~x~x~x~ Domino, In Schleich Form ~x~x~x~
Back in the summer we bought six year old Hollie a rabbit from the RSPCA, she'd been asking for a couple of years but suddenly developed an air of maturity that convinced us she was ready for her first pet. We had an initial disappointment when the first bunny she chose was sold to someone else in error, but eventually settled for another one - the cute black and white thing we have now, called Domino. The day we went to choose him I put an Amazon order in on the night for some bits and pieces for a birthday party, and while looking for party bag fillers came across this gorgeous 'Grooming Rabbit' which had the perfect markings to look like Domino - it seemed like fate so we made our 'final decision' visit to the rescue centre the following day (you have to have a 24 hour cooling off period after signing the adoption forms) and ordered the Schleich figure.
It's a small toy measuring just 5cm in height, somehow it looks bigger in the photos I've seen but it's in line with the rest of the Schleich figures Hollie has collected over the past couple of years. The rabbit is in grooming position (as you'd have probably guessed from the name) and when you look between his paws you can see his little nose and the cute detailing on the face. I'm saying 'his' simply because Domino is a boy rabbit and I can't look at this one without thinking of our pet! The proportions in terms of the shaping of the rabbit are spot on, also the way in which he's sitting looks extremely natural - you can tell whoever designed this figure spent time studying rabbits as the shape and curves of the bunny are pretty much identical to how Domino looks when he's giving himself a good clean.
The rabbit stands up beautifully on his hind legs and the figure is extremely stable; one of Hollie's games is to line all her figures up and move them around as if they're mingling at a party, some of the figures are better suited for this than others as not all Schleich animals stand still and solid when they're being handled and knocked by a six year olds hands. The Grooming Rabbit is perched back on his haunches and this provides a good wide base, and therefore good stability when being played with or displayed. Ours is very much played with, mainly by Hollie but also by her two year old brother who terrifies the real rabbit to the point where Domino won't come to him - I'm sure this Schleich replica is a kind of surrogate pet to him and takes the sting out of the bunny ignoring him!
~x~x~x~ Super Schleich ~x~x~x~
We have a fair few Schleich figures now, none of the kids have ever collected specific sets and I tend to add one to the Amazon trolley if I see one I like the look off - not so much recently as none of the more interesting ones ever seem to qualify for free delivery and the prices of this kind of thing can easily spiral out of control. The Grooming Rabbit certainly hasn't disappointed me in quality and the kids both love it - this figure has actually been rather badly treated at times and was left outside on top of the rabbit hutch in a storm (Hollie wanting Domino to have some company...), not to mention two year old David managing to take the top off his cup and plonking the rabbit figure inside before putting the top back on. A rubbery plastic figure submerged in sticky apple juice for hours... nice...
The rabbit is made of solid plastic but it has a soft feel which is rather rubbery, this is enhanced by the mussed up roughness of the fur which adds a wonderfully tactile texture to the figure and makes him ideal for younger children. It's funny as despite the fact the rabbit being so small it feels relatively hefty in the hand, it feels surprisingly unbreakable and I'm certain it would withstand the aggressive vileness that is a toddler tantrum. Hollie is incredibly careful with her toys, especially these small ones which are usually so easily damaged or lost - she learned a hard lesson when an entire Polly Pocket set was destroyed by an over-zealous younger cousin last year, and has been much more protective of her Schleich animals. Which is barmy really as these are so much more durable than the uber-plastic tiny dolls!
Each Schleich Grooming Rabbit is hand painted so no two figures will be the same, I obviously only have one so can't compare this but our rabbit is definitely a little different looking to the one in the Amazon photo with less solid ears and slightly altered markings on his hind legs. The paint is amazingly adhered to the plastic and there's been no fading or chipping, there is a tiny area on one of the ears which I'm sure used to be black but is now white - I think it has chipped but there are no rough edges to indicate a chip so it might be that the colouring has always been like this; I suspect not though, although it doesn't matter as even if it is a chip it still blends in nicely with the colouring of the rabbit.
Keeping the rabbit figure clean is easy, it pretty much keeps itself clean in all honesty and I don't have to do much in terms on maintenance. It's largely white in colour so you'd think it would get dirty quickly but this isn't the case, just twice I've noticed it looks grubby and then I'll give it a wipe over with a with a baby wipe - no big deal and even wiping over the whole Schleich collection like this takes just a few minutes as the grime seems to lift off so easily.
~x~x~x~ Playtime! ~x~x~x~
Hollie and David both adore this little rabbit, a lot of this is because he looks so much like our cute little pet but the attraction also comes from the fact that he's such an adorable little character. Our random animal figures don't create any kind of theme; we have rabbits and lions, bears and unicorns, mice and salamanders - if it was a zoo it would be decidedly chaotic...! This doesn't hinder their games however and this set of animals is one of a very few toys the two actually agree on and play with properly together.
It's mainly little role play games, nothing too heavy, and these games evolve naturally as they're playing - Hollie has a big Barbie Cruise Ship and often I'll be cleaning that and find the animals tucked into the sun loungers or sunning themselves under the parasols instead of the dolls! Less often (but still quite regularly) I'll discover David has popped a select few animals figures, including this Grooming Rabbit, into his Bob the Builder building site toy - this appears to be his stash place where only his very favourite small toys go so I think I can safely say he's a big fan of this bunny figure as this is the one that always ends up hidden where he thinks Hollie isn't going to find it!
Whenever David is playing on his own with the rabbit he mainly picks it up and kind of just walks around talking to it, occasionally holding it out so it can have a sniff of something that's caught his eye in their bedroom. Hollie is a little more artistic in her games and has developed a sleepy sounding voice for this particular rabbit which perfectly suits his positioning in my opinion, she also creates little scenes and adventures for her little animal toys and I'll often hear her (sleepily) saying 'but let me just wash my whiskers first' and then I know the Grooming Rabbit is being involved in the game.
It's all about letting them develop their imagination and in my opinion the Schleich range as a whole are just about perfect for this as they're the perfect size for handling and the majority of them stand up well enough to take part in these imaginative games. It's nice to have a nice rural bunny in amongst the more exciting or exotic figures and even better that the kids can associate it so closely with their own pet rabbit - the patterning and design of this Schleich figure really couldn't be better from a personal point of view but having a quick look at their rabbit selection I can see most variations are covered in differing poses so if you don't have your heart set on a Grooming Rabbit then you will likely find a bunny to replicate your pet in colour (if you have one).
~x~x~x~ Easier Than Buying From The RSPCA ~x~x~x~
Yep, no cooling off period or form filling required to bring home the Grooming Rabbit. A quick 'add to trolley' on Amazon and it was all done! It cost a little more than I'd usually pay for a Schleich figure (roughly £5 with postage) but the tiny independent toy shop I sometimes pick them up from cheaper from doesn't stock any rabbits at all so I had no option but to pay Amazon seller prices. He's well worth the fiver for the sheer level of enjoyment he's given both of my younger children, all the 'bells and whistles' toys are one thing but sometimes it's just lovely to see them playing with something that doesn't make a noise or require batteries - meaning they're forced to use their own imagination and knowledge of the world to play.
Found in different colour combinations, rabbits are known for their long ears and puffy tails. Popular as pets, especially around Easter, rabbits are divided into almost fifty species. The staple food of a rabbit's diet is hay, and these furry friends also need a constant water supply. Able to withstand cold temperatures, rabbits can be indoor or outdoor pets. Living for about a decade, rabbits are social animals that are prone to getting nervous easily and biting wires or objects near their dwelling. Able to be trained, rabbits enjoy games and can recognize their name with practice.