The Bottom Line
- Cute, colorful vehicles
- Motorized action is a real attention getter
- Toy encourages active, creative play
- Comes with book for quiet times
- Battery installation is difficult
- May be hard for younger children to manipulate
- Sturdy plastic construction
- Playset comes with one vehicle
- Some assembly required
- Recommended for ages 3 and up
- Retail price $39.99
Guide Review - Chuck's Stunt Park from Tonka Chuck and Friends
When I was a young mother, we used to describe a little boy who was particularly rowdy by saying that he could tear up a Tonka truck. Back then, Tonkas were practically indestructible metal behemoths.
Today's Tonkas are a bit kinder and gentler, especially the Chuck and Friends line, but the new motorized Chuck and Friends playsets will provide enough action for rowdy little boys, and girls, too.
The stunt set is designed to maximize the child's interaction with the toy. There's a crank that the child must turn to lift the truck up to start its journey. The pieces of track and the other parts of the playset don't snap together, so the child must constantly realign the pieces and guide Chuck through his paces. That's fine with me. I much prefer toys that don't allow children to be passive observers. If you have more than one of the Tonka Chuck playsets, the grandkids can arrange the various pieces in creative ways. That's another thing I like about the toys.
Here's what I didn't like. The playset comes with batteries that allow it to make some cool sound effects, but Chuck requires batteries that are not supplied. That would be okay except that the screws are deeply set in, and a particular type of small screwdriver is required to install the batteries. I tried and discarded half a dozen screwdrivers before I found one that worked. I'm sure lots of grandparents don't even own a workable screwdriver. If an eager child is waiting for the toy, that could spell trouble. The manufacturer should have provided a small screwdriver if this particular battery configuration was necessary.
A couple more caveats: Although I like the track design, younger children may be easily frustrated by the way the tracks move and require frequent adjustments. Also, the advertising for this line of products uses terms like "zip" and "zoom." The vehicles move in a cool mechanical crawl. They really don't zip or zoom.