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Customer Review

on October 2, 2007
There is one reviewer here who didn't like these blocks. (I'm guessing that reviewer has other, more expensive, unit blocks.) Please allow me to address the points raised by that reviewer.

"The Weight": Some children can lift 15 pounds (like my 3-year-old), and some can't. Know your child, and supervise the little ones when moving the full box of blocks. Common sense, really. Not a problem. Usually, my kids leave the box on the floor and just push it across the carpet.

We have had one box split near the bottom at one end. A little wood glue and an overnight clamping session, and it was good to go. The dovetail joints are plenty strong for the job, even if there might be weak points in the wood. For the first while, my kids' favorite piece was the box (it was a boat, a bed, a car, etc.), so I'm not surprised that it had a problem.

"The Smell": yes, these blocks to have a slight odor to them when the package is first opened. It's the finish they use, and it's not strong at all. I would guess it's some type of natural oil. (Tung, linseed, or something similar.) I'm highly sensitive to chemicals and other odors (headaches and allergic reactions), and this didn't bother me at all. It dissipated quickly, and is completely unnoticeable after a short while. I especially like the finish M&D use on these blocks because it's not readily apparent, and yet it has kept the wood smooth. Even blocks that sneaked (under their own power, I'm sure ;o) into the bathtub have dried very well. The grain of the wood raised slightly, but smoothed back down nicely with play, and never splintered at all. The feel of these blocks is great, too. Smooth and pleasant to touch, but with enough texture to make them easy to manipulate for small hands.

"Not True Standard Unit Blocks": Um, yes, they are. The larger triangles are the size of two of the smaller triangles, two of which equal half of the standard unit block (1-1/2" x 2" x 5"). The hypotenuse of the large triangle is also the same length as the standard unit block (5"). The large triangles use variations of the same "unit" all the other blocks do. Just because HABA or other companies don't have a block that size doesn't mean it can't be done. Each and every block in this set shares the same width, as well as one other dimension (whether that second dimension is exactly the same as the first, or is a multiple of it).

And those little quarter circles are some of my kids' favorites. They're also great for helping to teach fractions, as are the half circles. Put 'em on their rounded edges on top of a little block, and you've got a nifty sailboat, to boot. Or on top of a pillar, and you've got a minaret spire. They're great.

"Not hardwood": Rubberwood is a hardwood. Not all hardwoods are as heavy as cherry or oak. Can you imagine how heavy this box would be if the blocks were made from a heavier hardwood? Ay! No thanks. It's heavy enough as it is.

I love it that the Rubberwood is tough as well as light. Along with the very tight, straight grain and smooth feel, my kids have abused these blocks for nearly four years now, and they're still looking great. (We now own two sets.)

To sum up: We love love love these blocks. If you have more than one child (or one very imaginative and creative child), you would do well to purchase two sets. (And you're still paying less for two sets than you would be buying 60 unit blocks from other companies.)

Cheap? No way.

An excellent value? Definitely!
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Product Details

4.8 out of 5 stars
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