August 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 8
Rory's Story Cubes by GAMEWRIGHT
This pocket-sized story generator is designed to provide hours of imaginative play for all ages. With Rory's Story Cubes®, anyone can become a great storyteller and there are no wrong answers. Players simply roll the cubes and let the pictures spark the imagination. "Rory's Story Cubes is unique because of its simplicity, small packaging, low price point and endless story possibilities. It's a great learning and writing tool that can be played with one person or a large group as a party game," Emily Nichols, marketing coordinator for Gamewright, told TDmonthly. Launch date: March 2010.
Awards: 2009 Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Games of the Year; 2010 Major Fun Award; 2010 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award, iParenting Media Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 306 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Helps develop story telling ability; promotes cooperative play; creative; affordable. Cons: One reviewer said they were bored with it after playing a few times, but that it is very affordable.
— Stacy Kalisz of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine “absolutely loved” using the Story Cubes with her family as they came up with a variety of games. One of their favorite play variations “is to tell a group story, with each person using one die on his or her turn.” 12/28/2009 (MSRP: $7.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Klutz Glossy Bands by KLUTZ
The Klutz Glossy Bands book kit lets kids make their very own durable rubbery jewelry. The kit includes four tubes of non-toxic, acrylic gel. Kids can follow the instructions to squeeze and swirl the gel into beautiful patterns that turn into one-of-a-kind bracelets.
— Deal Seeking Mom Tara Kuczykowski declared, “If your child is into the Silly Bandz craze, he or she is sure to love making Glossy Bands!”
— Jennifer of 5 Minutes for Mom reported that her 11-year-old daughter “loved this kit, and it’s something she could do on her own, without help or hovering from me.” Jennifer liked that the Klutz Glossy Bands book “provided enough instruction to get her started, and enough leeway for her creativity to grow and her to try new things on her own.”
— Jo-Lynne of Musings of a Housewife gave the book to her daughter, who spent several days making bracelets. Her daughter’s love for the kit led Jo-Lynne to call the Glossy Bands Book “the perfect birthday gift for your craft-obsessed little girl.” 7/7/2010 (MSRP: $19.95; Age: 8 and Up)
Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti by SPARE THE ROCK RECORDS LLC
Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti brings together 22 family friendly artists to help with the Haiti relief effort. The CD includes previously unreleased and brand new songs from kid favorites including They Might Be Giants and Pete Seeger. Proceeds from the record will be donated to the Haitian People’s Support Project.
— Leigh Goldman Balber of Urban Baby calls the CD “A We are the World for the sandbox set.” The “who’s who … of the best in the world of kiddie music” combine to create a “spiritual, uplifting (but not too out there)” CD. 7/7/2010 (Age: All Ages)
The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by ABRAMS BOOKS
Straw, sticks and bricks are just the beginning in Steven Guarnaccia’s imaginative reinterpretation of the fairy tale classic. “The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale” transforms the pigs into representations of architects Phillip Johnson, Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright, complete with iconic houses that mirror those designed by the famous architects. The architecture may be different, but the wolf still huffs and puffs in this delightful adventure in modern design.
— The Kansas City Star’s Stacy Downs calls the tale “a squealing lesson in architecture.” The architectural twist made the book fascinating for Stacy, too, as she read it to her toddler sons.
— John Hill of A Weekly Dose of Architecture enjoyed the “landscape of modernism within the familiar story.” He also praised the learning potential of the story, explaining, “As the parent of a two-year-old girl I can see the myriad educational opportunities, from matching images to word association and even creating stories within the story.” 7/7/2010 (MSRP: $18.95)
Poppin Shapes Aquarium by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
The Poppin Shapes Aquarium is swimming with fun for toddlers. The easy carry, shape-sorting aquarium holds fish, a crab and a turtle, all with pop-out fins and limbs. The four colorful sea pals fit the shapes in the top and sides of the aquarium.
— Baby Loving Mama Emilie found that her sons loved to pop out the fins on the sea creatures and carry the aquarium around the house. She noted, “This toy is recommended for ages two and up, although honestly, I’m not exactly sure why. With its chunky pieces, a younger child would enjoy this.”
— The Shopping Mama Kate raved about the sorter: “It’s been great for my 3 year old to play pretend games and put on plays with the fish, turtle and crab.” The handle of her aquarium popped off too often but did not detract much from the fun. 7/7/2010 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 2 and Up)