TDmonthly Magazine!
October 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 10
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TDmonthly’s October Recommendations


"Playmobil is our best seller; it pays the rent." Jude Larene, Izilla Toys
What’s hot in the shops, now that the weather’s started to cool? TDmonthly Magazine spoke with 16 retailers across the country to find out. While Papo (ToyShow) knights continue to be a “5++++” on a scale of one to 5, according to more than one store owner, they’ll have to defend their top position from some of these other contenders:

Each of the eight retailers who carried wooden easels by Melissa & Doug named them as one of their best sellers. “I just sold one this morning,” said Jordan Walden, manager of Finnegan’s Toys and Gifts in Portland , Ore. Since crafts continue to be hot for all ages, some retailers are having trouble keeping the easel in stock. Be sure to carry paints and paper, so little artists can get started right away.

Selling steadily for 25 years, and tops with the eight retailers who carried them, were puppets by Folkmanis (ToyDirectory). These furry critters are realistic enough to give folks with phobias a jolt, or kids with a penchant for animals a real kick. Folkmanis also has human characters, for kids who prefer two-legged beasts.

Playmobil is our best seller; it pays the rent,” said Jude Larene, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle , Wash. The five retailers who carried the classic line agreed that it was a super seller. When asked which product in particular did best, Larene said, “it’s all great.” Jeremiah Petoia would concur, if he knew what that meant. He’d just received the Playmobil Fire Station and Police Station for his fourth birthday. He and his five siblings especially appreciate the jail.

Eight of 10 retailers who carried the game Rush Hour by ThinkFun rated it as a good to great seller. It’s also ThinkFun’s #1 seller, according to the company’s website. It may be a case of parents wishing their own trials on their kids; players have to navigate their way through massive traffic jams until their car is free.

Schleich figurines are gaining on Papo, according to a survey of retailers. Schleich now offers its own line of knights and horses that are eager to joust with any challenger. Both Papo and Schleich are top sellers at the Pumpkin Patch, said sales associate Juliane Jorstad. They’re head-to-head at all but one of the stores that carry them both, where Papo is favored slightly.

Finally, six of the eight retailers who carried Chicken Socks activity books by Klutz said they were very good to great sellers, though two demurred and rated them as just “okay.” The books transform into playsets to keep little guys and gals happily entertained.

Keep reading to find out more about these hot-selling products.







This PVC figurine features a camel and rider fitted for battle. The soldier rides softly, carrying a big stick. The camel is laden with supplies for a drawn-out conflict.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4849      (added 9/29/2005)
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Ready, aim and duck! This little catapult lets kids besiege rival castles or their sisters´ doll collections. Authentically detailed, the catapult is part of Schleich´s new historical figurines line.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4850      (added 9/29/2005)
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If the battle gets too fierce, soldiers can take flight on this winged legend. Kids who aren´t into prolonged battles may favor Schleich figures such as Pegasus, Unicorn and other animals — both zoological and mythological. Fairy and elf figurines are also available.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4851      (added 9/29/2005)
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Schleich prides itself on the realistic details of its figurines. This little Jackal scans the plains, its ears alert, eyes squinting against the sun. His tan, cream and gray coloring let him blend in with the tall grasses where he crouches for prey. He makes a nice addition to any kid´s jungle.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4852      (added 9/29/2005)
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MSRP: $2.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Pretend Play



Ready for a stroll in the park, this lovely lady comes equipped with a parasol to shield her peaches and cream complexion. A hoop skirt and décolletage add to the authenticity of her outfit. She?s a perfect guest or resident for the new Playmobil Grande Mansion.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4853      (added 9/29/2005)
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MSRP: $179.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Pretend Play



All the knights in all the kingdoms can duke it out at this magnificent castle … if they dare brave the treacherous moat. Residents of the castle can cross to the other side with the aid of a working drawbridge. The set also includes a king’s throne, a functional hoist and — for kids who are eager to impose their own “time-out” — a mini dungeon, too. Characters available separately.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4854      (added 9/29/2005)
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MSRP: $129.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Pretend Play



This stately mansion gives Playmobil characters plenty of room to relax. It features an interlocking wall assembly system with workable doors and windows. Two large rooms on the first two floors and a sprawling attic allow kids to manipulate the space in a variety of ways. Whether peopled with modern or period characters, this home will surely be somebody’s castle. Characters and furniture sets are available separately.
— "We sell the Playmobil Grand Mansion," David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., told TDmonthly about best-selling play houses in his store.
— Two of 62 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2007 said the Playmobil brand is a customer favorite for play houses in their store.
— “The Playmobil Grande Mansion, a five room house, offers hours of imaginary play. You can set up house, pretend to cook, clean and explore the world of dollhouse play,” said Michelle Winfrey, marketing and public relations manager for Playmobil USA.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4855      (added 9/29/2005)
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MSRP: $9.95
Age Range: 4 to 12
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



This lacing set comes with a project book that will keep kids entertained for long stretches as they wind the pieces together to form designs that will surprise and delight them. The multi-colored laces fit easily into the zip-up case for fun on the run.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4771      (added 9/23/2005)
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MSRP: $12.95
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books



The pages of this book fold out and turn into extra-long full-color highways, complete with fallen bridges, flooded highways, forest fires, and other exciting impediments. Kids can flip the fold-outs over to reveal a new set of black-and-white playscapes that invite a lot of color-me-in time. Insructions are included for cool projects such as paper tube tunnels and shoebox bridges. Last but not least, of course, are the hard-working rescue vehicles themselves: a fire engine, police cruiser, tow truck and snow plow. These emergency rigs really roll and are ready to respond to the next urgent call. It´s an entire search-and-rescue team, table-top style.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4856      (added 9/29/2005)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
General Games



Kids can paint with sweeping gestures when they use this generous-sized easel. One side is a chalkboard, the other´s a dry-erase board. Load a piece of paper into the paper holder and kids can paint and scribble to their heart’s content. Each side of the easel features a colorful tray that can hold paints, cups, chalk, erasers, clips and more. “Our Deluxe Easel has become one of our best-selling items because of its great value, high-quality construction and versatility,” said Rick Davis, part of the marketing team at Melissa & Doug. It has two adjustable boards that allow children of all sizes to enjoy painting and creating, and the easy-to-clean trays are removable in seconds.”
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2005.
—  As of 1.06.2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 647 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 18 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros: Double Sided; easy to clean. Cons: Supplies must be purchased separately.
— "The Melissa & Doug Easel, hands-down, beats everything in terms of dollars. It's well-made and good value," was the praise given by David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont.
— “Our easel, from Melissa & Doug, just blows out of here,” said Nishan Shepard, owner of Rockridge Kids in Oakland, Calif., in early 2010.
— Seven of 48 retailers named the easel as their top-selling art item in January 2010, reporting average sales of three per month.
— This easel has been a consistent best seller for Jillie Beans Toys & More of Westminster, Colo., since the store opened in 2006. (April 2010)
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4844      (added 9/29/2005)
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MSRP: $15.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Puzzles & Skill



Voted one of Parent's Choice Foundation's "Best 25 Toys in 25 Years," Rush Hour puts players to the test, demanding thought and vision. As if the commute home isn’t enough, in these 40 beginner-to-expert challenges, players must navigate a red car through a traffic jam and gridlock to successfully leave the game board. Challenge cards fit neatly into a pull-out tray beneath the game tray. Watch video
― “Logic games are selling very well, particularly (those from) ThinkFun,” Amy Akin, manager of Giggles for Kids in Suwanee, Ga., told  TDmonthly in early 2009.
― “We do really well with ThinkFun games — problem solving, like Rush Hour,” added William Bingham, owner of Firefly Toy Shop in Milford, Pa. When asked about best-selling item for tween boys in October 2009, Fred Meyer, owner of Meyer's Toy World in Battle Creek, Mich., told TDmonthly, “Rush Hour is great. We sell hundreds.” It was named a best-selling game by five of 38 retailers in Feb. 2010. During a summer 2010 survey of 40 retailers, two said Rush Hour from ThinkFun is their top-selling puzzle, citing sales of up to 60 pieces per month.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4845      (added 9/29/2005)
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Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author

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