dinsdag 17 januari 2012
The basic idea of Sylvanian Families is pretty simple; it's just families of anthropomorphic little animals (bunnies, dogs, cats, mice, hedgehogs etc.) that live in beautiful houses and mansions. Of course there's also schools and shops and cars and all available. These families are available in sets of four (a mom, a dad, a baby boy and a baby girl) but many playsets also come with their own little character like the Village Gift Shop set which comes with a saleslady and a customer.
Sylvanian Families figures are pretty small (the tallest ones are about 10cm), can move their arms and legs and have flocking, so they're all really soft. They all come dressed in quite traditional clothing (or in the case of theme packs, clothing appropriate to the job/holiday/school activity) which is usually of nice quality.
What I absolutely love about Sylvanian Families is the innocence of it all; they're just cute critters living in a brightly colored world where they do happy things like shopping and going to school and camping and such. Their playsets really make the world come to life. You can buy their houses, shops and accessories for those separately which is both frustrating and nice. Frustrating because it costs a fortune to collect enough furniture to decorate a house but also nice because you can buy whatever you like personally and you're not stuck with extras you don't need.
There is a large variation of playsets and themed sets, so this line really has something for everyone. The nursery and baby lines really put more emphasis on pastel colors and cute but not very realistic buildings and toys, while for example the Regency Hotel has furniture that is based on real furniture and the entire set seems to be targeted towards collectors. Needless to say the latter is pretty high on my want-when-I-am-rich list!
One of the things that I both like and dislike is the traditional family message this toy line is carrying out. On the one hand it's a nice contrast between all the battle- and fashion oriented toys that flood the market nowadays, but on the other hand families don't just exist out of a mother and father anymore.
What about single parent families, or same-sex parents? Those are real families too, but this toy line is staying far away from it, which is a shame in my opinion. Not only because I think it would be a wonderful and positive message to show children that a family can consist of different members, but also because I think a lot of children grow up in a reality nowadays where there's simply not just a dad and a mom and a sibling. I'm not sure if this is something that belongs to this kind of toy line, but it was one of the first things that came to my mind.
All in all, I really like this innocent, cute toy line which I'm sure inspires creative play in many children and which is a great collector's item. Toys that manage to appeal to both collectors and children, without having to create special collectors editions, usually are of a special quality and this line definitely qualifies!