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January 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 1




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TDmonthly's Top-10 Holiday Sellers

Oh, Christmas Tree ... Frog?


With additional reporting by regional correspondents Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Christine Lebednik

Webkinz by Ganz led the movement for interactive toys, according to 30 specialty toy retailers and one mass-marketer that spoke with TDmonthly Magazine about their Christmas sales, followed by Playmaker's Flying Flingshot Monkey, bilibo, PlayFoam by Educational Insights (ToyDirectory), and Plasmart's PlasmaCar (ToyDirectory). Games got in the act, too, as Educational Insight's Blokus and Apples to Apples by Out of the Box (ToyDirectory) had another stellar year, with honorable mention honors going to Funstreet’s Ruckus.

Not to be outdone, construction toys built their own niche, with Rokenbok towering alongside perennial favorites Lego and Playmobil (ToyShow). These two latter lines scored highest with retailers, with 10 and 6 mentions respectively (but you could’ve guessed that), along with Melissa & Doug (2 mentions), Learning Curve's Thomas (2), and Klutz books (2). Corolle (Gift Guide) (3) and Uglydoll (Gift Guide) (2) top out the list.

Here's what retailers told us about their best-selling Christmas toys:




MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: November 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



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.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10131      (added 11/17/2006)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



The next in the series of the international best-seller Blokus. Designed for two to four players, it was launched in 2006. THIS PRODUCT IS NO LONGER DISTRIBUTED BY EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS. 12/4/08.

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7199      (added 3/10/2006)
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MSRP: $34.99
Age Range: 12 and up
Launch Date: January 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



This popular card game now comes in a solid wooden storage crate to be preserved for generations. It’s designed for 4 to 10 players, comes with 756 Red Apple Cards, 252 Green Apple Cards and two Deluxe Card Trays. Kids and adults can have fun by making outrageous comparisons that go beyond just “apples-to-apples.” Matt Mariani, director of marketing for Out of the Box Publishing, told TDmonthly, “It takes only 30 seconds to learn. A complete game takes less than 30 minutes to finish. The conversations around the table while playing the game are the focus.” Launch date: 2006.
— "Apples-to-Apples by Out of the Box: just got more in because people still want it, even after the holidays," said Karen Williams-Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt. Five of 31 retailers said the game was one of their best sellers for Christmas 2006.
— “The word is out about this game for adults as well as kids,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly in summer 2007. “We carry all the versions. It’s so much fun ... a must at our family reunions!”
— An Apples-to-Apples sale a day helps keep the bill collector at bay, retailers have told TDmonthly (in so many words) bushels of times, and so it’s been honored with a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9733      (added 10/23/2006)
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MSRP: $59.99
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 04213
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction



The RC Forklift is incredibly functional and life-like. Kids can use it in their Rack’em & Stack’em Warehouse to stack, load and sort beams, barrels and balls. The warehouse includes six pellet racks and ROK bins, two barrel skids, eight barrels and two beam racks. It requires a start set and three AA batteries (not included).
— "Rokenbok finally took off. I’ve been carrying it for six years and this is the first year I remember selling a lot. It's a good construction toy," was the insight given by Karen Williams-Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt.
— "Rokenbok is a perennial favorite," added Kathie Dockstader, buyer for Top Ten Toys Inc. in Seattle.
— Rokenbok is the “one thing that sells every year,” Teresa Newman, buyer and manager at Toy World in Wayanta, Minn., told TDmonthly about the holidays.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10518      (added 12/7/2006)
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MSRP: $4.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Novelties



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.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9727      (added 10/23/2006)
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MSRP: $28.95
SKU or Item #: H3518
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls



Calin Yang has brown sleepy eyes and natural-looking rooted hair that can be combed and styled. She can also be posed like a real little baby. All Corolle dolls are made with vanilla-scented vinyl. Their clothing reflects current styles and fabrics. Calin Yang is part of Corolle’s Mon Premier collection. She has accessories that will encourage little girls aged 18 months and up to take care of her all day long.
— “We do sell several Asian dolls,” noted Gwen Bowden, manager of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in Springfield, Va. “There are a lot of adoptions [here], and we try to carry a diverse selection of dolls that kids can play with. Ten percent of toy-store owners said Corolle dolls were great sellers for the holidays 2006.
― “Corolle [sells] head and shoulders above anything else,” said Sue Hottel, owner of No Kidding in Mattapoisett, Mass., of her doll department in May 2010. Two retailers told TDmonthly in late spring 2010 that Calin Yang is their top-selling doll. Twenty of 43 retailers named Corolle as their best-selling doll brand.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10314      (added 11/30/2006)
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MSRP: $30.00
Age Range: 2 to 7
Specialty: No
Made in: China
SKU or Item #: 0003
Launch Date: January 2001
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Preschool
Creative Activities
Pretend Play



bilibo is a Swiss-designed plastic shell that rocks when children sit in it. Kids have fun stacking the product as well, since it nests snugly in other brightly colored bilibos. Young children enjoy the simple design that they use in many imaginative ways. Awards: 2010 TIA Awards Toy of the Year; 2006 UK Good Toy Awards Toy of the Year; 2003 Deutscher Lernspielpreis, Auswahlliste; 2002 Dr. Toy 10 Best Active Products; 2002 Spiel Guy Arbeitsausschuss Kinderspiel 2002; 2002 Design Distinction I.D. Design Review
— "bilibo: We had to keep ordering it," was the response about hot-selling Xmas toys that TDmonthly got from Jenny Goodlund, manager at JT Puffin’s in Madison, Wis.
— Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids Ltd. in Madison, Wis., had great things to say about bilibo: "It's great for 2- to 5-year-olds. It's the modern version of the cardboard box."
— “We keep a DVD going up on the front counter that shows kids playing with [the bilibo]. Kids instinctively understand it, but adults don’t,” said Co-owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., of this best seller in her store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3522      (added 5/10/2005)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



PlayFoam provides hours of creative fun with its lightweight, colorful foam-sculpting material that won't crumble, stick to skin or surfaces or dry out. According to an Educational Insights press release, PlayFoam was being “pre-ordered by the hundreds” at Toy Fair 2006.
— Sally Lesser, owner of Henry Bear’s Park in Massachusetts, told TDmonthly in spring 2007 that PlayFoam is a product her stores try to keep “in stock all the time, as I’m sure anyone would.” In fall 2007, Owner Idanna Smith of Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., named it as a best seller.
— Jim Whitney, president of Educational Insights, shared this insight with TDmonthly: "From the moment you touch PlayFoam it intrigues and fascinates ... It combines all the fun of sculpting with the soft, dry, squishy tactile feeling of a stress ball. It ... will last for years and is addictively fun."
— PlayFoam, a winner of a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award, is one of those creative alternatives to clay that many specialty retailers have made a staple in their stores. The reusable product comprises tiny foam balls that draw textural interest for the sculptor and offer visual appeal in a finished creation. Playfoam easily encourages open-ended play.

Where to Buy: Berkira; EQuick Xpress

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5962      (added 12/14/2005)
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MSRP: $69.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: PC020
Launch Date: February 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Vehicles - Riding
Preschool
Outdoor Fun



The Original PlasmaCar continues to intrigue and fascinate. Powered by kid power; no batteries, gears, or pedals needed. Just sit, put your feet up, and turn the steering wheel to propel yourself forward. The patented safety seat design places riders in a safe, comfortable position and minimizes tipping. Moves up to 6 mph on any smooth, flat surface. Supports up to 220 lbs. Visit www.plasmacar.com to see all the wonderful colors available.
— In a March 2015 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Plasmacar is a best-selling outdoor toy.
—  As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 122 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Does not work well on surfaces that aren't completely smooth.
— This top-seller in specialty stores earned a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for its distinctive aerodynamic design and ease-of-use. TDmonthly believes it has the potential to become a classic due to its fresh, contemporary appeal and application in a child’s formative years.
Awards: 2012 Parents Choice Awards Recommended, 2009 Green Parents List Check Mark, 2009 DisneyFamily.com Top Action Figures and Toys for Toddlers, 2009+2008+2005 The National Parenting Centre Seal of Approval, 2008 iParenting Media Toy Award, 2008 Fat Brain Toy Award Active Play, 2006 TIA Outdoor Toy of the Year - Specialty Toy of the Year, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2005 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products, 2005 Creative Child Seal of Excellence, 2001 International Patent Fair, Hong Kong Gold Medal
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3829      (added 6/28/2005)
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Dennis FurlanWriter's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author

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