July 22, 2018

TDmonthly Magazine

September 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 9

My Best Sellers: The Tutoring Toy

Puzzles and Playsets Keep Customers Coming Back

By Brenda Ruggiero
September 2009

At The Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City, Utah, Owners Diane and Bill Sartain believe that “play is the work of children.” In summer 2009, they shared with TDmonthly Magazine which products are most popular with their customers. They warned, however, that storeowners should be cautious when following best-seller lists.

“The market is highly segmented and variable, and what works in one [store] could be a disaster in another,” they noted. “That being said, the brands that have consistently delivered at or above expectation (in random order) include:"

Wedding Pavilion with Jewel Case by PLAYMOBIL INC.

Wedding Pavilion with Jewel Case by PLAYMOBIL INC.Celebrate the newlyweds’ marriage at the Wedding Pavilion. Includes two figures, bride with veil and bouquet, table and chairs, champagne glasses, pink Wedding Pavilion, and many other accessories. Also comes with a pink jewel case to hold rings. Dimensions 11.4 x 22 x 15.7 inches (L x W x H). Recommended for ages four and up. Choking Hazard. Small parts. Not for ages under 3 years. 1/6/2009 (Age: 4 to 12)

Darth Vader's TIE Fighter by LEGO

Darth VaderModeled after the agile one-pilot fighting crafts in the original Star Wars movie, this kit builds into a detailed TIE fighter. The nose of the ship opens to access the cockpit, which houses the included Darth Vader figurine.  Flick-firing missiles, Darth Vader's red light saber, and other movie details add to the building activity in this set.
— Three of 49 retailers named Star Wars Lego sets as their best-selling licensed toy in April 2009. 5/26/2009 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 3 and Up)

Biofino Vegetable Basket by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.

Biofino Vegetable Basket by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.This colorful collection of fruits and vegetables from the HABA garden consists of a leek, a banana with a removable peel, two carrots and two tomatoes with rattles, all in a wooden basket. The fabric items are machine washable. Launch date: 2009. (Watch the Biofino Vegetable Basket Video Watch Video) 3/31/2009 (MSRP: $28.00; Age: 0 to 4)

Grocery Cart by MELISSA & DOUG

Grocery Cart by MELISSA & DOUGThis durable metal shopping cart looks just like those in real stores. Sturdy metal construction includes pivoting front wheels, a folding doll seat and protective corner bumpers to navigate the aisles in style and safety. It measures 18.5" x 13.5" x 22.5" assembled. Contains small parts. Adult assembly required. Launch date: 2009.
— These carts are best sellers at Learning Resources Toy Magic in Fort Walton, Fla. "There are between 25 and 35 on hold for Christmas," Owner Mark Pattison told TDmonthly in late October 2009.
— Jamie Burdette, owner of LB Toys in Media, Pa., said in fall 2009 that his store sells about 60 of these shopping carts per month. (Watch the Grocery Cart Video Watch Video) 7/15/2009 (MSRP: $49.99; Age: 3 and Up)

Fairytale Ballet by RAVENSBURGER

Fairytale Ballet by RAVENSBURGERThis 60-piece puzzle completes to 14.5” x 10.33”.
— “They have a great range from little kids up to adults,” Cheryl Richmond, owner of Punkin Doodles in Havre, Mont., told TDmonthly of the Ravensburger line. Nearly 6 percent of 52 retailers named the company as a preferred vendor in late 2008. 12/19/2008 (MSRP: $8.99; Age: 4 and Up)

Animal Spelling Puzzles by eeBoo corp.

Animal Spelling Puzzles by eeBoo corp.This game comes with 10 three-piece spelling puzzles using three letter animals illustrations — pig, fox, hen, etc. The eco-friendly product uses 90-percent recycled grey board and non-toxic inks. Its old-fashioned look is designed to be appealing to every generation of toy buyers. In this pre-reading game, the puzzle also spells its name. Launch date: June 30, 2009. 6/29/2009 (MSRP: $15.00; Age: 3 and Up)

Snap Circuits GREEN Alternative Energy Kit by ELENCO

Snap Circuits GREEN Alternative Energy Kit by ELENCOMade from the versatile, multi-experiment Snap Circuits that allow kids to safely and easily build real electronic projects, this kit features many of the latest innovations in alternative energy. Featuring a hand-crank dynamo, solar panel, and wind turbine, kids can light up an LED, power a clock, charge a rechargeable battery (included), run a small radio, and watch the created energy on an analog meter. Instructions for many other projects are included in the kit; can be integrated with other Snap Circuits sets. This product received a Dr. Toy Green Award. Launch Date: Fall 2009 2/17/2009 (MSRP: $69.96; Age: 8 and Up)


BANANAGRAMS® by BANANAGRAMSThe 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
— 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
— 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." (Watch the BANANAGRAMS® Video Watch Video) 6/19/2006 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 7 and Up)


Meerkat Pups by SCHLEICH NORTH AMERICA, INC.From their burrow to the spotlight. These popular and mischievous, fun loving little pups from the mongoose family are only one of seven new baby animals from Schleich’s 2009 Wild Life collection.  This year’s collection also includes the Zebra foal, Gnu Calf, Leopard Cub, Ostrich Chick, African black rhino calf, Gazelle fawn and Camel foal. 

Patchwork Quilt by ALEX BRANDS

Patchwork Quilt by ALEX BRANDSThis quilt-making kit for a twin-size bed covering includes precut, pre-sewing squres with a lacing tool, 24, 10.75" colorful squres, cotton ribbon and instructions. 2/25/2009 (MSRP: $45.00; Age: 7 and Up)

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