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FluttershyWe still have yet to see the movie, MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS (available on Blu-ray & DVD from Shout! Factory), but that didn't stop my oldest daughter from being incredibly excited when she first encountered Hasbro's line of Equestria Girls dolls when they showed up at retail over the summer. Despite never seeing the movie, she was able to name every Equestria Girl on the box, simply by being familiar with their counterparts on MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC, which airs regularly on The Hub. Recommended for Ages 5+, these students from Canterlot High make an appearance here in my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide on The Rock Father.

Baby AliveRecommended for Ages 3+, I had no idea just how big a deal BABY ALIVE was until we actually received one from Hasbro this Fall. While my oldest had been eyeing the BABY ALIVE REAL SURPRISES BABY DOLL on each visit to the store, this doll rekindled childhood memories for my wife as well, she having had a Baby Alive back in the 80s. Yes, this is the doll that eats... and "pees" and "poops," and after changing this doll's diaper (I'm well-versed in diaper duty for both children and toys) I vaguely remember my sister having one of these, too. One of this season's hottest toys, the REAL SURPRISES BABY DOLL now makes an appearance in my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father.

Bitty BabyBack in July, I attended the first-ever blogger event at American Girl Place in Chicago. It was a "baby shower" of sorts to celebrate the relaunch of their Bitty Baby line - beautiful dolls for children ages 3+. In August, my oldest daughter Addie, received one for her birthday, and ever since, her Bitty Baby has been one of her most treasured companions. I've heard her carry on full conversations with Bitty Baby, and when we went Trick-or-Treating last month, Bitty Baby was there - riding in the last car of our Step2 wagon, decked-out in her own little Halloween costume. For 2013, I'm including Bitty Baby in my Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father.

In all areas of media, there are certain companies that operate just on the fringe of good taste, principle... and intellectual property laws. Much like those companies that put out similarly-titled and plotted films that land on DVD racks just to confuse good-hearted grandparents (I'm looking at people like Engine 15 Media, with their dubious CARS & TOY STORY knock-offs; and whoever the makers of CHOP-KICK PANDA are), there's long-been some occasional similarities in the toy department from major and minor players alike. Such is the case with "The Toon Studio of Beverly Hills" (aka United Trademark Holdings) and their "Junior Elf Fairy PRINCESS" line, which I'm sure is meant to look nothing like the famous DISNEY PRINCESS collection. Nor is their "Original Cars" line supposed to evoke images of Disney-Pixar's CARS... their "Original Monsters" supposed to resemble UNIVERSAL MONSTERS... or the "Original Fairies" supposed to be anything remotely similar to Disney FAIRIES. So what of this new FAIRY TALE HIGH collection of dolls that showed up at Walmart and Toys "R" Us this past month? Nah, they're not similar to anything else out there right now.

The Beatrix Girls - MEET THE BEATRIX EPEarlier this month, THE BEATRIX GIRLS released their debut EP, when MEET THE BEATRIX arrived on iTunes. These rockin' young ladies might not be a household name just yet, but Lark (Bass), Ainsley (Drums), Brayden (Guitar/Vocals), and Chantal (Keyboards) are poised for stardom. You see, they’re musicians, they’re role models for a new generation of empowered young girls, and they spread a message that you can accomplish your dreams through talent, tenacity and old-fashioned hard work... but THE BEATRIX GIRLS are something else as well... they're dolls

This past Friday night, I was invited to be one of a select group of Bloggers to take part in a first-of-its-kind event at American Girl Place in Chicago. It was a celebration - a baby shower of sorts - to announce American Girl's new arrival: The Brand-New World of Bitty Baby. On August 27, 2013, the newly-enhanced Bitty Baby line of 15-inch dolls, clothing, and accessories for girls ages 3+ will make it's public debut at American Girl stores, and online at AmericanGirl.com.

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