What can you give a little boy who loves trains? And books? A train book, of course. Better yet, a train book that doubles up as a playmat and then folds over into a train engine.
That is precisely what this book from Miles Kelly does. J was excited to find out that he can not only read, but play with and literally get into his new Convertible Train book.
Once out of its cover, we unfolded the book and lay it down on the floor. We then had a go reading it from one end to the other. It wasn't so much about turning pages than scuttling along the floor from one giant card sheet to the next.
Reading done, it was time to fold over the different parts to construct the engine. Convertible Train is made of chunky pieces of cardboard that are bound together with strips of cloth – the type used to bind books. So you can fold them into shape easily and there is no fear of ripping the cardboard along the folds. Small strips of velcro fasten the different bits and hold them in place.
Within minutes, our book had transformed into a bright red train engine complete with a door, a funnel whooshing smoke and a control panel for the ‘driver’. J hopped in and sat behind the control panel looking rather pleased with himself.
He had a go operating all the ‘machinery’, shovelled in coal to make it go faster and made the trip from Manchester to London half a dozen times. The only problem as far as I was concerned was that he is perhaps somewhat big for the engine. It is advertised for pre-schoolers aged 1-5, and J is only 4. But he is quite tall for his age. So it was a bit of a tight squeeze getting in and out of the engine. Or sitting in it. Not that he seemed to mind. Not one bit, really.
Next, we dismantled the train and lay it down again. Only this time, J got out his toy train and carriage and was guiding it along the tracks down the length of the book. Then it was time to have a little read again.
I love that My Train is a 3-in-1 plaything. So there is always something to hold the child's attention. Anything that gets children to like books and enjoy reading has to be a good thing. The cardboard seems good quality and looks like it will sustain reasonable handling by a child. It is good value for money at £17.99, but is on sale over on Miles Kelly right now for £13.49. I think it will make a lovely Christmas present for a toddler or pre-schooler. There are other books in the ‘convertible’ range that are worth a dekko too.
Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Convertible Train for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.