I've always had a soft spot for Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. Matching a fairy princess and a boy elf was a clever ploy to make it appeal to children of both genders, and I'm sure the hapless Nanny Plum was thrown in to keep the grown-ups smiling ! As well as being full of fun, adventures and a sprinkling of magic, it also promotes some great values for young viewers - working together, not giving up when your magic spells tend to go wrong an awful lot and not needing magic, just common sense, to put things right.
We recently received a lovely selection of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom merchandise to review, and if you have a fan in your midst, there are definitely some great ideas for Christmas gifts in there.
The Madhouse kids are all crossing their fingers and hoping that we'll end up with a white Christmas this year, but in the meantime, it looks more like rain than snow on the horizon. This cute blue umbrella features pictures of Ben, Holly and their creepy crawly friends on a polka dot background that will brighten up the greyest day. Pierre's not too keen on the pink knob on the end because he thinks it's too girly so it's a shame they didn't make it white or blue to match the rest of the umbrella. He doesn't seem to mind having a fairy princess on there though ! Available from Brollied, RRP £9.95
We also received a Ben and Holly Planet Bong DVD which contains 10 episodes from season 2. The Little Kingdom receives a visitor in the shape of Zyros the alien from Planet Bong, a planet that is getting far too hot, causing all the water to dry up and the plants to die. With Zyros in desperate need of help to save his home, Ben and Holly set off on an elf and fairy expedition to save Planet Bong. Along the way, the pair find themselves stranded when Zyros' flying saucer fills with magic jelly and breaks down. Will they be able to fix the flying saucer in time and make it rain on Planet Bong before it’s too late? This DVD has a total running time of 111 minutes and features 10 episodes: Planet Bong Part 1 and 2, Chickens Ride West, Daisy and Poppy go to the Museum, Father’s Day, Fox Cubs, Gaston is Lost, Nanny Plum and the Wise Old Elf Swap Jobs, The Mermaid and The Very Important Person.
Puzzles are a timelessly popular pastime that are perfect for getting kids away from screens and honing their fine motor and observation skills. They're also a great way of calming them down when they're getting a bit over-excited. This brightly coloured 35-piece puzzle is one of four available and with an RRP of £5.99, it would make a great stocking filler.
Another lovely stocking filler idea is the 12-page hardcover Uncle Gaston Sound Book, which offers a tale full of family fun and mishaps from the magical world of Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, along with a sound button that plays Gaston's bark, bringing extra-noisy fun to story time. Three busy baby ladybirds, Amber, Emerald and Keith, have come to stay with their Uncle Gaston for the day. Can Ben Elf and Princess Holly help Gaston keep them entertained until their parents come back? (RRP £6.99)
Staying on the theme of bedtime stories, Holly’s Bedtime Stories Playset comes with King Thistle & Bedtime Holly figures, with removable bases, Holly's bed, bedside table, swivel mirror, bedtime book and magic treasure chest, so there are loads of imaginative play possibilities. It is suitable for ages 3+ and has an RRP of £9.99.
Saving the best till last, the Elf Tree Playset (RRP £29.99) is bound to delight any fan of Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom. It's big (32cm tall) and has lots of features so Pierre was very impressed.
It includes a rocking Woodpecker, Ben Elf's bedroom, the workshop with trap door access and an elf toy factory with a rotating toy duck machine. You can push the toy ducks along the conveyor belt and use the furniture, and Barnaby Elf (with detachable base), to make up lots of magical stories.
If this has inspired your Christmas shopping, 'elf yourselves a fairy little Christmas !
Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.