Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
Green Dollhouses: Separate, But Equal
The solar passive designed dollhouse features a wind turbine and a solar cell panel with electrical inverter for generating electricity, a rain barrel for collecting rain, a green facade which helps control the appropriate temperature of the house, and a shade canopy that can be pulled down preventing or allowing the wind and sunlight coming through. Also, recycle bins are included in the set.
You get a master bedroom, children’s bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom. All this for a suggested retail price of $190. Move in furnished for just $240. I chuckle as I write that.
There are just a couple other problems. First, according to the Plan Toys website, the dollhouse is rated for ages 18-months-and-up. But if you want to populate it with the Plan Toys’ Modern Doll Family, well, that family is rated for ages 3-and-up. I hope one is a typo.
No offense to redheads, but that’s one freaky family.
The second problem is philosophical. Suppose we’re talking about a toy school bus. Do you want a bus designed to carry only children who are wheelchair users? (They do exist.) Or do you want a bus designed to carry average kids, but also has access for a wheelchair rider? I’d choose the integrated approach, not the separate-but-equal ideology. In fact, the Fisher-Price Little People bus has exactly that, so integrated that Fisher-Price doesn’t even mention on its own website that it comes with a wheelchair. It’s a normal thing. Why mention it? And the chair fits any of the toy characters in the play set.
So, back to dollhouses… why do we need an eco-green dollhouse? Let’s see toy makers give us a regular dollhouse that includes a few new features… solar panels and recycling bins for starters. Add other common ecologically-friendly features as they permeate our culture. Treat this stuff as normal, not an exception to the rule.
And most of all, give up these innovative house designs that don’t resemble anyone’s notion of a traditional house. I’m saying make the damn thing rectangular and boxy, not some hipster chalet.
Disclaimer: My family owns a hipster chalet. I haven’t reviewed it because I prefer to only review products I recommend. There were quality control in the house we bought and it took my daughter a long time to warm up to a two-piece orange-roofed dwelling that doesn’t look like any house she’s ever seen.
We do have a Chalet House of Omelettes near us, but it’s blue and I don’t think that’s the same thing.