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March 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 3
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TDmonthly's Top-10 Specialty Toy Fair Toys

Curved Dominoes and Banana Bags Catch Retailers' Attention


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

Specialty toy retailers had hundreds of booths to browse at this year’s American International Toy Fair in New York. TDmonthly Magazine surveyed 20 toy-store owners about their favorite products after they’d returned home and had a chance to reflect on the show.

Here are their diverse picks:

To read more about retailers' opinions, check out specialty retailers' Toy Show Favorites and First-Day Impressions. Also, see other products retailers liked by clicking here.




MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: July 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
Electronics
General Toys



The Rubik's® Cube is an icon recognized around the world, selling over 350 million units. Now there's an all new spin on the world's #1 Cube—the Rubik's Revolution™. Packed with speed games and brainteasers everyone can play, the award-winning Rubik's Revolution is an all new spin on the world's #1 Cube. Six addictive, fast paced electronic games are easy to learn, but will push your skills to the limit with multiple challenging levels to unlock. Fun for ages 5 or 105, play by yourself or compete against your friends in both single and multiplayer games to become master of the Cube. “Rubik’s Revolution was designed as the electronic sequel to one of the best-selling toys in history ... It provides a whole new take on cubing. It is about speed. It is about smarts,” said Eric Levin, executive vice president of Techno Source. “Techno Source is also offering a Professor Rubik’s Signature Edition for the specialty market.” Winner of 10 Awards including the TIA 2008 T.O.T.Y. Game of the Year, Rubik's Revolution won a 2008 iParenting Media Award, a 2007 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval Award, a Dr. Toy Summer 2007 Best Products Award and a 2007 NAPPA Gold Award. Launch date: Summer 2007.
― “I think it will do very well,” Debbie Wurzburger, owner of Toy Chest in Pikesville, Md., told TDmonthly.
— Four out of 58 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly cited Rubik’s Revolution as their most popular “big-kid” item.
— When asked what he would most recommend for older kids and adults, Bill DeFusco, owner of Toyz Toy Store in Chesire, Conn., told TDmonthly, “The first one that comes to my mind [is] Rubik’s Revolution.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11558      (added 2/21/2007)
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MSRP: $69.99
Age Range: 2 to 5
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Outdoor Fun
Wheeled Toys
Infant & Toddler



Multi-award winning and multi-directional Wheely Bugs, distributed in the United States by Prince Lionheart, go backward, forward, sideways and 'round and 'round. These ride-on bugs have a magical mind of their own. Their bodies have a padded layer of sponge, which is covered with a tough polyurethane skin that can easily be wiped clean. Handmade and crafted from the highest quality materials, Wheely Bug features multi-directional casters and unlimited mobility on all level surfaces. “The fact that the Wheely Bug is multi-directional, encourages gross motor skills and at the same time is heaps of fun,” explains its appeal, said Sarah Eastman, sales and marketing associate at Prince Lionheart. “In addition,” she continued, “this is a great product for the specialty market because it is handmade and beautifully crafted. Now moms can let their kids play with bugs, worry-free.”
― Wheely Bug was a Toy Fair favorite spotted by Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas. It was voted Toy of the Year in BabyTalk's Dec. 2006/Jan. 2007 issue and received the 2007 Silver Award for Best Baby & Infant Product in The Netherlands.
— This handmade Australian toy earns gold stars for everything — wooden base, sturdy construction, simple design, adorable themes, easy-to-clean seat, multi-directional motion and two size options — all adding up to its receipt of a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award.
— Two of 60 retailers in a March 2009 survey listed Prince Lionheart Wheely Bugs as a best-selling ride-in in their stores. The Wheely Bug was a best seller at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., in summer 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10241      (added 11/27/2006)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



This 18-oz. tub provides a variety of red, blue, yellow, green, and purple softdough available in the Mary’s Softdough line.
― Tom England, owner of Dancing Bears Toys & Gifts in Frederick, Md., ordered 115 units of the dough when he returned from Toy Fair. “They’re always favorites,” he told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10761      (added 12/20/2006)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Educational
Award Winners



The fast-moving word game consists of 144 ivory-like letter tiles in a zippered banana pouch. Players place the tiles face down on the table and randomly select 21 tiles. They turn their letters right-side up simultaneously and proceed to form as many intersecting and interconnecting words as possible, rearranging their own letters as many times as desired throughout the game. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007; 2009 TOTY Game of the YEAR, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal; 2007 iParenting; 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended; 2007 Dr. Toy Best Products. (Read Review)
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 456 reviews on Amazon.com.
— Eight of 66 retailers vouched for its best-selling status in May 2008; seven of 63 did in Sept. 2008. Shani Watmough of Planet Toys in Rockland, Maine, said her store sells 60 per month.  Fifteen of 38 named it a top-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— As of April 5, 2010, Bananagrams had spent 570 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games on Amazon.com.
— According to owner Brett Sommer of Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,  “It was the 2009 game of the year. The brilliant packaging definitely helps this product."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8301      (added 6/19/2006)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $15.95
Age Range: 5 and up
SKU or Item #: 00240
Launch Date: February 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



Bendominos play like regular dominoes, but the innovative, curved design gives players more control over the game. In this twisting game, a new Bendomino must match by number to either end of the chain, but also has to fit. "Watch a new pattern emerge as the shape creates a chain that snakes and twists across the table. The high-quality pieces are visually stimulating and irresistible to touch" Adeline Beatrix, sales manager of Blue Orange Games, told TDmonthly. "In addition, the design of the pieces presents new opportunities for creative play beyond dominoes." Under the new “Tree Campaign,” Blue Orange Games is committed to planting two trees for every tree used to create its games. Awards: 007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold, Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom, Spring 2007 Dr. Toy Best Products, 2007 Creative Child Seal Of Excellencep; 2007 Toy Man Seal of Approval, Award of Excellence and E-Choice awards. Launch date: February 2007.
― "It was a clever twist on a game that everybody knows how to play,” noted Patti Guetschon, co-owner of The Learning Station in Newark, Del.
— Bendomino makes its mark as a winner of a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award due to its innovative recreation of a familiar game. The packaging is sharp and eye-catching, as is the twisted playing field that emerges during play. The satisfying heft and chink of the playing pieces also puts Bendomino notches above other plastic games.

Where to Buy: Poopsie's; Berkira

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11503      (added 2/19/2007)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



Part of the Safari Pack, this super-soft plush is also a pillow and a blanket. It is three products in one. Zoobie Pets received a 2007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award and a 2007 Top Toy of the Year Award from Creative Child Magazine.
― Debbie Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys in Houston, favored these transformable pets/pillows/blankies at Toy Fair 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11424      (added 2/9/2007)
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MSRP: $34.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Launch Date: August 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Bath
Construction
Water Activities



Created by Jim and Lori Phipps, parents of five who faced the dilemma of getting their children into the shower, The AquaStruct Toy System lets tweens plumb and replumb the walls of their baths and showers with stylish, suction-cup-mounted pipes, hoses, valves, sprayers, misters, nozzles and squirting devices. This is accomplished using proprietary zero-insertion force, easy release and no-twist connectors that provide a leak proof, plumbing grade seal. The X Kit includes 16 parts, the XL Kit ($64.99) includes 26, and the XXL Kit ($94.99) includes 44. Launch date: trade - February 11, 2007; public - August 1, 2007.
― Diana Glasier, owner of Green Caboose in Stroudsburg, Pa., was “looking” at this bath-construction kit, and will “possibly” order it. “Everyone loves to shower, and this makes it fun,” she shared with TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11005      (added 1/8/2007)
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