The idea of this is great, and my 2 year old son loves it (it was a birthday present). However, I am really disappointed at how cheap and nasty it is. The paint is smudged and badly finished on some of the boards, the boards themselves look like off-cuts as the wood is damaged and there are a lot of rough edges. The letters are not painted different colours but have coloured paper stuck to them and this is peeling off some letters even before we've played with it.
Other Melissa & Doug toys we have are great, I am so surprised at how badly made this is. I almost feel that this is just a cheap replica.
The only reason I haven't sent it back is because my son does really enjoy playing with it.