My Monster High collection is still giving me grief. Despite my best efforts to resist expansion, its increased by FOUR DOLLS this weekend alone (thanks to Mr Bat <3). I really like to post about each doll – or at least include every doll in a post – because for me, its a good way of valuing and appreciating my collection. And if I don't value and appreciate my collection, what is the point of collecting? Taking photos of and writing about each doll makes me feel like I'm doing this. I do have a few dolls who have missed out on a post, but not many, and there's always time to come back to them, I suppose. Its just that at the moment, I'm kind of feeling like I can't keep up, because I also have too many in-the-box dolls who are waiting to be taken out, examined, photographed and generally made a fuss of. I know that in these circumstances, I should just stop buying for a bit, but er, I never have much success with this, and at the moment I have my eye on two new additions in particular. No. Better to just catch up. If I can. So I'm going to make a start this weekend.
I got Jane Boolittle a little while ago. Jane is a new character and its not entirely clear what kind of Monster she is. This is part of her back-story – she was adopted by Dr Boolittle who found her in the jungle at a young age, and is still searching for details of her parentage. Personally, I'd suggest that at least one of them was Na'vi, doesn't she have an Avatar kind of look to her?
There’s nothing explicit on her packaging, but the inclusion of a pen (secreted in her “staff”) and blank pieces of paper (in her handbag) make me think that she was designed to fit into the Secret Creepers range, a line of Monster High pet-shaped toys that can be used to hide things and communicate “secret messages”. As Jane does not seem to be attached to any other wave, and her blurb states that she is better at making friends with animals than with people, this would seem to make sense.
Speaking of friends, Jane is accompanied by one of the more original Monster High pets, a blue sloth called Needles. Needles is certainly super cute and I love the way he fits onto Jane’s back like a backpack, but I must say I’m a little confused by the fact that he seems to be “patchworked”, as if Dr Frankenstein may have had a hand in making him?? I remember that before she was released, there was a great deal of online talk about “the new character with the sloth” – Needles really seems to have caught the popular imagination.
In the same way that Twyla seems to be lit by moonlight, Jane appears to be under the beam of one of those UV lights that picks out certain colours and makes them fluorescent. The contrast between the indigos in her skin and hair, the sharp blue of her eyes and her facial spots (reminiscent of tribal tattoos), and the vivid orange and reds of her outfit accents could have been confusing and messy, but it all makes visual sense. Like Cerise Hood, her tunic, skirt and leggings reach a nice balance between practicality and girliness, establishing her character nicely. One small complaint – she has two “feather” epaulettes joined between the shoulder blades which are made of plastic, and I took the clear band off that hold these in place, not realising that there is no fastening on them, they just rest there. Without the band, they drop off all the time. I don’t like this – outfits should be removable and have fastenings to put them back on again, especially on dolls who are designed primarily as playthings.
Lastly, I just wanted to mention the issue of race. Mattel have long given the impression that they don’t particularly like to talk about race, and would far rather make dolls who are racially ambiguous (like Lea and, arguably, Raquelle) than clearly identifiable (like the So In Style dolls, which are hugely popular but suffer from limited distribution, making them hard to find). Monster High must be a dream come true for them, as they can always truthfully say that they are producing dolls who are green and blue and purple, rather than black or white. But of course the issue of race is still there, underneath – I think that most people would identify Clawdeen and family as dolls of colour, for instance. I think that Jane is another one of those Monster High dolls of colour that they don’t make – although of course that is arguable. Personally, I’m glad to (kind of) see this, although I wish they wouldn’t be so coy about it … does anybody else have any thoughts on this? I’d like to hear them if so.