Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Li'l Woodzeez Honeysuckle Hollow General Store and Tickle Your Taste Buds Bakery

First things first, what are Li'l Woodzeez?  They are similar to the Calico Critters in that they are flocked and dressed families of upright-walking animals.  From just looking at them in the store, I can tell you that Woodzeez are slightly bigger than Calico Critters and less expensive ($9.99 vs. $19.99).  You can get Li'l Woodzeez at Target and also on Amazon, but beware the often way-inflated prices for these sets on Amazon.

I can't really recommend the Li'l Woodzeez themselves.  I glanced at them briefly and thought the turtle family was kinda cute (PICTURE), but overall not much to grab my attention with these little guys.  I am tempted to purchase a Calico Critter and review those cuties, though.

What did cause me to pause my toy aisle lurking was this:


This is a diorama-style shop made for the Li'l Woodzeez critters.  It's called the "Honeysuckle Hollow General Store."  I have always been fascinated by dioramas.  As a kid, I used to get lost in my imagination while gazing at highly detailed museum dioramas. I love the dioramas that doll house collectors make to show off their miniatures.  I have always wanted to make my own diorama, but don't have enough patience or time (or anything to put in it).  I have to admit, I got a bit giddy thinking of how much fun it would be to buy this toy and set up all of the little pieces!  The price was right at $19.99, so I took it home with me.


It says "3 years +" on the tag there, which seems right for the actual Woodzeez animals, but I have to say I think older kids would have a bit more luck with this set and all of its little pieces.  Maybe 5 or even 6 and up would be more realistic.

The packaging is a bear.  In order to achieve a tantalizing display with everything all set up on the shelves...


...it is necessary to have everything encased in plastic and then cable-tied to the edges of the shop.  Yikes.  You need a sharp and precise pair of scissors to rip into this thing.  Here are some of the stages of getting all of the bits out:






Here's the pile of garbage:


That took about ten minutes.  The little pieces are pretty cute--some of them cuter than others.  For instance, those jars with the red lids in the front of the picture below are nicely done, but the eggs and peanut butter (and the dark brown thing...Nutella??) are very basic.


The little bolts of fabric are awesome and the green seed-planting markers are cute, but the pots of pink flowered plants?  The whole top of the plant is painted pink--even the leaves.  That's kinda cheap.  


There are a lot of cartons filled with fruits and veggies and these are ok, but the produce is all attached to the cartons with the exception of three apples that come separately and can be placed in the tiny scale:


I was most excited about this little candy stand, but all of the jars have the same candy balls, just in different colors:


The jars are really hard to get to stand up and they do not open or anything like that.  There's also a wheel of cheese with a wedge cut in it...but the wedge can't be removed.  That's a little weird.


I love the little cloth shopping bags that can be filled with lots of different things:


It took me a while to get everything set up inside the shop, and I kept thinking that this might be a tough chore for a little kid.  They have smaller fingers, for sure, but the set is very fiddly.




There were a few pieces I wasn't sure what to do with.  There's a coat hanger with a green cloth apron and I just left that aside (it kept tipping over).  Those pink plates are supposed to go along the top of the wall like I have them, but they're pretty precarious up there and not all of them fit.  Maybe I did it wrong?  Anyway, here's a small sample of some of the items up close so you can get a better sense of the quality:


I'm itching to paint the lollipop stick brown and paint in the green leaves of those darn plants!
Here's the shop from the front with some of the veggies put out on display:


It's very cute.  I am disappointed with some of the pieces, but the overall effect is very colorful and fun to look at.  You could use it with the Calico Critters, the Li'l Woodzeez (obviously) and even the Littlest Pet Shop Blythe dolls!

There are only two diorama sets offered for the Li'l Woodzeez at this point, and I saved the best for last.  The other set, called the "Tickle Your Taste Buds Bakery," is really great.  The attention to detail in this set is truly exceptional, especially for the price tag.


Three different types of pie! Yum.  Notice that there's no plastic or glass or anything in the windows, and this is a good thing.  Makes it much easier to set everything up:


I mean, look at all of those tasty things!




With this set, I feel like every little piece is a nice surprise.  For example, the bagels, bread, muffins, cupcakes, croissants, cookies, bread and donuts are all separate individual pieces!



Those slices of cake?  They actually come off the plates!  The muffins?  They come out of the pan.



Here's another great feature.  There is a rolled-out slab of dough with a gingerbread man cut into it.  The little gingerbread man can be popped out of the dough!



One possible problem:  I have had this set for a few months and just found that the donuts stick to their tray over time.  When I wrenched the donuts free, some of them took paint from the tray and some lost paint to the tray.  Might not be a good thing long-term.  The paint of the tray is stickier than the paint on the other baking trays and plates and so I am hoping it will be a problem with just this one tray:


The wall details are ok (none of the things here can be removed):


The oven opens, but there's nothing inside.  Adding a little picture or even a dark color insert would be pretty easy and would make it look much better:


The other side:


I really love this set and bought it for all of the 6-year-olds in my life.  I think it is fun to look at, great for doll or figure displays and the potential for imaginative games is really high.  The movable and well-painted pieces are a rare treat for a toy in this price range.  Of the two sets, the bakery takes the cake and is a much nicer toy than the general store.  The two look great together, though, and mixing and matching merchandise would be a treat.

Summary:

Age Level
5/6 and up
All of the tiny pieces are what make these toys great, but...there are a lot of tiny, fiddly pieces!!
Value
Great value.  If you pay retail for these sets ($19.99) you are getting a highly detailed and fun toy for a great price.
Quality
Although the set is all plastic and some of the details are molded to the walls and just for show, all of the movable and well-painted miniatures make up for this...more so in the bakery set.  Possible long-term quality issue with the paint.
Packaging
Everything is held down with plastic and cable ties. Ugh. This is necessary to hold all of the bits in place, but it is a big process to get everything out.  Lots of garbage. 
Collectable?
Not really.  This is toy-quality, but perhaps some of the miniatures could be used in another diorama or dollhouse and look good.
Versatility
Great versatility.  These sets offer a lot of different play and display options.  Can be used with other toy lines.
Overall
General Store: Recommended
Bakery: Highly Recommended


8 comments:

  1. That bakery is amazing!

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  2. I bought both of these before Xmas to use w/ my RealPukis. The scale is great but the colors are really bright. These sets would be great for people who repaint plastic doll furniture. A bit of shading and highlighting would pop all the cute molded details.

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  3. Why don't they have these in Canada? :C We have Calico Critters but they are so darn expensive. We're getting Target at some point...maybe we'll get lucky have have these too.

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  4. These are so cute!!! I want to get myself one to display my little Blythes!!!
    Great idea, I love it!!! :D

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  5. I'm from Canada, and I've been finding the odd Woodzeez toys at Winners. However, the selection is scarce at best, and varies from store to store. The families sell for around $7-$8 Cdn, and the buildings are about $20 Cdn.

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  6. Whew! I have finally gotten to the last (first) post! ...and now I'm kinda sad! I feel like I've accomplished something, because now I can say I have read ALL of your AWESOME blog, but now that I've read all of it... there's no more entries for me to read whenever I need a little dose of doll/toy loveliness in my life! Well, you'll just have to post even more. That's the only solution!

    Loving the blog (ALL of it! XD) and looking forward to all of your future posts :)

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  7. Ok, cute, but can AG mini's use it?
    - Anonymous A.

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    Replies
    1. Littlest Pet Shop Blythe is 4 inches. AG Minis are 6 inches. So maybe not. I think they'd be too tall.

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I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.