Wednesday, December 8, 2021

B-Kind Dolls by Jada Toys

Finally, after living here for almost a year, I ventured out and found the closest Walmart.  I wanted to check out the Honey Bee Acres toys that many of you have recommended--especially the unicorn! Unfortunately, the first Walmart I visited had barely any toys (so depressing), let alone any of the Honey Bee Acres sets.  It was a pretty big let-down.  So, I went to another Walmart last week (who knew there were so many Walmarts around here?) and struck out again: no Honey Bee Acres.  The second Walmart I visited had more toys on the shelves, though, so at least I had a fun time browsing.

I ended up having to purchase the Honey Bee Acres toys online, but I'm so grateful that I visited these stores, because I found a Walmart-exclusive doll line that I'm incredibly excited about!  These dolls were literally the most attractive toy on the shelves at both of the Walmart stores I visited.

The line is called B-Kind (which I think is a good way to live), the packaging and the dolls are eco-friendly (which I think is really important), the dolls look highly-articulated (an obsession of mine), and each character comes with a D.I.Y. project (I love projects!).  It's basically like Jada Toys was saying, "hey, Emily, we made this doll just for you. What do you think?"

B-Kind doll Brianna by Jada Toys (29.97).

These dolls are actually made through a collaboration between Jada Toys and the nonprofit company  If Jada Toys sounds familiar to you, perhaps it's because they were the makers of the Cutie Pops dolls that I reviewed back in 2012.  I still have a few of those Cuties, actually!

I love the concept of the B-Kind dolls so much, but I had a heck of a time picking which one to buy.  First of all, the dolls are each supposed to represent a positive message, so they each have a specific theme or hobby.  Some of the messages resonate with me more than others.  Also, some of the dolls are more attractive than others--again, just personal preference.  But perhaps most importantly, each doll comes with a different project, and so I had to weigh the relative merits of the projects, too.

There are six dolls in this collection, but only three of the characters (the same three) were available at the two stores I visited.

This first girl, Ivy, is the one I found to be the most attractive:

B-Kind Ivy doll.
She has a warm skin tone and beautiful highlighted brown hair.  Ivy's message is to spread love.  That's a bit vague, but certainly positive.

I really like Ivy's big, green eyes:

Ivy comes with an awkward purse, but I like her tulle-enhanced, watercolor-style dress quite a lot:

She has a little pink stuffed cat as a companion:

The only problem with Ivy is that I didn't think her project measured up to some of the others.  She comes with the supplies to make a friendship bracelet:

That's a fun activity, to be sure, but I was more interested in the dolls who came with additional clothing or accessory-related projects--not something for me to wear.

I still want to recommend Ivy, because in person she's lovely.  And a lot of kids would enjoy making a bracelet for themselves or their friends.  

Here's the back of Ivy's box if you want more information about her character:

It says on the box that she's not just about spreading love, but about preventing bullying.  That makes me like her even more:

In Ivy's free time, she likes to sing and make jewelry.  This struck me as a bit too Disney Princess cliché, but I guess it's better than "likes to clean the house with talking rodents."

The second doll that I found in my local stores is named Daisy, and she's a redhead!  With freckles!  I instantly assumed I'd be leaving the store with her:

B-Kind Daisy doll.
Daisy's message is to save the animals, which is right up my alley, so I really wanted to like her best!  However, Daisy has an ultra-pale skin tone that looks unnatural in person.  It reminds me of the off-beat skin tones of the Zeenie Dollz.  She might have looked better away from the fluorescent lighting at Walmart, but I didn't want to risk it.

I love her outfit, boots, and star-shaped purse, though:

She's a really great doll in many ways.  Hard to pass up.

But in addition to not loving her skin tone, the specific Daisy dolls at my Walmart stores had wildly different facial screening.  This doll looks ok:

Her right eye is a bit off.
But this one has really wonky eyes!  Her left eye has been completely misaligned:

Compare that to the nice placement of Ivy's eyes:

Also, while Daisy's D.I.Y. beanbag project looks pretty fun, I was tempted more by another doll's project.

Before I show you the details of the character I selected, let me introduce the other three dolls in this line who I never got to see in person.

First, there's Koral:

I love her name!
Koral's mission is to "keep the sea plastic-free."  This is an awesome mission, and I love that her clothing has an ocean theme to match.  Koral has a cute sea turtle pet, and her project is to make miniature reusable bags.  I'm a huge supporter of reusable bags, but as a project it's not that exciting.

B-Kind Koral.
I like Koral's coloring but it's hard to tell how those bright lips would look in person--they're coral-colored, though, which is very clever!  I didn't choose Koral primarily because I didn't get to see her in person at the store.

Here's Nora:

Nora is all about being brave.  I'm not sure how this promotes kindness, but it's certainly a good quality to have.  She comes with a pet fox (or a corgi?) and her activity is to make hair extensions and decorate a hat.  I love her activity because it adds another item of clothing to the set, and also because anything that enhances hair play is fun.

B-Kind Nora.
I'm not sure what skin tone Nora has.  She might be as pale as Daisy, which isn't ideal.  If I'd been able to inspect Nora at the store, I might have purchased her in addition to the doll I got.  I'm still tempted by her, and Koral....and Ivy!  Argh.

There's one last doll in this series who I only noticed today at  She's named Hope:

Hope's message is to adopt a dog, and she comes with a small plastic dog companion.  As the mom of two rescue dogs, I'm a big fan of this message!  

B-Kind Hope.
I also love Hope's pink hair and dog-ear headband.  However, she costs significantly more than the other five dolls ($44.97) and the higher price seems to be due to the inclusion of extra crafts.  That might be perfect as a gift for a project-loving child, but it's not ideal for my needs.

Here's who I ended up choosing:

B-Kind Brianna.
Brianna is blonde with blue eyes, and her skin tone is slightly less pale than Daisy's.

Brianna's message is that "there is no planet B."  Her mission to help the planet is reflected in the eco-friendly design of all the B-Kind dolls and their packaging, and so I felt like Brianna was a good spokesperson for the line.

Brianna's D.I.Y. project is what really drew me in, though.  She comes with an extra outfit that you can paint!

As much as I love the plastic-free, open-window design of these boxes, I'm sad to say that two of the three Brianna dolls at my Walmart had dirty project outfits.  The white tee shirts and skirts were covered in faint spots.  So watch out for that.

I love Brianna's pet.  It's a little hedgehog!

The cardboard box is decorated with snippets of information about Brianna and some extra project ideas:

Brianna was born on Earth Day!
The back of the box has tons of information:

At the top, there's a short blurb about the B-Kind dolls' message:

And a more specific description of Brianna's character:

Brianna likes sewing and making things out of recycled materials.  Me, too!

There's a tiny picture of four other dolls in the collection, but Hope is not included:

And a section that promotes all of the ways that the dolls themselves are eco-friendly:

The packaging is certainly ecologically responsible, and it says that the dolls' clothing is made from recycled materials, but I wonder about the plastic of the dolls themselves.  Because of the strange color of some of the characters, I would believe that there is something unusual about the plastic.

I eagerly read about the clothing projects.  There's not just an outfit that can be painted, but also a pattern for making more outfits!  Since I've taken up sewing lately, this was a great bonus.

I was nervous about whether or not this set came with fabric paint, though.  As you might recall, one of the things that frustrated me about the Project Mc2 dolls is that they never came with everything that was required for their project.  I would always have to run out to the store and spend more money to fill in the blanks.

But this contents list reassured me!

1 x paint palette.  Phew!
I figured that the paint was probably stored behind the cardboard backdrop.  You can see that the backdrop cuts a corner on the right side of the box, and so there'd be plenty of storage space in that area:

The top of the box has a fabric ribbon that serves as a carrying handle.  The text next to the handle suggests re-using the ribbon as a hair bow or bracelet.  So I removed it carefully and set it aside:

I opened the box from the bottom and could already see that most of the cardboard in this package is decorated and meant to be used for something else:

Once the outer box is open, the backdrop slides out easily.  The backdrop looks a lot like the outer box!

Brianna was attached to the backdrop with about a million little plastic ties.  I removed her and then turned my attention to the accessories.  Specifically, I wanted to know where the paint was hidden.

Unfortunately, there was no paint behind the backdrop:

This was discouraging.  I couldn't see how a paint palette was included among the few items on display next to Brianna.  Maybe they meant literally just the paint palette--i.e. a surface for holding dabs of paint? We'll see what's up with that in a minute, but I wanted to completely investigate the packaging first.

The backdrop has its own decorations:

The instruction booklet describes how most of the inner box is designed to be turned into a "kindness board:"

I followed these instructions and made my own kindness board:

I don't feel confident that this would be an engaging thing for a child to keep long-term, but it was fun to set up and it looks nice.  Completing the project also sets an example for how to reuse packaging rather than immediately throwing it away or recycling it.

The instruction pamphlet offers up some additional ways to reuse, reduce, and recycle:

The contrast between Brianna's box and something like a Rainbow High or Na! Na! Na! Surprise box is striking.  It wasn't necessarily fast to get Brianna out of her box, but a lot of what slowed me down (other than the zillion plastic ties) is that I was examining the box, reading the messages, and completing the kindness board project.  With so many other dolls, I feel like I'm ripping impatiently into an intractable plastic fortress that has no value beyond protecting the doll in the store.  The B-Kind packaging is beautiful, and there was clearly a lot of care and effort that went into its design.

Here's Brianna with all of her stuff:

I'll look at the project-related accessories a bit later on, but there are a few things here that are not part of a project.

There's a pink plastic brush and a matching purse:

The purse opens, although it's cheaply-made and it doesn't stay closed very well.

There's a little envelope with Brianna's name on it:

The note just says "there is no planet B."

Here's a closer look at Brianna's cute plush hedgehog friend:

The fabric is made from recycled material and is very soft.  The back side is white fleece:

Now let's look at Brianna herself!

She stands solidly on her own and appears to have many points of articulation!  Happy day!

Like so many dolls these days, Brianna has a huge head.  I suspect she was designed to compete with (or be compatible with) the highly popular big-headed play dolls that are on the market right now.  I wish she had a more realistic appearance, but her face grew on me over time.

This doll's eye paint is a bit wonky.  It's not as bad as the Daisy I showed you, but her left eye definitely looks outwards more than it should.  I wish I'd known to be more vigilant about checking for this while I was at the store.  I would be nervous about ordering a doll online.

Brianna's eyes are painted with a mix of dark and light blue.  She has a lot of reflective dots in her iris, and these are distracting; they make her gaze look less focused than I wish it was.  I find it easier to relate to dolls with realistic eyes.  The heart-shaped reflective dot is fun and reminds me of the Cutie Pop eyes, though:

Brianna has subtle pink and sea-green eye makeup framed by painted lashes on the top and the bottom.

She has a very long, oval shaped head with a sloping nose and an oversized forehead:

Brianna's blonde and pink hair is styled into two ponytails with clear rubber bands at approximately one-inch intervals.  There's a rooted part down the back of her head:

This hairstyle is accented with heart-shaped twists of hair at the top of Brianna's head.  The twists are decorated with pink plastic barrettes:

Notice that a section of hair from the top right side of Brianna's head is swept to the left and then incorporated into that twist.  It's a cute little detail that adds a bit of asymmetry to the head.

Brianna's outfit includes jeans, a graphic tee, and shoes.  The jeans and tee shirt are made out of recycled material.

The tee shirt is pink with green ruffled sleeves and a peek of green at the collar.  The picture on the front shows a smiling planet Earth and says "kindness counts:"

The tee has a babydoll style and looks to me like the type of clothing that a very young kid would wear.  It's the sleeves and the large peplum at the bottom that make me feel this way.  While the shirt is a nice change from some of the provocative clothing that other doll lines flaunt, I'm not sure that Brianna's shirt is something a teen or tween girl would wear.  If there are any teenaged girls out there--please feel free to weigh in!

The construction of the shirt is good, with no ragged edges or loose threads:

The jeans are capri-length and are made out of plain fabric with a denim pattern printed onto it:

There are no stitched or three-dimensional details.  All of the decorations are printed onto the fabric.

These jeans are very lightweight and smooth to the touch:

Here's a closer look at one of the printed designs.  You can also see a couple of holes in the fabric left over from all of those plastic ties!

The jeans close in back with velcro and are very easy to get on and off.

Brianna also has these pink vinyl high-heeled sandals:

The sandals have a loose fit on Brianna's feet, but they help her to stand solidly on her own.

Brianna comes with green leaf-shaped earrings that are removable:

The green leaf color is painted onto pink vinyl.  Unfortunately, the paint from the earring pegs rubbed off inside Brianna's ear holes!

I wasn't sure if the multiple rubber bands in Brianna's ponytails were part of her hairstyle or part of the packaging. I thought perhaps they served to keep the hair from flying all over the place in the box.

In any case, I took the rubber bands out:

The hair is kinked where the tight bands were, but the loose hair feels really nice and silky and is super-easy to brush.  I just wish it wasn't so dry around here because the static electricity in this hair is nuts!

I put the hair back into two simple ponytails:

The extra rubber bands were probably supposed to be part of the hairstyle, judging by how the shorter sections of hair stick out awkwardly now that the bands are gone:

I decided to leave the cute twists on the top of Brianna's head for a little while longer, just in case taking them down made the hair look terrible.  I didn't want all of my pictures to be ruined by bad hair!

Without counting her tall twisted hairstyle, Brianna is just shy of thirteen inches tall, so she's quite a bit taller than Lina:

Brianna has eleven points of articulation in her plastic body:

The color match between her hard vinyl head and the rest of her body isn't perfect, but I didn't notice this at all in person--just in photos.

She has molded underpants with a heart design:

Here she is from the back:

She has some factory marks on her back, but nothing that indicates whether she's made out of recycled plastic:

Brianna's neck articulation allows her to tip her head from side to side:

And spin her head all of the way around:

But she can't look up or down in any significant way.  Her head wobbles a bit up and down, but that's it.

Her shoulders are rotating hinges that can raise to a 90-degree angle from her body:

The arms can also spin all of the way around for many more posing options:

Brianna has rotating hinges at the elbow and wrist, too, but this flexibility feels limited.  She can't touch her face:

Although she can touch her temple area:

Most dolls with rotating hinges in their arms can rest their hands on their hips.  It's one of my go-to poses:

But Brianna can't do this.  Her hand can't touch her hip when her wrist is flexed, and she can't bend her elbow enough to get her hand up to hip level:

Brianna's hands are made out of soft vinyl and have nice detail:

There's an area to the right of the joint on this hand that worries me a bit, though.  It looks like the vinyl is tearing:

The opposite arm has a larger-than-normal gap in the seam near the hand, although I don't know if this necessarily suggests a structural problem:

Overall, Brianna's arm articulation is very good, but not as good as some other dolls who have rotating hinges at all of these joints.

Brianna can do deep side-to-side splits:

But her front-to-back splits are not stable.  She tips to one side and has to support herself with a hand:

She can sit on the ground nicely:

And she can kneel on two knees, although her body pitches forward when she does this:

She has better balance on one knee:

She has some rotation in her knees, too, although not enough to allow her to sit with her legs tucked up next to her:

Her head and hair cause her to tip backwards when she sits in a chair:

Although she's able to use her hands and feet to balance herself if she tries really hard:

Brianna has fashion feet with no articulation at the ankles and very little molded detail:

I don't want to underplay Brianna's articulation too much.  She might have some joints that don't perform quite as well as I would like, but she's still a very well-articulated doll with good balance.

I put Brianna's outfit back on and let her try out some poses fully-clothed:

Her shirt and jeans are flexible and do not inhibit her movement:

Now that we've gotten to know Brianna a little better, let's see what her fashion projects are like!

The first project is how to "D.I.Y. a purse."  I didn't realize D.I.Y. had become a verb, but I guess it has.

The set comes with two squares of fabric, a stencil, and the plastic purse I showed you earlier:

The directions say to use the stencil to mark and then cut a circle out of the fabric:

I didn't notice this before, but the purse has a removable ring:

And the fabric fits in and snaps underneath this ring to change the appearance of the purse!

This is a very easy and fun project that could be repeated again and again. The only problem is that the purse doesn't close well.

The next activity is to use fabric to make a new outfit for Brianna:

The really clever thing about this idea is that it doesn't involve sewing!  All you have to do is cut the pattern out of some fabric and then tie it onto the doll's body.

Even though I was hoping to be able to use my sewing machine, it's much more practical to design a kids' project without the need for extensive sewing.  Not everybody has a sewing machine, and hand-sewing would be hard for little kids.

Here's the pattern:

I cut the pieces out of a scrap of fabric that I have leftover from the My Twinn Project Shop:

I pinned the pattern to the fabric, but of course Brianna doesn't come with pins.  I think it would work fine to tape the pattern down, too.  And that would be safer for kids.

This gauzy fabric is very pretty, but it was a terrible choice because the edges unravel really easily.  It's super-fragile:

So I finished the edges:

Mostly as an excuse to use my sewing machine.
Here's Brianna in her new outfit!

I made a matching circle of fabric for the purse, too!
It's pretty cute, although my ties are too thick and messy and they look bad from the back:

That's a mess.
Another problem with this purse is that the more times I opened and closed it, the more whitened and stressed this hinge got:

That's not going to last.
I decided to try this project again using a better fabric so that no sewing was necessary.

This time around, I upcycled an old tee shirt that had shrunk in the dryer and was destined for the rag pile.  The shirt is made out of jersey knit which is reasonably resistant to fraying.  I decided to decorate this fabric with the sticker pack that comes with Brianna:

The stickers are fuzzy and easy to use:

The stickers can be pulled off the fabric with very little effort, which is nice for repositioning, but I don't think the decorations will be durable.  

It certainly looks better than my first attempt!

I cut off the hem of the old tee shirt and used it as a matching headband.

This attempt looks fine from the back:

I can picture kids and parents having a really fun time with this little pattern.  There is literally no limit to how many outfits you can make!

The last activity was to paint the pre-made tee shirt and skirt that came with this set.  Here are all of the supplies:

I used the fuzzy stickers already, so ignore those.
I thought that the sheet of colored hearts was another sticker set.  But it isn't!  Look at this:

The paint is on a piece of paper??
Apparently, the paint is inside those little colored hearts!  Whoa!  I was really assuming that I would have to buy paint.  This is so much better than those plastic pots of paint that come with some projects.  That paint is always dried and hard by the time I get to it and I have to throw everything away.

I followed the directions exactly and tried to rub my wet paintbrush into the colored hearts in order to release the paint.

That did absolutely nothing.  I rubbed and rubbed and my paint brush stayed 100% color-free.  I was really discouraged at this point, but I also didn't want to go out to the store.  So, I filled a glass with steaming-hot water and then dipped a whole corner of the paint sheet into the water to soak for a minute.  This finally caused some paint to release!

The paint is very scant and very thin, though, so I barely had enough to fill in a few shapes:

It was basically like applying watercolors to fabric...when the watercolors have almost run out.  I think the result is pretty, though.  Certainly much better than I expected as I was trying to coax paint away from that heart sheet.

Kids would be frustrated by the lack of paint, though.  I would recommend grabbing some fabric paint to make this project more rewarding.

This is how the pieces looked after the paint had dried:

The skirt comes with a band of fabric inside that sits between Brianna's legs.  This is essential for keeping the waist from riding up too high:

Here's Brianna in her watercolor outfit:

As the paint dried, it created some darker lines that almost look like flower petals.  It's very pretty!

The green paint is really hard to see.
I especially like this flower:

The shirt is not constructed perfectly, though.  Mine has a little hole over the right shoulder:

Despite the hole and the faint colors, I think Brianna likes her new outfit!

I had a really good time doing these projects.  I thought the were creative, quick (none of them took me more than about 15 minutes), and rewarding.  And I love that the projects are aligned with Brianna's personality; the projects made me more engaged with the doll.

With no activities left to do, I decided to turn my attention back to Brianna's hair.

First, I removed the two vinyl barrettes that were on the top of her head:

The twisted areas of hair were held in place by clear rubber bands:

So with two quick scissor snips, the hair was loose!

I was not immediately sure that I'd made the right decision here.

However, after a quick boil-wash, Brianna's hair was back under control.  This is how it looked when it was still wet:

I kept the asymmetric section of hair along Brianna's hairline combed to the side the way it came:

The hair is cut with long layers all around and looks great:

Here's the hair again after it dried:

It's silky and smooth and very easy to brush:

The rooting is nice and dense, too, with no large bald patches:

What a pleasant surprise!  I was so worried about ruining Brianna by taking down her hairstyle, but I have no regrets.  She has lovely, versatile hair.

That's almost all I have to say about Brianna, but as I was typing up this review, it occurred to me that I could offer you a few more comparisons than just the photo of Brianna with Lina.

My Na! Na! Na! Samantha didn't sell (she'll go to the Goodwill eventually), so she's just been sitting here in a box.  Because Brianna is a similar scale and has a similarly large head, I thought it might be fun to look at these two together:

Na! Na! Na! Surprise doll with B-Kind Brianna.
Brianna looks so friendly and outgoing in that photo and Samantha looks kinda grumpy.  I really love Sam's hair color, but I like Brianna's eye design more!

Anyway, Brianna can actually wear Sam's outfit:

Can she?
Ok, the skirt is obscenely short, but--to be fair--it's not that much shorter on Brianna than it is on Sam!

I also still have a lone Rainbow High character, Ruby, because I bought her before I realized that these early dolls do not have ball-jointed necks:

B-Kind Brianna meets Rainbow High Ruby Anderson.
This picture is basically me in middle school: the tall awkward girl trying to say hi to the cool cheerleader with red hair....and getting ignored.  Sigh.

I was surprised to see that Brianna can wear parts of Ruby's cheerleader outfit!  I certainly wouldn't count on clothes-sharing between these two lines, but this particular swap worked:

Not really Bri's vibe, but still cute.
The body comparison between these two is interesting, mostly because I remember being surprised by how shapely the O.M.G. body is compared to the Rainbow High body.  But when I throw Brianna into the mix, then the Rainbow High body is the one that seems exaggerated!  Everything is relative:

Rainbow High and B-Kind doll bodies.
Looking at these two together, it makes sense that some Rainbow High skirts will fit Brianna.  She and Ruby have similar hip measurements.  I can't say whether or not pants or dresses would work since I don't have any to try.

What I do have to try are lots of different outfit combinations for Brianna!

Brianna came with some ribbons that can be used to decorate her hair:

As advertised, she can use the handle from the box as a hairband!  It even coordinates with her outfit:

Brianna can also mix-and-match her pink halter top with any of the bottoms:

I especially like this top with the jeans:

The halter top style seems more age-appropriate than the babydoll tee:

The other pink top looks good with the jeans, too:

Especially if I add in the matching purse:

I love how Brianna looks in ponytails, although it was time-consuming to get the hair to part nicely in back after I'd washed it.

I like this outfit even better than the one Brianna came with.  Can't go wrong with jeans and a white tee:

I put Brianna back into her original outfit and tied her ponytails with the seafoam green ribbon:

And then I took her on an adventure out into the world to appreciate the beauty that she's trying so hard to preserve:

There's a wooded trail right near my house in a place called Turtleback Park.  It has become one of my favorite places.  Brianna loved the part of the trail that had a boardwalk!

She also really loves trees, and spent a lot of time trying to seek out the biggest one:

She even climbed one of the taller trees, which made me nervous:

I was much happier when she played in the low brush:

She loved looking down into the stream from this old bridge:

...which was also a fun place to climb around:

At the end of our walk, we visited the turtle sculpture that marks the trailhead:

Brianna promised she'd do her best to protect the turtle's habitat.

Goodbye Turtleback Park!  See you next time.

Bottom line?  As I was purchasing this doll at Walmart, the cashier--who had initially seemed pretty grouchy--stopped and looked at Brianna for quite a while, completely unconcerned about the five people in line behind me.  She said something like, "wow, this is a really nice doll. This is perfect for my niece!"  I explained what I liked about the set and told her how much it cost.  She thought the price was good.  Then the lady who had checked out before me stopped and came back to the cash register to look at Brianna, and the three of us had a whole conversation about how sweet the doll was and how fun her activity looked.  The cashier decided to go pick up a doll for her niece at the end of her work day.  I buy a lot of dolls and I don't have many interactions like this.

I agree with my Walmart cashier and think that Brianna (or any of her friends) would make a wonderful holiday gift for a lot of kids, so I wanted to get this review done in a timely way.  For $30, it's hard to beat the quality and articulation of the doll plus the added fun of her many activities.  I would recommend choosing your doll in person if you can, though, because there's a lot of variability in the precision of the eye paint, and since everything in the box is exposed, it's nice to check for dirt or damage to the doll or her accessories.

Brianna's project appealed to me in particular because I knew that (if everything worked) my efforts would yield at least two extra outfits.  A big concern, especially with a new doll line, is that it can be hard to find clothing.  In Brianna's case, the number of outfits is long as you don't mind that every ensemble is composed of a halter top with a wrap-around skirt.  I also think that Brianna's projects are well-designed.  I worked my way through each activity pretty quickly and without extreme care, and yet I was pleased with the results.  Making the halter top and skirt out of a pattern is especially clever because (provided that you choose a sturdy fabric) no sewing is involved.  A child who can handle sharp scissors responsibly will have success with this activity.  That said, even my adult patience struggled to cut out all of the thin straps perfectly.  That might require adult assistance.  I really enjoyed painting the white tee shirt and skirt, too, although the paint is very thin and I struggled to get enough color onto the fabric.  For a younger child, I would suggest using markers (or maybe making an earth-safe dye!) to ensure that this activity is more rewarding.  But I do appreciate that it wasn't strictly necessary to buy anything extra in order to complete any of the projects.

Brianna's original outfit is simple and maybe a bit off-the-mark in terms of fashion trends.  Furthermore, it doesn't have many sewn details and none of the pockets work...but I find that I don't care much about any of that.  The clothing is well-made, and made responsibly.  It's easy to use and moves with Brianna's joints. I actually prefer Brianna's outfit to a highly-detailed, fashion-forward item of clothing that's executed poorly (like a few of the Rainbow High pieces).  There's nothing too exciting or flashy about Brianna's original wardrobe, but there's nothing that is offensive or sloppy, either.

Brianna herself is a charming, sturdy, well-articulated doll who brings with her a wonderful personality of kindness, creativity, and responsibility.  I think kids will be drawn to her passion, and will enjoy being able to share in some of her favorite activities (like fashion design and making things out of recycled materials).  Brianna's articulation has some limits, like the inability to look up or down and a less-than-ideal range of motion in her arms, but overall she out-performs a lot of play dolls and I found her very easy and fun to work with.

For a creative child who loves arts and crafts, the B-Kind line offers a posable, versatile new doll companion paired with a suite of fun activities that enhance the doll's personality and message.  The activities could even provide a bonding moment for parents and kids as they relax and enjoy the holiday vacation together.  For a few kids, Brianna's planet-saving message might be inspiring or provide hope or consolation about the future.  I really loved my time with Brianna.  She has no re-sale value, but I've already gotten my $30 worth of enjoyment from her.  I feel the urge to buy Ivy or Nora, too, and yet I can't rationalize it.  I don't need them for this review, clearly, but I'd still love to lose myself in another fun-filled couple of days with one of these sweet characters.


  1. Man I love the message and theme of the dolls, but I really can't get past those eyes. I wish they had made them more realistic, instead of these hypnotizing orbs that look in six directions at once. But I'm sure a younger audience can easily look past that and have just as much fun as you did.

    1. I hear you, Esther! I spent one phase of this review lamenting the fact that Brianna wasn't more timeless. It's a missed opportunity, to me, because this style will fall out of favor some day. But you're right that kids won't care. And she does have a charm that shines through. I couldn't help feeling great affection for her in the end. :)

  2. I would have loved these as a kid or tween. Nowadays I collect 1/6 and don't care about extra activities, playsets and even articulation all that much. I do appreciate the eco-friendly aspect and the fact that activities are fun and make sense for the intended audience. Nora is my favourite and even her activity is about hair - which is the most fun about dolls in my opinion. Based on the box photo, she looks less pale than Daisy. Brianna's activity is disproportionally more fun though. They should have included the paper pattern with every doll to balance things out, it's cheap and doesn't clash with other dolls' messages. The more I think about this pattern, the more I like it. On one hand, it teaches a child to reuse old fabric, but also plastic bags, tissue paper or even candy wrappers. On the other hand, it lets them explore how different fabrics behave and give them a taste for sewing. Eventually, they could vary the skirt length, omit the straps, hem or fray check the main parts and attach ribbons, then move to more advanced sewing.
    I wouldn't have taken Brianna' heart shaped buns out, but it's good to know that the hair is nice. She looks good with any hairstyle. Maybe I should pick one up for my niece, too? Oh, btw, I'm 34 and I'm pretty sure I wore this style of top in recent years. It's the colours and print that make it too childish for me.

    1. That's a brilliant idea about the pattern! It should definitely have been included with every character. That part of Brianna's project set was so much fun, and I would have loved to share that kind of intro sewing lesson with a child. And you're so right about the ways in which that simple activity could be expanded to meet a child's creativity or ambition. It's the kind of thing that could jump-start an interest in sewing or fashion. So many directions in which to expand!

      I didn't really want to take Brianna's hair twists out--they were very cute--but I see that as my responsibility; I do it so nobody else has to. ;)

      I appreciate the feedback about the top! I can see what you mean that with a different fabric (and no smiling planet) it would look much more mature.

    2. I'm seconding BlackKitty's feedback regarding the top: I'm 37, and I, too, have tops with similar features (maybe this style is a goth thing? :) ). I wouldn't even have a problem with the print (but then again, I have several wardrobe items from the children's section :D ), the only reason why I personally wouldn't wear Brianna's top is because I almost only wear black, and whatever isn't black is still monochrome. My dolls rock coloured clothing, so I'll leave that to them :)

  3. Your comment about D.I.Y. being used as a verb made me giggle--Emily, you've come a long way from thinking that D.I.Y. means 'die'!

    1. Lol, did I used to think that?? Facepalm. I have come a long way, I guess. :D

  4. These are cute, and I think because of the hair on the first one you showed, it came into my head that I wonder how a custom of them into Winx Club dolls would look, haha. I do personally like the eyes, but I am an anime fan so that probably helps. And the shirt I'd say would be passable without the sleeves. That type of sleeves is really something I only saw on like toddler and baby outfits, definitely not in the actual girls section unless on a random dress that my sister wouldn't want, lol.

    1. Yeah, the sleeves on Brianna's top seem so toddler-ish! I totally agree. That is a fascinating idea about making these girls into Winx characters! Like the tween version of those sprites? I love it. The eyes were tough for me at first--maybe partly because of the wonky alignment of the screening? But I was won over in a short period of time. It's interning that you bring up the anime angle--I hadn't thought of that. You're right that the style is much more mainstream if you come at it from an anime perspective. And I love anime, too. :)

  5. These dolls are cute and the projects are very interesting, like you mentioned earlier, they're like Project Mc² dolls. Personally, I like these more because they are not that related to makeup. The outfit you make Briana looks good, the color is so pretty! The white tee and skirt is also good. The flower add a great touch of color.

    It could just be me, but Briana looks like a mature older sister next to Ruby. Their bodies seem to be somewhat similar and their eyes are almost the same style.

    -Posh Pear

    1. That's a good point, Posh Pear! Many of the Mc2 project ideas had science merit, but the line deteriorated into makeup chemistry, and that's when I lost interest. There are so many other project ideas out there that could engage kids!

  6. I saw these today at Walmart, and have to say, they are really refreshing. Our world just needs more kinder, gentler everything these days. I really loved the packaging and the combination of doll and activities. I find the Rainbow High packaging assaults my senses, and recently a local target had 1/2 an aisle of them—it was visually overwhelming. The OMG line is just a confusing mess of shapes and texts along with wayyyyy too much packaging. Oh—speaking of packaging, RH might want to rethink the additional little boxes; I’ve seen more than one missing.
    I loved the MC2 line until it degenerated into the makeup business...but it makes me wonder: is that what their target audience wants? I don’t know anymore. Maybe kids aren’t taken up by broader interests with their dolls much beyond fashion, makeup, and becoming a model or rock star. I’m a grandma now and feel like I’m clueless. My older granddaughters (no grandsons) aren’t Interested in anything that is not furry, feathered and/or have a tail.

  7. Dang it! The more I look at these dolls the more I like them!

  8. The outfit pattern definitely added a lot of play value to this doll! What fun.

  9. I have been looking at these and actively talking myself out of them and you have changed my mind. I have to wait until after Christmas because I need to actually buy for other people now.

  10. I love the message these dolls come with, as well as the manufacturer's efforts put into supporting that message, like using soy ink and recycled materials wherever possible - speaking of the latter though, I'd doubt that Brianna herself is made of recycled plastic. Different plastics sadly tend to age differently, and there have been examples of that having a negative effect of toys in the past (if you look up My Little Pony regrind, you'll see one - a number of ponies have developed random spots of a different colour on their bodies, which the collector community believes to be caused by the factory using reused plastic when making these, and the different plastics breaking down differently over time). But making doll clothes from recycled plastic is such an awesome idea! Plastic sadly cannot be reused infinitely, and the quality of re-plastic is often significantly worse compared to new material, so recycled plastic sadly can't be used to make all the stuff 'new' plastic is normally used for. But making human clothes from e.g. recycled PET bottles has a relatively long history, so by hindsight I'm somewhat surprised it didn't yet come up as a material to be used for doll clothing. If a company came out with re-PET fashion packs, I'd totally buy those! Speaking of recycled things though, the little pet companion's tag puzzled me: while one side says it's made out of recycled plastic, the other side includes "All new material" - what does that mean then? Is it the tag itself that's made out of new material, and the plush used for the animal is reused plastic? I'm confused...

    While I really like Brianna's clothes (and would snatch her top to give it to one of my dolls in a heartbeat! :D ), Brianna herself unfortunately doesn't really appeal to me - and nor do the other dolls in the line. There's something about their heads and faces that I can't connect with. The problem is certainly not the size of the head or the eyes (a Pullip is closely observing my monitor as I type :D ), I just find something about the proportions is off, the eyes seem somewhat blank, and I'm really turned off by the lips :/

  11. I don't like the exaggeration that is so popular at the moment, it's really not my thing. The eco and kindness messages are good though, a bit less shallow than some doll themes that are currently popular.

    The crafts remind me a bit of the relaunched Sindy dolls here in the UK. They come with activities to reuse the box, although nothing as elaborate as the B Kind dolls.

  12. That's a great concept. Also , looking at this doll, I feel with a bit of additions, this would make a great custom base for a Star Butterfly doll.

  13. I absolutely adore the idea with the little pattern. I think I would have made her a ton on new dresses when I was a kid (and ruined a ton of my father‘s shirts, haha). I used to wrap fabric handkerchiefs around my dolls to dress them so this would have been an improvement:)

    And I really like her expression. It‘s so soft and gentle improvement:)

    And I really like her expression. It‘s so soft and gentle.

  14. Ohhhh this is such a cool line?? You were so right Emily, these dolls are definitely enhanced by their positive theme, and the way it ties into the dolls themselves! These dolls are so much nicer than they would have been if they had been simply themed around makeup or fashion.

    I can see why you selected Brianna as your doll for this review too! Her activity is definitely the best, and seems to have the most replay/reuseability value (fitting for the environmental theme!). I would have loved having an easy way to make doll clothes when I was a kid. Even being able to customize the flimsy purse would have been a lot of fun! :D

    It's also really cool how the packaging was approached; so that you can use it for something else once you've taken the doll out, but that even if you decide to get rid of the box eventually, it looks like it will all decompose pretty safely and easily? The only downside is that I wish there was something in the front protecting the doll from damage or theft... but try as I might, I can't think of anything other than plastic for the window, haha, so I see why they left it open.

    Brianna's face took some time to warm up to, but once I did, I could see she was very sweet. One thing that interested me was that if I tilted my screen up or down so that I was viewing her from a more compressed angle, her facial proportions began to look a lot more appealing to me. So I think her face could have benefited from her head being slightly less elongated.

    This is a really sweet line though, with such a great message! Thank you for sharing with us!

  15. I have a 10 year old daughter. Unfortuantely, she's not into dolls (She prefers stuffed animals.) But she has multiple shirts with the ruffle on bottom. We like it because it makes the shirts longer and less likely to show skin when playing ,etc.

  16. Well, I think you're wrong about the super pale skin tone being unrealistic. You've obviously never seen my daughter Ivy! Red haired people like myself and Ivy can be extremely pale skinned. (My mom used to complain when I was a kid that I needed to 'get out and get some sun! You're pasty pale!' Well duh Mom! Red hair!) My sister always described my skin as 'pink', but Ivy is pure white. If I were buying one of these dolls, I'd pick Daisy. Red hair AND overalls? Yes please.
    The eyes look very anime-ish to me. That's a thing. I think her eyes are too busy though. I can almost feel stuff in my eyes just looking at her!
    I can't believe your little Na Na Samantha didn't sell! She's adorable! I love her plaid dress and sweater too. How much were you asking?

  17. These dolls are such an interesting contrast to Cutie Pops! I was a huge fan when they released and even have an OOAK the designers made for me. Everyone at Jada Toys that I spoke to was so sweet.

    I might need to pick one or two of these up! It's such a clever idea for a doll line to have so much DIY and reusable elements.