Saturday, December 21, 2013

Last Minute Holiday Shopping at Rainbow Toys

Well, I am finding myself insanely busy these days, and I won't be able to get all of the pre-Christmas reviews done that I had hoped, but I do want to (as promised) take you along on my shopping trip to a local, privately-owned toy store.  This particular store, called Rainbow Toys (in Falmouth), has been my favorite since we moved to Maine.  Rainbow Toys is where I discovered Squishables--the plush critters that ended up being the perfect fun gift for my kids as they crossed the threshold into young adulthood.

Large chain stores like Target and Toys R Us have an excellent selection of dolls and a very current inventory of all different kinds of toys, but smaller toy shops have always seemed extra special to me.  The owners and staff of these stores put a huge amount of time and thought into hand-selecting their specific inventory.  I love the thrill of finding a new small toy shop, because no two of these boutiques have exactly the same offerings.  When my children were younger, local toy stores were more than just fun places to shop--they also played an important role in my social life, and in the preservation of my sanity.  Whenever I needed to get out of the house, there was a beautifully arranged train table waiting for me at the nearby toy store.  My sons found seemingly endless amusement at such tables, and I could usually find at least one other parent desperately seeking the company of an adult.  My eldest son met his first good friend at a toy store when he was under two, and the two boys remained close for many years.

To me, the most exciting thing about Rainbow Toys is that in the last few months, they have started to carry Arklu's adorable Lottie dolls, which, at the time of my original review, I could only find online at Amazon.  Welcome to Maine, Lottie!

Robot Girl Lottie
"Robot Girl" Lottie doll by Arklu.
In fact, two of the best toy stores in this area carry Lottie dolls right now.  Here is the attractive, colorful cardboard display at Rainbow Toys:

This store had five different dolls (each $19.99) and several of the accessory packs:

Autumn Leaves was there, as was English Country Garden, a similar-looking girl in a more summery outfit:

My favorite doll was Robot Girl, a science-loving strawberry blonde wearing a blue sweatshirt with a silver atom on it.  She's super-cool and I'll show you more of her in a little while:

They also had the elegant Snow Queen and the brunette riding doll, Pony Flag Race:

I was excited to see a few of the accessory packs in stock, although they don't really impress me any more in person than they did in their promotional pictures:

The cutest sets are the little dog, Biscuit the Beagle:

He has an incredibly sweet face and an imitation retractable leash.
And the cat, Pandora the Persian:

Love her name!

As cute as they are, the pets seem a little overpriced at $9.99.  They would, however, add a nice dimension to a child's Lottie doll games.

I thought this soccer set had the most to offer for the price, since it includes a complete outfit and a ball:

While I am on the subject of Lottie dolls, I'll show you the selection from another local toy store, Treasure Island Toys (in Freeport).  This store had a ton of Lottie merchandise, but the overall doll selection here is not as good as it is at Rainbow Toys.

The best thing was that this store had Lottie's horse, Seren, who I have been very anxious to see:

Unfortunately, Seren is not at all articulated, and his brown eyes are very, very strange:

I can't decide if his eyes remind me more of zombie eyes, or maybe chameleon eyes?

Chameleon head

The English-style saddle has some great detail, but is just made out of molded plastic or vinyl:

I think Seren's eyes could easily be fixed with some dark paint, but I decided not to buy him--at least not right away.

The Lottie doll selection was good at Treasure Island Toys, and many of the dolls were different from the ones I saw at Rainbow Toys.  There was this cute ballerina:

There was also Pandora's Box (Pandora the cat's owner...with fantastic glasses), a sailor-themed girl called Light House Keeper (adorable!), Snow Queen and English Country Garden:

This redheaded pirate, Pirate Queen, was my favorite of the bunch.  She looks spunky and fun:

This store had more of the outfit accessory packs.  They had these cute, cozy jammies:

And this Blue Velvet dress and shrug that I love:

This would look beautiful on the Pirate Queen doll...
In comparison, the non-outfit packs are less tempting.  This riding set has a nice fleece jacket and a hat, but the ribbons and the trophy aren't too impressive:

I like everything in the picnic set, but it just doesn't have many pieces for $10.  For example, if you compare this set to the Li'l Woodzeez bakery ($20), this set seems pretty skimpy.  

Does it seem like I compare everything to the Li'l Woodzeez bakery?  I probably do--that thing is hard to beat.

Not the Li'l Woodzeez bakery.
Of all the dolls I saw at both stores, the Pirate Queen and Robot Girl were my favorites.  I would have been really happy with either one of them, but I decided on Robot Girl because of her wonderful outfit, dark glasses (like mine!) and science-loving theme:

Robot Girl comes in a colorful cardboard carton that has the same basic shape as the Autumn Leaves doll I reviewed.  The newer dolls have an additional cardboard medal hanging down the front of the box, advertising Lottie as being a parent favorite and an award winner.

Congratulations, Lottie!
The back of the medal has a short description of why Lottie is unique:

The front of the box has some wonderful graphics, including a picture of Robot Girl's robot:

The robot has a ponytail?
The robot can be purchased separately, but I couldn't find her at my stores.  The pictures I've found of this robot online make her look really neat.  

A detachable ponytail, even?
The back of the box has a short story about how Lottie built a robot out of recycled materials that she found in her messy room.  She entered her robot creation (busy Lizzie) in her school's science fair competition.  

Makes me nervous about where that ponytail came from...
The packaging is simple.  Lottie slides out of the main carton and is attached by three wire ties to a simple cardboard support.   She comes with a baseball-style cap that is taped to the cardboard next to her. 

Here she is!

The sweatshirt is made out of a blue jersey knit.  It has a full hood that is lined with lime green.  It closes part of the way in front with a small strip of velcro, and it has a nice metallic silver schematic of an atom.  

From what I can tell by counting the dots on the atom picture, this atom has three orbiting electrons and one central proton:

The picture on her shirt is very much like this picture:

Faculty of science in thai-icon
One dot in the center
and three dots that look like they're spinning around the outside.
The number of protons (dots in the center) determines what kind of atom it is.  An atom like this with one proton is called hydrogen.  However, hydrogen usually has only one orbiting electron (often none, maybe two), so this isn't an accurate drawing of a real hydrogen atom.  

With those three orbiting electrons, this could be a balanced lithium atom, which would have three proton dots in the middle and would look kinda like this:

Lithium would be a neat atom for Lottie to have on her shirt because you can make batteries out of lithium, and robots might need batteries.

Anyway, regardless of the type of atom, I love Lottie's sweatshirt.  I don't love that one of the seams is coming unstitched:

That's not good.
Lottie has a great hat, which not only has a cute robot decal on the front, but is also very detailed in its construction:

Here's Lottie without her hat:

Her black plastic glasses are held onto her head with a clear rubber band.  The problem with this design is that Lottie can only wear her glasses if they're strapped down over her hair.  This looks pretty funny from the sides:

Without her glasses, she looks an awful lot like Autumn Leaves Lottie (on the right, below):

Here are the glasses on their own:

Lottie has nice hair, but the glasses leave a kinked area in the strands alongside her face:

Under the sweatshirt, Lottie is wearing an adorable long-sleeved baseball-style robot shirt:

She's also wearing cute blue sneakers that match her sweatshirt:

I am a huge fan of Lottie dolls, and I think the new variety of outfits and characters is wonderful.  I do hope that the unraveling stitches in my Lottie's sweatshirt is a rare occurrence.  I also hope that Arklu is planning to add some different faces and maybe some new hairstyles and hair colors.  As it is, many of the dolls are similar (if not identical) underneath their clothes, which could limit how many dolls any one family is interested in buying.

The other main attraction at Rainbow Toys is the large selection of Corolle dolls. I have never reviewed a Corolle doll, but whenever I am at this store, I get very tempted.  Apparently, all Corolle dolls are lightly scented with vanilla.  I don't mind the smell of vanilla, but I am curious about how strong the smell is.  It might be a problem for people who are sensitive to certain aromas. 

Corolle makes babies, toddlers and child dolls, each designed with a specific age range in mind.  

The 14" Mademoiselle Corolle dolls (also called "Miss Corolle") are made for children who are three and up.  I wasn't especially interested in most of the Miss Corolle dolls, but this pretty brunette really stood out to me:

She has beautiful brown eyes that open and close, and her face has a nice, natural simplicity:

She costs $69.99, which is a ton, but she looks well-made and has an attractive white dress with bright blue trim:

There's a good selection of Corolle clothing at this store, too:

The outfits are all displayed together, so I had to read carefully to figure out which outfits go with which size of doll.

The Mademoiselle Corolle dolls wear the 36cm clothing like this cute dress and sweater set:

And this short gold party dress:

There was a smaller Miss Corolle doll called Mini Corolline.  This doll is 8 inches tall and costs $19.99.   She is also intended for very young children (3 and older):

These dolls are cute and impish, but they strike me as having very long arms:

They have cute little faces (sorry about the glare) and shy, side-glancing eyes:

I didn't see any extra clothes for these mini dolls.  Cute and affordable as they are, the mini Corolline toddlers were my least favorite of the available Corolle girls.  They just don't seem as special as some of the other dolls.

For around the same price ($23.99) this 9.5 inch cloth and vinyl Babi Corolle doll does seem special.  She is safe for children of any age:

She's called Miss Grenadine's Heart.
She has an adorable vinyl face, but her body is plush velour and looks wonderfully cuddly and totable.  I can picture this little baby being a toddler's favorite companion.

Slightly larger, but still appropriate for newborns, is this 13 inch all-cloth Babi Corolle doll:

Lili Pink Happiness, $39.99.
These dolls remind me of the new Mooshka dolls from MGA Entertainment.  Mooshka dolls are less expensive, but not safety approved for children under two.

A few of the Corolle baby dolls caught my eye.  These 12 inch small babies are cute and are designed for children 18 months and older:

They have sweet faces and nice, cotton outfits.  Extra clothes can be purchased for these babies.

Calin Sky doll, $39.99.
I adore this little Asian girl: 

Calin Yang, $39.99
The most intriguing baby doll was this little girl wearing a snorkel and mask.  A snorkeling baby is absurd, of course, but I find this doll wonderfully unique:

Presenting the world's first snorkeling baby!
If you're like me, you might assume that that this is the first ever, one-and-only snorkeling baby doll.  Actually, Zapf makes a snorkeling Baby Born doll...that appears to swim and blow magic bubbles.  Go figure.

The accessories and pictures on the box suggest that this is a water-proof doll.  I looked her up on the Corolle website, and indeed, she has a plush body that is filled with polystyrene beads--so she floats, and can easily air dry.  This seems like a brilliant idea to me.  I would love to get my hands on one of these babies for a review.

She comes with inflatable yellow water wings, flippers on her feet, and two different animal-themed snorkel masks.

Snorkel Binky!
Now I'm torn about which is cooler, this snorkel Binky or the vampire pacifier at Think Geek.

The doll I am most likely to review is the 13" Les Chéries child doll.  These dolls are described as fashion dolls, and come with multi-piece outfits.  They are intended for children 4 and older.  Rainbow Toys only had one of the Les Chéries dolls in stock, though, and I wasn't tempted enough by her to spend $50:

I have my eye on the new redheaded Les Chéries doll, Clara en Ville.  She looks beautiful and I love her outfit.

The clothing selection for the Les Chéries dolls is great.  I thought that these two outfits go together well and would make a great gift:

$24.99 each, though.
This pink dress has silver accents and matching silver shoes with little animal faces on them:

I am not crazy about the look of fake fur, especially for a child, but this coat is cute, and the fur makes sense with the animal theme:

The coat comes with a silver purse in the shape of a teddy bear's head.  This would coordinate well with the shoes that accompany the pink dress.

My favorite outfit was this skirt, shirt and sweater set.  The Corolle sweaters are so detailed and look very cozy and warm.  I also love the unexpected mix of colors here--traditional pink matched with a brownish-yellow sweater.

So, Lottie and Corolle are the biggest doll attractions at Rainbow Toys but there are many other kinds of doll in the store, tucked into corners...or perched on a shelf, staring at shoppers in a slightly creepy way: 

Now I've got you right where I want you...
This huge My Friend Huggles doll is not my style.  She is made out of cloth and has yarn hair, but her hair is thin and her body does not feel especially soft or appealing.  It might just be me, but I also see something faintly sinister in her smile.  She costs $40.

I walked quickly past her in the store, but after I got home and was looking through my pictures, I read this tag:

It says:"Turn me around to see my true spirit."
Well, this piqued my curiosity like you can't believe.  I mean, what would I have found if I had turned her around?  Another face on the back of her head?  A symbol?  A zipper into her body with a secret hidden charm or compartment or something???  I had to drive all of the way back to the store to find out.

What I found was a pretty huge disappointment:

It's just a long tag with a bunch of words on it.  I'm not even sure what this doll's "true spirit" is after reading this.  Being grateful?  Saying thanks?  It's just a bit too dippy for me.  Also, the tag is written as if the child who owns Huggles wrote it--not Huggles herself.   I looked these dolls up on Amazon and people seem to love them.  I mean, some of the other characters are cuter than this one, granted, but this doll didn't do anything for me.

These tiny Italian babies deliver similarly wholesome messages in much smaller packages:

I guess this doll has basically the same true sprit as Huggles.
These babies have lightweight bean bag bodies and wide inset eyes.  Their hats are permanently glued on, but they have a small amount of hair peeking out.  They remind me of a similar miniature doll I had when I was a child.

This little fellow, Cove, has odd interests for an infant, though:


He loves catching lizards and setting them free?
More likely, he loves catching lizards and sticking them in his mouth.
 Adelaisa looks like she has an orange outfit, but she's actually red:

It looked like the display version of this doll had her hair pulled off.  That doesn't bode well for long-term durability.  I'd say these babies were sweet little stocking stuffers, but the $7 price tag is a bit much.

I really enjoyed looking at another type of cloth doll with yarn hair, the Groovy Girls:

I have seen the Groovy Girls many times before, but during this visit, a few of the dolls really stood out to me, like this redheaded Lana Ladybug ($19.99):

The yarn hair on these dolls is super-soft and wonderfully colorful.

I really enjoy the dolls with side-glancing eyes and big, slightly crooked smiles:

I think my favorite doll was this princess with her curly mix of red and purple hair:

I like the Groovy Girl accessories, too, like this mismatched couch ($24.99):

There was a Groovy Girl horse, but he was a bit too mismatched and purple-eyed for my taste:

Another nice cloth doll with yarn hair was this $14.99 classic by Aurora World--Raggedy Anne:

These little babies would make cute stocking stuffers for $4.99:

I still like the Circo babies at Target better, though.

I love Manhattan Toy's award-winning Baby Stella ($34.99).  Rainbow Toys had a great selection of these little girls:

The full assortment of dolls is shown on the back of each box:

The babies with little tufts of hair are my favorites.
These babies remind me of the Rubens Barn cloth dolls.  Stella is larger than my Moss Linné doll, but smaller than the big Rubens Barn babies.  It would be fun to do a comparison review between Stella and one of the 15" Rubens Barn babies.

Some of the babies have cloth pacifiers that attach to the doll's mouth with a magnet.  

There's a nice range of accessories for Baby Stella, including some colorful outfits ($19.99):

There are even strollers, diapers bags and a baby sling:

There were two Madame Alexander Favorite Friends dolls in stock, being sold for $59.99 each. I still plan to compare one of these dolls to the less-expensive My Life dolls that are being sold at Walmart.

These dolls were very difficult to photograph because of the glare, but I thought that this girl had a bit of a haughty expression on her face, and one droopy eyelid:

The outfits look nice though, and were priced at $25.99, which is comparable to most American Girl outfits. 

I stopped to look at The Plan Toys dollhouse furniture. These sets are made out of wood and have some very cute pieces.  The company uses non-toxic recycled rubberwood for their products.  I wish the store had displayed a few of the sets for people to handle, because it's difficult to tell what the quality of the wood is like from the pictures.  My favorite sets were the nursery ($24.99):

And the bathroom (there's even a little toilet paper dispenser!):

The backs of these boxes show two huge wooden houses for the Ryan's Room furniture sets.  These would make incredible gifts.  Rainbow Toys did not have either of the houses in stock, but they seem to retail for around $100-$130.

The dolls for these houses look nice, too.  They have wooden heads, a braided steel armature, yarn hair and cute little smiles.  You can get a four-person family for $19.99.

There were also some single dolls for sale for $3.99, and these were out in the open where I could play with them:

They're not super-high quality, and the clothes are glued in place, but the dolls move nicely.   The girls with red scarfs on their heads (above) all had some sort of problem with the scarf.  Either the glue was coming off, or the hat was glued on at a strange angle.

At first, it looks like the African American dolls don't have mouths, but there's actually a very faint, hard-to-see red mouth on this doll:

Rainbow Toys has an excellent selection of Calico Critters, and the prices are the same as they are at Toys R Us.

Rainbow Toys had the amazing kangaroo family, though!


I almost bought the kangaroos, but was also unexpectedly drawn to the pig family, mostly because I love their clothes:

There are simply too many wonderful, cute options with these toys.  

Actually, there was one set that I found unusually easy to resist.  This little Christmas-themed duo is very cute, but they're asking $19.99 for it:

That's ridiculous.

There are some mainstream toys available at Rainbow Toys.  For example, there were a few $12.99 plush Hello Kitty dolls: 

And also a small basket full of My Little Pony figures, displayed near another basket with cheap My Little Pony imitations:

The authentic figures were marked up to $9.99, though, which is high:

Should be no more than $5.99.
I found the $1.99 imitations more tempting, partly because of the price, but also because their body shapes remind me a lot of the My Little Pony figures from my childhood:

I bought two of these ponies so that I could get a closer look at them.  They come with small plastic brushes cable-tied to their legs.  The blue pony can't stand up with that comb on his leg:

That's a bad case of comb leg.
In the end, while their bodies do slightly resemble the original My Little Ponies, I got what I paid for.  These figures are very cheaply made, have horrid manes and tails, and are nowhere near as cute as the real Ponies.

There were also some $6.99 My Little Pony plush figures:

These are sweet, but their manes and tails are made out of fabric that is partially stitched to the body.  It looks ok, but behaves a little strangely.

Pony purses.
Another horse option at Rainbow Toys is a Breyer model horse.  I have a fondness for these highly-realistic plastic models.  

I am not crazy about the dolls that go with Breyer horses, though.  They are nowhere near as realistic as their equine companions.  For example, this redhead looks stunned and a little afraid:

The rider in the Vet Care set looks a little bit more relaxed, and the assortment of realistic, carefully-painted animal companions makes this set a better deal for $26.99:

This $39.99 Cloud's Legacy gift set would be a wonderful gift for an older horse lover.  The horses in this set are made to resemble real horses from a Nature documentary that follows a real wild horse, Cloud, throughout his life.  I have watched this documentary and find it emotional, engrossing, and beautifully filmed.  You can watch episodes for free on  The first episode is called Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies. You can also buy a DVD of all three episodes on the Cloud Foundation website.   

I especially love the foals in this set.  Flint:

And Bolder:

For younger horse lovers, I was drawn to these small Pony Gal figures:

They look a little cheesy at first--more cartoony than the larger Breyer models, but certainly less cartoony than a My Little Pony.  On closer inspection, though, these $8.99 figures have a substantial weight to them and are very nicely painted.  

There are three ponies to choose from, Aubrey, Emily and Hailey.  Hailey was not in stock.

I almost bought Emily (because we share a name and a gorgeous appaloosa coloring):

Well, we share the name, anyway.
But I ended up with the iridescent Aubrey because I like her head mold a little better:

The fiber of the mane is smooth and nice, but it's rooted into the neck along a seam that's wide and a little unsightly:

The mane also has an area where the fibers have melted together in a little clump.  I am tempted to just trim off the bottom few inches of this mane.

Interestingly, the mane combs out very nicely, but the tail explodes into a frizzy mess:

I love the shimmery color of Aubrey's coat.  It has a few tiny paint defects, but they're very hard to see.

There is nice shading in the paint, and some excellent attention to detail in the sculpture:

I think this is a neat little horse for under $10.

The toys I've shown here just scratch the surface of what is available at Rainbow Toys.  They also have puzzles and games and building sets and a huge stock of Lego and Playmobil.  

I love miniature things, so I enjoyed this Charm It! display, where you can mix and match little charms to make a custom bracelet:

There was a tiny oven charm:

A nesting doll:

A little rainbow clock:

And this funny toothbrushing set:

I also like this colorful bird:

And of course Cinderella's pink pumpkin carriage:

There weren't any Squishables at the store this year (all sold out, maybe?) but there's always a fun selection of large stuffed animals peering down from the topmost shelves:

I even spotted an Elvis chicken riding a tricycle:

Thank you.  Thank you very much.
One of the great things about local toy shops like this one is that there will often be little treasures tucked into the corners--something made locally that might not be available anywhere else in the world.  This wooden giraffe marionette was handmade in Maine by Fish River Crafts.  It is simple in its construction and very easy to use, but it also has some charming realism:

So, I came home with Lottie, Aubrey the horse, and a few cheap My Little Pony imposters, but there were many toys that I think would make wonderful gifts, and many dolls that I am really looking forward to reviewing in 2014.

The dolls from Rainbow Toys that I am most excited about (for gifts or for reviews) are:

Corolle Les Chéries fashion dolls and outfits, particularly the new redheaded doll Clara en Ville, who (unfortunately) wasn't in stock at Rainbow Toys the day I visited.  These dolls are a nice size, have sweet faces, and from what I've seen, they also have a gorgeous array of modern, modest outfits.

Manhattan Toys' Baby Stella.  This doll's cute plush face and cuddly body are very appealing, and her size seems perfect for young kids.  The magnetic pacifiers and colorful selection of clothes and accessories give the doll a huge range of realistic play potential.  I would love to see how Stella compares to the medium-sized Rubens Barn cloth dolls.

Breyer model horses, especially the Cloud gift sets because they will connect an older child to the riveting, real story of a wild Wyoming stallion.  In the lower price category, or for younger kids, I am very happy with the less realistic, sweet-faced 4" Pony Gal figures.

Corolle waterproof Mon Premiere Bébé dolls, especially the doll with the snorkel set.  These innovative baby dolls appear to be high quality and waterproof to boot.  The polystyrene bean bag body has the promise of eliminating water leakage problems like what I experienced with my hollow My Salon Doll, Sydni.  If, indeed, these dolls can be easily hung up to dry, this doll could be a wonderful, versatile, "go everywhere" companion.

Last but far from least, I love the Lottie dolls.  At $19.99, I think Lottie is the best doll value at Rainbow Toys and a great gift for a wide range of recipients.  She is small enough to be manipulated by little hands and carried around by younger children, but the different creative themes of each doll will likely make Lottie appealing to older children as well.  It's exciting to see so many new Lottie dolls and accessories on the shelves, and I hope to see this trend continue in 2014.


  1. Hi Emily!
    I am a long time reader yet this is the first time I posted a comment so far. I really like your entire website, and all its funny and detailed reviews. The Lottie dolls look fun and a type of toy a child could play with for hours but your review just inspired me to get my hands on it ;)
    Anyways, thank you for the all the reviews you have done so far. I love them all.
    Your biggest fan,

    1. Hi Ziana! Thank you, thank you for your comment! It means so much to me to hear that you are enjoying the reviews. :)
      I can picture kids playing with Lottie for hours, too. She's very charming and nicely sized and I think the newer, creative outfits will really inspire some great games. I mean, how many kids are playing science fair games with their dolls? Such a fun idea. Lottie seems to be getting easier to find, too--at least around here, so I hope you can find the dolls where you live!
      Thank you again for your lovely words!

  2. Can I say I love your blog? I mean I love toys and i love reading so reading about toys is naturally exciting and fun for me! But seriously you can't imagine the glee I feel when i see a new post, i make a good cup of coffe and relax while reading it, It doesn't matter if I like the toy or not! You should get paid for this lol.

    Greetings, Luis

    1. Hi Luis! Well, right now I am drinking my huge vat of coffee while cyber chatting with people (like you!) who love toys, which is also amazingly awesome! Thank you for reading and for being a part of the conversation...and for your very kind words about the blog. :)

  3. The horses look really cute although, whats that on top of Aubrey's nose? As always an awesome review.

    1. That's a great question about Aubrey's nose! I love the detail in her paint, and this is one of the reasons why. As I understand it, some horses are called "grey" and some are truly "white." Grey horses have white hair but have grey or black skin underneath. As the hair gets thin towards the nose, the dark skin will show through. A truly white horse will have pink skin, and they will often have pinkish muzzles. The funny thing about Aubrey is that she has a dark muzzle with a pink spot. The pink spot is a marking called a "snip," which is an area of white hair (with pink skin) located anywhere between the nostrils. So...long story short: Aubrey is a grey horse with a snip on her nose! :)

  4. Thank you for sharing this, it's always nice seeing what is sold in a locally owned toy store.

    I was wondering, have you tried Lottie's glasses on any other doll? Doll glasses are so hard to find so I'm curious if anyone else can share hers.

    1. Good idea, Aubrey! I am buried under several small dogs right now, but I will check this and get back to you!

      Oh--and, my sweet Aubrey the horse shares your beautiful name! :D

  5. Ooo, looks like the Calico Critters release of the kangaroos used the Japanese mold. The noses are printed on weirdly on that set. The UK release has a different head mold.

    The UK release of the pig family has three little babies dressed in very cute clothes. The Calico Critters piglet release has the default baby rompers on.

    UK babies:

    1. Oh, you're right! Look at that! It's funny, because the kangaroos weren't quite as cute in person as I had hoped they'd be (still cute, to be sure...) and I did notice that the noses are really faint. I never thought to investigate any further. It's frustrating to see them how they could be! I also like the Sylvanian piglet outfits better! This difference isn't as bad to me, though, because the little rompers are kind-of sweet. To have the matching denim outfits, though....sigh.

      Thank you SO much for sharing this information! It's fascinating to see the differences. It's also neat that you just knew this at first sight. :) If I ever cave to the kangaroo family, it will be worth checking Fishpond or somewhere to see if I can find the Sylvanian versions. Love them!

  6. Hi Emily. Would you recommend getting those MLP imitations, even with their somewhat disappointing hair? My sister wants a My Little Pony toy, but I can't really afford to spend too much.

    1. Hi Mimi, no, I would not recommend them. I was really hoping that they'd be a cute replica of the older Ponies, but I just don't feel any emotion when I look at their strangely painted faces. :(
      The licensed Ponies can go on sale for under $5, and they're definitely worth the extra $2.
      I have a few ponies kicking around here if you want one for your sister--it won't be there in time for Christmas at this point, so maybe that's not very helpful, but email me if you want one anyway!

    2. Target has MLP on sale right now- buy one get one at 50% off. The smaller ponies go for about $4.99. You could get a couple pretty cheaply. I hope that helps!

  7. Hi Emily!

    I just love the Lottie dolls. They are so incredibly sweet and cute. Hopefully they'll have continuing success and new hairstyles and face paint will be introduced -- it'd be lovely to see lots of diverse little Lotties!

    I'm really not interested in baby dolls, but I absolutely love the Asian Corolle baby. Her face is so expressive and precious. I haven't seen many Asian dolls that actually have accurate Asian features, but Calin Yang certainly does, and she's so charming.

    What a disappointment about that Huggles doll "true spirit." She was definitely mocking the fact that you had to drive all the way back with that sinister smile! I would have really loved to see some creepy symbol on her back instead, haha.

    The Ryan's Room wooden houses and furniture sets are so neat! I would have loved all that when I was a kid -- I always really wanted a dollhouse. I still wouldn't mind having a dollhouse, actually... :)

    Anyway, thanks for this really fun review! It was a nice pre-Christmas treat for me to read and makes me really excited for the doll reviews you'll be doing in 2014. I hope you have a lovely holiday!

    1. Hi Lissy! Isn't that Asian baby wonderful? I almost bought her but really had to restrain myself. I found her amazingly cute and appealing!

      Huggles was mocking me, wasn't she! Grrr. I was so bummed out. I love dolls with secrets, and so I was really hoping to see another face or something truly outrageous! Oh, well. :)

      I want a dollhouse, too! I don't think we can ever be too old, right? The Ryan's Room sets seem great for the price, but I think if I ever take the plunge and start a dollhouse, I'll probably go realistic and Victorian. It seems like such a fun hobby...especially for people who have patience! Might be good for me. ;)

      Good to hear from you, Lissy--have a wonderful holiday!

    2. I'd like to ditto the remark about the Asian Corolle baby. She probably would have come home with me.

  8. Love the Lottie dolls, they look like western Licca-Chan dolls ^^

    I am from France and I always wondered if you knew Corolle, it's great you can find them in the US! I hope you can get one someday. The vanilla scent is really subtle and not too strong at all.

    1. Lottie DOES look like Licca-Chan! Wow. Good call! That would be a fun comparison review....

      Thank you for the information about the vanilla scent on Corolle dolls! I don't think I would mind the smell too much, but it's still great to hear that it is subtle.

      I am very excited to review a Corolle Les Cheries doll. They look so lovely. I actually have another similarly-sized doll waiting to be compared to Clara. When I do that review, it will be interesting to hear if the dolls we have in the US are the same as the ones you have in France!

    2. I am from France too, just read your post (it's always a pleasure) and also immediatly thought about the Licca-chan dolls and the review you could write comparing them.

      As for the Corolle dolls, I am not a great fan but I do have a Capucine (the Asian Chérie) and love it very much. No vanilla scent. Though, I had to return it twice to the seller before getting one without defect. For the record, the Camille ballerine appears in The Game Plan, broadcasted last week on French TV (not the kind of thing I usually watch but I was so surprised to see a Corolle doll...).
      You could also take a look at the Spanish Paola Reina's Amigas, quite similar to the Corolle Chéries. They're becoming very popular in France now among dolls lovers and a bit less expensive than the Corolle.

      Thanks again for your always informative and funny posts.

  9. i'm currently in the recovery stage of a long time illness and your blog posts never cease to make me feel comfortable and happy! sometimes reading your in-depth reviews and cunning comments as well as your quirky humour can completely turn my day around, or help me get to bed on a sleepness night :) bit of a weird comment, sorry! I just really appreciate what you do. thank you!

    1. What an incredibly nice thing to say about the blog! Your kind words made my day brighter.
      Chronic illness can be so discouraging and isolating, but I am delighted to hear that you are in the recovery stage. I hope it is a fast and smooth recovery.
      I think dolls can be wonderfully uplifting and therapeutic. I can remember Robert Tonner's first Alice in Wonderland doll arriving at my house when I was recovering from a simple surgery. I just lay on the couch and looked at her, and she made me so happy! That doll will always be special to me for that reason. Do you have a favorite doll that cheers you up at home?

    2. Thank you very much! The Alice and Wonderland doll is gorgeous! My favourite doll is probably the Tonner Christine Daae! Phantom of the Opera is very close to my heart and it is a wonderful interpretation of the character : )

  10. Dear Emily,
    You take the guilt out of being a grown up and loving toys. I am a die hard reader of your blog but a first time commentor. After I found your blog I went back and read every single one of your reviews. I myself returned to doll collecting after a recent trip to NYC's FAO Schwartz and discovered their doll section and Ellowynes. (my parents live there - I myself live in faraway Israel) I fell inlove with these dolls and started collecting them.
    I hope you one day get to review of them - Wilde recently had a black friday amazing sale so often you can get them at really good prices.
    I wish you a merry Christmas - keep doing what you do, because you do it so well.

    1. Oh, the FAO Schwarz Ellowyne section is tempting, isn't it! I love that store. It's so great to be able to see the dolls in person before plunking down so much money. I was visiting Wilde Imagination's sale (frequently...) but ended up with Patience, not Ellowyne. I would like to have an Ellowyne back in my collection some day--she's a wonderful doll.
      I'd love to hear about the dolls you have in Israel! My dad spends a lot of his time in Israel, but I haven't asked him to do any doll investigating for me yet....
      Thank you for your lovely comments--it's great to have you on the blog! We adult toy lovers have to stick together. :)

    2. OOHH you have Patience? have you reviewed her yet? I can't wait to read it. I am afraid Israel imports most of its toys. We specialize more in puzzles and art kits - less in dolls - I actually google searched for some local Israeli manufacturers and found none that make dolls but I'll keep looking and let you know if I find anything. That is fantastic that your dad actually comes here often, I apologize if this is too personal a question but does he have family here or is it business? I forgot to mention my name which is Tali, and thanks again for the personal reply

  11. I'm definitely going to get Lottie for my daughter's birthday in May when she'll be 4. They just look so perfect.

    1. I think Lottie would be great for a four-year-old. The clothes might be a little tricky for her at first, but you can help her, and maybe get to join in for some of her games! :D

  12. Hi Emily!
    Lottie definitely looks like Lica Chan. I saw it on your post and I thought At Last!, we are going to have a revision from Emily, about the Lica stuff. I'll wait for that, because I'm tempting to buy a Lica Chan, but I don't know how cute or amazing would be.
    Thank you very much for another year of your post with incredible pictures and so detail descriptions. It make me look for more information about dolls and learned a lot about which is the way to my own collection.
    I appreciate your effort and your passion for toys and I hope you will continue writing so amazing and interest post during 2014. Merry Christmas and the best wishes for 2014 from Chile.

  13. Hello from Spain: I really like your purchases. I have in my collection a Corolle baby and smells like vanilla but it's a very mild odor. It is a French brand and in my country are some expensive toys. Great review. Merry Christmas. Keep in touch

  14. Hi emily,
    Its sharmistha again..the lottie dolls are wonderful.
    I think they are much taller than barbie sisters and friends..
    Can this doll share clothes and shoes with any doll?are they available online for sale?

    Great review again.

  15. Thanks for another fun post! There aren't any local toy stores in my area any longer, so it's nice to know there's still some out there. And what unique finds! I love the Elvis chicken on a tricycle. It's not every day you see one of those! Lottie reminds me a lot of Licca, which is very nice. They both have a really sweet and innocent look about them that makes me want to add one to my collection someday.

    And thank you so much for all of your reviews and posts through the year, Emily. I'm so glad I found your blog earlier this year. I always enjoy all of your reviews and can't wait to see what new things you have for us in 2014! Happy holidays to you and your entire family, and may you be blessed with happiness and lots of toys and dolls! :)

  16. Hi Emily! I'm a big fan of your blog! I actually got the MLP I posters for Christmas and the brand is called play right toys. I have the pink one but with a different cutie mark. They came with big ponies which are pretty cute! Their faces are sweeter than the small ones and best of all, they have inset eyes with a lot of detail! I got mine at Walgreens in NJ for 7 bucks! Merry Christmas Eve, Sara the 11 year old doll lover!

  17. Oh and the set came with 4 ponies, beads, 3 ribbons, 4 hair clips, and a cheap brush and comb.

  18. I really wanted to comment on this post before it got too late but with all of the holiday craziness I haven't had a chance to read it properly. It looks amazing and full of so many goodies. I have loved Lottie since you introduced us all to her last year, and I have two. Only two weeks ago my mother in law gave us Seren the horse because my daughter has the same name!!! The eyes are indeed awful. Even my 4 year old said they looked weird. But we love it so much. I can't wait to study this review of other Lottie dolls a bit closer. The baby dolls and MLP stuff looks great too. Happy Christmas to you and your family Emily. xxx

  19. @Mimi:

    If your sister doesn't mind secondhand toys, thrift stores are a great place to pick up My Little Ponies for cheap (that's where I get all of mine from). If you can, it pays to shop around, as the prices can fluctuate quite a bit from one thrift store to another (some are outrageous). Where I live, the closest of the two local St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift stores has the best prices: fifty cents for adult ponies and twenty-five cents for baby ponies, and, even better still, sometimes they sell themed paper-lunch-sack-sized mystery grab bags of toys, filled with ponies, for a quarter (they're usually all McDonald's ones though, which is fine by me, but not everyone likes those). The staff doesn't know the difference between G1, G2, G3, G3.5, G4, and bootleg ponies, so I always get Generation 4 (Friendship is Magic) ponies for twenty-five cents, because the G4 toys are generally smaller than the vintage ones, so, they just assume that they're all baby ponies (and I'm sure not going to be the one to correct them). My two most recent MLP acquisitions were both Pinkie Pies; assuming I've identified them correctly, one was the 2013 Crystal Empire version (pink tinsel in her hair) and the other was a 2011 McDonald's toy (sculpted mane, rooted tail). In my experience, the vinyl of Hasbro's MLP toys tends to accumulate dirt/grime pretty easily, so, used ponies tend to need a bath, but, other than that, they're generally in good-excellent condition, except for the occasional one that's been gnawed on by pets or young children (to quote a lolcat photo I have saved on my hard drive: "My little tastyz!").

  20. I have a redheaded niece named Aubrey, and seeing the redheaded Lottie dolls, I jumped, and when I saw the sweet little horse named Aubrey, I nearly spat my orange drink all over the screen. Needless to say, there are 2 more toys that will be making their way into my collection as soon as is humanly possible.

  21. Hi Emily! I was at a toy store yesterday and found a set I think you would love! I just blogged about it:


  22. Hello Emily! I would like to thank you for introducing me to many different doll lines. Without your make it mine review, I would never gone to the website and mooned over Basic Doll A Bronze. (Which later resulted in me, saving up half of the money, then asking my mom if she would match it. As soon as she agreed, I immediately began making Basic Doll A Bronze a bedroom in my closet.) She arrived on X-mas day, not only with one foot, but with a broken ankle joint as well. We e-mailed the company on X-mas day and are waiting for their reply.

  23. Hi Emily
    For some reason, here in the UK, Bentalls Centre in Kingston has been stocking up with Corolle and Lottie dolls! They didn't even have Lottie before the 21st. I am confused, because the seem to have stop adding new Monster High dolls! The most recent they have is 13 Wishes, and they don't have many of the other collections like Gloom Beach, or just the normal dolls.
    For Christmas, I got a Draculaura doll. I believe she is from Gloom Beach. My mom didn't get her at Bentalls though.
    I love your posts and I hope you add more!
    From an 11-year-old girl

  24. I have the Pandora's Box Lottie and her glasses have the same design flaw. Too bad, but apart from that they're both adorable. I had a hard time choosing between them, but in the end I couldn't resist Pandora's pink color scheme. Her fashions are recycled from earlier dolls, but I'm glad to see they came out with lots of new stuff in this wave.

  25. Hi, there!

    I saw the Lotties when they first came out and only had a few things and thought they were really cute. But, I love those new outfits - thanks for sharing your photos of them! I'm going to try to stop by one of our local toy stores the next time I have some extra spending money.

    Can you tell me how Lottie's things compare to the size of the AG Mini dolls' clothes? I know Lottie would be a lot taller, but if the clothes would fit AG tops and waists, I'd probably buy a bunch. That soccer (football?) uniform would be especially cute!

  26. Love them. When I first saw them I thought they were from some branch of Takara and would have never guessed...British. They could easily be Licca.

  27. How cool dolls, is worth here in Brazil as well be hard to find varied collections.
    My cat also called Pandora xD
    Loved the site and reviews!

  28. Plastizicers added to toys to keep vinyl soft and elastic, used to be Phthalate-based. Phthalates can be harmful and their use in the toy industry was banned in Spain in 2006. I read that a common phlalate-free, safe plastizicer used in Spain is 1,2-Cyclohexane dicarboxylic acid diisononyl ester, known under the trademark Hexamoll DINCH, but since it leaves a slight "medical" odor, vanilla aroma is added to achieve a pleasant smell. Thank you very much, Emily, for your blog, it is a great doll reference website. Greetings from the Netherlands.

  29. Hello, Emily! I've read your blog for a long time and loved it. I just wanted to let you know that you're a fabulous blogger! Also, I love the Baby Stella dolls. :)

  30. I actually love the weird, sassy faces on those MLP knockoffs. The blue one looks super mad, and the pink one kind of looks high... XD They're certainly unique!