August 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 8
Safari Chunky Puzzle by MELISSA & DOUG
A great beginner's puzzle in a 9” x 12” frame, Melissa & Doug's Safari Chunky Puzzle presents kids with eight whimsical African animals. Each thick wood piece fits neatly into its corresponding place on the panel and sticks up far enough for small fingers to easily grip and pull out. Each animal has its picture in full color underneath to keep matching easy, and the pieces are thick enough to stand up on their own for pretend play outside of the puzzle frame.
― “Melissa & Doug [puzzles] sell two to three a day,” said Sandy Challinor, owner of Owl's Nest Toy Store in Southlake, Texas, in summer 2010.
― “[Melissa & Doug] is an excellent quality product,” said Diane Sartain, owner of Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 2010.
― Ten percent of 40 retailers told TDmonthly during a summer 2010 survey that chunky puzzles from Melissa & Doug are their top-selling puzzles. 7/21/2010 (MSRP: $9.99; Age: 2 and Up)
Vehicles Sound Puzzle by MELISSA & DOUG
Featuring detailed images of 8 favorite noisy vehicles, this wooden peg puzzle makes the vehicle sound when a piece is placed correctly in the puzzle board. Eight sounds in all. Full-color, matching picture under each piece. Dimensions: 1.2" x 8.5" x 11.7" Assembled. AAA batteries not included.
— Michael O'Dell of Toys from the Attic in Rehoboth Beach, Del., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that he sells 10 Melissa & Doug sound puzzles each month.
— As of 7/12/2011 this product had 3 out of 5 stars from 23 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Affordable; engaging. Cons: Many reviewers said the sounds were poor quality.
— In a February 2012 survey about wooden toys, three out of 14 retailers said that puzzles from Melissa & Doug were their best sellers in the category. “Melissa and Doug has been a core of the store for years and years," Mike Snyder, owner and manager of Cville's Hobbies, Games and Toys in Charlottesville, Va., told TDmonthly. 7/12/2011 (MSRP: $12.99; Age: 2 to 4)
Van Gogh - Café Terrace at Night 1500 pc Puzzle by RAVENSBURGER
This 1500 piece puzzle features one of Van Gogh's most iconic works. Each piece is unique and fully interlocking.
— In a Summer 2011 survey about best-selling puzzles, Donna Frederick, owner of The Play House Toy Store in Durham, N.C., said that Ravensburger puzzles over 1000 pieces were a best-seller. “There are not a lot of [companies] who cater to older people who like puzzles but not kiddie pictures,” she told TDmonthly.
— In the same Summer 2011 survey, Syd Clarke, owner of Ali Cat in Carrboro, N.C., said that this Van Gogh puzzle was one of his best-sellers in the category.
— As of 7/12/2011 this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 5 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: "Outstanding quality;" durable; beatiful artwork; challenging. 7/12/2011 (MSRP: $21.99; Age: 12 to Adult)
1500 piece Pegasus Puzzle by RAVENSBURGER
Soaring in front of a beautiful fantasy castle, the majestic Pegasus takes flight as if it might launch right off the surface of this 1500 piece puzzle from Ravensburger. The finished puzzle measures 33” x 23.5”, and a full picture of its detailed image is on the front of the box. The many details in the high-quality graphic will keep puzzlers interested from start to finish.
— In an August 2011 survey, 5 out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles were their top-selling puzzles.
— As of 7/12/2011 this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 2 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Challenging but not frustrating; "gorgeous." Cons: One reviewer said the puzzle was too large when completed.
— Three of 44 retailers told TDmonthly that puzzles are a top-selling item in their stores in September 2010. 10/28/2010
Balloon Bonanza - 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle by SPRINGBOK PUZZLES
It's a race to the finish with this graphic and colorful image. Finished puzzle measures 28.75" x 36". © James Tandkiev Photography.
— In a Summer 2012 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Sprinbok was a best selling brand of puzzles. 12/2/2010 (MSRP: $17.95)
Create Your Own Puzzle by OUTSET MEDIA
Now aspiring artists can create their own puzzles. These blank puzzles are made with high-quality board and are sturdy enough for paints. There are 3 additional sizes of Create Your Own Puzzles as well as the option of pencil crayons. The kit comes with 2 puzzles and a set of crayons. Create Your Own Puzzle makes a great gift for any age. Launch date: 2010. From Cobble Hill.
— In a Summer 2012 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Cobble Hill (dist. by Outset Media) was a best selling brand of puzzles. ( Watch Video) 3/25/2010 (MSRP: $11.99; Age: All Ages)
The Baffler by GAMEWRIGHT
Each puzzle image is randomly designed and cut in the oddest ways to make it as tricky as possible. The Baffler has no straight edges, no overlapping images and many unique shapes. Each of the three puzzles in the series has a unique piece count: 67 pieces, 69 pieces and 78 pieces. "The puzzles feature unique shapes and no straight edges," Emily Giurleo, marketing coordinator at Ceaco, told TDmonthly.
— David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2012 survey that puzzles from Gamewright/Ceaco were among his best sellers. 2/9/2011 (MSRP: $9.99; Age: 12 and Up)
Dinosaur Travel Pouch Puzzle by CROCODILE CREEK
Our unique package design has made these puzzles instant best-sellers. Great themes and illustrations. Unique compelling design. Eye-catching, reusable package. Each 100-pc puzzle is 8" x 12". Pouch is 5.5"W x 7.25"H x 2" D. For ages 5 & up. Crocodile creek products conform to all of the appropriate safety standards.
— Dean Smith, owner of Jazams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2012 survey that they sell 10 of this item each month.
— In a July 2013 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Ravensburger was their best-selling puzzle brand. 7/6/2012 (MSRP: $5.99; Age: 5 and Up)
Rush Hour by THINKFUN
Voted one of Parent's Choice Foundation's "Best 25 Toys in 25 Years," Rush Hour puts players to the test, demanding thought and vision. As if the commute home isn’t enough, in these 40 beginner-to-expert challenges, players must navigate a red car through a traffic jam and gridlock to successfully leave the game board. Challenge cards fit neatly into a pull-out tray beneath the game tray. Watch video
― “Logic games are selling very well, particularly (those from) ThinkFun,” Amy Akin, manager of Giggles for Kids in Suwanee, Ga., told TDmonthly in early 2009.
― “We do really well with ThinkFun games — problem solving, like Rush Hour,” added William Bingham, owner of Firefly Toy Shop in Milford, Pa. When asked about best-selling item for tween boys in October 2009, Fred Meyer, owner of Meyer's Toy World in Battle Creek, Mich., told TDmonthly, “Rush Hour is great. We sell hundreds.” It was named a best-selling game by five of 38 retailers in Feb. 2010. During a summer 2010 survey of 40 retailers, two said Rush Hour from ThinkFun is their top-selling puzzle, citing sales of up to 60 pieces per month.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller 9/29/2005 (MSRP: $15.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Crazy Toys by WHITE MOUNTAIN PUZZLES
Designed by artist Lori Schory, The Crazy Toys Jigsaw Puzzle is a 24” x 30,” 1000-piece toy-themed puzzle. The puzzle is made in the United States from recycled materials.
— Sue Wrzesinski, owner of Toy House and Baby Too in Jackson, Mich., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2012 survey that puzzles from White Mountain were among her best sellers. 5/13/2010 (MSRP: $15.95; Age: 12 and Up)
Still craving more puzzles? Then check out our interviews with ENI Puzzle and Ravensburger, or check out our Toys To Talk About - Puzzles!