My daughter is currently train mad, and has a small collection of trains but no real track as yet - I'm sure Santa will help solve this problem! Anyhow, last weekend we were visiting grandparents who produced this Melissa and Doug Zoo Animal Train Set, which my mother in law had picked up in TK Maxx for a fiver! Pretty good especially when I saw it on amazon later for £12.99! I love the Melissa and Doug toys and think they are so durable and well made and my daughter has quite a collection from the brand. To be honest, from the box, I don't think this looks terribly exciting and my mother in law admitted she only bought it because of the price and obviously because it was to do with trains! However, this is actually a lovely little beginner track for small children.
Included in the set are two coloured carriages plus the main train, all of which are connected by magnets to pull each other. There are no batteries for this train, so children need to move it along the track themselves. There are two wooden animals - an elephant and a tiger that can be transported in the carriages to the 'zoo', and then there is the wooden track, which is actually brilliant, because it is compatible with most other wooden train tracks - so should Santa bring some other tracks, this may be used as extra track, which is a great feature. The track itself consists of 8 circular wooden track pieces which slot together to make a round track, which again is ideal for a beginner set.
This set is actually marked as being suitable for children from age 3+, but my daughter is 27 months and I have no concerns about her safety using this toy at all.
This isn't a big set, it should be pointed out and older children will probably bore with it quickly but for younger children, like my daughter it really is a nice starter track where she can simply push the train and its carriages along, taking the two animals in and out as they get to the zoo. She does try to put some of her other trains on the tracks, some of which sit ok some not so, and she does like to make the track and break it up again, which probably fascinates her more than pushing the train.
All in all, this is a well made toy, perfect for toddlers as a starter train track. The fact that it is compatible with other branded wooden tracks is a great feature, and my daughter certainly has shown great enjoyment since she got it last weekend. Even better when it only cost a fiver!
Now your young train engineer can take an elephant and a tiger to the zoo or the circus, with a kid-powered, wooden engine and 2 animal carrier cars. Eight pieces of circular track are a great way to start a wooden railway set or perfect to add to an existing Melissa & Doug train layout. Also compatible with other popular wooden railway systems.