The Russ Berrie Shining Stars stuffed animal collection are the start of a new trend of interactive stuffed toys from many toy manufacturers. The toys themselves come in twenty-four seperate animals with various new “limited release” or collectors edition toys as well. The base twenty four designs include: snowy owl, cream bear, pink bear, blue bear, panda bear, honey bear, unicorn, brown bear, dragon, bunny, orange tabby cat, white cat, poodle, yellow lab, beagle, horse, pig, cow, penguin, frog, elephant, monkey, tiger and lion. The various (and still being released) special edition Shining Star toys include: Halloween black cat, Thanksgiving turkey, hippo, giraffe, snail, alligator, Christmas reindeer, St Patricks day Irish setter, Valentines monkey, Valentines frog, Valentines dog, tan Easter bunny, brown Easter bunny, Easter Lamb and Easter chick. The cost of the plush toys varies from around $12 for special editions such as the Thanksgiving Turkey (I am still trying to assess why a limited or collectors edition is worth less than an everyday release so if anyone knows please do let me know) to $14.99 for the base collection of twenty four. As a side note watch out for scammers online who would have you believe that the base twenty four Shining Stars toys are worth more than $14.99 depending on which animal they are. You may find sales that offer you the toys for less than the average $14.99 pricetag; however, you always want to make sure you use a reputable store to purchase these items from to ensure you don’t get a knock off.
Each toy comes with a plastic ziptie around it’s neck with a cardboard handtag within a clear plastic protector, as well as a T-end fastener (the clear plastic ones that you usually end up trying to pull off with your teeth) attaching another cardboard hangtag without a clear plastic cover. The uncovered cardboard hangtag has instructions for “getting started” with your Shining Stars toy, which is basically directions to log in to their website, register using your secret code (included within the second hangtag,) personalize your new toy (name him/her,) and print out your Star Registry certificate and chart. Within this hangtag you will find pictures of the twenty four base Shining Stars toys and the back of this hangtag provides the traditional “remove tags before giving product to child” cautionary advice. The second hangtag needs to be cut out of the clear plastic covering. The front of this hangtag states that your product is an “Official Product of International Star Registry” and tells you that your secret code is inside. Inside the hangtag you find your individualized secret code and the same instructions you received on the previous hangtag for registering your toy. The back of this hangtag carries the registered trademark information for Russ Berrie and the PC requirements for registering your toy (simply, an ability to connect to the internet, however, they provide other requirements which may speed up your process but are not absolutely necessary.)
The toy itself, specifically the dragon is made of an extremely soft “fur” sprinkled with glittering plastic strands (think Christmas tinsel) throughout to give the toy a glittering magical look to it. The nostrils and back spines are made from purple felt and the wings and horns are made from a smooth fabric similar to that of the “color your own toy” type toys. The left foot of the dragon has an embroidered swirl (as seen in the Shining Stars logo) and a hard plastic silver star which appears to be glued on but very securely so.
The registration process of the Shining Stars toys consists of logging on to the ShiningStars.com website and registering as a new member using your secret code. Once you have logged on you will be asked to pick characteristics which you wish your toy to have, there are five you can choose of approximately ten choices. Once your toy’s characteristics are picked you get to name your toy and then you are given a star map. This star map features multiple well known constellations including Draco which is the constellation I chose for Kidazy’s dragon. After picking the constellation I was allowed to pick out my star and name it. I named the star Kidazy. Now you are given the option to print out your star chart and certificate. After you have finished all the registration information you can log in to Shiningstars.com at any time and interact with your Shining Star’s online personality. Keep in mind that each toy registered will give your child “points” which are used to “purchase” items for the online personality of their toy as well as the star arcade which will also give your child the opportunity to get more points.