Back with my Boy…
After what seemed like a lifetime I finally got back to see my little boy. After 7 long weeks I was there to collect him from school yesterday.
What a coincidence. It was Día del Padre in Spain. He was so excited that he could hardly contain himself. He had bought me a surprise present and made me a Father’s day card. And a great card it is too – see below. Maybe he had a little help with that…
I feel that I have to point out a small inaccuracy. I think that, just maybe, the Hulk is a little stronger than me. But the rest is a fairly accurate comparison of his dad with some of the more well-known superheroes.
The present was also a great surprise. It was a ‘LetraBot’ (letter-bot). This is a complete collection of letters that transform into robots. I was lucky enough to receive the letter ‘W’. I quickly got the feeling it was more for himself. 😊
It turns out they are called Alpha-bots in the English-speaking world. Probably not even a new thing. Just new to me. Here is the letter “W” before and after transformation.
The Alpha-bots are even marketed with the following slogan. ‘Ordinary letters one moment and extraordinary robots the next!’. Please…
These ‘toys’ are obviously meant to be collected. There are 26 of them covering the alphabet and they also come in the form of numbers. Well at least there is a clear limit to the size of the collection. All parents should be thankful for that at least. Unless, that is, they decide to try to “educate” kids in the alphabets of the oriental languages. They even come with some kind of comic-cum-magazine that falls over itself trying to be educational. With simple arithmetic and the likes…
Letra-Bots? I don’t Get it!
It reminds me of that scene in one of my favourite Tom Hanks movies “BIG” when he finds a job testing toys for a large toy maker. Josh – the 13-year-old played by Hanks – sticks his hand up in a meeting and says: “I don’t get it.” He goes on to ask about the new “toy” and clarifies that it is indeed a building that turns in to a robot. Then he asks:
“Well what’s fun about that?”
My thoughts exactly when I first saw these ‘Letra-bots”. What’s fun about a letter of the alphabet turning into a robot?
But what do I know? Dani loves them and now has now built up a little collection.
You can watch that scene here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ERuhks3GNk
Who Will Sell the Toys?
Another great scene in that movie is the one filmed in FAO Schwartz toy store in New York. Made famous mainly by the floor piano scene. For me the best part of the action in that store was Hanks riding that zebra rodeo-style; it still makes me laugh. That shop was fantastic. I have been there a few times and I loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, it was bought out by the same group that own Toys-R-Us. They opened a huge flagship store in Times Square and some genius thought it was a good idea to shut down the FAO Schwartz operation. Now of course Toys-R-Us has fallen on hard times and it looks like all their stores will close. In the USA, UK and in Spain. Karma anyone?
Maybe, just maybe some bright entrepreneur will spot the opportunity for re-opening a real toy store and once again we may be able to visit an FAO Schwartz…And then I read….
Apparently there was an attempt to re-open the store on 5th Avenue with East 58th street but it is unclear whether this was just for the festive period alone. Yet another report suggests that it will reopen in the Rockefeller Plaza some time like Autumn 2018. Much smaller than the famous 5th Avenue location but still great news if true. If anyone knows for sure please let us all know.
I suspect that the large supermarkets and internet will completely take over from the large toy stores. Sad but inevitable.