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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mooshka Tots Karia review

I reached a milestone today:  I got banned from Facebook.  Apparently it's forbidden to suggest that someone keep their...behaviors in check, shall we say?  It's perfectly fine to have pages devoted to the harassment and bullying of right-wing politicians and men wrongly accused of crimes, but don't you ever, ever, EVER tell someone to behave themselves on a discussion board, or heaven help you!  LOL, the positive side is that it was only for twelve hours, so while I was on Facebook Time-Out I got to work on this review.  I've been holding this one back since Veterans' Day, so she's long overdue.  Here is my Mooshka doll, Karia.
Mooshka dolls are the fruits of a partnership between MGA Entertainment and Zapf Creations.  As a result of this heritage they have a concept similar to Lalaloopsy dolls.  According to the Mooshka's site, a group of paper dolls joined hands and came to life "through the power of friendship" (remember that Lalaloopsies come to life after being sewn together).  These dolls come in three sizes:  the six 13-inch dolls are simply referred to as Mooshkas, while the four 9.5-inch dolls like my Karia are called "Mooshka Tots."  Tots are the younger siblings of the big Mooshkas, with Karia's older sister being Myra.  In addition to regular Mooshkas and tots, there are three fifteen-inch dolls called "Sing Around the Rosie" dolls.  When one holds hands with these dolls they sing "Ring Around the Rosie."  Myra is available in this form along with two other characters, Niva and Lera.  I know that I'm just a trifle old for dolls that sing, but I like Lera's green eyes and brown hair, so I may seek her out.

Now, the review.  Mooshka dolls come in these really nice cardboard boxes, so that's where I'll start.
These are a lot like Living Dead Doll boxes.  They had a plastic panel on the front that allows one to view the doll in the store.  The cardboard lid fit over the back and was held on with a small cardboard band.  I pitched the plastic front and the cardboard band, so now the lid fits on top.
The top has this ribbon handle, effectively turning the box into a handy little carrying case.  Word of advice:  if you are in your twenties or older and choose to carry this box through the store by the ribbon, be prepared for some stares.  LOL
The back has drawings of the available characters.  Some of the characters have the tripped-out hair colors that are becoming a mainstay of any doll line created by MGA.
Here's what the inside of the box looks like.
It has some thingamabobs that hold Karia's accessories, but let's discuss the doll before we get to those.  Like most MGA dolls Karia has a backstory.  She loves summertime, warm weather, and picnics (just like me), and ironically has a birthday in winter (January 9th).  This love of summertime is reflected...well, all over the doll!  See her butterfly?
I love how delicately printed that butterfly is!  It is very solidly sewn on, one of the few things that is sewn onto Karia.  Everything else--her face, her hair, her stockings and shoes--all of that is printed.  Her hair is pinkish-orange in color and has little zig-zag lines, which I assume are supposed to be hairlines.
The back of her head has this weird little loop on it.
I have no idea what that loop is for, unless its sole purpose was to hold her in the package (one of the cords keeping her in place ran through that loop).  If so, then it served its purpose...and now it merely looks weird.  I wish there were a way to remove it without running the risk of cutting Karia's head open, but there's not so I'll just suck it up.  The back of Karia's head is shaped with little darts.
Her chin also has some shaping, done with an extra piece of fabric and some strategic stuffing.
The stitching is rock solid in all of these areas.  No loops, loose stitches, holes, or any sort of gaffe anywhere.  I love the fabric, too.  I'm not sure what sort of material it is, but it has a soft, vaguely fuzzy feel to it.  Unfortunately, this fabric attracts lint like you wouldn't believe.  Not a huge deal, but consider yourself warned:  my doll has been out of her box only a short time and has already picked up quite a bit of lint and pet hair.
Parts of Karia's head/hair have been stitched up into little buns like this.
If these had been available when my sister was little she'd have had a field day with those buns.  She used her stuffed animals as teething rings, and Karia's hair would have fit the bill perfectly.  Don't give Karia to your teething child however, because these dolls are NOT APPROVED FOR CHILDREN UNDER TWO YEARS OF AGE!!!  Miss Emily points this out in her recent post on Christmas toys.  Glad she saw that, because I sure as heck didn't!

Back to Karia's nitty-gritties.  All of her facial features are printed.  She has lovely royal blue eyes with two little eyelashes.  The irises have a little bit of detail printed in.  Her cheeks are blushed.
Karia also has a little pink oval nose and a smiling mouth.
Printed on Karia's arm are two little bracelets that match her dress.
The ends don't line up at the seam, but that's to be expected on a mass-produced, sewn doll.  The seam there is sturdy, and that's what counts.  Also present are these little Velcro patches on Karia's hands.
If one has more than one Mooshka one can link all the dolls together this way (remember that these dolls are supposed to be paper dolls that came to life).  The larger dolls also have arms long enough that they can clasp their own hands like this.  Karia can do this too, but it's a stretch and I don't recommend it.
Too bad.  It would've been cute to pose her holding that finger puppet, like Myra is in the linked image.

Karia's dress can be removed, so I'm going to shell that off and show you her tights.  The waistband has a cute little flower pattern printed on.
And here are the tights themselves.  They have a mismatched but coordinated pattern.
Her backside has a bit of shaping that will allow her to sit more easily, and this tremendously annoying tag.  I may clip that off.  The shoes are a separate piece of cloth sewn on to the bottom, and the soles are yet another separate piece.  The heels also have those goofy, nonfunctional little loops.  
These legs do not pose, by the way.  They have gussets at the hips that allow Karia to sit, but that's it.

Karia's dress consists of a top and skirt, which are sewn together to make a dress.   It fastens in the back with Velcro.
It is made of the same material as Karia's body, meaning that it's delightful to the touch but catches lint like mad.  The bodice is greenish-blue and has little green cap sleeves.  There are some small (printed) laces on the front of the bodice, and a pink band with hot pink polka dots at the waist.  Both of these details are printed.
You can also see some lint on the dress.  Told ya!

The skirt of the dress is very busy and reflects Karia's love for both picnics and summertime.  It's two shades of pink, with red polka dots and big, bright slices of watermelon printed on.
The watermelon print is very detailed, by the way.  Look at the seeds!

Sewn on to the skirt is this lavender pocket.  It "contains" Karia's pet kitten.  The hem of the pocket has white picots.  I'll admit that I'm a teensy bit disappointed (but not surprised) that the kitten is printed on...but he's so cute!
The skirt's hem also has picots, but they are green.
I love the quality of this little frock.  Like Karia's body, the dress is securely sewn, and all of the hems are finished.  The only thing this dress DOESN'T have is trim on the neckline and sleeves.  Again, not a huge gripe, but it would've been a nice touch since the skirt and pocket both have picots.  Oh, and as a little aside, all of these fabrics are machine-washable.  If your Mooshka gets dirty, pop her in a pillowcase and toss her in the washing machine.  No prob.

Karia comes with a couple of accessories, like I mentioned above.  There's this cute little finger puppet.  Look at the strawberries!
The puppet is made from the same material as Karia and thus can also be washed.  It looks eerily like one of those Russian nesting dolls.  It's very cute and it fits nicely on my finger.  Yes, I tried it out!
Okay, that's my thumb, but you get the point.

I can't really give you a review on the paper dolls, because I never got them out of the box.
The spot where they're lashed in is firmly anchored to the interior of the box.  I'd like to keep the box in good condition, so there they remain.

Lastly, since they're both MGA dolls with similar concepts, let's compare Karia to my Lalaloopsy doll, Blossom Flowerpot.
MGA has made a killing with Lalaloopsy dolls and I predict that they will with Mooshka dolls too.  However, and this is strictly my opinion, Karia and her soft friends may have an edge over the hard-plastic Blossom.  Both dolls are childs' toys, but Karia seems more...well, more kid-friendly.  She's your traditional rag doll with a modern spin.  Blossom and her plastic Lalaloopsy friends, while cute, are very heavy and somewhat cumbersome for small children to carry around.  Most of weight is in those huge heads, making Lalaloopsy dolls less than cuddly.  Because of those big heads, it's also hard to get the Lalas to sit up straight.  Mooshkas don't have this problem.
Additionally, the big Lalaloopsy dolls can be...well, this may sound strange, but they're a bit fragile.  Some of those outfits equip a fair amount of sateen, lace, and/or tulle, all of which can snag like crazy.  I myself have snagged some of the tulle on Blossom's stock dress, so I'm willing to bet that dolls owned by children have snags too.  And as a final little touch, the dolls themselves can be fragile.  I have not experienced this myself, but I've read stories on Facebook and Amazon about children accidentally dropping their Lalaloopsy on the floor and having the doll's head snap off!  Definitely not cool, and definitely not a problem that one would face with a Mooshka doll.  Karia is one of the few dolls that I WOULD subject to my throw-the-doll-across-the-yard-and-see-what-happens test.  I'm not GOING to because the back yard is currently full of mud and slush, but I still think she'd hold up.

That being said, good news/bad news time (spoiler alert:  the bad list will be brief).

*Arms are too short.  Not a huge deal, but it would've been cute to pose her holding her finger puppet.  
*This is a long shot, but there is a possibility that this fabric can snag.  The chance isn't as great, but it's still there.
*The fabric attracts lint, which can be annoying.
*Not for babies or tiny children.

*Lovely colors!  Some of the dolls are more pink for the girly-girl, while Karia strikes the perfect balance of pink and other colors.
*Fabric is lovely as well.  It has delightful colors and is pleasant to the touch.
*Washable.  Always a plus.
*Sturdy.  Not only does the fabric feel strong, but the stitching is done nicely.
*She doesn't have a ton of ridiculous, unnecessary accessories.  She has a finger puppet that can be incorporated into children's games, and paper dolls that can serve as decorations or toys.
*The packaging makes a great storage box.
*Shoes are sewn on and thus will not get lost.
*The dress comes off.  If you have someone in the family who can sew, it's possible to create new outfits for these dolls.  

Karia is not a doll I expected to fall for.  Being twenty-six I thought myself too old to pay attention to rag dolls.  But then again, a normal twenty-six-year-old isn't focused on dolls of any sort!  That being said, Karia is a surprisingly pleasing addition to my collection.  Unlike a lot of my girls, I don't have to worry about her shattering or losing pieces if I knock her over.  If she gets dirty I can wash her, and since I like to sew I can make some new duds for her if I want to.  I don't have to worry about biffing myself in the face with her, like I occasionally do with Blossom.  I don't know if I'd recommend a Mooshka to a collector, but I'd definitely recommend one to a child, or to a mother or father looking for something for their child.  They're excellent alternatives for kids who have found Lalaloopsy dolls cumbersome.  MGA and Zapf have a potential hit on their hands with Mooshka dolls, and if they add some extra outfits and ethnicities to the mix then this could be huge.  

Yours truly, 

!!!UPDATE!!!  I've had this post in draft form since November.  In the time since I drafted this a new line of Mooshka dolls has been released with a fairy tale theme.  There is also a set of all-plastic mini-Mooshkas similar to mini-Lalaloopsy dolls available; Miss Emily's review on one of these miniature dolls can be found here.


  1. What a great, comprehensive review. I wonder if that loop in the back of her head is so that you can hang her on a hook something. There's got to be some use besides packaging assistance.

    1. That might have something to do with it, yes. These dolls would make fabulous little wall hangings before the child grows into them (my mother sometimes hung toys to the wall to be looked at until I was old enough to enjoy them).