As my girls start to get older, it's interesting to take a look at the toy aisles to see what piques their interest in terms of the world around us. Addie (almost five) has started asking questions about other cultures and ethnicities, and while there's a few things here and there, with certain characters dropped into established brands, I hadn't really seen a toy line that is blatantly seeking to educate kids about other cultures outside the U.S.
Now comes Global Girl, a new collection of 21" Fashion Dolls and Companion Books, each representing one of six countries...
SONY Pictures and MATTEL are already working on developing a new, live-action film based on the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, and now these cinematic partners have set their sights on bringing another icon to the big screen: BARBIE. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Mattel and Parkes+MacDonald/Image Nation have officially announced plans for a live-action comedy based on the doll line, calling this it's "next big, global franchise," with production set to begin before the year's end.
As sales on BARBIE continue to slide, it's those monstrous teens from down the hall that continue to pick up the slack, with Mattel's MONSTER HIGH seeming to gain steam on a regular basis. While we're still in that spot where I'd figure my oldest is a tad young, she's fast-approaching the right age to go Monster-crazy, and some of her friends already have. What's new for 2014? Here's the product listing released by Mattel this week, showing off a few items that are in the doll aisles now, along with new offerings headed for stores this summer.
If my math is correct, next year will mark the 30th Anniversary of BARBIE AND THE ROCKERS, a line of fashion dolls released by Mattel in 1985 as a direct response to Hasbro's JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS. "Who came first?" has always been something of debate and folklore over the years, but the general story is that when Mattel found out that Jem was on the way, all of a sudden, Barbie had a band. Growing up in the 1980s, we had both bands in our house, but I tend to remember The Rockers having the better toys at the time (though JEM had the awesome show). I, playing as "Derek," spent a lot of time jammin' out with my sister as we enjoyed her "Hot Rockin' Stage" playset. Turns out, my wife and her sister had one, too. Long-gone like most of our now-prized childhood possessions, something interesting happened last month... when my oldest daughter found a brand-new Hot Rockin' Stage awaiting her under the Christmas tree. BARBIE AND THE ROCKERS hadn't just resurfaced in 2013, but were awaiting a "rebirth" of sorts right here at Rock Father HQ for 2014.
It was sort of surreal, but on a Friday night back in July, I stood inside American Girl Place on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, sipping champagne with other grownups, sans our children. It was a baby shower of sorts to celebrate the relaunch of American Girl's Bitty Baby line (I've blogged about it before), and the one thing I kept thinking the whole night was "I wish that Addie was here with me right now." Bitty Baby arrived here at Rock Father HQ for Addie's birthday in August, and ever since has been a regular companion. Just last week, we took Addie and her little sister to American Girl Place for the very first time.
It was 1983 when the CABBAGE PATCH KIDS burst onto the National scene with the mass-produced versions of Xavier Roberts' cute creations. I had just turned seven, and my sister was just a few months out from her fourth birthday when Christmas '83 rolled around and sent shoppers into a frenzy - perhaps the first major example of a must-have toy that created absolute chaos in in the toy department. There were tales of people scalping CPK dolls from the trunks of cars... squeezing parents for whatever they could in a pre-eBay world. For my sister and I, we wouldn't get dolls in '83, but would a year later when they were a little easier to come by, but still a hot holiday toy. My doll is named "Ollie," and I still have the little guy. On his tush, he's marked with Roberts' signature, and a little number "84."