#‎AGDoCGotY
American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pet Reviews: Coconut (2002), Honey (2009), Chocolate Chip (2011) and Himalayan Kitten (2014)

AG has made a lot of small animal things.
American Girl has always had a level of pet to its collections, starting with the release of the birthday collections for Molly and Kirsten. Samantha, who apparently was too posh to pet, got a teddy bear as her "pet" until Jip came out with her first revamp, and it may be likely that she'll come back with a pet. A very early issue of AG Magazine1 focused on girls and their animals. And I more than anyone went through a pony stage that has never ended, thank you Almighty Hasbro and your one true Creation, the My Little Pony. Overall, girls and pets generally go together. And since AG knows girls like animals, and AG likes money, AG has released a lot of pets. Every historical at some point has had a pet from Addy's bird in a cage to Felicity's huge-ass horse. Even the Girls of the Year are getting in on this pet action and have since the days of Kailey.2 And of course, there is Coconut.

A short intro about the Coconut Gang. PC had a rather pitiful showing for modern pet sets: Baxter the Bunny, a husky dog to pull the AG sled, and Penny being made to be the stand in horse outside of her collection. Then in the year 2000 Mattel--now fully in charge of this crazy shack--came out with Coconut, a white Westie dog. Male initially, Coconut flipped to female in 2001, got dress up sets, and started showing up on moddie outfits. In 20033 Licorice--a black cat--was released to become what would be the first of many pets based on and hanging around with Coconut, most with food-based names and appearing on clothing options for the moddie on the go. Several pets have come and gone, but they've all had a base in a little white fluffy dog that has been around for fourteen years.

I've had a few pets in my life--birds, cats, a couple dogs--but I've never really had a love for Coconut. I'm more of a cat person. However, my husband is allergic to cat fur--like, his eyes will crust over and his throat gets all coughing and wheezing allergic--and we don't have much space for pets anyways in my house, AG collection notwithstanding. So my pet options right now are limited to nothing, stuffed animals, cursing out the squirrels outside, and small AG animals. Over the years I've managed to get four official modern AG pets:
  • Coconut v.2, that ran from 2001-2004;
  • Honey, a golden retriever released and retired in 2014 with the pet revamp;
  • Chocolate Chip, a Labrador retriever released and currently only available in the Service Dog Set;
  • And most recently, the Himalayan Kitten released in 2014. 
This has resulted in me having at least one of every major "pet shape". These reviews are both coverings and going into some of the variations on Coconut pets we've had over the years. I'll talk about how I got each one; only one so far has been purchased direct from AG.

Before I dip into the pet reviews, just a thing. You may notice a Paypal donate button to the side. That's recently added. Here's the thing: I've been unemployed for well over two years and come from generational poverty. I do write books--and will probably put another of those up on the Createspace--have a modest etsy account which needs more AG stuff, and my man keeps me on my feet. But for the most part I don't have a steady income and we live in a capitalist society until the revolution comes. So if you like what I read and would like to toss a couple bucks my way in appreciation, that would be boss. It's of no obligation to anyone; at no point will there be a cost to hear me bitch and ramble and scoot around on my side.

Anyways, on with the reviews!

Coconutty.
Coconut: I've already talked about Coconut's history and breed, so let's not tread over just stamped ground. This is the second edition of Coconut that established some steady traits that hung on for the most part for several years. The very first edition of Coconut lasted only a year, was marketed as a boy--go dog/cat gender division complex!4--and came with a bed, rawhide chew, and box of dog nomz for $16. The next year everything was swept away, and Coconut came with just her collar and leash for the same cost. I got mine from an ex-coworker who ordered something geeky on eBay, had Coconut show up in the pile, and was like "hey you love the AG, have at it!" So the cost of being a big AG dork, pretty much.

Coconut, don't eat your collar.
There was one unique add on in the 2001 revamp--a magnet near the mouth area to hold on to toys that came in the Coconut dressup sets. The mouth-magnet hung on until the Great Magnet Scare of Aught-Nine that resulted in almost every toy line abandoning interactive magnets thanks to blown out monitors and children going to the hospital for intestine perforations. A magnet is very solid and the inside of you is not. Don't eat magnets. If you eat magnets your bowels will get full of holes and you will likely die--and that's not snark, that's life and death. Seriously. Don't eat magnets and if you have a child small enough to not understand magnets are not food keep them out of reach. I don't have any of the old pet toys and she won't hold the new ones, so have a demo with the metal of her collar.

She is a solid with white fur sewn over a dense plastic form to look like she is sitting with haunches on the ground and paws in front; the fur lays in such a way as to simulate the wacky way dog fur lies. Somewhere under that fur are very small ear nubbles, solid black eyes, an attached tail, and a black nose. She's like a Woobat, that way. Or a Lillipup.

Look you knew I played Pokémon when you started reading.

Leather dump.
Underneath on the sitting part, Coconut's front paws and lump-rump are covered with slightly fuzzy suede-feeling cloth. Since this part touches the surface, there is no need for fur. Coconut and all the pets like her until recently did not pose or turn heads or anything. This is why I really did not like Coconut. I'm in this pet project for either squish or pose and she and her ilk didn't do either.

Tag.
Coconut's collar and attached tag come around her neck and are removable.

Leash laws, follow them.
The collar connects in the back with Velcro and a small silver d-ring allows the hook clasp of the braided leash to hook on.

Collar and leash alone.
The collar is seven inches long and made of pleather vinyl; the leash is braided embroidery floss that is looped to make a leash handle and keep the attached clasp on.

Tag close up.
The collar is striped in vertical blue, purple, yellow and orange stripes. The blue stripe is about as wide as the other three put together. Spaced along evenly are six topaz rhinestones with silver backing.

The attached tag is a pink six-petal plastic charm with a yellow circular5 center. Well it was attached. As I was doing this review, the collar split and the tag fell off. I can probably fix it, but later. At the top of one petal edge is a silver jump ring where, at the time of this picture, it attaches to a small hole in the collar.

Coconut v2 gets a C+. While I do like the collar and mouth magnet, she's really more like a fur-covered plastic display pet than a play pet and is very hard in the center. Not very exciting. At least the initial price was on the semi-fair side. 

And she's just like Honey~ [/Mariah Carey]
Honey: Honey came out after Licorice was kicked to the curb in 2009 with Coconut version 46: No magnet, no leash, and her new tag told her her name. The pets were all named after food and initially cost $22 as they came with a pet journal that lasted all of a year or so before getting tossed and the price dropping back down to $20. Honey was the focus of the Honey Puppy PJ's, which I hated.

My Honey does not have a collar. This is because I got her like this:

Dog and books go together? Okay.
She was bundled with a spiral bound copy of Honey's Guide to Puzzle Fun, a book of short puzzles like word finds and crosswords that my house will not cough up. For this I paid the high cost of $18 at Costco. Bargains, motherfucker! She did not, of course, come with a collar. So I subbed in the white ribbon that came on the top of the box. Green living, PoC and the poor have been doing it forever. I technically got her before Coconut as a test pet.

Dog face.
Honey is covered in short semi-curly golden brown fur and has long ears that are tacked down on either side. Being the person I am, I clipped the knot; the underside of the ear is the same golden fur. Her eyes are small and black, with a small rim of hazel, and she has a black nose.

She is slightly larger but overall the same shape as Coconut with haunches to the ground and paws in front. Sit, dog.

Wag it like a dog.
Unlike Coconut's stubble tail, Honey--being a retriever--has a two inch long tail. Also AG--starting to tag everything--slapped a purchase and care tag on the butt. Wipe clean with a damp cloth if you gotta clean the dog.

Haunch butt.
Just like Coconut, Honey's paws and haunch-butt lump are not furry. Only this is pleather instead of suede. 

D. Honey came with less--even in the AG version it was just the collar except for the year of Journal. If she hadn't been a Costco sale I would have never bothered, and she put me well off AG pets for some time.

Chocolate Chip--the only kind allowed in my house.

Chocolate Chip: Chocolate Chip was still part of Coconut 4, released in 2011. Fun fact, directly from the Wiki article: Chocolate Chip was originally called a girl, but a few months after release was rebranded by AG as a boy. Gender is not set in stone. And for the rest of this review he's getting called Chips because oh my god long name is long and I'm lazy. Chips initially was available for $20, but now you can only get him with the Service Dog Set, a set that allows your AG to get the help she needs for her disability because fuck you, representation matters.

Chips is a plastic-body based dog covered in short pile brown fur fabric, has black and brown-rimmed eyes, a black dog nose, and floppy ears. Like Honey they come sewn down, like Honey I clipped them, and unlike Honey the underside is plain brown cloth instead of the same fur as the ears.

1: Cut a hole in the Box. 2: Put your Dog in that Box 3: Make her open the box! And that's the way you do it! 7
Like Honey before him, my Chocolate Chip came from Costco in a book bundle for $18 with Chocolate Chip's Splash Bash, water games to play outside. If you're into that.

Show your ass on the internet.
Chips also has a long tail of about two and a half inches; unlike Honey's it has a little padding stuffing. There is also the care tag sewn to his haunches. Speaking of his haunches--

STANDING DOG.
HE CAN STAND. Oh my god his ass is not fused to his back legs. A vast improvement over the Honeys and prior Coconuts. He's still stiff and immobile, but he has four legs instead of two front and ass fusion.

Fuzzy doggy tummy.
The fur lines the tummy and the feet, which are also fur and not vinyl on the paws. A little unrealistic, but nice.

Collar.
Like Honey, since Chips came in a Costco bundle he didn't come with a collar. My younger sister, before her mental illness came to light8 used to live with me and she offered to braid one for me. It's knotted around his neck, so it doesn't come off. Which is fine with me.

Chips gets a B-. Still solid and clunky, but he has four legs and that gave me hope.

And then.

And then.

And then.

And then AG revamped the pets in 2014 and they brought back the magnets and they released the--

Fwuffy wuffy Rascal kittykins!
Himalayan Kitten:  *incoherent squeals* It took all of five minutes for me to decide to get the Himalayan kitten once it was released, and I picked him up at AG Seattle for full cost--the new pets jumped from $20 to $28. Cause he's so fluffy and sweet I could just die. Ahem. The details, right, I'm known for that.

The Himalayan Kitten is part of the recent 2014 revamp of the pets line where only Coconut has a name and the others just have breed names. So feel free to gender and name your pets as you wish. The magnets also return, as well as the ability to pose the pets moderately. Some blogger I've seen about said the new pets looked terrible and well, that's another thing that blogger got wrong in her laundry list of terrible AG opinions. Himalayan cats are what happened when Persians were blended with Siamese, and are now a breed of their own.

This one has been named Rascal. Remember Marisol, the Girl of the Year that's twice the dancer Wonderbread is? She has a pet cat, a boy named Rascal that I believe is a Himalayan because of the long hair. I don't want to read the whole book to check. So guess what I named the cat? You've got three guesses and the first two don't count, and I will now call him that through the rest of the review.

Fssh~
Rascal comes with a plastic fish with internal metal or magnets to allow him to carry it near his mouth. The fish is mostly green, with purple pectoral fins, a purple tail fin, purple back with drippy streaks and blue eyes with black pupils. It looks like it has white lips in the picture but that is just flash reflection.

This toy will not work with old style Coconut. I tried but I think it's either too heavy or the magnet is too weak. Oh well. I have named the toy Ghoti. Linguistic jokes~

Fuzzy nose~
Rascal is overall white furred, with certain color points like a real Himalayan cat. He has blue eyes, a brown muzzle with a little pink cat nose and stitching to indicate a mouth.

Ears.
The ears, like the mouth, is separate brown fur; the inner fronts are different from the backs.

Tail.
The tail is about two and three-quarters long and white fur with a brown airbrushed tip; it's not padded.

Paws for the Cause.
 The paws are brown fur like the ears.

Star.
On the back left foot is the AG star logo and all four paws are vinyl on the bottom.

Rascal, like all the older pets, is plastic under fur. But he--and all the new pets--have something super special:

Sit, kit!
They pose! The internal body has joints at the head and legs that allow each to move independently, the main limit being the stretch of the fur over the body.

Laying kitty.
The legs can generally move in about a 180° arc--all the way out front or back and all the way to the stomach--

Head to the side.
While the difference between the head's two extremes is 90° with about 45° from front to one side. Geometry, the one math I kind of liked.  

Leashing a cat?
The older collar and leash fit, but barely. I'm still iffy about the new sets, so I may be making my own out of ribbons, leather strips, embroidery floss, charms, jump rings, and velcro. And later putting them on Etsy.

Marisol and Rascal: Together again.
And now with New!Rascal, I don't have to hunt down the duffel bag set and pay too much for the set. $14 for a plastic bottle of doll water? Fuck you eBay, this isn't a concert.

I give Rascal a solid A.  Fwuffy kittuns~!

Overall, while it took a while for AG to get their modern pet game together, this new edition is magnificent and I love that they can pose. This revamp of pets have given me so much hope that I am even thinking of getting Coconut v5. Chips is there again as the Chocolate Lab Puppy, and a dog a lot like Honey is there as the Apricot Poodle Puppy. I personally recommend that you get the new pets over the old ones--unless you just have a hard on for ugly little bow yorkies like Sugar or want the actual Licorice or something.

Or like pet lumps, but why would you do pet lumps.

--Neth

1 Things to pick back up on this blog.
2 Another way Lindsey got screwed; she had a dog in her stories but no dog in her collection.
3 Whoop!
4 Dogs are Boy, Cats are Girl. Damn you, Dick and Jane. 
5 As a child, I was very insistent on the difference between "round" and "circular." Circular is very flat and circle-shaped like a bottle cap, buttons and discs. Round is like a ball, marble or a balloon. If you were an adult and you told me a ball was shaped like a circle I shot you the kind of look that would wilt flowers. I still have these definitions.
6 Version 3 from 2005 to 2009 came with a toy tennis bone toy to emphasis the magnet, a new collar and starburst tag, the same leash as v2, and a certificate for $19. You could also get Coconut bundled with a moddie purchase if you were into that. That almost happened with Otters, but that is a story for the next installment of Why I'm an Outsider.
7 Yes, "Dick in a Box" played while I was blogging. Heeheehee~
8 Talking about it in detail upsets me because of my own disabilities, struggles, traumas, and issues, so please don't ask. Thanks.

12 comments:

  1. (You know who this is, I'm just too lazy to log into google right now!)

    When I was looking for pets for my gang, I briefly entertained getting Licorice for Eden. Ultimately, if I do get her a pet, it'll be Caroline's cat Inkpot, cause it's cuter. Or some sort of small plush animal instead. I don't even know. Right now her pet is a tiny Bulbasaur.

    The pets I've gotten have been worth it, maybe I'll do a companion review this coming weekend. Pepper's pretty cute, Rembrandt is cute, and Argos is GIGANTIC, but cute.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm glad to hear that you really like the new way the pets are made, I was eyeing the new Coconut but was hesitant until I saw some reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hmmm.. these seem cute but expensive. wouldnt it make sence to just buy a small stuffed animal? btw what do you think of the our generation pet line? they are just as nice but only cost 2.50 each

    i do think the himalayan kitten is cute though but the only pet I would consider bying is Josefinas goat because she is from her books and she is really special to me.

    laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on your needs and what kind of pet you want for a character. I have bought some cheaper stuffed animals and such and use those for pets all the time, and that is likely to end up a review here. At the same time, Marisol's kitten goes for a lot because it's 11 years out of production and people charge too much for GotY stuff because they think they can get away with it. For me the new pets are worth it and $28 for a jointed posable pet is fine.

      Delete
    2. well my pet needs are limited to a goat for my Josefina that I will fetch once Im back in the states. plus I owe several OG pets.

      I didnt know Marisol had the original kitten that looked just like that! although I checked AG wiki and I think it looks slightly different.

      its really neat that AG pets are poseable. have they always been like this? or were the earlier versions non-poseable? Id buy them if they were bigger othewise they look unnaturally small to me, a real cat or dog could have been bigger. they should at least reach up till the dolls knees.

      Im looking at chocolate chip puppy and just wnat to it up. it looks so ... chocolatey! if it were bigger I would consider buying it otherwise my kids will just lose it.
      laura

      Delete
    3. This is the first time the Coconut style pets have been poseable.

      Delete
  4. Interesting to see all of these up close!

    I don't have any of the AG pets, in part because I wasn't paying much attention to AG from about 2003-2013, but mostly because the scale of them bothers me, both relative to each other (the cat and the Westie are much too close in size to the Golden and the Lab for my tastes) and to the dolls themselves. Still, looking at these photos, I do feel a little charmed by Honey and Chocolate Chip, so I think I understand the appeal now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Or like pet lumps, but why would you do pet lumps.

    Because when he sleeps, my cat often looks like THIS.

    If that's not a RL pet lump, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS.

    (Though while it's adorable on a real fuzzy, it's not so great on a plushie. ^^)

    ~Clover-Elf, who spent way too long trying to embed that image

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Desirable in actual cat, not so much fun in toy cat.

      Delete
  6. I always wondered about the food-related names for the pets. on the one hand it's corny, on the other hand I guess it's cute for the target market. *shrug*

    the early pets sound like glorified paperweights (w/o the weight) which, no.

    "Chip the Chocolate Lab" would have been a cute name, tbh. wait, did Beanie Babies already do that? maybe, IDK.

    *reading caption under Chips in pkg*
    why would you put a dog in a box!? IDGI
    *reads it again to make sure I'm understanding everything*
    *gets it*
    OHHHHH! LULZ!

    yes, Rascal is canonically a Himalayan cat. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't know you from Adam and this is the q time I've seen your blog (while researching Coconut, because I have a 2ft tall by 3ft long stuffed Coconut I won in a Hallmark store drawing when I was living in St Louis in 2003) but I thought *I* wrote this for a hot second because you used so much of my verbiage it's uncanny as crap!
    TL;DR- I love you, I love everything about you. Twinsies, yay!

    ReplyDelete

Trolling, pointless bigotry, and hating for the sake of hating will be removed, as will any post screaming "first" because no one cares. Cursing is fine, as I curse myself. I still expect you to act like you have home training. This is not a Free Speech Zone. I reserve the right to delete comments or tell you to piss off. You post, you stand by your words, and all the consequences of those words, even if that consequence is getting your ass handed back to you. Don't come in my space, spit on my floor, and expect me to call it a swimming pool. I can and will cuss your entire ass out. If I told you not to comment, and you comment, your comments will be deleted.

If you are under 13 your comments will be removed; you're too young to be on the internet unsupervised and you know it.