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January 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 1




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TDmonthly's Top-10 "Toys I Didn't Have"

What the Customers Wanted, but Owners Said "Nah"


With additional reporting by regional correspondents Dennis Furlan, Christine Lebednik and Terri Hughes-Lazzell

No specialty toy-store owner has ever admitted to stocking MGA’s Bratz (though a few have owned up to a handful of Barbies). Nevertheless, customers continue to plague toy stores with mass-market requests, especially once holiday fever hits.

In addition to Bratz and Barbie’s 12 Dancing Princesses line, retailers’ phones were hot with calls for Batman, Spider-Man and other licensed products.

TDmonthly Magazine asked 30 specialty toy-store owners and one mass-market retailer which most-wanted toys they just didn’t have. A few of the answers took them ― and us ― by surprise:




MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 4 to 12
Launch Date: August 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Science & Nature



This reusable sand “plays like dough” and is ideal for sculpting and molding. It never dries out and can be used over and over again. This product was named one of the Top 100 Best Children’s Products of 2006 by Dr. Toy. “Moon Sand is an amazing product. Its traditional play pattern combined with innovation sets it aside from any other product. Kids are able to mold, squish and create any shape they want,” Ashley Elborne of Spin Master Toys told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2006.
— “They were all looking for Moon Sand [this Christmas],” Nancy Streeter, owner of Eureka Toys in Newburyport, Mass., reported to TDmonthly. “The manufacturer ran short on this.”
— “MoonSand … they were sold out in the mass [market],” explained Deran Muckjian, owner of Catch a Falling Star in Lexington, Mass.
— Six of 31 retailers surveyed said they’d gotten numerous requests for this product, which they didn’t stock.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9978      (added 11/9/2006)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls



This seemingly real baby doll comes alive to speak, make facial expressions and move her eyes. In addition, she eats doll food and poops, as she did 33 years ago in the previous model. She is new for 2006.
— There were “a lot of requests” for Baby Alive as Christmas neared, said Janet Gessner, owner of Deep River Toy Company in Deep River, Conn.
— “I have no idea why it’s popular,” puzzled Ben Choinsai, manager of Special Toys and More in East Windsor, Conn.
— Four of 31 toy-store owners said they received requests for Baby Alive throughout the holiday season.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6766      (added 2/1/2006)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 8 to 12
Launch Date: September 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction



Kids can now build one of the most famous ships of the Star Wars saga. In the hands of the Rebel Alliance’s brave pilots, the X-wing starfighter helped to destroy two massive Death Stars. With S-foil wings that open to attack position, folding landing gear, a cargo hold and lots of authentic details, the starfighter can be customized as either Luke Skywalker’s Red Five or Wedge’s Red Three X-wing. The set includes Wedge Antilles, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and R2-D2 minifigures. Launch date: Sept. 12, 2006.
— “I wish that LEGO didn’t run out … particularly the Star Wars LEGO. … Their warehouse was empty,” commented Lori Hershman, owner of Evan’s Toy Shoppe in Hamden, Conn., about the holidays 2006.
— “LEGOs were in short supply,” agreed Stan Giliberto, owner of Over the Rainbow in Glastonbury, Conn. “LEGO Star Destroyer was the one they really wanted.”
— Jordan Walden, store manager for Finnegan's Toys and Gifts in Portland, Ore., told TDmonthly in spring 2007, "We don't do a lot of licensed stuff," but "Star Wars LEGO is probably our best-seller" in the category. Finnegan's sells about 50 a month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10839      (added 12/28/2006)
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MSRP: $159.99
SKU or Item #: HBZ2600
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Aircraft
Remote Controlled



Being big and stable with a 4' wing and a motor that drives the plane over 30 mph, the Super Cub is beyond a toy, yet easy to learn to fly. Flight times are over 20 minutes, and for a limited time Hobby Zone is offering a free second battery and free shipping. The Super Cub is ready-to-fly out of the box and comes with an instructional DVD and manual. It is backed by solid phone tech support, and parts are widely available.
— “I had a lot of people asking for remote-control [(RC)] airplanes,” Manager Char Mcaulay of Toy Town in Casper, Wyo., told TDmonthly.
— David Campbell, owner for 19 years of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., also received a lot of requests for RC airplanes for the 2006 holidays.
— Toy-store owners say that easy flyers, such as this model, are among their best-selling RC aircraft, because they appeal to a wide range of hobbyists.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9850      (added 10/30/2006)
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Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls



Dora speaks directly to your child, sings songs, tells stories, and plays games. Dora can be personalized with a child’s information using a simple USB cable, CD-ROM and computer.
— Missy Beutler, sales associate at Tinkerz Toy Shop in Coeur D' Alene, Idaho, got calls for “lots of name brands and cartoons like ... Dora.”
— “Dora the Explorer,” was hot, agreed Ryan Donnelly, assistant manager of mass-market retailer Kay Bee Toy & Hobby in Boise, Idaho.
— Specialty toy retailers have told TDmonthly that Dora products are some of the hottest choices for little girls, despite their availability in mass-market stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10287      (added 11/28/2006)
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MSRP: $6.95
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill



Now young minds have a Rubik's Cube they can master. Although ideal for introducing a child to the concept invented by Rubik, Rubik's Jr. can be tried by anyone who finds the more traditional version too difficult to tackle.
— Kevin Tjaden, owner for 25 years of Scientific Wizardry in Boise, Idaho, was glad he’d stocked Rubik’s Cube, since it was featured in the holiday hit “The Pursuit of Happyness” starring Will Smith.
— Mary Walsh, owner of The Magical Child in Greenfield, Mass., wished she’d stocked more of the “old, standard Rubik’s Cube.”
— A 25th anniversary edition of Rubik’s Cube is also available.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10272      (added 11/28/2006)
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MSRP: $69.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: July 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Electronics



This preschool-appropriate digital camera boasts a durable drop-resistant design, a rubberized outer shell, a 1.3” backlit color LCD screen, dual handle grips, two-eye viewing and auto flash. Features include 640 x 480 resolution, memory for more than 50 pictures, an SD card slot, software and more. It requires 4 AA batteries (not included). “Our motivation for product development is always grounded in a consumer need or want,” marketing manager for Fisher-Price Mike Sullivan told TDmonthly. “In this case, it’s 'durable and easy-to-use' preschool electronics. Since preschoolers may drop their toys, we wanted to develop an electronics line that would be tough enough for them to use.” Launch Date: July 2006.
— Steve Levy, owner of Toy City in Keene, N.H., got a lot of requests for the Fisher-Price digital cameras, “which I should have bought,” he said.
— Kidult products continue to grow in popularity, attracting ever younger fans. (VIEW ARTICLE)
— The Kid-Tough Digital Camera made the top-25 best-selling electronics toys for kids on Amazon.com as of December 28, 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9930      (added 11/3/2006)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Puzzles & Skill
Wooden Toys



ColorKu is a high-quality wooden board game based on the popular Sudoku puzzles. It uses 81 wooden marbles in nine distinctive colors placed on a 9" x 9" wooden grid to solve puzzles. The board is solid wood and 13½" x 13½". The game comes with 104 puzzle cards, but it can be used to solve any Sudoku puzzle.
— “We had people ask for a new colorized Sudoku called ColorKu,” Mike Castor, owner of Pentwater Toy Box in Pentwater, Mich., reported to TDmonthly. “We were able to find the manufacturer in the next county, got a hold of him in Grand Rapids and got a shipment in 48 hours. We sold a bunch.”
—  “We believe ColorKu is the best Sudoku product on the market. Players can solve puzzles individually or in groups, and it can be made competitive by setting up the same game on two or more boards,” said Mark Asperheim, president of Mad Cave Bird Games. “It’s also a beautiful piece that looks great on a coffee table!”
— Three of 63 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly named ColorKu as one of their top selling games.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7323      (added 3/27/2006)
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MSRP: $15.99
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: 04714
Launch Date: November 1998
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



Stratego is a classic game of battlefield strategy. Players use memory, cunning and luck to capture the enemy's flag. The game accommodates two to four players. Launch date: November 30, 1998.
— “This is bizarre: I have never in years gotten a call for the game Stratego, but this year I got tons of them,” said Kevin Tjaden, owner for 25 years of Scientific Wizardry in Boise, Idaho. “We're trying to figure out why. I don't know if it was in a movie. Rubik's Cube we did carry, and that was in the movie with Will Smith.”
— Movie or no, Stratego continues to be a best seller.
— It ranked No. 15 for strategy games on Amazon.com as of December 28, 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10840      (added 12/28/2006)
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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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