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The Few, The Proud…The Award-Winning Toys

Who Made the Cut This Year?

By Alison Marek and Julie L. Jones

Thousands of products are introduced to the toy industry every year, but only a limited number are good enough, playable enough and innovative enough to garner an award.

In addition to issuing TDmonthly Awards, TDmonthly Magazine regularly asks manufacturers to present their award winners to our readers so that retailers can quickly identify products with great potential and manufacturers can learn and be inspired by others' successes. Here are the most recent responses:

"Storytelling Zaki" – Plush by LIFE'S BUILDING BLOCKS INC.

This soft, lovable, singing and talking plush character contains “Zaki’s Song” and six short stories featuring each member of the Spruce Street Six and their particular virtue. Among the features included in "Storytelling Zaki" are fins on his back that change colors according to what’s happening in the stories, and a replaceable cartridge slot that allows for the purchase of new stories, thereby keeping Zaki fresh. This product received a 2008 Preferred Choice Award from Creative Child Magazine.
— “The music was a great hit, [and] the songs encouraged dancing,” said Rebecca Heinrich, a participant in TDmonthly's Preschool/Early School Roundtable. Her son, Collin (3), "liked watching the colors change on Zaki's back, and figuring out how to change from story to story.”


 1/17/2008 [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


What Would Zaki Do? Board Game by LIFE'S BUILDING BLOCKS INC.

"What Would Zaki Do?" is a board game that allows children to really express their thoughts with families and friends in a fun and light environment. Through the Spruce Street Six, players engage in adventures that present challenging situations that promote life’s lessons. It’s rare that the players all agree on what they would do, but through these conversations and differing perspectives, both understanding and laughter are increased. This product received a 2008 Preferred Choice Award from Creative Child Magazine.


 1/17/2008 (Age: 6 to 11) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Spruce Street Six Activity Books by LIFE'S BUILDING BLOCKS INC.

These six virtue-specific activity books are filled with puzzles, stories, word searches and coded messages. There are also subtle lessons within the activities that give parents and kids great opportunities to connect. This series received a 2008 Seal of Excellence Award from Creative Child Magazine.


 1/17/2008 (Age: 6 to 11) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Spruce Street Six Chapter Books by LIFE'S BUILDING BLOCKS INC.

Kids love to read fun and interesting books. But if the exciting and interesting plots can include additional value such as allowing the readers to improve their understanding of what they should consider as they face difficult decisions, all the better. Created by an award-winning author and equally decorated illustrator, this six-book series highlights each member of the Spruce Street Six and is destined to be a classic that children will enjoy for generations to come. This series received a 2008 Seal of Excellence Award from Creative Child Magazine.
— Gail Richardson, a participant in TDmonthly's Preschool/Early School Roundtable, said that her children, Alexander (8) and Jessica (6), “could relate to what was happening to some of the characters (like Carlos losing his temper in the “Worst Day Ever”), and that gave us something to talk about as the lights were being turned off.”


 1/17/2008 (Age: 6 to 11) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Paper Fashions by KLUTZ

Paper Fashions by KLUTZThe craft kit includes plastic stencils that allow kids to easily trace perfectly proportioned pants, purses, skirts, scarves, sweaters and shoes, and then embellish their designs with sequins and ribbons. The creations can be hung or mounted onto greeting cards, gift bags, lockers and more. This product is a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and National Parenting Center Seal of Approval Award winner.
— Laura Pearson, manager of The Durango Kid in Durango, Colo., said her store sells “100 to 200 [Klutz kits] a month.”
— The Three Bears' Manager Ms. Rene, in Ruidos, N.M., told TDmonthly that when it comes to Klutz, her store sells “about 100 per month.”
— Over 13 percent of retailers told TDmonthly that Klutz Inc. products are their best arts-and-crafts sellers.


 1/16/2008 (Price: $19.95; Age: 8 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Mia Doll & Paperback Book by AMERICAN GIRL LLC

Mia Doll & Paperback Book by AMERICAN GIRL LLCMia comes dressed in figure skating practice clothes. The 18” doll is soft and huggable, with a poseable body and hair that can be styled. She comes with a book, Mia, that tells the story of her following her dream to become a figure skater and the challenges she faces and the lessons she learns. Additional outfits and accessories are available separately. Launch date: 2008.


 1/11/2008 (Price: $90.00; Age: 8 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Ivy Doll & Paperback Book by AMERICAN GIRL LLC

Ivy Doll & Paperback Book by AMERICAN GIRL LLCIvy is Julie’s best friend. She comes dressed in a knit top, twill pants and 1970s boots. The 18” soft-cloth doll is soft and huggable, with a poseable body and hair that can be styled. The doll comes with a matching book, Good Luck, Ivy, which tells the story of Ivy growing up in 1970s San Francisco. This product is an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award winner.


 1/11/2008 (Price: $90.00) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Every Child Deserves a Lifetime: Songs from the For Our Children Series by SHOUT! FACTORY

Every Child Deserves a Lifetime: Songs from the For Our Children Series by SHOUT! FACTORYThe CD includes classic renditions of kid songs sung by Sting, Natalie Merchant, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Faith Hill, Babyface, Barbra Streisand, Little Richard, Cher, Carly Simon & James Taylor, Luther Vandross, Brian Wilson and more. Proceeds benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. “Many of these songs are exclusive to this CD and available nowhere else,” Shout! Factory Marketing Director Michael Ribas told TDmonthly.This product is a 2007 iParenting Media Award winner. Launch date: October 9, 2007.


 1/11/2008 (Price: $13.98; Age: 5 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Not a Box by HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS

Not a Box by HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERSInspired by a memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her sister, author and illustrator Antoinette Portis captures the thrill of when one’s imagination takes over. Using a bunny, a cardboard box and simple illustrations, Portis demonstrates how a box can transform into a mountain, a rocket ship, a racecar and much more. This product is a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book Award and ALA Notable Children’s Book Award winner. Launch date: December 2006.


 1/11/2008 (Price: $12.99; Age: 0 to 6) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


QuickZip™ Crib Sheet by CLOUDS AND STARS INC.

QuickZip™ Crib Sheet by CLOUDS AND STARS INC.The patented two-piece QuickZip Crib Sheet Set is designed to be simple, safe and stylish. The top zips off the base for easy changing, so there is no more mattress wrestling or constant tying and untying of bumper ribbons. Unlike loose-fitting sheets that can cause an entanglement danger to your baby, QuickZip fits snugly around the mattress. The 200 thread-count, 100-percent cotton sheet fits mattresses 52” x 27” and 5” to 7” thick — standard crib and toddler bed mattresses. It comes in white, ecru, yellow, green, pink gingham, green gingham and organic cotton varieties. “The QuickZip™ Crib Sheet can be changed without moving the mattress or bumper, and stays securely on the mattress,” Joan Henehan of Clouds and Stars told TDmonthly. This product won a 2007 iParenting Media Award. Launch date: August 2002.


 1/10/2008 (Price: $34.99; Age: 0 to 4) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]




Following are some of the programs represented in TDmonthly.com's section of award winners: Dr. Toy, iParenting Media Awards, TIA T.O.T.Y., Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, The National Parenting Center, and Parents' Choice Awards.

You may also access TDmonthly's review section to see which products earned 5 TD stars.

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