My kids and I LOVE Dora the Explorer -- the cute, wholesome, inquisitive, shorts-wearing, tom boy Dora that plays with monkeys and loves chocolate.
So the recent news makes me a little ... sad ... for lack of a better word.
Mattel and Nickelodeon just announced that Dora is going to grow up and get a makeover in the form of a new interactive toy doll that loves fashion. She's ditched Boots for much hipper tween buds with prettier hair, Dora's Explorer Girls, and, from the sounds of it, I'm guessing Backpack will be replaced too, possibly with some type of designer handbag.
Don't worry -- the preschool-aged Dora is not disappearing. While the original bilingual cutie continues to spend her carefree days teaching phonics and sight identification while finding mystical locales like Rainbow Mountain, a second older doll-only version of Dora will pour all that curiosity into "solving mysteries." I just hope those mysteries will amount to more than trying to find great earrings at the mall.
The idea behind the new Dora doll, which will retail for $60, is that while preschoolers adore her, they drop her like a hot potato as soon as they turn 5. The marketers and toy makers hope the new persona will "grow up with her fans" -- and extend a very profitable brand.
Dora the Explorer has been one of the most successful "properties" for nearly a decade, the president of Nickelodeon said in a press release, with an average of 21.1 million viewers, including 6 million preschoolers, tuning into the television show each month.
Tween Dora moves to the big city and attends middle school and has a whole new fashionable look. The doll won't be revealed until sometime this fall -- but you can see from her silhouette above that she has much longer hair, and prefers skirts and girly shoes to shorts and sneakers.
She can be plugged into the computer, where girls can access an interactive online world, allowing them to customize their doll and watch as she magically transforms right before their eyes. For example, by changing Dora's hair length, jewelry, and eye color on screen, the Dora doll magically changes as well.
This is the most I've been depressed since Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends acquired animated faces and moving mouths. Something about Dora suddenly worrying about what her hair looks like just seems wrong to me. Can't they leave anything to our children's imagination these days?
Share your thoughts about the new Tween Dora. Are you glad that the beloved character will grow up with your daughter or do you wish they would leave the sweet little preschooler alone?
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