TDmonthly Magazine!
April 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 4


Baby Roundtable: Soft Dogs Beat Hard Pigs

Under-2 Crowd Finds New Best Friend

“Orlando loved to cuddle and rub noses with the puppy, and pretended to bark like a dog.”
This month the Infant/Toddler Roundtable participants evaluated the Douglas Cuddle Toys Golden Retriever Puppy, which was a hit with both age groups because of its soft texture and size; and the interactive Fisher-Price Little People Light & Sound Puzzle Collection – Old MacDonald from SABABA TOYS, which received mixed reviews from moms.

Participating in this month’s Roundtable were: Penelope Pauley, mother of Lucy (3); Christy Chambers, mother of Nigel (2); Maggie Rochin, mother of Orlando (3); Diana del Pozo, mother of JoJo (1); and Sharri Hefner, mother of Sydney (7 months).

Golden Retriever Puppy by DOUGLAS CUDDLE TOYS
Category: Plush
Gender: Boys and Girls
Age: 2 to 8
Price: $8.00

TDmonthly rating:

What It Is: A soft plush cuddle toy.

What the Moms Thought
The Douglas Cuddle Toys Golden Retriever Puppy charmed both the infants and toddlers. The moms loved its soft construction and small size. Penelope appreciated that the puppy was the perfect size for Lucy (3) to hold and cuddle. Orlando’s (3) mom, Maggie, loved the quality of the material and the craftsmanship. Diana worried that JoJo (1), who is in a stage of putting everything in her mouth, would swallow the hard button eyes. Christy, mother to Nigel (3), was not excited about the packaging at first, but Nigel became attached once he held the puppy.

What the Kids Said
Orlando (3) loved to cuddle and rub noses with the puppy, and pretended to bark like a dog. Lucy (3) adopted the golden retriever wholeheartedly, elevating it to her favorite of many stuffed animals. The toy goes everywhere with her. Nigel (2) puts the cuddle toy by his pillow — while his other stuffed animals stay at the foot of the bed. JoJo (1) placed the dog in her mouth, like a mommy dog would carry her pup. Seven-month-old Sydney loved holding the toy and even offered up the puppy to her dog, Max.

How to Improve It
Diana, mother of JoJo (1), suggested that the eyes be made of a different material, perhaps felt or stitching. She did not feel safe leaving her infant alone with the toy because the hard plastic eyes seemed like a potential choking hazard. [Editor's note: Erika Radich of the Douglas Cuddle Company assured TDmonthly that the dog's eyes are secured with a "special molly screw and they are virtually impossible to dislodge."] Christy, mother of Nigel (2) thought the toy could benefit from better packaging or a more creative tag.

Would You Want Another Toy Like This?
Most of the moms gave a resounding YES, especially if the eyes were constructed differently. [Editor's note: See above.]

Fisher-Price Little People Light & Sound Puzzle Collection – Old MacDonald by SABABA TOYS
Category: Puzzles & Skill
Gender: Boys and Girls
Age: 2 and Up

TDmonthly Rating:

What It Is: A puzzle that lights up and plays sounds as pieces are put into place, while introducing a variety of farm animals.

What the Moms Thought
One-year-old JoJo’s mom, Diana, liked that the puzzle was an interactive musical toy with a familiar song. Christy, mother to Nigel (2), thought the puzzle pieces were a good size for small hands. Penelope, mother to Lucy (3), thought the product was of good quality and appreciated that she had control of the noises. I found that the toy had some technical glitches. An incorrect piece could be placed in a slot and the sound would still go off, which I believe would lead to confusing sound identification. On more than one occasion, the puzzle started making noises for no apparent reason, and I could not get it to stop.

What the Kids Said
Lucy (3) loved the song and the pictures. She had a blast putting the animals in their places on the farm, and enjoyed the song as a payoff for completing the puzzle. Nigel (2) liked the tractor. He took pleasure in putting the puzzle together with very little help from his mom. “Old McDonald,” three-year-old Orlando’s favorite preschool song, made him curious about the different farm animals. JoJo (1) realized that if she banged the pieces, the noises would go off eventually.

How to Improve It
Maggie suggested adding knobs for the puzzle pieces to be more easily removed. Christy wished the pieces were placement specific and only made sounds in the right spot.

Would You Want Another Toy Like This?

The moms were split on purchasing another toy like this. Most would, but a couple felt that the technical issues needed to be worked out before they would consider buying more.

Sharri HefnerWriter's Bio: Sharri is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Most recently, Sharri wrote a one act titled "Spice" for Gene Rhee’s "The Trouble With Romance," which stars David Eigenberg ("Sex and the City"). "Georgia Heat," a script Sharri wrote with fellow NYU alum Mora Stephens, is slated for production Summer 2007 (Janet Yang, Executive Producer). Sharri received her MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Before NYU, Sharri was graduated summa cum laude from California State, Long Beach. While Sharri was completing her thesis, USAToday selected her as one of the top college students in the country. Sharri is the proud mom of Sydney, who was born in June 2006. Read more articles by this author


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