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February 2011 | Vol. X - No. 2
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Top-10 Musical Products

Caspar Babypants Wins Hearts & Dollars


With additional reporting by Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero


For the first time in the history of  TDmonthly Magazine, one musical artist has catapulted to the top of the Top-10 Most Wanted Musical Toys list: Caspar Babypants. When 14 specialty toy retailers were asked what their best-selling musical toys or CDs were, three didn’t carry any such products. But of the remaining 11, 4 on the west coast were selling through Caspar’s CDs “like water.” Why? He's fun, inventive and his songs don't grate on parental ears.

Here are the top-selling musical products:




MSRP: $12.00
Age Range: 0 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Music
CD-ROM
Gifts



This album is full of elephants and tigers and rain and cuckoos and babies and flies and centipedes and googly eyes and acoustic guitars and pianos and clear, funny stories inside the super lovely songs. Launch Date: 2010
— “Caspar Babypants has been huge. I don't know where he's from, but his stuff is extremely popular and parents say that it doesn't drive them crazy to listen to it,” said Valla Wagner, co-owner of Teaching Toys & Books in Tacoma, Wash.
— Owner Joan Hewitt of Wind Up Here in Olympia, Wash., sells “probably 12+ a month… We got to have him live in the store!”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31512      (added 1/19/2011)
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MSRP: $3.50
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



Choose from four different colors (purple, orange, green and blue). This real harmonica comes with its own carrying case, too.
― They sell about 8 or 9 harmonicas per month at Toy City in Keene, N.H. “You have a birthday party, and it spikes," Manager Robert Hunter shared with TDmonthly.
— In a 2012 survey, Teresa Derry, owner of Annie's Toy Chest in Cocoa, Fla., told TDmonthly that her best selling musical product was, "Kazoos from Toysmith; [we sold] about 10-12 last month. They are an inexpensive, quick gift add-on," she explained.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8570      (added 7/14/2006)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



This 10-piece set of musical instruments (heavy on the percussion with maracas, a tambourine and a triangle) lets a child explore the wonders of sound, music, anthropology or just the fun of making some noise.
― Richard Gibson, owner of Learning Express of Newton, Mass., says his store sells about 6 or 7 of these sets per month.
— In summer 2008, Meredith Zellweger, owner of Toy Jungle in Manhattan Beach, Calif., touted this set as her “go-to musical toy.” Melanie Anderson of Daly City, Calif., said, “The kids have so much fun playing with them. They are real instruments, not plastic imitations that don´t sound quite right. This was a purchase I don´t regret.” 
— Three of 45 retailers cited Band in a Box when asked about best-selling musical toys in mid 2007, citing sales of between three and 10 units per month. Seven of 48 retailers named it as a musical best seller in January 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4401      (added 8/31/2005)
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MSRP: $1.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



The World Famous Schylling Kazoo is made of tin, comes in a variety of colors and designs, and is packaged in Schylling's distinctive boxes. It's a colorful and affordable way to keep kids humming to their favorite tunes.
— "Given that we're called Kazoodles, we do sell a lot of kazoos," said Mary Sisson, owner of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., about the Schylling Kazoos being bought up by her customers.
― About 10 kazoos get to go home with children each month, said Karen Park, owner of Zaks Gifts in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14500      (added 8/7/2007)
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MSRP: $31.98
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



Children can easily make music on this solid wood instrument by sliding a song sheet under the strings and plucking the string above each note. It comes with tuner pick, a spare wire and 12 songs, including “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Rock-a-Bye Baby.”
— “The Music Maker is really popular,” said Steve Ellerhoff, manager at Finnegan's Toys and Gifts in Portland, Ore. Ellerhoff was part of a January 2010 survey of 48 retailers concerning their best-selling musical items.
— “The Music Maker, made by European Expressions, is popular because it's a no-brainer musical instrument,” Steve Shelton, owner of Magical Moon Toys in Logan, Utah, told TDmonthly in early 2010.  “[Kids] can follow along right out of the box.”
― “One day we got in six, and sold three the first hour they were in the store,” said Mary Sisson, co-owner of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash. (see her talk about the Music Maker in the attached video).
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14531      (added 8/8/2007)
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MSRP: $40.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: January 1986
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys
Music
Award Winners



Tuned to a C Major scale, the Chimalong is an 8-note metallophone that can be played by number, color or notes. The youngest children will use the included 15-song songbook to play by color; older children can play by number. As they progress, they'll learn to read the music and play by note. Additional songs are available on the Woodstock Chimes website. Packaged in a 4-color window box. Comes with 2-mallets, 15-song songbook and an extra #7 tube, which changes the B (for key of C) to B flat (for key of G), giving greater musical flexibility. Chimalong is "recommended for its educational value by many professional musicians, including John Sebastian, Marilyn Horne, André Watts, Peter Schickele and the late Jim Henson," Peggy Daniel, Web Development Director of Woodstock Chimes, told TDmonthly. The Chimalong has received the following awards: 2003 Parent's Choice Top 25 Toys in 25 Years; 1995 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Classic Toy, Blue Chip Award; 1995 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Award, Platinum; 1995 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Award, Gold Seal; and 1987 Parent's Choice Gold Award. Launch date: 1986.
―  Karen Park, owner of Zaks Gifts in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., only recently began selling Chimalongs, she told TDmonthly in 4Q 2010; she sells about four per month.
— Patti Tepper-Rasmussen, owner of Learning Tree Toys, Games & Books, Inc. in Oklahoma City, Ok.,  told TDmonthly in a January 2015 survey that the Woodstock Chimalong is their store's best-selling musical toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25789      (added 10/28/2009)
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MSRP: $4.49
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



A 12 1/2” soprano recorder, this simple instrument from Schylling makes a good companion to school music classes teaching the recorder to children. In clear, durable plastic and an assortment of bright colors, the recorder comes with a cleaning rod as well as instructions printed on the box. 
— “We go through a lot,” remarked Priscilla Moore, owner of Mr. Fub’s Party in Yellow Springs, Ohio, of her recorders and other instruments from Schylling in early 2010.
— Four of 48 retailers told TDmonthly during a January 2010 survey that recorders are their most-wanted musical item.
— "We sell a lot of them in September or October. After that, it's hit or miss," said Lou Metri, owner of Joggen Your Noggin in Monroe, Conn. He sells about about 40 or 50 per year.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26818      (added 1/28/2010)
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MSRP: $15.00
Age Range: 0 and up
SKU or Item #: CD01
Launch Date: June 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Audio & CD
Eco-Friendly
Music



This 20-song CD includes original songwriting by Charlie Hope. Themes include positive approaches to naptime, learning about the joys of having a new child in the family, and discovering the limitless possibilities we all have inside of us. It comes in eco-friendly packaging. It features "melodic music that is appealing to both parents and children, from an independent singer/songwriter," Margaret Wilson, president of Challenge & Fun, told TDmonthly. Launch date: June 15, 2009.
― This is one of the most popular CDs at Kazoodles, in Vancouver, Wash., said owner Mary Sisson.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24321      (added 6/29/2009)
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MSRP: $40.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys
Music
General Toys



Sized just right for the next generation of pickers and strummers, the Woodstock Folk Guitar is a great kid's instrument at a really great price. It looks just like a full size guitar and comes with a guitar strap, pick and vinyl carrying case. Also included is an easy-to-follow instruction booklet that teaches how to hold the guitar, the basic guitar chords, and 11 songs. Additional songs are available for download from the Woodstock Chime website. "This realistic-looking guitar will make any child feel like a pro," Peggy Daniel, Web Development Director of Woodstock Chimes, told TDmonthly.
— "It was a newer item for us and they were gone shortly after Thanksgiving," Chris Cahalane of Cape Cod Toys told TDmonthly in 4Q 2010. “We sold about 8 or 10 in the last month.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25790      (added 10/28/2009)
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MSRP: $59.95
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: January 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



Schoenhut's bright red, wooden, 25-key tabletop is the perfect choice for a toddler's first piano. Both fun and educational, it is an ideal instrument for developing eye-hand coordination and encouraging musical creativity. Chromatically tuned, the lovely chimelike notes are produced by little hammers striking precision-ground, German steel music rods. The tone never changes nor will the piano ever need tuning. Schoenhut's patented Learning System, with its play-by-color teaching method, makes playing simple and fun. A removable color strip fits behind the keys to guide small fingers from chord to chord. The chart also works on adult keyboards, since keys on Schoenhut toy pianos are of corresponding width. This teaches children proper finger placement from the very beginning. The accompanying Songbook contains a collection of familiar tunes. This Learning System has been specially designed to build a child's confidence and develop basic playing skills. It comes in red and white. Launch date: 2005.
- This model was Schoenhut's best seller for 2010. It was also the model given away by TDmonthly's Charitable Kid, Kimberly (then 14) of South Carolina -- 100 times over! As a reward for her charity and careful selection of institutions to receive the toy pianos, Kimberly was given a number of other high-quality Schoenhut instruments, many of which she shared with her younger sisters.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13823      (added 6/29/2007)
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Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author

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