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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:

Count and Learn Cookie Jar (2 play mode) by THE LEARNING JOURNEY INTERNATIONAL

Count and Learn Cookie Jar (2 play mode) by THE LEARNING JOURNEY INTERNATIONALThe portable jar comes in a two play modes: one mode allows kids to count with the cookie jar as cookies are placed inside the jar, while the other mode tests math knowledge by asking kids to place a specific number of cookies inside the jar. Kids can also count the number of colorful chips on each cookie, and then flip the cookie over to see if they are correct. This product is a 2005 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award winner. Launch date: February 2007.


 11/14/2007 (Price: $19.99; Age: 2 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Nola, The Monster of Loneliness by THE MONSTERS IN MY HEAD LLC

Nola, The Monster of Loneliness by THE MONSTERS IN MY HEAD LLCNola, the cuddly green Monster of Loneliness lives in a world of sunny skies and beautiful landscapes. But she’s missing one thing…a friend. Her wide-eyed stare and squooshy tummy make her an ideal candidate for hugs and kisses. She also sports a standard WorryWoo belly button made for tickles! She would love to be your best friend! Nola and "The Lonely Little Monster" won a 2009 Hot Product Award from iParenting Media and a 2009 Preferred Choice Award from Creative Child Magazine.


 11/9/2007 (Price: $21.50; Age: 3 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


The Lonely Little Monster by THE MONSTERS IN MY HEAD LLC

The Lonely Little Monster by THE MONSTERS IN MY HEAD LLCThe Lonely Little Monster, winner of a MoonBeam Children's Book Award, stars Nola our wide-eyed Monster of Loneliness. She seems to have a problem... she can't find any friends!  Join her as she wanders through her fanciful world in search of a companion. Will she find a friend?  The Lonely little Monster was named  "One of Three Great Books About Loneliness" by "Time Out New York Kids." “The WorryWoos are a unique series that brings human emotions to life by personifying feelings as main characters. For the first time, author [and illustrator] Andi Green deals with aspects of our inner self, presented as quirky and loveable monsters who go on amusing introspective journeys in search of understanding and acceptance,” Green told TDmonthly. Nola and "The Lonely Little Monster" won a 2009 Hot Product Award from iParenting Media and a 2009 Preferred Choice Award from Creative Child Magazine.


 11/9/2007 (Price: $14.50; Age: 5 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


The Origin of Expressions™ by DISCOVERY BAY GAMES

The Origin of Expressions™ by DISCOVERY BAY GAMESCan you guess the origin of “Hit the sack”? In this hilarious game, players guess the origin of common expressions, or bluff their friends. The game explains why we say what we say, revealing the startling beginnings of modern expressions. “This game answers the questions that we ask every day of “Where did that come from?” There are many websites on the subject, but this is the first game to answer the questions in a very fun way,” Carol Simon of Discovery Bay Games told TDmonthly. This product is a 2007 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval Award and 2007 Family Review Center Gold Award winner. Launch date: September 2007, available exclusively at Barnes & Noble. General availability: March 15, 2008.


 11/9/2007 (Price: $29.95; Age: 12 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Cuentamelo! by DISCOVERY BAY GAMES

Cuentamelo! by DISCOVERY BAY GAMESCuentamelo offers the same family fun for everyone that Baffle Gab™ offers. It just does it in Spanish. Everyone’s got a story to tell, and players can earn Bone Bucks telling theirs. A player gets five words and writes a sentence or story that includes them. Using the words correctly earns a player huesitos. And the player with the most huesitos wins. “This is built on the overwhelmingly popular Baffle Gab to bring the same storytelling fun to the Spanish-speaking or learning market. It has already won several awards in its own right,” Carol Simon of Discovery Bay Games told TDmonthly. This product is a 2007 iParenting Media Award winner. Launch date: September 2007.


 11/9/2007 (Price: $29.95; Age: 7 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Senet: The Ancient Tomb Treasures Game by MAZEOLOGY

For thousands of years, Senet was the most popular game in the ancient world ― until the rule book was lost. This game of Senet introduces a modern rule book, a colorful game board and 10 beautiful playing pieces. Easier than chess and more complicated than checkers, this two-player game is a combination of strategy and luck. It's simple enough for a 5-year-old to learn, yet interesting enough for adults. The hand-painted playing pieces are phthalate- and lead-free.
Awards: 2015 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Award


 11/9/2007 (Price: $19.99; Age: 5 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Color-a-Messenger Bag by ALEX BRANDS

Color-a-Messenger Bag by ALEX BRANDSDecked out with designs of pets, fruits, stars and flowers, this bag, measuring 14” W x 11” W x 4” D, allows kids to custom-color to their heart’s content. It is large enough to carry school books and binders, and comes with six permanent markers in a pouch. This product was named one of Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Creative Products and 100 Best Children’s Products.
— “The Color-a-Messenger Bag from Alex is a good one for us,” said Emily Bieritz, manager of My Favorite Toy Store in Downers Grove, Ill., of the strongest-selling items for girls in her store in summer 2009.
— In late 2007, 40 percent of retailers singled out Alex-Panline USA Inc. as their best-selling arts-and-crafts manufacturer. Two of 47 retailers told TDmonthly in June 2009 that the Color-a-Messenger Bag is a best-selling gift item for girls.
— Ken, working manager at Toys Unique in Dallas, Texas, told TDmonthly previously that his store does well with Alex’s Color-a-Messenger Bag, selling just under 50 per month. Explorations Inc. Owner Chuck Harper in Granger, Ind., had named this item as his store’s best-seller.


 11/5/2007 (Price: $19.99; Age: 7 and up) ENTER ALEX BRANDS TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Tonka Baby Buffalo by DOUGLAS CUDDLE TOYS

Tonka Baby Buffalo by DOUGLAS CUDDLE TOYSThe plush baby buffalo measures 7” in length. Adult buffalo versions are also available.


 11/5/2007 (Price: $6.05) ENTER DOUGLAS CUDDLE TOYS TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Antarctic Antics… and More Hilarious Animal Stories! by SCHOLASTIC

Antarctic Antics… and More Hilarious Animal Stories! by SCHOLASTICFrom the Scholastic Storybook Treasures line, the hour-long, fully animated DVD includes a read-along feature, kid-friendly authoring, catchy tunes and six additional tales. The title tale is a winner of an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video and a Notable Video Award from the American Library Association. Launch date: November 20, 2007.


 10/26/2007 (Price: $14.95; Age: 2 to 8) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Ball of Whacks by CREATIVE WHACK COMPANY

Ball of Whacks by CREATIVE WHACK COMPANY

A marvel of engineering, the Ball of Whacks is made up of 30 magnetic, rhombic pyramids that can be taken apart and rearranged in endless creative ways. More versatile than a puzzle and lots more fun than a brainteaser, there’s no right or wrong way to use it. Just pick it up and play with it! Designed to be a creativity workshop in a box, Ball of Whacks comes with a 96-page illustrated guidebook providing exercises for creative brainstorming, strategies for problem solving, insights into the creative process, and challenges to construct shapes and mosaics and invent new ones. The game is also a good stress reliever for active individuals working under pressure, the manufacturer informed TDmonthly. "This item is immediately engaging and challenging for all ages up to adult, with endless ways to play," said Creative Whack Company Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Operations Kathryn Cooperman. This product received a Spring 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended Award. Launch date: 2006.
— Although this ball comes with an illustrated guidebook, it virtually has no limitations for imaginative combinations. It’s largely the open-ended appeal, in fact, that earned this product a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award. Fascinating for kids and adults, the magnetic structure takes on various forms with creativity, forming aesthetically pleasing configurations that lend themselves to further exploration.

Where to Buy: Escapade Direct


 10/23/2007 (Price: $35.00; Age: 8 and up) [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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