Jul 21, 2010
“Would you be interested in reviewing the BRIO Little Forest Train Set?” asked the folks over at Baby Direct, to which I responded, “But of course.”
It has to be said: Brio rocks! What’s not to like about a toy manufacturer that has its own Declaration of Independence which states:
There are those who say that you can’t eat out once you have children.
That you’ll never have time to read.
That you can’t travel.
That you’ll never dance on the tables again.
There are those who say that you’ll never wear white.
That you’ll put on a track suit every morning and never buy another pair of stilettos.
There are those who say that the future looks bleak.
We beg to disagree.
We know that it isn’t always easy to juggle family life with work, friends, ball games, shopping and everything else you want to do. But at BRIO, our goal is to make that life easier, fun-filled and joyful.
Any company that says it will assist me in my quest to dance on a table again has my vote. Oh, that time at B.B. King’s Blues Club, listening to and watching the man himself with a belly full of fried pickles and too much wine. Ahem, I digress…
This train set represents everything that is great about BRIO and about many of the toys which are conceived and/or manufactured in Scandinavian countries. Contrary to Bergman films created in the same region, the toys are uncomplicated. Similar to his films, they are beautiful and require imagination.
Complete with 18 pieces, this starter train set is not overwhelming. It’s just enough to, well, get started. Very little effort is required to latch track pieces to one another to make an oval track. I showed my nearly-three-year-old the photo of the oval track on the box, and he was able to replicate it with ease. Assembling a figure eight track with bridges, tunnels and ramps is too complicated for my little guy now, but the beauty of this train set is that additional track pieces can be added later.
And the fact that this set is made of sustainable beechwood is appealing. Wooden toys are generally more durable, and if you’ve seen how my son amuses himself with his playthings, you would know that durability is essential. More importantly, wooden toys can be a lot safer for children, considering many plastic toys contain toxic substances known to cause damage to the lungs, kidneys, liver and reproductive system, as well as cause perilous hormone changes in children.
Among the non-track pieces are a train, a carriage with three removable logs under an elastic band, and two trees. The variations with these pieces are endless. My son took the logs out and pretended they were three people at one point. He put the trees, dinosaurs, animals, and superheroes on the carriage. At a later stage, my train was chasing his carriage, and his carriage somehow began to fly off the track and into another room.
This toy leaves room to make believe, to invent, to create, unlike so many things today (read: people disclosing their constant whereabouts on Facebook, reality shows, and the clothing of certain entertainers). My son has a very active imagination, and I would like it to stay this way for as long as possible. This train is one small step in making this happen.
The BRIO Little Forest Train Set is available from Baby Direct.