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Duplo has been a favourite toy in this house for about the last five years and we have now built up a substantial collection. The latest addition to this is Lego Duplo 4962: Baby Zoo, which my two year old daughter received as one of her Christmas presents. This is one of the smaller sets in the Duplo Zoo range. We don't actually own the Duplo Zoo, although we do have a range of animals which were passed down from my childrens' much older cousins and these animals are played with on a regular basis.
* The Product *
Lego Duplo 4962: Baby Zoo comes in a cardboard box with brightly coloured pictures of the product inside. It contains four baby animals - an elephant, a giraffe, a tiger and a polar bear - as well as a female zookeeper, a couple of flowers, some grass and several plastic blocks. The blocks are in a range of colours and include one transparent blue plastic box which is obviously supposed to be ice for the polar bear to stand on. There are four of the small square blocks and four of the larger rectangular blocks. As you would expect from Duplo, the quality of the product is high and the animals are constructed from a smooth, solid plastic. They are the perfect size for a young child to hold comfortably.
* Playability *
My daughter really enjoys playing with this set as she loves animals and these baby ones really appeal to her as she loves to 'look after' things, and clearly has a nurturing type of personality. However, she doesn't really play with the set in isolation - it has already been integrated into the rest of our Duplo collection and the baby animals have found 'Mummies' which already lived in the toy box (we already had an adult giraffe, polar bear and tiger). The elephant is still looked after by the zoo keeper as we do not have an adult elephant. I feel that this set encourages imaginative play as it is relatively simple for a child to make up scenarios involving the animals and the zookeeper, but it doesn't really encourage construction play due to the limited range of blocks contained in the set. However, combined with a larger Duplo collection which includes base plates, multiple blocks and plastic fences, ,my daughter loves creating her own zoo and playing with all the animals together. Consequentially, I would say that this set has good value as an add-on to other sets (whether that is the main zoo sets or even one of the basic sets of blocks) but, as a standalone product, it seems to have limited playability.
* Cost *
Lego Duplo 4962: Baby Zoo has an RRP of £9.99. I think the value for money is ok, as the quality is good, but it could do with a little more content.
* Final Thoughts *
Overall, I feel that I would recommend this set as a fun addition to an existing Duplo collection for any toddler / pre-school child who loves Duplo and animals. It would be particularly good in conjunction with the other zoo sets or the animal clinic, but it would also work with one of the basic brick collections and a little bit of imagination. Obviously, the small size of the set means that it does have its limitations but I feel that it needs to be seen as a complementary set to something else, rather than a standalone toy in its own right. Like all Duplo products, the quality of this is fantastic and it will last for as long as you need it.