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Reviews Written by
Helen Jones "Helen J" (Gloucester, UK)
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Space: A Noisy Pop-up Book
Space: A Noisy Pop-up Book
by Libby Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Simple story, Super noises, 9 Jan. 2011
My son (2.5 years) received this book for Christmas and he totally loves it. The pop ups are simple but really effective, the pictures are lovely and the noises are 'out of this world'. Most noisy books require a button to be pressed but these work as each page is opened. There are 5 double page spreads each with an unusual and fun sound which make my son laugh and laugh.

Each double page spread has four or five pictures down the left hand side that you can also find in the main spread. The name of each picture is below it, helping you to teach your child the names of some more unusual features of space travel and space itself.

The reason I have given this book 4 stars instead of 5, is that the story is almost too simple. The emphasis is very much on the pop-ups and the noises, which really are great. If you want a story book then it is only a 3-4 star; if you want a noisy pop up book - it's a 5 star.


ZingZillas: Making that ZingZilla Sound!
ZingZillas: Making that ZingZilla Sound!
by BBC
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book bringing hours of musical story fun, 9 Jan. 2011
What a great buy for a zingilla fan. This hardback book has 18 sound buttons which range from musical instruments to the spoken phrases by the characters and from the theme tune to the sounds of the coconut clock.

The book has 23 pages, and follows the same format as the show, with the moaning stones and the coconut clock countdown and ending with the familiar line 'that was the best big zing ever'.

My son (2.5 years) is too taken with the sounds, especially the voices of the characters, to worry about the story at the moment. He finds it totally hilarious that Zac says 'last one there is a prickly pear' for example.

The book is beautifully illustrated with photos for each scene and brightly patterned backgrounds.

It is a great buy bringing hours of musical story fun.


Noah's Giant Floor Puzzle
Noah's Giant Floor Puzzle
by Helen Prole
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Super Picture but not all pieces are interlocking, 9 Jan. 2011
This was the first giant floor puzzle that we bought for our 2.5 year old son, and it is a beautiful 32 piece puzzle. The pieces are sturdy and a normal size for a floor puzzle, however there are 8 special shaped pieces, including 2 border pieces which don't interlock with the other pieces and therefore it doesn't hang together brilliantly until complete. This is more of a problem if you are making it on a carpet, or you have a small space to make it in (which results in the puzzle moving around more during play).

The complete picture isn't on the front of the box, but there is a large picture included in the box. My son loves to hold the 'map' and find the animals on it as we do the puzzle. The picture is really detailed, with many, many pairs of animals, and various people on it.

The story of Noah is written on the back of the box, using pictures for the key words to help you read the story with your child which is a nice touch.

The picture is great, and will appeal to most children and so I do recommend the puzzle highly - just be aware that a little more help may be required due to the special shape pieces.


Ravensburger Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 24 piece Giant Floor Puzzle
Ravensburger Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 24 piece Giant Floor Puzzle
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great confidence builder, 8 Jan. 2011
My son (2.5) had this for Christmas and it's been a real hit. He loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and is just finding his feet with jigsaws. This picture is simple, but that makes it easier for a young child to do on his or her own (or with just a small amount of guidance). It's easy for my son to find and put together the road, clubhouse, or find the character pieces, for example.

I recommend it.


LEGO DUPLO LEGO Ville 5645: Farm Bike
LEGO DUPLO LEGO Ville 5645: Farm Bike

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, 3 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My son (aged 2.5) simply loves this car. He had it as a Christmas present, and it's received a lot of playtime. He especially loves that it has a towbar on the back which means he can connect it to all his other duplo cars (the basic base ones) and pull everything around the house together. The little crate, to go on the back is a great little item and the strawberry brick a nice touch. Good value for the money.


LEGO DUPLO LEGO Ville 5653: Stone Quarry
LEGO DUPLO LEGO Ville 5653: Stone Quarry

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Versatile Set, 3 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My son (aged 2.5) picked this out on a visit to a toy shop and so we bought it for him for Christmas, and it's been a fantastic choice.

It's the first Duplo set we have purchased and I've been delighted with all the different options for play that it provides. So many of the parts are interchangeable, for example the red tip up skip can be swapped with the cement mixer part to make a tip up truck and the claw arm can take the place of the big scoop on the other vehicle. The digger has a bonnet that opens so that you can fix the engine (space for one brick inside). The set is designed so that the claw picks up a brick, which can be dropped into the red tip up skip, which in turn sends the brick down the shoot and into the cement mixer.. brilliant.

My son loves driving the vehicles around and operating the long armed claw (as well as sitting the workmen - there are 3 - down for a coffee break on the steps and then picking them up with the long arm claw...)

Previous reviewers are correct in their observations that it is tricky to build, but I can do it pretty quickly now when he wants to play with it, and he'll learn to do it as he gets older too. It is also quite wobbly, but neither of these things would prevent my from buying it. It's one of our top Christmas buys. As a family - we are delighted with it.

Added Note 3rd Oct 2011:
I would like to add that having had this set 10 months now, we have become a little frustrated with the crane part of the set, which comes apart very quickly if not handled 'just right'. We still love the set, but the crane arm coming off regularly does get annoying...

Added Note 3rd Oct 2013 (how weird is it that I do this on the same day 2 years later!?!)
My elder son is now 5 and has long since moved onto tiny piece lego, but recently we visited my dad (who has the duplo at his house for safe keeping, and something to play with when there) and he was delighted to get this set back out and build it for my just 1 year old son to play with! So he's getting fun out of it again now that he can build it himself, and the digger and cement mixer are fab for the baby's hands! So even more value for money!


Bigjigs Toys Nativity Set
Bigjigs Toys Nativity Set
Offered by Bigjigs Toys
Price: £29.99

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great set for a young child to play with, 3 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bigjigs Toys Nativity Set (Toy)
My son is (nearly) 2.5 years and as he is coming towards the first christmas that he is aware of Father Christmas, lights and presents, I felt strongly that he should also be learning about the first Christmas, and wanted to buy him a nativity set - one he could play with. After searching the internet my husband and I finally settled on this one.

When it arrived I was suprised by the weight and size of it. The base board is about 12 inches square, all the pieces slot together really easily and it is made of solid wood. It is sturdy and will stad up to a good amount of play. We chose this set over others because of the number of pieces - feeling that the extra bits would make scope for extra play. It also appeared that Jesus would be removable from the manger. Jesus is attached to the manger by a small screw, so we intend to take him out so that he can be added at a later stage and played with too. I am not keen on the yellow backgrounds of a number of the characters but other than that (and the lack of an angel) the set is really great, and is an excellent starting place for young children to learn and interact with the Christmas story, without any fear of pieces getting broken.

As the pieces are large (4 to 5 inches tall) and without small moving parts I don't how long this set will continue to appeal, but it is great for toddler hands, and as something that comes out once a year will probably be a novelty for some years to come.


BROWN/CREAM MONKEY Harness Buddy - Safety Harness
BROWN/CREAM MONKEY Harness Buddy - Safety Harness
Offered by TINASTOYS
Price: £23.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but a little snug, 3 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this item after my (nearly) 2.5 year old son ran off between the clothes racks in a shop once too often. I wanted something that would allow him some freedom and give me peace of mind that he hadn't disappeared whilst I took 5 seconds to look for something.

I was worried that he wouldn't accept reins at this stage so bought this as he is monkey mad. He was so excited when we opened the parcel (very prompt delivery) and insisted on wearing it straight away. He has continued to accept it very happily even now that he understands its purpose.

It is very well made, out of beautiful soft fabric, and has a very sweet face, compared to some animal items that are found in shops. I imagine it will last well, and stand up to some heavy use.

My only concern is the length of the straps that go around his chest. They are a bit short and are not adjustable. It is winter at the moment and he is wearing his big winter coat- the top strap does up at a squeeze, but it is not possible to fasten the lower strap with his coat on. It would fit perfectly well in summer, even being somewhat large, but with the coat it's not really quite big enough. This has not prevented us using it succesfully, but the product info suggests that it is up to age 4 - and I cannot imagine a child age 4 fitting into it (wearing more than a t-shirt).

I highly recommend the product, but with the caution that it might be a tight fit over winter layers


Zingzillas 4 in a Box Jigsaw
Zingzillas 4 in a Box Jigsaw

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy for a Zingzilla fan, 3 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Zingzillas 4 in a Box Jigsaw (Toy)
I bought this for my (nearly) 2.5 year old son who is just getting to grips with jigsaws. He loves the zingzillas and I thought this might be a hit. I was right!

The jigsaws are made of fairly thin card, so not the easiest to pick up and they increase in difficulty - from 'Drum' who has 8 pieces (which are fairly large) to Panzy who has 14 very fiddly pieces. The outline of each figure is in a different colour making easy sorting when they have become jumbled up in the box.

The product info may suggest that the pictures 'join together to make the big zing' (or something along those lines) but the puzzles are completely separate, unlike the 10 in a box zingzilla set. This doesn't distract from the set at all, but I thought I'd mention it.

My son loves them, and I recommend them.


Orchard Toys Farm Four in a Box
Orchard Toys Farm Four in a Box
Price: £7.11

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Your child needs to be competent at puzzles, 11 Nov. 2010
My son received this set of puzzles as a gift for his second birthday, but they have failed to capture his attention. They are well made, but I think that animal pictures are confusing. The chicken one, I feel, is rather like the baked beans jigsaw puzzle but for children. The repetitive pictures makes them difficult to do. For example when we do other puzzles I suggest he finds the piece with a the bird on it, or the piece with the eyes on it etc. This is difficult to do if all the pieces have a sheep on them, or a chicken.

Maybe jigsaws are just not his thing... but my feeling is that this is not a jigsaw starter set. If you have a child who is great at them, then go for it, but if (s)he is only beginning, maybe go for something with more variety in each puzzle.


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