Tool Box: Big help for little gardeners

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I DO MY Christmas shopping during the third week in December, because there is nothing like a panic to get the festive adrenalin flowing. Early-birds who have young children to buy for should take a look at the Little-Ones garden tools from Parasene. Aimed at the five-plus age group, the spade, shovel, rake, broom and hoes look and feel much stronger than the implements with which I once dug flowerbeds and built sandcastles.

They are made in Britain, unlike so many garden tools, and comply with EC toy standards. Steel 'business ends' coated in bright, lead-free paints are fitted to sturdy wooden handles. The only niggle is that the spade and shovel would be more practical if their handles ended in a crosspiece, like adult implements.

A retired headteacher rated the tools as 'great' for children in the seven-to-nine age bracket. 'Excellent' was the verdict from an indomitable old woman who has difficulty using full-size tools. She said the Little-Ones were easy to wield and ideal for tending her small-scale patio garden.

The suggested retail price of pounds 3.99 per tool represents excellent value for money.

M H Berlyn Co Ltd, Dudley Road, Halesowen, West Midlands B63 3LR (021-550 1951).