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My daughter very often gets some 'hand me downs' from her cousin when he has outgrown some of this toys and so she sometimes gets things that she wouldn't necessarily look for herself, or that I would buy for her. A while ago she received some Bob the Builder toys, despite her only having watched Bob the Builder a couple of times and only knowing a few of the characters. One of the vehicles from the series, which I actually knew was Travis the Tractor, which I have seen retail at over a tenner on the likes of amazon. Looking at this toy, there is nothing particularly exciting. It is a good replication of the tractor from the childrens show and my daughter recognised it as 'Travis' probably given its shape as a tractor and its colour. The great thing about this toy, like some of the other BOb vehicles she was given is that is it friction powered, so there is no need for batteries, and instead it just needs a push to get into motion. We have carpet in some rooms and laminate in other rooms and although, quite obviously, this Travis the tractor moves easier (and quite fast!) over the laminate floor, it does move reasonably over a carpet as well. A nice little feature of this tractor, is that as it moves, the little red funnel or exhaust moves up and down as well, which my daughter likes. Like other toys from the BOb the Builder range, this vehicle has eyes at the front to make it look real, and so since these vehicles are meant to be almost human in terms of talking etc there is no need for a driver. Although my daughter doesn't watch Bob the Builder very much, shes understands enough from the series to be able to play in an imaginative way with some of the vehicles she was given from the range. I certainly wouldn't have bought her these toys, but I have to say, given that her cousin had them for a few years and he was a big Bob fan, this is a good durable toy, and given that it is friction powered and therefore could easily be run into walls etc it has withstood a lot, so in that regard they are good value for money. My daughter likes to create some building projects for the characters including Travis the tractor, even though he isn't really involved in construction, so she does get some reasonable use out of these. All in all, for any Bob fan, I think there is a lot of scope for good imaginative play, and this is a definitely a durable toy. THe added bonus is that you don't need to replace any batteries!
When our daughter was about a year old we bought her a Bob the Builder Friction Travis. You may think it's odd buying a tractor or Bob the Builder toy for a little girl. We are a farming family so she is fascinated by tractors and Bob the Builder was the first television show she really took an interest in. I had previously bought one of these Friction Travis toys for my nephew and he loved it. The Travis we have also has a trailer with hitch and two straw bales. Everything is made of hard plastic and there are no sharp edges of pieces that can be taken apart or fall off. The whole thing is very well made and very sturdy. Being a Friction toy if you pull Travis backwards with his wheels on the floor and let him go he will travel along by himself. This works best on tiled or wooden floor as the carpet seems to be too much of a struggle. As Travis moves along the exhaust on the top of his bonnet bobs up and down. The trailer fits easily to the back of the tractor and there are two loose bales that fit neatly inside it. The bales are bright yellow and also made of hard plastic. They are textured to look like bales and even have baler twine around them. My daughter loved her Travis but grew out of it quickly and went onto more girly things. I have since had two more children both boys and they both love Travis. The older one is three and still enjoys playing with Travis although he does now prefer his more lifelike tractors and trailers. My youngest son has just turned one and he is just becoming interested in toys. He likes cars and anything with wheels that he can push around the floor and Travis is perfect for this. He is obviously too young to make any connection between the Tractor and the television programme. You can collect all the Bob the Builder characters and have your own little Bobsville or Sunflower Valley. We don't have many of the other Bob toys and I think Travis works just as well on his own as a first tractor. The recommended age for this is 3 years but I think much younger children can also enjoy this toy. I don't think there is any part of it that could cause a choking hazard or injury to a younger child. We have had this toy for nearly four years and it is still in excellent condition and has so far survived the attention of three very young children. Travis on his own is currently available on www.amazon.co.uk for £4.88 or with his trailer and bales for £7.81 (Dec 2008) I would recommend this toy to add to any Bob the Builder collection or simply as a push along first tractor toy.
We purchased some of these Friction vehicles not so long ago in a recent Tesco toy sale and only paid £2.49 for it! On Amazon this is £4.98 which is the RRP and I think it's worth that price but much more of a bargain at the price we paid. What my grandson really likes about this is that it's friction powered. So you can give it a little push and it'll propel itself across the living room floor. Mind that this won't work so well on carpet, especially deeper piles, as well as it will on hard floors or laminate. This isn't a very noisy toy and the grandson likes the way the little funnel goes up and down as this whizzes along. All in all this is a great little toy for any little boy or Bob the Builder fan and at a very reasonable price. According to a reviewer on Amazon you can even take this in the bath though I can't say we've tried that one yet! Being made of sturdy plastic and not having any electrical parts I can see that that would be okay though.
***Background*** Bob the Builder is a firm favourite with boys and girls alike. His slot on Cbeebies along with all the DVDs and other merchandising available make him a household name and children love all the catchphrases that the various characters have. Travis is a tractor and doesn't actually belong to Bob, but instead has his home on Farmer Pickles' farm. He helps Farmer Pickles get lots of work done around the farm but also lends a hand to Bob whenever it is needed. He also tries to stop Spud the scarecrow from getting into trouble although usually not very successfully. Speaking with a country accent he is well known for saying, 'OK Farmer Pickles,' and has a jolly laugh along the way. He can pull a trailer and help to move things around the farm or on the building site. ***The Toy*** Like Scrambler this toy is sometimes also sold with a trailer, but also comes with a couple of hay bales too. The toy my son has doesn't have these attachments with it but the tractor is just the same as the other version shown in the picture above. Green seems to be an appropriate colour for Travis with all the work that has been going on in Sunflower Valley where the environment is very important to Bob and the other residents. Travis also has a red grille, which looks like a big mouth and a fixed eye on either side of this. He has a red funnel at the front and it goes up and down, as he is pushed along. ***The Friction Test*** All these toys are classed as friction so I couldn't possibly describe it in detail without the friction test that I put all these toys through before writing about them. This takes place in two areas of my house, the kitchen/dining area where the floor is laminate and the living room, which has a carpet. I think it's important to test on both surfaces for grip and length of roll. This tractor has two little wheels at the front and two big wheels at the back and it is the big black ones that have the friction motion to them. I think that this probably had something to do with the results, as I hardly had to push it at all and it flew across both rooms. It goes a little bit slower on the carpet than the laminate but stays on course well and doesn't veer off the way some of the other Bob toys do. On both surfaces it went well over 14 feet and was stopped by objects at the end of the rooms. ***My Thoughts*** Travis is one of the original members of the team although for me, he looks a bit menacing with the way the eyes sit on the side of the grille. This makes him look angry and maybe not as friendly as some of the other characters. This being said, I don't think my son has noticed this at all and loves playing with Travis. It's a shame that we got this toy for him before the trailer version came out because he would have loved that although he does have other farm vehicles from another set so this isn't really a big problem for him. The toy is well made and stands up to a lot of play. He's had this one for a couple of years now and it looks as good as new. They are obviously made to withstand bumps into things like furniture. It also washes well so playing in the garden in the summer isn't really a problem. My son loved to take it out into his sandpit last year with the rest of his Bob toys and we just gave it a hosing off to clean it up and then left it in the sun to dry off. Toys like these really get children to use their imaginations a lot and I have to sit and smile to myself whether he is on his own or playing with friends because all these toys end up talking to each other and funny voices are put on to replicate those in the television series. With my son also having a farm set and the little Farmer Pickles figure that you can buy separately, Travis fits in really well and we often end up with the farm and a building site being constructed with building blocks or Lego so they are pretty versatile toys to have. What I like about them best though is that they don't cost an absolute fortune, like some other merchandising around. They all retail for under £10 for the friction ones although you can pay a bit more if you want the talking varieties. I tend not to go for these though, as I prefer my son to voice the vehicles himself and then he can make up scenarios as he goes along. There are always new vehicles coming out all the time so adding to the set is easy at Christmas or birthdays and I would say that my son will get a good couple of years play from these yet so they are well worth the money. ***Other Friction Toys*** Scoop Lofty Benny Sumsy Tumbler Scrambler Roley Trix Muck Zoomer Skip Packer Dodger Flex R Vee Bristle Dizzy is a pull back toy although some toy manufacturers list him as being friction too. ***Price and Availability*** This toy was bought from Tesco for just under £5 and is still available there or from Amazon for this price. I haven't been able to locate the version with the trailer at present so cannot comment on price for this one but I know that the Scrambler version with trailer sold for a couple of pounds more.