TDmonthly Magazine!
December 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 12
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What the Kids Like

As Told by the Voice of Bart Simpson, Nancy Cartwright


“The kids appreciated having a craft kit that didn’t require 'clean up' afterward.”
Emmy Award-winning actress Nancy Cartwright is best known as the voice of spike-headed underachiever Bart Simpson, but also gives voice to Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz, Todd Flanders and various others in the town of Springfield. In addition to her work on “The Simpsons,” Cartwright portrays Chuckie in the cable” series “Rugrats,” as well as Rufus the Naked Mole Rat in “Kim Possible” and Todd on Disney’s “The Replacements.”

In addition, Cartwright actively supports many nonprofit organizations that help children, including Famous Fone Friends, Make-a-Wish Foundation, The Way to Happiness Foundation, PALS (Police Activities League Supporters) and World Literacy Crusade. She is the Honorary Mayor of the North San Fernando Valley and actively participates in her local community. She is co-founder of Happy House, a non-profit organization dedicated to Building Better Families. She is a member of Women in Film, ASIFA, Women in Animation and The Chouinard Foundation.

In this issue of TDmonthly Magazine, Cartwright and kids ages 5 to 15 from the Police Activities League Supporter youth center in Northridge, Calif., turn their critical eyes to toys that are hoping for their own moment in the spotlight:


When I Grow Up Tent & Tunnel Combo by PACIFIC PLAY TENTS INC
Category: Pretend Play

TDmonthly rating:


What Is It? This toy is a six-sided tent with mesh windows, a high-tech, water-resistant polyethylene floor and an interior-padded coordinating tunnel.

What the Kids Thought: The colorful packaging was great! The younger kids could easily play with this toy by hiding inside. They had a lot of fun.

Room for Improvement? Just make it easier to put back in the box!

Quadrilla Twist and Rail Set by HAPE INTERNATIONAL LTD
Age: 4 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Construction
MSRP: $119.95

TDmonthly rating:


Watch Video


What Is It?
This wooden marble run construction toy has endless possibilities. Kids can build models with some or all of the 147 curved, straight and funnel pieces. The set includes 50 marbles.

What the Kids Thought: Quadrilla made the kids relate to mechanical concepts. They learned the basic mechanics of how a machine works. They loved being challenged by figuring out how best to put the pieces together so the marbles would run all the way down the tracks. They were so excited by the toy, they tried to put all the marbles in at once!

Room for Improvement? Maybe I like to be clean, but it could be easier to fit back in the box when done!

Pro Stars 2 Rod Hockey Game by iTOYS INC.
Age: 5 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: General Games

TDmonthly rating:


What Is It? A retro hockey tabletop set, this game relies on quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination. No batteries required! Just the will to win and fast wrists.

What the Kids Thought: The compact size of this tabletop game was a plus. Though the kids loved the idea of playing a new game against each other, most of them found it difficult to maneuver the players and were frustrated that they couldn’t play as well as they’d hoped they would.

Room for Improvement? The stickers that mark the players confused the kids. The game should be easier to assemble and play.

Dinowonks Googliesaurus by MANHATTAN TOY
Age: 3 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Plush
MSRP: $40.00

TDmonthly rating:


What Is It? This 18”-tall colorful plush dino is designed for cuddling.

What the Kids Thought: The funny-looking, soft plush toy had great eyes and colors. The kids found Googliesaurus hug-able and it made them laugh to look at it.

Room for Improvement?
It’s good, just as it is.

Indoor/Outdoor Super-Powered Microscope by SMARTLAB TOYS
Age: 8 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Science & Nature
MSRP: $18.99

TDmonthly rating:


What Is It? Usable indoors or outdoors, this super-powered microscope will magnify anything 40 times its natural size. The microscope can be used on the stand or off, and kids can observe the details of prepared slides or create their own.

What the Kids Thought: This is a great toy because it is centered on learning, but is still fun! The kids really loved looking at regular things through the microscope. Inspecting common objects gave them new insights into their environment. I think it will give some of the kids more interest in the world around them.

Room for Improvement?
It’s fine as is.

Scratchin' Fashion™ Deluxe Kit by SCRATCH-ART CO., INC.
Age: 5 and Up
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
MSRP: $17.00

TDmonthly rating:


Watch Video

What Is It? A scratchboard set with safe, blunt styluses, this crafty kit lets girls design super sparkly "fashion stickers" of tops, pants, skirts, dresses and trendy accessories. The kit features more than 150 Scratchin' Fashion dress-up stickers, eight dress-up models in picture scenes, eight picture stand sets, one medium-point wood drawing stylus and instructions.

What the Kids Thought: This nice, simple toy allowed the kids to create for themselves. Mostly the girls went for this one — and they liked making things pretty. They were quiet and interested while they played with the toy. I think it helped them learn more about creating and decorating.

Room for Improvement? More wooden styluses would be great so a number of kids could play together.

Wikki Stix Tons of Fun! Kit by WIKKI STIX
Age: 3 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
MSRP: $14.95

TDmonthly rating:


Watch Video

What Is It? Wikki Stix are slim, bendable and colorful nontoxic sticks that can be used to create pictures and objects. Wikki Stix stick with just fingertip pressure; no glue is necessary. This product is made in the USA.

What the Kids Thought:
The nice, compact carrying case made the Wikki Stix Tons of Fun! Kit easy to use and easy to take anywhere. The kids appreciated having a craft kit that didn’t require “clean up” afterward — there was no glue and no mess. They liked it a lot.

Room for Improvement?
I like it the way it is.

Dudley Dump Truck by WOW TOYS
Age: 1 to 5
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Infant & Toddler
MSRP: $40.00

TDmonthly rating:


What Is It? Dudley is a tough, chunky, friction-powered dump truck: He tips, he drives and he shakes, too. Turn the power switch for great tipping action, then drive off-site with a realistic engine sound. This eight-piece set includes barrels and traffic cones to collect and dump, a driver friend and a sturdy carry handle.
( Watch Video)

What the Kids Thought: This sturdy and colorful dump truck’s large size made it easy for little hands to maneuver. The kids were very engaged with Dudley — particularly the boys. The kids played well together with this toy and learned more about cooperation.

Room for Improvement? Dudley is cool as is.

Trash and Recycling "Paper Making" Kid Kit by EDC
Age: 6 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Kits
MSRP: $17.99

TDmonthly rating:


What Is It? This recycling kit includes Usborne’s Level 2 “Trash and Recycling” book for ages 6 to 8, a frame with a screen, a plastic tray, paper confetti, a roller, white glue, glitter, felt and a detailed instruction sheet.

What the Kids Thought: I appreciated the nice, compact message on the front. The toy was educational and topical, and gave the kids some insight into the need/possibilities for recycling while at the same time giving them a creative way to apply solutions right away. The kit made them think about how one object can be turned into another. They loved getting creative on their own, though the kit was favored mostly by the girls. I hope that it will make them more aware of the need for recycling and the world around them.

Room for Improvement? It would be nice if there were a way to make it less messy, but I’m doubtful!



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Writer's Bio: Multiple-Emmy Award-winning actress Nancy Cartwright is best known as the voice of
Bart Simpson, but over her 20-year show-biz career she has also appeared as an actress in numerous television series and movies, including "Fame."  Nancy's production company, SportsBlast, and partners Turner Sports Interactive hosting Nascar.com were recognized with the Silver Award by the Houston Film Festival for their original series "The Kellys."  Cartwright's best-selling autobiography, "My Life as a Ten-Year-Old Boy"
(Hyperion/Bloomsbury), takes a behind-the-scenes look at her unique life as it relates to the phenomenon of "The Simpsons." To find out more about Nancy and her career go to www.nancycartwright.com Read more articles by this author

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