It's November 1, so that means that the arrival of the Hess Toy Truck, a tradition that began back in 1964, is here. Previewed in early October with an image of gleaming pistons alongside the message that the truck "is coming with more power than ever," the 2016 Hess Toy Truck and Dragster retails for $31.99 with free standard shipping and five Energizer® batteries included. The vehicle went on-sale exclusively via its official website at 10am Eastern time, with an immediate queue forming some 20 minutes+ deep in order to meet demand and avoid the crashing that plagued the 2015 launch - the first time that the trucks were offered as an online affair following the sale of the Hess Express Stations the year prior.
THE ROCK FATHER is sharing some thoughts on #KindMonsters in partnership with Mattel’s Monster High...
Over the years, there’s been a lot of discussion about popular culture as a reflection of the world around us. One aspect of that has often been explored within the realm of monsters - the characters and legends of literature and film. For the latter, horror movies are a genre of entertainment that in itself is one of the most heavily influenced by, and also reflective of the society of the times. Right now, there’s a movement taking place that’s hidden in plain sight, and some parallels can be drawn between it and those films, with monsters at the core. It’s a movement that can help families open up some teachable moments, inspiring kids to learn timely lessons about inclusion and celebrating the differences in our friends. Electrified and reinvigorated with energy rivaled by only that of Dr. Frankenstein himself, Monster High is taking on a new class.
If my calculations are correct, we're just about six days out from the big holiday switch... a time when Halloween is behind us, and we start rolling full-sleigh ahead toward Christmas and the other festive end-of-year events. Each year, there's always a commercial or two that really captures the spirit of the season, and this year we have an early entry from a Christmas staple - Duracell Batteries. As the official battery power of the STAR WARS franchise and the forthcoming ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS Story (out December 16), Duracell is helping to power imaginative play by donating one million batteries to 147 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the U.S. To celebrate, and to encourage others to support the CMN mission, a new commercial has been released from director Simon McQuoid that takes viewers on a mission to deliver a very special Droid, through the minds of children. Check it out...
One of the most exciting and most important toys to arrive here at Rock Father HQ this year is one that I first covered here on the site over a year and a half ago... WONDER CREW. Initially launched via a successful Kickstarter Campaign, these 15-inch soft-bodied dolls were created by a mom who noticed a lack of toys that encouraged friendship and empathy being marketed to boys - essentially the reverse of what my wife and I (along with many others) see as the parents of two girls. Gender roles in play has been a hotly-debated issue in recent years, but spinning it back to my own childhood, the answer has always been a simple one - to let kids be kids and play with what they'd like. Thing is, it's mostly the grownups that are responsible for forcing a "this" and "that" mentality to kids, and even if you strip away all the debate, one thing is quite certain: it's very difficult to find a male doll in any toy store or department. Back in the 80s we had "My Buddy" and a host of Cabbage Patch Kids, but now lately it's been nearly impossible to find a doll that represents a boy - and even our girls have noticed. Wonder Crew takes a step in the right direction, and they're really great toys.
If you're old enough to remember the scratch-n-sniff craze of the 1980s, then you'll fully understand the appeal of Whiffer Sniffers, a line of collectible plush backpack clips, huggable plush and yes, stickers. On the market for the past year or so, these scented characters each have a distinctive personality and smell, and The Rock Daughters™ have amassing a nice little assortment of them, with several clipped to their backpacks.
Back in the 1980s, Galoob Toys' Micro Machines first hit the scene and became a massive success for a number of years, eventually fading a bit before the small, West Coast toymaker was absorbed by the large, East Coast-based Hasbro. Along the way, Hasbro also acquired TONKA, since licensed out to Funrise Toys, current manufacturers of the iconic yellow vehicles and their many spinoffs. The reason why these acquisitions and licensing deals are important to this story is that the newly-released TONKA Tinys seem to carry a lot of DNA from all of these companies' past endeavors. While there have been plenty of Micro Machines copycats over the past three decades, none have felt as close to the real deal as these new Tinys from TONKA, and that's a pretty cool thing as nostalgia plays so heavily into what parents of today are introducing to their own kids. One decidedly modern spin, however, is that TONKA Tinys are essentially "Blind Boxed," and they tap into the very now trend of micro collectibles.