TDmonthly Magazine!
December 2006 | Vol. V - No. 12
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Give the Nod to Yarn Crafts and Bobbleheads

Traditional and Faddish Crafts Are Holiday Winners


“I would have never guessed that [bobblehead kits] would sell so well.” Barbara Fineblum, Barston’s Child’s Play
With additional reporting by Virginia Davis, Dennis Furlan, Elizabeth Greenspan, Julie L. Jones, Krista Lebednik and Brenda Ruggiero

Strong year-round sales have retailers excited about arts and crafts this holiday season. Rocking-chair hobbies such as knitting and crocheting earned top praise from 43 retailers interviewed by TDmonthly Magazine. Unexpectedly popular are various Bobblehead-making craft kits.

What’s Selling

It came as no surprise to hear that Alex products were clearing shelves. “They know their market,” according to April Chambers, an associate at Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash. “Their products are well made,” she continued, adding that “yarn arts are en vogue” and doing very well for Kazoodles.

 “Every company had something at Toy Fair,” 20-year toy veteran Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston’s Child’s Play in Baltimore said of the “tons of knitting and crocheting” ringing up at the registers.

What’s New Again

Fineblum also has found surprising success with bobbleheads. “People love those,” she said. “I would have never guessed that they would sell so well.”

She’s not alone. Toys on the Square in Hummelstown, Pa, is also nodding yes with make-your-own bobblehead crafts, such as Kool Kats and 2 Bobble Head Dogs, both by Creativity for Kids. “…kids love bobbleheads,” owner Grafton Stein told TDmonthly. He also spoke highly of Paint-a-Doggie Diner, a creative new way to pamper man’s best friend, by Alex.

Here are the craft kits that manufacturers and retailers say will keep kids busy this Christmas:




Age Range: 9 and up
SKU or Item #: 9781585304097
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Portraits and personalities are made easy. Trace and carbon-copy photos of friends and family. Use Color Grip watercolor pencils to paint portraits on sand-textured paper and velvet. Try realistic, cartoon and Picasso styles. The finished products can be framed and displayed on a wooden easel. Katie Culotta, owner of Victoria’s Toy Station in Baton Rouge, is a fan: “So many kids love to draw.This gives kids an in-depth idea of how to do it.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10246      (added 11/27/2006)
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Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Made of Tyvek, this doll provides both patterns for kids to color and plenty of blank space to draw and decorate. When kids become bored of their designs, the Color & Cuddle Washable Doll can be thrown in the wash and will come out clean for more drawing fun. To make drawing easy, the Color & Cuddle Washable Doll from Alex Toys includes 4 colorful, washable markers and washing instructions. “Alex is moving well,” Christina Callan of Interactive Toys, Crafts & More in Cle Elum, Wash., told TDmonthly, referring to the Color & Cuddle Washable Doll. “You decorate them and then you wash them." She said that even 13 year olds had bought them.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10247      (added 11/27/2006)
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MSRP: $13.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



This beginner’s kit for knitting comes with simple instructions to knit a scarf and hat. The chunky needles and fat yarn make it easy for little hands. Each kit comes with a set of wooden needles and lots of yarn.
— “Knit your own scarf has been very popular,” said Kevin Hart, owner of Toy Shop in Atlanta. “Alex’s Chunky Funky scarf sold very well,” agreed Michelle Deutschmann of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass.
— “A lot of the knitting and crocheting is big, from Alex,” Trish Garlock, owner of Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky., told TDmonthly.
—  Genevieve Collonge of the Wooden Horse told TDmonthly, “Alex Chunky Funky Scarf is a really good kit.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4809      (added 9/26/2005)
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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: $15.99
Age Range: 4 to 12
SKU or Item #: 1095
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Children can create two hardcover books with this set. The smaller book includes a die-cut frame and room for a story, which makes a great family activity. The kit includes story ideas, markers, clip art and sticker sheets. “Create Your Own Books encourages children to use their imagination to write and illustrate stories that reflect their interests and personality. The activity is both enriching and fun, and allows children an opportunity for open-ended self-expression,” Lisa Ritchey of Faber-Castell told TDmonthly. This item was named one of the 100 Best Children’s Products of 2006 by Dr. Toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9969      (added 11/9/2006)
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MSRP: $15.00
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



This is a unique alternative to the various lines of horse models Breyer offers to customers. Instead of getting a completely finished product, users of all ages can add their own finishing details, including adding mohair for the mane and the tail. It comes with paints, brushes and a detailed instruction booklet.
— "The Breyer models, especially My Dream Horse Customizing Kit," was the specific thumbs-up given by Linda Meyer, manager of Timbuk Toys in Denver.
— "That’s been a good seller," noted Gayle Grabish, of Unique Toy and Game in Grover, Mo.
— Breyer bases its model horses on the real thing.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9060      (added 8/21/2006)
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MSRP: $17.00
Age Range: 8 and up
Launch Date: January 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Tween



Ballerinas and fashionistas alike will want to make these ultra-cool leg warmers. Included is the "Leg Warminator Tool" for quick and easy completion of a first pair of leg warmers. It comes packaged in a vinyl knitting tote for easy storage and display on retailer shelves. This product received a 2007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Best Toy Award. Launch date: 2006.
— “Leg warmers are coming back,” Susan Sellers, buyer for Tree Top Kids in Washington, D.C., told TDmonthly. “I ordered it for four stores.”
— Fashion Angels (formerly known as The Bead Shop) is very excited about its 2006 wearable line, publicist Lisa Orman told TDmonthly.
— Fashions Angels products are a fave with tweens, retailers have told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7314      (added 3/27/2006)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: April 2003
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Kids can have fun personalizing the look of this pair of Bobble Head Dogs from Creativity for Kids. The paints come in realistic colors, and can be used along with a dog tag to give each of the toys a name. Launch Date: Spring 2003.
— "Creativity for Kids is very popular," is the experience of Priscilla More, owner of Fub’s Party/Toys and More in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
— "All from Creativity — paint your own alarm clock, butterfly, paint by number, bobble heads, etc.," said Debbie Wurzburger, owner of the Toy Chest in Pikesville, Md., when naming her top-selling painting toys.
— “This kit started our Bobble Head series, which now includes Poodles, Kool Kats and Dinos,” Lisa Ritchey of Faber-Castell told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9061      (added 8/21/2006)
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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: $19.99
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: February 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Fashion & Accessories



Creativity for Kids has come out with a brand new flip-flop kit that gives tween girls a little elevation: They have wedge-style heels for maximum fashionability. The kit comes with two flip-flop styles so it makes a great mother/daughter activity or fun for two friends. The larger pair features a fun, chunky heel and has blue and pink stripes, and the smaller pair is pink with circles. They come with self-adhesive sequin trims, sparkling angel eyelash yarn and iridescent butterflies. The kit was launched in February 2006.
— “Flip-flops have been hot,” enthused Michelle Deutschmann, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass. Half of retailers who sold make-your-own clothing kits said that flip-flops were their best items, and it was the most popular kit in this survey.
— “Flip-flop kits keep selling,” agreed Rich Gordon, owner of the Learning Express in Exton, Pa.
— “Flip-flops have been strong for a couple of years,” said Kate Tanner, owner of Kid Stop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7307      (added 3/27/2006)
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MSRP: $24.95
Age Range: 10 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Knitting is simultaneously trendy and traditional. “Knitting” takes kids from step zero (how to hold the needles and yarn) to finished projects they can show off shamelessly. The book comes complete with yarn, knitting needles, a crochet hook, two buttons and a sewing needle. They’ll learn to knit a long skinny scarf, a cozy hat, a sunglasses case, a cell phone sock and more. The book is written by Anne Akers Johnson.
— “Knitting” is one of Klutz’s Top 10 favorites on its Web site.
— “This has been selling well since January,” said Kelly Smith, owner of The Learning Express in Carlsbad, Calif.
— “Knitting” is one of the best-selling girls sharing crafts at Victoria’s Toy Station in Baton Rouge, La., said owner Katie Culotta.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5146      (added 10/21/2005)
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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: $9.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



PlayFoam provides hours of creative fun with its lightweight, colorful foam-sculpting material that won't crumble, stick to skin or surfaces or dry out. According to an Educational Insights press release, PlayFoam was being “pre-ordered by the hundreds” at Toy Fair 2006.
— Sally Lesser, owner of Henry Bear’s Park in Massachusetts, told TDmonthly in spring 2007 that PlayFoam is a product her stores try to keep “in stock all the time, as I’m sure anyone would.” In fall 2007, Owner Idanna Smith of Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., named it as a best seller.
— Jim Whitney, president of Educational Insights, shared this insight with TDmonthly: "From the moment you touch PlayFoam it intrigues and fascinates ... It combines all the fun of sculpting with the soft, dry, squishy tactile feeling of a stress ball. It ... will last for years and is addictively fun."
— PlayFoam, a winner of a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award, is one of those creative alternatives to clay that many specialty retailers have made a staple in their stores. The reusable product comprises tiny foam balls that draw textural interest for the sculptor and offer visual appeal in a finished creation. Playfoam easily encourages open-ended play.

Where to Buy: Berkira; EQuick Xpress

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5962      (added 12/14/2005)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Become a pottery pro with a real pottery wheel and a variety of included tools to position and sculpt your clay. The pottery wheel includes six distinctive carving attachments with an adjustable tool arm, carving blades, outline shaping tools, shaping tube and excavator, 2 lbs. grey and terra cotta clay, six colors of paint, sponge, paint palette, two brushes, clay cutting cord, 80 mosaic tiles, eight glass jewels, glue, AC -adapter, and instructions.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10248      (added 11/27/2006)
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MSRP: $11.45
Age Range: 13 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities



NEW AND IMPROVED! This redesigned pack of Shrinky Dink Ink Jet plastic has many new features that our customers have been requesting. This SHRINKY DINKS shrinkable plastic can be run through your computers ink jet or bubble jet printer. Choose any photo, lighten it by at least 50% and run the sheet of plastic through your printer to produce the image of your choice. You can create any number of wonderfully creative projects using your photos, computer graphics, or your own artwork. Choose pictures from your digital camera or scan in pictures from your photo albums. These new white sheets are larger, 8 1/2 x 11 inches so that printer adjustments are no longer necessary. Our improved sheets are also water resistant, so that sealing is no longer necessary. The newest version of Shrinky Dinks for Ink Jet printers is designed to be printed on BOTH sides. You can now print your image on one or both sides for added creativity. Each pack contains 6 sheets . Complete instructions are contained in every package of plastic. Recommended printers HP, Lexmark, Canon.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8000      (added 5/25/2006)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $10.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: August 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Art Pods are colorful high gloss, enamel coated tin cases that hold art contents and have a black zipper closure. The various colors may hold paint tubes, markers, crayons, pastels, and colored pencils. The company’s “use of bright colors, innovative design and excellent pricing,” keeps Art Pods fresh and relevant in the marketplace, Glory P. Graham, vice president of Xonex, told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10014      (added 11/10/2006)
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MSRP: $12.95
Age Range: 5 to 12
Launch Date: November 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Kids can make their own flipbooks with this kit that contains pages with pre-drawn frames for two dynamic books, and pages with empty frames for original artwork. Once the frames are colored with the six markers provided, children just separate the pages along their perforations, order and stack the pages, and clip them together. Degas Dancer & Mona Lisa and Rocket & Robot varieties are also available. Launch Date: November 2006.
— “I think what sets them apart is the artistry and creativity of the designs — using computer animation to create strong effects,” Barry Jacobson, director of sales and marketing at Fliptomania, said of his company’s product line. The flipbook kits, in particular, are “a great fit with the creativity that’s so much in specialty stores.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10016      (added 11/10/2006)
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MSRP: $1.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: October 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



These jewelry packs come with 30 plastic pasta shapes including “ziti,” “penne,” and “rigatoni” in several colors, plus 2 yards of craft lace for jewelry making fun. This low-cost, quality option fosters hands-on crafting fun. Launch date: October 2006.
— This growing line “takes away the work that someone would have to do [with a] regular food product,” Christine Ondris, owner and CEO of Plastic Pasta Crafts, told TDmonthly. “It greatly simplifies the always-popular craft of macaroni jewelry making.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9875      (added 11/2/2006)
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MSRP: $16.95
Age Range: 9 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Here´s a step-by-step guide to folding 10 different paper airplanes. This big (10" x 12") book comes complete with 40 sheets of flight-tested, ready-to-fold paper, printed on both sides in a variety of 20 colorful patterns, including leopard print, wood grain, hot rod flames and lose-it-on-the-lawn grass.
— Boys love, “Klutz paper airplanes and things that they can do,” reported Kim Walter, manager of 6.5-year-old Giggles in Stoughton, Wis.
— Klutz kits are among kids favorite items, indoors and out, all year round, according to retailers nationwide.
“The Klutz Book of Paper  Airplanes helps kids make more than just paper toys. It teaches them to  create high performance flying paper machines,” Melissa Bloomfield, publicist for Klutz, told TDmonthly in 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4002      (added 7/18/2005)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $21.95
Age Range: 12 and up
SKU or Item #: 7-30767-48617-4
Launch Date: September 1999
Gender: Girls
Category: Cosmetics
Books
Arts & Crafts



This is a gorgeous instruction book of common-sense luxuries for treating hair, skin and nails. These simple recipes — for things such as bath salts, tub infusions, hair rinses, facial masks, toners and scrubs — are remarkably easy to follow and yield delightful results. The kit comes complete with a Spa Box of supplies that includes a facial brush, nail buffer, pumice stone, bath infusion bag, headband, three vials of essential oils (lavender, peppermint and tangerine) and more. It’s written by Anne Akers Johnson.  Launch Date: Fall 1999.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10193      (added 11/21/2006)
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MSRP: $15.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Children will delight as they create their own handiwork with this laptop weaving loom. This loom (approximately 12” by 12”) is ideal for beginners and is based on an early pioneer design. The kit comes with complete easy-to-follow directions, a pick-up stick, two shuttles, a beater and more than enough cotton yarn to make to make an 8” by 8” project. The accompanying Beginning Weaving Projects Book details advanced designs and patterns and shows how to make blankets, scarves, purses, and wall hangings. The kit is ideal for read-aloud time and car trips. “While both girls and boys will create projects on the loom,” said Corps of Re-Discovery owner John Newton, “the girls show more creativity. The loom is very popular among 6- to 14-year-old girls.” The Weaving Loom Kit and Beginning Weaving Projects Book are also available separately.
— Annette Garcia of the Dana Point, Calif., toy store, The Wee Loft, told TDmonthly that the “weaving looms are always picking up around the holiday season.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7435      (added 3/30/2006)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



The mini pegLoom includes everything needed for a complete woven project: a 7” by 10” hardwood loom with rugged nylon pegs, cotton warp string, brightly colored 100 percent pure wool yarns, plastic needle for easy weaving and illustrated instructions. The pegs are slanted, which helps keep the yarn in place.
— Kevin Hart, co-owner and buyer at Toy Store in Atlanta, told TDmonthly, “Harrisville Design … makes their own wool … they’ve been around hundreds of years.” Also popular at his store are Harrisville’s crocheting and quick-knit scarf kit.
— Craft kits from Harrisville Designs sell well, agreed Sydney Shure, owner of Ideas and Toys Etc in Westminister, Md.
— The pegLoom was a winner of the Teachers' Choice Award and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal "Best Toy" Award.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7309      (added 3/27/2006)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Kids can decorate this doggie diner with paints and give their pooch the coolest looking place to eat. The elevated feeding station is great for dogs’ digestion. It measures 16” W x 9.5” D x 4.5” H and includes two metal feeding bowls, 12 outdoor paints, four foam stampers, two brushes and a mixing tray.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10326      (added 11/30/2006)
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MSRP: $15.99
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Children can embellish these three fancy felines with cool 3-D cat eyes, markers, glitter, rhinestones, ribbons, charms and a mini boa. The cats are about 4" tall.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10327      (added 11/30/2006)
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