December 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 12
Hot Properties and Toys for the Ages
Products That Have Won TDmonthly's Classic or Best Seller Award
Go back to main article: "Award-Winning Toys for a Hassle-Free Holiday"
14" Bébé Do (pronounced "baby dough") has a beautifully sculpted face with a delicate, lifelike, newborn expression and eyes that open and close. Her translucent vinyl skin appears like that of a newborn baby. Bébé Do wears pink footed pajamas and comes with a picture book that shows make-believe moms how to care for their baby doll.
— Ruth Mandt, one of TDmonthly’s Dolls Roundtable reviewers, said her granddaughters "think this is the sweetest baby doll they have. They take this doll everwhere and care for it like a real baby.” It was picked by the Roundtabler reviewers as the doll with the most lasting value.
— Corolle baby dolls are constantly mentioned as a great seller in specialty retail stores, especially around the fourth quarter, which makes vanilla-scented Bébé Do a natural for a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award. Her sweet face has just enough realism to trigger a nurturing instinct. Her scaled-down size makes her a perfect fit for little mommies.
Where to Buy: Blue Turtle Toy Store
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2380 (added 1/12/2005)
Calico Critters Lambrook Sheep Family by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Other products from INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Everyone in the Lambrook Family loves nothing better than fresh fruit. This is not surprising, as Father Danny is in charge of the orchards in Cloverleaf Corners where he grows delicious apples and pears. Mother Barbara helps him take care of the trees, while sister Iona and brother Winton help with smaller jobs after school. Calico Critters are a best seller at Henry Bear’s Park stores in Massachusetts, Owner Sally Lesser told TDmonthly in spring 2007.
― In spring 2007, Roberta Edwards, owner of Wishes Toys & Gifts in La Quinta, Calif., named International Playthings as a vendor who has “gone the extra mile.”
— "We probably sell more of the Calico Critter dollhouse than anything from International Playthings. They're hot," said Jeanne McCullough, owner of Children's Store Inc. in Boise, Idaho. Five of 62 retailers cited Calico Critters when asked about best-selling play houses or furniture in their stores.
— Known as the Sylvanian Families across the pond, Calico Critters' cute little animal families are collected and loved by little girls and boys around the world. Since being reintroduced to the States, the furry minis have taken off big time, earning them a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award.
Where to Buy: Luv U Pumkin; Blue Turtle Toy Store
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12999 (added 5/22/2007)
In extreme miniature, these multi-colored erasers are made to look like delicious gourmet cakes decorated with thick frosting and fruit slices. Each cake has six separate slices and comes in a round case. Four differently colored varieties are available.
― “The Iwako erasers seem to be a hot one,” said Pat Selby, owner of Calico Cat in West Bainbridge Island, Wash., about her top-selling items for girls in summer 2009.
― Deran Muckjian, owner of Catch a Falling Star, told TDmonthly in June 2009 that both locations of Catch of Falling Star sell 1,000 Iwako erasers per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24757 (added 7/24/2009)
Abalone is a fast-paced strategy board game that has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. Players compete to push six of their opponents’ marbles off the board. The game can be learned in one to two minutes, and the game itself lasts approximately 15 minutes. Each purchase order comes in a carton of six games. This game is a winner of Europe’s Game of the Decade Award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13759 (added 6/27/2007)
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)
These 30" Raggedy Ann and Andy plush dolls are timeless. Both have red yarn hair, button eyes and triangular noses and wear their traditional outfits: a white apron over a blue cotton shirt for Raggedy Ann and a flannel shirt, blue pants and a ribbon for Andy.
— "Raggedy Ann" was among the popular licensed products mentioned by Holly Reay, owner of Kid’s Corner in Indianapolis, Ind.
— "Raggedy Ann & Andy" was also cited as a licensed-toy winner by Melodie Ingwersen, owner of Creative Kids in Columbia, S.C.
— Almost no toy could be more classic than Raggedy Ann, Johnny Gruelle's sweet-natured and moral character from the series of books he wrote for young children in 1918. Supposedly based on a rehabbed rag doll Gruelle created for his daughter, Marcella, Raggedy Ann captured the hearts of a nation. Raggedy Andy joined her advenures in 1920. These 30" versions of Gruelle's characters are a fourth-quarter staple, specialty toy store owners told TDmonthly Magazine, and so have earned a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7596 (added 4/14/2006)
A fast word game played with cards, Quiddler is designed for 1 to 8 players. Each game consists of eight hands. The first hand is played with three cards, and a card is added during each hand until the players begin the final hand with 10 cards each. The object of the game is to combine an entire hand into words of two or more letters, drawing and discarding on each turn. The first player to have an entire hand of words goes out. Quiddler is a deck of 181 cards.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5300 (added 11/2/2005)
Imported from Germany to the U.S. in 1995, this European designer game is thematically nonviolent, elegant in game play and visually appealing. Players must collect and trade resources, such as wood and sheep, and build the best settlement on an island. Moves require strategic planning, and negotiating and trade are crucial elements of the game.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2230 (added 1/18/2005)
Kids today can enjoy this classic metal toy as much as their parents did when they were children. Awards: TDmonthly Classic 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19263 (added 6/4/2008)
Snap Circuits make learning electronics easy and fun. Kids follow the colorful pictures in the manual to build exciting projects, such as FM radios, burglar alarms, doorbells and more. Parts are mounted on plastic modules and snap together with ease. “Children can play with this kit for hours and hours and still have not completed all the projects the snap circuit kits have to offer,” Walter Larsen, national sales manager for Elenco, told TDmonthly.
— One retailer said in summer 2007 his store sells 25 Elenco units monthly. Five percent of 64 retailers said in August 2008 that Snap Circuits are a best-selling science product, reporting average sales of six units per month. Four of 38 retailers echoed the same a year later. “They’ve gone back to this game six or seven times,” between January and July 2006, said TDmonthly's homeschooling mom Susan Ledford.
— Any time TDmonthly asks specialty storeowners about top-selling science toys, Elenco's Snap Circuits heads the list. This simple electronics kit appeals to both girls and boys. By making science fun and easy, Snap Circuits earned a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 575 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: One user said that her grandchildren were "not all that interested" in the Snap Circuits, and told her that they would prefer LEGOs on their birthday.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5252 (added 10/27/2005)
Make-A-Plate® has been a family fun memory maker since 1969. Preserve a memory by capturing the imagination of the artist in a usable product that is dishwasher safe and break resistant. Each Make A Plate® Kit contains 5 drawing sheets and markers, plus one pre-paid certificate for processing artwork into one 10" melamine plate at the Magic Factory™. Awards: TDmonthly Classic 2009.
Where to Buy: Poopsie's
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16042 (added 11/7/2007)
MACK Granite Rear-Loading Garbage Truck by BRUDER TOYS AMERICA INC.
Other products from BRUDER TOYS AMERICA INC.
The Bruder classic garbage truck on the 1:16 scale now comes with a licensed MACK truck cab that includes a timely Recycle insignia. Kids can unload the two included bins using the hinged carrier plate, then transport the trash into the storage section of the body by manually spinning the screw extruders. The cab has folding mirrors, opening doors and tilts forward to display the detailed engine, plus the lift gate opens and the body inclines to dump the contents. All of the MACK truck cabs are compatible with the implements designed for the front of the trucks, such as the mower and snow plow. Dimensions: 22.8"L x 7.3"W x 10.2"H. Case Pack Qty: 2 pcs. Award: TDmonthly Top Seller 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19676 (added 7/1/2008)
Papo is proud to introduce its new line of Weapon Master for 2007. The hand-painted King of Knights is just one of 10 in the series. For added play value, each of the Weapon Master Knights can ride a horse and stand on its own.
Where to Buy: Really Great Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13301 (added 6/7/2007)
Stomp on the launch pad and a blast of air propels the Ultra Stomp Rocket over 200' in the air. The kit contains four rockets with the OG-1 Nosecone. “We are the original creator. Stomp Rockets started the "stompin' revolution," Cynthia Peeks of D&L Co. told TDmonthly, stressing that Stomp Rockets are known for their name, quality and safety.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2008; iParenting Media, iParenting Hot; Dr. Toy Best Children´s Vacation Toy.
— Retailers surveyed by TDmonthly have been naming Ultra Stomp Rocket as a best-seller since 2006.
— Four of 45 retailers who spoke to TDmonthly in summer 2007 said the Stomp Rocket's success makes it a choice gift, reporting unit sales figures from four to dozens a month. Nine percent of 66 retailers named the Stomp Rocket as a best-selling gift for boys in July 2008. "We sell about 75 a month," Marilyn Walker, owner of Play Fair Toys in Boulder, Colo., told TDmonthly in early 2009. Thirteen percent of 47 retailers told TDmonthly in June 2009 that Stomp Rockets are a best seller for boys. “It's probably been the dang Stomp Rocket for about 15 years now. They just fly out,” Tye Steinbach, owner of Thinker Toys in Portland, Ore., said when asked about his most popular outdoor toy. Nine of 37 retailers named Stomp Rockets as a best-selling outdoor item in spring 2010.
— Despite multiple complaints about its durability, the Ultra Stomp Rocket received an average of 4.5 stars among 217 Amazon.com customers for being fun for all ages and pleasantly surprising when it comes to the distance the rockets can be launched. The toy is best used in open areas. Rockets are easy to lose and break, but refills are easy and cheap to find! (12.17.2012)
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 1088
This 12" doll has a soft beanbag body and eyes that close when she's "sleeping." She can wear clothing from Corolle's Mon Premier collection.
— “Our premier line is Corolle ... [it] always does best,” noted Lynn Sanchez of Wiz Bang Toys in Lake Oswego, Ore., in summer 2008.
— The 32 of 64 specialty retailers that named Corolle as a best-selling doll line in their stores said they sell between 4 and 72 Corolle dolls each month.
— “The little Calins move the best,” Jennifer Vanderish, co-owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga., told TDmonthly in summer 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19473 (added 6/19/2008)
This frog will liven up any dull day with its bright red toes and vibrant green skin. In its online world, the frog has a treetop perch and eats tree frog fly soup. The Canadian Toy Testing Council honored Webkinz with a 2006 Children’s Choice Award – Top Ten Toys of the Year. Launch date: November 2006.
— “Webkinz is probably the most desired product, but when you don’t have it, you can’t sell it,” pointed out Fred Rosenberg, co-owner of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas, in spring 2007. Many retailers are frustrated with the shortage of this super-hot toy. (View Article)
— Deran Muckjian, owner of Catch a Falling Star in Winchester, Mass., had much to say about this popular line: "Webkinz by Ganz is very interactive. It has a wonderful website that children adapt to."
— Michelle Deutschmann, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass., said Webkinz has been one of her best sellers since June 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10131 (added 11/17/2006)
Manhattan Toy has teamed up with Girl Scouts of the USA to design a spirited line of themed Groovy Girls dolls and accessories. Celebrating girls’ personal style, diversity and the power of friendship, these debut dolls embrace virtues inspired by the Girl Scouts' mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Groovy Girls Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007. Launch date: July 2007.
Where to Buy Groovy Girls: Blue Turtle Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13293 (added 6/7/2007)
This monkey works like a slingshot and offers hours of screaming fun (he’s designed to scream on impact). The toy is 11” tall with an arm-span of 13”. With a bit of arm power, he can fly up to 30 feet – the farther one pulls him back, the farther he will fly. “The novelty of a monkey flying through the air and screaming, catapulted by the stretchy arms, brings smiles to children and adults alike,” said Ernie Wong, president of Playmaker Toys. “It requires interaction from those who play with it. You just don't watch it do stuff, you're an active part of what makes it such an entertaining product."
— “[We sell] three per day, 75 to 80 in a month” of the flying monkeys by Westminster International, Teresa Ford, owner of Kids’ Ketch in Lewes, Del., told TDmonthly in May 2008.
— “[We sell] at least 20 per month,” Owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., told TDmonthly in May 2008. She buys the store’s best-selling monkeys from Westminster and California Creations. “We sold something like 97 in a week before Christmas — mostly to adults for their offices,” Sisson said in early ‘08.
— The Flingshot Flying Monkey was a surprise hit, and thus earned a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9727 (added 10/23/2006)
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)
The next in the series of the international best-seller Blokus. Designed for two to four players, it was launched in 2006. THIS PRODUCT IS NO LONGER DISTRIBUTED BY EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS. 12/4/08.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7199 (added 3/10/2006)
Apples to Apples is a wild, award-winning card and party game that provides instant fun for four to 10 players. It’s as easy as "comparing apples to apples" ... players need only open the box and deal the cards to be ready to play. They then select the card from their hands that they think is best described by a card played by the judge. If the judge picks their card, they win that round. Everyone gets a chance to be the judge. Each round is filled with surprising and outrageous comparisons from a wide range of people, places, things and events. Fast moving and refreshing, Apples to Apples is perfect for any get-together with family and friends.
— "Sales have doubled every year," enthused Matt Mariani of Out of the Box Publishing in 2005. "We´re struggling to keep up to the demand." [Game previously available from Out of the Box.]
— Gwen Bowden, manager of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in Springfield, Va., told TDmonthly that she expected Apples to Apples to sell well during Christmas 2006.
― In early 2009, retailers reported sales of up to 40 per month of the Apples to Apples game.
― “We probably sell 25 a month,” Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Center in Paoli, Penn., told TDmonthly in early 2011.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3423 (added 4/22/2005)
Made with layer upon layer of hot pink, super soft tulle and satin. Polka dotted tulle fabric adds a little whimsy to this already adorable skirt. Removable music device plays two songs. Skirt features an adjustable waistband which allows it to fit ages three to eight. Three AAA batteries included.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22310 (added 1/30/2009)
The Amazing Labyrinth is a mind-challenging game that allows players to shape the game board maze in order to win. A player’s wooden piece is moved according to the card games selected and the imagination of the players involved. It’s fun for kids and adults alike.
Where to Buy: Smart Kids Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9735 (added 10/23/2006)
The HEXBUG Inchworm is the first Micro Robotic Creature in the HEXBUG line to feature a full-function IR remote control. Users drive the Inchworm forward, back, left and right. A and B control bands allow users to control two Inchworms at once or multiple Inchworms on the same band. The product features a unique crawling and pirouette motion around its center pod foot. "This unique HEXBUG Micro Robotic impulse item is offered in a five-pack impulse counter display with five-color variety assortment," Joel Carter, VP of marketing for Innovation First, told TDmonthly. Launch date: October 15, 2008.
— The Inchworm has been a top seller at Pufferbellies in Staunton, Va., for at least a year, according to co-owner Susan Blanton in fall 2009.
— The Hexbug Inchworm is a popular item at the Toy Shop of Concord in Concord, Mass., Owner David Hesel told TDmonthly in late 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20882 (added 10/2/2008)
Classic Water Garden Starter Kit Eco-Aquarium by WILD CREATIONS
Other products from WILD CREATIONS
This balanced ecosystem offers a low-maintenance way for children or adults to enjoy an aquarium environment. It comes complete with water, a snail, two little frogs, food and care pack. The water in the aquarium only has to be changed every five or six months.
— ''We sold about 660 during the year,” Marc Holcomb, owner of Toys & Co. in Greensboro, S.C., said in autumn 2010. Dave Campbell of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., sells approximately 12 per month.
— "I brought in 20, and in two weeks it sold out. I brought in 20 more and it sold out," Gage Brownell, manager of Belmont Toys in Belmont, Mass., told TDmonthly in March 2009 about the EcoAquariums he discovered at Toy Fair the month before. Molly McMullin of Twirl in Taos, N.M., reported sales of about 70 a month in March 2009.
— "Everyone was excited about them," Jeanne McCullough, owner of Children's Store Inc., said following ASTRA Marketplace in June 2009.
— In late summer/early fall 2009, three of 38 retailers named EcoAquariums as a best-selling science and nature product, noting sales of 18 to 60 a month. “We were hesitant to bring them in. We didn’t want to be a pet store. But it’s a neat idea. It’s low maintenance. It’s something the parents and kids can agree on,” Gary Green of Toy Box of Asheville in Asheville, N.C., told TDmonthly.
Awards: 2010 Tillywig Top Fun; Parent's Choice Award 2010
Past Videos: Toy Fair 2009
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22491 (added 2/16/2009)
This rubbery, tri-colored ball is a staple for any child learning cognitive and social skills and developing fine- and gross-motor skills. Ideal for children with a special need, the ball is durable and has a skeletal structure that allows for easy catching. "Kids and teachers agree that Oballs are the easiest balls to catch and hold. The cool design already has won five awards for excellence and innovation, including an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award and a Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products Award,” said Suzanne Silverglate, owner of Rhino Toys.
— “Everybody buys it,” Dalene Lockhart, owner of Toy Town in Casper, Wyo., told TDmonthly in 2007. “Right now it is head and shoulders above others [in the infant/toddler category]. It's probably been that way for two years.” Retailers reported average monthly sales of five to 25 a month.
— In summer 2008, four of 66 specialty retailers named the Oball as one of their top-selling gifts for babies. “We sell more of them because our store does gift wrapping and it makes a good topper,” said Jill Jernigan, owner of J. Christopher Toys in Jonesboro, Ark.
― Ask retailers about top-selling balls and the Oball is an answer that’s sure to come up, winning the graspable toy a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award. Six of 64 retailers named the Oball as a best-selling baby toy in March 2009, and two of 39 said the same a year later. “[It] is definitely the best-selling gift for babies,” stated John Naisbitt, owner of Thinker Things in Del Mar, Calif., in June 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 456 (added 9/1/2004)
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