November 19th, 2010

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and SmartyAnts.

Bug and her new pet Spikey

We have a new pet in our family. Isn’t he cute? His name is Spikey. Bug named him, of course.

Spikey is a robotic dog who sings silly songs about the alphabet and rhyming and phonics. He’s great. Usually I hate electronic toys. They are loud and annoying and there’s always that creepy chance that they might suddenly go off in the middle of the night and freak me out. That doesn’t happen outside of horror movies of course, but I’ve always mistrusted electronic toys ever since my mom bought a Furby that had a short in its electrical system. She keeps it on a shelf in the bathroom next to a stack of hand towels. It still scares me to this day.

You know why I like Spikey? Because he’s teaching my daughter phonics. We’ve had Spikey for a week now and Bug is already walking around the housing singing “Kuh and at spell cat!” at random intervals. I’m sure there is still a chance that Spikey could start rhyming in the middle of the night and scare the crap out of me but I’m overriding my fear because I see the benefits of a fun teaching toy.

Spikey plays games

Spikey also came with a month’s subscription to the Smarty Ants program on smartyants.com, “an innovative site that includes a vast variety of stories and games to help children ages four to seven develop reading skills.” What’s cool about this website is that it includes the dog in the stories and games. Of course once we logged into SmartyAnts.com we then found out that Spikey was not Spikey’s real name. We were a bit disappointed but we got over that. The registration process had a list of 100 or so clichéd dog names we could pick for Spikey. We chose Chloe as a second name.

Smarty Ants

The games, however, are really good. It took me a while to figure out that my new laptop needed the latest version of Java (which was actually pretty easy to fix once I realized what was wrong), and the program took a good 45 minutes to load. But since we got all the wrinkles ironed out, it has been really fast and fun for Bug. The graphics are pretty good for such an interactive game and Bug quickly picked up what she needed to do to play the game. I will even say that I walked away for a good hour and not once did I hear the tell-tale eleventy-syllable “Mooooo-ooooom” call that inevitably comes every time Bug tries to play any sort of game on my laptop. To me that is a sign of a good game.

giving Spikey the eye huggable

I’ve been a fan of LeapFrog educational games for a while so I was happy to read that SmartyAnts learning systems were also developed in collaboration with Mike Woods, the founder of LeapFrog. Of course I’m not going to make any claims that Spikey taught my daughter to read, it’s only been a week. But I will say that both Bug and I give this toy and website membership a big thumbs up. It’s fun, cute and SMART!

Since this is a review and reviews always have a question to make sure you’re paying attention I have a question for you! If you had a cute furry robotic dog who talked what would you name it? Leave your comment below and you will be eligible to win $100 Visa gift card and a Phonics Reading Pup with a 1 year SmartyAnts.com subscription—all from BlogHer! You can also visit Blogher’s Round-Up Page for more chances to comment and win.

No duplicate comments.

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d) Follow this link and provide your email address and your response to the sweepstakes prompt

e) Sweepstakes ends at 5 PM PST on December 17, 2010

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

101 Responses to “Spikey!”

  1. Susan Says:

    This seems so cool! My daughter is just a few months younger than Bug and I think she’d love one for Christmas. Hmm.

    We’d name our dog Fred! Or Steve. I always love people names for pets. Or fake pets.

  2. Carrie S. Says:

    I love educational toys. We have those stuffed birds that play their birdcall sound, but otherwise all our stuffed toys are cut but lacking in the education department (she does love playing with them though!).

    I’m not sure why but the name Roger is sticking out in my mind of some BIZARRE reason. That or Harold. Call me crazy. (That reminds me of a t-shirt I saw this morning. It said, “Allergy Alert! This t-shirt may contain a NUT.” I chuckled aloud.)

  3. Kuky Says:

    Toys DO go off in the middle of the night in real life! But not in a horror movie by itself randomly fashion. Isabelle has a baby doll that makes creepy baby noises and moves. It’s light activated. There have been many nights when the kids are asleep and I walk into our quiet living room turning on the light to be greeted with eerie baby noises. Quite often my reaction is pure terror until I realize it’s that doll. Happily Isabelle doesn’t ask to have the batteries replaced often.

    And a dog name though I’m not quite sure I want to even win. I’ve always been partial to Rover. That’s what I named my pound puppy.

  4. Danielle Says:

    I would name it Bernard (my cat is Bianca from “The Rescuers”). Although, I would take it to school and my students would rename it. Currently we have a stuffed moose named Michael Joseph Jenkins Jr. the Moose. My students are very into nicknames. We have Peanut, Ladybug, Mumbles, McGee, Jelly, and Bean currently.

  5. bethany Says:

    Reminds me of a stuffed dog I had for years, but of course at this point I can’t remember what I named him, so … Pepper seems appropriate for some bizarre reason. Can’t say why though … maybe the salt/pepper hair? Anyhow. Big fan of LeapFrog here too, never had a learning toy of theirs we didn’t love. If you don’t have a LeapPad (he thing with interchangeable audio/real books, I’d highly recommend it, we still love our stoop-sale one from 4 years ago!

  6. joanne Says:

    hmm, i would name him marbles! and he would answer to it!

  7. Bekah Says:

    Maybe Santa’s Little Helper 2 – Simpsons fan.

  8. Celeste Says:

    He’d have to be named Merlin — it’s the name of my mom’s dog. But somehow my kids have named every toy dog, and the real fish, in honour of Grandmas dog. Makes no sense to me, but I’m not four.

  9. Tracy S. Says:

    I’d name it Wolfie, well because it looks like a wolf. Or since it teaches reading skills, maybe Wolfie McReaderson.

  10. beyond Says:

    i would name him oscar. i had a cat named oscar when i was a kid, ans i’ve always thought that it’s a good name!

  11. Colleen Says:

    Cute Spikey is a big step from a fritzy furby in the bathroom! I’d probably name him Spock because of the ears (and robotics tend to have a limited show of emotions.)

  12. Colleen Says:

    Also tweeted: http://twitter.com/sunnymum/status/6741573043752960

  13. Aurora Says:

    I would name her Lola. I just can’t help it, I love that name!

  14. Susan Smith Says:

    I’d name her after our dog Daisy. This is a great program to teach children.

  15. Susan Smith Says:


  16. Tweets that mention secret-agent-josephine.com » Blog Archive » Spikey! -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Susan Smith, Colleen . Colleen said: Win a Phonics Reading Pup with a 1 year SmartyAnts.com subscription + a Visa GC—all from #BlogHer http://tinyurl.com/237bcec @secretagentjo [...]

  17. Penny Britt Says:

    I would love to win this for my granddaughter. She would love it.

  18. Quanda Says:

    I’d name him Samson. Thanks!

  19. Quanda Says:

    Tweeted – http://twitter.com/Naddez/status/7177959551016960

  20. Donna C Says:

    Bug is so cute! My niece would really benefit from such a cute and educational toy!!!! We would have to name it Hazel or Ruby or Pearl!

  21. Quanda Says:


  22. jo's mom Says:

    B I was reading about this on another site and wondered if bug would get one now we know what to get her for her birthday.

  23. B Smith Says:

    This is adorable!!! I have not seen these yet! Thanks for the review!

  24. chelsie Says:

    Ummm…. Creepy? :-) I’d probably pick an Alaskan place name like Taku or Toklat or something… but my three year old daughter says, “Alli.” But she also wanted to make sure that we weren’t getting a REAL dog… because a real one would eat her baby dolls, she said. Crazy what they come up with, no?

    But thank you for the opportunity to enter! :-)

  25. Danielle Says:

    I would name him Sir. Barksalot.

  26. Danielle Says:

    I followed the link and entered.

  27. Georgia Says:

    How CUTE is that PUP! My grand kids would go nuts over this whole package and the dog looks just like their dog!

    gmissycat at yahoo dot com

  28. Georgia Says:

    Tweeted here too!


    gmissycat yahoo dot com

  29. Penny Pavlicka Says:

    My granddaugher would love this! We could name him Champ.

  30. Susan S Says:

    If I had a smart, talking dog, I would name it Genius. I am sure my nephew, who would receive this as a present, would name it something completely different.

  31. Susan S Says:

    I just tweeted http://twitter.com/rsmstahley/status/7628114981036032

  32. jo's mom Says:

    I think Cinder would be a good name

  33. Ashley Says:

    Well of course I would let my daughter choose the name, her school mascot is a husky, since he looks kind of like a husky, I have a feeling she might name him husky(she is literal like that).

  34. Sara B Says:

    Cute dog. I am thinking we might name him Chatty, because he likes to talk!

  35. Rachel Says:

    Stanley I think. That is a good strong faithful dog type of name. I clicked over just to read what you wrote, but then your “I hate electronics toys” line may have won me over. Since we are coming from the same perspective I am a little interested in this dog now. Perhaps he is the one to break the no battery toy policy. I hope you felt well enough to enjoy your ham, and I am sorry that you had to be on puke washing duty while you yourself we feeling sick.

  36. Heather Says:

    That is one CUTE furry educational toy.

    As for names, I would normally default to “Spot the RoBOT”- I like to rhyme like that. ;-) But Spot doesn’t really fit that cute Husky. So I am going with “Aurora” after the northern lights in Alaska.

  37. Carrie Says:

    A cute robotic dog that talked? I am so bad at naming things. I just asked Erik and he was quick with a reply: Talk-Bot.

  38. Karina Says:

    I would name it Lola.

  39. S.Lim! Says:

    My husband just said he would name it either Teddy or Huggie! what???

  40. Nicole C. Says:

    Love this dog and would really love to win one and name it Harry for my almost four year old daughter. Thanks!

  41. s Says:

    well, Spikey is an awfully cute name! I’d call it yukon! my son, not so sure what he’d call it – probably puppy or doggie!

  42. Mary M Says:

    I would like to win this for my new grand baby and I am sure my grand daughter will have a a real cute name for softy puppy as she loves puppies.

  43. Mary M Says:

    I tweeted
    marybug2 at yahoo.com

  44. Kerry Says:

    I’d really let my kids choose, but our real dog is named Laynee – so I bet our robotic dog would be named the same:)

  45. Kerry Says:

    tweeted: http://twitter.com/KerryBishop/status/9072404919746560

  46. Judith Says:

    my daughter homeschools. this would be a great addition

  47. Judith Says:


  48. Lara Says:

    I would let my daughter name the dog which would probably be “robot dog” or something equally descriptive. She doesn’t have the hang of coming up with unique names for her animals. This toy is pretty cool!

  49. Melanie Says:

    I’d name him Benny. :)

  50. Jess D Says:

    Based on the stuffed animals at our house, the dog would be named “Doggie.”
    *sigh* Baby dolls on the other hand get wonderfully creative names like “Sha-sha” and “Mingee.” No clue why the animals get left out.

  51. Lisa Says:

    Knowing my child, it would be named after a sport figure here in Phoenix; either Larry (Fitzgerald) or Justin (Upton)–his two current heroes. He loves his Leapster, so I hope this will satisfy his “can I play on your computer” desire.

  52. Jodi Says:

    Every stuffed animal in our house is named Max.. I have not been given a reason for this from my 5 year old…just Max. That is what makes me sure that this dog would be named Max!

  53. april yedinak Says:

    Haha! As if I would get to name it! My 6 year old names everything Bolt!

  54. Charity L. Says:

    Well, I think I would name him Balto:) He looks like the Balto dog. Please enter me in this giveaway. Thanks!

  55. Charity L. Says:

    And I tweeted about it.

  56. Sally Says:

    Skeezix. I had a dog when I was little that looked just like that, and his name was Skeezix. Not sure why I named him that.

  57. Yara Says:

    Max. Kevin calls every dog Max (just lie one of our real dogs is named) so a robotic dog would also end up being called Max.

  58. Meghan Says:

    I’d probably call him Scooter. I know that’s a super cliche dog name, but my pets have always had “real” people names, so it’d be fun to go to the other spectrum. :-)

  59. Stacey Says:

    I would name my dog Beasley after my first Beagle who I still miss!

  60. Kelley Says:

    If I had a robotic dog who talked, I think I would name him Rufus. I’m not sure why, but he looks like a Rufus to me.

  61. turkeylurker Says:

    We’d name it Oscar, after grandma’s dog.

  62. Anna b bonkers Says:

    Oh my goddness, that last photo of bug is the cutest ever!!

  63. Emily J Says:

    That’s easy, we’d name him Bowie, after the best dog in the whole wide world!

  64. Anne Says:

    My daughter names everything just what they are. Which gets rather confusing since there are a few “Dog”s and “Cat”s around the house. Sometimes it is “Baby Kitty” so that helps me out a bit. This guy would inevitably be “Daddy Dog” since it is bigger than her other dog. Silly girl .

  65. jamie Says:

    I love giving people names to animals. so maybe i’d name him Frank or Bud or Joe.

  66. Val Says:

    If I had a cute furry robotic dog who talked, I would name him Jelly Bean. I think it’s a fun name even though I don’t really like jelly beans.

  67. mollie Says:

    i would name him no name. we had a cat and a god named no name both were great

    molliemam87 at gmail dot com

  68. mollie Says:

    tweeted here


    molliemam87 gmail dot com

  69. Elizabeth Says:

    Definitely Lloyd, in honor of a furry friend no longer with us. He had cross eyes and loved people. This new Lloyd would never leave.
    I’m skeptical of these newfangled computer gadgets for kiddos, but would be willing to give it a shot and see what my little girl thought about it.

  70. Maria Says:

    I would name him Rusty.

  71. Cristine Says:

    I think that this dog looks like a wolfy. Looks like great fun!

  72. Dena Says:

    My daughter would love it, but she’s not too inventive with names. It would probably be “Puppy” or “doggy” or maybe what our pet name is for our real dog “fuzzy butt” (her real names is Pebbles).

  73. Lisa Foster Says:


  74. Lisa Foster Says:


  75. Rachel K Says:

    We would name our dog, Solomon after our doggie at home :)

  76. grenda Says:

    So cute! My daughter would call her “doggy” so I would be forced to name her. I’d go with Clarabelle, Daisy or Poppy. : )




    2ND ENTRY TWITTER twitter.com/#!/kytah00/status/12343474212835328 kytah00@yahoo.com

  79. Pamelotta Says:

    I think I would name the white one Isabell because I think she looks like an Isabell, but my 4 year old daughter would probably make up a name on the spot that no one else could pronounce!

  80. ria Says:

    I would call him Rex
    rmartinclarke at gmail dot com

  81. Mary W Says:

    I would name him Snowflake.

  82. Tabathia B Says:

    munchkin :)
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  83. Tabathia B Says:

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  84. rebecca Says:

    Furry, robotic dog that talks… We would name him Cocoa, we name all her dogs Cocoa.

  85. Becky Horn Says:

    I would really love to try this for my daughter she is in kindergarden now and is struggling with her letters and is in speech therapy, she was born early with lots of complications and is a little behind the rest of her class. This would be so helpful for her.

  86. Becky Horn Says:

    my tweet

  87. Abigail Says:

    John Wayne, of course.

  88. Howell Lee Says:

    this is such a cool toy and such a smart idea!

  89. Eugenie Wu Says:

    what a great idea, educational, fun and soft and warm for a child.

  90. Amber Says:

    My 4-year-old just looked at the picture of “Spikey” and said she would name it Fluff, but I think if it came down to it, she would name it Charlotte. Every stuffed animal and doll in the house is named Charlotte.

  91. angie Says:

    hmmm…what to name it…if it was the Husky, I would go with Alaska. If it was the white dog, Cotton! LOL

  92. angie Says:

    I tweeted here: http://twitter.com/#!/FotoMacro/status/14726518366273536

  93. scott Says:

    FUN! Great way to weed out those that are not reading…which I see there are a few! tsk tsk! LOL I would name HER because I think they look like hers Trixie!

  94. scott Says:

    my tweet http://twitter.com/#!/RePurrPussed/status/14728269626613760

  95. Anne Says:

    So cute, I’d name her Heidi.

  96. Anne Says:

    I tweeted

  97. Jill H. Says:

    I would name him Scruffy. I love that name.

  98. Jill H. Says:




  99. Mary O Says:

    I love a good computer game that a preschooler can actually do by themselves. I guess I would name it Clementine. I’ve always wanted to name a dog that.

  100. Donna B. Says:

    I’d name him Dogbot :)

  101. Donna B. Says:

    I tweeted http://twitter.com/simplydab/status/15479049023389696