When we were picking a name for Judah, we got quite a bit of flack about our choice. We stuck to our guns and our little man has the officious moniker Judah Ebenezer Robert. Impressive, eh? There’s a lot of meaning in that name which makes it very special to us, his family. Still, we do get looks when people hear his name, so when a company called CrossTimber offered us a video sharing with Judah why his name is special, I bit.
The company is called CrossTimber – Name Meaning Gifts. They offer a variety of personalized products for your child’s name. The product is highly personalized in the case of our video, Your Amazing Name – Personalized Adventures for EVERY name!
The video begins with a piece of artwork that Judah created with his sister Emily. It’s one of his favorites and he keeps it in the front of his school binder. As soon as he saw his artwork being used on TV, he was intrigued.
The room where the story begins is filled with Judah’s name. Sometimes Judah, sometimes Judah Ebenezer, the name is all over. For Judah, who is four, this was pretty great because he is working on name and letter recognition. (He can usually recognize his own name–although sometimes mistakes his name for Jesus, juice, or justice. He’s four. I have mistakenly closed letters with “In Christy,” instead of “In Christ,” so I’m not judging the guy.) Seeing his own name in print in different fonts and scripts was a great exercise for him.
The main character throughout the story is a talking pencil named Benjamin. Judah, of course, is another main character whose presence is indicated by the other characters as they introduce him to new friends and address him through the screen.
The essential message of the story is that God named Judah a very special name and his name has meaning. This is portrayed through characters such as the pencil, talking stars, a lamb, and a wise owl with a terrific speaking voice.
The level of personalization is pretty great in my opinion (although one of my girls wishes Judah was a visual character in the form of a slightly personalized cartoon boy). Judah’s name is represented visually throughout. The characters address him by name throughout, and it sounds quite natural–it isn’t the automated digital voice on the other end of the line when you’re trying to pay a hospital bill.
Also, the artwork that it opens with is Judah’s and plays a prominent role in the show. At the end Judah is in the credits–both his name and a stunningly handsome photograph.
There is also a letter about the meaning of his name that I wrote which a lady with a lovely voice read out loud at the end of the movie. That made Judah smile very sweetly. I thought that part was an excellent touch!
I was very pleased with the message of salvation in Judah’s movie. I was also pleased with how they made God’s salvation a very personal reality for Judah. We strive to do the same thing, so this is a lovely tool to help in that singularly important mission.
Judah enjoyed the video very much and was very intent on watching it…although he did wander off twice to ask about cookies, which is legit when you’re four…or 46. Look at this intent expression!
Our video came with a series of downloadable activities, all of which include Judah’s name in some form. Everything from handwriting practice to mazes to word finds were available to print. Some of them are a little beyond his skill level, but would be great for Eliana (7) or Rebecca (11).
The information form asks for pronunciations of names if anything is unusual. Unfortunately, they pronounced our last name, and I didn’t know they would be reading the parents’ last names out loud, and I didn’t give a phonetic aid for Bagasao. Fortunately, they got it closer than 98% of the rest of y’all do, so that wasn’t too bad. Still, the kids laughed out loud and wanted to hear the slight mispronunciation over and over. DO add phonetic pronunciation guides when you feel it might be necessary.
If you’re thinking about giving this as a Christmas gift, there are gift certificates available so that you can purchase it, but the parent can fill out the information. Or you can jump right in and fill out the information yourself. If you don’t have all the information, you don’t have to personalize it as much as I did. You can simply send the name of the child. I opted for maximum personalization–Judah’s artwork, his photograph, his name, a nickname, whom the video is from, and a letter about how he was named. I fell that keeps him more engaged, but it’s also a valuable faith tool with just the name.
In my opinion, this is a lovely gift for a child around Judah’s age. Younger or older children would enjoy it as well, but my 11-year-old decided she was too old. Our seven-year-old would have really enjoyed it with her name on it, and I could see my kids loving it as young as two. In fact, Ellie (7) asked if we’d make her one. Again, the activities that are included (with mine they were a downloadable PDF) range in skill level from great for Judah (4) to great for Rebecca (11).
If your kids need to be hyper-entertained with lots of action and screen shifts (like, I dunno, Ninjago maybe?), they might not remain captivated through the whole thirty-minute production. There are some slower parts, and it isn’t high action. It’s “high message.” It’s still engrossing, and I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to give this as a great faith-based, you-are-special gift!
Just a funny here: despite the amount of time I spent on the personalization aspect of the video, I never actually mentioned his full name, “Judah Ebenezer Robert.” There’s Eb, Judah, Judah Ebenezer, Bobert, Judah Ben-Bob, but never Judah Ebenezer Robert. Ha ha! I have issues.
You can get a better idea of other families, their video options, and the ages of their children by reading other Homeschool Crew reviews right here.