This is quite possibly one of my most favourite quirky 'news' stories ever. (Ok, admittedly it's hardly a matter of national importance or global significance, but nonetheless it's bound to please a parent or two...)
I first spotted this on the Telegraph website but it's been popping up all over the place. Basically an artist from Tasmania, Sonia Singh, has taken to 'rescuing' Bratz dolls and giving them radical make-unders. She shares the resulting images online, and explains it like this on her website:
"These dolls have been rescued and rehabilitated from op-shops and tip shops around Tasmania. These lil fashion dolls have opted for a "tree change", swapping high-maintenance glitz 'n' glamour for down-to-earth style. I hand repaint the dolls faces, mould new shoes, and my Mum sews and knits their clothing."
"My sisters and I grew up playing with second-hand dolls and home-made toys in the beautiful Tasmanian natural environment. I love the satisfaction of repairing and reusing discarded items to give them a new lease on life."
I can't quite put my finger on why I love this so much. It might have something to do with the fact that after ten years of parenting boys, I am a fairly new mum to a little girl, and I am not looking forward to the stage where she starts asking for toys like Bratz dolls. Maybe it won't happen - at the moment she's drawn to baby dolls and toy tea sets - but by the time she's old enough to know her Bratz from her Barbies, I hope that dolls might have evolved a little bit.
It's well documented that girls as young as five are sexualised by toys like overly made-up dolls dressed in fishnets and short skirts, so I'm delighted to see someone coming up with a healthy alternative.
I'm not a fan of the supposedly realistic-looking Lammily doll, which we wrote about here, but these Tree Change Dolls really appeal to me.
What do you think? Let us know, over on our Facebook page...