Monster High

In a very appropriate post for Halloween I have a question for you, Have you ever wondered where the offspring of those famous movie monsters would go to school? Well Mattel have obviously been giving it some thought and have come up with their great new Monster High range of dolls.

Don’t worry though the kids have left their parents bad habits of hauntings, Blood sucking and Brain eating behind them, so now the only killer thing about them is their style!

The main students at the school are :

Lagoona Blue – Daughter of the Sea Monster, she carries her pet piranha Neptuna around in her handbag.

Clawdeen Wolf – Daughter of the Werewolf, spends endless amounts of time plucking and shaving her endless hair and making herself look fabulous.

Frankie Stein – Daughter of Frankenstein, Has a bad habit of losing limbs at inopportune moments when her stitching comes loose.

Draculaura – Daughter of Dracula,She’s a vegan and has a BFF (Best Bat Forever) called Count Fabulous.

Deuce Gorgon – Son of Medusa, He has to wear sunglasses to avoid turning his friends into stone. His girlfriend is Cleo De Nile.

Cleo de Nile – Daughter of The Mummy, and a Princess who loves to rule the school.  Captain of the Fearleading squad.

I love the way that the range has been really well thought out, and so much detail has gone into every students Bio’s. Probably because it’s based around a the Monster High book series by Lisi Harrison.

It’s all enhanced by a very cool website which has everything you could possibly want to know about all the monsters, lessons, teachers, and anything else you want to find out. There’s even a set of Webisodes, short cartoons which give you even more insight into the day to day goings on at Monster High. They’re very clever and funny, and I’m sure if I was an 8 year old girl I would be champing at the bit to get my hands on these dolls (well I am anyway and I’m slightly older than that)

Is it really sad that I downloaded myself a Monster High Ringtone? ….Best not answer that


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Dream Toys 2010

Yesterday saw the Toy Retailers Association announce it’s annual list of Dream Toys.

The TRA complied their predictions of the Top 12 toys in 7 different categories, and then the best from all the list were combined to create the Dream Dozen.

I was pleased to see plenty of my favourite products making it onto the Dream Dozen, like the Lego City Airport, Kidizoom Videocam, Moon Dough and the Paper Jamz Guitar.

Here’s the full list of all the winners:

The Dream Dozen

Lego City Airport

Fireman Sam Deluxe Fire Station

FurReal Go Go Walking Pup

Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear

Kidizoom VideoCam

Monopoly Revolution

Moon Dough Barn

Nerf N Strike Stampede ECS

Paper Jamz Guitar

Pumpaloons

Sylvanian Families Motorcycle and Sidecar

ZhuZhu Grooming Salon

Girls Top 12 Toys for Christmas

AniMagic Tender Care Twins

Baby Alive Bouncing Babbles

Baby Born Magic Feeding Doll

Barbie A Fashion Fairytale Doll

Barbie Puppy Swim School

Bratz Party Dolls

FurReal Go Go Walking Pup

JLS Collector Dolls

Moxie Girls Art-titude Dolls

Ocean In My Pocket Coral Reef

Sylvanian Families Motorcycle and Side Car

ZhuZhu Grooming Salon

Boys Top 12 Toys for Christmas

Armouron Action Set

Bakugan Maxus Dragonoid 7 -in- 1

Ben’s Mark 10 Car

Beyblade Super Vortex Battle Set

Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver

Hot Wheels Dr Bones Colour Lab

Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear

Kung Zhu Battle Arena

Star Wars: Clone Wars General Grievous Lightsaber

Star Wars: Hoth Wampa Cave

Toy Story Collection Sheriff Woody

UNSC Arctic Rocket Warthog

Pre-School Top 12 Toys for Christmas

All Around Chuggington Train Set

Duplo Toy Story The Great Train Chase

Playmobil Fire Engine

Fireman Sam Deluxe Fire Station Playset

Thomas Zip, Zoom & Logging Adventure

Kidizoom VideoCam

My Pal Scout

Peppa Pig Lullaby Peppa

Play To Learn Mr Colour Maker

Play To Learn Pic ‘n’ Pop

Storio

Toy Story Collection Lots ‘o’ Huggin Bear

Games Top 12 Toys for Christmas

‘Best of British’ Board Game

Boogle Flash

Cuponk

Elefun

Gator Golf

Harry Potter Hogwarts Lego Game

Jolly Octopus

Monopoly Revolution

Pig Goes Pop

Pumpaloons

Scrabble Trickster

Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It

Creative Play Top 12 Toys For Christmas

Bendaroos Creativity Centre

Lego City Airport

Lego City Cargo Truck

Crayola Color Explosion Glow Dome

Crayola Color Wonder Magic Light Brush

Disney Princess Snow Globe Maker

Harumika Designer Dress Form Set

Moon Dough Barn

Noteez

Play-Doh Puppies Playset

Toy Story 3 Woody & Buzz to the Rescue

Zubber Jewellery Maker

Cool Toyz Top 12 Toys For Christmas

Air Hogs Lazer Zero Gravity

Air Hogs Vectron Wave

Animatazz

Barbie Video Girl

Battle Machines

Bladez Micro Helicopter

Bop It!

Loopz

Nerf N Strike Stampede ECS

Paper Jamz Guitar

Technic Buggy

Zibits

I had a great time at the show, and as you can imagine was in my element playing with all the new toys and gadgets, I also got loads of new ideas for toys to cover in the future. So be prepared for a Toybuzz deluge, as it’s look like Dream Toys is going to keep me busy all the way up until the big day itself!

Stinky the Garbage Truck

Do you remember Rocky the Robot dump truck from last Christmas?

Well now his friends all want in on the act!  Part of the new Matchbox range of Big Rig Buddies, Stinky the Garbage Truck is this years Rocky.

Rather than carrying stuff in his trailer like Rocky does, Stinky prefers eating cars before dumping them out of his back. Usually adding a wisecrack remark while he does so, like “Trashlicious!” or “Feed Me!”. He also makes lots of sound effects too like a burp or if your really unlucky a bottom burp.

Rocky’s big party piece was that he was a dancing dump truck, Stinky has an ace in his pack too – he sings! He loves the attention though, so he’ll make sure he gets everyone clapping and yelling before he shows off his singing skills.

Stinky has an impressive range of over 80 phrases and noises guaranteed to keep youngsters amused for hours. Built in sensors mean that Stinky knows when you speak to him or make a noise and he will reply with a Smart Alec remark or sound effect.

His sensors also detect movement, so he will know when Junior begins playing with him. He can also detect when a car is placed in his mouth or trash compactor, and will behave appropriately (usually a big loud burp!)

He even has a sensor on his belly, so when prompted you can give him a tickle.


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Stinky comes packaged in a really well designed box with some really nice artwork, which will look amazing when little one opens him up on Christmas morning.

Included in the box is the 4 C batteries which Stinky needs to operate, which is very handy and saves a very disappointed child on Christmas day.

He also comes with a 22 minute DVD which consists of 2 11 minute cartoons documenting Stinky’s arrival and acceptance by the other Big Rig Buddies Rocky, Smokey the Fire Truck and a boy called Felix.


Rocky the Robot Dump Truck

If you child is still a big fan of last years Rocky, he can still be bought if your lucky. He is however very sought after. You can read all about Rocky here, from my post last year.


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Real Talking Trucks

As well as their big boy counterparts, the Big Rig Buddies are also available in smaller more pocket friendly versions called Rocky the Robot and Friends. The Matchbox Real Talking Trucks are available in a choice of Rocky, Stinky, Lanky and Smokie.

Obviously not as interactive as the big boys, these little trucks still have lots of sounds and lights to delight the kiddies. It also means that you after your little one has watched the Big Rig buddies DVD you can collect all of the gang, as Lanky and Smokie are not yet available in bigger versions. Can you guess where Matchbox are going here? I guarantee you we’ll be seeing a lot more of the Big Rig buddies next year for sure!


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Imaginext Toy Story

If you remember my review of the Imaginext Batcave and Space Shuttle from just before Christmas, you’ll know how highly I think of Imaginext toys.

So it’s with great anticipation that I await my delivery of the new Toy Story Imaginext toys. I’ve decided to order them for my boys as were all massive Pixar nuts as well as Imaginext fans. I’ve gone for the Toy Story 3 Imaginext playset,  Toy Story 3 Imaginext Garbage Truck and the Imaginext Walking Rex.

Ok maybe i’ve gone a bit overboard but Toys R Us are running a promotion of a free Toy Story Tent Rocket if you spend over £75, so it was rude not to partake of some Toy Story madness.

Obviously the centre piece product is the Toy Story 3 Imaginext Playset or sometimes named Toy Story 3 Tr-County Landfill. Based on the scene in Toy Story 3 where they all end up in the rubbish dump, and have to negotiate the conveyor belt, shredders and incinerator of the landfill site. This great Imaginext set captutres all the main elements of the movie scene, and makes it into another great toy for the kids.

Theres the real working battery powered conveyour belt which carries the Junk or unfortunate toys to the furnace

Place a figure on the Turntable and twist to open the firey furnace

Turn a figure on the turntable to spin round the junk sorter

Rescue your friends from the furnace with the grabbing crane, and drop them off to safety.

The set comes with Lotso bear, Buzz Lightyear, and 3 little green alien figures.

Unfortunately no Woody with the Playset, and this is primarily why I bought the Garbage truck too as that comes with a Woody figure (and also another alien). It also obviously coordinates well with the Landfill set too.

With the garbage truck you can drop a figure into the orange hole on the top of the truck, and when you turn the handle it will come out the back.

Can’t wait for my mega bundle of Toy Story 3 things to arrive! And I can’t even console myself by popping off to the cinema and watching it. I’ll just have to get the DVD box set out again.

Popcorn anyone?


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Matchbox Rocky the Robot

Ok this serves me right for watching commercial TV. Yesterday my 1 year old decided to have a teething fit in the middle of the night, alright it was about 5 o’clock but it was still too early to be getting up. Anyway I was flicking the TV channels trying to find something to placate him and found the only kids TV shows on at 5 in the morning were on Channel Five’s Milkshake. Whilst waiting for Thomas The Tank Engine to come on we saw an advert for this amazing new toy, Rocky the Interactive Robot Dump Truck and I immediately want one, never mind Jacob!

Rocky the Robot is a wise cracking new york dump truck who is guaranteed to become your sons best friend. He talks, dances, tells jokes, even snores and is basically everything your little Bob the Builder or Handy Manny could dream of.

I especially love the robot dancing Rocky does, and like the way that he has different types of music to dance to and not just one which will get instantly annoying. He also says over 100 different phrases, so there’s a lot of variety there also.

Rocky the Robot Dump Truck also has an inbuilt microphone, so your child can tell Rocky when to dump his load off and he will respond.

Unlike some toys of this nature, Rocky can be used as a regular dump truck toy. Your child can push Rocky around to their hearts content without wrecking any of Rocky’s robotics, although obviously he can’t be played with outside.


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Rocky has a sensor in his flat bed which can tell when something has been placed in his back, and also how heavy it is. He will either respond with “That’s an easy one” or “Hey this is a tough job!”. I love the way Rocky always calls you boss too, it’s so cool.

He  makes the familiar “beep beep” vehicle reversing noise when you push him backwards, which is sure to bring a smile to your child’s face. Another neat trick that Rocky does is sit ups, that’s right a dumper truck that works out.

All in all I think Rocky is amazing value for money for all of the interactivity that you get, I can see that a few years ago he probably would have cost a few hundred pounds for all of that technology. I’m sure any little boy would be delighted to receive Rocky from Father Christmas.

I’m in two minds myself whether to get one for Jacob, as we’ve already bought him his big present, the Handy Manny Transforming Truck. He’s also already having a Bruder Tractor and probably the Little Einsteins Rocket, so I’m not sure if he’s going to be vehicled out if I get him Rocky too. However he does love his trucks and tractors so I may well be tempted, we’ll see how many more times I see the advert and then see if I cave in.

Click here for a colouring page featuring Rocky The Robot Dump Truck

New look Dora sparks parent backlash

Nickelodeons favourite pre-school adventurer Dora the Explorer is set for a radical new look. 

When owners Mattel recently revealed details on a new look Dora, and only a silhouette of Dora’s makeover it immediately created a storm of controversy.

Parenting websites and message boards are buzzing with the news and most parent’s seem to be against the overhaul. There’s even a “No Makeover for Dora the Explorer” petition site.

Swapping her trademark bob,casual shorts and backpack for flowing long hair ,short skirt and pointed shoes. 

And the changes don’t stop there. She’s also swapping the country life for a move to the big city.

but wait all is not what it seems…

After the huge amount of negative publicity the changes have received Nickelodeon and Mattel sought to set the record straight about Dora’s changes. 

The new Dora is not actually replacing Dora but will be a new interactive doll to be released in October in the U.S.

They also released the actual photo of her and it doesn’t  look as bad as the silhouette suggested.

The apparent short skirt was a flowing top with leggings underneath. A perfect example of imagining the worst without having all the facts.

It’s all part of a move to appeal more to the 5 – 8 year old market, girls which usually grow out of Dora once they start the first year of school.

The new interactive doll will come with a USB port, and will use online story lines involving Dora and her four new friends in new exploring adventures.

Unfortunately Boots, Backpack, Map and my favourite Swiper will not be joining Dora in her new adventures.

Time will tell whether the new news from Mattel will soothe angry parents, but the one’s who will ultimately decide the new look older Dora’s fate are the kids.