I've covered toys from both The Bridge Direct and Tech 4 Kids quite a bit here on THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine in the past, and as the North American International Toy Fair gets under way (and I prepare to show you some new offerings from The Bridge Direct - stay tuned), news just rolled in that the two companies are set to merge, with plans to get even bigger in the years to come, thanks to an aggressive plan to continue acquisitions and mergers. The pairing should bode well for consumers, retailers and some fellow toymakers alike.
From what I've heard from other parents, we're probably fortunate that our girls haven't become engrossed in the craze that is Moose Toys' Shopkins line. These little collectibles are a huge deal, and while The Rock Daughters are well-aware of them (and played with them at last year's Chicago Toy and Game Fair), the only Shopkins we have here at home are the ones from The Bridge Direct's Kinstructions Building Collection (part of their C3 line). Now, I should note that this feature was actually meant to run back in December when Kinstructions launched (if you follow me on socials, you may even notice that the room in the background has since been remodeled!), but that's okay since the sets are easier to come by at this point, and there's actually been some changes in the Kinstructions world (more on that further down). So let's look at the Shopkins Kinstructions Cupcake Cafe...
Whenever I discuss STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE here on the site, there always seems to be a preface that I've written about the residents of Berry Bitty City a lot over the past five years. Like STAR WARS, RAINBOW BRITE, JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS, CABBAGE PATCH KIDS, the CARE BEARS, et al, Strawberry Shortcake falls into that category of "classic characters" that are truly timeless. This year, she's celebrating her 35th Birthday, and the folks at The Bridge Direct are turning back the clock with some retro-reproductions of classic dolls, and they're keeping their modern series rolling as well, with some new releases perfect for the upcoming gifting season. In fact, I'm including all of the items featured right here in my annual Holiday Wish Guide!
For years there have been a variety of products and kits out there that allow kids to customize and color their own... whatever. We've had some here (several variations of purses come to mind), and while I've seen some of the stuffed offerings in the "Arts & Crafts" sections of our frequently-visited local retail emporiums, I'd never done any with the girls until now - largely because I'd always thought of them as a "one-and-done" kind of deal. Inkoos are The Bridge Direct's long-running series of color-and-create stuffed creatures, and the selling point for me (even though ours were sent for review) is that they're machine-washable. They're touted as "Draw, Wash and Redo!" - but how well they work? That's what I was aiming to find out... with The Rock Daughters as my usual testers. Our subjects: FROZEN's Anna & Elsa, each presented as part of the Inkoos Color 'N Create collection, and the Color 'N Glow Bob the Minion (of Universal Pictures & Illumination Entertainment's forthcoming DESPICABLE ME prequel, MINIONS).
On September 16, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: BERRY BEST FRIENDS on DVD, the latest compilation of episodes culled from STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE'S BERRY BITTY ADVENTURES, which previously aired on the Hub Network. There's a rockin' theme here - one that finds Strawberry and her friends forming a band - a band which is also making the jump into toy form this fall through a new collection of figures and accessories from The Bridge Direct (check out my review of the Sweet Beats Stage Playset). Now, to celebrate the release, Fox and THE ROCK FATHER have teamed-up to give you a shot at winning STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: BERRY BEST FRIENDS on DVD + Digital Combo Pack!
About a year ago, my girls got their first LITE-BRITE, which on the surface, I would've called "an upgrade" from the classic toy that Hasbro has been marketing in one form or another since 1967, if only because it borrowed styling from the iPad and called itself the "Lite-Brite LED Flatscreen." Thing is, while the nostalgia factor was certainly there, the version was clumsy, not as bright as it's old-school counterpart (remember the, big hot light bulb inside?), and the pegs were meant to fit within a flip-open storage tray at the bottom of the unit... one that didn't really fit all the included pegs, and to be stored in it's box, had to be folded flat - thus dumping the pegs. There were design issues (Amazon reviews have not been kind), but at it's core was the peg fun that generations have enjoyed, complete with black paper designs that were essentially use-once-then-toss, but as in the past - we kept them and made them work more than once. Fast-forward a year and the Lite-Brite has received a true upgrade, and what it appears to have taken is some fresh eyes on the project, these courtesy of Basic Fun, who have licensed the Lite-Brite brand from Hasbro and have run with it, sending us for review their first incarnation - The LITE-BRITE MAGIC SCREEN.