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July 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 7
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TDmonthly's July Staff Picks

Toys to Construct and Games to Play


Should the summer sun melt away excitement over new toys and games? No way! Vermont Teddy Bears are making their way to high-end toy stores, babies can be as fashionable as their parents in kid-sized Madcapz, and Engino is building its line with its first wooden construction sets. See these and other staff picks below.



MSRP: $19.50
Age Range: 0 to 4
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Apparel
Infant & Toddler
Preschool



These Chunkee Monkee Mittens are adorned with a monkey theme while helping to keep hands warm. Matching hat available.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23931      (added 5/28/2009)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Launch Date: September 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures
Designer Toys
Collectibles



Idolz are wearable, stackable, poseable, colorful action figures with interchangeable parts. Kids can customize Idolz by collecting and swapping accessories. "This product has all the qualities of a stylish collectible, while remaining durable enough to play with or display in many different ways. It's designed to be fun and fashionable for both boys and girls of nearly all ages," Damien Noble, president of Idolz Toys LLC, told TDmonthly. Launch date: September 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23863      (added 5/22/2009)
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MSRP: $49.00
Age Range: All Ages
Launch Date: January 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Teddy Bear
Plush



This 15" classic bear is fully jointed, with firmer construction than the company's floppy bear, and is designed for dress-up and role play. It is available in six fur color choices: vanilla, buttercream, honey, dark chocolate, light pink, and light blue. Each bear is handmade in Vermont and comes with a lifetime guarantee. "This is the bear that made us famous, having sold millions worldwide. It is being introduced for the first time ever to retailers as a product aimed at the high-end toy consumer who shops at the world's finest toy stores," Irene Steiner, VP of marketing for Vermont Teddy Bear, told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23969      (added 6/1/2009)
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MSRP: $24.99
Age Range: 3 to 10
Gender: Girls
Category: Creative Activities
Arts & Crafts
Eco-Friendly



This CALAFANT Dollhouse comes complete with balcony and two big rooms on the backside. All doors open. Made from recycled material and is 100% biodegradable. Decorate inside and outside, create wallpaper and pictures. Ideal in size for play with 3" dolls and animals. Assembled product is approx. 15" x 7" x 16"
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24031      (added 6/5/2009)
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MSRP: $36.95
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Bags & Backpacks
Preschool



This polyester backpack is outfitted with two side pockets, a BPA-free plastic drink bottle, and two front pockets — one open and one zipped. It has padded straps and a padded back, and measures 10" W x 13" H x 4.5" L at the base. The backpack is available in three other designs.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24023      (added 6/5/2009)
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MSRP: $59.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: September 2009
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls
Books
Tween



This Asian-American doll is part of the Friends Forever Girls series of dolls and books that focus on friendship, character and community. She comes with "The First Day of Forever" book. Launch date: September 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24025      (added 6/5/2009)
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MSRP: $184
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: VARG114
Launch Date: July 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Construction
Award Winners



Designed to spark a child's imagination, these natural wooden toys feature assembly that engages the child's mind and promotes learning a new skill in the coordination of mind and hands. Pairing quality and design, the VARIS LOCK system is created to ensure tight construction that derives from precise design of the single pieces. Launch date: July 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23851      (added 5/22/2009)
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MSRP: $6.95
Age Range: 2 to 12
Launch Date: October 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls - Accessories
Christmas
Pretend Play



The original Scout Elf Skirt is a dazzling ice-white, pleated skirt, sure to please the most fashion conscious female scout elf. Beautifully embellished with holly berry red snowflakes, this skirt will make your girl elf outshine the stars this Christmas season. Simply place the skirt where your elf can see it and she’ll fly into it during the night. One size fits all.
— The Claus Couture Scout Elf Skirt is deceptively simple. At first glance it may appear to be some simple scraps of cloth. Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo & Company in Denver, was skeptical when she first saw it, but overwhelming sales erased her doubts and made her regret her reduced order of the item. Parents who have experienced the magical tradition of The Elf on the Shelf know that the watchful gaze of the elf can transform misbehaving children into angels. Similarly, the Claus Couture Scout Elf Skirt transforms a generic elf into a fashionable female elf. More important, it can transform a sale, adding another item to a purchase or even encouraging customers to buy a second so their boys and girls can each have an Elf on the Shelf.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23992      (added 6/3/2009)
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Choose from our plush double sided Minky Chenille to our tactile Satin & Minky Blankets. Our soft, luxurious blankets come in four great sizes.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23793      (added 5/20/2009)
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The PocketKiddy is a smaller version of the TravelKiddy for the purse, diaper bag or pocket.  It contains crayons, mini activity book, stickers and more. Minor mishaps are no problem as wipes, tissues and bandages are included.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23983      (added 6/3/2009)
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MSRP: $23.99
Age Range: 0 and up
Launch Date: January 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Infant & Toddler
General Toys
Developmental Toys



The Baby Activity Birdhouse includes five sides of fun. Each side features a new activity, including find the owl, peek-a-boo birdie, slide-along bugs, put-and-take pocket bird, and a mirror on the bottom. The birdhouse chimes as it swings from the included link. "This easy to take-along toy is truly packed with baby-exploration, including seven activities total," Nicole Tiedemann, PR account executive for International Playthings LLC, told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23925      (added 5/28/2009)
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MSRP: $12.99
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 30224
Launch Date: July 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Travel
Board Games
General Games



There is a fly hidden in the trash can. Players take turns filling up the trash can by pushing the buttons on the outside of the trash can with different types of trash on them. At random, one of the buttons will make the trash can spring open and release the fly. To reset the game, players just push the fly back down and close the lid. Each time, the button that opens the trash can randomly changes so players never know when the fly is going to fly out. This game has no parts to lose, so is ideal for trips. Launch date: July 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23855      (added 5/22/2009)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 0 to 2
Launch Date: July 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Developmental Toys
Infant & Toddler
Educational



This aquarium crib toy features a bold, bright spectrum of colors to help baby develop visual perception. A school of fish in a variety of silky, nubby, fuzzy, smooth and bumpy textures enhances baby’s tactile experience as the reaches out to touch them. Classical music and tonal sounds encourage development of listening/hearing skills. This crib toy offers pleasing sounds to encourage motor and cognitive processing. Adjustable elastic straps make it easy to attach to a variety of cribs with different rail widths and to put the action at the right height for baby. It can also be used for floor play when baby is old enough to sit up. "This toy stimulates baby's vision and tactile development with many colors, patterns and textures," Peggy Barrett, PR consultant for Barrett Marketing Communications, told TDmonthly. Launch date: July 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23923      (added 5/28/2009)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 5 and up
SKU or Item #: PK1
Launch Date: January 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Board Games
Card Games



Patchwork is a fast-paced logic game for two to five players designed to build logic, memory and patterning skills in a fun setting. Players trade colorful, two-sided cards between elegant wood racks to create sets, or steal them from each other. Game play takes 20 to 30 minutes. "The game employs a totally unique game mechanic that is easy to learn, fun to play and teach[es] logic, memory and sequencing skills," Daniel Weaver, founder of Knightweaver Games, told TDmonthly. This product has received the following awards: 2009 Oppenheim Gold Seal; 2009 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Children's Products; 2009 Seal of Excellence for Kid's Strategy Game from Creative Child Magazine; and 2009 Outstanding Products iParenting Media Award. Launch date: January 29, 2009.
— "It is an engaging game that encourages player to think logically while trading card with other players.  You have to use logic, memory and create pattern sets to win the game," said Angel Stahl of Angel's Toy Barn in Greensburg, Pa., who especially liked this game at the 2009 ASTRA Marketplace.
Editor's Note: Gamewright
announced May 25, 2010, that it signed an agreement for the worldwide publishing rights to Patchwork. Play will remain the same; however, Gamewright will re-launch the game as FlipOut in late 2010 or early 2011.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23759      (added 5/19/2009)
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MSRP: $26.95
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: CC-ELE-01
Launch Date: June 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Teddy Bear
Special Needs



This 12" elephant is filled with 100-percent natural wheat and dried lavender, and after two minutes in the microwave becomes a warm buddy to take to bed. He is designed to stay warm for at least an hour, and may remain warm all night if snuggled under the covers. Trumpet the Elephant comes in a gift box. Launch date: June 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23922      (added 5/28/2009)
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MSRP: $19.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Science & Nature
Educational



This deck of large illustrated cards includes one card for all 67 creatures on the Giant Evolution Timeline. Each card includes an illustration, creature name and pronunciation, size comparison figure, paragraph of fun facts, and more. Great alone or in combination with the Giant Evolution Timeline Play Mat or Poster. Retails for $19.99.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23824      (added 5/21/2009)
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MSRP: $70.00
Made in: China
Launch Date: October 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games
Board Games - Trivia
Educational



Passing the Bar is a board game tested and approved by practicing attorneys. It was designed specifically as an entertaining supplement for law students to help them prepare for the multi-state bar examination. Passing the bar is "the only board game/gift/study aid for the 1.2 million lawyers and law students that involves former bar exam questions. It is sold in close to half the law schools in the country," Adam Reinhardt, vice president of P&R Educational Games, told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23790      (added 5/20/2009)
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MSRP: $21.99
Age Range: 3 to 6
SKU or Item #: 1957
Launch Date: January 2004
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
Developmental Toys
Eco-Friendly



Butterfly Puzzles are Consumer Product Safety Commission 2009 tested and approved. All Wee Organics products are hand rubbed with natural oil that is FDA approved. Designed for early learning, the 7" x 5" puzzles measure are 1" thick, and each of the four to five pieces is 2" to 3" high. Wee Organics recommends that parents help their child initially and then let them progress on their own. "Wee Organics hand rubs each wood piece for a smooth, tactile experience. Each puzzle can also stand up on its own," Ed Bogosian, president of Wee Organics, told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2004.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23752      (added 5/19/2009)
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MSRP: $2.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: July 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Toys
Novelties
Balls



The Light-Up Airglow Ball is designed as the ultimate super bounce ball. The special aerodynamic design allows the ball to bounce high as the LEDs create a cool lighting effect. Soft rubber makes the ball easy to throw and catch. Each ball has one red and one blue ultra-bright LED that is activated upon impact. “Try Me” packaging allows customers to see the LED brightness and color before they buy. Launch date: July 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23736      (added 5/19/2009)
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MSRP: $6.00
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 760-207
Launch Date: May 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Stationery
General Toys
Gifts



There are eight different styles to choose from with these plastic flip or 3-D lenticular 4" x 6" postcard invitations. Each set of eight cards comes in clear cello packaging. "[Lenticular]is a way of using different kinds of lenses to create 3-D depth in an image or to flip from one image to another. But more importantly, it adds a whole new dimension of fun!" Leslie Montalbano, prepress manager for ISCREAM, told TDmonthly. Launch date: May 5, 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23717      (added 5/19/2009)
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MSRP: $16.95
Age Range: 3 to 8
SKU or Item #: 54112
Launch Date: January 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Interactive
Educational
Creative Activities



Deep in the rainforest camouflaged againt dense vegetation hide unique animals. A tapir slumbers by the sleepy three-toed sloth, while toucans and monkeys sing in the trees. A lavish play board provides a dense cover for more than 20 felt animals. Launch date: 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23699      (added 5/19/2009)
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MSRP: $25.00
Age Range: 12 and up
SKU or Item #: TT-0011-A
Launch Date: March 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Gifts
General Games
Educational



Friends and family can talk about the decade that changed the world, exploring topics from the heavy to the groovy, whether influenced by the Establishment or the anti-everything movement. Launch date: March 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23697      (added 5/19/2009)
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Julie L. JonesWriter's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author

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