December 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 12
Go back to main article: "Award-Winning Toys for a Hassle-Free Holiday"
Bébé Do by COROLLE DOLLS
14" Bébé Do (pronounced "baby dough") has a beautifully sculpted face with a delicate, lifelike, newborn expression and eyes that open and close. Her translucent vinyl skin appears like that of a newborn baby. Bébé Do wears pink footed pajamas and comes with a picture book that shows make-believe moms how to care for their baby doll.
— Ruth Mandt, one of TDmonthly’s Dolls Roundtable reviewers, said her granddaughters "think this is the sweetest baby doll they have. They take this doll everwhere and care for it like a real baby.” It was picked by the Roundtabler reviewers as the doll with the most lasting value.
— Corolle baby dolls are constantly mentioned as a great seller in specialty retail stores, especially around the fourth quarter, which makes vanilla-scented Bébé Do a natural for a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award. Her sweet face has just enough realism to trigger a nurturing instinct. Her scaled-down size makes her a perfect fit for little mommies.
Where to Buy: Blue Turtle Toy Store ( Watch Video) 1/12/2005 (MSRP: $55.00; Age: 2 and Up)
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 ( Watch Video) 8/13/2007 (MSRP: $41.99; Age: 3 and Up)
Calin Cheerful Pink by COROLLE DOLLS
This 12" doll has a soft beanbag body and eyes that close when she's "sleeping." She can wear clothing from Corolle's Mon Premier collection.
— “Our premier line is Corolle ... [it] always does best,” noted Lynn Sanchez of Wiz Bang Toys in Lake Oswego, Ore., in summer 2008.
— The 32 of 64 specialty retailers that named Corolle as a best-selling doll line in their stores said they sell between 4 and 72 Corolle dolls each month.
— “The little Calins move the best,” Jennifer Vanderish, co-owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga., told TDmonthly in summer 2008. ( Watch Video) 6/19/2008 (MSRP: $31.00; Age: 2 and Up)
Webkinz – Tree Frog by GANZ
This frog will liven up any dull day with its bright red toes and vibrant green skin. In its online world, the frog has a treetop perch and eats tree frog fly soup. The Canadian Toy Testing Council honored Webkinz with a 2006 Children’s Choice Award – Top Ten Toys of the Year. Launch date: November 2006.
— “Webkinz is probably the most desired product, but when you don’t have it, you can’t sell it,” pointed out Fred Rosenberg, co-owner of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas, in spring 2007. Many retailers are frustrated with the shortage of this super-hot toy. (View Article)
— Deran Muckjian, owner of Catch a Falling Star in Winchester, Mass., had much to say about this popular line: "Webkinz by Ganz is very interactive. It has a wonderful website that children adapt to."
— Michelle Deutschmann, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass., said Webkinz has been one of her best sellers since June 2006. 11/17/2006 (MSRP: $9.99; Age: 6 and Up)
Interactive Lia by COROLLE DOLLS
Corolle’s 17", multilingual baby doll communicates in French, English, Spanish or Italian. Through a simple, well-hidden and secure battery system, little girls can activate Lia’s language skills using different Corolle charm bracelets. Specific, gentle touches and tickles to Lia result in endearing, realistic responses. She is dressed in velour pajamas and a cap. Accessories include a bib, bottle, pacifier, teddy bear and charm bracelets. AAA batteries are not included.
― “I like working with … Corolle as I can order only what I can use for the time period,” Owner Patti Tepper-Rasmussen of Learning Tree Toys in Oklahoma City, Okla., told TDmonthly in spring 2007.
— “I think people want more interactive dolls,” said Nellie Fais, owner of Toy Magic in Bethlehem, Pa. Twenty-seven of 62 retailers said in spring 2007 that Corolle is their best-selling doll brand, with sales ranging from six to 25 units per month. Corolle’s Lia and Lila are best sellers for Brain Station and Tree Town Toys in Ann Arbor, Mich., Owners Hans and Tricia Masing told TDmonthly in fall 2007.
— Interactive Lia is a precious baby doll from a company that’s popular with specialty retailers. She earned a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for educational value, as she speaks pertinent baby phrases, such as “I’m hungry!” in four languages. Her little baby voice is as pleasant as her pretty pink outfit and accessories. She’s much more than the average baby doll, and vanilla-scented at that. ( Watch Video) 5/8/2007 (MSRP: $100.00; Age: 3 and Up)
GIANTmicrobes Petri Dish – Stomach Ache by GIANTMICROBES
This smaller version of GIANTmicrobes comes three to a pack in see-through, Petri-dish packaging. "It has struck a chord with this community. I'm shocked -- I thought it was only going to be pharmacy driven," Dave Callahan, director of sales for Giant Microbes, told TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2008. Launch date: February 2008. ( Watch Video) 2/20/2008 (MSRP: $12.95)
Seedlings by GOLDBERGER DOLL MFG. CO. INC
Offering peace of mind for the parent and health for the environment, Seedlings dolls are made without harsh chemicals and use natural fibers for all of their surfaces and clothing. Even the boxes are made of recycled material. The family consists of Ivy, Baby Blossoms, Willow and others. Baby Blossoms received a 2009 TDmonthly Top Toy Award. ( Watch Video) 2/3/2009 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 1 and Up)
Calico Critters Lambrook Sheep Family by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Everyone in the Lambrook Family loves nothing better than fresh fruit. This is not surprising, as Father Danny is in charge of the orchards in Cloverleaf Corners where he grows delicious apples and pears. Mother Barbara helps him take care of the trees, while sister Iona and brother Winton help with smaller jobs after school. Calico Critters are a best seller at Henry Bear’s Park stores in Massachusetts, Owner Sally Lesser told TDmonthly in spring 2007.
― In spring 2007, Roberta Edwards, owner of Wishes Toys & Gifts in La Quinta, Calif., named International Playthings as a vendor who has “gone the extra mile.”
— "We probably sell more of the Calico Critter dollhouse than anything from International Playthings. They're hot," said Jeanne McCullough, owner of Children's Store Inc. in Boise, Idaho. Five of 62 retailers cited Calico Critters when asked about best-selling play houses or furniture in their stores.
— Known as the Sylvanian Families across the pond, Calico Critters' cute little animal families are collected and loved by little girls and boys around the world. Since being reintroduced to the States, the furry minis have taken off big time, earning them a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award.
Where to Buy: Luv U Pumkin; Blue Turtle Toy Store 5/22/2007
Troop Groovy Girls by MANHATTAN TOY
Manhattan Toy has teamed up with Girl Scouts of the USA to design a spirited line of themed Groovy Girls dolls and accessories. Celebrating girls’ personal style, diversity and the power of friendship, these debut dolls embrace virtues inspired by the Girl Scouts' mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Groovy Girls Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007. Launch date: July 2007.
Where to Buy Groovy Girls: Blue Turtle Toys ( Watch Video) 6/7/2007 (MSRP: $15.50; Age: 3 and Up)
Misty Pawparazzi Set by NOODLE HEAD INC.
The box set includes Pet and Purse with Leash, Collar, Blanket, Celebrity Magazine, Matching Mini Note Pad, and a Pop-out Trading Card on the back of the box. Launch date: 2009. ( Watch Video) 10/21/2009 (MSRP: $20.00; Age: 4 and Up)
Baby Deglingos - Milkos the Cow by GEARED FOR IMAGINATION
This soft friend for babies has just as much crazy character as the large plush Deglingos. It measures 8.5" high and features a flattened design so it's easy for little ones to hug and tote around. Launch date: February 2008. ( Watch Video) 2/20/2008
Flingshot Flying Monkey by PLAYMAKER TOYS
This monkey works like a slingshot and offers hours of screaming fun (he’s designed to scream on impact). The toy is 11” tall with an arm-span of 13”. With a bit of arm power, he can fly up to 30 feet – the farther one pulls him back, the farther he will fly. “The novelty of a monkey flying through the air and screaming, catapulted by the stretchy arms, brings smiles to children and adults alike,” said Ernie Wong, president of Playmaker Toys. “It requires interaction from those who play with it. You just don't watch it do stuff, you're an active part of what makes it such an entertaining product."
— “[We sell] three per day, 75 to 80 in a month” of the flying monkeys by Westminster International, Teresa Ford, owner of Kids’ Ketch in Lewes, Del., told TDmonthly in May 2008.
— “[We sell] at least 20 per month,” Owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., told TDmonthly in May 2008. She buys the store’s best-selling monkeys from Westminster and California Creations. “We sold something like 97 in a week before Christmas — mostly to adults for their offices,” Sisson said in early ‘08.
— The Flingshot Flying Monkey was a surprise hit, and thus earned a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award. ( Watch Video) 10/23/2006 (MSRP: $4.99)
Giftique Starter Set by POCKETS OF LEARNING LLC
This seven-piece starter set includes a doll, five outfits and an embroidered carrying case. Each outfit has a Velcro backing so that children can dress the doll with just a press of the fingers. “The Press 'n Dress set engages the young child’s imagination even before their small motor skills develop,” May Grant of Pockets of Learning told TDmonthly. Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy 2008. Launch date: January 2007.
Where to Buy: Camelot Kids ( Watch Video) 6/25/2007 (MSRP: $34.95; Age: 2 to 6)
Zoobie™ Pets – Mashaka the Monkey by ZOOBIES
Part of the Safari Collection of Zoobie™ Pets, Mashaka the Monkey is a plush animal, pillow and blanket all in one. It wears a light-blue collar, and the blanket is detachable for washing convenience. The Zoobie Pets Safari Line was included on the ASTRA "Best-for-Kids" toy list for Holiday 2007 and received a Best Bet 2007 Award from the Canadian Toy Testing Council. Launch date: February 2007.
— Zoobie Pets' innovative three-in-one design has captured the attention of numerous retailers at trade shows this year, also garnering a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award. In addition to featuring soft, quality materials, the Zoobie Pet’s identity as a stuffed animal, pillow and blanket is executed extremely well, leaving great possibilities for travel and growth with any child.
— The new Zoobies were doing well for Brandy Lindstrom, manager of Little Blue Choo Choo in Scottsdale Ariz. in fall 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 3 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Two customers said they wished they had bought the larger size, because the "baby" size was smaller than they had expected.
Where to Buy: Kazoo Toys; Poopsie's ( Watch Video) 9/25/2007 (MSRP: $30.00; Age: 3 and Up)
Raggedy Ann & Andy by RUSS BERRIE
These 30" Raggedy Ann and Andy plush dolls are timeless. Both have red yarn hair, button eyes and triangular noses and wear their traditional outfits: a white apron over a blue cotton shirt for Raggedy Ann and a flannel shirt, blue pants and a ribbon for Andy.
— "Raggedy Ann" was among the popular licensed products mentioned by Holly Reay, owner of Kid’s Corner in Indianapolis, Ind.
— "Raggedy Ann & Andy" was also cited as a licensed-toy winner by Melodie Ingwersen, owner of Creative Kids in Columbia, S.C.
— Almost no toy could be more classic than Raggedy Ann, Johnny Gruelle's sweet-natured and moral character from the series of books he wrote for young children in 1918. Supposedly based on a rehabbed rag doll Gruelle created for his daughter, Marcella, Raggedy Ann captured the hearts of a nation. Raggedy Andy joined her advenures in 1920. These 30" versions of Gruelle's characters are a fourth-quarter staple, specialty toy store owners told TDmonthly Magazine, and so have earned a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award. ( Watch Video) 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $59.95; Age: 8 and Up)
Ceratasaur Puppet by PUPPETOYS INC.
This dinosaur is a 32”-long, full-body glove puppet. Ceratasaur is a stealth, forest-dwelling meat eater with three boney horns and razor-like soft foam teeth. As with all Prehistoric Puppets, he is fully flexible down to his swishing tail! He comes with his own stand for play or display and is a great learning and role-playing puppet for ages 4 to extinct. The product is made of a super-soft, molded polyurethane foam, and is realistically painted. 12/21/2007 (Age: 4 and Up)