“ Manufacturer: Hawkins Bazaar / Type: Growing toy „
It has turned into a Christmas Tradition now that I buy some small novelty presents for both my husband and I to play with on Christmas day. Last year, I bought a "Grow Your Own Landscape" kit which was a cardboard mountain range that you place in a "magic" solution and coloured blossoms grow all over it ove rthe course of 12 hours to create a mini landscape. We enjoyed sitting watching that grow as the day progressed- so I knew my husband would not think I was stir crazy for buying something similar. Keen to continue the tradition, I was delighted to see this Growing Penguin for sale in Hawkins Bazaar just before Christmas.
You get a 10cm x 6cm see through plastic egg with a coloured section at the base and a small 2cm x 1.5cm plastic penguin figure inside it. This cost £2.50.
As my husband likes penguins (I adopted him a penguin called Arnold from the Sea Life centre for his birthday!), I thought I could buy this and wrap it up as a novelty present "From Arnold"... For £2.50 I wasn't sure if it would work or if we would just spend a slightly tipsy Christmas Day intermittently staring at a plastic egg that was not doing anything. As we had no plans for any guests nor any plans to visit anyone on Christmas day, I figured it was worth buying.
On Christmas Day, when this was opened, we immediately set it to work- you have to unscrew the clip at the top (which is very easy it just takes a few turns) and fill the egg with water, replace the lid section and wait.
When we had replaced the clip at the top so the unit was watertight, we placed it on the TV stand table infront of the TV so we could keep an eye on it through the day. I noted at the start of the day that the top of the penguin's head came up to the line around the egg when it was on eye level (which is arond 3cm up from the base).
After a few hours we both had kept looking at the penguin, which had some mini bubbles on it but we could not tell for sure if anything had happened. As the day went on, we were not sure if it had grown or not. By the evening, we had told ourselves it had grown a little bit, but it wasn't immediately obvious. I made a joke when we went to bed that in the morning we would go downstairs and the penguin would have grown to be 6 feet tall and would be sat on the sofa drinking the rest of the Christmas wine... PArt of me hoped this would be true as I would have loved to see the look on my husbands face (with hindsight I should have bought a 6 foot penguin figure and snook it onto the sofa through night and pretended it was the penguin!).
The next morning, my husband eagerly went downstairs to get himself a coffee (I reminded him to be careful in case the penguin was indeed 6 feet tall by then..) and he came bounding back up the stiars a short while later saying "Look at Harold!" (we had by this time named the Penguin Harold- I've no idea why.. it just seemed fitting). I was happy to see the penguin had grown a good 1cm taller and looked as if he had been eating mince pies as he looked pudgy. Not quite 6 feet tall, but a definite growth spurt.
Pleased that we had not wasted our day looking hopefully at a plastic penguin that was being stubborn and refusing to do anything, we went about our boxing day pottering around the house, cleaning up from Christmas day and generally having a nice day off work and didn't really pay too much attention to Harold apart from the odd fleeting glance and checking it wasn't leaking as it was near the TV (it wasn't).
Two days later when I was going back to work, I got up early and went downstairs and was a little shocked at the sight in front of the TV. Harold looked like he had been given steroids and was now a massive 6.5 cm tall, 5,5cm wide and 3cm from his front to his back. He looked HUGE! Looking from the front, as water distorts images a little, Harold now easily filled the egg (a little bigger than the penguin in this photo). I was almost late for work as I had ot race up the stairs to show my husband, who was, although a little sleepy, similarly impressed with shouts of "Go Harold!" before I realised the time and had to rush out of the house.
I tried to tell my work colleagues about the morning's excitement, but could feel them just blankly looking at me as I recounted the tale of the growing penguin called Harold and their slightly uneasy stares (they were clearly thinking "How much did she drink over Christmas?" or "Has she gone totally insane?") so I peetered out the conversation as their gazes dropped and quietly sat back down in my chair and got on with my work...(my Aspergers means I often get overtly excited about things and think other people will share the glee only to recount a story and have people just give me a polite smile and walk away..!).
Overall this makes a great unusual gift. I would say it is great for children- small children would need to be supervised as the top does come off the egg and although there is what looks like a keyring clip attached, I would err on the side of caution to say keep this out of the reach of young children. As the penguin takes around 4 days to grow to its full size, if you were buying this for the family to keep an eye on you would have to time it - it would be no good for a dinner party as it is too slow for example.
I would recommend this for adults as a novelty present for anyone who you think has the correct personality who likes gadgets and science museum type toys and anyone who likes unusual things or surprises or as a novelty present. I would gladly buy one of these for any of my cousins (aged from 30-44) as I know what they are like and they would appreciate it. However, I appreicate maybe 85% of "adults" would think this is just a toy for children. I think you have to have a certain outlook to buy this for yourself.