My oldest son is obsessed with trains. He loves all the cartoons that have trains, especially Thomas. We have bath toys, pillows, towels, and toys…lots of toys….that have that train on it. When I saw the Thomas & Friends All Around Sodor toy, I knew I would have to get it. It’s too cute to pass up. Plus, he’s within the age range it said on the box (18 months and up), so I figured he’d be able to use it right away.
Thomas has 3 buttons on him. A green button shaped like a crane, a yellow button shaped like Tidmouth shed, and a blue button shaped like a train. They all make him talk, and his eyes and mouth move for added effect!
When you open up the box, there are a few pieces that easily go together, my little one even helped! He was so excited for it. The track turns into a figure 8, and included is Cranky the Crane, and Tidmouth Shed with a picture of Percy, James, Gordon, and Sir Topham Hatt, along with a trailer for Thomas to pull (cargo car) and 2 barrels for the trailer. The barrels also store in a spot by Cranky as well as by Tidmouth Shed.
Since my little one had already figured out that the buttons made him move, we put Thomas on the track and away he went! Poor Thomas didn’t get a break for a good hour and a half, my son was so excited to see him going!
When you press the green crane button, it takes you on the track to Cranky where him and Thomas have a conversation and you can manually load the barrel onto the cargo car. The one thing that I noticed right away is that Thomas has to be going a certain direction on the track for him to stop in the right place. Otherwise, while he will still go on the track, he stops a bit away from where he should be.
If you press the yellow button, it takes you to Tidmouth Shed where Thomas talks with the other engines and Sir Topham Hatt. The whole time Thomas is moving (and even when he’s not!) he keeps the kids engaged with noises and chatter (according to the product description there are over 50 sounds and phrases). He knows when he’s been derailed (he even goes on carpet!) and when he’s stopped moving. When he was on our carpet he said, “Are you sure we’re on the right track?” which I thought was awesome. When he’s stopped moving, whether he’s been flipped or stops at one of the “stations,” you can hear what sounds like an actual train stopping. None of the other characters come to life like Thomas, and all of the sound (including the other’s voices) comes from Thomas’ one speaker.
I would have to say that the blue button is my favorite. When you press this button and Thomas is on the track, he will just keep going and going for a bit. Since my son doesn’t really understand the idea of loading and unloading the barrels at certain stations yet, this was huge for him. He loves to press that button and just watch him go. Even if he’s not on the track, Thomas will ride over carpet and go really fast on hard floor. Be careful if you have higher furniture though, as we’ve had to use a broom stick a couple of times to rescue Thomas from under the couch and even from beside our dryer!
The cargo car is so easy for little hands to attach. It doesn’t have to click or anything like that, it just slides right on! Of course you can use Thomas with or without the cart, but my son loves to carry other things in it than the included barrels.
The buttons are also color coded which is nice. The green crane button matches Cranky’s green, Tidmouth Shed is yellow, and Thomas is of course blue.
It has held up nicely. Thomas has been thrown during tantrums, sucked on, flipped, taken to bed, stepped on, you name it. Not a crack. We’ve been playing with it for quite some time now and the batteries that were included are still running fine. It requires only 3 AAA batteries which are included, so if it does need to be changed it’s not a big deal. The only thing I wish they had included was a volume button to turn Thomas up or down.
Overall, I highly recommend this toy to anyone with a young Thomas lover. And with a price tag of around $40, it’s worth the money. In fact, we bought a second one for my nephew!