Monday, September 27, 2010

Olivia Toys: 2-in-1 Transforming Playset & Plush Doll Characters by Spin Master - Product Review

Ten years ago the very first Olivia book came out, written by the talented author/illustrator Ian Falconer. A winner of the Caldecott Honor, Olivia the book showcases a spunky pig named Olivia, and she is one of today's most well-known children's book characters. Our family owns all the books in the original picture book Olivia series: Olivia, Olivia Saves the Circus, Olivia...and the Missing Toy, Olivia Forms a Band, and Olivia Helps with Christmas. Tomorrow, Simon & Schuster will release the newest book in the series, Olivia Goes to Venice, and we hope to add that one to our collection, too. We're also fans of the Olivia TV series on Nick Jr. The episodes capture Olivia's character perfectly and reflect her imaginative, lively ways.

But, as big of fans as we are, up until recently, we didn't own any Olivia toys. Earlier this summer, I tried to purchase an Olivia plush doll for my niece. I found a few on Amazon but for a ridiculously high price. Thankfully, this fall Spin Master has come out with a new line of affordable Olivia toys. The toys are already predicted to be a big seller this upcoming Christmas season. Team Mom and Spin Master recently provided us with an opportunity to play with two of the new products, the Olivia 2-in-1 Transforming Playset and an 8" Olivia Everyday Basic Plush Doll.

My daughter absolutely adores playing with the Olivia playset. Cleverly designed, the Olivia 2-in-1 Transforming Playset easily switches from a house to a pirate ship by swiveling open from front to back or back to front on hinges. Besides the house/pirate ship structure, the playset includes a 3" Olivia figure dressed in a removable rubber outfit, 22 additional accessories, a sticker sheet for personalization, and a base for the Olivia figure. When closed, the compact house measures approximately 8" high, 8" wide and 6" deep. Kids can store all the accessories inside and carry the portable set using the flip up handle on the top of the house.

To open the house flat, the child must slide the latch on the front of the house and flip the house open. The house consists of four separate rooms: a kitchen, living room, Olivia's bedroom and extra room. The rear latch opens the pirate ship part of the playset. The ship's wheel spins and lookout flips up so that Olivia can sit inside and watch the seas.

While my daughter enjoys playing with the positionable Olivia figure, she wishes the set came with the entire 4-piece family (this can be purchased separately). She also commented that she would like it better if the door on the front of the house opened, and she thought that the pirate ship would be more fun if the hatch on the floor of the deck opened. The accessories are very small - the set is recommended for ages 4+. Much like in a typical dollhouse the accessories help encourage imaginative play and include a sofa, bed, chairs, little tiny plates, a mirror, pirate flag, pirate hat, and parrot, among other things. The tree accessory is made of laminated cardboard and does not hold up well to repeated play. All the other accessories are made of plastic. Because of the unique 2-in-1 design, the playset appeals to both boys and girls. The set retails for $29.99.

The Spin Master 8" Olivia Plush doll line includes four different styles -- an Everyday Outfit, Cow, Artist and Opera Singer. The affordable dolls retail for $9.99 each. The body part contains plastic pellets to help the doll sit. My daughter enjoys stroking Olivia's super soft pink ears. I think the dolls would make a great gift paired with the one of the Olivia books!

A Brimful Bonus:
Just in case you are interested in learning more about the latest Olivia book, here's a YouTube video featuring Falconer talking about the inspiration behind Olivia Goes to Venice (releases this week on September 28th, 2010).

Thanks to Spin Master and Team Mom for this review opportunity and for providing the Olivia toys for my family to review. (I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)


The1stdaughter said...

This looks adorable! My son was actually the first Olivia fan in the house and now that my daughter is getting a bit older she's falling in love with the show and the books. With Christmas coming up, this may be right up her ally! Thanks for the fantastic review!

emmy said...

I've been searching to find a Ian and William dolls -- my son is obsessed with them. However, since I can't find them, I am thinking about trying to get different-sized Olivias and dress them as the brothers. Are the clothes on this line of dolls removable? I really appreciate the help!

Brimful Curiosities said...

In not sure about the entire line, but I can let you know about the one that came with the set.
Olivia's dress made of a rubbery plastic and you can remove it. However her underwear and tights are painted on.

An Olivia and her Complete Family Doll Set is available from ToysRus. It doesn't look like exactly the same kind of doll as the one in the playset, but at least you'd have the entire family.

Brimful Curiosities said...

I just realized you may be asking about the plush doll. We have the Everyday Outfit Olivia and her red cloth dress is removable, however her striped tights and shirt are not. Not sure about the others in the plush line.