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Bedtime Stories With Thomas, Pat, Bob and Sam

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07.03.2011

Advantages:
fun, colourful, lots of choice, characters, low price

Disadvantages:
heavy

Recommendable Yes:

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Reading stories and books is an ideal way to help a child develop skills and advance in life. Reading along with your child also acts as a special bonding time and makes bedtime more enjoyable for all.

Playtime Friends

There are many characters in cartoons that children become attracted too. Whilst up to date names such as Iggle Piggle and Peppa Pig may be popular now, there are some true classics. This Story Treasury is a hardcover and was published by Dean and Son in 2007. It was edited by Brenda Apsley and has just under 220 pages.

The treasury claims to be ideal for playtime or bedtime. It incorporates 4 well known pre-school tv show favourites. We have Thomas the Tank, Fireman Sam, Postman Pat and a bit more up to date offering of Bob The Builder. The treasury is split into character sections and a little bit about the adventures ahead is noted on the back.

Layout

The hardcover of the book clearly shows which character are included within. Lifelike images will immediately attract the attention of a fan and the colourful nature of the cover will also entice. The back has short descriptions of the stories within. The inside covers at both ends of the book are blue and offer circular shapes with the characters pictures in them. Further on, a little bit of publishing information is included.

We are then presented with 4 contents pages. Each page is blue with white stars and a yellow column confirms the different stories within each character section. The matching character pictures are also present. There are 6 Postman Pat stories, 8 Thomas, 5 Fireman Sam and finally 6 Bob the Builder stories.

Postman Pat

Postman Pat lives in Greendale and is basically the only Postman for the village. He can be identified by his blue uniform and red van. He also delivers the post with his sidekick Jess the cat. The Postman Pat section runs from page 10 - 59. The first 2 pages concentrates on introducing all the characters with pictures, names and short descriptions. The stories are introduced by a double spread page and a short description. The stories included in this section are :
  • The Greendale Movie
  • At The Seaside
  • The Pet Show
  • Clowning Around
  • The Big Balloon Race
  • The Tricky Transport Day

The different stories are also on different pages from the one before with bright colours being used. The border along the top and bottom of some pages has letter symbols to resemble the letters Pat delivers. Other pages show a more colourful display with Pats van.
Thomas The Tank
Thomas is a cheeky blue engine who lives on the
Pictures of Playtime Friends Story Treasury - Brenda Apsley
Playtime Friends Story Treasury - Brenda Apsley 51xYg4WiEJL__SL500_AA300_ - Playtime Friends Story
Playtime Friends Story Treasury - Brenda Apsley
Island Of Sodor with his friends. He is often seen getting into sticky situations and needing help before getting a telling off from the Fat Controller. As with above, we are introduced to all the engines included in the stories over 2pages. We then get onto the stories which are all introduced as above and cover pages 60 - 125 so really the biggest section of all. The Thomas stories are as follows :
  • Thomas' New Trucks
  • Edward, The Very Useful Engine
  • Harold and The Flying Horse
  • No Sleep For Cranky
  • Thomas and the Circus
  • Trusty Rusty
  • Rheneas and the Dinosaur
  • Trouble for Thomas

As above, the stories come on different coloured pages. The borders through the Thomas section include designs such as trains on tracks and wheels etc.
Fireman Sam
Fireman Sam lives in a little town called Pontypanda and works at the firestation. Both himself and his co workers attend emergencies of all sorts to save cats etc. The Fireman Sam section spans from page 126 - 167. The characters are introduced in the first two pages and each story is also introduced. The stories here include :
  • The Birthday Surprise
  • Pizza Palaver
  • Bath Time for Dusty
  • Fun Run
  • Let It Snow

Bright coloured pages are interchanged between the stories and the borders along the pages include hose designs and fire symbols.
Bob The Builder
Bob is voiced by Neil Morrisey. He runs a building yard and has talking trucks and tractors helping him out. Compared to the other choices in the book, Bob is a more up to date addition as he hasn't been around quite as long to be considered a classic! Bob the Builder is the final section within the treasury spanning from page 168 - 217. Again we are introduced to the characters and the stories are also briefly introduced. The Bob stories include :
  • Bobs and the Badgers
  • Scruffty On Guard
  • Dizzy and Muck Go Camping
  • Spud and the Doves
  • Mr Bentley's Winter Fair
  • The Christmas Tree

Each page is differently coloured with various spanner and tool images adorning the borders.
Layout of Pages
Each page is fully coloured from start to finish. Within the upper and lower borders, black and easy to read writing is evident. Although mainly put into one paragraph on each page, it is sometimes split between the top half and bottom half of the page. Each page has a large picture..some taking up from one end of the page to the other. Others are smaller and bordered in. The colours used a true to the characters actual appearances.
Availability and Price

This book when published had an rrp of £19.99. It can now be found new on amazon for £8.09. Used copies can also be bought for only 1p with £2.80 p&p!

Our Thoughts

My son is nearly 3 and is the proud owner of a rather large collection of books. We love to spend time reading short stories before naps and bedtime and occasionally Ryan likes to flick through a book himself and make up his own stories. Reading is special time for us and something that we have done together since he was very little. I believe that doing this together has brought us closer and Ryan is very smart and well spoken for his age so I see books as a benefit.

Ryans collection of books includes traditional Thomas books, In the Night Garden and various others from simple touch and feel books to books containing a large amount of words. I prefer to encourage some basic reading with lots of pictures as a starting point and work our way up with more words when Ryan feels ready. I was in a local charity shop just before Christmas and spotted this book on the shelves. I was instantly drawn in as it contained 4 characters that Ryan adores and was convinced to purchase due to the 79p price tag.

Our book was in perfect condition with no a page torn or drawn on. I would feel quite upset if this one was drawn on so keep it out the way of pens and crayons. The book itself is very heavy due to the hardcover and over 200pages it contains. It isn't one Ryan can take out to read in his buggy or in limited space. It is one however he asks to look at and read at least 3-4times a week. When I first presented this to Ryan, he was over the moon and quickly told me about the characters adorning the front..it was sure to be a favourite for both of us!

3 of the characters used were around when I was a child and I am so glad Ryan has had the opportunity to witness them too. He adores Thomas as you all know and often watches Bob the Builder. Postman Pat has always been a hit as his Daddy is a postman but Fireman Sam isn't as well known with us but still recognisable due to having another book with him in it. It doesn't seem to be around on the TV anymore. Anyway lets get into this treasury and discover which stories we love!

Bedtime Stories

The range of stories included within the treasury is extensive and there really is a bit of everything. We particularly enjoyed the fact that the characters were introduced to us before the stories began. Although I regularly watch the TV shows or DVDs with Ryan, some of the characters were not instantly recognisable to me. Ryan was quick to point out who he knew in each section and everytime we started a new section, he would sing the theme song for each show!

The colourful pages enticed Ryan and the clear writing was easy for me to read. Whilst Ryan is abit too young to indentify all the words and sentences, he seems to be able to follow the book well. From regular reading, he has picked up the jist of the stories and when he is flicking through the book himself, I hear him adding his own little adaptions to each story. He has a good memory and even better imagination and I can be sure it won't be long til hes reading the book to me.

The pictures are very clear and colourful which is ideal in a book like this. The stories are generally spread over 6pages with around 20-30 simple words in sentences on each page. This is really sufficient and holds Ryans attention for the time it takes me to read and him identifying the characters in the pictures at each turn of the page. Some of the stories are familiar to us such as At The Seaside and Clowning Around from Postman Pat. We have these episodes on DVD and the pictures correspond to what happens in the actual episode making it easy for Ryan to identify it and creating more excitement.

The characters in most of the stories are commonly used in the shows but the Thomas section cause a bit of confusing looks from Ryan. A few of the engines weren't known to us such as Rusty and Rheneas and we feel a bit more of an appearance from the engine himself, Thomas, would have been good. Fireman Sam section was good as its been a while since I have watched it and it was great rekindling the weird emergencies the firemen get called out to deal with!

The Bob the Builder section was much loved by Ryan as he knows all of the characters used in the pictures and likes to copy what I am saying here. There are highlighted words encouraging readers to change their voice and make a strange sound which Ryan finds highly amusing and does it himself! Lots of animal noises to be acted out in this section which offers a bit of fun before bed.

Our favourite stories from each section include The Greendale Movie due to its funny, silly pictures and happenings. For Thomas, we loved reading about Harold and the Flying Horse. Harold is often only seen occasionally and Ryan loves helicopters so a full story dedicated to him was loved! Let In Snow in Fireman Sam was enjoyed as Ryan loves snow pictures and Christmas trees so this was his favourite here. All the Bob stories were enjoyed and moreso in the past few weeks as there has been a digger outside that Ryan insists is the one in the treasury!

The stories are all fun and usually I ask Ryan to pick one to be read before bed. If he protests enough, I will go on and read another one. We do tend to change out story choice about to give a bit of variety. When he reads this alone he usually jumps straight to Thomas as he is the favourite. If he wants his Daddy to read to him (which is rare as Mummy reads so much better) he will insist on Postman Pat being read to him!
Recommendation

This is a lovely layed out book which due to its traditional, popular characters is much loved by my son. There is plenty of choice in terms of story and they are just the right length to hold a pre-schoolers attention. This book will hopefully be appreciated even more as Ryan gets older and his imagination grows. I think £19.99 is quite highly priced but buying a copy from amazon offers excellent value for money.

I therefore highly recommend the Playtime Friends Story Treasury and thank you for reading x
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Comments about this review »

Coloneljohn 22.03.2011 17:15

Excellent. John

greenierexyboy 17.03.2011 22:20

I bet Fireman Sam's parents had thought he'd grow up to be a salesman, or something else beginning with 's'.

dawnymarie 13.03.2011 19:07

Back with the E x

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This review of Playtime Friends Story Treasury - Brenda Apsley has been rated:

"very helpful" by (55%):

  1. Juliet101
  2. greenierexyboy
  3. Andy.mack

and 21 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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