“ Brand: Tomy / Age: 18 months / Type: Bathtime Fun „
As my little boy, Christopher, was growing up I desperately wanted him to have a more modern interest in toys and tried to steer him away from such traditional things as Thomas The Tank Engine, he had other ideas in mind and after seeing just one episode of the TV show was hooked, naturally this led to the usual "mummy I want that" demands and over time his Thomas toy collection has grown, you can't escape it in our house now and the toys have even found themselves taking up residence in our bathroom.
The Tomy Bertie Bath time Squirter is from a range of bath toys based on the Thomas The Tank Engine characters, Bertie is the old fashioned red bus, also in the set are Thomas, James and Percy, 3 of the traditional steam engine characters. Bertie is basically a soft, hollow rubber figure with a small hole where his mouth is, when you put him under the water and squeeze his sides water is sucked in through the small hole, as you squeeze Bertie once more when he's out of the water he sprays the water from inside his body in a thin jet stream. The toy is moulded in a 3d fashion with all of Berties features present, his kindly face and details on the body of the "vehicle" are crisply moulded and easily recognisable as the popular children's character.
Christopher gradually got the whole set of characters for his bath as Christmas and Easter gifts from myself and his nanny, at £3.49 a go from Toys R Us it was one of the more affordable Thomas collections available and being designed for the bath gave it an advantage over other Thomas toys. Christopher and my daughter Elsa will happily play with the toys in the bath, yes I'm that cruel I make them share as they're still very young but they have great fun that way, squirting the figures at each other and at whichever grown up is unlucky enough to be checking on them at the time. While Bertie, and the other characters, are not designed to work as push along toys what with their bodies being moulded from one piece of rubber the children still use them in that fashion, pushing them along the side of the bath, making them talk to each other and go on adventures, a child's imagination is a wonderful thing.
The toys are designed for children over 18 months however they are very easy to handle and Elsa was able to use them properly despite being under that age when we purchased them, the body of Bertie is very easy to squeeze and always causes delight when he squirts the water back out again, especially if he happens to be aimed at Daddy! Because there are no small parts I would even be happy to let a younger child play with Bertie and his pals, while they may not be able to use the toy for it's squirting purpose they would still be able to hold it, even squeeze it and experience the different feeling and texture of the toy, I would even go so far as to say it would stand up to a good old chew from a toddler, although perhaps not a dog. I'm pretty sure big kids would enjoy playing with Bertie as well and of course just because he's not designed for babies doesn't mean that mummy or daddy can't gently squirt babies tummy with Bertie, tickling them with the water and giving them a fun sensory experience. The toy does not need to be restricted to use in the bath and could be used in a swimming or paddling pool, for summer water fights or just as a vehicle to brum along the carpet.
I've not found a single problem with Bertie since we've had him, he's still in great condition and shows no signs of wear despite the amount of use he's had, there's no sign of fading colour and no splits in the rubber from the changes in temperature he's experienced. Of the characters in the range Bertie, along with Thomas, is the better one, he sprays his water from his mouth so it is easier to get a good fast spray, Percy and James spray from their funnels and you can't spray the water as easily from them. The spray of water itself isn't huge, the toy is fairly small so naturally can only hold a small amount of water, maybe disappointing for the children but I'm sure their parents are quite relieved with this fact as there's potentially less water that's going to be sprayed at them or their bathroom floor.
Bertie and his friend are a great bath time toy, simple in their design but they provide endless fun for mischevious children, he's great value because he's so durable and, unless he's ran off with and chomped on by your pet poodle, he should last a long time, I've never even experienced him getting mouldy or gross on the inside when water has been left within his body. Overall a brilliant bath time toy.