Read with Me VioletBB has a new pet. She’s called Violet (pictured) and since she landed on our doormat last weekend they’ve been everywhere together. And I mean everywhere. I’ve found Violet perched on top of the toilet, sitting on the open dishwasher door and being ‘fed’ apple juice. I even had to wrestle her from BB’s arms at 9pm on Tuesday night because, despite having switched her off, BB had turned her on again and the pair were chattering away in the darkness to the dulcet tones of Frere Jacques.

Violet is in fact a puppy from LeapFrog’s range of interactive learning toys, and comes with an electronic collar programmed to read from a set of five accompanying board books (pictured).

Read with Me Violet 1

I’m afraid we haven’t been using her as LeapFrog intended. BB is quite interested in the books, which we have read several times, and is inseparable from Violet, but put the two together and you’ve lost her. No doubt this is simply down to the peculiarities of my child, who associates story time with nothing but a traditional book and a beaker of milk. But if you have a child who finds it hard to sit still and concentrate on a story, I should think Read with Me Violet (rsp £29.99) – or her male counterpart Scout – is just the thing.

Violet (is purple the new pink?) asks questions throughout the story – she is programmed with more than 70 – to help build comprehension skills and has five interactive ‘spots’ that respond to touch. Pat her back to answer a question, press one paw for songs, another for more responses and kiss her cheek to hear her say BB’s her best friend. If only BB would say I’m her best friend when I kiss her on the cheek.

Misery Guts, being Misery Guts, says the electronic voice is driving him up the wall already, but I disagree: that electronic voice has kept BB occupied and enabled me to go to the loo, put on my make up and dry my hair in peace all week. I think I might go and give her a kiss on the cheek and tell her she’s my best friend too.