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December 2006 | Vol. V - No. 12
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TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Gifts for Girls

Dolls and Crafts Win Girls' Hearts


With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Elizabeth Greenspan, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Krista Lebednik and Brenda Ruggiero

Manhattan Toy’s Groovy Girls
(ToyDirectory), Calico Critters by International Playthings, and Calin from Corolle (Gift Guide) prove that doll and critter power rules when it comes to last-minute gift ideas for girls. Forty-eight retailers from across the country also told TDmonthly Magazine that Fashion Angels (Gift Guide) and Bead Bazaar continue to make jewelry products that are popular. And the pegLoom from Harrisville shows that crafts are holding their own. Here's what is “in” this season:




MSRP: $12.95
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



This kit allows kids to spread nonpermanent, kid-friendly paint on a blank page with a foam brush that is designed to soak up just the right amount of water and paint. A paint palette is handily built right into the cover of the book. Pictures that have already been drawn in white on the pages appear when painted.
— " I would just say that Klutz always sells well because they have a good product," noted Jean Schwartz, owner of Broadway Toys & Togs in Jackson, Wyo.
— "Klutz Magic Painting," was the best-selling painting toy at the Pumpkin Patch in Ames, Iowa, according to manager Barbara Wulkow.
— Klutz Publicist Melissa Goldner Bloomfield  talked to TDmonthly about Chicken Socks: “Art meets abracadabra with Magic Painting. Any kid can instantly become an artist as hidden designs come out of each page with just the touch of a paintbrush!”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8381      (added 6/22/2006)
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MSRP: $26.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls



Calin Charming Pastel is specially designed to encourage hugs and capture hearts. Thanks to the soft, beanbag body, this doll can be posed just like a real baby. With blue sleeping eyes and a pink-and-white striped outfit this 12” doll is perfect for ages 18 months and up.
— Fifteen of 57 retailers TDmonthly surveyed said that Corolle dolls were among the best-selling classic toys in their stores.
— In spring 2007, Owner Sally Lesser of Massachusetts’ Henry Bear’s Park stores mentioned Calin dolls, specifically, as best sellers. Corolle dolls are also popular at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., Owner Idanna Smith said.
— Maggie Moss-Tucker, public relations consultant for Corolle, told TDmonthly, "The bottom line about Calin is that it's truly one of the best dolls on the market. Its price, design, play value and accessories are what makes it such a great doll."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9262      (added 9/5/2006)
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MSRP: $15.00
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Fashion & Accessories



The Just Jewels glass bead and wire jewelry kit has everything tween girls need to design heirloom-quality jewelry. The kit makes 20 beautiful necklaces and bracelets. It includes 4,000+ glass seed beads, 1,000+ glass e-beads, 500+ bugle beads, 10 lobster clasps, 10 jump rings and 3 spools of differently colored wire.
— "I'd probably say bead kits from Fashion Angels. They're small, inexpensive, and they're fun," Tristan Hewitt, manager of Dragon's Toy Box in Seattle, Wash., said when asked about last-minute gifts.
— Jill Jernigan, owner of J. Christopher Toys in Jonesboro, Ark., also had many good things to say about the new Fashion Angels.
— Just Jewels is “very open-ended and creates real skills. The finished products are actual things you can wear. It instills a lifelong skill of jewelry making," Goldi Miller, a partner at Fashion Angels, told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9365      (added 9/13/2006)
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MSRP: $15.00
Age Range: All Ages
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Miniatures



Breyer's expertise in horses comes through as it provides a 1:12-scale model that children and adults, equestrian amateurs and even experts can all appreciate and enjoy.
— "I carry Breyer horses," Marilyn Sipila, owner of Toys Etc. in Poulsbo, Wash., said about best-selling gift ideas in her store.
— "I would say Breyer horses," concurred Mary Walsh, owner of Magical Child in Greenfield, Mass.
— Three retailers specifically told TDmonthly that Breyer horses are popular last-minute gift ideas for girls.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9116      (added 8/24/2006)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Kids can hide all of their treasures in this stylish, hand-crafted Funky Bead Chest. It’s the perfect place to store finished bead creations and other accessories. All the drawers in this adorable chest are fully lined. The Funky Bead Chest contains tons of beads, plus lots of string and charms. The bead chest is a great permanent keepsake and it is one of Bead Bazaar’s iconic items. It adds a touch of style to any room, is 9" by 5" by 4" and can be used to create three different accessories. It won an Oppenheim Toy Award in 2006.
— “Bead Bazaar is my best-seller for girls that are into crafting,” Christina Callan, owner of Interactive Toys Crafts & More in Cle Elum, Wash., told TDmonthly.
— "I'd probably say bead kits. We get them from Bead Bazaar," was the response from Tristan Hewitt, manager of Dragon's Toy Box in Seattle, when asked about customer favorites in his store.
— Moore Porsaid, president of Bead Bazaar, shared his thoughts with TDmonthly: "[The Funky Beach Chest is] a painted and hand-crafted bead kit. You can create jewelry with it as well as [store] a finished product. Girls can also add their own jewelry to it if they like."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7233      (added 3/17/2006)
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MSRP: $17.99
Age Range: 5 and up
SKU or Item #: 1715
Launch Date: October 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



The Play Foam Activity Set includes five colors of the super-popular Play Foam, which can be used to create awesome creatures. Children can transform creations with an assortment of feathers, straws, pipe cleaners and wiggly eyes. The fun and creativity is endless as the Play Foam can be used again and again. Launch date: October 2006.
— "Creativity for Kids....Parents really appreciate a product where the children are creating something," responded Ann Walker, owner of Curious Kidstuff in Seattle when asked for great-selling items in her store.
— Play Foam’s been a top seller for Michelle Deutschmann, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass., since November 2006.
— “Our product development team constantly reviews trends in the marketplace to keep current with what interests children. This involves store visits, online research, and getting feedback from children,” Lisa Ritchey of Faber-Castell told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9974      (added 11/9/2006)
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MSRP: $39.95
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Lap Looms are portable hardwood tapestry or frame looms that can be woven on while resting on a table, floor or lap. The loom includes 1 ounce of cotton warp string, 100% pure virgin wool weft yarn (enough to complete 1 project), 1 tapestry needle, 2 wooden shed sticks 1- 6" wooden stick shuttle and illustrated instructions.

— "Craft kits from Harrisville" are customer-favorites, Ann Walker, owner of Curious Kidstuff  in Seattle, Wash., told TDmonthly.
— When asked for a great last-minute gift idea in her store, Kathie Dockstader, buyer for Top Ten Toys, Inc. in Seattle, Wash, named "the weaving kits from Harrisville."
— John Colony, president of Harrisville Designs, was proud to talk with TDmonthly about the Lap Loom: "We use only the best materials: hardwood frame, unbreakable nylon pegs and 100% pure wool yarns that we spin in our own mill. We build quality into the Lap Loom and we are confident that it will bring years of pleasure."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10215      (added 11/22/2006)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puppets
Plush



This gorgeous bird spread its tail feathers for the first time early in 2006. The tail of this 18” hand puppet can be manipulated into a magnificent display. As with all of Folkmanis’ puppets, the peacock is high quality and durable. Folkmanis puppets have won many awards from respected toy evaluators such as Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Dr. Toy, Parent's Choice and iParenting Media.
— "We sell a lot of Folkmanis puppets. People buy so much," was the enthusiastic response given by Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston’s Child’s Play in Baltimore, Md..
— "Puppets by Folkmanis: Parents like them because of the price and they have a lot of choice for children in terms of stocking stuffers. I sell a lot of Folkmanis," said Marilyn Sipila, owner of Toys Etc. in Poulsbo, Wash.
— Elaine Kollias of Folkmanis believes the Peacock puppet will be their biggest hit for the Holidays 2006. "It's been stellar since it was introduced in the spring," she said. "The extraordinary use of fabrics, colors and textures along with the innovative puppet movement is what makes this a very 'special bird.'"
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7010      (added 2/24/2006)
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MSRP: $44.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Sets



This new environment gives the babies of Cloverleaf Corners lots of adventures as they slide down the slide, crawl through the tunnel, run over the bridge and climb to the top of the hill. Best of all, there is a hot air balloon they can ride above the park. The park itself comes with everything needed to start playing — including two twin-sized Critters!
— “Calico Critters have been an exceptional thing...my highest increase in sales the last three years,” Yamil Castillo, owner of The Red Balloon Toy Store in Salt Lake City, Utah, told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— “Calico Critters consistently sell. There is just something that appeals to adults and children as well,” Donna, manager of The Treasured Child in LaGrange, Ky., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— Three of 50 retailers, who spoke with TDmonthly in April 2008, singled out Calico Critters playsets as best-selling playsets.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7349      (added 3/28/2006)
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Dennis FurlanWriter's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author

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