* Prices may differ from that shown
Please note that the following review and star allocation relates to the specific 'newborn' range of toys from this range which I found to be rather poor value; the regular 'Ocean' figures are just the same as usual however.
"Ocean In My Pocket" I suppose would have to be the next logical step for the range of "In My Pocket" miniature toys that includes such other product lines as animals from the tropics ("Jungle In My Pocket"), pet dogs ("Puppy In My Pocket") and horses ("Pony...etc."). With "Ocean In My Pocket" we are looking at various sea-creatures, miniaturized and sold in handy three-packs for children. I have a four year old daughter who's a real fan of these things, and we have accumulated bucketfuls of them at home.
The toys are each just under an inch in size. In general they're slightly cartoonized, but generally quite realistic toy replicas of real animals - so unlike other, rather monstrous similar types of miniature toy on the market - I'm thinking specifically of the 'Littlest Pet Shop' range of bug-eyed figurines that would put the fear of god in anyone, here - they're not overly cute and are pretty inoffensive. They're made of slightly flexible plastic coated with a thin skin of 'soft-feel' velveteen-type material.
They're not cheap; three to four figures, depending on the packaging (and they're sold in all sorts of formats) generally costs between four and six pounds. They crop up increasingly now in supermarkets e.g. Tesco, as well as in designated toyshops and the other places you might expect to buy toys (such as the 'Argos' catalogue). In the past I have been - not exactly happy to spend this much money on them - but I've taken consolation from the fact that being relatively realistic, they aren't overly 'girly' toys - unlike the aforementioned 'Littlest Pet Shop' or 'My Little Pony' waitress / fairy princess unicorn ranges that are often sold alongside them. Also, as the jungle animals in particular consist of a wide variety of different animal types, from different countries / habitats, I find them not too bad in terms of being an educational toy.
All that in favour of 'In My Pocket' toys said, I do feel with these "Ocean In My Pocket" newborns I have been somewhat ripped off. Firstly in terms of the figures' size: individually, these things are ridiculously minute. We got in the pack my daughter chose a seal, which is literally about the size of a cooked kidney bean, a four-legged octopus, with a body the size of one of those small, round, red seedless supermarket grapes (like a grape, it is quite a nice shade of reddish purple), and the 'dud' in the three-pack, a starfish with an arm-span about the diameter of a drawing pin that's stuck to a fake rock. These three tiny blobs of coloured plastic cost £4. The three figures, that together, would barely fill the bottom third of an egg-cup were hugely over-packaged - came in a very, very robust plastic blister-pack that was about two inches by three, attached to a cardboard backing about five inches square.
I'm aware that people say - harrumph harrumph - that size isn't everything, but I do think the figures being sold as 'newborns' - ie with a built-in excuse for making them absolutely tiny - were very poor value, given what the toy actually consisted of. Another good thing about this range of toys in general that I've found in the past is that in the variety three-packs, there generally isn't one toy in the selection that's a rubbish one that nobody will want to play with. All right, the 'Jungle' series did contain warthog, and wildebeest and hyaena and other generally less-favoured-animal-type figures, but they were still well-crafted and in their own way attractive, and had a useful role to fulfil in the collection. Although I definitely do think it's useful for there to have been invertebrates included in the 'Ocean' mix, I have to say the starfish on the rock we got in our pack - which is so small and flat that if it wasn't coloured bright red, you'd barely be able to see it was there - was truly rubbish, and really uninspiring. There was no need at all for it to be as pathetic as it is: in fact my daughter has a number of other toy starfish (they're little novelty pencil erasers, and things like that) that she's quite happy to play with, so there's no reason why a starfish shape per se should result in such a lazily designed, ill-conceived toy.
The 'regular' O in my P inch-sized figures cost £5 for three and offer the usual good value. I just didn't think much of the newborns at all, although my daughter does of course love the minute seal, and takes it to bed with her every night. So no doubt there'll be hell to pay when it falls down a crack in the floorboards floats up like a speck of dust and vanishes without trace or something - another drawback with having toys of this ridiculously small size.