Newest Review: ... set include Thomas, Annie & Clarabelle, Percy, James, Harold the helicopter and Bertie the bus. Although the trains are quite small ... more
It's not really a book - but it is a lot of fun
Thomas and Friends - My Busy Books
Member Name: firasha
Thomas and Friends - My Busy Books
Advantages: Fun, good concept, tidies neatly
Disadvantages: The book side of it is not great
I came across this "busy book" one day in TK Maxx as my 3 year old wanted to have a treat after going round the shops all day, I was not quite sure what it was, but as it had Thomas on it, we felt it would be worth a try.
When we got it home he was quite excited to play with it. Upon opening the book, you see a folded up playmat and 2 sections which include a total of 12 small Thomas engines. There are all the main well known engines (thomas, edward, henry, gordon, james etc) as well as Harold the Helicopter, and Annie and Clarabel (Thomas' coaches.)
The mat is made of a laminated thick paper which is quite thin, but it has to be in order to fold up and be stored away neatly in the back of the book. I have to admit I wondered how long this mat would last without getting torn but it has done well so far and we have had it a few months now. I would not give it to very young children, of under 2 years as it would be likely to get ruined but for my 3 year old it was absolutely fine and I have let my 2-and-a-few-months play with it too and he has also kept it in good condition.
I believe the set is not recommended for under 3 years because of small parts, which will be because the engines are quite small and again, although I feel my 2 year old is okay with it I would not be happy with a younger toddler playing with these as they could easily go in their mouth and they are quite small (i would say they are a couple of centimetres long per engine)
There are a few pages of rhymes at the front of the book, each one is about a different engine (or harold the helicopter) and have 4 lines of rhyming verse. However my boys have totally ignored that and just gone for the playmat and figures, which they have really enjoyed. Personally I did find the book side of it really weak, as they would prefer a proper story to these rhymes. The rhymes seem more suited to a younger toddler, and the playset side of it is better for the slightly older toddler or preschooler as I mentioned so in my opinion that is a little bit mismatched.
However regardless of that, I was really happy with this product as it is something quite different and it would be a very portable playset. I like that so many characters are included so that gives the child a lot of scope for playing with it, without getting bored as they can make more elaborate stories.
The price for this on Amazon is currently 12.99 but I'm sure I only paid about 6 or 7 pounds in tk maxx, which was an excellent price for this.
After buying this I had a look whether I could see anything similar for different characters eg Waybuloo, Night Garden but I did not seem to find anything, but if I do come across any others I would probably get it as it is a very handy idea especially as it stores away so neatly in the book. I keep it a bit high up on a shelf so every time I get this book down, the children are excited to have a play with it.
Would recommend it for any fan of Thomas over 2 years, and may be a good one for travelling with.
Given 4 stars just because the book side is lacking, and it is marketed as a book!
Summary: I would recommend, as a playset