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Friday, October 19 2018 02:44

Will You Adopt a Horrible Fuggler for the Holidays?

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You know those stories about the "overnight success?" As is usually the case, for Fugglers, "overnight" is actually more like eight years - a fantastic story about how a random purchase of a bag of fake plastic teeth led to a series of handmade dolls sold on Etsy that eventually wound-up being picked up by one of the world's leading toymakers. Fugglers - short for "funny ugly monsters" - spent years being produced as one-offs, each crafted with care by their maker, Louise McGettrick. Their viral success led to celebrity fans like Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn (currently prepping a new Suicide Squad for DC) as images spread that erroneously pushed the idea that these creatures had mouths full of real, human baby teeth. Of course, they did not, but the rumors only helped the legend to grow, and eventually the Fugglers would land a new ally in Spin Master, the team behind PAW Patrol, Cool Maker, Air Hogs and other hot toys. The creatures would be refined and readied for the masses, officially infesting retailers including Target and GameStop this summer, and currently landing as one of just a few new toys to secure spots on both my 31 Days of Halloween and Holiday Wish Guide™ here at The Rock Father™ Magazine. Will you adopt one of these horrible, life-ruining creatures?

2018 American Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega has been one of the most well-received American Girl dolls ever here at our house. A girl that dreams of being an astronaut and one day being the first woman on Mars, the character gained buzz even prior to release, and today the Luciana's story is being told from orbit high above earth. As part of Story Time From Space, a new video features NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor on the International Space Station reading Luciana: Braving the Deep. The book, written by Erin Teagan is published by Scholastic and is the October 2018 American Girl Book Club Pick! Check it out...

Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins is one of the most important children's series of all-time, and it's certainly been a very special one here at our house. Now comes news that the long-awaited Season Five will premiere FRIDAY, OCT. 26 (11:00-11:30 a.m. EDT/PDT), on Disney Channel and the DisneyNOW app. Since 2012, the series, which tells the story of a young girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom and communicates with and heals toys, has been celebrated by parents, educators and health-care professionals around the world for having a lasting impact on how children see themselves and their future. As a part of season five, The Doc McStuffins Christmas Special will debut this December on Disney Junior as part of Disney|ABC Television's annual "25 Days of Christmas" programming event. The special will also air on Disney Channel, ABC and Freeform throughout the holiday season.

Zuru Toys is a curious outfit. On one hand, they have fantastic, original lines like their global hit Bunch O Balloons, this year's successful Smashers (now in Series Two) and one of my current Holiday Wish Guide™ picks - Rainbocorns Sequin Surprise (my girls LOVE theirs). But then they tread really close to other popular brands, releasing toys that there's no denying are at least inspired-by some heavy-hitters, perhaps stopping just short of being called something more unsavory... knockoffs. There's 5 Surprise, which as the name implies places five toys inside a round orb, no doubt taking some cues from MGA Entertainment's L.O.L. Surprise line, but packing-in toys akin to what you'd find in a 50¢ vending machine. Then you've got X-Shot, which is a straight-up competitor to Hasbro's NERF line; METAL MACHINES which is a value-priced diecast line that's clearly inspired by Mattel's Hot Wheels; Oosh which is essentially Educational Insights' Floam; you get the idea. Now they're chasing LEGO with MAX BUILD MORE, a new collection of "compatible" building bricks that's just launched as a Walmart exclusive (yes, that's an affiliate link because if you absolutely have to have them, I'll gladly make a few pennies on the deal - but you could also just shop the fantastic LEGO selection instead). In a press release, Zuru touts them as "a premium quality, value-priced toy brick line -- compatible with all major toy brick brands and offering unbeatable value for budget with hundreds of high-quality bricks in each set for a fraction of the current price."

Tuesday, October 16 2018 09:49

Disney's Christopher Robin is Coming Home...

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Get ready for another visit into the Hundred Acre Wood...

On November 6, one of my favorite films of 2018 (I've seen it three times) comes home as Disney’s Christopher Robin arrives on Digital HD, Movies Anywhere and on Blu-ray and DVD. In the live-action film (reviewed here), a grown-up Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) could use a little help from his friends, and it's up to Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger and the rest of the crew from A.A. Milne's classic stories to head to London to answer the call. Check out all the bonus features below...

The legend of the Calico Critters is getting bigger. Having checked out a small preview during Toy Fair this year and then going hands-on during The Toy Insider's Sweet Suite back in July, I can tell you that the new Calico Critters Town Series is a lot of fun. The detailed playsets and figures of the new Town Series mark the biggest launch in the past 10 years for their maker, Epoch Everlasting Play. According to the toymaker,  "the new collection takes girls to the next level as they move beyond preschool play to the early school years. It features a more elegant, sophisticated styling, and a focus on the lives of more grown-up characters, who have fun jobs that children can dream of having when they grow up." Following a special pop-up experience to celebrate the launch in New York City, little fans everywhere will be excited to know that the world of Calico Critters is coming to Netflix as an all-new animated series this fall!

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