Showing posts with label Calico Critters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Calico Critters. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Honey Bee Acres, Calico Critters, and Li'l Woodzeez: a Comparison Review!

Today's review was originally the second half of my Honey Bee Acres post, but the whole thing was crushingly long.  I was boring myself every time I tried to edit that monstrosity.  I really appreciate those of you who stopped in to say that you don't mind the longer reviews.  You're so nice!  Thank you.  Maybe I'll plow ahead with longer reviews in the future, but for this time around, at least, I've split the review in half and this is the conclusion.  Today's post will make a lot more sense if you've read the first half, though, so I highly recommend starting there and coming back here if you want to know more.

The first review took a cursory look at the Playground Pals (a set that includes nine different animals) and a more in-depth look at the four members of the Barkster dog family.  I concluded that post by summarizing the flaws that I noticed in the Honey Bee Acres line.  Today's job will be to see how the Barksters measure up to dog families from both the Calico Critters and the Li'l Woodzeez brands.

Honey Bee Acres, Calico Critters, and Li'l Woodzeez dog families.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Honey Bee Acres by Sunny Days Entertainment

Well, this has been a bumpy month so far with the failed migration and then the massive shutdown at Enom.  Yikes.  I'm cautiously optimistic that there will be no more technical drama on the horizon for a while, but I guess these things can be hard to predict.  Thank you very much for being patient with all of the disruptions.  In the future, you can always get news from me even when the blog is down if you visit Twitter or Patreon.

One of the things I noticed when I started looking over this site back in October is that my Li'l Woodzeez vs. Calico Critters review still gets a lot of traffic.  It's neat to know that the information in a ten-year-old review can be useful.  Because of that post's popularity, I started toying with the idea of writing an updated comparison review between the Calico Critters and the Woodzeez.  Then, in November, when I did the Li'l Woodzeez Sunday Surprise post, Sar mentioned to me in the comments section that Walmart now has their own line of small flocked animal figures: the Honey Bee Acres collection.  That was exactly the inspiration I needed to follow through with a new comparison review--this time including all three brands of flocked mini animals!

I originally planned for today's review to be a comprehensive post looking at all three brands, but with over 240 photos, that got way too long.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to stop producing novel-length reviews.  Nobody has time for that.  So, I've split this massive review into two parts.  The first part will look only at the Honey Bee Acres animals.  Part two, which will be posted this Wednesday, will compare a Honey Bee Acres family to equivalent Calico Critters and Li'l Woodzeez characters.  I also have plans to compare a few playsets in the near future.

There's a lot to talk about here, so let's get started!

Honey Bee Acres Playground Pals characters, $19.97.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Surprise: Happy Easter!

For more than a decade, Easter has started (bright and early!) in my house with an egg hunt and an epic treasure hunt.  I used to spend all Saturday making clues for the hunt...clues that my dynamic treasure hunting duo would solve in under an hour (baskets of candy are powerful motivators, I guess).  This year, with one kid off at college and the other with a new-found love for sleeping in on Sunday mornings...well, Easter is off to a quieter start.

I overcompensated for this change by trying to pack way too many things into today's Sunday Surprise.  I have an odd mix of surprise-themed things to share with you: some Li'l Woodzeez blind bag bobblehead figures, a Matryoshka nesting doll (with a mystery number of smaller dolls inside!) and some vintage Holly Jolly baby-filled eggs by Zapf Creation.

Matryoshka doll by Yankelus.

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.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Shopping at Target and Toys R Us

With Hanukkah almost over and the Christmas season kicking into full swing, this is a special, hectic time of year.  I love seeing our Main Street come to life with lights, and hearing my kids sing carols out in the cold.  Of course another integral part of this season is shopping, and I am thinking hard about donations and gifts--especially presents for the amazing children in my life.

I hope that the content of this blog is helpful to those of you who are looking for a special doll for someone you love, but many of the dolls I review are hard to find, discontinued, or expensive.  I thought that in honor of this bustling shopping season, I would head out to a few local stores and see what is available for those of us who are just getting started with our gift-hunting now.  I'll show you what I found and give you my top ten list of what I would buy.  I also really hope that you will chime in with what you've found in your part of the world and what you think the best dolls and toys of the season are.  There is also a poll on the right side of the page where you can vote for the doll that you'd most like to see reviewed in more depth.

Today, I am going to focus on Target because it is one of my favorite places to shop and it tends to be well-stocked.  I will also add some comparisons to Toys R Us, my other most frequented big box toy store.  Next week I will visit a smaller, privately-owned toy store.  I'll get things started by showing you one doll I actually did buy: Monster High's new Jane Boolittle, who has the most awesome pet accessory ever:

Monster High "Jane Boolittle" and her pet sloth (Toys R Us, $21.99)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lottie Dolls "Autumn Leaves" and "Lottieville Festival" by Arklu

Update: For anyone interested, I have a newer Lottie review from 2021 (here's a link).

At the end of my last review, I was bemoaning the similarities in the first new play dolls of 2013.  There are a lot of glitzy, fashion-savvy, large-headed, scantily-clad dolls out there right now.  I like many of these dolls, to be sure, but it is nice to stumble upon something novel every once and a while.  I have a charming little doll named Lottie to introduce today, and I knew she was unique after it took me several hours to try and characterize her.  She has the innocent whimsy and high quality construction of the Only Hearts Club dolls, but her face is not very realistic and she is made out of vinyl.  She has a wide-eyed anime-style face almost like a Kurhn doll, and (like Kurhn) is roughly 1:12 scale, but she has the body proportions of a young child.  Her age-appropriate wardrobe and sweet backstories have the wholesome appeal of play dolls like Carpatina and American Girl...but she is only 7 inches tall.  Any connections I can make are tenuous because Lottie isn't really in a category with any of the other play dolls that I own.  Here she is:

Lottie "Autumn Leaves."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Sylvanian Families Water Mill Bakery--a Quick Look.

One of the very first toys I reviewed was the Li'l Woodzeez Tickle Your Taste Buds Bakery.  Ever since I found that delightful and inexpensive diorama playset at Target, I have had a heightened interest in the Li'l Woodzeez and their more expensive counterparts, the Calico Critters.  After I wrote the comparison review of the two different brands of toy animals, it occurred to me that the Calico Critters might have their own bakery playset...and it might be awesome.  While there doesn't seem to be a Calico Critters bakery set sold in North America, there is a Sylvanian Families bakery set available in Europe, and I found a used one on eBay.  It looks like you can also buy a version of the set at the Sylvanian Families website for 40 pounds (about $60 dollars).  It's called the Water Mill Bakery and it does, in fact, look awesome:

Sylvanian Families "Water Mill Bakery."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Calico Critters vs. Li'l Woodzeez Comparison Review

I have always secretly wanted to buy a Calico Critters set.  Given my reckless abandon in buying dolls of all kinds, it's a bit strange that I have never taken the plunge and ordered some of these enticing woodland fuzzies for myself.  When I fell in love with the Tickle Your Taste Buds Bakery and had my first introduction to the Li'l Woodzees, I knew there would be a comparison review at some point in my near future.  That time has come.

Calico Critters are articulated, flocked plastic woodland creatures with human attributes.  Li'l Woodzeez are essentially a less expensive version of the same idea.  Both lines have characters who come with roughly sketched-out personalities and/or occupations.  Calico Critters live in Cloverleaf Corners, Li'l Woodzeez live in Honeysuckle Hollow.  Here's a picture of them:

Calico-Critters-Woodzeez-Review
Calico Critters Furbanks Squirrel Family (L) and Li'l Woodzeez Waterwaggles Beaver Family (R)