Having spent the last decade bringing up girls, I thought I had the dolls scene pretty much figured out. There are two main kinds - newborn baby dolls for little girls and teen fashion dolls for when they get slightly older. So when Zapf Creation offered to send us a Patchy Dolly to play with - um I mean review ! - I figured it would fit into one of those two categories. However, as the picture shows, I was completely wrong - it's a completely different kind of dolly.
The Patchy Dolly, designed for pre-schoolers, is a 36cm doll who stands up easily and has a big head with bright pink hair. But the hair colour isn't the most surprising thing about her head - it's also magnetic ! The reason for this is that she comes with a whole range of interchangeable features so that you can play around with her expressions, choosing eyes and lips to express different emotions. The mouth parts clip on and off and the eyes are magnetic so it's simple for little fingers to get to grips with.
She also has a couple of accessories - a dummy and sunglasses - to liven things up and help with the imaginative play, and her dress can be customised with velcro patches and flowers too. It's great fun - Pierre and Juliette were giggling away changing her expressions ! - and it's also a great way of learning about emotions, expressions and the different facial features.
She's very appealing to little girls but I would love to see a more unisex version too, as Pierre had a lot of fun playing with it too. The idea reminded me a bit of Mr Potato Head which is enjoyed by children of both sexes.
I'm sure her name comes from her funky patchwork dress but I also stumbled by chance across a traditional nursery rhyme that could have been written for her ! :
"What do they call you?" "Patchy Dolly."
"Where were you born?" "In the cow's horn."
"Where were you bred?" "In the cow's head."
"Where will you die?" "In the cow's eye" !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £24.99 (but only £13 on amazon)
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