Monday, July 8, 2013

Ever After High "Madeline Hatter" by Mattel: A Guest Review!

It is very exciting to see the new doll lines hitting the shelves so early in the summer!  Ever After High dolls are already in stock at some Justice stores (not here in Maine quite yet...) and the Pinkie Cooper line seems to have made its debut in Great Britain.  I have dolls from both of these lines on their way to me (she says, pacing in front of the mailbox...), but in the meantime, I am super-lucky that a fellow blogger has offered to share her impressions of Madeline Hatter (a Rebel) with all of us.  I will step in and represent the Royals after I have a closer look at Apple White next week (Update: here's the review!).  For now, though, I am absolutely delighted to introduce my guest reviewer, AJ, and her gorgeous Maddie Hatter:

Ever After High Madeline Hatter.
Now, I will turn the rest of this post over to AJ.  Take it away, girl!
So, hey there! I'm AJ, and you've probably seen me in the comments of Emily's posts every now and again. I, like Emily, am an adult toy collector, with my focus on mainly on My Little Pony, Monster High and American Girl, and whatever one-off dolls happen to catch my eye.

My tale with Monster High in particular has been detailed on my own blog, but long story short: I was a spooky little kid growing up, and Monster High is something I would have eaten up with a spoon had it existed then.  I think its message (Be Yourself, Be Unique, Be a Monster) is something that in this day and age is needed more than ever.  I'm particularly fond of Abbey Bominable, because my favorite color is blue and I think she's just a stunning, stunning doll, and I've managed to amass a collection of her that contains every single doll that has been released, plus extras to wear her Fashion Pack outfits.  14 total. 
Shut up.  I can stop anytime I want to. >.> 

My Abbey wishes she lived with you.
I got home from work one day a few weeks ago and hit Tumblr, as is my wont.  Tumblr was all abuzz over the first images and videos of this new thing Mattel was doing: Ever After High.  

C.A. Cupid, originally a ghoul from Monster High, was apparently moving over to Ever After High.  Hm.  

I'm outta here.
The Ever After line is a very clear spin-off, and something I had expected would happen.  I'd done my own little spin-off using a Bratzillaz Switch-a-Witch doll (who you will see in this review), and making her the daughter of a comic book character, but fairy tales!  Hm!  Interesting!  Tumblr was full of emotions from both sides.  There were the people who were excited, and the people who decried this as "Mattel just wanting to make more money."  Um.  Duh?  Mattel--and any toy company are businesses. Their job is to make money.  And if Mattel is looking at Monster High as a model that works, then the obvious thing is to try and build on that.

As a woman who chooses to make up her own mind, I looked at the pictures and said "You know what? That's cute, okay..." and then trotted off to YouTube to watch what videos I could.

Oh... oh! OMG!

I couldn't hold my feels one tiny bit as I saw all the different students. Apple White didn't intrigue me at all (ugh to blonde dolls, I just really don't like them), and frankly, neither did Raven Queen (viewer proxy if I'd ever seen one, I can see disliking her as much as I dislike Frankie Stein), but several of the others really, really intrigued me.  Cedar Wood, the daughter of Pinocchio, because she's brown and Dolls of Color are a thing that happens in this house.  Mary Bo (no link at this time, sadly), who looks to be the daughter of Little Bo Peep and has this really cool blue and pink color scheme happening that I really dig.  Cerise Hood, who is the daughter of Little Red Riding Hood and again, is a doll of color. Penny Pan is the daughter of Peter Pan by the looks of it and yeah, that will be in this house too.  If Mattel doesn't make a doll of her, we will be having words, Mattel and I.

Then, I kept looking. And what I saw next made me roll my chair back from my computer and point with my mouth hanging open: there were characters...that were the children...of the characters from Alice in Wonderland.  There was Madeline Hatter, Kitty Cheshire and Lizzie Hearts, with, undoubtedly, room for more characters in the future.  The feels that I had managed to gather back up just fell all over the floor again as I messaged a friend and said, "OMG OMG OMG OMG."

Photo: Emily
Yay for Alice and Wonderland!
Here's the deal y'all. There are three things, from my childhood that have just remained favorites of mine throughout my life.  One is The Wizard of Oz (not so much the newer movie, but the original, and the books. The musical Wicked is something I have great affection for, not only as a retelling of the story I loved so much, but also because it was the first musical I ever saw on Broadway). Then, all things Peter Pan. And lastly...Alice in Wonderland.

And one of the "main" characters in Ever After High is the daughter of the Mad Hatter? And she's kind of a kook and fun?  Okay.  Folding like a cheap card table.  I'm sold.

I heard mumbles this week - again, on Tumblr - that the dolls were starting to show up in Justice stores. I gave my local Justice store a call and asked if they could hold a couple for me, a Briar Beauty to send to a friend and a Madeline Hatter.  The store happily held them and I went and picked them up after supper.  They apparently retail - at Justice - for $36, but I got my dolls for $21.60 a pop.  Not shabby, when you consider it's a store in a mall and things in malls are always overpriced.

Briar has been packed up and shipped off and now Madeline is here, awaiting review.

Lets get going!

Here she is in her box.  It's kind of cool actually, the cardboard inside the box is made to look like a book.  From the front, you get a clear view of Madeline (aka Maddie) and her purse and brush and cute clothes.  Her name is written in stylized font above her, and up in the top right corner is a bookmark that folds out to be her story.  I guess that's this line's version of the journals.

If you turn the box to the side, you can see where it looks like the spine of a book and it introduces Madeline Hatter as the Daughter of the Mad Hatter.

And the back gives us a little info on her. 

Opening the box looks to be pretty simple.  Pull the tabs all around the back and you can pull the cardboard right out.

She's attached to the back of the box with tape and plastic doodads.  As is par for the course.  I quickly did away with all that, I'm old hat at that now.

Her stand is tucked into the "spine" of the book:

Lets have a look at that stand:

Mattel, I would like a word.
After seeing the picture of the saddle stand on the new Haunt the Casbah dolls...this was a let down.

The stand is basically a rehash of a Monster High stand, except instead of Monster High, it says Ever After High.  Same waist area grip that makes clothes bunch up and makes posing impossible. *sigh* Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...

Alright, lets have a look at Madeline Hatter herself!

(Forgive the lack of fullbody shots. I had a brain fade).

Here she is, the star of this show! She's got an adorable round face, with a pearlescent pinky-purple lipstick, with a few dots in white on the lower lip.  Her eyes are blue and rimmed in purple, and she wears purple eyeshadow. 

Her hair is rooted saran, in a plumish purple (on, I would hazard a guess that it's Vineyard Violet) and a pale aqua (possibly Mint Ice?), and permed into ringlet curls.  She wears a headband with a teacup on top, and gold earrings shaped like spoons.  And a turquoise necklace that I can't place what it's actually supposed to be?

(A note here! I LIKE her curls and I'm not going to comb them out. Y'all know how it goes with doll hair, right?  Comb that out and you're NEVER gon' get it back how it was).

Her dress has a lovely drop curve in at the top of the bodice, giving her the appearance of a little bit of cleavage (you'll see why I mention this in a bit), with purple shoulders/straps, and a gold glittery bodice. Breaking up the bodice from the skirt is a turquoise ribbon that matches her hands.

The skirt is a three-tiered dealy.  The top tier is purple, with gold teacup embellishments, the middle tier is white and blue striped, and the bottom tier is black glittery tulle.  She wears white tights with blue polka-dots (!!!!!) which are by far my favorite part of the outfit.

Her hands are, as I said, painted so they look like turquoise gloves with white polka dots, and she has white plastic "lace cuffs" that fit on her wrists when you take her hands off.  She, like all her Ever After High counterparts appear to, wears a ring.  Hers is purple.

Her shoes are white with gold heels in a cute curved pattern, and painted with gold teacup style embellishments.

Here's the bookmark that comes with the doll.  It's blue and marks Maddie's status as one of the "rebels," as opposed to a royal.

And when you open it, there starts Maddie's story.  I've not read the whole thing yet, but I know it's available on Tumblr.

Lets turn her 'round:

Her hair is really thick. It has a few little flyaways, which I may at some point try and fix with some  braid spray (read and be educated on dolly hair care!) and careful twisting, but for now... you get what you get.

It's not as thickly rooted on her head, and her scalp is kind of sort of painted the same pale aqua as the aqua in her hair.  Kind of splodgy, but.  Eh.  Close enough for government work.

When I was stripping her clothes off, I found these two stains on her inner arms.  A little acetone took care of them though.

Ever After High dolls have the same level of articulation as Monster High, in all the same spots. Thankfully, Mattel does seem to have learned from their mistakes with the strung hip joints and Maddie has ball-jointed hips.  She cannot stand on her own, though this may have been due to my backdrop for pictures bunching up.  I don't know!

She can't do a split, in either direction... and everytime I tried to make her kneel, she faceplanted.

But she can still get her groove on a little.

Why won't you let me be great?!
Unfortunately, though her shoulders and arms are articulated the same as the Monster High girls, one thing I noticed is that oyi, her joints are really stiff.  This was all the closer I could get to her having her hands in her hair.

And as for putting her hand on her hip... not so much.  Her joints may loosen with time, we shall see.

She's sitting now for me and she sits very well, very lady-like! Knees together and everything.  So that's in her favor, at least.

Here's a better look at her dress. I really, really like this dress. It suits the character so well.

And a better look at her polka-dot tights.  I love all things polka-dots (my favorite Monster High line ever is Dot Dead Gorgeous) and so these are just perfect to me.

Height-wise, this doll at least, is short.  I will have to have my friend compare Briar Beauty to other dolls, but Madeline is quite short.  She looks to be that way in the artwork too.

Since comparisons to Monster High are unavoidable, that's what we'll do here. I figured Howleen would be the closest match.

I don't know if it's just because Howleen's little afropuff makes her that much taller but it certainly does look that Howleen is at least a little bit taller than Maddie.  The biggest difference though is in the bodies of the dolls.  Where Howleen has that slim hipped thing going on, Maddie's got some hips! She's kind of thick, which I really, really dig.

Ever After High dolls do share the same curved back as Monster High, but that's where the similarities, at least between these two dolls, end.  Again, Madeline has a bit of a butt compared to Howleen.  I have no picture, but their feet are identical molds, Howleen's are just smaller.

Now lets try a clothes swap, since this was something that the mere idea of made my heart sing.

Howleen can wear Maddie's clothes beautifully!  They don't suit her - knowing what I know of the character and all - but they look okay on her.  I may have to try them on the 13 Wishes Howleen for a better idea of how they'd look, with her pink hair.

The shoes are a little big though:

Maddie on the other hand, is a bit too hippy to be able to wear Howleen's shorts, her shoes are too small, and while the tanktop fits, coupled with the too-small shorts, it looks like she's auditioning for Fairy Tale Girls Gone Wild.

I tried to put a larger pair of shorts, one from a Lagoona Blue doll, on her, and had the same problem. On top of her being a little hippier than Monster High, her legs and thighs are also thicker which makes it hard to get pants on.  Tentatively, I'd say dresses are probably shareable, but pants and shorts are a no go.  I can only speak for this doll.  Perhaps I can convince my friend to do a review on Briar?

Her purse is a little teacup!  The top comes off and it's hollow inside, but I wish I hadn't taken that lid off because it doesn't stay on so great.

She can hold it in her hands pretty well, too!

Tea time!
Here's how Maddie compares to some other similar dolls:

Harlowe Quinn, Madeline Hatter, Cyanne (La Dee Da) and Howleen.
To Maddie's left is Harlow Quinn, a Bratzillaz Switch-a-Witch doll wearing the Blood Red Charm fashion pack dress and a pair of shoes ganked off a Jade J'adore doll.  She's my "Daughter of Harley Quinn," I was talking about when I started this.  She's quite a bit taller than Maddie.  To Maddie's right is the Sunflower Burst Cyanne La Dee Da doll.  I can see head similarities, and they’re roughly the same height, but I don't know how clothes would transfer given Maddie's curves. And of course, there's Howleen.

Have a couple more picts of this pretty, pretty girl:

All in all, I think Ever After High is a really fun spin-off of the Monster High franchise, and I'm excited to see how the streams might cross in the future.  In the meantime, I'll undoubtedly be collecting more of these dolls.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Emily for giving me the chance to review this doll!


  1. Ahh, thank you so much for this! It was really fun to do!

  2. Wow. I never imagined there would be so many differences from the MH line. Maddie is indeed the shortest of the bunch, but the others will probably have different bodies too. I can't wait for your review of Apple. I might not get these dolls after all, if they don't want to share clothes with my beloved MH.
    Doll complaints aside, thanks for introducing AJ to us!

    1. (Hey look, I remembered my Blogger login!)

      Yeah, the fact that clothes-sharing isn't universal wasn't so great. However, I think shoes that aren't Howleen's might fit between the brands, and like I said, dresses and such. I may have to test this when I get home from work. I'll put follow-up on my own blog.

  3. I love your reviews and your writing style in general :) Because of this review, I have to get Madeline Hatter!

    1. I think you'll enjoy her! She's the cutest of the bunch, far as I'm concerned, though Briar Beauty is starting to grow on me.

  4. Thanks AJ, so exciting to see a review of an Ever After High doll. Madeline Hatter is definitely one that I would be interested in getting. I think that on the whole I am more drawn to the Rebels than the Royals. Not sure what that says about me :D I love this girl's colouring and her tights and shoes. I am wondering if these girls will be able to share with some of my other dolls, Blythe in particular. Extra tights are always useful.

    I really want to love these dolls because I like the concept.... but there is something about them that leaves me cold. The face seems to lack life somehow. I can't quite put my finger on why. The MH girls seem to have more of an expression on their faces. Even their hands are quite expressive. I might pick up one or two for interests sake though. Thanks again. xx

    1. When I first saw them, Maddie was the one I was immediately drawn to. Wasn't so much on the others, but like I said above, Briar Beauty is starting to grow on me. I might get her when they start appearing in other stores at the end of this month.

  5. Thanks AJ and Emily for this review! I can't wait until this line comes out! I've wanted a Monster High doll, but monsters don't go well with my pastel pink collection, if you know what I mean;) I can't pick my favorite, I love them all! I'll defenatly be getting one of these dolls!

    1. If you're super into pastels and pinks? Briar Beauty is the way to go with what's available now.

  6. Thanks for the review! I love that these dolls have a slightly more realistic body than the monsters. Madeline is quickly becoming my favorite, but I'm still on the fence about her hands: I love polka dots, but they do limit her wardrobe choices a bit... (As for replacements, I don't think any of the monsters match her skin tone.) Oh, and thanks for giving us a closer look at her shoes: I didn't realize they were actually tea cups! Mattel, you've dont it again.

    1. ...that should be "done", obviously.

    2. Turns out, the hands are molded that color, but the polka-dots could probably be wiped off with acetone. Still, you'd be left with turquoise hands. I think all the other girls out at this moment are a little too fair-skinned to be a good body swap, but Ashlynn Ella might be the same skintone, if the cartoon is anything to go by.

  7. It's cool to see that EAH is starting off with a different body-type already!

    EAH is good for parents or grandparents or whomever wanted to buy their child a doll that was not your average Barbie doll.

    1. My unmitigated glee that she has a different body type... I tell you what. Even if she's a twig in the cartoon, the doll has curves and I'm happy with that.

  8. @AJ thanks for the great review-you have a unique personable style! Cheers-Sarah

    1. Aw, thank you Sarah, that made my day!

  9. I have lukewarm feelings towards these dolls... I'll admit I've been watching the episodes they have on Youtube and I fell in love with the design of the cartoons and the whole fairy tale concept, but the actual dolls seem a little bit dull, lifeless. I like the dolls but I just wish the dolls resembled their cartoons more.

    1. They grow on you when you see them in person. The clothes and shoes are definitely, for a mass-produced toy, pretty well made and cute.

    2. I do kind of wish that Maddie had a crazier look on her face...but what can you do :) I'd have a faceup done but her mouth is closed anyway, and so it wouldnt do much for me if you couldnt see her teeth or something all crazy like. like so:

    3. no wait heres the face.. lol. yes.

  10. Ah! I can't wait to see these girls in other stores.

  11. Thank you for the review, AJ! I was curious to see how these dolls compared to MH, and Maddie was one I was particularly interested in. I do think MH dolls have more expression to their faces, but Maddie is pretty cute and I love her character.
    Thank you again!


  12. Justice is having a buy one get one free sales on anything Thursday-Monday which is good, so I'm definetly going!!

  13. I love the box, love the accessories, love the concept. Not so sure about the shape of these faces though. I will have to see them in real life. Called my local Justice and they only have Apple left, seems the rest flew out the door. I am wondering what is the fate of Monster High? Interesting times......... Thanks for the review-A treat as always, Tina

  14. How come it was important to mention her cleavage?

  15. Thanks Emily and AJ for allowing this post and for writing it - respectively. I love seeing when dolls have slightly different bodies. Makes for nice variety in body types ;-)

  16. I read that Briar Beauty and Draculaura have the same body types and I saw a picture on Facebook of Briar Beauty wearing Draculaura's clothes and it looked great.

  17. This is amazing! :D

    She is so cute! You inspired me to do my own review of her! (It's my first review ever!)

    Check it out! :)

  18. I actually don't like the saddle stands. My dolls always fall off of them. And one of them even broke!

  19. OMG these dolls are so cute! I would probably get Maddie; I've been having an Alice in Wonderland obsession lately. Ya, I'm weird.

  20. i'm very glad that mattel is finally showing a difference in how tall the dolls are. in monster high all the dolls are the same size, even though dracalaura is ALOT shorter then the other girls, maybe even howleen. i am kinda sad their are differences, this makes me sad about outfit trading possibilities. although NOTHING can make me change my mind about getting these dolls. the girl i like best is raven queen right now, apple white seems like a flake and i really dislike her after watching the the episodes online. the sleeping beauty girl seems cool, prince charming boy is too obsessed with himself. but i also really like maddie, sorry this is so long :)

  21. I read somewhere that there is a daughter of Cinderella and a son of Prince Charming. Have I got my fairy tales mixed up but should not they be brother and sister?

    1. Price charming is snow white not Cinderella. :)

  22. great review! thanks!
    ...we were separated at birth, btw

  23. Can I just say Thank you for mentioning Penny....She's actually my Original Character and I roleplay as her on Tumblr. It means the world to me that you said she should be a doll. I totally agree with you and I hope beyond hope that they make her!

  24. Hmm, I think I might have to give the Ever After High dolls a chance. I didn't like the idea of a spin-off when I first heared about it but then again, I didn't get a good look at the dolls either. I really love everything about Maddie except for her hands and head. I appreciate the fact that Mattel gave these dolls similair articulation (would've been nice if they could share clothes with MH though, I'm totally in love with those shoes!) But I'm just not a real fan of Maddie's headmold. I think it's the shape in combination with the skin color and the face paint isn't really doing it for me either. The eyes look to Barbie-ish and the eyebrows are a bit too light. I also think it would've been better if the doll had regular skin colored hands so that she would be more versatile. But overall I like her look and maybe I like the faces of the other dolls a bit better.
    Nice review!

  25. Just imagining, maybe their schools will be rivals. (Sorry if my comments don't make sense, I don't know anything about Monster High.)
    - Anonymous A.

  26. First off let me say to Emily, you're a girl after my own heart. :) Love this review... (I already have all of the EAH dolls as of today 'apple and blondie unboxed today') yay! Also, I am also an adult who loves kids toys.. lol. I'm a gamer and a nerd etc. etc. (FYI I still have a large plastic tub full of original Polly Pockets 'not the stupid rubber doll ones they have now'.... AND a huge tub of Barbies from the 80's-90's) So... that's my backstory... Anyway I wanted to tell you, I too LOVE Maddie, Kitty & Lizzie. Also, If you want to know what's on Maddie's necklace, check out this AJWOIAD@AWESOME$JOWIHJDQ Cosplay...

    Secondly, the clear rubber bands that came with Maddie will secure the top of her teapot. I put that back on, as well as the ones that secure all of their rings.

    I agree now that I've seen the saddle stand I'm disappointed with the ones I've got.

    Also, how annoyed were you that they used those plastic fasteners stuck STRAIGHT INTO HER SKULL? I am going to have to take sharp clippers to their skulls soon, without damaging their roots to get that crap cut down... Ugh. All in all though... LOVE my EAH dolls, and I cannot WAIT for them to come out with (I hope) Dexter & Daring Charming, Sparrow Hood, and Hopper Croakington. Because let me tell you it is an estrogen ocean on my shelf right now. I feel sorry for Hunter. I also hope they make Melodie Piper, OMG do I... Among all the others... GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL right?

  27. maddie is on the wonderland body which is shorter and more curvy

  28. I enjoyed reading this review.
    I bought Madeline last month second hand on Ebay (she is in excellent condition from an adult collector and so cheap, I could not believe it).
    I am quite enamoured with her! (lol) I don't have a lot of EAH dolls so I am pleased to have a new one. I mainly collect MH and I really don't want to end up with too many EAH dolls too.
    This is a bit heartbreaking to see how gorgeous these dolls were and how ordinary and cheaply made they have become. It makes me appreciate the original ones even more.
    Their only flaw is the leaking glue in their heads. Horrible problem with Mattel dolls. I will never understand why they took so long to fix this issue.
    Anyway, I enjoy my new doll, old release but new in my collection!

    It is a pleasure to visit this blog, as always!