Nature at Toy Fair courtesy of Safari Ltd.

February 19, 2010

In the middle of Toy Fair...a gentle bear.

If you’ve ever been at a big trade show, you know that after a day or two–you start craving real air, real food, real anything.  Something about concrete floors (badly covered with carpeting), horrible concession food and the din of the crowds that makes you want to find a tree and hug it.  So I was happy to have a little nature (albeit plastic) retreat in the miniature at Safari Ltd. – they are the masters of making really small animals. Wilderness in the miniature

We visited briefly with Safari’s President, Ramona Pariente– who was very gracious even though we were in the final hours of the show and by our own admission a little slap happy to be approaching the finish line.

You’ve probably seen their line in museum, gift and specialty stores. I’m not sure why but this collection of super small animals makes me so happy.  What is it about miniature things that seem so fun?

Of course these small animals are just right as props for dramatic play whether it’s in combination with blocks or just on their own. The line is so extensive, that you’re bound to be able to find the animals, fish, bugs or birds that capture your child’s interest. Designed for kids 3 & up, these are wonderful to collect and play with!

Nature (really tiny) from Safari Ltd.


Mr. Robot has new friends!!

February 18, 2010

Sliders from California Creations

So happy! Our beloved Mr. Robot has new limber friends from California Creations. They’re called Sliders.  Check out the video–they are the most amazing wind-ups!


My Little Pony Goes UNDERWATER!

February 3, 2010

I don’t know why this made me laugh–but some how I thought My Little Pony was silly enough (yes, yes, enjoyed by millions, but still there’s something about the never-ending pink rococo plastic fantasy settings that always gets me thinking about archeological digs centuries from now..and what they’ll think about such design and the civilization that played with them.)  Click here to watch our video.

My Little Pony has now become a merpony…no kidding. So now the merponies have there own new underwater castle. From the press release, you’ll see why this was the next obvious evolution for My Little Pony:

Located in the heart of the sea, this magical castle is an underwater dream come true for the MERMAID PONIES.  Each pony will love to explore this nautical treasure with lights and sounds .  Discover PINKIE PIE’S secret shell bedroom that really opens and closes or take a pony for a ride on the “magical” seashells that allow her to “swim” around the castle. The MERMAID ponies will love to “splish and splash” on the waterslide or hang ten on the “real” waves with the tubular surf boards.

The Castle will retail for $39.99 and be available next Fall.


WWE Action Figures join Barbie

January 5, 2010

Mattel announced today that it will release a new line of WWE action figures.

The release includes:

“… the FlexForce Action Figures, as well as Core, Elite and Entrance Great Figures for fervent collectors. Mattel boasts its innovative technology in the FlexForce Action Figures, allowing young fans to safely re-enact the hook-throwin’ and flip-kickin’ finishing moves of their favorite WWE Superstars from John Cena to CM Punk.  Avid collectors will see every detail of Randy Orton’s
tattoos and every stitch in Rey Mysterio’s mask in the most authentic line of WWE action figures ever created.”

Do you think Barbie will date any of these guys?


Zhu Zhu Hamster Pets: What you need to know about the hot little critters

November 21, 2009

Zhu Zhu Hamster Pets from Cepia

The Zhu Zhu Hamsters have scurried their way into first position as the “hot-completely sold out” toy of the season.  Today’s article by Stephanie Rosenbloom  in The New York Times will certainly help fan the craze.  It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a hot toy.  The toy industry has been battered the last few years by serious issues about toy safety and a shrinking audience as kids leave toyland earlier and earlier.  And even though the little creatures are not from one of the major toy companies (they are produced by Cepia LLC), everyone in the toy biz should  be pretty happy.  These little guys can drive parents into the toy stores–and if you can’t find a Zhu Zhu–you’re bound to buy some other toys. The media is also  happy to have a light story to report on – rather than announcing rolling toy recalls.

We did not receive our required safety verification from the manufacturer Cepia on these little critters so we can not give them an official Oppenheim Toy Portfolio award –but given all the hype we thought we should give them an unofficial review.

This is what you need to know:

they are pretty cute

they make a variety of sounds (including mooing like a cow and crowing like a rooster)

they don’t cost a fortune (retail ranges from $7.99 to $9.99)

they are easy to activate -by touching them on top

they have wheels that go back and forth (which can hurt if you put your finger right next to them)

watch out for long hair getting caught in the wheels

they do not require feeding

unlike many virtual creatures of late, they won’t die if you don’t take care of them

there is no cage to clean

unlike the real thing, they also won’t eat their young!

Two toyportfolio.com videos of the Zhu Zhu Creatures

Zhu Zhu Hamster Pets Gives Our Mr. Robot a Ride

Zhu Zhu Hamsters and our mascot, Mr. Robot

Zhu Zhu Hamster Pets: The aerial view


Are you looking at me? My Little Pony is Back!

October 28, 2009

mylittleponyHasbro is re-introducing the “iconic” (their word) My Little Pony Collection…there’s Pinkie Pie (The Leader and Everyone’s Best Friend), Rainbow Dash (Glamour Girl), Cheerilee (Storyteller and Hairstylist), Scootaloo (The Playful Little Sister), Sweetie Belle (The Fun Loving Unicorn), Toola-Roola (Artist) and Starsong (Multi-talented Singer and Dancer).  And all along I thought they were plastic little pony figures with outrageously colorful mane and tails!

 


Polly Pocket and me

August 31, 2009

Remember that time in your life when everything really tiny is of great interest?  Polly Pocket plays to that childhood love of everything small. Of course I often hear from parents that they hate stepping on all those little pieces of Polly Pocket paraphernalia as much as stepping on Lego bricks.  One of the pleasures of my job is listening to kids play with these little settings…the banter of pretend play is priceless.  If you haven’t already-video tape these moments…do it soon.  It’s over before you know it.

When I first saw the Polly Pocket Roller Coaster at toy fair, I was intrigued. There are rarely track sets for girls.  So much to the surprise of my mother and all of our summer interns, I was pretty excited about this set.  It goes together pretty well (just don’t try to lift it, it falls apart). There is a fun crank that you use to send Polly up the track…and then she rolls down into the water (also fun).  Of course I wish the set had come with more than one Polly…but that’s true of most racing track sets that only come with one car.

This is clearly a one trick pony kind of toy…it’s a closed set (we have the same complaint with most of the current Matchbox sets)…with no ability to mix up the tracks in different configurations–but it is fun. There is water involved–so be prepared for some mess with this one.  To watch the video click here.

Note: we haven’t received our safety verification forms back on this product yet.