Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
on July 7, 2010
We've now had Smoulder as a part of our family for almost six months, and we could not be more delighted. He was a gift for my three year old daughter, but everyone who comes over (including Mom and Dad) ends up picking him up. He is constructed of a very soft green plush and is very comfortable and cuddly, but what really makes him spectacular are his iridescent wings and stomach, which I did not expect. He really looks terrific, and unlike some of our other career-oriented puppets (police officer, doctor), it is impossible to tell a mundane story about him. I love to see my daughter's creativity sparked by such an engaging toy. It might be important to note that although he is a dragon, he is the least frightening dragon available. My daughter is a bit of a scaredy-cat, but she was never remotely alarmed by Smoulder's appearance, which is friendly and comical. The mouth is simple enough that she can work it, although she does prefer for others to "make him talk" while she orchestrates the story. I expect that will change as she gets older and her hands develop strength. He does include the stick to move one of his hands. It is attached by velcro and makes Smoulder much more expressive, but he has taken quite a bit of abuse in that area (being carried around by the stick, sometimes using the stick to flick him around and make him "fly") and the glue that holds the velcro to the wooden stick is beginning to come loose. I don't think it will be difficult to re-glue when it finally comes off, however. Overall, he is well constructed, beautifully designed, and a fantastic source of imaginative fun for the whole family. Many thanks to Melissa and Doug for providing so many quality toys to encourage creativity!
Update: We've now had Smoulder for about a year and my daughter still loves him. She always introduces him to younger children who she thinks might fear him by saying, "Smoulder is a NICE dragon" while petting him. She's getting better (and more confident) about "making him talk" herself so she can play more independently with Smoulder. She even takes him to friends' houses and to the mall. The only caveat to poor Smoulder is his dowel didn't hold up to my daughter's rough play and it snapped at the handle. I had to remove the dowel for this reason because the edges were jagged and dangerous after it broke. I don't know how she did it (it happened while she was playing in her room) but I might imagine it could break if it was shoved very hard into the toy box (her puppets are not supposed to go in the toy box but I have found them in there) or if it was stepped on. It would be nice if Melissa and Doug sold replacement dowel rods so we could still move his hands as that is one of the things that makes him so cute. Also, if your child is potentially rough with his or her toys, careful with the rods - they are sharp when they break!