has been located. The story is simple enough to be enjoyed by pre-school children yet has a vocabulary that would appeal to an older reader.

To summarise, what I initially though would be a high price for a child’s book, can be easily accounted for in the technological excellence of its design and uniqueness. It is a gift that will bring both excitement and joy to the recipient.

Rating: 4.5/5

RRP: £19.99

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