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Toy Review: Disney•Pixar’s FINDING DORY Robo Fish

With Disney Pixar’s FINDING DORY making its way into theaters, the folks at Zuru Toys1 have a full assortment of fun items from the long-awaited FINDING NEMO sequel swimming into toy stores and toy departments. Among the ones that will be at the top of many kids’ wish lists this summer are the FINDING DORY Robo Fish – robotic fish with lifelike action, just as the name implies. Having already been familiar with some of Zuru’s aquatic offerings over the years, we were excited when a trio of Robo Fish – Swimming Nemo, Swimming Marlin, and of course, Swimming Dory – arrived at Rock Father HQ for review in our State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (in this case, our bathtub) by yours truly, and The Rock Daughters . With something this unique, words only go so far, so we made a little video… taking the camera underwater to show you these things up-close and in-action! Take a look… embedded content

The Disney spin on the classic Robo Fish is very cool, and the video really shows you just how these play. Carbon switches on the side are water-activated or can be touched to start the action. When the fish stops swimming, a gentle tap should be all you need to “wake them up.”

Toy Review: Disney•Pixar's FINDING DORY Robo Fish

Bonus: Each Robo Fish comes with an extra set of the tiny batteries, and that’s a plus. Of all the toys we have here, those “button cell” LR44 batteries are usually something I just don’t have in my battery drawer. Kudos to Zuru for including extra!

What to watch out for: The one thing I need to recommend (and this goes for any Robo Fish, or the Swimming Mermaids) is that you makes sure the kids don’t pull the tail off. The tail is the key to the swimming action, and so far so good here – but our youngest specifically has a bad habit of ripping off the tails and losing them, rendering the toy useless. From one parent to some others, just letting you know. The FINDING DORY Robo Fish are Rock Father-approved, and available now at retailers such as Target, Walmart and Toys “R” Us, with a suggested retail price of just ?11.99 each.

Additional toys in the Zuru FINDING DORY Robo Fish collection include Bailey the Whale, and the Dory Coffee Pot Tank Playset2.

Toy Review: Disney•Pixar's FINDING DORY Robo Fish

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About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) – James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER .

Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality, Commentator, Adventurer and Raconteur. He writes for Fandango Family4 and the Netflix #StreamTeam5, serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized brands, and consults for a number of toy manufacturers. Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as co-manager and video director10 for Napalm Records’ PRODUCT OF HATE11.6789

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities’ Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He’s appeared as a music expert on CNN’s AC360, has been quoted in BusinessWire, CNN and Babble, in addition to making appearances on ABC News, WGN and more. In the past he served as a PBS KIDS12 VIP (Very Involved Parent), penned articles for Sprout, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent13.

Learn more here14.

Connect with James on Facebook15 or Twitter16.

Website: www.facebook.com/therockfather17

References

  1. ^ Zuru Toys (zuru.com)
  2. ^ Dory Coffee Pot Tank Playset (amzn.to)
  3. ^ (www.therockfather.com)
  4. ^ Fandango Family (www.anrdoezrs.net)
  5. ^ Netflix #StreamTeam (www.netflix.com)
  6. ^ FEAR FACTORY (www.therockfather.com)
  7. ^ feature films (www.imdb.com)
  8. ^ commercials (www.youtube.com)
  9. ^ comic books (www.deathwalksthestreets.com)
  10. ^ video director (www.youtube.com)
  11. ^ PRODUCT OF HATE (www.facebook.com)
  12. ^ PBS KIDS (www.pbskids.org)
  13. ^ Chicago Parent (www.chicagoparent.com)
  14. ^ here (www.therockfather.com)
  15. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  16. ^ Twitter (twitter.com)
  17. ^ www.facebook.com/therockfather (www.facebook.com)

Toy Review: Budsies Custom Stuffed Animals

Custom toys have been growing in popularity and availability over the past few years, particularly as prices for things like 3D printing have come down to more affordable levels. One thing that can’t be “printed” (as far as I know – yet) is plush, and there’s a number of outfits dealing in various levels of custom stuffed animals and the like — and we’ve seen quite a few, but none as magical as Budsies1. If they sound familiar, it’s completely possible that you caught Budsies founder Alex Furmasky pitching Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary and Laurie Greiner on ABC’s SHARK TANK. While he didn’t accept one of the two offers served up by the Sharks, Budsies has been rockin’ since 2013, providing whimsical, custom creations based on the artwork of children. The Budsies crew offered me a chance to try their service, and that I did. Having used a number websites to create custom products myself in the past, I can attest to the fact that the Budsies website and interface is about as simple and streamlined as they get. Adalyn, the oldest of The Rock Daughters , created a colorful teddy bear drawn on paper with crayon and marker. I simply snapped a photo of it, uploaded it and added a detailed description – a step that’s really important to explain exactly what the designers are looking at. Here’s exactly what I wrote when I placed the order…

Addie’s Budsie: Interestingly proportioned bear with brown fur. She has black “claws” on all four paws, and wears a colorful “rainbow” shirt. The shirt is largely greenish in color, with a pink stripe on the the side of her right arm. She also has a geometric pattern outlined in black, filled with various spots of purple, red and blue coloring. Additionally, there is a yellow spot of pattering, accented by black lines within. This bear also has a small, yet jovial smile, inviting black oval eyes, and a small black dot nose.”

Toy Review: Budsies Custom Stuffed Animals

Over the next couple of weeks, the crew at Budsies sent status updates on Addie’s bear as they selected the fabrics, colors, and worked on the patterns – each double-checked and put together by a seamstress. About three weeks later, Addie’s Budsie arrived… but there was a slight issue I hadn’t considered: we were doing an “unboxing” video and little Finley didn’t have one. In the spirit of presenting things as honest and real as possible here on the site, I can’t recreate Addie’s first-time reaction of seeing her Budsie… it just happened that the video came out to have joy and sadness all in one shot… but weeks later, both girls love this Budsie. embedded content

My only point of criticism is that the 16″ ?89 Budsies (you can get a “Super-Sized” 30″ version for an additional ?29) are made in China. While it’s an undeniable, yet unfortunate fact that the majority of toys (including some of the best ones) are made in China, it is entirely possible to have custom plush Made in the USA. I know this because I own some. I’d love to receive news down the line that Budsies are bringing production home.

Toy Review: Budsies Custom Stuffed Animals

All said and done, Budsies are a Rock Father-approved toy that would make a great gift, and easily has the potential to become a cherished keepsake for life. Make yours at Budsies.com2, where they also do Selfies (based on people) and Petsies (based on your pets).

Toy Review: Budsies Custom Stuffed Animals

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About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) – James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER . Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality, Commentator, Adventurer and Raconteur. He writes for Fandango Family4 and the Netflix #StreamTeam5, serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized brands, and consults for a number of toy manufacturers.

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as co-manager and video director10 for Napalm Records’ PRODUCT OF HATE11.6789

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities’ Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He’s appeared as a music expert on CNN’s AC360, has been quoted in BusinessWire, CNN and Babble, in addition to making appearances on ABC News, WGN and more. In the past he served as a PBS KIDS12 VIP (Very Involved Parent), penned articles for Sprout, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent13. Learn more here14. Connect with James on Facebook15 or Twitter16.

Website: www.facebook.com/therockfather17

References

  1. ^ Budsies (www.budsies.com)
  2. ^ Budsies.com (www.budsies.com)
  3. ^ (www.therockfather.com)
  4. ^ Fandango Family (www.anrdoezrs.net)
  5. ^ Netflix #StreamTeam (www.netflix.com)
  6. ^ FEAR FACTORY (www.therockfather.com)
  7. ^ feature films (www.imdb.com)
  8. ^ commercials (www.youtube.com)
  9. ^ comic books (www.deathwalksthestreets.com)
  10. ^ video director (www.youtube.com)
  11. ^ PRODUCT OF HATE (www.facebook.com)
  12. ^ PBS KIDS (www.pbskids.org)
  13. ^ Chicago Parent (www.chicagoparent.com)
  14. ^ here (www.therockfather.com)
  15. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  16. ^ Twitter (twitter.com)
  17. ^ www.facebook.com/therockfather (www.facebook.com)

Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

This year, TOMY1 is celebrating 70 years of being John Deere2 licensee – a tradition that began with the first Ertl toy tractors back in 1946. Growing up in the 80s, my cousins and I had a pretty nice assortment of Ertl John Deere farm equipment – the big metal ones – and we played with them hard, in the sandbox… in the mud… in rain or shine. A few years back, our oldest daughter had a little John Deere hat that said “Dirt Makes Me Cuter,” a statement that still rings true (though the hat is outgrown), and seeing that little yellow and green logo always made me recall my teen years living in the Quad Cities, not far from the John Deere World Headquarters3 in Moline. Living in Illinois, and having farmers in our family, in a lot of ways it feels like John Deere may be a part of our DNA, so it’s always cool to see our little ones playing with toys that capture some of the same feeling from when I was little… and lately that feeling is back with some new items from the John Deere Preschool collection, sent to Rock Father HQ for review by the folks at TOMY.

Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

Having just graduated from the now-retired Turtle Sandbox and into a proper “Big Kid” Sandbox, The Rock Daughters were due for some new tools of their sand trade, and the John Deere 15″ Big Scoop Dump Truck with Sand Tools4 certainly fit the bill. Built from rugged plastic, TOMY’s new Dump Truck carries on the Ertl heritage with the famous logo right there on the walls of its tires…

Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

The perfect size for fun…

Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

And if you’re gonna have a truck in the sandbox, you need some roads. A little bit of water was just what they needed to use the pattern roller to start laying down some fresh “pavement” for their mighty John Deere to cruise around on…

Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

And the sifter always manages to bring a smile to Addie’s face…

Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

Now, while this one is admittedly a little young-skewing for my girls, TOMY also sent us their Johnny Tractor Bumblerfriends electronic plush tractor5. Geared toward little farmers ages 18 months+, we did play around with Johnny for a bit before passing him along to the girls’ baby cousin, Hank – yet another new generation to enjoy the John Deere fun.

Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

Soft and snuggly, Johnny Tractor (there’s also Corey Combine, sold separately) also rumble (or “bumble?”) around with vibrations, cool engine sounds and music.

Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

No matter what your age, from kids to grown-up collectors, TOMY has a huge assortment of John Deere toys for all ages. See them all at TOMY.com6, or at John Deere Gifts7.

Toy Review: John Deere Preschool Big Scoop Dump Truck & Bumblerfriends

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About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) – James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER . Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality, Commentator, Adventurer and Raconteur. He writes for Fandango Family9 and the Netflix #StreamTeam10, serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized brands, and consults for a number of toy manufacturers.

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as co-manager and video director15 for Napalm Records’ PRODUCT OF HATE16.11121314

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities’ Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He’s appeared as a music expert on CNN’s AC360, has been quoted in BusinessWire, CNN and Babble, in addition to making appearances on ABC News, WGN and more. In the past he served as a PBS KIDS17 VIP (Very Involved Parent), penned articles for Sprout, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent18. Learn more here19. Connect with James on Facebook20 or Twitter21.

Website: www.facebook.com/therockfather22

References

  1. ^ TOMY (tomy.com)
  2. ^ John Deere (tomy.com)
  3. ^ John Deere World Headquarters (www.deere.com)
  4. ^ John Deere 15″ Big Scoop Dump Truck with Sand Tools (amzn.to)
  5. ^ Johnny Tractor Bumblerfriends electronic plush tractor (www.johndeeregifts.com)
  6. ^ TOMY.com (tomy.com)
  7. ^ John Deere Gifts (www.johndeeregifts.com)
  8. ^ (www.therockfather.com)
  9. ^ Fandango Family (www.anrdoezrs.net)
  10. ^ Netflix #StreamTeam (www.netflix.com)
  11. ^ FEAR FACTORY (www.therockfather.com)
  12. ^ feature films (www.imdb.com)
  13. ^ commercials (www.youtube.com)
  14. ^ comic books (www.deathwalksthestreets.com)
  15. ^ video director (www.youtube.com)
  16. ^ PRODUCT OF HATE (www.facebook.com)
  17. ^ PBS KIDS (www.pbskids.org)
  18. ^ Chicago Parent (www.chicagoparent.com)
  19. ^ here (www.therockfather.com)
  20. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  21. ^ Twitter (twitter.com)
  22. ^ www.facebook.com/therockfather (www.facebook.com)
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