August 17, 2018

TDmonthly Magazine

March 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 3

My Best Sellers: Shenanigans

Play Sets and Activity Books Turn Pages for Sales

By Brenda Ruggiero
March 2010

At Shenanigans toy store in Charlottesville, Va., solid service backs up more than 300 lines of available merchandise. A customer-friendly floor plan is also a plus for shoppers. Owner Kai Rady recently told TDmonthly Magazine which products have been a big hit.


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)

Calico Critters Bullrush Frogs by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC

Calico Critters Bullrush Frogs by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLCBright green, friendly-faced, flocked frogs make up the Bullrush Frog siblings who live in International Playthings’ fanciful world called Cloverleaf Corners. Brother Algernon and sister Lily live in the swamp and have many friends in Cloverleaf Corners. The Bullrush Frogs integrate with an extensive line of houses, accessories and other character figures.
— Out of 49 retailers interviewed in July 2009, two told TDmonthly Calico Critters are a favorite collectible in their stores. 8/18/2009 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 3 and Up)

Royal Ship of Egypt by PLAYMOBIL INC.

Sail along the Nile River in the Royal Ship of Egypt.  Includes three figures, functioning crossbow catapult, and many other accessories.  The battering ram hinges.  The ship rolls on wheels or floats on water, and it can be upgraded with the Playmobil Underwater Motor (#7350).  Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 13 inches (L x W x H). Recommended for ages four and up. Choking Hazard. Small parts. Not for children under 3 years. 12/8/2008 (Age: 4 and Up)

Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set by MELISSA & DOUG

Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set by MELISSA & DOUGKids can use the icing tube-shaped dry-erase markers to color four wooden cupcakes that come with a baking tray, cupcake sleeves and decorative wooden candles. The package measures 10.5" x 13.25" x 3.13".
— Play food sets and cutting food from Melissa & Doug were named as a best-selling wooden toy by seven of 38 retailers in February 2010. "The Melissa & Doug cupcake set did really well," Lesa Smith of Whiz Kid Toys in San Luis Obispo, Calif., told TDmonthly.
― Michael McCollum, owner of Learning Express in Hoover, Ala., told TDmonthly in spring 2010 that the Bake and Decorate Cupcake Set is his best-selling playset. “One of my employees absolutely loves it,” he said of what helps drive sales.
― “All year, [the best seller] is food sets from Melissa & Doug,” said Bill Rayment, owner of Toy Crossing in Harbor Beach, Mich., when asked about his top-selling playsets and activity kits during an April 2010 interview.
― Six of 43 retailers listed Melissa & Doug as their top supplier of playsets in April 2010. (Watch the Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set Video Watch Video) 2/24/2010 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 3 and Up)


Tooth Rad Dog by DOUGLAS CUDDLE TOYSTooth Rad Dog is one of 4 styles…each style in 2 sizes. These funky mongrels come with attitude! (Watch the Tooth Rad Dog Video Watch Video) 3/16/2009 (MSRP: $15.00; Age: 3 and Up)

Make Your Own Pizza Sticker Activity Book by DOVER PUBLICATIONS

Make Your Own Pizza Sticker Activity Book by DOVER PUBLICATIONSWritten by Fran Newman-D'Amico, this affordable 4-page book is available in December 2006. It comes with 80 different pizza-topping stickers that can be used to decorate one plain pizza on four plates.
— Once Upon a Time Toys owner Jane Christopherson, in Stowe, Vt., said all varieties of preschool books do well.
— Meghan Bergman, “keyholder” at Rhyme 'n Reason Toys, in Pembroke, Mass., said “sticker books and activity books sell pretty good” and gave Dover Publications products as an example.
— According to Vanessa Vandor, with Dover Publications, this product line of inexpensively priced sticker books for preschoolers is a top-seller for the company. 6/22/2006 (MSRP: $1.50; Age: 3 to 4)

Children's Picture Atlas Kid Kit by EDC

ChildrenKids may use this product to discover the continents, countries and captials of the world utilizing dry erase cards. Each card comes with an answer overlay for easy reference. The United States and its state captials are included. "It is a fun kid kit with an educational bonus. Great for students who are trying to memorize states and capitals," Carolyn Pickup, marketing assistant at EDC Publishing, told TDmonthly. Launch date: June 2009.
— EDC Books were on the top-10 best-seller list at the Toy Shop of Concord in Concord, Mass., according to Owner David Hesel in late 2009. 4/28/2009 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 8 to 12)

Baby Whoozit by MANHATTAN TOY

Baby Whoozit by MANHATTAN TOYThe 6" version of Whoozit has hidden noise makers, including rattles, squeakers and crinkle paper to perk up little ears. Whoozit is made of ultrasoft velour and attaches to most strollers, carriers and car seats. Whoozit is uniquely designed to hold babies’ attention. Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston’s Child’s Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly Whoozit by Manhattan Toy would be a 2006 holiday best seller in a market where “nothing really stands out.”
— Jessica Wood of Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt., told TDmonthly in summer 2008 that her store sells six to 12 Whoozits a month.
— Catherine Higgins of Stone Soup in Bar Harbor, Maine, reported monthly sales of 5 to 6 units.
— Three of 66 retailers mentioned Whoozit as a best-selling baby gift in July 2008.
— As of 8.24.10, this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 2 reviews on and was listed in the top 30 best-selling toys and games. PROS:  Humorous; keeps children busy. 11/2/2005 (MSRP: $12.00; Age: 0 to 2)

Fuzzimal Puppies by KLUTZ

Fuzzimal Puppies by KLUTZKids can make five shaggy canines with this kit that includes pipe cleaners, novelty yarn and materials for decoration, as well as instructions, style and grooming tips, and punch-out dog carriers. The book was written by Theresa Hutnick and Megan Smith.
— When asked about the best-selling arts and crafts items in her store, Amy Barrett, owner of Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys in Helena, Mont., told TDmonthly, “Klutz books are definitely up there.”
— “All of the Klutz kits do really well,” said Julie Vaughan, manager of Village Toy Shop in North Easton, Mass., when asked of their top selling craft kits in January 2010.
— “Klutz books are still really, really popular,” said Steve Ellerhoff, manager of Finnegan's Toys and Gifts in Portland, Ore. Ellerhoff was one of five retailers, out of 48, who listed Klutz as their top-selling craft supplier at the beginning of 2010. 10/28/2009 (MSRP: $16.95; Age: 8 and Up)

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