Google Home Mini now adds sound effects to your kid's story time

Google Home Mini

Does your child’s nightly story time need some spicing up? Google is here to help with a new, genuinely adorable feature called Read Along with Disney that adds sound effects to a select handful of Disney-published children's books. 

So far, that line-up of books includes Moana, Toy Story 3, Coco and Jack Jack Attack, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Three Little Pigs and Mickey Mouse and his Spaceship, plus one holiday title – Mickey’s Christmas Carol – that will arrive in time for the holidays.

You can activate the skill by saying “Hey Google, let’s read along with Disney” and reading along in one of the aforementioned books. Once your Google Home Mini hears a key phrase, like “...and he gave the Legends Guitar a strum”, a line from Coco, the Home Mini will make a strumming sound. 

Right now, the feature is only available on the Google Home Mini, but Google says it will add the feature to more devices, including the newly released Google Home Hub, by the end of the year.

Google Home Mini is a family affair

To us, the storybook feature feels very reminiscent of the old children's books with small speakers built-in, but modernized for the smart home era and could be a really useful tool for parents trying to compete with YouTube videos.

And yes, while you could make the case that it's a little creepy for a device to listen to you read a story to your child, there doesn't seem to be any ill intentions (or data collection) going on here.

The partnership between Google and Disney is nothing new (the pair released a trio of Google Home-enabled Disney games back in September), but this is the first time Disney has released a physical product that interfaces directly with a Google Home device – potentially setting the foundation for something bigger down the road.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.