17 July 2022

WONDERBLY review - are the personalised stories & books for children really so wonderful and - most importantly - worth it?

Hi Everyone,

If you have come across Wonderbly books before, you probably wondered if they indeed are as wonderful as the name suggests, right? What makes them special? Are they worth the expense? 

Before I start my review, I would like to come clean - I have recently become a Wonderbly Ambassador, and I am writing this review with that role in mind, however - as you'll read in the next few moments, I have been a big fan of their stories for years now (hence why I became the Ambassador in the first place - I have been stalking their brand for a good while & using/buying their products, too!), and so I can assure you that my review is absolutely honest, and the opinions (both good & bad!) are my own. 


How it all started... 

I came across the Wonderbly website a few years ago, and I fell in love with the idea. A one of a kind personalised book with original artwork, printed just for the recipient - what's not to love?!

Back then, only a handful of stories were available, but even they were enough to get me interested. "The little girl/boy who lost her/his name" seemed so fun!

I ordered one as a christening gift for a friend's baby, just to try it out, and... I got hooked! I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the books, too. After the first order, I must have made at least 5 or 6 more, before I had kids of my own and could finally have my own children become the protagonists of the stories...


What I like:

1. Personalisation is of course the number 1 factor for opting for these books - it's extremely exciting for kids to see their own name and a little character that looks very much like themselves feature in the stories. When my kids were very little - I was probably more excited than them about this fact, let's be honest, but as they grew bigger, their excitement kept growing, too! My daughters are 4 & 7 now, and they are both equally enthusiastic and curious about the stories & artwork. "How did they know what I look like, Mama? How did they know that I am older/younger?". Every time the stories are read in our household (and it's VERY often, trust me!), the wondering begins... One thing to note here is that not all stories have the same level of personalisation, so if you're after a lot of information specific to the recipient, as well as the possibility to really customise the physical characteristics of the protagonist - you might want to play around with the various available stories, to find what you're after!

2. Preview: when making my first order, I was quite surprised that I got to preview the whole story before committing to my purchase - I would have expected to be able to read a few lines from random pages, but being able to see everything page by page was new to me. I really enjoy this feature, as it helps me determine whether or not the story I am after will be a good fit for its recipient(s).

3. Options for siblings: the newest addition to our own Wonderbly book collection is "That's my cake" - it's one of the options where siblings are featured together in the same story. It's been a real hit with my girls - they are literally squealing with excitement whenever we reach for this book, and they know their respective characters' lines by heart - I don't even need to read half of the story anymore, LOL! It has definitely made our evening story time much calmer, as there is no fighting over whether it is "a story for babies" or "too boring cause I am too little for it". Plus, you get more value for your money, too (since it can be gifted to more than one child), which is always a bonus in my eyes.

4. Artwork & quality: this is a bit of a tricky one, as art is obviously very subjective. I must admit, I personally find some of the characters in the stories and some of the colour choices a bit scary/gloomy, but to be perfectly honest - my kids have never seen these that way! So maybe it's just an age thing? Not sure, but either way - most of the illustrations that I have seen so far are truly wonderful, original and fun, and - like I previously mentioned - the quality of the books is really great, too! 

5. Free note/dedication: as if getting a story personalised with your own details was not enough, Wonderbly also let the purchaser add a free note/dedication at the start of the book. They even help with some really lovely and thoughtful suggestions on what the message could be (which varies, depending on the story you're ordering)! In my opinion, it makes the books even more special. 

6. Soft/hard cover: it's lovely to have the option to decide whether the book should have a soft or hard cover. We have tried both, and either option appears to be really durable, but of course the hard cover makes the books present themselves on the bookshelf even better!

7. Language variety: I absolutely love the fact that the stories can be ordered in various languages - I have friends all over the world (and I am sure that I'm not the only one!), and it is great to be able to surprise them & their little ones with a present in their native language. I have tried a few of the available options so far, and have been told by the recipients that the translations were really well done, so I can only hope that it's the case for all of them!

8. Age variety: you can find a story suitable for pretty much everyone amongst the Wonderbly collection at this stage (teenagers might be a bit tricky, but then again - teenagers are tricky to please anyway, LOL) - and they don't even cater only for children anymore; there are options for adults, too (including Grandparents)! I am yet to try these out, so I cannot comment much on them, but the ones currently available look really fun, and Wonderbly's offer keeps expanding every so often! 


Are there any cons...?

1. Price: let's address the elephant in the room - these books are definitely not cheap! And even though we really enjoy them, we probably won't own the whole collection (especially as they keep coming out with sooooo many fun new options!). However, I find these to be a great gift/keepsake for special occasions, and this is precisely the reason why I have been and will be purchasing these. I have honestly gifted more of these than I have purchased for our own family - maybe I should start saving on gifts for others? ;o)

2. Artwork: because of the subjectivity of the interpretation of artwork, I am putting this category in both the pros and cons. As stated above, I personally found some of the colour & character choices potentially a little bit scary (for kids, not for me!), but it's important for me to write it again - my kids don't see these the same way I do. That being said, other kids might react to them differently. 

3. Rhymes & rhythm: at times, I find some of the lines a little bit clunky - the rhymes are not ideal, and the rhythm just isn't quite there. However, these are in a minority, thankfully, and to be honest - they are not the only stories that sometimes struggle with such issues (or maybe I'm just too harsh & picky?!).

4. Missing Polish translations: this might sound really random and at the same time overly specific, but as a native Polish person - I am very much missing the possibility of being able to order the Wonderbly stories in Polish, both for my own kids as well as for my friends'. I am aware that many other languages are obviously overlooked also, but - since this is MY review - I am sticking to MY pros & cons! :o) Not all of the stories appear to be currently available in the 12 languages Wonerbly are offering either - fingers crossed that this will change over time! 


In conclusion:

Pricing is a very important factor for me, so I will definitely keep buying these and gifting them to the special people in my life, but they will be purchased for special occasions & as a treat for my own kids. I hope that they will keep bringing as much joy & excitement to all the recipients as they have been so far! 


Do I/we have a favourite?

Our current favourite is "That's my cake", and there are a good few reasons for it: firstly, it's the newest addition to our collection, and we all know that new usually equals the most exciting in children's world. Secondly, it's fascinating to my girls that they are both featured in the story (it's the first Wonderbly story for siblings that we have), and that there are so many details in the book that they can relate to and are about them (loving the age difference facts!). Personally, my favourite part is that the book teaches them to work together and to share, and we have started referencing to the story in our every day life when having trouble with the above (and it is helping!), which is a big bonus. Finally, we have the hard cover version of the book, and it's simply sooooo pretty! :o) 




If you are new to Wonderbly, however, and want to get a book for just one special little person in your life - the "Lost My Name" series is a bestseller for a reason & is available in loads of languages, too - everyone loves to see their name spelled in a book! 


The fun part - discounts & an opportunity to join in:

If you are still reading - I hope that you enjoyed my review, and that it helped you decide whether or not the Wonderbly books are for you (they're worth a try, trust me!). If you have any questions - please let me know in the comments, or via the "contact me" form. 

If you would like a bit of help with the cost - I have a 15% discount code that can be used towards your entire purchase on the Wonderbly website. Please note that the code is only valid for a certain amount of time & uses, so if you have tried it and it's not working - again, please contact me either via the comments or the "contact me" form, and I will do my best to get you a new one! Current code: W2QPWJ2 (as previously stated, I am currently affiliated with the brand, so your purchase using my code will result in me getting a small commission from the sale, but this is absolutely at no additional cost to you!). 

Finally, if you are interested in becoming a Wonderbly Ambassador yourself - join our team to complete fun missions and earn rewards (free books!).  Follow this link, and feel free to reach out to me if you have any queries or issues with signing up: https://api.brandbassador.com/s/1auj78

I hope you and your kids get to enjoy these fun & magical stories together,

Stay safe,

Mirella


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