Noddy is a character that most of us remember from our childhood so it is delightful that he is a favourite character of my son.
He received the Noddy draw and drive for his second birthday from an aunty we don't get to see very often so he was two and three months old by the time he received it.
The pack contains a board plan of the town which folds down into four sections a dry marker, Noddy shaped sponge and a Noddy car. The map includes the significant sights in Toyland for example Mr Plod's police station, Noddy's house and the Miss Pink cat's shop
The idea behind this toy is that you draw a route of where Noddy is to go and then place the car on the board and off he goes. The car itself is battery operated ( 3 AAA batteries) and has a silent mode and a musical mode which plays the theme tune and can be quite annoying. The car is activated by pushing Noddy down in the car.
My son was delighted with his new game and his aunt immediately set about creating a trail for Noddy .My son wanted to draw so found she constantly had to encourage him to wait while she drew a line and found that Noddy did struggle to follow the line any sharp turns he seemed to struggle to follow.
To be honest he was stored away for a while but discovered a few months later, I devised a cunning plan to draw a circular route that Noddy could follow and there fore avoid the desperate need for my son to take the pen off me so he could draw and also leave him happily to play with the annoying car. This however was not as easy as it seemed as it still seemed to veer off and the time spent trying to organise the game seemed to create too much stress with little pleasure at the end.
The Noddy car was resigned to the toy box but his body broke away from the car so was eventually sent to the landfill the pen is hidden away to avoid anymore tears and the map still comes out but has a much more practical use. My son uses it as a normal road and also as a picnic in the town square with Tessie bear as he remembers this from one of the episodes on the TV. He has plenty of vehicles and character from other Noddy toys so it does have some limited use.
Although my son is under the age limit, as it is recommended for children over three years old, I still have had difficulty trying to get the game to work effectively so I have no comprehension that a small child would be able to achieve this.
This toy is currently £16.00 on Amazon which is very expensive for what we only use as a map of toy town so cannot recommend this toy to any child.
There are many great Noddy toys around and sadly this is not one of them.
Noddy has never greatly appealed to me. I find the animated cartoon patronising, with the naughty little boy getting into mischief, upsetting other toys in Toytown as a result of his selfishness but always learning the error of his ways by the end. It's all a little too moral for me.
So why purchase anything 'Noddy'?
Littlest HonestBob loves him. He doesn't really follow the stories, he just loves the tune and the bright colours. His favourite PJ's are Noddy ones (complete with bell tipped hat which we remove at sleeptime). Biggest sis often logs onto a website with Noddy activities for him, and he has a favourite (but potentially obscene) Noddy doll that he loves. With this in mind I carried on the Noddy theme and bought him the Drive and Draw toy for Christmas. It was one of the first presents I chose for him and I was really looking forward to playing alongside the little 'un while he watched in amazement as Noddy drove himself around Toy Town.
Did the toy provide that magical moment?
Did it heck.
The premise to this toy is that the child draws a line on a foldable cardboard street map of Toy Town which is followed by Noddy in his battery operated yellow car around various locations in the town, including Big Ears' house and the police station. The line is drawn with a black 'washable' marker pen which can be wiped of with the small sponge provided and redrawn over and over again giving endless hours of pleasure.
In reality the car goes nowhere near the line that is drawn, no matter how carefully the instructions regarding line thickness, curviture and angle are followed. As an adult I couldn't get the line right, so there was no hope for any of the little HonestBoblets. The pen does wash off clothes, but is a struggle to get off skin and leaves random irremovable marks on the board.
Just like Noddy in the cartoon and Enid Blyton books, the Draw and Drive Noddy has a mind of his own and his car goes off in all directions except the one we want him to follow.
Plus of course, there is that infernal theme tune.
Noddy is set into motion by pushing his body down into the car seat (repeating the action will stop the car again). There are two options here. Either the theme from the cartoon can be played as he goes (Make way for Noddy - Noddy - He toots his horn to say, "Make way for Noddy" - Noddy - come on out and play............. haha, gotcha humming that for the rest of the day), or you can switch it off via a 'sound only' on off switch at the base of the car.
I switch it off......... littlest HonestBob switches it back on....... and so we continue.
Within a week of having the toy the pen had been consigned to the dustbin and the street map stored at the back of a toybox, for occasional pushalong fun only. At 68cm X 88cm the map is quite useful for running multiple cars along, but its sharp corners make it less comfortable to play on than the fabric mat we generally use for the same purpose.
Noddy still comes out to play, but we let him do his own thing. Some little boys are just wilful, no matter how many moral stories they have to learn from!
I bought this for my son as a christmas present.
I paid £20 which I thought was very reasonable seeing as the exact time toy but Thomas the Tank Engine rather then Noddy was £35. It just shows how much of the price is all too do with brand name and desirability. None the less my son is a Noddy fan and so it was the Noddy one I went for.
Included in the box is a decent sized wipe clean mat with a toy town map printed on it, a black Noddy pen complete with refills, a sponge to clean the mat with and of course Noddy and little red and yellow car.
You have to insert 3 AAA batteries and then the idea is that you draw a line on the map and Noddy follows it singing the Noddy theme as he goes. Sounds like fun.
So out it all came ready to play. The first thing that surprised me was the black marker pen. The words black marker pen just don't mix well with 4 year old and cream sofa so I decided there and then that it would be much more fun to play with it in the kitchen. Wipe clean tiles and cupboard there, phew!! The Thomas the Tank Engine version of this toy, I later found out, does not use a marker pen but a water filled one onto a special absorbant mat which sounds more more sensible considering this is a toy aimed at pre-schoolers.
My son drew the route round the map and off Noddy went .....
..... in completely the opposite direction???
A little confused by Noddy's sense of direction I pulled out the instructions to see where I had gone wrong. That's when I found out just how fussy Noddy is.
It turns out that Noddy will not follow a line that is too thin or too thick. Lines that are not solid are out of the question as are wavy lines, corner's, zig-zag's and bends. In fact the only thing he will follow is a perfectly even straight line approximately 4 mm thick according to the leaflet enclosed. Now try explaining that to a child.
So after wrestling the pen from my frustrated child I decided drawing the line was definately an adults job. 'How will Noddy get home if he can't go round corner's?' my elder daughter asked. Well considering the roads on the map are quite curved the simple answer is, he can't. So I drew a perfectly straight, reasonable thickness line and put Noddy at the start ready to be amazed at him following it, and guess what? ....
He went in completely the opposite direction!!!!
Now I must admit I did have a ruler to check the line was exactly 4 mm's thick and the line may of been slightly diagonal but this is ridiculous!!
The box clearly states he follows the line.
I phoned the manufacturer to complain and was told that I must be drawing the line wrong. Oh I'm so sorry I told them, I didn't realise there was a correct way to draw a line. Especially not to the age of children this is aimed at.
To anyone considering this product I would say give it a miss and get the Thomas one instaed, I hear it's much better.
Oh and to those that are wondering. The black marker pen as it turns out, does not wash out of clothes and take a really good scrub before you get it off hands and faces too.
Noddy Draw and Drive is a brand new concept from Golden Bear and encourages creative play for pre-schoolers. The foldable mat features all the famous places in the world of Noddy, so children decide where they want Noddy to go. They can draw a line with the pen and then place Noddy's car onto the mat. When you press the button Noddy magically follows the line whilst playing the famous 'Make Way For Noddy' theme tune. Using the Noddy car sponge children can then rub out the line and start again!