Friday, October 17, 2014

The Elsa Mini Doll Wardrobe Set from The Disney Store

To follow up on Zoe's great review of the Frozen Ice Skating set, I want to do a quick review of one of the other new products from the Disney Store: a Mini Doll Wardrobe set.  There are quite a few of these new wardrobe-themed playsets available on the Disney Store site, and they include characters like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and even the Frozen princesses.  When I saw that the wardrobe version of mini Elsa is wearing her blue ice dress (rather than the coronation clothing of the first mini Elsa), I knew this was the set for me--especially because it's hard to know when these items will sell out again!

I will try to give a fair, objective review here, but you know what a soft spot I have for perfect little miniatures of larger dolls...and just look at these two!

Elsa Mini Doll Wardrobe set
J.C. Penney 12" Elsa doll (left) and Elsa from the Mini Wardrobe set (right).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Anna and Elsa Ice Skating Set from the Disney Store--A Guest Review!

Well, it seems like there has finally been an enduring re-stock of Frozen dolls over at the Disney Store.  While the 12 inch Kristoff and Hans characters sold out again fairly quickly (and Elsa comes in and out of stock) there are still many great dolls available--including a few new additions.  I was just starting to put together a review of one of the new Mini Wardrobe playsets for you when I got an email from Zoe.  Zoe has been waiting a long time to write a guest review, and as luck would have it, she recently purchased the exclusive Anna and Elsa Ice Skating set--another new addition to the Disney Store lineup.  So, I decided to create a short two-review series to close out this week:  Zoe will review the Anna and Elsa set today, and then I will review a Mini Wardrobe set tomorrow.

I first met Zoe back in June, right after Samehch's Bratz doll overview.  Not only does Zoe know a lot about the early Bratz dolls, but she also shares my passion for Liv dolls and fairy tales.  Zoe's fairy tale fondness enticed her into collecting Ever After High dolls, and also many of the Disney Princesses, which gives her some great reference points for this review.  Thank you so much for sharing this rare sister set with us, Zoe!

Elsa (left) and Anna (right) from the Disney Store Ice Skating set.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Beatrix Girls "Lark" by Popstar Club

The Beatrix Girls are 12 inch dolls that represent a group of four (teenaged?) friends who are in a band together.  Each character sings, plays an instrument, and writes music.  The girls are designed to be role models for young kids because of the talent, determination and hard work that have made their band a huge success.  The Beatrix Girls are manufactured by Popstar Club LLC, a new California-based company that plans to focus on cross-platform products.  The dolls are part of a multi-media world that includes short (live action) webisodes and tracks of pop music.

When I first saw the Beatrix Girls dolls on the shelves at Toys R Us last year, I was turned off by the huge heads and facial expressions on these characters.  Frankly, the combination of wide eyes, angrily-slanted eyebrows and large smiles made these dolls look sinister to me.  However, the body proportions on the Beatrix Girls reminded me of Pullip and Blythe dolls, and I couldn't help but wonder if this brand might be an interesting and inexpensive alternative to some popular large-headed collector dolls.

Over the past year, many of you have encouraged me to take a second look at The Beatrix Girls.  I took your advice, and will admit that by the third or fourth time I saw these dolls in the store, the faces started to seem less angry and more appealing.  However, I was still bothered by the fact that the first release dolls did not come with their instruments (nor were the instruments originally available for separate purchase).  This was an oversight for a doll brand designed around music.  Last May, however, I was able to find a Justice exclusive version of the redheaded character, "Lark," who actually came with her bass guitar.  I decided to purchase this doll for review and paid $24.99 for her through Amazon (where she's now on sale for $20).  Incidentally, all of the newest Beatrix Girl dolls come with instruments, and the instruments have also recently been released in separate accessory sets.  Here's my Lark:

Beatrix Girls Lark doll
Beatrix Girls "Lark" $24.99.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Zaria" and "Kaila" by Double Dutch Dolls

Stephanie emailed me over the summer to tell me about Double Dutch Dolls, a new company that is producing multicultural, articulated (!), slim-proportioned 18 inch play dolls.  The company's founder, K. Charles, grew up reading Sweet Valley High and Judy Blume books--wishing that there were similar fictional characters who looked like her.  Unsatisfied with the current market, Ms. Charles decided to write her own books about spunky, smart, unique and beautiful teens from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  The characters in these stories were so real to her, that Ms. Charles decided to turn them into high-quality 18 inch play dolls.

At the moment, only the main characters from K. Charles' book series are available in doll form.  These are Kaila and Zaria, identical 14-year-old twins who are navigating the challenges of middle school together.  With Kickstarter funding success, the company hopes to introduce a full line of doll characters, including Kaila's best friend Sacha, Zaria's Hispanic friend Alainna, Zaria's Irish/German/Asian lab partner Kadence, and (my favorite!) the redheaded African-American and Norwegian girl, Trinity.

After reading the website and looking at the dolls, I instantly wanted to get involved and support this wonderful project.  My experience with these dolls is a bit of an epic tale, though.  It all started back on August 9th, the day of Stephanie's email, when I ordered Zaria.  However, almost two months later, I am the proud owner of both Zaria and her twin sister.  And Zaria is sporting a new wig.  I'll tell you the whole story, of course, but let me start by showing you the beautiful twins as they look today:

Double Dutch Dolls
Zaria (left, re-wigged) and Kaila (right) by Double Dutch Dolls.  $69.00 each.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Zombie Shake "Rochelle Goyle" and "Venus McFlytrap"--A Guest Review!

Over the summer, several of you asked if I would consider reviewing the Zombie Shake versions of Rochelle Goyle and Venus McFlytrap.  Within weeks of those requests, almost like magic, I got an email from Katla, a lovely Monster High fan from Sweden.  Katla emailed to ask if I would be interested in a guest review of this exact Zombie Shake pair...and of course I eagerly said yes.  Not only was Katla's email brilliantly-timed, but this is a set that I have been curious about myself.  I think Venus and Rochelle are two of the most interesting and unique Monster High characters.

I've really enjoyed getting a look at this fabulous zombie pair through Katla's artistic, detail-oriented eyes, and I hope you will, too.

Zombie Shake Venus and Rochelle
Zombie Shake "Rochelle Goyle" and "Venus McFlytrap," by Monster High.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A 1:9 Scale Horse and Rider by Paradise Kids

Writing a review of the Breyer Let's Go Riding Western set last week inspired me to get some of my Paradise toys out of storage for their long-delayed review.  I have reviewed a few of the Paradise horses before, but only the larger animals designed for 18" play dolls.  I was so pleased to see the level of articulation on the Breyer doll, I wanted to find out how the Paradise riders compare.  Also, as a long-time fan of Breyer model horses, I was curious about the equivalently-sized 1:9 scale articulated Paradise horses.

This scale of Paradise toys has a few size options.  There are 9.5 inch horses (measured from hooves to ear tips) and also 8.5 inch ponies.  The riders also come in a few sizes.  In the Barn Buddies collection, there are 7.5 inch "adult" dolls to fit the horses, and 6 inch child dolls for the ponies.  The newer Cowgirl Cool collection of riders contains 10 inch dolls that I suspect are made to fit a different group of Paradise horses--the 10 inch fuzzy-skinned ones that look like miniature My Life As horses.  Today I will review a 9.5 inch (non-fuzzy) horse and one of the larger Barn Buddies dolls.

This review will serve as a companion to the Breyer post, and my hope is that it will provide a resource to help horse lovers figure out which company's 1:9 scale horse and rider toys are best for them.

Paradise Barn Buddies "Eva," and horse "Merlin."