The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Hartfield Cottage Dollhouse and Puppet Palace Review by Heather JackowitzBy Reprint Mint
What wonderful, quality toys the folks at Reprint Mint have created! Hartfield Cottage is an enormous (31"w x 15"d x 31"h) dollhouse that assembles quickly and easily. The box says it assembles in 15 minutes or less, so I timed myself starting from opening the box. It took about 20 minutes, and that included the time spent telling all my little ones to move back, get off the box, etc. It really is quite easy to assemble! This Tudor-style house is made of medium density fiberboard and laminated with beautiful wall, floor, and ceiling designs. Even the outside is gorgeous, with flowers and ivy all over the walls. The designer lived in England and modeled the dollhouse after houses in Hartfield in Sussex, where A.A. Milne resided and based his Winnie the Pooh stories. Each piece fits effortlessly together, and pegs secure the pieces very securely. Extra pegs are included in case you lose some. Dolls and furniture are available separately.
The family of hand painted wooden dolls has flexible arms and legs and is extremely sturdy, and the furniture set is beautifully crafted. The complete set of accessories includes a father, mother, two children, two grandparents, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, and living room. My children have been going crazy making little accessories out of Sculpey clay to decorate the dollhouse. Seven rooms and three floors make this a dollhouse that two children can easily play with side by side. Reprint Mint also makes a smaller dollhouse, Hollyhock House, and an incredible medieval castle.
Another fabulous toy from Reprint Mint is the Toy-of-the-Year Award winning Puppet Palace. This tabletop theater can be used with either hand puppets or marionettes. The theater measures 36"w x 32"d x 42"h. It is quite balanced on its stand, so you just need a surface that is wide enough. We set ours up on our toddler picnic table. You can also set it up on the floor, especially if you use marionettes. Laminated artwork side panels are reversible, with a theater entrance on one side and an audience, complete with Shakespeare and Beethoven, on the other side. Three double-sided backdrops are included along with one blank one to decorate with the included markers. You may choose a castle, a forest, or a cottage, with an inner view and an outer view on opposing sides.
The theater goes together easily with pegs, just like the dollhouse, and includes curtains to keep puppeteers hidden. My 8- and 10-year-olds can do it themselves, and it stores nicely in its box when not in use. My children are beside themselves with enthusiasm over this theater! They wrote and performed a puppet show for their daddy for Father's Day using homemade felt hand puppets. My daughter put on an informative play explaining and showing the different kinds of puppets (hand, marionette, and finger). She said to me, "Mommy, I think the only toys we need are this puppet theater, the dollhouse, and our train set!" (I added Legos/Duplos to her list.) I think she is right. These kinds of toys stimulate creativity galore.
For more information, visit www.GoodnessForChildren.com. You will not be disappointed with these quality toys, and neither will your children!