|Lottie "Autumn Leaves."|
Lottie dolls are made by a relatively new British toy company called Arklu. The company got its start designing the Princess Catherine Engagement doll and the subsequent Royal Wedding doll set. To me, these dolls stood out amidst all of the royal wedding paraphernalia because of their distinct character face molds. After enjoying success with their royal dolls, Arklu decided to embark on a different kind of mission--to engineer a play doll line that would embody "all things girlish and lovely." The Lottie line was designed to inspire creative play in younger children, with an eye for the 3-9 year-old market.
The dolls are available for sale on Amazon in the United Kingdom and in the United States. A dressed doll costs $19.99 and there are a few $9.99 accessory sets. At the moment, there are six dolls to choose from. I found all of them appealing, but decided on "Autumn Leaves" and "Lottieville Festival" because of their colorful, multi-piece outfits. The mix and match potential looks high:
I'll take a close look at Autumn Leaves and then show you Lottieville a bit later. Autumn Leaves was my first choice because of the little dog on her shirt and her cute pink coat.
This Lottie doll comes in cardboard window box carton with a little handle on top. The carton is beautifully decorated with rich fall colors:
The plastic window in the front of the box reveals the actual Lottie doll, framed by a colorful woodland scene. The back of the box has some graphic depictions of the other available Lottie items. I have not seen the little beagle dog for sale anywhere, nor the horse, but I would be very interested in both of those sets. In fact, if the horse had been available, I probably would have chosen to buy it and the Pony Flag Race Lottie. These two remind me of the Only Hearts Club "Horse and Pony Club" sets, which I still regret not buying on clearance at Target.
There's a little story on the back of the box, describing how Lottie likes to get muddy and play in the leaves as she explores the forest with her dog, Biscuit. It's not a very elaborate story, but it's nice to meet a doll who's personality doesn't revolve around shopping or fashion.
The picture of Lottie on the back of the box is really sweet. I love the style of the box art.
The sides of the carton have little windows:
I didn't need any scissors to remove Lottie from this box. I peeled the tape away from the top and sides of the outer box, and then slid the inner cardboard piece out. I realized later that I could have just opened the very top of the box and slid the doll out, keeping the package completely intact for storage or transport.
Lottie is secured with two wire ties and a plastic band that holds her long hair. Her two accessories are packaged in plastic bags and taped to the cardboard.
The tags that prevent the wire ties from pulling through the back of the box are made out of cardboard. The wire ties were easy to remove with my bare hands.
The packaging is wonderful. It is attractive, reusable, and almost completely recyclable.
Here is everything that came in the box:
Lottie can stand on her own, but not very well. This particular Lottie has one slightly warped boot, which contributes to her instability.
Lottie is such a cheery little presence. She is also a nice doll to hold. Her small sized body fits perfectly into my hand and her layers of clothing and smooth hair make her cuddly and soft. I can picture a child toting her around all day.
Lottie has long, silky saran hair in a nice honey blonde color:
Lottie's face looks familiar to me. I am not sure if she reminds me of another doll, or maybe she looks like an anime character? She looks a little bit like Misty from Pokemon or maybe one of the kids in Avatar (The Last Airbender)?
Lottie's facial features are very simple. She has a tiny molded nose and molded lips painted with an monochromatic opaque pink. All of the detail in and around her eyes is painted--there are no sculpted eye features. Her eyes are bright blue with huge pupils. She has a few white reflections in her eyes, including a white triangular slice in the lower right hand quadrant. These "pie eyes" resemble Betty Boop or an early Mickey Mouse. Lottie has four painted eyelashes on each side, and these are a medium brown color. The same color continues in a fairly thick ring around all but the middle corner of her eyes. Her eyes have a slightly owlish appearance to them.
Here is her facial profile:
Her hair is made out of high-quality saran fiber. The rooting looks a bit sparse, but if the plugs were more densely spaced in a doll this size, there'd be way too much hair. The doll's scalp is not visible at all during regular play--I actually had to work pretty hard to get the hair to stay parted for this picture:
The hair feels thick and soft and looks great. It is very easy to comb and doesn't seem at all prone to tangles. You couldn't do much styling with this hair, but again, that's mostly because of the doll's size.
Lottie is wearing a multi-layered outfit that includes a pink fleece coat with red stitching and decorative plastic buttons. The details in the coat are wonderful:
Peeking out from under the coat is a corduroy skirt, followed by colorful striped tights and a pair of brown boots. You can see that the right boot is warped in the back:
The coat is secured to the underlying clothes with several plastic ties. This is a bit of a pain. I was worried that I would accidentally snip part of the outfit as I was trying to remove the coat. I had to break out my tiny fingernail scissors for this job:
Lottie comes with two separately packaged clothing accessories--a orange striped scarf and a purple felt hat:
The hat has little ears on it and a brown paw print:
As cute as it looks, the hat doesn't fit Lottie very well. It rides up pretty high on her head:
It's a little better if I mash it down really hard over her head, but it won't stay like this for long:
Here she is with all of her clothing:
After I snipped all of the plastic ties and opened the coat, I could see that it has a periwinkle polka dot lining--what a wonderful surprise!
As an added treat, the polka dot lining peeks out from under the collar of the coat, too:
The sleeves aren't lined (they would be way too bulky) but the rest of the coat's interior is. The stitching is very nice for a garment this tiny:
Underneath the coat, Lottie is wearing a green cotton long-sleeved shirt with a felt beagle head decoration:
The beagle is attached to the shirt with a square of white velcro:
The rust colored corduroy skirt is decorated with four plastic purple buttons. Notice the two holes in the skirt--from those silly plastic ties. This trend is becoming way too common.
Both the shirt and the skirt open and close in the back with a strip of velcro that runs the full length of the garment. This makes dressing and undressing very easy.
Here are the skirt and shirt removed from the doll:
It's very cool that the beagle decoration is removable, but I wish the velcro was in a fun shape like a flower or a star so that the shirt would look good even if there was nothing stuck to it. It's inevitable that those little felt decorations are going to get lost over time.
All of the edges are hemmed and look pretty sturdy:
The tights have an elastic waist:
The stitching here looks a little messy, but is quite durable. None of those threads pull out the stitches or anything like that:
The brown boots are nice, and I think the flocked, textured finish is a brilliant idea. They look like they're made out of suede:
The boots have wide slits in the back for easy removal, and they are decorated with little molded bows. There are some darker spots on one of my boots, which I think are areas of extra pigment. It's not dirt or mold (like it was on a certain other spooky doll):
Underneath all of those fun clothes, this is what the Lottie doll body looks like:
She has 7 points of articulation (neck, shoulders, hips and knees):
Her neck can only look from side-to-side--there's no up-and-down movement. Her shoulders can rotate and hinge up and down. Her hips have a ball and socket joint with a great range of motion.
Lottie's legs are made out of that slightly sticky rubbery material (like the older Disney Store dolls) in order to accommodate internal knee joints. The texture of her legs makes it hard to take her tights off and even harder to put them back on. This is a frustration to me, and so I imagine it would be a problem for some younger children.
Another problem with that rubbery leg material is that Lottie's feet leave little greasy spots on absorbant surfaces like paper or cardboard. This is unnerving and might damage certain surfaces.
I love that Lottie has knee joints, though. This was a surprise to me. Her legs look like they are unarticulated. I also think that the shape of Lottie's legs is really lovely. They are graceful, perfectly sculpted child legs:
She can sit pretty well in the Kurhn chair:
One of the things I enjoy about a unique new doll is that I have to round up a different group of suspects to put in a lineup. I struggled to come up with a group of dolls that would be comparable in some way to Lottie. In terms of size, she is smaller than most of the fashion dolls I review, but larger than the little sister dolls like Barbie's Chelsea and Only Hearts Club's Jessica.
Let me show you the dolls I found for comparison. First, here is a Tonner Kickit doll. Kickits are 8 inch vinyl dolls. Now discontinued, they originally retailed for around $90. This one is called "Little Mischievy" and she is wearing the dress and boots from her original outfit:
|Those are NOT perfectly sculpted child legs.|
Helen Kish also makes a line of 8 inch "Riley"dolls. This one is called Raggedy Riley and is from 2006. She cost around $150. She is made out of resin and has a mohair wig and is wearing a Bleuette outfit in this picture:
Here's Lottie with a similar Riley doll, Snow White.
Here's a newer Kish doll, Mary (from "Mary and Her Little Lamb"). Mary is also 8" tall, but she is made out of plastic and has jointed limbs. She was also in the $150 price range. In this picture, she is wearing an outfit made for me by a very talented friend.
On the smaller side of things, I found a mini Madame Alexander doll, "Spring Morning." She is about 5 inches tall, the same size as the popular Madame Alexander McDonald's toys (also the same size as Barbie's Chelsea). I found her on clearance for around $4. These little dolls are long discontinued, but they had a wonderful wardrobe. Look at the details in her tiny outfit!
Although Lottie is much taller than Chelsea, she's still shorter than Barbie's other sister, Stacie:
Last, I noticed that Lottie is about the same size as a Novi Star doll, although that's all these two have in common:
So...here's my motley lineup. I have thrown an Only Hearts Club doll into the mix, even though she is taller than Lottie and has a cloth body:
|Barbie Chelsea, Madame Alexander, Tonner Kickit, Kish Riley, Lottie, Barbie Stacie, Only Hearts Club, Novi Stars Ali|
Looking at this lineup, I really appreciate the lovely shapes and proportions in Lottie's body--some of the other dolls look downright strange in comparison!
Can you guess which is the only one of these dolls that can share clothes with Lottie? It's probably not the one you'd expect...
It's the tubby little Madame Alexander doll!
The coat and hat are way too big, but the skirt fits her pretty well and the shirt looks fine except for some slightly long sleeves. Who would have thought?
The Madame Alexander doll's dress fits Lottie, too, but it is really short on her--more like a long blouse or an ultra mini dress.
Let me quickly show you my other Lottie doll, "Lottieville Festival." I know she'll be able to share clothes with Autumn Leaves.
Here's her little story:
This Lottie comes with a more summery outfit. Instead of a jacket, she has a fake fur vest. Her two accessories are a plastic purse and a headband.
The cheerful felt sun on her bright blue shirt is attached with velcro and interchangeable with the other Lottie's beagle.
She is wearing (slightly saggy) pink corduroy shorts and blue striped stockings. Stockings and shorts is an odd combination, but I am delighted to have the extra wardrobe pieces.
Lottie is wearing pink and white polkadot rain boots. They share the same mold with the brown flocked boots, but they look very different:
If I push the headband waaay down close to Lottie's eyes, it stays on really well.
The plastic purse is an attractive bright orange color, but it doesn't open:
This Lottie has darker skin and looks like she might be from India. She has identical facial features to the other doll, the only difference being the color of her eyes, the color of her eyelash paint, and the color of her lips.
Here you can see the contrasting skin tones. Both dolls have a nice color to their vinyl.
Here are all of the different outfit pieces that came with these two dolls. There are a lot of re-dressing options!
The dolls are fairly easy to dress, the only problems being the sticky legs (as I mentioned before) and also the fact that some of the seams turn inside out when they are manipulated. Here's a common occurrence:
The tights and tee shirts on their own make great pajamas:
Here are some other examples of the different combinations of outfit pieces:
As a bit of an aside, I think Lottie makes an excellent younger sister for the Kurhn dolls:
Here are a few more of my favorite pictures of Autumn Leaves Lottie.
Bottom line? If you are searching for a gift for a young child, and are drawn to toys like Madame Alexander, Only Hearts Club or Calico Critters, then Lottie dolls offer an excellent new option. Lottie has the same wholesome feel as these other wonderful toys, but she has a slightly different set of features. For example, I love the Only Hearts Club dolls, with their inset eyes and realistic faces, but Lottie's character face might be more appealing to some children. Also, Lottie's all-vinyl body can hold poses and is more durable than the cloth bodies of the Only Heart Club girls. The mini Madame Alexander dolls are adorable, but Lottie's slightly larger size makes her easier to handle and dress, and her articulated body can strike a better variety of poses. If you know a creative child who really enjoys mixing different outfit pieces (or maybe just someone who relates better to a human than to a woodland squirrel...) then Lottie would be a better option than the Calico Critters. In short, Lottie is a wonderful new addition to a market that doesn't have nearly enough choices.
Lottie's construction is excellent. She has soft, rooted saran hair and a charming face. Her body has a good range of articulation, and the proportions and shapes in her body sculpture are very appealing. Her well-made clothes are fun, detailed, age-appropriate and have a pleasing mix of colors and textures. This is the kind of clothing I'd love to see a real four-year-old wearing. The only criticisms I have of the quality of this doll are that her hat doesn't fit very well and her legs are made out of a high-friction rubbery material that makes Lottie hard to dress and causes her to leave small greasy stains on some surfaces. Also (and this is extremely picky), I wish that the shirts were designed so that they could be worn without the felt ornaments.
Lottie is a great doll. The only things holding her back are a lack of diversity and limited availability. The lack of diversity is totally understandable in a new line. If a few more faces, hair colors and hairstyles start to appear in these dolls, and maybe some extra outfit sets, happy buyers like myself will be inspired to come back for more. The limited availability is a harder problem. Lottie would clearly fit in perfectly at the high-end toys stores. Those shops should all be stocking this doll--and I assume they will catch on soon. I would also love to see Lottie as an option on the shelves of Target or Toys R Us, but the fate of the Only Hearts Club in that realm doesn't bode well. I have a feeling that there are many shoppers who walk the aisles of some of the larger stores, looking for a sweet, back-to-basic doll for an affordable price...and they go away empty-handed. I, for one, would be delighted to see lovely Lottie step in and fill that void.
3 and up per the box. The doll is easy to dress, but younger children might still have difficulty with the tights and shoes. Her youthful style might not be as appealing to older children and collectors.
The $20 price is more than fair for a sturdy play doll made from high quality materials. Compare to Only Hearts Club and Calico Critters.
Very good quality. This doll has soft, manageable rooted hair, a high degree of articulation for a 7” doll, and a multi-piece wardrobe made out of nice fabrics. Sewing and design details are very well done. Once concern: the legs are made out of a flexible rubbery material that can leave marks on porous surfaces.
Outstanding. The package is bright, colorful and beautifully designed. It is highly reusable and almost completely recyclable. The doll can be removed efficiently without scissors.
No. This is a play doll for younger children.
Lottie is a versatile doll in that she could be used for a huge variety of imaginary games. She does not have a confining predetermined personality. Lottie comes with a nice assortment of clothing, but she can’t share clothes with any other current doll lines that I am aware of. Wonderful mix-and-match potential within the Lottie products.
This little doll would make a charming, durable, portable companion for a younger child. Parents will be delighted by the well-made, brightly colored wardrobe and the creative, wholesome image of the entire Lottie collection. Recommended.