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You Can't Pretend this Elmo Isn't a Big Disappointment!
Dec 28, 2000
Review by Blessed_Mommy
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Cute concept, comes with batteries which you'll never have to replace since this is one toy that won't be worn out with use because (see con)
Cons:Let's Pretend Elmo doesn't work - he's confusing, complicated, and frustrating even for adults
For this past Christmas holiday, we had arrived in the very, very cold winter of the midwest (a stark change from balmy California!) and were stuck inside. As first-time grandparents, my parents are fairly clueless and had few toys for my daughter to play with. After discovering her affection for Elmo, my father went out and bought the Let's Pretend Elmo toy for $24.99. Very well intentioned, but all of us were very disappointed.
Recommend this product?
First, the basics
Let's Pretend Elmo is about 14 inches tall, with a plush head, arms, and legs. The legs and arms have stiff but flexible cores, to allow for positioning. The torso is somewhat hard and rigid. Elmo's sneakers are quite heavy - I believe they are weighted to allow him to stand. His right sneaker also houses the 3 AA batteries that are required for Elmo to work which are included with the toy.
The premise of this toy is that Elmo has five physical positions into which he can be posed. You first have to squeeze a button inside Elmo's right hand, and then place him into one of these positions. In each of these positions, Elmo will pretend to be two things:
1. Elmo standing with one arm up - "Train" or "Policeman"
2. Elmo standing with both arms up - "Monster" or "Monkey"
3. Elmo in a crawling position - "Puppy" or "Baby"
4. Elmo in horizontal position with arms straight out at sides and "flying" in the air - "Airplane" or "Super Elmo"
5. Elmo sitting with arms outstretched to toes - "Cowboy" or "Race Car Driver"
Boy, this Elmo toy is a bust! Let me count the ways:
1. Placing him into one of the five positions (I even copied exactly as the drawings in the instruction sheet illustrated) was pretty difficult. There weren't any positions that he snapped into, so you weren't quite sure where the correct position was. This was especially important because...
2. Even after putting him into the correct position (or what I thought was the correct position), he wouldn't do anything! Eventually I got to the point where I would just squeeze his right hand and flop him all around to get some pretending going on. I did succeed in making Elmo pretend he was a "Monster" or "Monkey" several times, one time as a "Baby", and twice as the "Race Car Driver".
3. The pretending I was able to get out of Elmo, I didn't particularly like. The exception was Elmo pretending to be a monster - "Rrrr... Elmo's a big, red, hairy monster! Rrrr" - it was pretty cute. I didn't like the other ones (Monkey - "Oooh-ooh-ooh, Elmo's a monkey, Elmo wants a banana! Ooh-ooh-ooh" and Baby - "Ga-ga-ga, Elmo's a baby, Ga-ga-ga, Mama, Dada"), and I especially didn't like the race car driver bit - "Vrrrrrrooom, vrrrooomm... Elmo's a race car driver! Vrroom, vrrrrrooom" all accompanied with sounds of screeching tires (not Elmo's voice). I can't quite make it come across properly in writing, but suffice to say it was surprisingly violent.
4. After you squeeze Elmo's right hand, position him, wait for him to do something (anything, anything at all, PLEASE!), and then leave him to rest because you're so annoyed... he will say "Aren't you going to play with me?" And then if you still ignore him, about two minutes later he will say, "Okay, let's pretend later."
5. The Elmo doll itself isn't even cuddly. There are so many hard parts to it, and he's heavier than a stuffed animal.
This was definitely the Christmas of the possessed toys - those that act out on their own without prompting (I will be reviewing two other such toys received by my daughter once Epinions will let me submit them). Elmo wasn't the most annoying of them, but definitely the most frustrating. If I nor any other adult can make Elmo pretend, how could our little 17-month old possibly do it? She adores Elmo, and for a day she would bring Let's Pretend Elmo to me so I could make him talk. Since that never happened consistently, this is the first ever discarded Elmo toy in our household.
On a final note, the instruction sheet that came with Let's Pretend Elmo is one of the most complicated ones I have ever seen for a preschool toy. One caveat the manufacturer cleverly hid into the "Important Tips to Have the Most Fun with Elmo" section was the following: "Your Let's Pretend Elmo may be a little bit different than another one. Try to put Elmo into the positions as close as possible to what is shown in the drawings. If he does not respond as he is supposed to, try adjusting his position slightly until he reacts." They forgot to add "But he probably never will."
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