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Melody is a turtle. She is also the central component of a Leapfrog product. As befitting her role in the product, her name forms part of the title which is Melody the Musical Turtle.
Aimed at the 2+ year age group, Melody sets out to help the young child develop the core learning skills of number, colour recognition and memory skills. These tasks are carried out through the use of one and two-player activities that include play-along songs, pattern repetition, colour recognition and finding numbers with a choice of modes. The use of lights, music and voice instructions help hold the attention of the young child when interacting with this product.
With dimensions of 177 x 92 x 190 mm (W x H x D), Melody’s dark green outer shell houses ten large, numbered buttons arranged in a 3 by 4 by 4 formation. When pressed the buttons light up and respond with sound effects. Situated on either side of the turtle’s body are slider switches. The switch on the left is used to select from the three available modes of Easy, Challenge and Music. On the right side, the switch is used to power up Melody and adjust the volume level between low and high.
Powering up Melody, in whatever mode is the selected choice, the first question asked will relate to the number of players. This can either be one or two players with the appropriate button being pressed. The chosen response will have no effect on the order or type of tasks being offered. It does, however make a difference to the way the game or activity is conducted. One main difference will involve Melody organising which player is in charge as they perform their alternate tasks.
When playing in Easy mode, the child will be asked to press a specific button identified either by its colour or number. This will continue until a mistake is made. Follow up tasks involve lighting up all the buttons as quickly as possible by pressing the buttons individually rather than laying a hand or hands across several buttons at once. Only buttons pressed individually will be recognised. There is also a task that involves pressing a random selection of buttons that light up.
Moving the mode switch to Challenge brings up a task that requires the child to duplicate an ever expanding sequence of flashing buttons, identified either by number or colour, In one-player mode, Melody randomly selects the addition numbers as they are added to the sequence. But in two-player mode, the current player adds the new button before passing control over to the other player. The follow up tasks are remarkably similar to those used in Easy mode.
The third mode concentrates its functionality on music as simply tunes are played. If the child does not guess the title of the tune then Melody will reveal its title. I was unable to detect any difference in the order in which the tunes were played. After each tune, the child has the opportunity to create their own tune with the assistance of some backing rhythm sounds delivered by Melody.
Whatever the mode and whatever the quality of performance of the child, Melody’s comments are wholly positive with congratulations and encouragement. Even the failure to press a single button receives encouragement as if success has been achieved.
This Melody product is powered by four AA batteries. A set of batteries is produced and they come pre-installed in a compartment located on the base of the unit held in placed with a single screw that requires a Philips type screwdriver. Leapfrog recommends that these batteries are replacement as soon as possible due to the fact that they will have been used when the product was on display in a retailer.
I expected more variety of the content delivered by this product which seemed to be over reliant on repetition. Currently Melody The Musical Turtle is listed on Amazon.co.uk priced at £32.99.
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