* Prices may differ from that shown
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to win a Nick Jnr bumper pack, which was basically a couple of hundred pounds worth of character merchandise - it arrived in November so the majority of it I wrapped up for my (then) three year old, cutting down massively on the cost of Christmas that year. One item in the pack was this Flyboat from the Wonder Pets series, Hollie was a huge fan of this show and already had some of the plush characters so I couldn't wait for her to unwrap this and start playing with it.
She loved it, absolutely loved it to the point of ignoring everything else that Christmas Day and playing only with the Flyboat. Until we realised what an utter puddle of poo it was, that is.
The Flyboat does look very much like the one featured in the Wonder Pets show; it comes complete with a plastic character depicting each of the Wonder Pets (Linny, Tuck and Ming Ming for those of you not in the know) and these are pushed onto small plastic pegs to keep them secure inside the boat while it's being played with. The Flyboat makes a few noises including a tinny rendition of the Wonder Pets theme song and various (equally tinny) catchphrases from each of the characters, it apparently is supposed to feature lights at the side of the boat but ours has never lit up so I suspect this is yet another aspect of the toy that doesn't work properly.
The Flyboat is designed to wobble as you push it along so the wheels don't feel very well attached to the body of the boat, I have absolutely no idea why it should wobble as that just makes it really awkward to push around - if the wheels were fixed to create a smooth ride it would be much better in my opinion. As it is you can't push it and let go because it'll just come to a complete stop as soon as you remove the pressure of your hand on the Flyboat; Hollie's play area is our large hallway which has a wooden floor, ideal for most cars and wheeled toys but unfortunately even this perfectly flat surface isn't enough to give any kind of 'ooomph' to the movement of this stupid vehicle.
Then we have the sail. Irritating as heck. It's not fixed to the bottom of the boat but slots into a small space in the centre, god only knows why they made it removable as without the sail the boat just looks silly - and it falls out every two minutes anyway so rather a silly design in my opinion. Actually I've just been glancing through Hollie's toybox and can't see the sail anywhere so I assume that's lost now, not that that will bother Hollie as she gets so frustrated with this appalling quality toy that she rarely plays with it anyway. The same goes for the figures, even when you use force to press them into their places in the boat they don't stay there - oh, they will for a couple of minutes but the slightest bump or knock of the boat will have Linny tumbling over the side which is yet another frustration for Hollie as she likes her toys to stay where she puts them. Mini control freak.
As far as the actual Flyboat is concerned it's constructed pretty well, much as I hate to say it. The boat is made of a thick chunky plastic (as are the figures) so is seemingly indestructible, the wheels are well attached and even sharp tugging isn't going to make them fall off - as I've already mentioned Hollie's has never lit up from the day she received it so I assume this is a flaw that I hadn't noticed until I came to write this review as I didn't even realise the lights running along the boat WERE supposed to actually light up!
The Flyboat is powered by three AA batteries, which are included when you purchase it. I've never had to replace these batteries in two years, but then again this is so rarely played with that it's not all that surprising really.
I can't recommend this silly toy, I just can't. While the structural quality might be there, it seems absolutely no thought has gone into designing the thing at all in relation to how annoying small children find toys that don't work as they should. Mark made a good point about the fact that the sail can be so easily removed (aka. fall off), he wonders if it's been made like that for ease of packaging and he's probably right considering ours arrived with the sail not attached to the boat. I think it's actually quite dangerous as the sail is attached to a long 'pole' which isn't ideal to have a toddler running around with (worries about eyes!), I've just remembered where Hollie's sail is - I now recall taking it off David a couple of months ago as he kept prodding us all with it when he discovered it lying in the bottom of the toybox. At this present moment it's in the drawer in the kitchen, within the hour it'll be in the bin.
If you do decide you want to buy it (fool!) it'll cost you in the region of £20 from any Wonder Pets stockist. The minimum age is eighteen months but I actually think that's a little low considering how many times the 'bits' have to be reattached to the toy, it's highly frustrating even for Hollie who at five can put it back together again herself so god knows how her miserable baby brother would cope with the irritation of a falling apart toy like this. Nope, it's just not worth the moans - it's going in the bin rather than being relocated to his toybox.
In the run up to Christmas, my little Harry only ever answered one thing when asked what he wanted from Father Christmas, and that was a Wonder Pets Flyboat. He had spotted it on one shopping trip to Sainsburys and so for him, that was it. He even wrote that on the letter to Father Christmas he did at nursery, prompting many questions from his teachers as to what exactly a "Flyboat" was! I wasn't impressed by how expensive they were, but once Sainsburys did a "half price toys event", I managed to grab one for just a tenner, and so I knew my little man's Christmas would be complete.
The Wonder Pets is a show on TV channel Nick Jr aimed at toddlers. It shows Linny the Guinea-Pig, Turtle Tuck and Ming-Ming Duckling living in their classroom in their school, and their adventures once the children have gone home in saving helpless animals. It's quite fun, completely musical which gets right on an adults nerves, but kids seem to love it. Harry hasn't got much Wonder Pets merchandise aside from a few books, so I knew Christmas would be the ideal time to get a few things, and as I said, the Flyboat was the one thing he really wanted this year so I couldn't say no really, could I?!
The toy itself is actually quite basic. It's a red plastic ship with a plastic sail and mast, 2 exhausts, 4 wheels and the 3 Wonder Pets. It sing several melodies and has several sayings, and flashing lights too but thats about it. Unfortunately, the boat is not friction powered and so relies on the child to push it around which is a shame as I think the addition of friction power would have made it more appealable and user friendly too. Even so, its an aesthetically pleasing toy that children will love because of the 3 characters on board but for adults, there isn't much to get excited about.
For the price, I don't think this toy does very much at all, and again the price is a reflection on the branding and the fact it is a character toy rather than its actual worth. When you push the boat along, it wobbles giving the impression it is "flying" but really just feels a bit annoying on your arm! As you push it, it starts the boat beginning one its phrases or songs, and these seem to be on a loop so you get the same 5 or 6 things over and over again. When it starts to make noises, the 3 lights along the side of the Flyboat (only on one side though) start to flash wildly.
You get 3 little plastic figures which represent each of the Wonder Pets and actually have a pretty good likeness. The toys have wobbly heads as well so when the flyboat moves, they move a bit too. They sit on the Flyboat via 6 different pegs situated along the top of the Flyboat. Therefore, you can choose the positioning of the toys yourself on top of the boat and they are fairly easy to take on and off, and Harry seems to do this easily. The pets seem to stay well on the boat when its pushed along, even at speed like Harry does so this is clearly a good method for fixing the toys to the boat.
The large sail is removable which is good for transporting the toy around as otherwise it would be a bit cumbersome. It seems pops into the circular slot in the middle of the toy and again this is easy enough for a child to manage alone. However, the sail detaches from the mast and Harry struggled to put this back on alone as its quite fiddly to line up the pegs properly but for an adult its fine, I just don't see the need for that to be removable too. It's all pretty durable because its made of plastic, and therefore can be dropped or smashed around without too much damage... Harry's boat still looks new which is good.
The boat should cost £19.99 to buy, and I certainly would not pay that for it now I know what exactly it does. However, I paid £9.99 in a half price sale for it and I think that is a much more reasonable price for a branded toy like this. If your child likes the Wonder Pets, they will probably want this toy, but I have been disappointed with how little Harry has played with this. He's far more into his Lego which has endless playing possibilities, rather than this which is so limited in its novelty and isn't at all educational either. It's an okay toy but doesn't do much, and the endless repetition of the theme song can get right on your nerves!
Please note this toy is not suitable for use in the bath as it contains batteries (supplied with the toy).
Made by Mattel
More about The Wonder Pets: http://www.nickjr.co.uk/shows/wonderpets/index.aspx
Thank you for reading.
This is another product that is a result of merchandising from the TV program. The wonder pets
Who are the wonder pets?
The wonder pets are three small animals. Linny ( a guinea pig) tuck ( a turtle) and Ming Ming ( a baby duckling) that all live in a classroom but once the class is empty go off in a boat to help other animals with problems such as a puppy who wants a wee but can't get out the door. They resolve problems not with special powers but with teamwork. This is shown on nick Jnr.
The toy itself
The wonder pet's boat is a red plastic boat with a lilac exhaust. I has yellow wheel with blue tyres which are oval so makes the boats wobble as it is pushed along There are six small prongs so you can choose where to position the pets and a removable flag. The side has a button that activates a few of the pet's regular statements or the theme tune. When this is pressed it also activates a three flashing lights. The songs and phrases can also be activated by pushing it along the floor. It states for ages 3+.
After attending a meal to celebrate my friend's graduation I took my son to buy a small gift to reward him for been a very good boy as he does find it extremely difficult to sit still like most two year olds. We went to toys r us on the way home as I had seen a go die ago boat in the sale when browsing online that morning for £6.50. We got into the store and my son was delighted with the Go Diego go boat until he spotted a display for the wonder pets.
The wonder pets are currently his favourite TV program and he literally screams with excitement when it comes on. He immediately went straight for the boat and it has a try me sign on the box stating press the button. I have to admit that I needed to ask an assistant where the button was but while we were trying to figure it out my two year old found it. It is the same colour as the boat so blends in. He loved it so much that I felt compelled to buy it. It cost £19.99 which is much more than I planned to spend but as I have rarely seen much wonder pets items around I decided to treat him. We had an hour and a half drive home of which I had to listen to the theme tune for about 50 minutes before he finally fell asleep.
One home I attempted to remove it from the box. It probably took nearly ten minutes as it was tied down at every possible point with plastic ties. Once out he box I placed the three pets in the boat where my son decided he wanted them to sit, pushed the flag in and we were ready to go.
The boat has no friction power so just wobbles its way across the floor. The three pet's heads are designed to wobble as the bob along and this is actually quite effective. As the wheels are not round it does take slightly more effort to push but bounces with no problems across the carpet.
My son has had this toy for two weeks now and it is still a very loved item .He plays with it every day and he has insisted on taking them on trips in the car. He would happily spend hours rolling it to me so I can roll it back again.
My son cannot attach the pets himself and constantly wants to move them around and this is the most disappointing part of the toy. I think that this may be why it is designed for three year olds and over.
The boat and characters all seem very sturdy and this is a very important component for my destructive two year old.
The flashing lights don't add much to the boat. I do think that the boat is a little expensive for what it is but if you have a true wonder pet's fan then it will provide hours of entertainment.
The flyboat wobbles as you push it forward for music lights and phrases!