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Well-reviewed toys and products recommended by specialty retailers are more likely to be nominated for a TDmonthly Award and appear in our annual Specialty Toys Report. For submission information, please see the bottom of the page.



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AnimaLamp by MOBI Technologies, Inc.Name: AnimaLamp
Company: MOBI Technologies, Inc.
Age: All Ages
Price: $24.95
Category: Infant & Toddler

WHAT IT IS

AnimaLamps™ are portable, cool-running LED lights that can be used as a desk lamp, for reading in bed, during playtime, or even for late night diaper changes and feeding sessions. The lamps have a rechargeable battery, and the brightness can be adjusted.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

Our reviewer was very impressed with the AnimaLamp. The rechargeable battery made it perfect for using around the house - from the playroom to the nursery. It was also useful in the car - kids can read a book or do an activity in the back seat even at night.

The adjustable brightness got big accolades from our reviewer. With a simple touch the brightness can be adjusted to suit a variety of activities. The AnimaLamp can be used on the brightest level to read before bed, then dimmed and used as a night light.

Another great feature of the AnimaLamp it that it uses LED lights, which don´t get hot. Little hands won´t get burned if they accidentally touch the light. Parents also don´t have to worry about cord safety, as the lamp uses a rechargeable battery and doesn´t need to be plugged into the wall to work.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT

Not only is the AnimaLamp adorable - customers can choose from monkey and giraffe designs - it is also ideal for families with small children. It´s portability means it can be used in a variety of situations, and parents of even the youngest children don´t need to worry about safety, as the lamp is cordless and uses cool-to-the-touch LED lights. The battery charge lasts 8-12 hours, making it the ideal night light or car light for road trips. Customers will also love how versatile the adjustable brightness control makes the AnimaLamp. And, you can tell them that the AnimalLamp is the winner of Mom´s Choice Gold, NAPPA Gold and National Parenting Center Seal of Approval awards.

Learn more about AnimaLamp

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The SWIMTRAINER by FREDS SWIM ACADEMYName: The SWIMTRAINER
Company: FREDS SWIM ACADEMY
Age: 1-8
Price: $24.90
Category: Water Activities

WHAT IT IS

The SWIMTRAINER "Classic" is an inflatable device that helps kids learn to swim. The SWIMTRAINER "Classic" comes in three different sizes. Red, for ages 3 mos-4 years, is used for early habituation with the water and for learning the correct leg movements; Orange, for ages 2-6, focuses on encouraging proper leg and arm movement; Yellow, for ages 4-8, provides a methodical progression towards swimming with no swimming aids.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

Our reviewer tested the Orange SWIMTRAINER "Classic" with a 3 1/2 year old. The product is made of high-quality materials and is colorful and well designed.

Many possible safety precautions have been incorporated into the flotation device, such as a clear-snap cover, clips to keep the device in place, and inflatable shoulder straps and pads that help the product fit snugly and prevent children from slipping through.

Unlike arm flotation bands, which hold children upright like a cork, this product's horse-shoe shape encourages the child to lean forward and raise their legs behind them. This helps them learn the correct swimming form.

As with all other floating devices for toddlers, constant supervision is a must. The product is easy to set up, but it's best to use an air pump to inflate it. If not strapped correctly, the straps may become uncomfortable around the neck after an hour of movement.

WHY THEY'LL WANT IT

"Kids get excited about using it," our reviewer said, citing the product's colorful appearance, design, and high quality. Parents who want to make sure their children are safely learning proper swimming technique will welcome this product — as will kids who are annoyed by bulky, uncomfortable arm floaters or life jackets.

TDmonthly staff


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Joanie Leeds and the Nighlights - What a Zoo! by LIMBOSTARName: Joanie Leeds and the Nighlights - What a Zoo!
Company: LIMBOSTAR
Age: All Ages
Price: $15.00
Category: Music

WHAT IT IS
On this album, singer/songwriter Joanie Leeds belts it out on 14 tracks that she hopes will make kids more interested in the well being of the animal kingdom. "Bottom line, we need to teach out children and generations to come how important it is to ´Be Green´ and make intelligent choices when it comes to eating animals," Leeds says in the CD’s liner notes. Most of the songs are originals, though there are covers of “Froggie Went A Courtin’,” “Possum” by Phish, and “Wimoweh.”

WHAT WE THOUGHT
Leeds´ pleasant vocals and fun lyrics about different animals and insects are accompanied by a punchy, poppy instrumental backing. The first track on the album, "All the Animals," is a simple counting song that features different critters and their legs. The lyrics are well suited to the preschool set, and the music is sophisticated enough that mom and dad won´t mind listening.

The songs on the album are catchy without being repetitive or annoying. The melodies take refreshing, unexpected twists and turns that allow Leeds´ voice to shine, all without distracting from the well-written and charmingly simple lyrics. It´s the kind of CD that can be listened to and loved by kids of a wide age range - the lyrics are appropriate for younger kids, but not so infantile as to be off-putting to their older siblings.

The third track, a jazzy, old-timey rendition of "Froggie Went a Courtin’" is especially representative of Leeds´ unique knack for combining a high-level of musicianship with child-friendly lyrics, and a zippy rap interlude performed by children’s rapper Secret Agent 23 Skidoo gives the song even more pizzazz. This dynamic song showcases the versatility and talent that shines throughout the entirety of album.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Kids will like bopping around to the high energy, positive songs about animals, while parents will appreciate the expertly crafted songs and Leeds´ beautiful, effortless vocals.

— Justina Huddleston

Learn more about Joanie Leeds and the Nighlights - What a Zoo!

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Grandkid Rock by DADDY A GO GOName: Grandkid Rock
Company: DADDY A GO GO
Age: 3-10
Price: $12.00
Category: Music

WHAT IT IS
This 16 track kids’ rock album features songs by veteran children´s musician John Boydston. All of the tracks have been released on previous Daddy A Go Go albums, but have been re-mastered on this release and specifically selected for their rock’n’roll vibe.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
The music has a blues-laced alt-rock vibe, and the vocal and instrumental performances are very tight. If you didn’t listen closely to the lyrics, you might not even know that this is a CD for kids.

Lead singer/songwriter John Boydston´s lyrics are relevant to children, but aren´t as hokey and repetitive as many in the genre. The album might be too sophisticated for the preschool set, but would be a good fit for early elementary students, or kids who prefer rocking guitars to the tinkle of toy pianos.

Lyrics like "It´s fun to be a kid/ But it´s hard to be a kid/ I try to behave/ But I forget/ Like the time I got my Grandma soaking wet” are humorous, and really capture the feeling of being young. Many of the songs are sung from a kid´s perspective, and even those with a message, like "Eat Every Bean and Pea on Your Plate," manage to sound conspiratorial rather than preachy.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT

I would listen to this CD on it’s own, even without kids around. The level of musicianship on the album really places this CD above most of its peers. Parents who are music lovers, but want their kids to listen to thematically appropriate songs, will love this CD. Meanwhile, children will appreciate the rocking, high-energy vibe of the music and the comedic, honest tone of the lyrics. This is a CD that takes kids’ music seriously, while having tons of fun in the process.

— Justina Huddleston

Learn more about Grandkid Rock

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Moey´s Music Party - Princess Revolution! by LEMONADE PRODUCTIONS LLC/ MOEY'S MUSIC PARTYName: Moey´s Music Party - Princess Revolution!
Company: LEMONADE PRODUCTIONS LLC/ MOEY'S MUSIC PARTY
Age: All Ages
Price: $15.00
Category: Music

WHAT IT IS
This 15 track album is the second release from Melissa Levis, who performs under the pseudonym "Moey." The CD is a celebration of girlhood that focuses on independence, without shunning the pink and sparkly style that has become ubiquitous for young girls.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
The CD preaches "We haven´t found the hero that we are waiting for/It´s the song inside us/We are princess hear us roar!" and Moey does indeed paint a picture of strong and independent girlhood throughout the album, beckoning her listeners to join the "Princess Revolution."

The songs throughout are up-tempo; each high-energy track practically begs to be danced to, and could be a useful tool in getting kids up and active. Creative songs like “20 Mattresses” that retell old fairytales are cleverly written, and make sure to present the Princess of each story as an autonomous, independent woman.

There is a pop-rock/Motown vibe throughout the album which works well, though the excessively layered vocals could grate on parents who are used to listening to more refined tunes. However, it does invite singing along in a way that a sparser or more subdued arrangement might not.

Parents not so keen on the princess theme should steer clear, and the album’s exclusive reference to girls would likely make the CD undesirable to male listeners.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Parents who want to make sure that their daughters are learning more about the importance of independence and self-confidence than beauty and romance will welcome this album, though it still appeals to "girly girls" who love princesses and all things pink. The songs are quite catchy and would be ideal for kids who like to sing and dance along to their music.

— Justina Huddleston

Learn more about Moey´s Music Party - Princess Revolution!

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Making Silly Faces by IN THE NICK OF TIME MUSICName: Making Silly Faces
Company: IN THE NICK OF TIME MUSIC
Age: All Ages
Price: $12.99
Category: Music

WHAT IT IS
This is the third album from In the Nick of Time. It features 13 songs and it 37 minutes long. The CD explores a wide variety of genres, from classic rock to R&B, reggae, and funk.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
This CD offers something for everyone. It´s a truly multi-genre listening experience, with a heaving leaning towards the funk/disco/pop sound. General fans of pop music or radio music will likely enjoy this album. The lyrics are very kid friendly, especially on tracks like "I Tried it, I Like It!" and the old-school hip-hop sounding title track, "Making Silly Faces." This and other tracks on the CD are reminiscent of the music of HBO comedy duo "Flight of the Conchords," in that each song is expertly crafted, musically, but the lyrics are unexpected — in this case, geared toward kids. Another stand out track was the hilarious "Pirates Never Say Please." Kids may learn that being a pirate isn´t as great as it seems as they laugh along to the lyrics and listen to the pirate say "Yar" in every intonation imaginable. Though none of the songs are lyrically very substantial, this album is an up-tempo and fun listen for the whole family.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT

This is a good choice for families with several kids who all have different tastes in music. It´s not annoying or repetitive like some kids´ albums can be, so mom and dad won´t mind listening along either.

— Justina Huddleston

Learn more about Making Silly Faces

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Celtic Christmas by PUTUMAYO KIDSName: Celtic Christmas
Company: PUTUMAYO KIDS
Age: All Ages
Price: $14.98
Category: Music

WHAT IT IS
This 11-track album features Celtic-style Christmas songs from artists in Ireland, Scotland, England, Canada and the US. Covering classics such as "Joy to the World," as well as less familiar tunes like "Noel Nouvelet," the CD features a range of styles within the Celtic genre.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

Putumayo has compiled another interesting and enjoyable album. Showcasing a mixture of songs that many people are already familiar with and combining them with Celtic instrumentation, new listeners will ease into the genre without feeling overwhelmed. A great example of this is "Nollaig Bhan," which is the familiar song "White Christmas" sung in Gaelic. The album heavily features instrument-only tracks, so if you´re looking for an album of sing-a-long jingles, you might want to look elsewhere. But if you´re looking for an intriguing album to play during family activities like trimming the tree or drinking cocoa by the fire, this might just be the pick for you.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT

For parents who want to expose their children to a wide variety of musical genres and avoid the canned Christmas pop that infiltrates the radio during the holidays, this album is a great choice. This CD would also be a good choice for stores that cater to adults as well as children, as it is appropriate for all ages.

— Justina Huddleston

Learn more about Celtic Christmas

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Chip Taylor and the Grandkids - Golden Kids Rules by SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS RECORDINGSName: Chip Taylor and the Grandkids - Golden Kids Rules
Company: SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS RECORDINGS
Age: All Ages
Price: $13.99
Category: Music

WHAT IT IS
This is the first album from Chip Taylor & The Grandkids, though Chip himself has been involved in music for years. Probably most remembered for the hit "Wild Thing," Taylor has now recorded with his grandkids this 12 song, on this 38-minute album.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

Combining the indie sounds of Wilco with the laidback Americana style of The Johnny Cash Children´s Album, this album, to put it simply, rocks. The music is sophisticated in its subtlety, and will be a relief to the ears of parents who´ve had to listen to one too many Kidz Bop albums. The lyrics on the album bounce between whimsical and poignant, but are always well written. Stand out tracks include "Big Ideas," with the kids singing lines like "Take a good look at me / I´m not just a kid / I got big ideas. / I don´t tell them to everyone. / What about you?" and "I want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a mother, a friend." As Taylor says in the liner notes, "Kids like singing about serious stuff — because they think about that stuff — whether YOU talk about it or not." This comes through very well on the rest of the album, including "Quarter Moon Shining" (What´s beyond the sky, Pepa? / We really want to know...When old dogs die, Pepa / Where do they go?) and "Kids to Save the Planet" (Tell everybody that you meet/ You´re a kid that takes a stand...Anyone who makes the rules / Listen to what children say / Don´t look at them as little fools / They just want a better way). The album has a lighter side too. "Daddy is a Red Sox Fan / Mommy is a Yankees Fan" plays off the melody of the classic song "Take me out to the Ballgame." The young singer sums up her confusion well in the chorus: "Daddy is a Red sox Fan. / Mommy is a Yankees fan. / I don´t know just where I stand. / What´s a little girl to do?" The last three songs on the album, originally recorded for the wedding of one of Taylor´s sons, also feature one of the most lighthearted songs on the album. "The Possum Hunter" is a jaunty tune about a dog (the hunter) who is to afraid to get rid of a possum hiding in his dog house. The last track of the album, "Now That Kristian and Anna Have Wed" is a sweet lullaby-sounding song that will appeal to kids and adults alike.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Parents who are big music fans, but want to make sure that what their kids listen to is age-appropriate, will love this album. The lyrics are poignant and relevant to children, without being patronizing or sacrificing the quality of the music. Any adult who´s been driven crazy by the incessant squeaking, honking, and yelling of other children´s albums will appreciate this one. And if you´re a store owner who demos the CD´s you sell, you´ll be happy to have copies of Golden Kids Rules on hand as well.

— Justina Huddleston

Learn more about Chip Taylor and the Grandkids - Golden Kids Rules

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The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen by RANDOM HOUSE INC.Name: The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen
Company: RANDOM HOUSE INC.
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This hardcover book follows Tiger Rose, an elderly cat, on her last day.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
Anyone who has lost a pet will be moved by this heartbreaking, yet heartwarming, tale. Tiger Rose spends her last day saying goodbye to her family, enjoying the beautiful outdoors, and finally closing her eyes for the last time. The story is very simple but rings true. The last pages of the book, with Tiger Rose looking down from the sky, and the family dog standing outside the house no doubt wondering where his friend went, brought tears to my eyes. But where this book truly shines is in its ability to make a book about loss a celebration of all that makes life worth living.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Not your average bedtime story, this book would be ideal for customers with children who are experiencing grief, either at the loss of a pet or someone special to them. It´s simple yet honest way of describing death could be helpful as a child struggles to deal with the loss.

— Booklist Starred Review
— As of 09/29/2011 this book had 5 out of 5 stars from 4 reviews on Amazon.com.
— As of 09/29/2011 this product had 4.12 out of 5 stars from 32 ratings on Goodreads.com.

— Justina Huddleston

Learn more about The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen

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Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell by DAWN PUBLICATIONSName: Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell
Company: DAWN PUBLICATIONS
Age: All Ages
Price: $8.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This rhyming book follows Jenny as she plays outside and watches wild turkeys through the four seasons. Jenny´s Journal, at the end, shares facts about wild turkeys.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
Though simple, the rhyming text is catchy. Kids will enjoy watching Jenny and the turkeys as the seasons progress. The illustrations are rich and textural. The coloring of each turkey is very detailed, and one may notice unique touches, like a tree in the forest that is a stamp of a real leaf, if they look closely enough. As a born and bred New Englander, turkeys were everywhere in the area surrounding my house when I grew up, so I was surprised to learn in the "Jenny´s Journal" segment in the back of the book that turkeys were once in danger of becoming extinct! Between the colorful and engaging pictures, the rhyming text, and the informative journal in back, this book offered more than your average picture book.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT

This would be a great book for stores that carry nature-themed or eco-friendly books and toys. It also would be a perfect offering in the fall and Thanksgiving seasons, so kids can learn more about the bird that has become practically synonymous with autumn. Educators will like the informative yet casual "Jenny´s Journal" in the back of the book, which also offers arts & crafts and other nature-inspired activity ideas.

— Justina Huddleston

Learn more about Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell

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Ricky is Brave by Guido Van Genechten by CLAVIS PUBLISHINGName: Ricky is Brave by Guido Van Genechten
Company: CLAVIS PUBLISHING
Age: 4 and up
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This picture book follows Ricky on his first outdoor sleeping adventure. The summer has been unusually hot, so Ricky asks his parents if he can sleep in a tent outside. He has fun with his newfound independence, and the ultimate message is that no matter what obstacles a child may face while trying new things, their caregivers will always be there for support.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
Enchanting illustrations and a thought-provoking story make this reassuring book an ideal read for preschoolers. The pictures in the book evoke a truly hot summer day, from Ricky eating a sweet carrot ice cream cone while dangling his feet in the water where his friends are swimming, to Dad lounging in the hammock with some light reading. The illustrations are rich and painted with lots of texture. The story itself is full of charming details. For instance, Ricky sneaks a treat of sweet carrots into his tent to eat before he goes to sleep...which he later uses to plug his ears against the unfamiliar noises coming from outside of his tent. The ending of the book is really charming, with Ricky´s mom and dad joining him in the tent so they can all sleep more soundly. The book sends a positive message that even when a child sets off to do something "alone" for the first time, they can always count on their parents to be there if something goes awry.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
The rich illustrations and relatable main character, Ricky, would make this a great addition to any child´s bookshelf. For ages 4 and up, the story is reassuring to kids who are feeling ready to try new things, but nervous at the same time.

Justina Huddleston


Learn more about Ricky is Brave by Guido Van Genechten

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My Daddy by Guido Van Genechten by CLAVIS PUBLISHINGName: My Daddy by Guido Van Genechten
Company: CLAVIS PUBLISHING
Age: 2 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This story follows John and his Daddy in their bedtime routine. They play with toys, John gets a piggy back ride, and eventually Daddy reads him a story and puts him to bed. The book is for ages 2 and up, and is a larger size than many board books for the same age group.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

With it´s evocative illustrations and story of parental love, this book deserves a spot on any child´s bookshelf. Though simple, the story was very sweetly done. The rosy cheeked father and son team stand out in their brightly colored clothing against the soft olive and gold-toned background drawings. Details in the illustrations, such as the scribbly portrait by John hanging on the wall, the teddy bear that is with John and his Daddy on every page, and the rocking horse that looks askance at John riding on his Daddy´s back make the story come alive. The book is a translation from Dutch, but the wording flows smoothly and seems appropriate for its intended age group.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT

This would be a great book for any Dad to read to his child. It also could do well as a seasonal item for Father´s Day. The cover illustration is bright and stands out against the softly colored background. This book would be ideal to read to toddlers before bed, to help them settle down and get into the mindset that it´s time to wrap up the day, as John does with his Daddy.

Justina Huddleston


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Title: The BIG Baby Book by Guido Van Genechten by CLAVIS PUBLISHINGName: Title: The BIG Baby Book by Guido Van Genechten
Company: CLAVIS PUBLISHING
Age: 2 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
Josh´s mom is going to have a baby, which makes him ask if he was once a baby in his mom´s tummy too. His mom says yes, and tells him about babies throughout the animal kingdom, from rats, to sheep and horses. In the end, the new baby arrives, and Josh is a big brother.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
High-quality illustrations and a strong story line make this book a must-read. The illustrations in the book are done by painting over newspaper, giving each picture a unique depth and richness. The book is for ages two and up, and it deals with the arrival of a baby in an informative, age appropriate manner. The story has a nice narrative arc, in that at the end of the book we actually get to see Josh become a big brother.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
This book would be an ideal read for children who are expecting a new sibling and have questions about babies. The many illustrations of baby animals and their mothers will also intrigue any child who is interested in animals. It´s a board book, so it is sturdy enough to stand up to a toddler, and is less expensive than a regular hardcover storybook.

Justina Huddleston


Learn more about Title: The BIG Baby Book by Guido Van Genechten

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Bathing by Liesbet Slegers by CLAVIS PUBLISHINGName: Bathing by Liesbet Slegers
Company: CLAVIS PUBLISHING
Age: 1 and up
Price: $5.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This board book follows baby through all the familiar steps of bath time. Brightly colored pictures against a white background are easy for baby to focus on, and the simple sentences feature bolded key words such as "bathtub" "clothes" and "shampoo," to help young ones familiarize themselves with new words.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
This simple yet spirited board book is a great gift item for new parents, and would be a welcome addition to any child´s library. Unlike many board books for babies that focus on everyday tasks, this one has personality. The list-like reporting of bath time is broken up by baby´s voice, which exclaims, "Oh, my shampoo is so sweet!" and "It is fun to sail my boat in the bath." The illustrations are very sweet and stand out nicely against the stark white background. The overall style is reminiscent of Leslie Patricelli, though less whimsical.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Books like this are great for people looking for a gift for an expectant parent, or the baby in their life. The illustrations and the extra personality conveyed by the narrator set this book above the standard fare, in addition to helping baby learn new vocabulary.

Justina Huddleston


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This Girl Is Different by JJ Johnson by PEACHTREE PUBLISHERSName: This Girl Is Different by JJ Johnson
Company: PEACHTREE PUBLISHERS
Age: 12-16
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
JJ Johnson´s debut novel tells the story of Evensong Sparkling Morningdew- Evie for short- and her foray into public school. Homeschooled by her hippie mother her whole life, Evie decides that she wants to spend her Senior year at an actual high school, as a social experiment. Evie makes a friend and a (almost) boyfriend right away, but the realities of attending public school are much grimmer than she had thought. Frustrated by the boundaries placed on students by the administration, as well as the blatant sexism, sizeism, and ageism that Evie feels dominate the learning environment, she starts an online blog where she and her friends can address these grievances. But Evie takes things too far when she targets a specific teacher, and students begin to use Evie´s blog against her.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

This compelling story is worth a read, thanks to its strong and unique main character. Evie is strong-willed, smart, and self-aware. The beginning of the novel describes Evie on a nature walk, sketching a snake; she later brings her new friends to her "Dome Home," a geodesic dome built by Evie and her mom where they raise a cow and chickens, bake their own bread, and drink yerba mate instead of coffee. The overt characterization of Evie and her mother as "hippies" in the opening of the book seems a little heavy-handed, but after the slightly clumsy first chapter Evie comes alive on the page. She is a unique character that can be not only a friend to readers, but a role model as well. Sure, she has academic aspirations that are admirable, but the thing that really makes Evie a great character is her willingness to admit she was wrong. She is at first reluctant to befriend bubbly cheerleader Jacinda, only to realize that her preconceived notion of the "typical cheerleaders" was wrong. And, though she never compromises her morals, Evie´s self-doubt when dealing with issues such as teenage sex, inappropriate student-teacher relationships, and gossip rings true. The book manages to stress the importance of being true to oneself without ever taking itself too seriously, coupling introspection from Evie with slightly flippant lines such as "If a tree falls in a forest and no one updates its status on Facebook, does it make a sound?" Such elements keep the story feeling fresh and relevant to teenagers, while Evie´s romantic relationship- ultimately a healthy, equal partnership- will fulfill readers´ love of drama.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Parents who want their tween and teen girls to read a novel with substance should pick up this book. It has a wide appeal to teen readers- focusing on the ins and outs of high school, romance, gossip, and betrayal- but the decisions the characters make and the issues they focus their attention on set it above standard teen pulp fiction. From an aesthetic standpoint, the book jacket is made of thick, textured paper, with a modern color scheme of blues, grays, and a contrasting dash of vibrant orange. The back cover screams "Evensong Sparkling Morningdew is a Hypocrite! Hypocrite! Hypocrite!" in an edgy, scribbly text, sure to pique the interest of a prospective reader.

— As of 05/26/2011 this book has 4.2 out of 5 stars from 10 reviews on Amazon.com
— As of 05/26/2011 this book has 3.56 out of 5 stars from 100 ratings on Goodreads.com


Justina Huddleston


Learn more about This Girl Is Different by JJ Johnson

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Precious Puppy by BOTTLE SNUGGLERSName: Precious Puppy
Company: BOTTLE SNUGGLERS
Age: All Ages
Price: $20.95
Category: Infant & Toddler

WHAT IT IS
Bottle Snugglers are plush velour animals with elasticized bottle-holding bands that Velcro to the animal´s body, allowing mom or dad to keep one hand free during feeding time. When the Precious Puppy holds baby´s bottle, the caregiver can more easily and comfortably bond with baby during this special time.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
Unlike most bottle holders, Precious Puppy comes with two elasticized bands. Also, after the holder is placed around the bottle, the bottle is then placed in the infant´s mouth and the correct angle found before attaching the holder to the Puppy via Velcro tabs. This provides a greater degree of adjustment than most other bottle holders. The shape of the Puppy´s body also allows it to rest on a stroller or feeding table tray, so that Baby can feed herself. The toy itself is soft and cute, and easily graspable by Baby. In addition, it has crinkly ears and a squeaky-toy leg, although the squeak wasn´t working in the model we tried.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Parents who want to touch and cuddle their baby during feeding will appreciate the freedom the Precious Puppy permits. Busy moms and dads with multiple children and/or tasks will also enjoy being able to accomplish other tasks while bonding and feeding their baby. The Precious Puppy and other Bottle Snugglers can also lighten the tasks of other caregivers. ALISON MAREK 5/15/11

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The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow by LITTLE,  BROWN AND COMPANYName: The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow
Company: LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY
Age: 8-12
Price: $14.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.


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Driving My Tractor by BAREFOOT BOOKSName: Driving My Tractor
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 1-6
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Pirate King by FLASTERVENTURE LLCName: Pirate King
Company: FLASTERVENTURE LLC
Age: All Ages
Price: $24.99
Category: General Games

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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BANDthology - "This Game Rocks" by BANDthology Inc.Name: BANDthology - "This Game Rocks"
Company: BANDthology Inc.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $30.00
Category: General Games

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s roundtable review of this product

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Pairs in Pears by BANANAGRAMSName: Pairs in Pears
Company: BANANAGRAMS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $16.99
Category: General Games

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Appletters by BANANAGRAMSName: Appletters
Company: BANANAGRAMS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $16.99
Category: General Games

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Young Picasso Art Kit by NOODLE HEAD INC.Name: Young Picasso Art Kit
Company: NOODLE HEAD INC.
Age: 4 and up
Price: $20.00
Category: Arts & Crafts

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Fuzzles Ida Pink Dot Monkey by DOUGLAS CUDDLE TOYSName: Fuzzles Ida Pink Dot Monkey
Company: DOUGLAS CUDDLE TOYS
Age: 2 and up
Price: $11.55
Category: Plush

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Nature Themed Number Wall Cards by CHILDREN INSPIRE DESIGNName: Nature Themed Number Wall Cards
Company: CHILDREN INSPIRE DESIGN
Age: All Ages
Price: $19.50
Category: Eco-Friendly

What It Is: This set includes 10 numbered and illustrated cards made from recycled materials and soy-based ink.

What We Thought: The eco-friendly cards express a very earthy vibe, with relaxing shades of green, rust and brown, and simple, pleasant images that include birds, leaves and turtles. Children Inspire Design, the manufacturer, recommends either framing the cards or, for a more economic alternative, simply tacking them to a wall. They would make for nice decorations, especially in a soft-hued nursery, but could also be used in a more basic manner, as flashcards for little learners. At $19.50, the price point isn´t so budget friendly — I could imagine a set like this more for around $9.99. Nonetheless, the "green" option and nature theme could make it ideal as part of a juvenile or gift display in a more upscale store.

Why They´ll Want It: It´s nice that both the cards´ composition and the images of nature complement one another. And the details add value. For example, there´s even newsprint text (in Italian, I believe) subtly incorporated into parts of the images to add extra visual texture ... and perhaps to remind of the benefits of recycling. Since these cards come in eight different languages, they might be a nice fit for educational resource stores, or just perfect for reaching a broader range of eco- and education-minded parents. — Julie L. Jones, 8.10.2010

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The Diggity Kids™ Comfort Travel System by DIGGITY KIDS, INC.Name: The Diggity Kids™ Comfort Travel System
Company: DIGGITY KIDS, INC.
Age: 4-10
Price: $63.95
Category: Safety

What It Is: Available in an array of colors, the Diggity Kids Comfort Travel System is a three-part set that includes a comfy Keester cushion featuring 2” of polyurethane foam, a memory-foam neck pillow for sleeping on the go, and a coordinating seat belt cover.

What We Thought: Bravo to Diggity Kids for creating this high-quality travel system! Parents and kids alike appreciate that the components are made of soft micro-suede, and for caregivers’ convenience, feature zip-off construction or are otherwise designed to be machine washable. With the semi-circular cut-out for the tailbone, the Keester proves very comfortable and, aside from use in the car, is also great to take to the park for use on benches. The seat belt cover doesn’t slide like some designs do, and it’s a much-needed item, especially during summer when children are wearing less clothing. The neck pillow offers fairly good support and is particularly convenient for kids snoozing in the backseat.

What Others Thought: The Keester lends itself to versatile use — “at Girl Scout meetings and as a cute cushion to sit on during our family movie night,” pointed out Elizabeth Donovan of Parenting Pink. Amy from ParentSphere no longer has to cringe at the way her preschool daughter rests in her car seat, thanks to the neck pillow. Prior to using the Diggity Kids Seat Belt Cover, posted The Funky Monkey, “the seat belt would dig into my kids´ neck when sleeping. Now they´re sitting in comfort thanks to this terrific product.”

Why They’ll Want It: A child’s comfort (or lack thereof) during travel affects the experience for everyone, so why not add a little sanity and style for the whole family? Diggity Kids delivers not with a random piece or two, but with a coordinated system that works together to ease travel woes, and is also adaptable for uses in school, at the ballpark, etc. Plus, it’s made with quality workmanship in the USA! — Julie L. Jones, 7/9/10


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High Roller by HULLABALOOName: High Roller
Company: HULLABALOO
Age: All Ages
Price: $12.00
Category: Audio & CD

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A Frog Named Sam by BEN RUDNICK AND FRIENDSName: A Frog Named Sam
Company: BEN RUDNICK AND FRIENDS
Age: All Ages
Price: $14.95
Category: Audio & CD

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Why Does Gray Matter? by ROGER DAY PRODUCTIONS LLCName: Why Does Gray Matter?
Company: ROGER DAY PRODUCTIONS LLC
Age: All Ages
Price: $15.00
Category: Music

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Jack Grunsky: Partout où les enfants chantent by CASABLANCA KIDS INC.Name: Jack Grunsky: Partout oů les enfants chantent
Company: CASABLANCA KIDS INC.
Age: All Ages
Price: $14.98
Category: Music

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