“ Manufacturer: Corinthian / Type: Doll House „
Having a young child living at home, I also of course find I am also having to live with a thousand, thousand tiny little bits of plastic toy cluttering up the place. 'Sylvanian Famillies' - which, for anyone not yet familiar with this range of toy are a suedette-feel collection of small woodland animals arranged by family group, that live in doll houses complete with plastic furniture and household goods - are the worst for this, I find. The 'accessories' these toys come with include such delights as 'assemble-your-own' minature sandwiches, complete with little individual plastic lettuce leaves each the size of one of your fingernails. The tiny plastic shop-contents of Mr Squirrel the Sylvanian Family baker, quite literally get EVERYWHERE.
This ranting preamble about the evils of tiny plastic toy remnants being relevant in terms of the 'Jungle In My Pocket Bear Hut' because the genius of this range of toys - from my point of view - is that the majority of the dolls' house fixtures and fittings that belong to this hut are - quite literally - fixed in place, and thus not available to spread themselves out all over peoples' living room floors.
The bear hut is basically an ingeniously designed, if not terribly practical miniature home for a family of 'Jungle In My Pocket' black bears. 'Jungle In My Pocket' being a sudette-feel range of tiny plastic extoic animal toys (and their accessories) that are available in many high-street shops and supermarkets. Each animal figure is about an inch long - just the right size to be attractive to tiny fingers - and in the case of the 'family groups' that can be purchased, they come with offspring - three cubs, each arranged in a different sitting or standing pose, with this particular bear collection. The best thing about the 'J in my P' animal figures in general is that they are made from slightly malleable plastic, which means that once they've been strewn all over your carpet and you accidentally stand on one of them in your bare feet, it is not an overly painful experience.
The Bear Hut has a fold-out design. The roof - which also acts as a 'lid' to hold the intact hut together - lifts back on hinges, allowing the walls (also hinged) to be folded back, revealing the interior of the bears' living space. This is a cottage-style arrangement with a cosy living room with (fixed) floor, mantlepiece and fireplace, a 'breakfast bar' and an 'upstairs' (ie attached to the base of the roof) bedroom complete with (again, fixed) a bed. There's also a hinged front door to let the bears in and out and allow their other animal friends to come calling. Non-fixed elements of the house include some plastic yellow chairs that go with the breakfast table (athough very predictably, ours went missing almost immediately the hut was out of its packaging, and still remain whereabouts unknown). This whole arrangement folds back (with a little effort, especially if you want to keep the bears inside the little house) into the original cottage shape, which is a package no more than about 3 to 4 inches square, so it really is extremely compact. Once unfurled the arrangement is just spacious enough to allow a child's fingers in to move the toys about. Like most of the 'environments' for J in my P animals that are available, this Hut came with various decorative stickers - in this case sticker flowers for the garden, a two-part sign for the front door saying 'Home', a picture for the mantlepiece etc. - that are intended for decorating the toy with (and to be honest, the hut looked pretty plain and with its grey walls, rather grim before they were put in place). Again, given how small the house is, it's much easier for younger members of the family to put these in position.
There are a number of these Jungle in My Pocket animal huts available. Each has a slightly different interior / exterior design, and comes with a different family of animals; e.g. there's a kangaroo home that has a desert / adobe-built Mexican ranch theme (for some reason) and an orang-utan one, though I'm not sure what that looks like. All the huts have an RRP of £13 to 14, but are usually available for up to about the £12 mark. 'Argos' and the toyshop chain 'the Entertainer' are two places that I know of that sell them. Oh, and of course, Toys'R'Us. I wouldn't say they're cheap, and they do contain a lot of small parts, so aren't at all suitable for households with very young children, but in terms of their extreme portability and the amount of time they can hold a slightly older child's interest for, they're not a bad deal really.