Wizard for a Day: Kids Visit New Frontiers
By Anthony Maddela
Pretend-play costumes and toys have been outlets for expressing the joy,
angst and dreams of every generation of kids. Todayís offerings bring
home the drama from the cinema, history, classic children's tales and
Give the Puppeteer a Hand with Dexterous Fingers
Alex Toys (ToyShow)
solves the mystery behind finger-less gloves. Humpty Dumpty Finger
Puppets ($7) are just one of many fairytale finger puppet sets
aimed to please kids ages 3 and above. Made of soft felt, the puppets
fit children's fingers and are true virtuosos willing to take on new roles
beyond the Humpty Dumpty rhyme.
Breyer Stick Horse
Hail the Sport of Kings
A pet pony is out of the question, but grade-school jockeys can relive
the match race of the century piloting the Seabiscuit Stick Horse
($25.99) from Breyer, whose realistic model
horses spawned an industry of collectors. This Seabiscuit takes kids to
the racetrack with the sounds of the "Call to the Post" and
a thunderous gallop.
Harry Potter Products
Anyone for Swashbuckling, Rhyming or Quidditch?
With Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban almost ready for
the screen, Elope (ToyDirectory)
has hats and accessories ready for kids to take home. The Sorting
Hat ($24.99), Hogwarts School Scarf ($24.99,
with Knit Hat) and Glasses ($6.95) are de rigueur
for hardcore fans of the series. Say the magic words and Elope will
transform boys and girls into other Harry Potter characters, even Professor
Alice's Wonderful Tea Party Set
Tea with Alice & Friends
The venerable Tootsietoy Company serves up a new Alice's
Wonderful Tea Party Set ($14.99) with service for four. Girls
will appreciate the little surprises, including flower petal saucers,
the Doormouse waiting inside the Mad Hatter's creamer and the Cheshire
Cat's tail doubling as the sugar spoon.
Flanders Shield and Sword Set
Medieval History Repeats Itself
Belgium and Northern France were once havens for treacherous, powerful
men called the Counts of Flanders. Kids can re-live the Dark Ages with
the painted wooden Lion of Flanders Shield and Sword Set
from European Expressions ($10). Stand behind the Lion
of Flanders crest and attack with the wooden sword, whose soft edges encourage
Construction Worker/ Road Crew Worker
Clothes Make the Delivery Man
Fanny's Playhouse (ToyDirectory),
known for uniform costumes portraying every walk of life, gives kids ages
3 and up opportunities to look like working professionals. Three major
debuts in the companyís line are the Construction Worker/Road
Crew Worker (vest, $6.50; imitation hard hat, $5.00), Delivery
Carrier (jacket and cap, $29.00) and Airline Pilot (jacket
and cap, $32.50).
Billy-Bob Teeth's Austin Powers Kit
It's Shagadelic, Baby!
Teens can greet the International Man of Mystery in the mirror with Billy-Bob
Teeth's Austin Powers Kit ($11.99). The kit
offers those pearly whites and non-prescription glasses that make spy
Austin Powers the character we canít forget.
A Stunning Debut
A Wish Come True makes fantasy outfits for girls who
would rather make a red-carpet splash than a backdoor ripple at their
next costume party. Available in pink or lavender, the Fairy Tale
Maiden (dress, $65; hat, $18) features a velour bodice and peplum,
satin sleeves and V-inset, multi-layer tulle skirt with lettuce edging,
attached flower and tulle trim. These are sizes available for girls ages
2 to 14.