Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sunday Surprise: Li'l Woodzeez Mini Acorn House and Babeez by Battat!

I can't believe that we're almost a week away from Thanksgiving.  It just won't sink into my brain.  Part of the problem is the weather here in New Jersey.  For example, yesterday I was walking in the sun in a tee shirt, and then a few hours later there was a thunderstorm.  A thunderstorm!  In mid-November!  It still feels so much like summer to me.  It feels like Christmas when I go into Target, though.  The toy aisles are packed with stuff, and holiday trimmings are filling up the rest of the store.  Even though I'm in a perpetual state of confusion about what time of year it is, I've been enjoying my research missions to Target more than usual with all of the new stock!

During one of my recent trips to Target I focused on looking at what surprise-themed toys are available these days.  There are a lot of them!  I picked a few of my favorites to share with you over the coming months, and right at the top of my list is an old favorite: the Li'l Woodzeez.

Li'l Woodzeez continue to stand out to me because of the high cuteness factor and low price.  They're still selling the adorable Tickle Your Tastebuds bakery play set (seemingly unchanged from the one I reviewed in 2012) for the same $20 price.  And I picked up this whole collection of surprises for $11: 

Li'l Woodzeez Mini Acorn House Surprise ($4.99) and two Surprise Babeez ($2.99 each).

I like these sets because each one has a surprise (which character you'll get), each character has a name (I love names!), and the packaging adds to the play potential of the toy.  The Babeez come in cribs, and the larger animal comes with its own little house.

Let's take a look at the Mini Acorn House Surprise set first:

The presentation of this set is so fun and colorful.  There's no excessive packaging--just the house itself and a bright, information-packed tag:

Each set includes a mystery character, an outfit, and a toy.  I think the toy accessory could be counted as a second surprise, since those items are not shown on the tag.  A bonus surprise!

The back of the tag shows the different characters that you can get.  There aren't very many options, which is a problem because it increases the risk of duplicates.

I like all of these characters and didn't care which one I got.  Ok, maybe Chuck and Hazel are slightly cuter than the other two, but I would have been happy with any of them.

The back of the tag also advertises a Li'l Woozeez game.  This was free on the App Store, so I tried it out. The game is for little kids (4 and up), and it involves playing out the lives of the characters in the Tippytail fox family.  You can direct the characters to do little activities, like build a treehouse, bang on the piano, cook dinner, or plant in the garden.  There are also special group activities like eating dinner (a little tedious), playing hide and seek (cute), or releasing lanterns into the night sky (pretty).

If the Mini Acorn House toy is any fun, though, there should be no need for an online game!

The house itself is in the shape of an acorn shell with a roof made out of leaves.

The molded details on the house are nice, like these flowering vines that are on either side of the door:

There's also a little ladybug climbing up the back of the house:

There are so many ways to get hung up on scale with this set (that's a super-tiny ladybug if the house is made out of an acorn...and also how do these animals live inside of acorns??) but perhaps it's best if I don't dwell on any of that.

There's another ladybug climbing on the roof, too.  This reminds me of the last time I went to get my hair cut.  Part way through the appointment, my stylist and I noticed that the ceiling lights were covered in ladybugs!  There must have been a hundred of them.  I really like ladybugs because they're pretty and they eat aphids, but that was a lot of them all at once.  I've never seen anything like it.  Perhaps it's another quirk of living in New Jersey?

Anyway, the house was held together with a single band of plastic.  I removed the plastic:

The detail in the vinyl roof is nice, too.  It looks like four or five leaves were tied together at their stems in order to make a roof shape:

Like a little leaf hat.
The roof is removable:

And inside the house is a green plastic bag with all of the surprises:

The front door of the house opens, too, although it opens down like a drawbridge, not like a regular door.  That was a bit of a disappointment.

The house is great.  Several of these toys could be combined to make a little village, or a single house could be added to something like the Honeysuckle Hillside Cottage as a playhouse for the yard.

All right!  Let's see what surprises are hidden inside the green bag:

The plastic is slightly transparent, so I could already see that I was going to get...

...Hazel Healthnuggle!  The name Healthnuggle makes me laugh.  It sounds like something Buddy the Elf would say.

Hazel is a little brown bear.  I assumed that she was the mother character in the Healthnuggle family, but playing the Woodzeez game actually taught me that she's the big sister.  The mother is a doctor named Barb.  She's taller and has a more detailed dress.

Now we know that the surprise character is Hazel, but we don't know what her mystery toy is yet!

After I pulled everything out of the bag, I could see that Hazel actually comes with three toys: a teapot, cup, and saucer:

After this reveal, I got really curious about what toys the other three characters come with.  You can see pictures of those toys on the Target website if you want.  Mini spoiler: Hazel has the best toy. 

At first I had a really hard time balancing Hazel.  She looks ok in the previous picture, but only because I positioned the camera above her head and angled the shot downwards.

She was actually standing like this:

The animals do not come with underwear...

I'd forgotten that these little animals are so articulated, though!  It's been a few years since I've played with one.  All I had to do is move Hazel's legs a bit, and she could stand up normally:

That's better.
She's wearing a collared pink dress with an attached green print apron.  The collar of the dress has simple unfinished edges and the apron is a bit lopsided, but overall it's a sweet little dress, especially for something so tiny.

The dress closes in the back with velcro:

As I was photographing Hazel's dress, I thought I noticed a bare patch in the flocking of her left cheek:

But up close you can see that it's just a patch of pinkish-white flocking--like the bear version of blush, I suppose.  There's a similar patch on the other side of Hazel's face:

The blush isn't particularly symmetric, but this isn't something I notice when I'm interacting with Hazel.

Here's the dress by itself:

There are some stray threads in a few places, but look at those tiny, neat little hemmed edges!

Underneath her dress, Hazel has a fully-flocked body with a lighter area of fur on her belly:

She's a teddy bear!
I prefer this fuzzy body to the plastic-bodied bobblehead surprise Woodzeez that I reviewed in 2017.  Those come in plastic acorns and cost $2.99 (and are still available at that price).

Hazel's eyes are plain black ovals, and the left eye is slightly askew:

She has five points of rotating articulation (neck, shoulders, hips) and so she can sit, look from side-to-side, and lift her arms up and down:

Her front paws are molded into a gripping pose, so presumably she can hold some of the Woodzeez accessories.

Hazel has a few minor defects in the flocking on her body.  There's a tiny bare patch on her right shoulder:

And a larger bare patch on the left side of her neck:

I don't think any of Hazel's minor flaws are a big deal, and they probably wouldn't bother a child at all.

Here's a closer look at Hazel's tea set accessory:

The teapot is all one piece, but the cup and saucer are separate.  This is why the toy could be a choking hazard for kids under 3.  

The bottom of the teapot is hollow, so it kind of looks like it should be the top of the teapot:

Sadly, Hazel's gripping hands can't hold onto the handle of the teapot:

Or to any part of the cup:

I just want a sip of tea!
Hazel is 2.75 inches tall--about the size that a Build-A-Bear would be for a Barbie doll.  Here's Lina with Hazel to demonstrate:

I think Hazel's size is not too big and not too small--it's just right.  Goldilocks would approve. 

Hazel and I were both very excited to see who her younger siblings would be, so let's get on with the next surprise!

The first Woodzeez baby came in a blue crib:

The packaging on these toys is so simple. The cribs have a colorful piece of cardboard wrapped around the entire crib to keep the items inside secure:

Each set comes with a Babeez (oh, how I wish they didn't spell it that way...), a bib, a bottle, and a diaper.

The fun thing is that there are two sets of twins that can be found in these cribs--raccoons and pigs.  I really wanted the twins (especially the pigs!) so I compared the weights of all of the cribs that were in stock and picked the heaviest ones!

The cardboard packaging can easily be unfastened from the bottom of the crib:

Would it say "this includes 2 baby characters" if I'd gotten the twins? Probably not.
This simple action frees up all of the goodies inside!

There's a green bag with the baby inside, and a large collector's sheet:

There are so many more options here than there were with the acorn house sets!

30 options total.
Here's a closer look at all of the little characters:

They are all adorable!  I was interested in getting Chip, the baby bear, and I also think Dab the cow is amazing.

Here's the lower portion of the sheet:

Pod and Pad the pigs are the prize.  I really wanted to get them!

Let's see who I got.  I could tell right away that it wasn't twins:

I see a yellow bib and a pink diaper...

It's a...sheep?

Sheep don't have whiskers, Emily.
It's hard to tell anything with that huge vinyl bib in the way.

Oh, wait--no.  It has a shell on its back:

And the shell looks like it's covered with...bubbles?

A turtle with ears?  A hedgehog?  An echidna?  I was perplexed.  I had to resort to looking at the character sheet again:

It's Zaza the hedgehog!

Zaza has a shell on her back, though, like the turtle characters, and this shell can be removed:

It falls off a lot, too.
The diaper can also be removed:

Zaza is flocked from head to toe, just like Hazel.

She has all of the same articulation as the larger figures, too, which is great!  She can sit down, look around, and raise her arms:

Maybe we can even count the removable back as a sixth point of articulation?

Zaza has pink cheeks, pink ears, and a slightly darker patch of yellow on the middle of her belly.

Zaza also has some droopy whiskers on her left side:

I thought that these whiskers might perk up over time, but they did not.

Zaza is cute (all of the Woodzeez are cute), but her coloring is really strange.  She's bright yellow, which is not a thing with hedgehogs...unless they've consumed the seven Chaos Emeralds, of course.

The closest a real hedgehog gets to yellow is if it's albino, like this one:

Albino Hedgehog

I have to say, Battat made some strange choices with Zaza's character.

Here she is in her blue crib:

The crib is a great size for Zaza, and it's very solidly constructed, but it's a little stark.  It could use some comfy bedding!

Hazel was pretty excited to have a sibling:

Zaza is 1.75 inches tall, so an inch shorter than Hazel:

They can almost hold hands, which would be adorable.
The cuteness factor is high in the little Babeez, but Hazel's size makes her easier to manipulate and play with.

Well, there's only one surprise left--and one last chance to get the cow twins!

I ripped into this packaging pretty quickly...

And I found another green bag that definitely doesn't have twins in it.  Too small:

I can see a bit through the bag...

Another shell?
I think this is a legitimate turtle!

I love the Woodzeez turtles!!

I realized at this point that the turtle, Pif, came with a bottle:

But I didn't see a bottle for Zaza.

I hunted through the garbage and realized that Zaza's bottle had gotten stuck in the bag.  The two bottles are identical:

Pif has a removable pink bib and a removable blue diaper:

The bib is made of vinyl and can overwhelm Pif a bit.  The diaper also looks scruffy and is not as well-constructed as Zaza's diaper.  I like the clothing on the larger Woodzeez, but I tend to remove it on the Babeez; it gets in the way.

Pif's shell is also removable, and falls off every other second:

A dab of glue would hold the shell in place nicely, but then it'd be hard to change the diaper.  That's ok with me because I think the Babeez are cuter without their diapers, but for those who enjoy the diapers, gluing the shell might not be a good idea.

Zaza and Pif can swap shells!

A hedgurtle and a turtlehog!
Here's Pif without a diaper:

So cute.
Look at that happy, fuzzy little face!

I didn't feel like I needed another size comparison shot for the smaller Woodzeez, but Lina fell in love with Pif, so I figured I should get a shot with the two of them:

Here's Pif snuggled in for a nap:

Playing with Pif in the crib reminded me of a story I've been wanting to tell you: I was at a high school football game the other weekend, and I spent most of my time watching a little girl (maybe three years old?) play on the bleacher in front of me.  She had only a naked Barbie doll and a used dryer sheet, but she played with these items for over 30 minutes with complete focus.  She'd smooth out the dryer sheet, arrange her Barbie on the bleacher, and then lovingly spread the sheet over the doll like a blanket, tucking her in and speaking softly to her.  It was one of the most tender things I've ever seen--and so much more interesting than football.

Anyway, I guess that's my long-winded way of saying that a simple blanket in this set could make a huge difference in the play value...although any scrap of fabric from home (or a used dryer sheet) would work, too.

Here are all three of my lovely Woodzeez together!

I left Hazel in charge of the little ones for a while while I cleaned up some of the mess in my studio.

Hazel put Zaza down for a nap and set out some tea for herself.  Pif was hungry for a bottle, though:

Hazel happily got the bottle...

But Pif can't hold a bottle, so was unable to get a drink!  Zaza watched Pif's struggles and decided that she wanted her bottle, too:

Things quickly deteriorated as Hazel remembered that she can't hold onto her teacup, so she decided to drink straight from the pot.

Zaza landed on her head and Pif lost his shell (again), but at least Hazel got a nice swig of tea!

I think this little family is happier when I take their beverages away.

When my trio of Woodzeez is done with their shenanigans for the day, they all fit perfectly into the acorn house for storage:

Or, alternatively, the little house can be used as a storage box to pack them all up for an outdoor adventure!

I figured that these critters might enjoy some time out in their natural habitat.  So, taking advantage of another 70-degree November day in New Jersey, we headed into the woods.

Hazel was immediately at home in this setting:

She found these cool shelf fungi growing on an old tree stump:

And thought this was the perfect location to set up her acorn house!

I agree:

If only this little house had a door that hinged open from side to side, it would be perfect:

Meanwhile, Pif was captivated by these unusual tree roots:

But of course turtles are naturally drawn to water, and so we ended up wandering along this rocky stream bed, looking for more turtles:

There are lots of turtles in New Jersey.

Zaza was more nervous about being in the wild than her siblings were.  I think she was concerned that her bright yellow coloring would attract the attention of the local predators--like the pair of bald eagles that frequent this area.

So, we found a cozy little hole in the roots of a tree where she could hide out and feel safe:

Bottom line?  I'm glad I got both of the different Li'l Woodzeez surprise toys that Target had to offer, because each has a different set of pros and cons.

The Mini Acorn House set is great because it includes a nicely-sized, fully-flocked figure with an outfit.  I could nitpick a few things about Hazel's dress, but overall it's cute and easy to use.  I wish Hazel's tea set accessories had been designed so that they could fit into her gripping hands, but those little items were a nice extra surprise.  The house itself is good for play or display, and is perfect for storage and transportation of a small group of Woodzeez.  I wish the door of the house operated in a more realistic way, but at least it isn't molded into a closed position.  Because not all of the acorn sets look the same (there's a range of color schemes) it would be fun to collect multiple houses and make a little village.  The biggest drawback with these sets is that there are only four characters available in the series, so the odds of getting a duplicate are high.  There might be a way of determining which character is inside each house, but I'm not aware of it.

The Babeez sets have a lot more variety (30 options), and so the risk of duplicates is lower.  Duplicates don't seem as bad with these toys, though, because the price is low and duplicate babies could always be used as twins.  As with the acorn house set, the packaging on these Babeez is part of the toy, which I love.  The cribs are a good size with a cute design, and I think kids would have fun tucking their baby critters into bed--perhaps more so if a little blanket had been included.  To me, a blanket would have been a better accessory than a bib.  The bibs are cumbersome and can overwhelm the tiny figures.  The diapers are also tricky to use (especially on characters with shells) but they look cute.  I love Pif, and the turtle shell attachment is adorable, but it falls off all of the time.  I'd have to glue the shell in place before giving Pif to a child.  Zaza's shell stays on better than Pif's, but I don't understand why she has a shell in the first place.  Overall, Zaza's design is just not as good as Pif's.  She doesn't have as much personality in her face, her species is ambiguous, and her coloring is strange...but I love her anyway.

Navigating the toy aisles with a small child can be stressful: kids always want to bring a toy home, and parents want to avoid spending a lot of money on something that will have no lasting appeal.  I remember this dynamic with my own kids very well.  These Woodzeez sets might get lost among the glitter and bling of the newer L.O.L. Surprise toys, but they have a lot to offer for a toy that costs under $5.  And the packaging adds to the fun--not the landfill.  The surprise element in these sets is a nice bonus, but the sweet and timeless Woodzeez characters don't really need a gimmick in order to spark some wonderful games and adventures.

Update 11/17: at Target today they had new Woodzeez stock, and some of the characters are not flocked!  Ack!

These elephants are really cute:

But there's no flocking whatsoever.  I rode an elephant when I was a teenager, and it was definitely fuzzy!  Also, a lot of the appeal of these toys is in how they feel cuddled into your hand.  This is not a good development in my eyes...and yet the characters' faces are too cute for words.

I coveted this set while also being disappointed by it.

I also saw this cow family where the bodies are flocked, but the noses are bare plastic:

Again, the animals are very sweet, but the uneven paint (or scuffed paint) cheapens the appearance, if you ask me.

That said, when I took my little trio of Woodzeez on their outdoor adventure, both Hazel and Pif got dirty from falling into a wet area of stones or grass.  Perhaps the smooth characters are better for outdoor or rigorous play?  Anyway, I wanted to pop back in and alert you to this update: the characters are less appealing to me with no fur, but might be better for some kinds of play.


  1. Very cute review 🙂

    I think the lack of a blanket for the babies is an odd decision when the useful playable packaging has been well thought out.

    I'm wondering now if you picked any of the miniature toy/food/stationery surprise products that seem to be popular now. I would be interested to know what you think. I think I have an idea of what you'd find disappointing!

    1. Hi Alison! Do you mean the Toy Mini Brands? I actually did buy a few of those, but I'm posting a really short review of them on Patreon because I didn't feel they warranted a full-blown review here. I was intrigued by them because I saw a little girl and her mom talking about them and admiring some of the play sets. I always like it when I can see real kids taking about what they like!

      I found a few of the miniatures very cute, but was mostly underwhelmed. There was one set, in particular, that had a big plastic "collector's case" with a few lame miniatures inside. That was a huge disappointment, and way too expensive. :(

    2. I did mean those, also the food Mini Brands and the Real Littles backpacks/purses. I think the toys are my least favourite.

      I joined Patreon so I can read your review now 🙂

  2. I love flocked animals! I'm a big fan of Calico Critters, so I loved this review. Hazel is a beautiful name for a beautiful bear and her tea set is so cute! As for the babies, their cribs are gigantic, must be some happy babies. I remember from past reviews you had a Lil Woodzeez turtle family, are they still around? If yes, they must be so happy that Pif is home.

    Take care Emily😊

    1. I wish I still had the turtle family! Sadly, they flew the coop like so many of my other friends. They would definitely have welcomed sweet Pif. :)

      I meant to say in the review how much I love the name Hazel! You're right--it is such a lovely name.

      I spent a lot of time looking at new Calico Critters offerings as I was preparing this review, so I'll certainly revisit those cuties. Let me know if there's a family or a set that you're especially interested in!

  3. I collect Calico Critters, so Lil Woodziz find their way home to me fairly often. I do have the raccoon twins, who are ADORABLE. I also really like Walmart's new Honeybee Acres line. I mean they have two unicorn characters. I hope they do a family soon! I've been wondering about the little houses so I'm happy to see a review. And need to get my hands on a Zaza of my own!

    1. You got the twins!! So jealous. ;D I have not ventured to Walmart here in NJ yet (there are many of them, though!), but now it seems like I must! I need to see the unicorns. I'm putting that on my list for this week--thank you for the tip!

      You can have my droopy-whiskered Zaza if you want! I was never going to list her for sale, but I can make a special free listing just for you. Let me know!

  4. Oh man! This is the kind of review that makes me want to open a toy store! Now FYI, has a good selection of this line at the moment. Personally, I’d give anything for a meerkat family!

    1. Oh, I know--right? Meerkats are the cutest. I think my smallest dog looks like a meerkat. :)

  5. Thanks for the fun review. These animals are adorable. I think a blanket would have been more useful than a diaper since they come in a crib. Between this line and others like Sylvanian families a child could have quite the little town.

    1. Hi Maricha! I love the idea of a little town! Some of the Calico Critters buildings, in particular, are truly gorgeous. My husband won't let me overrun our new house with toy displays (for my own good), but otherwise I'd be dreaming of a flocked critter city! ;)

  6. That turtle, oh my, how adorable 😍😍😍 Also the little house ❤️ I think I never heard of them, we only have the Sylvianuan Families here. It‘s lovely to find out that there are more ❤️

    1. Hi Sév! The Sylvanian families are so wonderful, but these Woodzeez are a nice budget alternative. A lot of the cuteness at about half the price!

  7. I love the way the house looks under the shelf fungi! It's like they're little steps leading up to their house :) These toys definitely seem like they were made with love, which is nice to see in little blind bag toys like this.

    Weather has been wild here in PA too! It's been really hot, then really cold each day. Meanwhile, my hometown just a couple hours up north had snow.

    By the way, I had a ladybug infestation a couple of years ago as well. It was so weird since I've never seen that many ladybugs before lol. It was honestly a bit unnerving! -L

    1. What's up with the weather in this part of the country? It's so hard to get my head around it. I really love it, and yet people in NJ tell me this isn't typical. I don't really know what to expect going forward. I mean, we had a tornado here (!!).

      And I totally agree with you about the ladybugs. I love them, in theory, and I was trying to "rescue" as many of them as I could from the hairdresser's ceiling, but the sheer number of them was freaky! Too much of a good thing, I suppose. ;)

  8. I looked up the Acorn House toy online as well, because I, too, wanted to see the other toys! (I love the toy dinosaur that the fox comes with....) And I noticed that the houses are of different designs - and Hazel's house, as pictured on the website, looks like the one shown here. So I *think* that parents can probably ensure they get one of each character by choosing one of each house. Which is nice, with such a limited group of options. And, it's nice because they you really *can* collect them all, while still surprising the kid who didn't look at the website. xD The cup and saucer also aren't shown with Hazel, which makes me curious if the other toys shown actually have extra pieces not shown. ...and I had forgotten how tempting your reviews make it to buy these toys! D8

    1. Oh, that would be really awesome if the different houses meant different characters! How clever! I should have trusted that Battat had a good solution here, because of course everybody wants the different versions of the house AND the different characters! You're such a good sleuth. I might have to buy another variety of house to test this theory. Small price, big reward.

      And I liked the dinosaur, too (my second favorite), but not as much as the multi-piece tea set. They pack a lot of little details into these toys for $4.99. So I'll let you know what I find when I inevitably purchase the fox house. ;)

    2. 8D

      (I love the story about the little girl at the football game, too. :3 )

  9. I live in southern Delaware and I can tell you that the only predictable thing about our weather is its unpredictability and its tendency toward extremes. Very hot summers, very cold winters ... except when the summers are cool and wet and the winters are mild and dry. And you are likely to find ladybugs drifting around inside your house (especially near potted plants if you have any) even in the depths of a frigid winter. Several years ago there was a huge population explosion of ladybugs all over the mid-Atlantic and parts of the midwest, and the numbers were astonishing. All I can say is it's a good thing they won't actually hurt anything.

  10. Better lady bugs than Japanese beetles!

  11. OMG!!!!! If you stroll on over to Etsy, there are all sorts of tiny clothes for these little beings! Who knew?

  12. How could you not have wanted Howie Tippytale?! He's so cute! I love all the little flocked animal lines, and if I was rich I'd have millions of them, (so it's a good thing I'm not.) The shelf fungi was a lucky find for your photo shoot. I love the picture where she's walking up the steps, and you made it look like she's holding her dress up, away from her feet.

  13. I love the story about the little girl and her Barbie doll, too cute.

    I too loved the cows! I am going to see if I can't pick that up-definitely something that would hang out on my desk awhile before I passed it along to my nieces when they come over. Loved the little acorn house and am glad these were better quality than the last surprise ones they had.

    Have a great day, thanks for the review!


  14. Aw, they’re all so cute!! So lame how the new ones are partially flocked, I guess from a durability standpoint the non-flocked ones could potentially hold up to more frequent/aggressive play? But the partially flocked ones look cheap, I wish they’d either flock them fully or not flock them at all!

    The ones you reviewed are so cute though, reading this put a smile on my face!! :) cute little baby hedgehog and I’m obsessed with that little turtle face !!

  15. Oh!! Pif is adorable! He's definitely my favourite of the critters shown here! What a cute bunch though! :D

    And that story you shared of the girl and her doll is adorable... So sweet that she was able to enjoy herself and play so attentively with so little!

  16. Too bad you didn't get the twins! I think you were on the right track with the weight theory, but since the twins are rare, your store probably didn't have any. The next heavy thing had to be the two-part animals with shells. They are cute, although I can't understand why they flocked the turtle. Are there hairy turtles around? The house looks adorable outside on the tree stump. I used to have a Kinder Surprise aubergine mouse house - I should really look for it!

  17. They are all so cute! I grew up with Calico Critters but the Woodzees are a better price.

    As another commenter mentioned, Walmart has been carrying a new line as well. They don't have Calico Critters in the store anymore (at least not by me).

    And from nearby southeast PA I can tell you this weather is not typical! Except for once in a while when it is. I remember a Thanksgiving maybe five years ago where we had all the windows open.

  18. Btw, I googled “cleaning flocked toy animals” and there is a lot of information to be found there.