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April 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 4
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Uncommon Heroes, by Diane Franklin: Although it might seem ludicrous to create an action figure without a big screen or major television tie-in, unlicensed figures have been around for many years. Some cite G.I. Joe, which hit toy stores in the early 1960s, as the model success story. Today, several renegade companies are introducing unlicensed figures and making quite a pretty penny in the process.

Five Minutes of Family Reading Time, by Jodi Webb: While long distance family travel to some can mean dull hours of listening to headphones or playing ?find the out-of-state license plate,? to a few toy manufacturers, it provides the opportunity to release innovative products that bring families closer together. A few unique publishing companies have devised books of five-minute mysteries that entertain weary travelers while testing their powers of deduction.

Is it Play Time or Is It Snack Time? by Jodi Webb: These days, even children are multi-tasking as more and more enjoy ?craft? kits with edible creations. From pretzel mixers to candy makers, manufacturers are merging two fun concepts to nourish kids both physically and creatively.

Simple, Interactive Creativity?To Go! by Marie Rossiter: As modern families hit the road, they continue to take along a timeless classic: the activity book. Yet, these traditional fun books, guaranteed to keep a restless child busy, come with a few advanced perks to update the old model.

Video War Games: Running Away From or Toward Reality? by Marie Rossiter: With the onslaught of war overseas, the video game market has become increasingly receptive to realistic war games. As the media continues to dedicate round-the-clock coverage to these events, many predict this trend in gaming will continue.

It?s How You Play the Game, by Norma Yacoub: New video game consoles hitting the market are taking twists and turns that game developers could only dream of a few years ago. The new Nintendo DS system will allow gamers to compete on dual screens simultaneously, and that?s just the beginning.

The Sweet, Sweet Smell of Success, by Pennie Hoover: While toy candy may seem a frivolous endeavor, many candy manufacturers point to novelty candy as not so novel an idea. With 98% of households across the country reportedly purchasing candy each year, manufacturers in the niche claim there is money to be made by creatively packaging the products that appeal to a child?s sweet tooth.

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