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Amazing Amanda: Is She Right For Your Child?

The latest electronic technology creates a talking, interactive doll.

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Amazing Amanda

Amazing Amanda: An Interactive Doll

Playmates Toys
One of the hottest dolls this holiday season is the Amazing Amanda doll from Playmates Toys. Although dolls that talk have been made in one form or another for over 100 years, Amazing Amanda does much more than talk--she is completely interactive, and includes voice recognition technology.

Voice and Object Recognition

Do you remember the Amazing Amy and Amazing Ally dolls which debuted in the late 1990s? This doll is along the same lines, but the same manufacturer, except that the doll integrates new technologies from the past few years to make the doll even more interactive. Amazing Amanda is a toddler doll, available with Caucasian or ethnic skin tones made with object recognition and voice recognition technology. What this means is that the doll can "express" emotion and engage in a sort of two-way communication with its owner. The doll can speak, "eat," respond to objects, and recognize her "Mommy" She also shows facial expressions while talking. The doll comes complete with items and outfits she can recognize, including a toothbrush, food, juice in a sippy cup, a sandwich and cookie, and even a potty.

Amazing Amanda Knows The Time and her Mommy

The doll even has an internal clock so that Amanda knows what what time it is and can even remind her owner about upcoming holidays including Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Amazing Amanda is supposed to recognize her Mommy’s voice after hearing it just three times (although I have heard from owners of this doll that this isn't always the case--often, it takes much longer for a voice to be recognized). Once the doll recognizes the child's voice,the doll then "knows" that the child is her "Mommy" and will respond with expressions and words that lets the child know this when the child or others talk to her.

Simulates a Mothering Experience

According to Playmate Toys "For instance, if her Mommy asks, “Are you hungry?”, Amazing Amanda will respond with words, sounds and expressions to indicate if she wants to eat. When Amanda receives something she doesn't want, such as the wrong food or if her Mommy says “no,” she demonstrates the sounds, expressions and emotions a young toddler would, simulating the closest thing to a real mother and child interactive experience."

Not All Children Like Interactive Dolls

The doll is not inexpensive, with a suggested retail price of $99.99. At his price, you should be very sure that the child will enjoy a talking and interactive doll. Some children are frightened by them. My daughter was given an Amazing Ally doll when she was six and she simply disliked it--we programmed the doll, she heard it talk to her once, and then she threw it in the toy basket on Christmas day, promptly going back to her non-interactive American Girl and Barbie dolls. Other girls enjoy the interactive features. In any event, many children have seen the commercials for this doll and have asked for it for Christmas.

Some Possible Reported Problems With The Dolls

One other thing to consider if you are buying an Amazing Amanda doll for Christmas are reports that the C batteries used to power the doll run out very quickly, and also that the doll can be difficult to program. On Amazon.com, one reviewer (a frustrated mom) pointed out that "It is annoying, repetitive, and constantly announces that it's batteries are low...we are putting three new "C" batteries in it every two days. This is no exaggeration!" Another reviewer said that the doll is a "complete disappointment! After the ridiculous amount of time and patience it takes to "program" the doll's calendar and clock...Amanda doesn't recognize what [my daughter]is saying and asks her to repeat herself. Then it's time to say her name so she can recognize my daughters "pretty voice". After my daughter repeats this process SEVERAL times, Amanda will say... "you don't sound like my Mommy...will Mommy be home soon?"." However, yet other reviewers love the doll. Says one mom: "I think it's important to play with it with your child at first....it's so interesting to see how real it is. My daughter loves it and hasn't put it down in a week." You can see further reviews of this doll, both good and bad, at Amazon.com and at other shopping outlets on the Internet.

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