Contents: An eight inch long cuddly toy with an electronic gizmo in the middle. Squeezing the Gloworm makes a lullaby play and its face glow. There are a number of tunes and three modes:
- Demo - Shorter tunes but extra loud.
- Light only - The face glows for a brief period of time.
Age: From birth, up until three weeks after your child leaves home. (At which point you pile all the junk they've refused to part with over the years into bin bags, take it round to their flat, dump it in the middle of their new lounge and then announce how you need the space to turn their old room into a cinema.)
A recent version of the Gloworm.
Comments: There are many ways to tell new parents from seasoned hands. These involve everything from competence to tiredness to, most obviously, the size of child they have lurking around whining for attention. Should they have suffered a forgetful moment and left their offspring somewhere else, however, you can always get them to leaf through a catalogue of baby stuff and see how they react. New parents will scour every page and marvel at the cuteness and practicality of everything on offer. The pros will do a quick flick, muttering things like 'Too big', 'Too small', 'Tat', 'Too fragile' and 'Dry clean! I don't think so...'
The Gloworm is one of those toys that looks great and many people have fond memories of having as children themselves. New parents will snap one up on sight.
In practice, it has some issues:
Most noticeably, its collection of nursery rhymes is quite loud. Should you find yourself sharing a room (or worse, a bed) with the Gloworm and its owner, you'll find your sleep disturbed every hour by the kid rolling over and triggering an electronic rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Of course, if your child has a selection of toys available, this may be followed by rustling, tinkling, the noises of assorted farmyard animals, a breathless cry of 'Big Hug!' and a thud. (The last being the kid falling out of bed because there's not enough space. Even then, she may not wake up but you certainly will.)
The Gloworm has no off switch. When put in a bag and taken somewhere, it activates every minute or so and then runs out of batteries just as you reach your destination. Switching it to 'Light Only' helps a little and cuts down on embarrassment but changing the mode is fiddly. Taking the batteries out entirely requires a screwdriver.
The electronic bit.
Additionally, the Gloworm is surface washable only. Which is just daft. Fortunately, this is standard toy manufacturer speak for, 'If this item should somehow get covered in poo and you put it in a pillowcase and wash it on a gentle cycle with lots of other stuff for extra padding, you do so at your own risk.' (The electronics are tied in place with ribbon and can be removed fairly easily by an adult.)
These are all things that will give experienced parents reason to avoid buying the Gloworm for their children. Kids love it, though. A toy that's cuddly, noisy and glows in the dark - what more could a two-year-old ask for?
Conclusion: The perfect gift for other people's children.
- Plays tunes.
- Will make you popular with any nieces, nephews or grandchildren you give it to.
- Goes through batteries quickly.
- Hard to clean.
- Will make you unpopular with other travellers if left in a fully-functional state at the bottom of a rucksack for the entire length of a juddery, five-hour train journey.