“ Manufacturer: Mattel / Type: Doll „
Hollie received this Barbie Strollin' Pups set for her birthday in June, she'd seen it on an ad (gah!) and went on about it so much that someone relented (I can't remember who, it wasn't me) and bought it as a pressie. I loved Barbie as a little girl but think it's all gone a bit all singing-all dancing these days. This Strollin' Pups set costs around £23, which I admit is expensive for a toy but actually on a par with other Barbie products.
This is a nice set, very basic but surprisingly a lot of fun for Hollie. What you get is a rage-inducing mass of plastic ties and tape, eventually freeing Barbie, a Labrador dog, a puppy (presumably another Lab), a basket and a frame on wheels (the stroller). It's good; you clip the big dog to the stroller and when Barbie pushes the stroller the dog will walk along with her, to complete the set you put the puppy in the basket and place that into the stroller - using every single item in the one game.
The Barbie doll is typically pretty, this time around she's wearing a girly summery outfit that looks weirdly perfect for taking your puppy for a walk in the pram... One thing I have noticed (after not handling a Barbie for years) is that Barbie's hair is much more manageable, it's still sleek after six months of play and although this isn't a toy that's played with every day that's still quite impressive in my opinion considering I can think off hand of at least three of Alice's older style Barbies that had knotted ratty hair within a week of opening them!
The dogs aren't particularly lifelike; the big dog is a bit clunky looking and walks a bit jerkily but that's not something Hollie's noticed at four years old, as an adult I do think it could have been made to look better and more streamlined. The puppy doesn't move at all; it's moulded from one lump of rubbery plastic and although it's been made to look really sweet, I can't help thinking its kinda cheap looking. The pup fits inside the basket snugly and the whole ensemble does look very cute when all put together.
The walking aspect is good, a basic mechanism but extremely impressive as far as Hollie is concerned. It doesn't like thick carpets, which is annoying but expected. The doll and dog walk perfectly together on the laminate floor but it all goes very jittery on the shaggy rug, it feels like it's the stroller wheels that are struggling but it's hard to tell for sure as the dogs legs feel equally under pressure as they move.
It's nice to watch Hollie play with this set. This is her first Barbie (although she's played with Alice's huge collection) and she loves it; let's face it, nobody can be in Barbie mood every day but this one is brought out at least three times a week and Hollie will flit between Barbie and other toys. She likes that this is a complete set, she doesn't tend to involve any of her other toys in games revolving around Barbie and the dogs and is actually more likely to play a simple storytelling game while walking the doll around. I've bought her other Barbies for Christmas so we'll see then where the land lies as far as getting a collection together goes, this one was a good starter I think as its a nice non-basic Barbie that will stand the test of time even new ones appear.
Hollie, as the player, seems a little bit amazed by it. Sometimes she'll just walk the doll and stroller around but other games will be more imaginative and Hollie will have one of the dogs becoming lost so that Barbie has to search for it, this is actually a really good toy for role play and I've seen Hollie play lots of different made-up games. It's hard to go into it and start giving you examples because the majority of it she makes up as she goes along, which is great as anything that gets kids' imaginations going has got to be a good thing.
I do like this Barbie, it's gimmicky but overall a nice addition to any collection. Storing it's a bit of a nightmare as you need to keep all the pieces together - the small dog in particular likes to hide at the bottom of the toy box, but I solved this problem by giving Hollie a small wicker box to keep it all in. This has more or less prevented things from becoming lost, although I'm sure I spotted the big dog shoved in a drawer the other day so not a perfect solution!