Perusing the various Barbie and fashion dolls on the toy shelves in Target (yes I live in Sydney now and Target is my Tesco/Argos/Hamleys-equivalent); the message is clear – skinny equals success, in every way. So I was thrilled to read about, Irish toy company, Arklu’s answer to every girl’s new best friend, and her name is Lottie.
Lottie has undergone a makeover, well six to be exact, in response to the much-debated issues circulating last year regarding negative body image, girls rushing to grow up and a need to return to creative and imaginative play. Arklu went back to the drawing board on the doll they launched in 2012, designing their year two range of dolls that not only endorse a full and varied lifestyle but also embrace the motto: “Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You”.
Touted as a “wholesome antidote to other leading doll brands”, Lottie has been designed under expert guidance to both look and dress as a regular child, eschewing the cosmetics, jewellery and high heels of Barbie and her fashionista compatriots. While there still should be a place for the ‘plastics’ (to quote Mean Girls) as is the reality for children, no matter the generation, it is refreshing to see a doll who teaches girls that it’s okay to stand on their own two feet without such superficial enhancement.
The savvy six are set to defy traditional gender stereotypes, each having her own inspiring and educational back story.
First up is the inventor doll, a.k.a Robot Girl Lottie, who is a regular competitor at Science Fairs and encourages her human counterpart to similarly research and build.
Pirate Queen Lottie heralds from the adventures of real-life 16th century pirate queen, Grace O’Malley whose exploits comprise a series of collector cards as a more academic accessory in doll-world.
Lighthouse Keeper Lottie hopes to inspire young girls to follow in the brave and daring footsteps of such women as Brit Grace Darling, American Fannie Mae Salter, Australian Grace Bussell and New Zealander Mary Jane Bennett, whose actions went against all expectations.
Next up is the equally bold and brave Kawaii Karate Lottie whose active lifestyle and pursuit of karate intends to inform young women of how to incorporate activity and self-protection into their lives. The doll comes with collector cards which each demonstrate beginner karate stances for the doll and her owner to try for themselves.
More science is on the table as Butterfly Protector Lottie advocates, teaching children the life cycle of the butterfly in a fun and engaging way, bringing nature and learning to life.
Last but certainly not least is Pandora’s Box Lottie, whose aim is to inform children about the care and nurture of animals. This Lottie is a volunteer at an animal shelter where she crosses paths with an abandoned Persian cat and finds the responsibility for its care left in her hands.
Educational – tick. Stylish – tick. Fun – tick. Yup, this gets my vote. Lottie is available in 14 countries and online with the dolls retailing at £16.99 each and corresponding accessory sets at £7.99. Pandora’s Box Lottie is so going on my Christmas wish-list!!