February 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 2
|February 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 2|
Our Favorite Videos
Our Top 30 of More Than 1,000
We're about to bring back a whole documentary from Toy Fair '08, so we thought it was time to review the two-year history of TDmonthly Magazine's Toy Videos! TDmonthly staff selected a few of our favorites to remind readers that we have more than 1,000 videos they can use to make toy-buying decisions. Now retailers can even choose their favorite videos to link to store websites, so customers can watch the toys before they order!
To find the most updated products (since some of these have been around awhile!) please conduct a SEARCH by company or product name. And check back after Toy Fair because most of these companies will have new toys ... and probably new videos, too!
And have fun watching!
Videographers: Alison Marek, Rob Poswall.
Editors: Mark Zaslove, Alison Marek, Alex Sormaz.
Before he delved into dolls, Robert Tonner was senior designer for Bill Blass's sportswear division. The Tyler Wentworth doll is herself a mini-fashion designer. The clothes that "she" creates are backed by Tonner's strong, classic design sense. For 2006, "There are some wonderful outfit collections and the return of Tyler ready-to-wear boutique," said Tom Courtney, director of marketing for Tonner. The dolls are extremely detailed and wear only the finest garments from the Wentworth collection, but what else would you expect?
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4635 (added 9/16/2005)
Nitefall Halloween Collection Temporary Tattoos – Scars & Stitches by SAVVI
Other products from SAVVI
These FD&C-approved temporary tattoos are simply applied with water and can last for days; they can easily be removed with alcohol or baby oil. Each pack comes with a bonus accessory tattoo card. Other pack varieties include Pierce and Stab, Skin Growth, Open Wounds, Bugs and Pus, Ripped Torn and Long Slashes. Launch date: August 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13802 (added 6/28/2007)
This figurine from the Knights & Dragon's series couples with the Bourbon Knight. The collectible is 4.75" tall and includes accurate, hand-painted details to match the medieval warrior. Like the knight (sold separately), it's constructed of durable polyvinyl.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5121 (added 10/19/2005)
Boomophone™ XTS Whack Pack by RHYTHM BAND INSTRUMENTS LLC
Other products from RHYTHM BAND INSTRUMENTS LLC
The Boomophone™ XTS Whack Pack contains the C Major Diatonic Scale that won the prestigious Parents’ Choice Best 25 Toys in 25 Years Award, the XyloTote™ Tube Holder, a pair of Boomwhacker Whacker™ Mallets, the Whack-a-Doodle-Doo! Songbook, an Octavator™ Tube Cap and instructions. The Whack Pack has also won numerous awards, including The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, Parents’ Choice Seal of Approval and the iParenting Media Award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 1497
This dynamic, new line of 44-key baby grand and upright pianos, launched to coincide with Schoenhut’s 135th anniversary, features true piano sound … without the use of electronics. The mid-sized piano is less intimidating for small children who want to learn to play the piano. This line is not intended to replace Schoenhut’s vintage models that feature chime-like tones, such as those originally developed by Albert Schoenhut in 1872. Rather, the introduction is in response to requests from customers for a “new” sound. It’s available in black, white or red. Launch date: January 2007.
— If parents wish to start their kids on the piano before they’re ready for the real baby grand, this stunningly beautiful instrument with authentic piano sound is the way to go. It received a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for innovation in mechanics and design within the category of musical instruments for children, as well as its ability to grace any space while furthering a young child’s music education.
Toy Fair 2007
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11647 (added 2/26/2007)
Corolle’s 17", multilingual baby doll communicates in French, English, Spanish or Italian. Through a simple, well-hidden and secure battery system, little girls can activate Lia’s language skills using different Corolle charm bracelets. Specific, gentle touches and tickles to Lia result in endearing, realistic responses. She is dressed in velour pajamas and a cap. Accessories include a bib, bottle, pacifier, teddy bear and charm bracelets. AAA batteries are not included.
― “I like working with … Corolle as I can order only what I can use for the time period,” Owner Patti Tepper-Rasmussen of Learning Tree Toys in Oklahoma City, Okla., told TDmonthly in spring 2007.
— “I think people want more interactive dolls,” said Nellie Fais, owner of Toy Magic in Bethlehem, Pa. Twenty-seven of 62 retailers said in spring 2007 that Corolle is their best-selling doll brand, with sales ranging from six to 25 units per month. Corolle’s Lia and Lila are best sellers for Brain Station and Tree Town Toys in Ann Arbor, Mich., Owners Hans and Tricia Masing told TDmonthly in fall 2007.
— Interactive Lia is a precious baby doll from a company that’s popular with specialty retailers. She earned a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for educational value, as she speaks pertinent baby phrases, such as “I’m hungry!” in four languages. Her little baby voice is as pleasant as her pretty pink outfit and accessories. She’s much more than the average baby doll, and vanilla-scented at that.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12707 (added 5/8/2007)
Put side-by-side with a real, live cat, it would be hard to tell the difference from this puppet. True to its breed, this cat looks and feels like the living feline — floppy, relaxed and almost boneless. It is made of long, spiky plush in browns and tans with white paws and face, and has a long, fluffy tail.
— This relaxed feline garnered a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for its realistic fur and overall appearance, as well as its friendly persona. It’s a loveable creature that kids can carry around while “speaking” to others by manipulating its mouth.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 13 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: One user said that the eyes looked "demented and pretty scary" and that "Its little mouth is red and open, as though ready to take little nips out of me while I sleep."
Where to Buy: Really Great Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14608 (added 8/13/2007)
The ZipBin™ line consists of attractively designed, transportable and collapsible, interactive storage products that unzip to become activity/play surfaces, and then zip back up to storage-bin form, capturing toys. Each is stackable with a durable, wipe-clean surface. The five ZipBin products for toys include: ZipBin Mansion, ZipBin Road & Rail, ZipBin Dinosaur, ZipBin Builder’s Bin for Plastic Blocks and ZipBin Medieval Castle. “We sometimes describe the ZipBin as a gift that parents give to ... themselves,” Katherine and John Hodges told TDmonthly about the ZipBin. “The unique functionality [of the bin] ... simplifies clean-up.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5835 (added 12/9/2005)
Over a million viewers tune in each week to see what cool science experiment Steve Spangler has up his sleeve. He shoots potatoes, makes toilet paper fly and turns two-liter bottles of soda into giant geysers all in the name of getting people of all ages turned onto science. The now-famous Mentos and Diet Coke experiment turned into one of the most viral marketing campaigns in the history of the Internet. Just drop an unwrapped roll of Mentos into a freshly opened two-liter bottle of soda and the pop becomes a geyser of foam guaranteed to make onlookers cheer wildly and run away. Spangler designed a Mentos-releasing tube so that kids of all ages can make their own Great Geysers without getting soaked. Just load up the tube, stand back and pull out the pin with a string. This set includes more than 15 activities and allows kids to set up their own geyser lab.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11646 (added 2/26/2007)
Khet: The Laser Game by INNOVENTION TOYS
Other products from INNOVENTION TOYS
Khet combines lasers with cstrategy in an award-winning game that takes minutes to learn but yields infinite possibilities. Players move Egyptian-themed, mirrored pieces around the playing field, ending each turn by firing a laser that bounces around with the goal of knocking out an opponent’s pharaoh. The silver player wins the game by deflecting his laser around the field and hitting the red player’s pharaoh. With the addition of fog or smoke, the laser beam becomes visible for more high-tech excitement. Khet (formerly known as Deflexion) caused a stir in 2006 at Toy Fair and Pomona. “The game truly spans the generation gap, with enough technology to interest the 'video-gamers' of the younger crowd while maintaining enough classic strategy ... to interest their grandparents and everyone in between,” Luke Hooper of Innovention Toys told TDmonthly. It received a 2006 MENSA Select Award and was a 2007 T.O.T.Y. Game-of-the-Year Nominee. Launch date: 2006. Read Review
— "Khet ... is great seller for us. It's new and did well — even at $50," summed up Danny Givens, owner of Little Dickens in Lynchburg, Va.
— "I put my money on Khet," Co-owner Michele Gietz of Where'd You Get That? in Williamstown, Mass., said in October 2008 about anticipated holiday best sellers. "We only bring in 15 at a time, but the price doesn't scare anybody off — just have to hit the right people."
― Taka Andrews, owner of Miller's Toy Store in Mamaroneck, N.Y., said Khet is a top seller for tween boys, despite the allure of video games. Seven of 39 retailers told TDmonthly in October 2009 that board games are their go-to items for tween-aged boys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3719 (added 5/27/2005)
Automoblox MINIs are a reinvention of the classic wooden toy car — a fusion of heirloom craftsmanship and ultra-modern styling, transformed into a mix-and-match design system that allows kids to create their own distinctive car styles. ”We’ve combined old-school durability, ultra-modern style and an innovative play pattern to create a new generation of classic car toys. The Automoblox MINI line makes it fun for kids to explore their own unique design instincts by combining warm wooden blocks, colorful rubber tires and bright translucent plastics to create super-cool car styles,” PR Manager Tina Noelle Mezzina of Automoblox told TDmonthly. A three-pack plus accessories are also available (MSRP: $24.99). Launch date: August 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14356 (added 7/26/2007)
“Kids” can create radio-controlled, rumbling robots and pit up to six of them against each other at a time, thanks to six interchangeable RC frequencies. Working with sturdy, yet flexible interlocking Uberstix components, builders utilize physics, engineering and creative skills to design robots that can trounce their opponents. In the heat of battle, UberBots employ jabs and hooks and even speak preprogrammed Japanese phrases designed to conquer all foes. Knocking down an opponent three times is a win. Then the fighters retire to redesign their Bots and devise another unbeatable strategy for victory. The 621 kit includes two UberBots, 250 Uberstix pieces, two remote controls, two flags, 14 rechargeable Ni-Cad batteries, two chargers and building instructions.
— These Japanese-speaking robotic construction toys received a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for many reasons: the scientific knowledge they invite in construction and redesign, their RC capability to fight multiple robots at one time, the creativity and inventiveness required when reprogramming the UberBots, and the signature, interlocking Überstix parts that make up their distinctive structure. Finally, Überstix are made from recycled plastic and can be combined with other building toys, setting their kits on a higher plane than other construction toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12117 (added 3/28/2007)
Only Hearts Club – Taylor Angelique by ONLY HEARTS CLUB GROUP LLC
Other products from ONLY HEARTS CLUB GROUP LLC
The Only Hearts Club dolls are favorites with moms and grandmas who want to foster wholesome play and role-modeling for their little girls. Nine-inch Taylor Angelique says, “My heart melts for cute critters. Kittens, puppies, birds, rabbits, even goldfish. I love them all.” She comes with her pet dog, Patches. Girls can read her storybook, “It’s Hard to Say Goodbye,” which tells how the Only Hearts Club was formed.
— “They loved them,” Ruth Mandt, a TDmonthly Dolls Roundtable participant said of her granddaughters’ reactions to the Only Hearts Club dolls. “They want more of these.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10881 (added 1/4/2007)
This 18” sports disk features a foam ring with a high-strength elastic membrane, and can catch and throw balls up to 150'. It is a safe, high-quality sports activity device that adapts to volleyball, tennis, baseball and other sports, and can be a blast at the beach or pool. A 12” size is also available. Suggested retail price for the two sizes ranges from $15 to $40. “The Super Sports Disk products are fantastic as confidence-building, motor-skill activities for young children, but are also great for more advanced users,” Kevin Williams of OgoSport told TDmonthly. This product received a Spring 2007 Parents' Choice Award. Launch date: May 20, 2007.
— Quality materials and a super bouncing effect earned the classy OgoSport a TDmonthly Innovations 2007 award. Its broad appeal and correlation to other sports make the disk applicable to a variety of fun and healthy activities, and its bright color and sleek packaging grab attention.
— “OgoSport is a good line for us,” Eric Masoncup, owner of Gepetto's Toy Box in Oak Park, Ill., told TDmonthly about his best-selling gift for boys in summer 2009.
— Joe Beradoni, owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey about best-selling toys that "during the summer, we sell 5-7 a week."
Past videos: WTHRA 2007
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11557 (added 2/21/2007)
The classiest Levitron® yet! New high-tech design. Adjustable legs for easy leveling with the most powerful rare earth magnets available! The distinctive base design amazes onlookers as the high-flying top levitates mysteriously above the opening in the center.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7649 (added 4/21/2006)
All the excitement of the war between the states comes to life in this box. Here´s a collection of the most significant men and machines of the war. Kids and adults can stage land battles (like Gettysburg) with infantry, horsemen and artillery. They can even re-enact the great first battle of the ironclad ships.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 253 (added 9/1/2004)
Ice-Bat, comes from an Ice Cave and loves hiding inside Ice Chests. Everything he touches turns to Ice, yet profoundly he warms your heart. Ice-Bat thinks you are cool and he wants to chill with you. He wants to hang out with you... or just hang upside-down, if that's OK with you.
— These dolls are “unique in the style and design, and appropriate for all ages,” Victoria George of Victoria George Public Relations told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 2007.
— This is a best-selling Halloween-type item for Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Centre, Inc., in Paoli, Penn., "mostly because we don't do a whole lot with Halloween."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10979 (added 1/5/2007)
Not only can kids use the Street Magic Wallet to perform up to 50 tricks and illusions, they can also use it as a wallet. It comes with an illustrated and colored instruction booklet, so that anyone can master all its secrets. However, if kids want to make sure there's always enough money in it, they’re on their own. Launch Date: 2006.
— Michele Gietz, purchasing manager at Where’d You Get That in Williamstown, Mass., said First For Magic has "great ideas for kids done by really great magicians.
— "Probably magic. We get our magic items from First For Magic. These are things boys are more interested in," was the last-minute gifts' comment given by Teri Soelter, owner of Teri's Toybox in Edmonds, Wash.
— Eight out of 48 retailers with whom TDmonthly spoke cited magic as a hot trend with customers in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10216 (added 11/22/2006)
Quack Quack, The Call of the Farm Game by BLUE ORANGE GAMES
Other products from BLUE ORANGE GAMES
In this observation game, players race to get the farm animals home by calling the animals by name (“Pig! Cow! Duck!”) or by making the animals’ distictive sound (“Oink! Moo! Quack Quack!”). The adorable tri-colored farm animals all coincide with different combinations of the three dice. All the components are made of quality wood and are housed together in a wooden carrying box. “The wooden box makes a nice addition to the kid’s room and the cotton pouch is convenient for carrying Quack Quack wherever you go,” Blue Orange Games Sales Manager Adeline Bertrix told TDmonthly. This product is a winner of the 2007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, the 2007 Dr. Toy Best Product Award, the 2007 Parents’ Choice Foundation Parents’ Choice Recommended Award and the 2007 Creative Child Award Preferred Choice Award. Launch date: February 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13751 (added 6/27/2007)
Kathy and Janet Lennon of KatJan Inc. (two of the famous singing Lennon sisters) have introduced Best Pals dolls. The 16” charming little rag dolls in this limited edition are individually numbered for added collectibility. Features include embroidered faces, yarn hair, “Best Pals” bracelets and removable clothing and accessories. The dolls were nominated for a DOLLS Award of Excellence by Jones Publishing in January 2007.
— This product stands out from the competition because “these huggable rag dolls are exact replicas — right down [to] the pattern in [the] fabrics — of the dolls that Janet and Kathy Lennon grew up with, handmade for them by their mom and "nana" over 50 years ago,” Roxi Elfering of Katjan Inc. told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10941 (added 1/5/2007)
This Woodman kit includes durable beech wood components and the tools a child needs to build the toy. The pre-cut wood is slightly unfinished, allowing kids to sandpaper it for the finishing touches. The set includes a hammer, dowels and glue for old-fashioned assembly. It also features paints and paintbrushes for detail and personalization. Launch date: August 2007; stickers added to the kit in 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14065 (added 7/13/2007)
Rody Horse - Green by TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
Other products from TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
Ideal for learning balance and coordination, the Rody Horse allows children to hop around and can even be attached to a base that transforms it into a Rocking Rody Horse. The soft ride-on is often used in therapy for handicapped children, and is made of super-strong, latex-free vinyl. It inflates according to the size and weight of a child with a hand or foot pump. The maximum inflated height to “saddle” is 12".
Where to Buy: Really Great Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14605 (added 8/13/2007)
This cuddly, hairy friend is a pillow, blanket and stuffed animal all in one, designed to serve as the perfect travel companion. “We at Zoobies continue to be on the curve of innovation for plush and for children's products, and we have some great new products debuting at the Toy Fair ,” Owner J.C. Smoot of Zoobies told TDmonthly. Launch: March 1, 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15195 (added 9/17/2007)
This twist on charades has players create the shapes' names on the cards provided, using any of the differently sized and differently colored pipe-cleaners. Try making a bowtie, a palm tree and even a coffee mug under time pressure. Launch date: August 15, 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16906 (added 1/3/2008)
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Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is a writer/artist/filmmaker whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), among others. Her short films have won awards in festivals around the world and have been broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks. Her new web series, "Mugg's Movers," was sponsored by FlatRate Moving Systems LLC and was selected for an NYU webseries showcase at writerslabwest.org/webshowcase. Alison is also the writer of the 2011 Emmy-nominated PSA "Tell Someone," for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Read more articles by this author
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