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Thursday, November 30 2017 00:54

Holiday Wish Guide: Wonder Crew Dolls and Adventure Packs!

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Wonder Crew dolls are something I've been writing about for ages. In fact, I first shared news of these toys nearly three years ago - back in March of 2015. Fast-forward a bit, and what we have is a repeat entry into my annual Holiday Wish Guide™ - a 2016 selection that's back for 2017. Launched independently via a successful Kickstarter campaign, Wonder Crew was eventually acquired by PlayMonster, and they've slowly begun popping up on shelves at more and more retailers as the movement has grown. They're dolls that were designed with boys in mind, but intended for all children... girls and boys alike.

Wonder Crew 2017 Review

Pictured: Finley with "Will" in November of 2017. They're sporting gear from the "Builder" Adventure Pack!

These 15-inch soft-bodied dolls were created by a mom who noticed a lack of toys that encouraged friendship and empathy being marketed to boys - essentially the reverse of what my wife and I (along with many others) have occasionally come across as the parents of two girls. Gender roles in play has been a hotly-debated issue in recent years, but spinning it back to my own childhood, the answer has always been a simple one - to let kids be kids and play with what they'd like. Thing is, it's mostly the grownups that are responsible for forcing a "this" and "that" mentality to kids, and even if you strip away all the debate, one thing is quite certain: up until a year or so ago, it had become very difficult to find a male doll in any toy store or department.

Wonder Crew Review

Pictured: Addie and "Will" from my original Wonder Crew review in 2016

Back in the 80s we had "My Buddy" and a host of Cabbage Patch Kids, but eventually that faded and it became nearly impossible to find a doll that represents a boy - and even our girls had noticed. When Wonder Crew hit the scene, a lightbulb went off and we've since seen other lines like American Girl add some boys into the mix.

Wonder Crew 2017 Review

Pictured: "Will" in his new gear from the Explorer Adventure Pack

"Will" was the first "Crewmate" to be released, a huggable, 15" soft-bodied doll with a styled, vinyl head. His outfit represents a "Superhero Adventure" a bright red jumpsuit, cape and mask, packaged alongside a kid-sized mask and cape so they can join in the adventure. My girls have included him in so many adventures, and this year those have expanded. The folks at PlayMonster sent us a couple of their new Adventure Packs - the Explorer Pack and Builder Pack, each including some new clothes for the doll, alongside some fun accessories for the kids.

Wonder Crew Review

Geared toward kids ages 3+, Wonder Crew dolls are available in a variety of ethnicities and retail for a suggested price of $29.99. Additional Adventure Packs sell for about $20 each. They're Rock Father (and daughters) approved and make great gifts!

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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