March is in like a lion, but sunny days will be here soon, meaning long days spent outside with the family. And what is better than background music to go along with your day at the beach? An iPod speaker station is the perfect solution for keeping tots entertained and setting a fun mood.

I tried out the Julius Dance Machine Speaker Station ($100) that Paul Frank had sent over to see if it could, in fact, get the party started. Made for all iPod devices (although adaptors are not included), it easily mounts your iPod and charges it while playing. The speaker dock comes with an adaptor, but also includes a rechargeable battery, meaning it is made for travel.

Who is this designed for? What I liked about this kid-friendly speaker dock was its ease of use — there's only a few buttons, including the volume buttons, which are on the monkey's ears, and the power button at the top of his head.

What sets it apart? At first, I wondered exactly what would make this simple speaker dock a "dance machine," but I quickly realized why it's a good purchase. Moms and dads can take it along to a picnic or kid's birthday party and get up to six hours of playtime on the rechargeable battery.

What did it sound like? The speaker sound was clear, and the volume reached a loud level. I didn't test it outside, but the sound was more than acceptable for such a small speaker station, even though I was at first concerned that some sound may be distorted since the iPod mounts right in front of the speakers. I can imagine that if you were in a noisy area it may not have the power to project far, but its size and portability make it a great option for an impromptu backyard party or a day at the park.

Would I recommend it? I can see how someone who loves the Paul Frank monkey would go bananas over this speaker dock. It's portable, easy to use, and — aside from the impenetrable plastic packaging it comes in — easy to set up.