Zapf Creation is a toy company based near Coburg, Germany which specialises in the manufacture of multi-functional dolls. Its franchises have become very popular around the world; among its successful creations are Baby Born, Annabell and Chou Chou.
Zapf Creation AG develops, manufactures and sells multi-functional dolls in Europe, Asia, New Zealand and South America. The products are primarily aimed at girls between the ages of two and eight. The company was founded in 1934 and is based in Rödental, near Coburg in Germany.
Most of the Zapf Creation products are baby and toddler dolls, and these are occasionally used to teach future parents the life skills they will need.
Introduced in 1991, Baby Born is often considered to be the most lifelike of the series due to the numerous functions that the doll can perform. These include crying, urinating and being quietened by a pacifier which makes the doll's eyes shut in later versions. All these actions can be performed without the use of batteries making it possible to bathe the doll. The most recent version includes nine functions and eleven accessories. Earlier versions included a Musical Potty that makes various sound effects and a magical Ice Cream which can make the mouth of the doll all messy. Varieties of this model include boy, girl and ethnic girl, each anatomically correct and having its own color style for hair and skin.
- Pick Me Up!: A battery-operated doll with hair, that has touch sensors all around the doll.
- Talking Baby Born: A battery-operated doll that only speaks English, Spanish and French.
My Little Baby Born
My Little Baby Born are versions of the Baby Born doll made for younger children:
- My Little Baby Born: Doesn't have the functions the bigger Baby Born does but is a good cheap alternative for young children.
- I Can Swim: A Battery-operated doll which has a special sensor, and when placed in water the doll can swim around.
- Splashing Baby: When this doll is sat on shallow water, it will splash around and move its head.
- First Love: A softer version of the regular My Little Baby Born doll.
- Hold My Hands: Pressing this doll's hands makes it sing a lullaby.
- Interactive Twins: Two dolls who can interact with each other.
- Bathing Fun/Bathing Baby: A softer version of the regular My Little Baby Born doll made for bathing.
- Nappy Time: This doll can use the potty and can kick its legs when upset or happy.
- Walks: A battery-operated doll that walks and makes sounds when the doll's rattle is shaken. This doll, unlike other Zapf products, is made out of plastic and functions more like a robot.
Introduced in 1998 and is perhaps the most famous of Zapf's products, Baby Annabell is a battery-operated doll that comes with a variety of accessories and has a large product line which includes extra articles, outfits and pieces of furniture. Unlike Baby Born, Baby Annabell's body is made out of a soft, plush material where the doll's battery box is stored in. The main function performed by the newer dolls (Version 3 or newer) is to let it drink water and when it cries, the water can come out of its eyes, making it look like the doll has tears, and also to use the toilet. This doll could perhaps be classed as a "modern autonomous doll". Much like with Baby Born, the doll comes in Girl, Brother and Ethnic girl versions.
- Version 1 (1998): The original model. Unlike later versions, this one doesn’t suck its bottle or pacifier when the doll uses it.
- Version 2 (2002): This version is very similar to the "Rock a Bye Chou Chou" doll, except this doll can suck its bottle and pacifier and open and close its eyes while doing it. It also has different sounds than the Rock a Bye Chou Chou.
- Version 3 (2005): More interactive than the Version 1 or 2, and is the first version to cry real tears and drink real water.
- Version 4 (2007): This version can turn its head when hearing sounds or if its name is said. But nonetheless performs the same actions as the previous versions. It also makes some of the same neutral sounds as Version 3.
- Version 5 (2009): This version removes the ability to turn its head, but can interact with a sheep toy which can make sounds and make the baby happy. It has all new sounds but still does perform some of the sounds that Versions 3-4 use. This is the first version to come in a "Brother" variant, which features a brown-eyed doll with a blue outfit. An "Ethnic Brother" variant was also released.
- Version 6 (2011): This version of the doll can move its arms and can react to the child's voice and various other sounds. Due to this, the doll cannot drink water or cry real tears. It wasn't received very well by buyers due to it not being very interactive.
- Version 7 (2012): This doll goes back to being like Versions 3-5, likely due to the negative feedback of the Version 6. It can cry real tears and drink water again.
- Version 8 (2013): Identical to Version 7, but with some extra accessories.
- Version 9 (2014): Also identical to version 7 and 8, but can be rocked to sleep. Same sounds as the previous models.
- Version 10 (2016): This is the first major change to the doll since Version 7, as this doll can wee in its potty and can wet its nappy. This version has a different face design than the previous dolls but does make the same sounds like the previous 3 versions.
- Version 11 (2022): This version removes the ability to wet its nappy, but can react to a sheep toy which can make the doll happy. It can react to the child's voice and various other sounds. The doll can even go to sleep in its cot.
My First Baby Annabell and other Variants
This range of dolls are smaller versions of the Baby Annabell doll made for younger children.
- My First Baby Annabell: Doesn't run on batteries, and doesn't have the features that the main doll has, but is still a good alternative for younger children.
- Time to Sleep: This doll can be used to practice sleeping. It can sleep and close its eyes, and then after a short while it can wake up.
- Newborn: It is a squishy and softer version of the My First Baby Annabell made for more younger children.
- Baby Moves: This doll can move its arms and legs, just like a little baby.
- Learns to Walk: A re-release of Chou Chou Learn To Walk under the Baby Annabell brand.
- Sister: A version of the doll the same size as the normal models, but works more like a "My First Baby Annabell" doll.
- Milly Feels Better: Works similar to the "Mommy Make Me Better" Chou Chou but is an all-new doll.
- Baby Fun: Works like the bigger dolls, but doesn't have the functions those models have.
- Baby Counts: The doll counts numbers and learns colours with different phrases.
Chou Chou is another doll manufactured by Zapf Creation. It is designed to be very realistic, having accessories to support role playing for children. Baby Chou Chou is sometimes used to teach young girls, in particular, about various stages of a baby's life including the first tooth and minor ailments, though most dolls are just played with.
Models include "Mommy Make Me Better" Chou Chou, "Love Me" Chou Chou, "Be Happy" Chou Chou, and "Rock-A-Bye" Chou Chou, which was named the number one doll in the Duracell Kids' Choice Toy Survey in the US in 2001. This doll comes in a variety of types and has many lifelike functions.
- Baby Chou Chou/Giggling Chou Chou: Squeezing the body makes the doll laugh. Unlike other Zapf dolls the expression is more in the shape of a grin.
- Mommy Make Me Better: Comes in a yellow cap and baby girl outfit. This doll becomes unwell and the owner needs to make it better. Its heartbeat can be heard and it can be given medicine when it has a fever. It makes sounds such as slurping.
- Love Me Chou Chou: Comes in a pink baby cloth with attached hood. This doll can kick its legs when it is upset, open its mouth, cry, laugh as well as making slurping sounds when given a drink. It also comes with an electronic necklace that the owner can wear, and whenever the baby cries and the user holds it, it cheers up and the doll could even laugh as well.
- Chou Chou My First Tooth: This doll represents a slightly older baby. When it develops a tooth, the doll cries and the owner has to make it feel better. It also makes other baby sounds such as laughing and slurping.
- Talking Chou Chou: This version of Chou Chou can talk. It utters basic phrases in English and Spanish and has sensors when to detect compatible accessories. It is available in White and Black Girl varitents.
- Rock A Bye Chou Chou: This Chou Chou functions more like other Zapf dolls. It can be fed its bottle, goes to sleep and cries when woken up. It is also sold as the second version of Baby Annabell, except Baby Annabell makes sucking noises when it drinks its bottle.
- Learn to Walk Chou Chou: This doll can crawl by itself and can be encouraged to walk by holding its hand. The doll can trip up and cry when crawling, but it can try again.
- Baby Buddies: The dolls interact with each other and say different phrases.
- Baby Buddies 2: These dolls say many phrases than the other baby buddies.
Sam and Sally
Similar to other dolls of their size out today, Sam and Sally are quite large dolls at around 63 cm (25 in) each which means that they can either be dressed in the provided outfits or in real baby clothes of their size (0–3 months and 3–6 months fit the dolls).
The Annabell Tween line of dolls come in many versions, each wearing different outfits. These dolls are aimed toward older girls.
Line of baby dolls.
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