Saturday, October 24, 2015

Little Charmers Posie and Lavender by Spin Master

A few weeks ago when I was on a research mission at Toys R Us, I walked through the Doc McStuffins aisle--something I don't always do.  The new wave of Doc McStuffins dolls are smaller and have more character in their faces, and so I wanted to get a few pictures of them for the Photo Mission.  I never actually got those pictures, though, because I was distracted halfway down the aisle by the appearance of a brand new type of doll.  There were three of these colorful newcomers, all of them oval-headed, huge-eyed, bright-haired sprites about 8 inches tall.  They're called the Little Charmers.

I had to do some research at home to learn more: the Little Charmers are characters from a Nickelodeon Junior television series that first aired in January of this year.  The show centers around three young witch friends from Charmville (Hazel, Posie and Lavender) who are learning how to control their magical abilities.  Full episodes of the series are available to view (for free) on the Nick Junior website.  I wish I'd know this before I paid $2 to watch the first episode on Amazon.  I prefer the characters, plots and and catchy music on Doc McStuffins, but Little Charmers is harmless fun and seems to be popular with preschool audiences.

One thing that keeps me from really connecting to the Little Charmers show is the animation style.  The main characters have extremely exaggerated features that look a little freaky to me, especially when the mouths are open.  However, the dolls--even though they're styled to look just like the cartoon characters--don't freak me out at all.  I think they're...well, I think they're utterly charming:

Little Charmers Lavender (left) and Posie (right).
Here is a picture I took of the three dolls the day I first saw them:

Lavender (left), Hazel (center) and Posie (right), MSRP $16.99.
I didn't know anything about the characters when I bought my dolls, so I chose Lavender and Posie because I thought they were the cutest.

In the television show, Hazel is actually the main character.  Her parents are featured in some of the episodes, and I think her mother is an especially powerful witch.  Hazel is just learning to use her own powers, and things tend to go wrong for her.   She frequently calls on her two best friends--Lavender and Posie--who have more specialized abilities.  Lavender is good with potions (a "potionista") and Posie plays a magical flute.

The Hazel doll is fine (the color of her pink hair is great!) but I was a little turned off by the pointy bangs.  They don't look as nice on the actual doll as they do in promotional pictures:


The dolls have a suggested retail price of $16.99, but are readily available for $12.99 right now.  $12.99 is a much more reasonable price--in fact, I think $10 would be ideal.

Today, I will review Posie and also take a quick look at Lavender.  

The Little Charmers come in cardboard window boxes.  The boxes are quite a bit larger than the dolls themselves: 

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The box art is from the television cartoon, but the colors are muted.  There's a picture of Posie and her magical flute:


Little Charmers is an American and Canadian-made show, and so all of the box text is in both English and French.

Posie's box has a window that wraps around the left side.  The right side is made entirely out of cardboard and has another picture of cartoon Posie:


The picture on the side of the box shows Posie's full outfit from the show.  She has a green twisted headband decorated with a flower, a pink dress with leaves on it, striped tights, and pink shoes with green bows:


The back of the box has a large photograph of the Posie doll and several other smaller decorations:


The little picture on the top right shows cartoon Posie playing her flute and saying "oh daffodils," which is an expression of frustration coined by this show.



The Posie doll looks a bit spaced out in this picture:


There are also smaller photographs of all three dolls in the series:

I like Hazel's cat ear headband.
The Little Charmers dolls are made by Spin Master.  I have a lot of affection for Spin Master because they brought us the Liv line back in 2009.  Spin Master also produces the Little Charmers television series with the Canadian company, Nelvana, whose logo is also at the bottom of the box:


Posie's box opens along the side, and then the pink backdrop slides right out:


The backdrop has a relatively plain musical note design.  Posie's small plastic brush is displayed next to her against a cardboard cutout:


These brushes are so pointless.  I wish that the Little Charmers came with a different kind of accessory.  There are so many neat things to choose from with this storyline.  For example, Posie could come with her magic flute, or even her broom so that she could fly around on missions.  Those items would enhance game play much better than a small brush.

Posie is attached to the backdrop with clear rubber bands and long plastic ties that loop around her legs, arms and neck.   Her hair is stitched to the backdrop with yellow thread, and her head is anchored with three plastic ties.


The most irritating part of Posie's packaging is that she has two tiny plastic ties attaching her dress to a molded plastic support.  This seems unnecessary, and I almost ripped the dress because I pulled on the doll before I realized the ties were there:


Here's Posie out of her box:


Posie stands well on her own, with a slight tendency to tip backwards.



Even though large-headed, wide-eyed dolls are starting to seem overdone these days, I can't help but be drawn to Posie's rounded, baby-like features:

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I'm told that it was a similar emotional reaction to rounded, oversized features that made me want a Boston Terrier back in my early 20s:

Back before color photography.
Posie's hair was a little disheveled right out of the box, with a few stiff clumps caused by a light application of styling product.  She has a twisted section of hair on the right side of her head (but no green twisted strand across her forehead).  Her headband also has a pink flower on the right side.  The left side of the hair is plain by comparison:




The headband is tied to Posie's hair with turquoise thread, and also plastic-tied into her skull at the bottom:


The headband is made out of turquoise plastic and has a pink vinyl flower attached:



I'll admit something to you that might embarrass my flower-savvy mother (sorry, Mom!).  I was looking at Posie's headband and I wondered, is the flower on her headband really a posy, or is it another type of flower?  So I looked it up.

Well, what I found out (and what probably everyone else already knows...) is that a posy isn't actually a specific type of flower, but rather a general term for a flower or a small bouquet of flowers.  Hence the fact that when I searched "posy" images on Google, I got pictures of basically every type of flower I've ever heard of.  

So...this is a posy:

Expo-r

And so is this:

Elise Nees von Esenbeck Rosen in Vase

And the carrion flower is, too, even though it smells like dead rotting flesh and attracts flies:

Stapelia lepida
Does not smell like posies.
My whole life, I've assumed that posies are a type of flower--like pansies, but probably a little different.

So, the answer to my original question is yes.  Posie does have a posy on her headband...but it might also be a rose, a hibiscus, or a pansy.  My son summarized this best: a pansy is a posy, but a posy is not necessarily a pansy.  It's good to get that all sorted out before we move on.

Posie's hair was pretty easy to brush--with just those few clumps of stuck-together strands that had to be worked on.  Her hair is very smooth, soft and shiny, although the cut is uneven at the bottom:



The rooting is not spectacularly thick, but there are no large bald areas on her scalp:


I pulled Posie's hair back into a ponytail so that I could get a good sense for the shape of her head.  It's a lot like a sideways egg:

My doll's eyes are wonky.
Her head rounds out nicely in back, but she has practically no profile.  Her nose and lips are dwarfed by the size of her eyes and forehead:



Posie's eyes mirror the shape of her head to some extent, but they're more circular than oval.   They remind me a little of the later Cutie Pops eyes--but with larger irises and simpler eyelashes.


Aside from the slight wonkiness, Posie's eyes are nicely painted and bright.

Posie has a very small mouth with a faint smile.  I am glad that Spin Master decided to leave the mouths closed on these dolls.  


I think Posie's expression is very sweet, particularly in contrast to the television characters when their mouths are open:

Yikes.
Posie has cute little ears tucked under her hair:


Posie comes wearing a one-piece outfit that approximates her dress from the television show:


Here's a reminder of the outfit from the box art:


The dress has the same basic design, it's just missing the little leaves on the shoulders.  All of the decorations on the dress are printed onto the fabric.  The dress has a simple sundress shape and opens in the back with velcro:



It was harder to get the dress off than I expected.  The opening in the back is not quite large enough to slide easily over Posie's shoulders and arms.  This isn't a big problem, but I think little kids would have an easier time if the dress opened all of the way down in back.

Posie has a plastic torso with hard vinyl limbs and head.  She has five points of articulation:


Here she is from the side...


...and again with her arms lifted so that you can see her little tummy:


Her legs are made out of pink vinyl to suggest that she's wearing tights.  The top of the tights is painted onto the plastic torso.  It's a little disappointing that the tights aren't striped like they are on the television show.


Posie is wearing pink shoes with molded bows and again--it's a little disappointing that the bows aren't green-colored like they are in the show:



Doll shoe soles are typically plain, but every once and a while there's a fun surprise:

I think it's a secret message written in Flower Morse Code!
Like the Disney Store mini dolls, Posie still has full detail in her toes--despite the fact that she's supposed to be wearing tights.  This gives her what I like to call the Alien Foot Effect:



Posie's shoulder joints are rotating hinges, so they can spin around and lift away from her body:

She looks like a little chick trying to fly.
Her legs can only hinge forwards, though.  They do not move from side to side, nor do they move backwards.  I figured that this would mean that Posie could sit on the ground with her feet out in front of her...but she actually can't.  She tips over:


If she uses her arms as props, though, she can sit up nicely:


This is Posie trying to do front-to-back splits:


I wondered if Posie's ponytail was part of her balancing problem--making her too heavy in back.  Indeed, when her hair is let down, it can actually be used to prop her up in certain positions.

With her hair down, she can suddenly sit on the ground without using her hands for support:



She balances a little better in standing positions with her hair down, too:


At about 7.5 inches tall, Posie is shorter than dolls like Barbie and Liv.  Here's Posie with Liv Alexis:

Spin Master sisters.
In fact, Posie is about the same height as a kneeling fashion doll like Ever After High.  Furthermore, Apple White's shoulder width is about the same as Posie's: 

Apple White and Posie.
Apple can even use Posie's dress as a shirt:


Posie is taller and wider than dolls like Blueberry Muffin and the Disney Store's mini Elsa:

Blueberry Muffin, Little Charmers Posie and Disney's mini Elsa.
I thought she might be similar in some dimensions to my Makie doll, Effie, but these two are really different as well:

Makie doll and Posie.
Here's Posie next to the Disney Store version of Doc McStuffins:

Disney Store's Doc McStuffins and Little Charmers Posie.
This comparison makes me wonder if the new, smaller Doc dolls (the ones I originally went to Toys R Us to investigate...) are about the same size as Posie?  I will have to check that out.

Of course Posie also makes me think about some of my other large-headed dolls like Blythe and Pullip.  Here she is with a full-sized Blythe doll (Phoebe Maybe) and a Littlest Pet Shop Blythe mini:

Phoebe Maybe Blythe, Posie, LPS mini Blythe.
The very round heads of the Blythe dolls make Posie's head look all the more egg-like.

Last, here's Posie with my Cutie Pops doll, Crystalina:

Cutie Pops Crystalina, Little Charmers Posie.
The height difference makes it hard for these two dolls to share clothes (although Crystalina can wear Posie's dress as a shirt, just like Apple White can).  The height difference also makes it hard to compare their eyes, so here they are sitting down for a better look:


As much as I like my Cutie Pops dolls, I actually like Posie's interpretation of the big-headed look more.  She's just so sweet and childlike.

I took a few more pictures of Posie back in her original outfit.  Her posing repertoire is limited, but I find her really adorable:






For some reason, Posie makes me think about my VIP Pet dog, Gwen, from Edinburgh:


I think Posie and Gwen make a fun pair!


The Little Charmers characters already have pets of their own, though.  Since these girls are witches, I suppose the pets are their familiars.  

Posie's pet is an owl named Treble, Lavender's pet is a dragon named Flare, and Hazel's pet is a cat named Seven.  Lavender's dragon, in particular, makes me wish that the pets were included with the dolls--yet another option for replacing the useless brushes.

Speaking of Lavender, I'll quickly show you a few things about my Lavender doll that are different from Posie.


Lavender's character is especially good with potions.  She also really likes bows.  I don't mean bow and arrow bows (like Disney Merida) but decorative bows.

The cartoon of Lavender on the front of the box includes a potion bottle and four bows:


The back of the box has the exact same layout as Posie's box, but with different pictures.


Lavender's expression is "brew it over."  I haven't seen enough Little Charmers episodes to know exactly what this means, but I'm assuming it's similar to "think it over."

That looks fun to say in French.
Lavender is packaged just like Posie, but she comes with an additional plastic visor on her head:


The visor is attached to her headband and sticks out over her bangs.  I suppose it's to keep her bangs from sticking up (?) but I don't really see how it could be effective.


The visor seems mostly an excuse to zap three more plastic ties into Lavender's head, making a grand total of eight head ties for this doll.  Eight.


My hurried removal of these plastic ties caused Lavender's hair to get a little messed up.  She came wearing her character's signature twisty low ponytails, but I had to almost immediately take these down to see if I could replace all of the strands I pulled loose:


Lavender's headband is constructed just like Posie's, only it has a simple bow instead of a flower:


Here's the back of Lavender's hair before I took it down.  You can still see a plastic tie that I must have missed:


Lavender's hair is really pretty.  It is a mix of dark plum with some brighter purple highlights:


The rooting of Lavender's hair is about the same as Posie's--maybe a little denser.  The center part in the back of Lavender's head adds to the total density of hair...and the wavy texture increases the volume even more.


The texture also makes it harder to brush Lavender's hair than it is to brush Posie's, but it's still nice, soft doll hair.  

I tried to put Lavender's ponytails back in, but these don't lay down as nicely as the originals!


Lavender's hair does not have a huge amount of styling product in it, but the bangs are a little stiff and they shed some white dandruff when they're manipulated.  That said, I do like how the bangs are evenly cut and how they curl gently under at the ends.  I don't usually enjoy doll bangs, but these frame Lavender's face nicely and look cute.

The center part in the hair is also off to one side, which I think is intentional, but it makes the ponytails uneven:


I pulled Lavender's hair back into a single ponytail for a few minutes, but the weight of her hair in this style made it almost impossible to get her to stand up on her own.


Lavender's face mold and face decals are the same as Posie's, but Lavender's eyes and eyebrows are purple:


My Lavender also has less wonkiness in her eyes, so she looks at the camera a little better than Posie.



My doll's eye paint is bright and uniform, but unfortunately she has a big chip in the paint at the top of her mouth.  This is quite noticeable at regular magnification, too:


Lavender's dress is constructed just like Posie's but has a different pattern:



She has molded blue vinyl boots instead of shoes:


I love the boots even more than Posie's shoes, but the soles do not have the same fun pattern on the bottom--just regular treads.


I took Lavender's hair down before I played with her.  She's much easier to pose with her hair like this, and--while fans of the show might prefer the original style--I think the hair looks good down:





When the two dolls are posed together, I find myself wishing that they had slightly different expressions.  They can look a little vacant when they're side-by-side with the same wide-eyed stare.  I do love the mix of bright colors that the dolls have, though, and this is even more fun with two of them:  


Bottom line?  From the first moment I saw these dolls in the store, I was drawn to their sweet faces and interesting hair.  Even with very strange facial proportions and huge, staring eyes, the girls manage to have a friendly, innocent charm that I find irresistible.

The Little Charmers' cute appearance is backed up with solid construction and good play doll quality.  Both Posie and Lavender have long, soft hair.  I like the fun colors in Lavender's purple hair, but Posie's poker-straight style is a little easier to brush and manage than Lavender's thick waves.  The dolls both have very nicely-painted, vibrant eyes that dominate their facial expressions.  My Posie's eyes are a little crooked, though, and my Lavender has a large chip in her lip paint.  The hard vinyl bodies feel durable, stand up nicely, and are easy to move.  The 7.5 inch size also seems really great for little kids' hands.  My only complaint about the body design is that the dolls' posing is limited by legs that can only bend forwards.  I like the simplicity of the dresses in this series, and even appreciate the value of painted-on tights for dolls that are geared towards young children.  The outfits would be even better if the dresses opened all of the way down the back for easier handling.  The headbands add a nice finishing touch to the look, I only wish that the dolls came with another character-themed accessory like a pet, broom, flute or potion bottle.  This would make the suggested $16.99 retail price much more reasonable.

I'm not a preschool-aged child (most days) and my own children are practically grown up, so the Little Charmers television show does not add to the appeal of the dolls for me at all.  I think the dolls stand alone as great little companions for younger kids.  However, I suspect these dolls will be especially treasured by ardent fans of the show.  Even more than that, though, I can imagine that the dolls will add to a child's enjoyment of the show.  These durable, attractive dolls offer kids the chance to invent their own Little Charmers adventures long after the television has been turned off.

19 comments:

  1. Oh, they're cute! I must have a thing for big-eyed big-headed dolls since I love Pullips too. :) I do agree about the open mouths on the cartoons...Although I cracked up when I saw that picture. Freaky! XD

    (BTW, have you seen the new 'Brand Boo Students' Monster High dolls yet? There's three new characters - Isi Dawndancer, Kjersti Trollson and Batsy Claro. Batsy's my favorite. :) )

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    1. Hi Claire! I actually haven't seen the new Monster High characters yet! Thank you for the heads-up. I love the name Batsy. It reminds me of a favorite fictional character (Batty) from The Penderwicks. :D I will go look them up right now!

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  2. I totally agree about them looking bigger of head when side by side.

    I don't display my Ever After High dolls next to each other because it seems to make their Moon face syndrome a lot worse.

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    1. It's really interesting how dolls like these and EAH can look completely fine on their own, but don't pose as well in groups. As a possible exception, I think Holly and Poppy O'Hair look good together, but this might have a lot to do with the dramatically different hairstyles framing their faces!

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  3. Poise and Gwen are adorable together!

    I wish there were more normal-headed normal-eyed playline dolls for you to run across in your toy store jaunts. I love your reviews and wish the giant-head, alien-eye trend ends soon.

    Thanks so much for the review!

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    1. My Mom agrees with you, Hp, and just said the same thing to me the other day! :D I also think it would be nice to have some realistically-featured dolls on the shelves--especially fashion characters for older kids and adult collectors. I think it must be a powerful emotional instinct with me, because I can't resist some of these dolls with the freakishly large features!

      Gwen and Posie together are my favorite thing about this review. I'm glad you enjoy them, too. :)

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  4. I am so cute I am sure that a child would love

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    1. I agree--I think these cuties are perfect for little kids!

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  5. They are cute but it totally sucks that they don't include more interesting accessories! Who needs a brush? They should come with a broom or a cauldron. That'd be great.

    On another note, have you seen that the Shopkins have dolls now? I remember you opening a Shopkins blind bag (basket?) awhile back. Just recently I came across the new dolls at Target. They have a rather odd look. You should check them out!

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    1. I have not seen the new Shopkins dolls! Another mission for me! Thank you so much for the tip. I will definitely go look for them. An "odd" look can be fun sometimes... ;D

      And of course I completely, totally agree about the brush accessory!

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    2. How about a carrion flower headband? :)

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  6. Hi Emily! i thought you might be interested in Mattel's new high-school line, DC Superhero Girls. It's like Monster High and Ever After High, except that it has the actual superheroes and supervillains re-imagined as teenagers in high school, as opposed to simply the decsendants of famous superheroes.
    These dolls also have a completely different design to MH and EAH, featuring athletic, seemingly flat-footed doll bodies, with smaller, more proportionate heads than those of the monsters and fairytales. They still retain all the awesome articulation though! Here's a link to the website:

    http://www.dcsuperherogirls.com/en-us/products

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    1. I am SO interested in these!! They look great. I'm eagerly watching for them to be available for sale!! Thank you for the link--it's fun to look at the pictures and see all of the backstory and effort that is going into these.

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  7. Emily, I didn't know that about posies! I always assumed they were a specific flower. I was so amazed, I shared the info with my best friend - who ALSO didn't know this. She then shared it with her roommate, who ALSO didn't know it. So you're not alone in not having known this... and thanks to you, all three of us have learned something new today :D

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  8. Hi Emily! These definitely grew on me as the review progressed. I am imagine my 3 year old toting these around and I like how solid looking they appear. It's fun to see past dolls featured again in your size comparison! I forgot how cute your pink haired Makie is. :)

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  9. So cute! I don't know if this is even possible, but have you heard of My Ballerina Dolls? They're super articulated dolls that pose like a BJD at about a tenth of the price! I'd love if you'd do a review of them, but I understand lol!

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  10. I always love the random little thing you find, Emily!
    Have you heard of the new Disney Star Darlings dolls coming out? Apparently the dolls with be Justice exclusive for the first year (I'm hoping they end up on amazon for reasonable prices) but I think they look fantastic, they have an extensive book collection being released, and they have a couple webisodes on youtube so you can get a feel for the story and character visuals. :3
    Also I'm very excited to see if you'll look into the new Monster Exchange students that another person mentioned earlier, I adore them and I'd love to see your tak on them. The daughter of the white bat has a bright green theme to mimic the white bats habit of reflecting the green leaf colors ^^

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  11. Very cute !!! Will be keeping an eye out for them after this review <3

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  12. I had never heard of these dolls before browsing through your reviews but after seeing Posie here I totally fell in love with her. I ran out to buy her two days later (yesterday) and love her more every day. There is just something precious about her. I want to get Hazel next. She was out when I was at the store. I now read your reviews before buying a doll and you have helped me save a lot of money. Thanks.

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