Thursday, February 04, 2010

Zhu Zhu Pets

Time to write about Zhu Zhu Pets, a creation of St. Louis-based Cepia LLC. Apparently they were The Toy for Christmas 2009, but that fact passed me by at the time. No one here asked for one anyway, maybe because my daughters know that asking for a toy because it's The Toy of the season isn't going to make me go out to find one. Especially if the toys are difficult to find or inspire a ludicrous black market.

Now they're easy to find. Ann's birthday party was last Saturday, and one of her friends gave her a Zhu Zhu Pet; "Scoodles," according to the box. It's a (simple) robot hamster, which has the advantages of not needing food and not producing droppings. "Each Zhu Zhu Hamster has its own unique personality & whimsical sounds!" exclaims the box. "Let them scott, scamper, bump n' boogie across the floor or through their Hamster Habitat."

I hardly have to add that the Habitat is sold separately, as are eight other models (Patches, Nugget, Winkie, Jilly, Pip Squeak, Mr. Squiggles, Chunk and Num Nums), plus a bunch of additional extruded-plastic, made-in-China accessories. The toy itself uses its battery power to make tweeting and human-voice noise and travel across the floor unpredictably. That is, it backs up or changes direction without warning, but it will also turn around if it comes to an obstacle, after pretending to inspect it.

I was happy to see "two AAA batteries included" on the box. They turned out to be two Brand X batteries that were able to power the wheels for about a day. This caused consternation, since at first we thought the toy had broken after only a day. Fresh batteries revived Scoodles' exploring spirit, however.

Ann thinks it's the greatest toy ever. She might even think that for a few more weeks. I'd say Cepia hit that the sweet spot of that tricky market, early grade-schoolers, as surely as Robin Hood split the arrow.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home