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Archives of Select Articles And Press Releases From Our Trade Publication:
TDmonthly Magazine

Published by ToyDirectory

Ubisoft – short term outlook good; long-term prognosis cloudy

Spin Master – an interesting performance

Is Take-Two getting ready to break out into the big league?

Craig McCracken's animation on Cartoon Network has now started a new craze on the web: Powerpuff Yourself

Social Media Strategies at Astra Marketplace & Academy

2016 Toyfest West Toy Videos

American Girl® Mega Bloks® Playsets For Girls

Hobbico’s KeepItRC - Starts Its Engines! RC Video Community Channel

Kidstuff PR: New Clients

Record Number of Manufacturers to Exhibit at Astra’s Marketplace

Toy Fair Exhibitor Guidelines Broadened

New Bouncer Mini – More Natural Bouncing from BabyBjörn

Beetlejuice 8 Inch Plush

New Toys

Products below selected as of April 2016

Pee & Poo plush
By Sweden Toys

NEW Potty training toy calls it like it is! Designed by Swedish designer, Emma Megitt, Pee & Poo works as a potty training cuddly companion. The cuddly toys Pee &Poo are made in a cotton plush and filled with polyester fiber. They are CE-marked and are suitable for children of all ages. PEE & POO Duo Large plush set $ 39.95


Brian or Brianna Superhero Play Therapy Bear
By Ready Set Go

Founder and designer Carol Cooper created Ready Set Go Play Therapy Kit, along with a line of signature jewelry to help children build self confidence and develop a positive attitude. Each learning kit includes a bear with a special story that focuses on the experiences of children who struggle with low self-esteem.


Princess Horses
By Douglas Company

Four new plush Princess Horses has been added to the Douglas stables. Rainbow Princess: white horse with cream colored hoof (stands 12” tall).

Best-Selling Toys

Products below selected as of May 2016:
Products and vendors reported as best sellers in TD's interviews of retailers.   See Methodology


My First Mind Blowing Science Kit
By Alex Brand

Experiments to educate young scientists. Erupt a color changing volcano. Mix safe chemicals and watch colors change Instructions for 11 different science experiments. Kids ages 6 and up! Chemicals Included: Red cabbage powder, citric acid, baking soda, 3 color tablets, crosslinked polyacrylate copolymer, vegetable oil, corn starch Supplies Included: 2 cotton swabs, 3 test tubes with stand, 3 plastic cups, pipette, 2 sticks, 2 measuring scoops and activity guide


SYMA X5C Explorers 2.4G 4CH 6-Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter With HD Camera

X5C has a high degree camera and a unique look, easy to use, so you and your hands X5C in the crowd inadvertently become the focus. Equipped with the latest 6-axis flight control systems, 3D lock, More scheduled flight, operating more to the force! X5C equipped with HD cameras, lets you control the aircraft Enjoy taking pictures/video of the pleasure flights. Highly elastic plastic protective circle, preventing the blades in flight Cause wear, anti-collision anti-fall performance further enhanced! Battery: 3.7V 500 Mah Li-poly Charging time: About 100 minutes (USB Charging) Flying time: About 7 minutes


Carcassonne Board Game
By Zman Games

Players build the area surrounding this city, one tile at a time. They then place a follower on fields, cities, roads or monasteries in order to score as many points as possible. These followers will become knights, monks, farmers and thieves, depending on where they are placed. No matter their function, the player who will most cleverly use their followers will win the game. Redesigned and modernized, this edition includes two expansions: The River and the Abbot.

Editors' Recommended Toys

Products below selected as of May 2016:
High-quality products with positive review from retailers, consumers and/or TD staff.   See Methodology


Shopkins Season 5 12 Pack
By Shopkins

Shopkins™ Glow! The Special Edition Electric Glow Shopkins™ are Switched On! The 12 pack comes with 10 visible Shopkins and 2 Shopkins™ hidden inside 2 backpacks, plus 2 bonus Shopkins™ charms!


Super Heroes Black Panther Pursuit 76047
By Lego

Fire the jet’s stud shooters at Winter Soldier as he speeds away on his motorbike. Dial up high-speed action with Captain America’s 4x4. Fire the 4x4’s spring-loaded shooter and throw Captain America’s shield at the jet flying above! Will Black Panther capture Winter Soldier or can Captain America help him to escape?


By Jolo

Makes 148 water balloons in 1 minute! 4 bunches included. Suitable for Age 3+. 37 balloons per bunch.

Worth a Second Look (Selected by the Publisher of TDmonthly Magazine, a division of ToyDirectory)

Products below selected as of May 2016:


Humanity Hates Trump Card Game
By SCS Direct

This game puts a satirical spin on politics, adding humor to the 2016 presidential race. Humanity Hates Trump is ideal for presidential debate games. Humanity Hates Trump is offered in a base set with 250 cards -- 200 white cards (including 2 Ultimate Trump Cards that will trump your opponents) and 50 black cards. The lucky player who has the Ultimate Trump Card in their hand automatically wins the round. In addition to the base set, Humanity Hates Trump is offered in an unofficial expansion pack of 110 cards -- 80 white cards (including 1 Ultimate Trump Card) and 30 black cards. The expansion pack is compatible with Humanity Hates Trump, Cards Against Humanity™ and other similar party games, adding a political Trumpy twist to the classic game.


Funko POP Movies: Harry Potter Action Figure - Luna Lovegood
By FunKo

Founder and designer Carol Cooper created Ready Set Go Play Therapy Kit, along with a line of signature jewelry to help children build self confidence and develop a positive attitude. Each learning kit includes a bear with a special story that focuses on the experiences of children who struggle with low self-esteem.


Quest Skateboards Super Cruiser Longboard Skateboard
By Quest

Construction Type: Multi-ply hardwood maple and Artisan bamboo deck. Dimensions: 44 x 9 x 43 inches. Weight: 10 pounds. Weight: 8.2 pounds. Size: 44-Inch.


Select Recalls

Busy Loop Table Top Toy Busy Loop Table Top Toy

Recall Summary

Name of product: Busy Loops table top toys | Hazard: The round plastic beads can break, posing a choking hazard. | Refund
Consumer Contact: Manhattan Toy Company at 800-541-1345 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at | Report an Incident Involving this Product | About 2,100 (in addition, 448 were sold in Canada | Description: Busy Loops table top toys have orange, green, blue and purple plastic tubing with plastic beads threaded on the tubing that can slide up and down. The tubes sit on a blue plastic base with an orange plastic suction cup. The toy is about 4.5” W x 4.5” L x 7” H. The model number 700470 and lot code FH are printed on the bottom of the blue base. | Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received two reports of beads breaking off the toy. No injuries have been reported. Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled toy and return it to the store where it was purchased or contact Manhattan Toy for a full refund. | Sold at: BuyBuy Baby and other toy stores nationwide, and online at and from September 2015 through January 2016 for about $15. | Importer(s): The Manhattan Toy Company, of Minneapolis | Distributor(s): The Manhattan Toy Company, of Minneapolis | Manufactured in: China

More Product Recalls

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Toy Fair: Covered by & TDmonthly Magazine: Toy Trends of 2016 Announced


Mattel Inc. (MAT) reported fourth quarter adjusted EPS of $0.67 after the close Monday, which beat the consensus estimate of $0.61.

Mattel Inc. (MAT) reported fourth quarter adjusted EPS of $0.67 after the close Monday, which beat the consensus estimate of $0.61. Feb 1, 2016 Mattel gapped open higher Tuesday and rose sharply in early trade. The stock advanced further in the early afternoon and closed up by 3.70 at $30.46 on the highest volume of the year. Mattel broke out of a month and a half long trading range and set a new high for the year


Bungee Blast and Air Archer, 2 new offerings from GeoSpace in their line of Pump Rocket toys. These soft and safe foam rockets are great for children ages 5 & up that are ready to blast off into fun.

Global Toy Sales Jump by Almost 7 Percent in 2015

Based on NPD's Retail Tracking Service, January-December 2015 U.S. toy sales grew by 6.7 percent, generating $19.4 billion and marking one of the strongest performances the industry has seen in a number of years. Properties such as Star Wars, Minions, Paw Patrol, and Minecraft, as well as tech-enabled toys with more innovative features, and those with more authentic and traditional play value converged to create a robust holiday season.

VTech plans to ACQUIRE 100% of the outstanding common stock of LeapFrog through an all cash tender offer followed by a second-step merger.

In the tender offer, VTech will offer LeapFrog investors US$1.00 per share for LeapFrog's Class A and Class B shares, which represents a 75.4% premium over the closing price of LeapFrog's Class A shares on 4 February 2016. The total purchase consideration amounts to approximately US$72 million. VTech will fund the tender offer through internal resources. The tender offer is expected to commence on or about 3 March 2016, and will be open for a minimum of 20 business days. The closing of the transaction is subject to satisfaction of certain conditions set forth in the merger agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. LeapFrog's Board has agreed to unanimously recommend to its stockholders that they tender their shares of LeapFrog common stock pursuant to the tender offer. "We are delighted to have the LeapFrog brand joining VTech, bringing together two of the great names in children's learning and entertainment," said Allan Wong, Chairman and Group CEO of VTech Holdings Limited. "VTech has been a pioneer in the electronic learning toy category for 35 years. The acquisition will allow us to offer the broadest portfolio of products that enhances the education and development of children across the world, while bringing them fun and joy."

Ziro CES 2016

Smart glove sensors understand hand and finger gestures, which connects through Bluetooth to enable interactions with small toy robots, a four-wheeled vehicle type robot.

LUMI combines drone gaming along easy flying an indoor quadcopter.

LUMI can fly itself while you play, direct and command it using the app-based gameplay. With any smart device, you can select motions, maneuvers, stunts, or just take control and fly. Various game modes include challenging the player to follow sequences of flashing lights and music while LUMI flies and dances in the air, reacting to your performance!

R.E.V. SELF DRIVING by WowWee Group Limited

R.E.V. vehicles know where they are in relation to each other. BeaconSense Technology enables R.E.V.s to track each other from up to 5 meters away. When controlled by its Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), R.E.V. thinks for itself, driving and fighting to win. It tracks the status and location of other R.E.V. vehicles in real time, so its Artificial Intelligence continuously adjusts its tactics. When damaged, it’ll flee until it can heal. When you’re damaged, it’ll zero in for the kill.


Pocket Drones by Odyssey Toys

The Pocket Drone is a collapsing video drone that is lightweight and can fit into your pocket. The size of an iPhone 6, this first generation features collapsible blades that can be tucked inside the unit for transport, along with a carry case and remote.

CHiP by WowWee Group Limited

Smartband technology enables CHiP to recognize you, follow you, wait for you to come home, and remind you for mealtime or playtime. Artificial intelligence and an adaptive personality to follow commands, fetch a ball, avoid obstacles, and learn new tricks. CHiP is equipped with an advanced locomotion system that allows for high speed, omnidirectional motion and extreme agility. Unlimited downloadable content through the app. Communicates in growls, whines, and barks.

Air Hogs Link

Control Air Hogs using a smart device. Whether you fly the Havoc Heli, fire missiles with the Sharpshooter, or transport cargo with the Fly Crane, the Air Hogs Link gives your Android or iOS device the power of a remote control.

BB-8 - the app-enabled Droid-- The Force Awakens™ into your home

BB-8 has an adaptive personality that changes as you play. Based on your interactions, BB-8 will show a range of expressions.

Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar by Fisher-Price. | CES 2016

- small, plastic caterpillar will teach kids the simplest form of computer programming.
- every part of the caterpillar is a command that makes the caterpillar accomplish a basic task such as move or play music.
- segments can be assembled as the child decides. Then the caterpillar will move in differrent directions.
- launch: June 2016, Target: 3- to 5-year-old. Needs 4 AA batteries, MSRP: $49.99 Expansion packs, which cost $15 each, allows for extra features, such as turning it 180 degrees, and making different sounds or lights.
- pet it and it will reacts with sound.
- included: target discs, which allows kids starting and ending points for their coding.
- free educational Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar app on Android & iOS
- Fisher-Price is working on more toys in the Teach & Learn line for July

Hackaball raised $240,000 using Kickstarter last year | CES 2016

- will ship in March 2016 MSRP: $85
- helps kids learn about technology & team-play
- smart and responsive bouncy silicone ball lets kids invent and play games
- made with six-axis motion sensor and connects to iPhone, iPad or Mac using Bluetooth technology Invent and build your own games with the free hackaball app by changing color and light patterns, vibrating and playing different sounds
- kids can open the device
- Hackaball CEO: Sebastian Potter
- sold out of initial 4,000 units.

Spin Master: the Meccanoid G16 and G16 KS. | CES 2016

- kids can build and program themselves
- Meccabrain now has double the memory, more robot intelligence, faster voice recognition, and additional programming capability.
- Meccanoid G16 stands two feet tall; SRP $179.99 USD
- Meccanoid G16 KS (that's Kid-Size) stands four feet tall; SRP $399.99 USD

Lego WeDo 2.0 kids science exploration | CES 2016 | Try for free

Lego WeDo 2.0 kids science exploration by asking questions, analyzing data and communicating their findings, while the curriculum pack covers real science practices linked to the Next Generation Science Standards, including gathering evidence, carrying out investigations and designing prototypes. The core set comes with a programmable Smarthub, motor, two sensors and 280 building elements, plus software which includes one Get Started Project, delivering an introductory experience to the resource. Available for both desktop and tablets, the software provides an easy-to-use, icon-based programming environment Included is material for delivering 17 projects totaling more than 40 hours of content. What’s new? WeDo 2.0 features wireless technology, a built-in documentation tool along with assessment rubrics, and a design library full of ideas and inspiration for creating solutions to projects. Core Set features a programmable SmartHub, enhanced motors and sensors and an all-new line up of LEGO® elements.


Your minifigure head on Lego parts by Funky3dfaces- an idea that was borne out of the parent company ELAT3D Ltd who make 3D printed bones for the medical industry and architectural models for architects and surveyors. You select your figure and hairstyle/color then upload your photos. Production time 2-4 weeks. Software has been designed to recreate the human face digitally using complex algorithms. The software does not recognize animal features so no 3D pets, yet. They are 3D printed in a sandstone material. Not waterproof--not for sucking nor bathtime!

Edwin the Duck by pi lab, LLC | CES 2016, has games, stories, songs, and lessons within a collection of apps, using Edwin to control the animated Edwin. Offers more ontent as child grows. SQUACK™ is the technology behind the 2-way interaction between Edwin and the Edwin app, and is based on BTLE (BLUETOOTH® low energy) allowing control of light, sound, and motion. Will invite your child to help the Duck solve problems and overcome obstacles he encounters along the way. With taps, turns, and twists, child will learn how to control the animated Edwin within the App, which requires iOS version 5.1.1 or higher device with BLUETOOTH 4.0 Interactive game within the story "Edwin Feeling Small" App requires iOS version 5.1.1 or higher device with BLUETOOTH 4.0 Equipped with a BLUETOOTH® Speaker, Edwin will dance across the screen while streaming original music. Can provide soft glowing nightlight. App includes white noise sounds, additional lullabies, and timer controls and is available separately. Is waterproof, like rubber duckies and is mold resistant. 252 W Main St Carmel, IN 46032

Mattel to offer diabetes kits for American Girl dolls. December 31, 2015 — Mattel Inc.‘s American Girl, which has been aiming to expand the diversity of its line, will soon be offering diabetic accessories for its dolls...

Mattel Takes a Risk, With Barbie and Bugs. December 31, 2015 — As Gerry Cody, a senior design manager at Mattel, cheerfully loaded a live cricket into the driver’s seat of a new toy car...

Modernizing Super Mario: How Nintendo Has Reinvented Its Star. December 31, 2015 — In the 30-odd years since his debut, Nintendo Co.’s Mario went from a pixelated man — with dots for eyes, a bar for a mustache and a square nose — to an expressive 3D character...

Is Hasbro a Better Way to Play Disney’s Star Wars Success? December 31, 2015 — In only its second week, Stars Wars: The Force Awakens has already surpassed the $1 billion mark...

Mattel Goes High-Tech with Virtual Reality View-Master Toy. December 31, 2015 — One of your favorite childhood playthings just got a high-tech makeover...

Toys R Us Closes Flagship Store: Ferris Wheel, T-Rex and All. December 31, 2015 — For decades, children visiting New York City savored one stop above all: a trip to the kind of toy store that existed only in their imagination...

A tiny electronics company makes some of the most popular toys on Amazon. December 31, 2015 — One of the most popular toys on Amazon this year is made by a small company...

Noisy toys might hurt, not help babies' language skills. December 31, 2015 — Your infant or toddler might have gotten a lot of electronic toys under the Christmas tree this year...

It's Amazon and Also-Rans in Retailers' Race for Online Sales. December 31, 2015 — Two decades after Jeffrey P. Bezos started Amazon in his Bellevue, Wash., garage, his e-commerce juggernaut could be forgiven...

Retailers ring up healthy sales this holiday season. December 31, 2015 — The holiday shopping season isn't quite over for retailers, with millions of customers expected to hit stores and websites...



TDmonthly Magazine's January Staff Picks: Start refilling your shelves post-Holidays with our favorite toys of the month.
Brick and Mortar Retail Stores' Best Asset Is Alive And Well: We're nowhere near the end of brick and mortar retail.
GameStop – can they build a bridge before they hit the abyss?: GameStop is veering down a dangerous path, but they still have time.
Why We Go To Toy Fair - Or Stay Home: Thinking about heading to Toy Fair for the first time? These retailers share the pros and cons.

Top-10 Most-Wanted STEM Toys: These STEM toys are fun best-sellers.
Top-10 Most-Wanted Play Sets: Keep kids busy for hours with these play sets, which are also best-sellers.

NPD Reports on Amazon: one of every four American households has access to a Prime account. That gives Amazon extraordinary penetration in a nearly endless number of product categories, reinforces consumers’ growing expectation that e-commerce orders come with free delivery, and makes the online retailer a powerhouse in entertainment. (Only Netflix has a larger number of video subscribers.)

NPD Reports on TV: TV is increasingly app-driven and Internet-delivered. Half of U.S. homes already owned a “connected” TV device . By November of this year, NPD predicts 82 percent growth in such devices through 2018.

NPD Reports on “selfies”: In 2015, “selfies” were the new standard by which we judge beauty. And consumers responded by learning the make-up techniques

Arrest Made: VTech Cyber Attack Incident that exposed data for millions of kids. He was arrested in a dawn raid in Bracknell, Berkshire, 30 miles west of London on December 15, 2015

Drone registration -- Small UAS Registration Rule Registration Begins on December 21, 2015, First 30 Days are Free The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires: registration for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras. “Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.” Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft. Under this rule, any owner of a small UAS who has previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system. Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register. Owners may register through a web-based system at Registrants will need to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft. Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years. The normal registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly, the FAA is waiving this fee for the first 30 days (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016). The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation – for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.


Suit Says Mattel Violated Privacy Rules: Class Action Filed December 2015 -- The claim: Hello Barbie Doll violates children's privacy laws by recording their conversations with the doll without proper consent. Ashley Archer-Hayes and Charity Johnson claim Mattel and interactive toy technology maker ToyTalk violate Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by recording children’s voices during their conversations with the doll and storing them online without obtaining sufficient consent. The women also filed suit against kidSAFE, a seal-of-approval program that certified the doll as COPPA-compliant. According to court documents, in December of this year Archer-Hayes bought “Hello Barbie” for her daughter. She registered it online and downloaded a smartphone app that would allow her to listen to, review and delete recordings the Barbie doll transmits to ToyTalk's servers. However, several days later her daughter and her friends, one of whom is Johnson’s daughter, played with the toy at a Barbie-themed party, which recorded the voices of other children whose parents hadn't consented to its use.The plaintiffs are represented by Steven W. Teppler of Abbott Law Group PA, Michael Louis Kelly, Behram V. Parekh, Heather Baker Dobbs and Justin M. Keller of Kirtland & Packard LLP, Michael W. Sobol of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, Richard D. McCune of McCuneWright LLP and attorney Briana Kim. The case is Ashley Archer-Hayes et al. v. Toytalk Inc. et al., case number BC603467, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

Bankruptcy judge, Christopher Sontchi, approved tablet maker Fuhu Inc.'s request to use cash collateral. Now, Mattel can provide the company with an infusion of money to fund the business in the short term. The company claims to have $2 million in cash on hand, the vast majority of which was from customers who have outstanding orders. Financial dispute with Foxconn, the manufacturer of Apple's iPhone and Fuhu's exclusive manufacturer for the past few years was the main reason for the bankruptcy. Fuhu accepted a $300,000 loan from Mattel in Dec. 2015 for bankruptcy proceedings. While Mattel will have the option to purchase Fuhu, other companies can submit bids to the judge. The company will continue to ship tablets, provide support....

Traxxas Sues ex-employees, Tommy DeWitt, Hans Beck, Jonathan Beck. They are accused of stealing trade secrets. Lawsuit was initiated in August 2013. Texas Eastern District Court; Judge: Amos L Mazzant, III; Case #: 4:14-cv-00733 ; Case Filed: Nov 14, 2014; Terminated: Jan 30, 2015;

Toy Industry News for January 2016Mattel to offer diabetes kits for American Girl dolls more toy news from January 2016
How do I get my custom plush idea started? How do I make plush toys and stuffed animals? Can you help me sell my toy idea?


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