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Baby CrazyEgg first saw Elmo on TV in a thirty second segment that had recorded before the actual programme we had thought she might enjoy. Some Sesame Street fans may call him the Red Menace but Baby's response was definite and immediate with arms flapping up and down and eyes wide as Elmo played the piano and sang his song. I am not sure what it was about the furry red monster that attracted her so, but repeated viewings with the same result made me think that a cuddly Elmo might go down well, so I went on Amazon.co.uk added one to her birthday suggestions list.
Why did I choose this particular Elmo?
The description online was appealing: at 38cm high this Elmo was two-thirds the size of Baby CrazyEgg, which seemed a decent size for her to cuddle. He cost £14.56 which was lower than I had been expecting for a well known Sesame Street character. Most importantly of all he was just a soft toy. No falsetto speaking, singing or giggling would sally forth from this particular specimen. Liberated from the constraints of pre-recorded sound bites our Elmo could speak to us in the first person, enquire about the full range of happenings in the CrazyEgg household and speak in a deep, booming voice if he so chose. He could also be washed, albeit by hand and in cold water. These points I considered to be Good Things.
Made by Gund ("the world's most huggable since 1898") Elmo is covered in supersoft acrylic fibre. His gentle, lightweight fur is long enough to be strokable: it can lie down smooth or be all ruffled up. The fibres do not come out easily, even if Elmo is chewed. His spherical plastic eyes goggle out of the top of his head with his squashy oval, orange nose resting just beneath. Arms and legs are particularly floppy, but he is capable of sitting due to his bottom being filled with polyethylene pellets which give him some stability. His mouth, stiffened with a polyethylene insert, is permanently ajar as if ever ready to burst into enthusiastic, interested speech. This has come in useful.
Baby CrazyEgg seemed delighted that Elmo had come to her party. Her initial reaction was to smile, then reach out and touch him. He was a hit. It is easy for an adult to bring life into Elmo. If you hold him a certain way you can waggle his head and both arms with one hand, so he can wave and investigate things. Most usefully he has enjoyed having his non-existent teeth brushed when Baby CrazyEgg would not countenance such an event. This she found very funny, and gave her rare, rusty-sounding giggle before permitting her own two teeth to be cleaned.
Often Elmo has been used as a weapon of mass destruction as she holds his eyeball or leg and swings him into the stacking cups. He doesn't mind.
Last week Baby CrazyEgg was poorly. She had a cold and was all snuffly and congested. We struggled to get her to sleep at bedtime, with her grizzling and doing 'the kangaroo' where she throws herself forward and back, forward and back. We gave her Elmo. With a sigh of relief she put her arms around him, held him by the throat and the eyeball, as many others have longed to do, and fell asleep. It was the dawn of a new era. Elmo is now a bedtime necessity. We'll have to get a spare.
There's a whole army of Elmo's out there. This one is beautifully made, devoid of irritating habits, and loved by Baby CrazyEgg. I recommend him to you.
August 2013: Elmo is still Baby CrazyEgg's favourite toy. I gave up on handwashing and now he has been through the washing machine many times. He is no longer plush, he is faded, lank and tatty. His pupils have half rubbed away and hi seyeballs have been chewed. We have a new Elmo but he is a poor substitute for our first 'Mo as Baby C calls him. Original Mo has displayed a high quality of manufacture I feel. He is part of the family.
One of the most endearing Sesame Street creatures is the cute Elmo. He looks cute, his voice is cute and there is not much you can't like about him. Toymaker Gund have produced several Sesame Street dolls, including Big Bird and Bert and Ernie. Elmo is a welcome addition to the gang and is a particularly popular character with the younger viewers.
Although various Elmo toys exist on the market, including a talking Elmo, it is worth having a slightly more affordable option for Christmas. This chap can be purchased for around the ten pound mark so would be within most budgets.
He stands at about thirteen inches in height, so he is not huge, but is a comfortable enough size to sit on a bed, put on a shelf or take to bed. The first thing you will notice is his wide eyes, which are lodged onto the top of his head, moulded from plastic. They looked startled, but then Elmo does always looked alarmed! His pert orange nose sits just below and is in proportion.
Elmo has been produced with deliciously soft red fur, which is a joy to stroke. It's the kind of fur you could snuggle up to and feel comforted by. His joints all allow plenty of movement, so he is not stiff.
The colours on the toy are spot on and the stitching good, making him a solid purchase. In terms of what else Gund could have done with him...probably not much more, given the simplicity of the character in the first place. He would be a good gift for kids this season and can be bought online from a range of toy stores. Prices tend to vary by two to three pounds.
Come and play with Elmo and his friends down in Sesame Street, where everthing's a-okay! When you purchase Sesame Street products, you are supporting the education of children at home and around the world.