By peoplestaff225
Updated November 24, 2008 11:00 AM
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Elmo Live ($60), the newest generation of Elmo, has wiggled its way onto the toy scene justin time for the holidays. Word on the street is Elmo Live is the toythis year. A quick look on eBay turned up at least one optimisticseller with 5 of these puppies listed at $1000 a pop! A month agoTarget had them on the shelves for $60, now I’m seeing prices jumpup to $70-90 at many stores. (It’s still listed at $60 at Amazon.)

Is Elmo Live deserving of the hype?Will Elmo Live be under your Christmas Tree this year? Lucky for you wehave put Elmo through a trial by fire and have the scoop! Experttesters, Sarah, 31 months & her sister Zoe, 16 months have spentthe last 3 weeks putting Elmo Live through the riggers.

Click More for Jennifer’s full investigation!

I have to say, I’m glad that I did not write this review right away. After the first 2 days I was thinking that Elmo Live was not worth the money, was not age appropriate, and was not capturing my girls’ attention. However, what was interesting was that it took them some time to get use to Elmo, and see all the bells & whistles (& 3 weeks later, we are still learning them!). Perhaps, the best thing is that little Zoe now walks around the house saying, “Elmo, Elmo, Elmo….” incessantly!

So what exactly does Elmo Live do?

  • Dances—dances at several speeds, funky beats—the kids, & I’ll admit, even mom & dad really got into it!
  • Story telling—Elmo’s stories can be a bit long, even for my 2 ½ year old. But the really adorable part of the story telling is that Elmo crosses his leg (& sits on his stool) when he starts to tell a story
  • Tells jokes—now the jokes are silly, but the kids laugh over and over again and even repeat them (lucky me!) – watch our video below!
  • Sneezes, is pretty animated about it, and says, ‘excuse Elmo’.
  • Manners—says ‘please’ ‘thank you’ ‘excuse me’ etc.
  • Falls down/asks for help—If Elmo falls down, he asks for help ‘ah, thank you, you’re Elmo’s best friend’ – watch our video below!
  • ’Elmo loves you,’ asks for a hug.
  • Animated with his hands, in dancing, storytelling, etc.
  • Blows kisses—I loved this, especially since immediately after Zoe, my 16 month old, began blowing kisses to everyone.
  • Honks his nose—my husband thought Elmo had flatulence, but upon closer inspection, it appears Elmo is pretending to make a very loud honk similar to a mistaken nose blow. Afterwards he says ‘excuse Elmo’. We still have the ‘is he or isn’t he’ argument at home…. but hopefully you are not married to a 35 year old adolescent. Watch our video below!
  • Naps—when play hasn’t occurred for a few minutes, Elmo says its naptime.
  • Tickles—asks to be tickles and laughs and laughs.
  • Simon says/Elmo says—Elmo tells you to do something and the kids do it, & every once it awhile will not say ‘Elmo says.’
  • Raps! Watch our video below!

What we liked:

  • Elmo is quite animated-he sits, stands, squats, his hands move in all kinds of directions, he dances, and it seems realistic (well, as realistic as a little red monster can be!).
  • Elmo’s voice is exactly the same as it is on Sesame Street.
  • Dancing—the girls love the dancing, especially the ‘Elmo says’ dancing & when Elmo dances at different speeds.
  • It seems like Elmo is constantly doing new things, when we think we have seen all his functions a new one appears (it’s been a little less than 3 weeks, and we’ve played with him nearly everyday)!
  • I especially appreciated the modeling of manners, ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’, ‘can you help Elmo’….as a mom of 2 girls who are just starting to argue a bit over toys, it’s nice to be able to say, ‘remember how Elmo says thank you’ or ‘remember how you helped Elmo, can you help your sister like that’.
  • The joke segments are kind of funny, especially when Elmo says, ‘is this mike on’…it’s probably more funny to the adults.
  • When Elmo sits on the stool to tell a story for the first time it’s beyond adorable.

What we didn’t like:

  • Elmo tends to fall over a lot on carpet (at least our carpet), but we haven’t had the same problem on our hardwood floors.
  • The stories can be a little long & don’t always keep the interest of my 2½ year old.
  • The suggested age (18 months) is a little young. My 16 month old still gets a lot out of playing with Elmo, and certainly there is nothing she can hurt herself on).
  • The kids want to pick Elmo up a lot (to dance with, cuddle etc.); first, because of all the mechanical mechanisms he’s not particularly cuddly, second, if you pick Elmo up
  • If you are looking for Elmo to do a certain function (ie. Dancing—which is my girl’s favorite), once you have pressed his foot, nose, belly, back Elmo does not stop doing what the next function is (there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the functions either).
  • Conversely, when you are really into one of the things Elmo does and he falls down or the kids accidently knock him over he always goes into the ‘Elmo fell down….’ And you lose whatever it was he had been doing.

The Verdict:
Elmo Live is worth the money, but don’t fall into the trap of spending more than the MSRP. If you are someone who likes to have the latest thing or your child is going to beg for this for Christmas or Hanukkah, then you should run out now while they are still on the shelves.

— Jennifer