* Prices may differ from that shown
My son is a fan of Charley Bear (Cbeebies). Whilst searching Amazon for potential Christmas gifts for him, I came across 'Let's Pretend Charley Bear' for £14.99 and free delivery. I snapped it up!
This particular toy is suitable from age 2 onwards. It requires 4 x AA batteries which are included. Charley Bear measures 44.5x30.5x16.5cm. It is produced by Vivid Imaginations.
Charley Bear is marketed as being a plush toy who interacts with the narrator of the show with dancing, nodding and waving. He offers three gestures and movements. The batteries need to be inserted into Charley Bears foot. There is the an off/on button as well as a 'try me' option.
*~Price and Availability~*
Let's Pretend Charley Bear has an rrp of £49.99! It is stocked at www.elc.co.uk for that price but £69.99 on Amazon. It is also available from Tesco.
My 4.5yr old son was delighted to receive this on Christmas Day. It arrived in a large box from Santa Claus and was ready to play with right away. The batteries are provided for demo purposes. We replaced them after a few days with our own batteries. This bear is quite tall and has flat feet. He doesn't work well on thicker carpets as he simply falls over so best to use him on a flat surface. He is quite heavy. My son can manage to carry him perfectly fine though I feel he may be a little too bulky for a two year old to carry around.
So, this bear looks exactly like the real Charley Bear - brown and white with an adorable patched face and paw print tummy. He is very cute to look at and coating in a soft, plush material. He is certainly not a teddy as most of his body is completely solid underneath that layer of fur. His tummy in particular is very hard as are the arms and legs. Most of his head is soft and squidgy but he is definitely not a suitable cuddling candidate for bedtime snuggles. To be honest, I wouldn't like to drop him on my toes as he is likely to cause a bruise or two!
*~'Are You There Charley Bear!'~*
Anyway, my son wanted to play with Charley Bear soon after he had opened his presents. Charley Bear is quite loud and he has no volume switch. Whilst the narrator voice is loud, the actual movement of Charley Bear is even louder. Each time his body moves, even by a little, it sounds very robotic and creaky. I thought this may be due to the batteries running low but it happens with new batteries too and is rather annoying. My son asked why he was so squeaky and after a while he gets annoyed by the robotic noises and Charley Bear is left alone.
If you have watched the actual show on Cbeebies, you will recognise the narrators voice. I personally cannot stand his voice as it is very high pitched and squeaky - rather irritating to say the least. The different noises and movements are activated by pressing Charley Bears hand and this is fairy easy for my son to do though the younger end of the age bracket may need a little help. This needs to be done each time. It is also worth noting that if his feet are not completely flat on the floor, Charley won't work properly.
Charley Bear does have some okay features but not the best. He certainly doesn't keep my active son pre-occupied for any longer than a few minutes at a time. Charley Bear is very cute when he waves as he really comes to life. Any other movements (moving from side to side or nodding his head) are very slow and creaky due to his mechanical body. Charley Bear fans will be aware that Charley himself doesn't actually speak - he only interacts through movement and in response to the narrator voice.
Charley Bear plays a few guessing games with the narrator but nothing particular amusing. It is a bit repetitive to say the least and not very interactive. The narrator asks him to play a game. A loud noise echos out like a racing car or aeroplane and the narrator has to guess what Charley Bear is pretending to be. Charley Bear repeats himself a few times but the noises don't always sound realistic so my son wasn't able to guess them at first. Now he knows them by heart!
The main problem we have discovered with Let's Pretend Charley Bear is that if the bear is moved when in use, it totally sticks and won't work. Eventually it would work again but it would revert back to the first phrase. This is very irritating and happening more often now. I replaced the batteries today and we are hardly able to get past the welcome greeting from the narrator without Charley Bear freezing up. I tightened up the battery compartment incase that was the issue but no, Charley Bear was not for budging. I must admit, Charley Bear has left me feeling rather frustrated today though I very much doubt Boo will even notice as he hasn't been as impressed with Charley Bear as I originally hoped he would be.
Charley Bear may look cute but he is a total waste of money. I feel ripped off even paying £15 for him as he is poorly made in my opinion. His robotic arms and legs do not feel overly sturdy and I feel Charley may suffer a broken joint if dropped from a not-so-great height. I have replaced the batteries several times in the past few weeks too. Charley Bear is certainly not worth £50.00 and you would be crazy to pay this - it is basic and Boo hasn't really been interested in it due to the issues with it. I'm actually considering complaining about it.
Thanks for reading :)
At a Glance Charley just loves playing make believe. Watch and listen as Charley interacts with the narrator from the show Features and benefits for Little Charley Bear Let's Pretend Bear Charley just loves playing make believe. Watch and listen as Charley interacts with the narrator from the show.Requires 4 x AA batteries ( included) Colours and styles may vary.