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on June 15, 2008
My 2 1/2 year old doesn't get enough of this toy. He loves to change to outfits and will stay entertained for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes playing (a long time for this age group). Joey is a great addition so that little boys can play with dress up dolls without having to use girl figures, and he also enjoys the different costumes and pretends with us each character. For the price it is great. The only thing is that if he drools on it, the paper becomes soggy so be careful if your child is a drooler.
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on September 12, 2009
Pros: Melissa and Doug toys are great. My 3 year old son likes this toy. It has different professions (e.g., fire fighter, police officer) and fantasy roles (e.g., super hero, knight). It also is a type of puzzle because they match the outfits and make the pieces fit together. Adults can also enjoy it. It reminds me of my old paper dolls, but better because it's magnetic.

Cons: The box is awkwardly designed and all of the pieces don't fit in easily. My son has already misplaced some of the pieces. It would be better if the box was enclosed (e.g., had a lid) and all the pieces fit easily inside.
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on August 25, 2009
I picked this up on a whim when watching my 3 year old nephew the other day. We were taking him to a 'nicer' steak restaurant, and I wanted to make sure we had something to keep him occupied while waiting for the food.
It was a HUGE hit! The character and pieces were well sized for table-top play. He was almost sad to have to put it away when the food arrived! After dinner, he immediately started asking if he could play with it in the car on the ride home.
Only downside- I wish the tray was more of a box that closed so that you don't have to worry about loosing pieces. A lid of some sort would make it perfect for outings to restaurants, etc.
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on September 19, 2010
I love wooden toys, generally like Melissa & Doug, and I'm all about encouraging creative play. But this toy falls flat. Since the pieces are not terribly interchangeable it stifles creativity, as it's difficult to put all tops with all bottoms, etc. It's more like a really lame puzzle. My son played with it once or twice, then just didn't see the point. It's not like he's dressing a doll that he can then go off and play with or something. You dress it, you look at it, you move on. Yawn.

Plus, the lack of a cover or lid to the box is a huge negative. The little pieces are constantly getting separated from the rest, making this an irritating toy to keep clean. Further, I don't know how but my son managed to peel off the face from the guy so now it's just a faceless blah with several of the pieces who knows where.

This is definitely not a toy that is worth it to me to deal with, especially since it fails at inspiring true creativity. I just chucked what was left of it in the trash (after less than a year of ownership).
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on March 13, 2010
Before purchasing this toy I read through ALL of the reviews. Of all of them, I found only one mentioning a chemical smell. Therefore, I figured it was an anomaly. Nope. It really does stink horribly.

This toy is off-gassing something. Not only does it have to be some form of VOC-it actually makes your fingers smell like it too. I did not realize this until I had already allowed my children to play with it. I got both the Joey set and the Maggie set. The Joey set is much more stinky than the Maggie Leigh set by far. It is now sitting in the garage and I am not allowing the kids to play with them until I find out what is off-gassing so bad.

I got light-headed and my stomach became upset from the smell--this does not happen unless there is some type of volatile organic compound involved. VOCs are not good for anyone-especially kids- to inhale or handle. I had also bought some large wooden lacing beads and they do not smell anything like this. Actually, none of the other toys we have from Melissa & Doug smell like this. I wonder if it is the magnetic backing or some type of adhesive?

I put a call in to the Melissa & Doug company right after I opened the package and noticed the noxious smell. I explained my concerns with them and asked them to contact me with the information on what could be causing this smell. They were very courteous, concerned and they assured me that they would get back to me after checking it out-it is one of their best-selling toys. They also offered to replace the toy if they could not resolve the smell issues. I am confident I will hear something this coming week and I will update this review.

My family enjoys our many Melissa & Doug toys. However, this particular toy needs better testing.

Update: 8/11/10

No word yet on the testing results for what the noxious smell was. They were very understanding and professional. When I spoke with one of their consumer product reps she stated that the item may have been sealed before the paint cured. Still waiting on results though. Once they picked up the product that they footed the S&H on-they then kindly sent a small selection of age appropriate toys as replacement for the sets I sent back to them. I thought this was a really nice gesture on their part and very fair. They sent the large threading beads and an adorable sea life magnetic fishing puzzle. Our kids love them! Upgraded stars to 4 from 2 since I had to send it back for testing etc. but overall I am satisfied for the most part with how the issue was resolved- although I would like to know that they have resolved the smell issue with the magnetic dress-up toys.
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on August 29, 2008
My son loves this toy. The clothes stay on very well and he likes that it isn't a girl toy. Super happy with this toy. So happy, I am buying another one for my nephew.
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Our middle grandson received this as a 2nd birthday gift from my mother, bless her heart, and it sure did bring back some memories... both of playing with paper dolls with my sisters, as well as my (first) husband's reaction when - in the mid-80s - I'd purchased a neat looking fabric stuffed doll called "My Buddy" for my oldest son - he threw a fit! Despite the fact that "Buddy" was dressed in overalls and a red baseball cap, he didn't think it "appropriate" for our son to be bringing a "girl's toy" to bed with him. It sure is good to see how much society has changed from our once strident preoccupation with gender specific roles, occupations, stereotypes, etc.!

This put me somewhat in mind of the "Colorforms" I had so much fun with as a young girl in the 60's (thin die cut vinyl images that adhered to a shiny plastic, laminated board that you could reposition as desired). I was impressed with the 1/2" inch thickness of this wooden Joey (certainly holds up a lot better than paper!) - he's 8" tall and 4" wide, comes in a Tshirt and underwear, and then your youngster has several options to dress him in. I like that there are a combination of fantasy costumes (a 5 piece super hero including a cape and mask, a 5 piece pirate including a hat with an eye patch attached, and a 5 piece knight including a helmet), as well as real-life heroes (a 5 piece fireman in head-to-toe fire fighting gear, a 3 piece policeman outfit, and a 3 piece construction worker outfit, though I don't understand why they limited the amount of pieces for the policeman and construction worker... their shoes are attached to their bottom sections, rather than loose as with the other outfits.) There's a sturdy little "stand" included (though our grandson never uses it.)

This is a nice little set to teach "matching" the different clothing items, but he also enjoys MISmatching pieces to create crazy looking combos (not all of the pieces fit together physically, but he makes do.) Unfortunately, someone didn't have their "thinking cap" on during the design stage of this set... they didn't include some sort of lid for the sturdy wooden compartmentalized storage box (@ 11-3/4" x 8-1/4" x 1"), which is really not a good thing when there are so many pieces (have NO idea where the construction worker's hard hat went to!) One other thing I'd caution... some of the smaller pieces (i.e. the super hero mask, which is just 1-1/2" x 1/2" x 1/8" thick) COULD be choking hazards, and I did find our grandson putting that piece in his mouth, so just know your child and whether they have a propensity to do that. I don't see an age recommendation, but I think 2 years old might be just a tad too early with all of the small shoe pieces.
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on March 20, 2014
I got this for my 2.5 year old son because they have similar toys at his preschool and I liked the concept. He played with it off and on for a while but hasn't touched it in a long time. It just didn't hold his interest for long. Also, I don't like that you can't mix and match all of the pieces of all of the outfits - which my son was attempting to do and getting frustrated because he couldn't. He even tried to add boots to the outside of pants and the magnet of course isn't strong enough to attach two layers to the man. It's a well-made toy but I don't think it allows for enough creativity.
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on November 27, 2013
My son loves being able to dress up Joey in different costumes. And the costumes are ones that a boy would like - firefighter, superhero, knight, pirate, police officer and construction worker. He plays pretend games after dressing them in the chosen outfit. He used to play with his sister's girl dress up, but big sis wasn't happy with that. Now that he has his own, they play together. Him with his, and her with hers. It's a good arrangement for everyone, especially mom when they entertain one another for hours!
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on August 18, 2013
My Grandson loved this as well as the girls! They gave Me their orders as to what One's They wanted,One a Princess,& Than the the 2-girl's dress up!They are so great! My daughter was amazed at HOW WELL They are Made! I Love Doug & Melissa's items! They are not that costly For what You Get! My only problems IS I wish They would make a better box to keep the clothes & Dolls in ?The Box They come in are too easy for the small parts to fall out & Get lost!Even a shoes box? I still love These so Much I ordered More ,That's why I didn't take Stars away!
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