Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Toy Review: American Girl dolls vs. Corolle dolls

Ok.  There are a lot of dolls in my house.  A LOT.  (and a lot of kids, too, a half dozen! - so hopefully that explains the abundance of toys and dolls.)  :)

I think, for as long as I've been a mother, I've been looking for the cutest, cuddliest, sweetest smelling, nicest dressed dolls I can find.  And I have found some very nice ones! Then at some point my husband declared enough was enough.  I agreed.  And yet, when a 4th birthday loomed on the horizon for Olivia, (who has been especially envious and covetous of big sister's American Girl doll Julie), I thought we should get her an American Girl Bitty Baby.  It made sense, in a way, to give her a baby doll, since we have a new (real) baby in the house, even though we already have baby dolls aplenty.  (See honey, I do know!) Really.
But an American Girl Bitty Baby baby doll would be extra super dooper special, right?
Known for their high quality and purportedly the 'perfect size' for 3 and 4 yr olds, Bitty Baby seemed the way to go. So I ordered the red head Bitty Baby with gray blue eyes. (We didn't have a red-headed doll yet was my reasoning, plus our real baby's downy fluff looks a bit gingery to me).

Well....when it arrived, I was surprised by the flatness of it's face sculpt, and the pallor of it's face and limbs.  Lifelike it wasn't.  Her clothes were lovely, though.  As was the fun, pretend baby monitor I'd ordered.  American Girl really does an outstanding job with their doll accessories and doll clothing.
But the doll.  Hmm.  15 inch Bitty Baby just simply was not as cute and cuddly as one of the dolls we already own; specifically 14 inch Corolle's Bebe Do.

Now, our Corolle Bebe Do doll has not been given the love she deserves in our house, nope.  I think I bought her 3 years ago and so, for 3 years she has mostly laid in a doll crib in the playroom, seemingly ignored.  Sometimes I'd find her one white plush outfit removed, but I never saw her in the dolly highchair being 'fed', never saw her at a 'tea party' with the other dolls, never helped her into a carrier on my girl's back - why?  Surely not for lack of cuteness!? Or cuddliness!?

I asked Big Sis (age 7.5) what she thought of the Bitty Baby doll vs. the Bebe Do doll - and shockingly (she's an American Girl doll lover), she agreed with me, that the Corolle Bebe Do was actually 'cuter', more life-like and cuddlier!  She gave both dolls many squeezes and hugs and finally sniffed both doll's heads - "this doll smells better too", she said.  Huh.  Our 3 yr old Corolle still smells faintly of the vanilla scent Corolle uses in their doll-making.  It never was an overpowering scent, and I am sensitive to such things...and she was right, the Bitty Baby did not smell quite as good.  And our birthday girl is all about things smelling good!














I think Bitty Baby has no really discernible smell, just a faint sort of new car kind of smell...but...Bebe Do did smell 'better', kind of like a freshly bathed real baby.
Hmmm.  Look at the difference in hand sculpts! I love Bebe Do's delicate fingers and oooh those babylicious lips! Overall, I find Bebe Do has a more delicate appearance, and a more finessed sculpt, whereas Bitty Baby's sculpt seems a bit clumsy and unrefined.  I keep thinking poor Bitty Baby is going to need braces for that underbite when she grows up.  ;) 
 
I firmly believe that "The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst beautiful things!" (supposedly Plato said that.)  Well, I say it, it helps me edit the house.    
                   
So here was my idea: return the American Girl Bitty Baby doll, clean up our Corolle Bebe Do doll, and use the return money to dress her up in cuter clothes, outfit her with some awesome accessories and see what happened....

Stay tuned, and I'll show you!
:)


11 comments:

  1. The dolls are so cute I love to see them and in my opinion toys are the most precious things for kids,Actually they are just like friends for them and please continue to post pictures.

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  2. I'm fourteen -- I know, I know, -- and I recently fully inherited my elder sister's auburn 12 inch corolle boy. I think he's a calin, but it isn't obvious. We've had him all my life plus a year or so and he's been played with so much by both my sister and I. He's been washed. Thrown around the garden. In the heat, the cold..even the rain. Once he was left in the fridge for a whole day. But he still has not lost his lovely scent and is still as adorable as he always has been.

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    1. Glad to hear your Corolle baby doll is holding up well even with 2 mamas loving him up! Sounds like he's having a grand time at your house! :D Does your little guy have brown eyes or blue? The brown eyed ones tend to be dressed as boys originally, we have a bald baby 12 inch Gotz Muffin who maybe the most beloved of our 12 inch baby dolls - but one eyelid sticks a bit now - and I can't seem to get it to work right, or find a replacement anywhere. Gotz dolls don't have a scent, and they too can be machine washed - so nice to have good quality dolls!!! Thanks for your comment!

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  3. I am so glad you did this review, as I am debating this question right now for our daughter's upcoming 3rd birthday. I've never seen Corolle or Bitty Baby in person, but even the images of the Corolle baby dolls looked sweeter. But the bitty Baby is... American Girl. Brand name appealing. But the Corolle is just so soft and sweet looking. We have decided to go with either a Calin or a Tidoo - depending on which our daughter chooses (I'm going to line up all the dolls images and have her choose so that it's the perfect doll for her). They are precious! And I'm glad to hear that even in person the Corolle stands cuter against the bitty Baby

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    1. Rachel, our Lucy just turned 3 yesterday, and guess what, her big birthday request was - a baby doll! I'm going to write about it now, so check back on my blog for our Corolle Tidoo vs Sky Calin vs Charming Pastel Calin!
      You should know that Tidoo is a doll that can go in the tub(!) and is meant to dry quickly, so: all the Tidoos are 'crunchy' feeling because their bodies are stuffed with what feels like styrofoam to me, (which we think is a bummer!) so we went with Sky Calin and I'll tell you why in the blog. Thanks for your comment!

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  5. Thank you so much for your blog! I've been hunting for the perfect babydoll ever since my 2-year-old daughter asked Santa for "a baby" (my heart stopped for about 5 minutes while we clarified that she wanted a doll and not a sibling lol). You wrote such a great comparison of these two dolls that were among my top choices. Thanks to your blog (and a less helpful trip to a local store). I ended up finalizing with a Corolle Chouquette (fingers-crossed that she prefers to tie the doll's hair in knots instead of mine). I had to order it online, and I'm so excited for it's arrival next week! (Like a kid on Christmas morning!!)

    However, I've been struggling to find outfits, which seems silly since this is one of Corolle's selling points. All of the Corolle outfits and shoes are red or pink, and my talkative and opinionated little one has specified multiple times that she wants a "blue baby"... my penance for letting her watch Cinderella... I finally decided to hope for the best with a blue dress from Molly P., but plain white dress shoes are eluding me (Corolle only has white sneakers). Do you know if any other brands make shoes that will fit the Classiques/Chouquette?

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  6. Oh wow, I think I can actually help, because we happen to own a Corolle Chouquette! Her feet measure 2 inches long by 1.25 inches wide, with an ankle that's 3.3 inches around. Small feet! I think American Girl's Bitty Baby's feet are bigger and chunkier, about 2.5 inches long and rather wide, so BB's booties will be too wide AND long and fall right off your Chouquette...if I were you I'd find an Etsy seller to whip you up a pair of shoes in time for Christmas. You found such a cute Molly P outfit! (Blue with white snowflakes? Adorable!) In my doll outfit quests, I have also gone to great lengths to find socks, diapers, shoes, onesies...and have found that some of our Etsy purchases (handmade) have out performed store-bought/brand-name, but it can be quite a search to find the good sellers. I'd suggest no socks, just a good cute bootie, one that has elastic at the cuff so it stays on, or a good bit of velcro if it's a mary jane style...what do you think of these booties by SweetHeartsandSoles?: http://www.etsy.com/listing/60157320/snow-princess-ice-blue-sparkling-crochet?ref=sr_gallery_38&ga_search_query=blue+doll+booties&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=all
    I think this seller might be able to make them smaller, according to your measurements, her listing says she'll happily do custom work.
    I'd avoid socks, doll socks in our house just get left in the doll clothes drawer, but our booties and shoes get used a lot.
    Our local doll hospital carries Corolle shoes, and has a whole drawer of no-name doll shoes that they'll dig through to try and fit to a specific dolly, but I have found that Corolle shoes fit Corolle the best - here's the pair of dressier Corolle shoes on their website that fits our Chouquette: http://reallygreattoys.com/product/99854/pink-shoes-for-17-baby but yeah, it says those are out of stock! If you call their brick-and-mortar store ( the Doll Hospital and Toy Soldier Shop)and ask for the doll dept, they might know more about shoes for Chouquette.
    And lastly, if you want a fantastic diaper, this Etsy seller 'Bella's Inspirations' made our most favorite ones, they are just beautifully made and soft: http://www.etsy.com/listing/117917667/baby-doll-diaper-with-matching-bib
    All the best and Merry Christmas!
    :D
    Autumn
    (mamazakka)

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  7. Thank You for this post! I ran across this when doing a "bitty baby vs. corolle" search and my mind is made up now!!!

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  8. I kind of feel the same way. We bought a Corolle Doll, Calin I think she was called. My toddler would not touch the handmedown Bitty Baby but loved on that Corolle Doll. So, I saw the little older Corolle Dolls and recently purchased her a Vanilla Blonde for her birthday which will be Tuesday. I went to the American Girl store. All the stuff you can buy for Bitty Baby seems so fun, but the bodies are not cuddly at all! I think I will stay with the Corolle Doll. If we love the Bitty accessories so much, she can get stuff, but use it with the Corolle Doll.

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  9. To me some babydolls look too much like just a minute ago born, I mean their heads are lenghtwise overstretched like just having passed the b-channel. I think some children notice this too and do not like that particular doll. Add too brightblue eyes and Europe and you can guess a doll I really dislike for its head. Chou chou is just that bit better by having a more rounded head. I am jealous of American dolls choices, but really, I like toddler and up to 10 year old children like dolls, with the right proportion of head to body, no toddler head on a baby body please. I also own teenagelike dolls, with normal bodyproportions, 40 years old. I knit and sew for dolls and even when dressed you notice bad proportions immediately. Like a toddlers dress on a babysized body with a toddlers head just does not look right, but a babydress does not combine with the head. So, next to all things like playability, payprice, haircondition (can it be washed and combed) I would always look for a beautiful head (and body) with a near nutral expression, so a child can imagine the doll in every situation looking "right". Pouting, screaming, lol-laughing dolls are in my world meant for adults. Who would not love to hear "What a beautifull child" when walking their baby instead of "What a nice sweater she is wearing" in the last case you know the observer thinks your baby has not one lovely feature. (In those cases I ask if I can hold him/her, that shows appreciation too and does not hurt the mother). A child wants to hear lovely things about her doll too.Unnnecesary to mention I would think my child the prettiest in the world anyway and love him/her to pieces.

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Mamazakka is Mommy blogger Autumn Sousanis; also-known-as Autumn Dunbar; and also-known-as "Mama" to six little ones, ages 9, 7.5, 5, 3.5 2 and a 3 month old! :) Busy,yes. A graduate of C.C.S. (Center for Creative Studies, School of Art and Design in Detroit) with my bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, I have finally found my calling as 'Mamazakka', maker of everything and anything that might improve your home, life and outlook. :) It's my goal to create things that truly meet Wikipedia's definition for 'zakka'; (here's an excerpt)..."cute, corny, kitschy is not enough. To qualify, a product must be attractive, sensitive and laden with subtext." Oh yeah! You betcha! Well, that's my goal, anyhow! I'm also known as an over-user of exclamation marks(!) and parentheses (can't help it) though I do try to keep my smileys to a minimum :)