Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monster High "Picture Day Cleo De Nile," A Guest Review!

I am delighted to introduce a young reader who wrote to ask me if she could review a doll for the blog. I always love to have new voices and new perspectives posted here.  My guest, who I'll call "Monsterific," lives in Sweden and is a Monster High super-fan who also collects Barbie, La Dee Da and Liv dolls (a girl after my own heart!).  Monsterific just had a big birthday, and with it came some wonderful new dolls.  She let me pick which of her new dolls I would like to see on the blog, and I chose the saucy Cleo de Nile.  Happy birthday, my Monsterific friend!  Over to you!

Hello! I'm Monsterific and I will be doing a review on Cleo de Nile Picture Day from Monster High!

I was walking in my local toy store two months ago when I saw around 20 Abbey Picture Days, but only one Cleo. I convinced my mom to buy it, but she said I would get it for my birthday, in August.  So now I finally got her!  She is my first Cleo, and as I live in Sweden, it's quite hard to get Monster High.

Monster High Picture Day Cleo de Nile.
Let's start by showing you the box.  It's black and yellow with skullettes, diamonds and the Monster High logo in the background, with the ghouls' fear book pictures in the front.

Here she is!

Cleo's name is not written in the usual font, instead it looks like Cleo wrote it herself.  The name tag is decorated with little stars and diamonds.

The back of the box shows a fearbook page with some of the other monsters at Monster High.  Cleo has drawn a big heart around Deuce's face, and drawn a little heart in the bottom left corner of Ghoulia's picture.  I also noticed she drew a beard and mustache on Toralei!  Apparently all of the Picture Day ghouls drew something on Toralei.

On the right side of the box, there is Cleo's picture and what she was voted to most likely be/do.  It says "Voted most likely to leave a legacy" in four languages; Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish.

This is what's inside of the box: Cleo, a stand, a purse, a folder, and a fearbook with a sticker sheet.

The fearbook is grey with a Monster High logo in the middle and a text that says: "Belongs to: Cleo de Nile"

The sticker sheet has the monsters' fearbook pictures on them, but I didn't know what to use them for.

It looks like Cleo has ears, but they're actually Hissette's tail as you can see.  Abbey looks cute, but also a bit nervous.

On the first page of the fearbook, there are six pictures of the staff at Monster High.

The second page contains Cleo's picture (AGAIN!) and four symbols with names written next to them.  I guess Cleo voted what monster got to be next to the symbol.  Draculaura is next to a symbol with a mouth talking, so maybe the most talkative monster?  Ghoulia is next to a brain symbol, so it must be the smartest ghoul in school?  Deuce is next to a mouth with fangs and an eye.  I guess the eye might be the most good-looking?  I have no idea what the mouth with fangs is though.

The next page has four empty pictures with the same symbols next to them. That's when it hit me!  You're supposed to put the stickers on the empty slots and nominate your own monster!  It wasn't that obvious though, since the sticker sheet didn't say anything.

Anyway, the next page has a group photo of all the ghouls and guys at Monster High.  What made me a bit sad is that Gigi, Twyla and Catrine aren't in the picture, but Scarah, Hoodude and Invisibilly are.  Those three are comic-con exclusives.  But then I thought, the 13 Wishes line came out later, duh!  I can be so stupid sometimes! ;)

On the last page everyone has written their name in their signature color.  I like how every monster has their own font.

The back of the fearbook has the same pattern as the front, but with scratch markings.

What I noticed when I tried to put Cleo on her stand was that her belt was keeping me from doing that!  I couldn't put the stand on below or above the belt either!  I wonder how people who do stop motion movies, like me, get her to stand up without leaning her on something?

The doll stands pretty well on her own though:

What? You didn't think I could stand on my own?
Let's start with her pretty face. She has very faint yellow and pink eyeshadow that's hard to see underneath her bangs. She has her usual Egyptian eyeliner and blue lips.

I tried to lift up her bangs but I didn't want to ruin her hairstyle, and there wasn't much to see either.

Her hair is very pretty.  It's two layered, let-down hair with black on top and teal beneath. It is a lot more green in real life.  She has a bit in tinsel in it and black bangs.

The teal is peeking out behind the black.

The weird thing is that there's only tinsel in the front, not in the back, but I guess I can't complain since the glitter things in Abbey's hair annoy me :P 

Here's her top.  It's has cropped sleeves at the elbows and criss-crossed at the ends. The pattern is blue and gold mummy wrap with diamonds.  The belt is gold with with a black scarab beetle and wing designs.

The outfit is very simple without her belt.

She has a matching cuff that is attached to two golden bangles with a scarab in the middle.

I noticed just now that Cleo has puny hands.  Compared to Jinafire with her huge talons and Frankie, her hand looks like a childs' hands:

Now to her pants.  They are black and gold striped leggings that go well with her style.

The paint is starting to chip off in the back though:

The Monster High shoes are the first thing I look at when I get the doll, they're amazing! Cleo's shoes are blue and gold with mummy wrap straps and inverted brick heels.

They have scarabs and wings on the back as well.

Her purse is a transparent teal color, with a gold scarab on front.  Around the edges are molded braids.

The back of the purse has a molded scarab beetle. (Yes, it opens! ;D)

Her folder is kind of a less detailed version of the one she got with the School's Out doll (Wave 2).  It's golden with mummy wrap print on it and an Egyptian mark.

Inside there are molded lines with a skullette, resembling a notebook.

Also, her hips are ball jointed, not strung.

Here are some model shoots with her :P

Thank you so much, Monsterific!  You got a beautiful doll.  Her shoes--ahh!  They're wonderful!

I was so impressed with these pictures, I checked Amazon to see how much Miss Cleo is selling for these days ($20).  The pictures of Cleo's box on Amazon made me think that perhaps there's a slightly different version of this doll in the United States.  These country-by-country differences fascinate me, so I decided to buy my own Cleo to compare to Monsterific's doll.

Actually, there aren't too many differences between the two versions--but they're not exactly the same.  Here is my box (left) and Monsterific's box (right):

                                      United States                                                                           Sweden

The dolls are posed in roughly the same position, and the outfit and accessories are the same, but the boxes are not identical.  This could be one of those "spot the difference" games.  What do you notice?

                                      United States                                                                           Sweden

On the back of my box, Cleo's doodles on the fearbook pictures aren't exactly the same--she's written "BFF" next to Ghoulia instead of drawing a heart:

                                      United States                                                                           Sweden

Cleo's biography is styled differently, and there's a bit more information on my box.  It says, "Voted most likely to leave a legacy," just like Monsterific's box, but it's only in English and there's a more detailed biography underneath: 

Look at the tiny drawings of the other Picture Day characters at the bottom of the box:

Draculaura is invisible!  I thought this was a printing mistake at first, but she's a vampire

Very clever.
Here's my doll.  She looks pretty much the same as Monsterific's doll--from far away.

Up close, you can see that my doll has streaks of glue all over her face.  It looks like she's been in a fight with an angry cat.

The cat won.
Monsterific made a great observation about Cleo's hands--they're very different from other Monster High hands I've seen!

I haven't bought a Cleo de Nile in a long time.  My only other Cleo is the Wave 2 doll.  Here's a comparison of the two:

Wave 2 is still my favorite.  Her hair is silkier and her face paint is amazing.  She has fierce eyebrows and lined lips.  Also, I don't feel like the Picture Day doll has as much head mobility as the Wave 2 doll.

Picture Day Cleo's transparent purse is cute (love the scarab!), but Wave 2 Cleo had that wonderful bag with the handle that really clipped open and closed:

I am not as happy with Picture Day Cleo's hair, either.  My doll has lots of white gunk in her hair and the hair feels greasy and rough.  The rooting job is odd, too, with thinly rooted black hair in the back and a row of very tightly rooted teal blue hair around the face:

I was thinking that a nice boil rinse would help this hair tremendously, but then I remembered hearing that newer Monster High dolls sometimes have a thick layer of glue inside of their heads to hold their rooted hair in place.  If you boil the hair on these heads, the glue can leak out and get everywhere.  Yucko.

Because my doll has so much glue residue on her face, I was nervous about boiling the hair.  I wanted to investigate what was going on inside of her head.  I thought maybe I could get her head off without breaking the neck joint, but when I tried to move the head too much to one side, the neck cracked:

My bad. 
I don't want to mess up Monsterific's beautiful review with gory pictures of my broken doll (and the inside of her head...), but you can see those pictures on my Flickr photostream if you are curious.  Cleo does, indeed have a lot of glue in her head.  I suspect that the hot weather here melted some of the glue and that's what caused the streaks on her face.  

I am thrilled that Monsterific was willing to review Cleo.  She clearly got a nice doll with no glue residue on the face, better hair, and lovely face paint.  I'd like to end the post by showing my favorite picture of her lovely Cleo one more time:


  1. Cleo is my favorite, because I'm a sucker for Ancient Egypt themed things.

    My first Cleo was the Ghouls Rule one that looks like Elizbeth Taylor. Her hands are quite tiny like Picture Day Cleos, however my second Cleo, which is just her basic version, has the big fancy hands. So weird...

  2. Glue residue is a sadly recurring problem in Monster High lately. I think the dolls with the problem mostly come out of Indonesia. Someone on Flickr took a video of how he fixes it, something with tea tree oil starting at the scalp and working it in, then more tea tree oil to work down to the tips of the hair, comb it through, leave it for 10 minutes, and then use tea tree shampoo to clean it, then rinse in warm water, comb it, and rinse again. It's what he does for all his dolls and he takes amazing pictures so I guess it works!

    1. Picklepud is an amazing photographer and doll stylist. :D

    2. Agreed! He used to post pony pictures on the MLP comm I run too. They were so gorgeous.

  3. Nice job Monsterific! Sorry to hear about the broken Cleo, though. Will you be able to return her?

  4. I have the exact same problem with text lost in translation! I got my Picture Day Spectra from Germany 2 days ago and they didn't translate after the teachers' names. I went to Voicething's blog to read all the text.

  5. Great guest review! Thanks Monsterific! :)

    Mattel has had customer complaints about the glue used on some MH dolls for quite some time now, I think it's seriously wrong they haven't done anything to change this method of rooting hair.

    It reminds me of the reason I stopped buying Silkstones around 10-11 years ago. They knew the earrings they used were turning ears green and they kept selling the dolls with the same metal earrings. To make it even worse, the earrings were looped on the inside (so it would be difficult to remove them) and some people split the ears wide open while trying to pull out the blasted earrings. I saw the photos of ruined dolls. :( ARGH. MATTEL! :P

    Their customer service can be so great but then they have serious failures like the earrings and glue. (For all I know they fixed the earrings at some point, but I have plenty -- and I now consider the Silkstones out of my doll budget anyway.)

    If you contact Mattel they should offer to replace your doll due to the glue on the face or send you a ~$20 voucher that can be used at any store for a Mattel product. According to some people on Tumblr they used to send a replacement without asking for the bad doll (BAD DOLL!) first but now they are asking *some* people to mail the doll in. This is to examine the problem -- or they suspect too many people are making up factory errors to get a free doll.

    Did you order Cleo from Amazon? Amazon once replaced a damaged book for me (they gave me a paid label to ship it back) so they might be able to help you too. If you bought her at a local store there's a good chance they'll just let you exchange it after you point out the glue and broken neck.

  6. I'm sorry to hear about your doll! I guess I had good luck since there was only one Cleo! I hope Mattel can replace your doll though. The rooting job on my doll is fine. Thanks again for letting me do this review! The only thing I didn't like about her was the tiny hands and that she didn't come with a saddle stand since her belt was in the way ;D

  7. Go Monsterrific! Great review and fun to hear from Sweden!

  8. Great review. I am always fascinated by the dolls that don't "look" like your traditional fashion doll. The Monster High dolls have so much more personality than your basic Barbie. Of course, I'm someone whose favorite childhood doll was an Emerald the Enchanting Witch doll (8" tall, green hair, light up green eyes and purple skin.) I also love the articulation on the new dolls, they can do so much more and move much more believably. I haven't decided to collect the Monster High dolls yet or not. I am waiting to see if there is actually going to be a Scary Godmother doll. She also has a very unique look and the character was a favorite of mine since I watched the Halloween special years ago. (Search Scary Godmother on google to turn up info.) These Monster High dolls are making it very difficult to wait and see

  9. Great review! Thanks Monsterific! It's fun to see the differences in the US box vs the Swedish box.

  10. Great review, Monsterific! I recently got my first monster high doll, Clawdeen.

    Also, Emily, do think it possible to do review of Obitsu,or Hujoo doll?

    1. Ooh, I second the request for a review of an Obitsu or Hujoo (and/or the other BJDs you have)!

      Fun review, Monsterific! You were very thorough, and I like your pictures!

      --Kate :)

  11. Jenna Starry-NightsAugust 22, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Nice job, Monsterific. Some of the Monster High dolls really are beautiful. I like Frankie and Lagoona more than Cleo, though. Aside from the second wave Cleo, which Emily has, Cleo's outfits never really impress me.

  12. Nice review. I am intrigued by the Monster High dolls. One of these days I may get one. I just can't make up my mind which character or which version. I lean toward the Picture day and 13 Wishes versions.

  13. Great review Monsterific! I really like Cleo but PD is not my favorite version of her. Her new hands and small eyes aren't as beautiful as the wave 1 Cleo I have or even wave 2 Cleo Emily showed here. I think with the old eyes and hands I'd like her quite a bit more. But the teal looks great on her though.
    Also, I think the mouth with fangs stands for best kisser, just a guess :)

    1. c est moi Cleo pas toi et en plus je l ai en poupé

  14. That was a fantastic review! I don't own Monster High dolls but I always enjoy seeing pictures of them by collectors.

  15. I was thinking of getting this doll but got Jinafire instead.
    I have no Cleos (at the moment hopefully) because they use gold to much making it look .... well to much i guess.
    Great Review Monsterific! I think Cleo's hands being smaller is kinda cute and she is cupping them so that might be the reason there smaller!

    Anyway GREAT REVIEW!!!

  16. Great review! Definitely, write Mattel about the doll neck. Since you are a published author and have great pictures you are providing them with publicity and they will want to take care of any problems an influencer like you has! Good luck!

  17. Thanks for this great review Monsterific. I really want a Cleo and I have seen this one in the shop a few times. She has a beautiful face but somehow she never quite makes it to my shopping basket. I am not a fan of glitter in hair. The Wave 2 doll is very beautiful but I suspect that I may have missed the boat for her. I am not keen to spend lots of money on ebay for her.

    Emily, I think that you have to heat the head before removing it to soften the plastic. I have seen someone on YouTube heat it with a hair dryer. I am not expert though and have never tried it.

  18. Great review. I only have one Cleo and I didn't realize they have different hands for her. My Gloom Beach doll has the Picture Day hands, but she also has a fan to hold.

    The glue covered face is strange and unfortunate. I sent my werecats back to Mattel earlier this year after seeing a glue stain had gone from the head through the cardboard insert. When I bought Gigi Grant I noticed she had an extra piece of cardboard behind her head. I don't know if this has something to do with the weight of her hair somehow or if it's there to absorb any glue that will come out.

  19. j ai déjà Cléo 13 souhait c est mon personnage

  20. Wonderful review! Until now, I hadn't thought of MH dolls much but Monsterific has converted me. :) Maybe I can get a zombie Rapunzel and a MH doll and they can be buds? Does MH share clothes with any other line of doll?

    My best,

  21. I clicked on the link that led to your Flickr. Bad choice.

  22. I recently realized I'm a bit allergic to the glue they use in the dolls. I had to take off the glue of 2 Elsas I owned, and a lot from the Monster High dolls (either that, or stay away from the doll forever).
    This is something that happens to me as an adult, but it could also happen to a kid! imagine a kid having my allergy, or a worse one, and playing with one of these dolls!