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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:

WhisperPhone Solo XL by HAREBRAIN INC.

WhisperPhone Solo XL by HAREBRAIN INC.Designed for grades 5-adult, WhisperPhone is perfect for speech training, impacting literacy, refining your singing voice, learning lines for a theater performance or speech, learning a new language, and more.


 8/17/2007 (Price: $9.95; Age: 10 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Musical Sugar Plum Fairy Skirt by ACTING OUT

Musical Sugar Plum Fairy Skirt by ACTING OUTThis sugar plum fairy skirt will make any girl feel like a ballerina in “The Nutcracker.” With the press of a button in the interior front pocket, Tchaikovsky’s music from “The Nutcracker” will sound; continue dancing and the motion will keep the music playing. The lavender skirt is full of sparkles and layers of soft tulle, and is lined with satin for itch-free wear. This product is an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award winner for best toy. Launch date: July 2007.
— Musical Skirts by Acting Out are best sellers at Red Wagon Toy Co. in Woodstock, Vt., Owner Kim Smith told TDmonthly in summer 2007.


 8/15/2007 (Price: $32.00; Age: 3 to 6) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Physics Pro by THAMES & KOSMOS

Physics Pro by THAMES & KOSMOSWith this advanced physics kit, kids can study more advanced topics in physics, including fluid dynamics, energy, oscillation, hydraulics and pneumatics. They will build spectacular models and devices, such as a wind tunnel, pneumatic shocks and a hydraulic lift. They will learn how ships float and airplanes fly, why a streamlined shape lets a car drive faster and how power plants convert a current of water into electrical current. A 96-page full-color manual is included.  “All learning is done through hands-on construction,” Thames & Kosmos Customer Relations Manager Christa Raimondo told TDmonthly. This product is a Fall 2007 Parent's Choice Award winner. Launch date: July 2007.


 8/15/2007 (Price: $99.95; Age: 10 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Lullabies for Sleepy Eyes by ROCK ME BABY RECORDS

Lullabies for Sleepy Eyes by ROCK ME BABY RECORDSThis record offers 16 folk renditions of lullabies from Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Yiddish, French and Australian traditions, among others. Vocalist Susie Tallman lends a peaceful voice to create gentle, clear and textured music that will link parents and children in the extraordinary way that only a lullaby can. "Rock Me Baby Records creates quality music that enriches children at each stage of their childhood development," Rock Me Baby Records Vice President Amy Steadman told TDmonthly. This product is a 2008 iParenting Media Award winner. Launch date: October 31, 2000.


 8/15/2007 (Price: $13.99; Age: 0 to 5) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Classical Baby by ROCK ME BABY RECORDS

Classical Baby by ROCK ME BABY RECORDSThe record introduces soothing, melodic versions of pieces by some of the world’s most famous classical composers, including Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Dvorak and Brahms. The versions by Susie Tallman and Kathleen Clawson expose children and parents to various languages (German, French, Italian, Latin, Czech and Limburgish) and instrumentations (string quartet, piano, harp, choir and organ). This product is a winner of the iParenting and Parents’ Choice Awards. Launch date: October 18, 2005.


 8/13/2007 (Price: $13.99; Age: 0 to 5) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Lullaby Themes for Sleepy Dreams by ROCK ME BABY RECORDS

Lullaby Themes for Sleepy Dreams by ROCK ME BABY RECORDSThe 18-track CD is a diverse collection of songs designed to lull even the fussiest baby into a peaceful sleep. Lullaby Themes is composed of lilting, folk renditions of traditional and non-traditional lullabies, and features the soprano voice of Susie Tallman accompanied by soft acoustic guitar and piano. This record is a winner of the Parents' Choice Gold Award. Launch date: April 1, 1999.


 8/13/2007 (Price: $13.99; Age: 0 to 4) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Classic Nursery Rhymes by ROCK ME BABY RECORDS

Classic Nursery Rhymes by ROCK ME BABY RECORDSKids will sing, clap and dance along to the 37 tracks on this album. Susie Tallman and friends invite kids to sing along to the upbeat, rhythmic, harmonious, sometimes silly and always beautiful nursery rhymes. A jazz version of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and a rap version of “Hickory Dickory Dock” are just two examples of the twists placed on each nursery rhyme. This record is a winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum and Gold Awards, Parents' Choice Approved Award and Child Magazine's Best Picks of 2002. Launch date: March 26, 2002.


 8/13/2007 (Price: $13.99; Age: 1 to 7) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


EZ Fold – Now I Know My ABCs by SCRIBBLE MATS

EZ Fold – Now I Know My ABCs by SCRIBBLE MATSThese 4-1/4” x 9” mats unfold like a map in three easy steps. The mats are durable and spill resistant, and its signature Color On Wipe Off surface allows for endless play. Each EZ Fold comes complete with four non-toxic crayons. EZ Fold is available in nine other varieties, including Travel Fun, Under the Sea, Fun Numbers, U.S.A. and more. This product is a Dr. Toy Best Vacation Toy Award winner. Launch date: March 2006.


 8/13/2007 (Price: $6.00; Age: 3 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Ragdoll Cat by FOLKMANIS INC.

Ragdoll Cat by FOLKMANIS INC.Put side-by-side with a real, live cat, it would be hard to tell the difference from this puppet. True to its breed, this cat looks and feels like the living feline — floppy, relaxed and almost boneless. It is made of long, spiky plush in browns and tans with white paws and face, and has a long, fluffy tail.
— This relaxed feline garnered a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for its realistic fur and overall appearance, as well as its friendly persona. It’s a loveable creature that kids can carry around while “speaking” to others by manipulating its mouth.
—  As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 13 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: One user said that the eyes looked "demented and pretty scary" and that "Its little mouth is red and open, as though ready to take little nips out of me while I sleep."

Where to Buy: Really Great Toys


 8/13/2007 (Price: $41.99; Age: 3 and up) ENTER FOLKMANIS INC. TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Rody Horse - Green by TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.

Rody Horse - Green by 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".
— “Rodys have always sold well for us. Over and over, people tell us they were the hit of the party,” Elaine Hackney, owner of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly in summer 2007.
— Nobody can resist a bounce or two on this high-quality rubber toy from Italy. Rody comes in assorted colors and has been a steady seller in specialty stores for more than a decade. The combination of high quality, great play value and universal appeal earned this toy a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award.
— “We sell a ton of Rodys by TMI. This is one of the best sellers in the store,” Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids Ltd. in Madison, Wis., told TDmonthly in March 2008.

Where to Buy: Really Great Toys


 8/13/2007 (Price: $43.95; Age: 2 to 4) ENTER TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC. TOYSHOW [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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