Maybe the punch line on this is a little weak, but the picture makes me laugh.

The snake is from a smaller-format action figure set from a Chinese company called Chap Mei. Their figures are usually about 4″ tall (the Minions are 12″ figures) and rather poorly articulated, but the sculpting and design on their stuff is SO wonderful and packed with whimsy and detail. And they make up for the small figures by putting them in sets with big, wonderful vehicles and set pieces full of action features and play value. Also, they often come with amazing (and sometimes oversized) creatures, dinosaurs, or dragons, or jungle beasts, or sea monsters, or sometimes things like this oversized snake. Though he looks like a lump of plastic, he actually has many rotary joints along the length of his body that allow him to be coiled in many different ways, which is why he’s rather convincingly coiled around Minion Number 2’s legs. Even their small stuff can be wonderful. I have on the shelf over my computer a Chap Mei figure about two inches tall. It’s a dog, in a space suit with a bubble helmet and a backpack.  A DOG IN A SPACE SUIT! Need I say more?

Chap Mei isn’t an “A-List” toy company like Mattel or Hasbro. Their stuff if often sold in discount stores, or under store house-brands in places like Toys R Us. Since many things are dinosaur or history or animal or ocean themed, they often show up in museum, zoo, and aquarium gift shops. You’ve got to look for their toys, and know what to look for, but they’re worth seeking out. I would have totally killed for toys like these as a kid. Not every kid will appreciate these, toys that don’t have a TV show, or defined back-stories; toys that you have to pick up and actually IMAGINE what will happen next. But for those that do, these things are wonderful, and could send the right kid on an adventure that could change their lives.

The power of toys. Just sayin’.