I always figured we'd avoid Barbies. It's just the appropriate feminist thing to do, according to my liberal arts education. I figured we'd avoid "things that were too-thoroughly marketed". It seemed safer to just avoid TV character dolls that had their own music videos, breakfast cereals, and aisles at Target. Then there was the "avoiding the toys that contribute to poor body image or gender stereotypes". And the "toys that do too much of the work and don't foster creativity". And the "toys coated in toxic paint". And the list goes on and on. Whew.
And one day, HeyMama and I went to a toy store to do a little lesson on the value of a dollar. The lesson didn't really get us too far, as nothing there was available for a dollar. But there was a little table set up with these little animal dolls. Their appendages and heads were moveable. They were fuzzy. They had tiny little clothes, furniture, and intricately detailed accessories. HeyMama sat herself down at that table and played for half an hour. I could not pull her away.
That was my first exposure to Calico Critters. They were cute pudgy little animals. The Mama and Daddy animals look alike, as do the siblings. No body image issues there... I had never seen them anywhere else before. No excessive marketing there... And while there are a lot of intricate pieces (great for fine motor skills!), none of them do the work for you. It's great for creative play. I found the perfect toy!!! And then I looked at the price tag...
I would pay dearly for that perfection.
The price tag horrified me. Ok, so quality toys demand a quality price. You get what you pay for, yadda yadda.
But still. The price!
An then I discovered a thriving secondhand market for Calico Critters. Because they cost so much, parents want to recoup their investment. They're still not free, but they're secondhand toys, so they can't cost an arm and a leg. So they sell them for about half price. This makes them reasonable. And the collection has been around at least since I was a little girl (I remember the commercials!), so there are a lot of pieces out there that are up for grabs.
This makes them perfect for becoming an obsession. It's something I can troll Craigslist for to find a great bargain. Or 7.
So if you see some at a yard sale with prices in the single digits, please snap them up for me. Or for yourself. Then you can have your own obsession.
|Here's a teeny-tiny fridge with teeny-tiny groceries. Too cute.|
|Here's some teeny-tiny produce. With some dog fur thrown in for scale.|
|Here's Sister Panda in MeToo's little hand.|
|Here's Sister at her desk. With teeny-tiny desk accessories. |
And MeToo's toes for scale.
|MeToo holding Sister's globe. It actually spins. So cute!|
|Here's a Baby Guinea Pig on his/her playmat. Remember the gender neutral thing? |
So dang cute.
|Mama Guinea Pig and her twins come with a stroller. That really rolls. |
And has an adjustable canopy. Seriously.
It's just all insanely cute.