Introducing Sonny the Seal: Ring-toss fun for the family

In my family, we've joked for many years about owning a monkey because, well, haven't you always wanted a monkey? I've purchased stuffed monkeys for each family member; even Mac got one of the leftovers from the bunch purchased long before he was born.

We're all set on monkeys. And now, thanks to a new game from Goliath, we can have our fill of seals. One seal, in fact. A seal named Sonny.

Sonny the Seal is an interactive, electronic ring-toss game for ages three and up. As my regular toy reviewers—Bubby and Mac—weren't on hand when Sonny arrived at my door, I enlisted game players at a recent barbecue with friends. No, we didn't take turns tossing rings as we tossed back beers, there were actually youngsters in attendance. Youngsters the perfect age for playing Sonny the Seal.

My little guest game players, whom I'll call K and R, since they're not my children and I don't want to reveal their real names here, loved Sonny. It didn't take K, at five years old, long to figure out not only the rules—which are pretty simple: toss the ring around Sonny's neck, get a fish for each successful toss, the winner is the one and the end of the game with the most fish.

It also didn't take her long to become a pro. Form is everything, and K had form in spades.

It's harder than it sounds, as Sonny bobs and weaves erratically so you don't always know exactly how to succeed in tossing. Believe me, I'm not a successful tosser. K, though, was quite the tosser, regularly getting rings to land where they should and slide down over Sonny's tail again and again. Each time she had a successful toss, Sonny clapped his flippers and barked in joy. Then she got to take a fish. And win the game. (I must admit: I never got Sonny to bark and I never earned a fish. But I'm working on it.)

K's two-year-old brother, R, was quite enchanted by Sonny. So K took the time to teach him, and let him give ring tossing a try for himself. Being a two-year-old playing a game intended for those three and older meant R got a bit of a handicap. Meaning, he was allowed to sit right at Sonny and plop the ring on his head. Sonny was just as cheerful each time R succeeded from his starting spot as he was when K made it from hers.

While the claps and barks from Sonny are reward in themselves, K said her favorite thing about the game was the little orange fish she collected for each successful toss.

My favorite thing? The opportunity to try the game by myself, once K wasn't around to show me up and nab all the fishies. Made no difference, though, as I still couldn't manage a successful ring toss. I'm planning on using R's method next time—starting my tosses right next to Sonny. Grandmas should be allowed a handicap now and then, too, I say. At least when it comes to tossing rings onto a seal's head.

Sonny the Seal—for 1-6 players, ages 3 and up—has a suggested retail price of $29.99 and can be found at Toys R Us and other toy stores.

Disclosure: I received this game free for review. Opinions are my own, with input from my fellow reviewers.