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Every little girl seems to love a doll at some point in their life. My daughter was 2 and a half at Christmas, and she had just started to get really interested in dolls. We knew we would get her a doll, but was unsure which one to get. Baby Annabell made by Zapf is one of the most popular models of doll against the Baby Born. Each have their own set of pros and cons attached to them as I worked out when we were researching the doll. In the end we decided on a Baby Annabell.
The search doesn't stop when you decide on the doll you want. There are different versions of Baby Annabell, with different price tags attached. It seems that each version will do something just that little better than the last. I probably would have bought the latest version had I not seen the version 4 in a half price sale just before Christmas. I weighed up the pros and cons and decided that as my daughter is only two years old, she wasn't going to know any different. There certainly aren't any friends that she would have to compare dolls with.
So what do you get with Baby Annabell version 4? In our box we had a large doll that is actually quite heavy. I was worried my daughter may struggle with her, but she copes fine. You get a bottle, outfit for Annabell, a dummy, and a pack of tissues. I'm not really sure what the relevance to the tissues is, other than they are of no use to anything or anyone. I was hoping it was going to be a nappy for the doll, but sadly not.
Annabell has various functions that she will do unassisted and also assisted. Without any child interaction, Annabelle will move her head from side to side. This makes her sound and look like a robot which is quite funny. The booklet says she does this with interaction from a child's voice, but I have seen her do this when the room was quiet.
Annabel's dummy and bottle have the perfect ends to fit into the hole in her mouth. Once inserted she will make a variety of noises, sometimes a gurgle and sometimes sucking. If Annabell is hungry, the sucking noises will be heard, followed by a burp once left in for long enough. Once she has burped, there will be a big sigh and she will close her eyes for a while until a loud noise is made, or enough time has passed.
You can put water into the bottle and this will make Annabell cry real tears from her eyes. I haven't introduced this to my daughter as I didn't want to encourage the water at a young age, but I have had a go with this when she hasn't been around. I don't find this feature to be very good at all, you are lucky if you can get any tears to flow to be honest.
There is thankfully an on and off button inserted into Annabel's back which is easily reached. If left on, and not played with, Annabell will gurgle and make weird noises to herself. This can get quite annoying if she's not being played with. My daughter has learnt very quickly that she can turn her off.
I like the fact that Annabell can interact with children, or vice versa, as I think it gives the children a chance to look after a baby, but I do think the doll is more suited to a child over four rather than the recommended three years. This is purely because younger children don't understand the mechanics of how the doll is made, and it could quite easily be broken by trying to force the head to move or eyes to close etc.
I have found the batteries to last with plenty of usage, so it's not expensive to keep replacing them, and the doll doesn't have to be left unloved at the bottom of the toy box because the batteries have worn out. Having said that you do need 4 x AA batteries to make the doll work.
Despite the £38 price tag, I think this doll will last my daughter a few years until she understand the whole concept of having something newer and better when watching adverts. For this reason I rate the doll highly and think it has provided us with good value for money. I have looked at what versions 5 contains and it doesn't appear to be too different, so parents may get away with saving some money.