Lego have been launching quite a few new ranges of late; there have been Super Heroes and new Star Wars, aimed at boys presumably, and for girls the "Friends" range, a foray into the world of pink, which seem to have received mixed reviews on the internet, for reasons that I will explain briefly later on once I've got to the crux of the matter - is this set any good?
Reasons for Purchase:
Truth be told I'd not particularly encouraged my kids to aspire to ownership of any of the sets, however it's hard to argue with a determined 6 year old with money from granny to burn, and this is how this particular item, priced at £9.99 entered our lives. The set is pretty much as pictured on the box, you get all you need to build the dog house, a tree and quite a few puppy accessories as well as the two figures. It's all a bit "polly pocket", but there is some building required, and 64 pieces in all, some of them being quite original - there's a dog bath and bog bowl and bone. It's fair value for what you get.
Lego recommend this set for ages 5-12, and I think this is about right. Once she had opened the box my 5 year old was able to build it with very little assistance - she needed a bit of help to assemble the figure and add the rosettes to the puppy house, but mainly she was able to manage everything by herself. In total the build probably took less than half an hour.
The instructions are clear, something we expect from lego, but overall it's a pretty undemanding build. What you actually make is really pretty small in all honesty - the tree is 5cm tall to give you some idea of size. The doll figure is minifigure size and, for me, could do without having a ahem anatomically correct chest and an unfeasibly small waist not to mention rather big hair. Such details didn't seem to bother the five year old though who enjoyed making her set and probably doesn't understand the value of money so didn't feel her money was badly spent - I would have liked to see more build and less little bits of accessories eg bows and brushes for her money. As with all lego everything is well made and solid though and does stand up to play.
Once made the set does have quite good play value - the little figure can hold all the accessories and you can fix the bows to both puppy and owner. My daughter quite likes bathing and brushing the dog. There are a lot of little pieces so care needs to be taken around a hoover or younger siblings. The set can be used with other lego items obviously, though this does lead to the little doll ( called Mia apparently) looking a bit out of place next to her more strangely normal looking mini figure friends. The brushes and other items are an interesting addition and do make the set better than it would otherwise be - however I can't help but feel that lego have got the balance slightly wrong here and tried to be all about playing with the accessories rather than building - this to me misses the point of lego entirely.
I've tried then, to be objective about this set and the range even though when I first saw them in store I was bit horrified - I'm not alone, lego forums have been abuzz with discussions about whether the sets are stereotypical and too pink.