Saturday, 9 January 2010

Silver Cross Rufus Rabbit Pull-Along Toy

If you haven't already read it, I suggest you start by looking at my review of the Silver Cross 'Little Growers Guide to Numbers’ Soft Book, as this pull-along toy comes from the same range. Silver Cross, better known for its extensive range of prams and pushchairs, has recently created a gorgeous range of squishy baby and toddler toys, including this 'Home Grown' collection, based around the theme of a vegetable garden. If you look closely at the picture, you can see that there is a little turnip to put in the wheelbarrow that is identical in shape and colours to the big turnip-shaped soft book. So if you like the colour coordinated look, you could even make sure your baby's toys match too !

The pull-along toy is very well-made and well-thought out. Pierre, 6 months, likes the rattle, bell and squeaker hidden inside the vegetables, but the main tester of this toy has been 4-year-old Juliette, who absolutely loves it ! (It's recommended for 9 months plus, but as long as you keep an eye on baby, there's no reason why he can't play with the squisjy shapes before then.) The three vegetables (carrot, cauliflower and turnip) are made of two halves velcroed together so you can pull them apart and stick them back together again. If you get inside the mind of a small child (this was Juliette's idea, not mine !), you can therefore stick the "wrong" pieces together and make strange looking mismatched vegetables. This kept her amused for several minutes and I was impressed at the quality of the velcro, which is firmly stitched in and doesn't look like it will end up pulling off, as is often the case on cheaper toys.

The wheels are made of wood and are reminiscent of the old-fashioned children's toys I remember from my childhood. No cheap plastic here ! The back wheels are attached by velcro, which seemed like a bad idea to me, because they may end up getting lost or thrown across the room - but Juliette liked pulling the wheels off and sticking them back together again. She must have a promising future ahead as a hybrid vegetable grower or a mechanic ! The front wheel is a wooden ball so there is absolutely no chance of baby getting his fingers pinched in wheels and axels.

Continuing this safety and child-friendly theme, I was very impressed that the pull-along cord comes in two lengths velcroed together. Not only this allows your little one to have fun pulling it apart and sticking it together again (an activity that, judging by Juliette, is much more entertaining than I ever would have imagined !), it also means that you can keep the cord very short to begin with to avoid any risk of strangulation.

I was slightly disappointed that the Rufus rabbit toy is permanently attached to the wheelbarrow, especially as it's pretty much the only element that is. If you can take out the vegetables and even the wheels, why not the rabbit too ? That would open up a whole world of imaginative play, walking him to the vegetable patch or the market, for example. You can however fully rotate his head, so Juliette had fun twisting it around to make him talk and look in different directions. He's very cute and squishy and appealing to small children.

It may have no electronic noises, microchips or digital technology, but it does offer hours of fun for small children, who will love pulling it along once they can walk, but also pulling apart, putting back together and loading into the wheelbarrow the different vegetable shapes, as well as using the squeaker, rattle and bell. It's a welcome return to old-fashioned toys that get children thinking for themselves to create entertainment, not just pushing a button and letting it all happen for them. Batteries not included and not even needed, just a huge dose of imagination !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £20

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