There are some educational products out there that hit the shelves and become instant classics. Tickle Monster is one such product. Published in 2008, the book and its accompanying “Laughter Kit” have really taken off in the past year, winning several noteworthy accolades. As highlighted below, one of the great things about the product is the range of ages it appeals to.
The book itself was written by Josie Bissett (pictured right with her two kids), the actress best known for playing Jane Mancini on the TV show “Melrose Place.” It is her third book to date, but her first title geared towards children. If there is a young child on your list for holiday shopping this year, take note! Here’s the skinny on the Tickle Monster book and Laughter Kit and how they measure up in the Toy Talker’s 3F’s of toy quality.
Tickle Monster is a 36-page hardcover book, beautifully illustrated by Kevan J. Atteberry in bright pastels. It tells the story of a lovable monster who arrives from Planet Tickle to spread the joy of laughter on Earth. He takes us through all the great tickle spots—footsies, knees, the tummy or “tum-tum,” etc. The text itself is written entirely in cute rhyming couplets, which lends further playfulness to the whole concept.
The book is available as part of a boxed gift set called the Tickle Monster Laughter Kit, available at Learning Express stores nationwide. This kit is contained in a sturdy box, which is illustrated to match the book, closes with a magnetic flap, and will wrap beautifully as a holiday present. It also includes the all-important Magical Tickle Monster Mitts. They come in a soft blue to match the main character and are super-soft (I would love a blankie made out of the same material) with holes for fingers to poke through. (This feature negates any page-turning issues.)
All in all? Adorable. Charming and constructed with high quality materials. (The book is even printed with eco-friendly soy ink…need I say more?)
The quote from author/actress Josie Bissett included on the inside cover of the Laughter Kit reads:
Some of the best days of childhood are those spent with
our parents and grandparents in play and laughter.
That’s what this wonderful kit is all about.
I take that, if anything, as the “mission” of the Tickle Monster book and Laughter Kit. So how does it do in real life? I think this video says it all, and there are dozens of them on YouTube with similar scenes of kids cracking up. (Note: Some parents wear the mitts themselves while others give the mitts to the child, which I hadn’t thought of until I started watching all of these.)
While the book is appropriate for any kid twelve months and up, children who are older (perhaps even up to about eight years old) will still find it hilarious. Check out this video for proof!
So, the official consensus on whether the Tickle Monster Laughter Kit makes kids laugh? A resounding YES.
I think this category is sort of inherent in the product itself, but it’s worth mentioning that the whole Tickle Monster experience is fun for everyone involved—the child, whoever is reading aloud, anyone watching, and, of course, anyone getting tickled. The concept manages to incorporate reading (check out the previous article about the importance of reading aloud) with an age-old game between parents and their children.
At Learning Express we’re always looking for new products that make learning fun, and this is the perfect example. A child may be anticipating the next round of tickling, but while they’re at it, their eyes are on the page, learning to recognize words and building essential skills.