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March 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 3




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TDmonthly's March Staff Picks

Bounce Into Spring With These New Toys


Pencils and cameras ready, TDmonthly Magazine trolled the aisles of Toy Fair for special toys for specialty shops. Lucky for us, other toys came straight to our office, too.

Here’s what caught our gaze through the Toy Fair and post-Toy Fair haze:




Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $39.95
Age Range: 4 and up
Launch Date: March 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Sporting Goods & Accessories



These balls are ideal for therapy use with individuals who have trouble with balance and coordination. The therapist can even sit on the ball and control the patient's movements. The lightweight Physio Roll comes in polybag packaging and is available in five sizes, ranging in suggested retail price from $39.95 to $99.95. “These balls are unique and widely used in therapy for young and old. They are made in Italy of heavy duty vinyl,” Jennifer Blacklock of Toymarketing International told TDmonthly. These balls can also double up as a plaything for kindergarten activities. Launch date: March 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11581      (added 2/23/2007)
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MSRP: $25.00
Age Range: All Ages
SKU or Item #: 95DOL
Launch Date: January 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls



The Yoyo Doll, an update on the quilter’s classic, is hand sewn according to fair trade guidelines by artisans in Bolivia. The small doll measures about 9” and the large is 18” tall.
— “These dolls are special because they're both vintage and contemporary. The body structure was invented by quilters over 100 years ago, but Kinderware has updated them to be adorable in today's market. They used to be long and skinny with clown heads but we improved their proportions and make elephant, puppy, bear, bunny, baby and kitten versions,” Jenny Krauss of Kinderware told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11554      (added 2/21/2007)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls



Only Hearts Kids feature six adorable (4” tall) little siblings of the Only Hearts Girls and offer increased family play. Like the Only Hearts Girls, Only Hearts Kids are soft and poseable, and have glass eyes and rooted, combable hair. The assortment includes 3 Melody (Caucasian-blonde), 3 Kristy (Caucasian brunette), 3 Jessica (Caucasian-red), 1 Chelsea (Asian-American), 1 Sydney (African-American), 1 Trevor (Caucasian-boy).
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11576      (added 2/22/2007)
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Designed to liberate players’ perception and challenge their creativity, Nueve’s set of handcrafted wooden blocks can be assembled in any combination to create billions of different patterns. It was created by newartifacts, a group of artists, designers and entrepreneurs from Uruguay who envision integrating art into daily life.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11479      (added 2/19/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $11.95
Age Range: 2 and up
SKU or Item #: 57970
Launch Date: June 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Sporting Goods & Accessories
Outdoor Fun



This action toy helps keep kids fit as they simulate and learn how to skate, surf and snowboard without getting wet, cold or sore. Children can twist it, kick it, flip it or pop it as they play. The board measures 21” by 5.25” and comes in red, yellow, green and blue. “This product is the first of its kind. The boarding industry never had a plastic, functional, inexpensive toy — a 21st century toy,” CEO Bob Ellis of GarageCo Toys told TDmonthly. Launch date: June 2006.
— It’s very simple, yes, but the Yo Baby Practice Board received a TDmonthly Innovations 2007 award due to its usefulness as a training tool for very young children, propelling them to develop board-sport skills they can use later in life. It’s perfect for use on carpet in the home, and can easily travel anywhere.
— “We're doing well with Yo Babys, [and] ordering a case a month,” said Connie Hoeft, owner of C R Toys in Kearney, N.E., when asked about her best-selling sports toys in spring 2009.
— “We do really well with the Yo Baby practice boards. Last year, we went through a lot of those,” Lauren Obenour, manager of Green Frog Toys in Portland, Ore., told TDmonthly in March 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11555      (added 2/21/2007)
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MSRP: $7.95
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 5531401133
Launch Date: April 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill



The MOZANIAC Picture Puzzle System, in its simplest form, makes four consecutive pictures from the same six flat pieces. The system is expandable and will eventually offer more pieces and even more pictures from those pieces. In the Male Artists Puzzle, the six pieces on the left, printed front and back, make the four pictures on the right — Van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse and Gaugin. Launch date: April 1, 2007.
— “MOZANIAC is a picture puzzle system based on interpenetrating modular pieces. It offers new visual, mental and physical challenges and will grow into a universe of puzzles over the next few hundred years. MOZANIAC requires [players] to both reveal and conceal visual material when they slide the pieces into each other, making it more challenging than a jigsaw puzzle, even with only six pieces,” Founder and Inventor-in-Chief Daniel Young of Paradoxy Products told TDmonthly. “When we begin to produce puzzles with even more pieces, puzzle aficionados will faint with delight.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11470      (added 2/19/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
Age Range: 4 and up
Launch Date: February 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



Children can mix-and-match these cuddly plush friends that feature magnetically interchangeable heads and tails. Collecting all six in the collection allows kids to create more than 200 PlajaPets. In June 2007, new PlajaPets Tiger, Platypus, Rhino, Monster, Pig and Monkey were launched. “The very unique look and feel of our characters draws kids (and adults) to them. Once children get these in their hands, they honestly do not want to put them down. [They have been embraced by] teachers ... in classrooms all over the United States, as well as by child psychologists who teach cognitive development,” COO Jason Johnson of Plaja International told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11548      (added 2/21/2007)
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MSRP: $29.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games



Created by a backgammon champion, Mindgammon is the board game designed for today. It captures the essence of the original "backgammon" while making it interestingly different. Every roll of the dice challenges the mind and it is literally a thrill a roll. Whether you have twenty minutes or two hours, Mindgammon will take you and your mind away from the monotony and rigor of your day and recharge your brain and outlook of life. You can play Mindgammon with someone just for fun or to hone your competitive skills. It is possible your playing partner may not be your best friend after you have beaten him/her a dozen times in a row. But, do remember it is only a game!" Have fun!
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11616      (added 2/23/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 6 to 12
Launch Date: April 2007
Gender: Girls
Category: Apparel



This sheared terry wrap features removable sequined straps and glitter bathtub embroidered appliqué. It is available in Citrus Lime and Coconut Ice Blue, and is part of a luxurious line of spa products for girls. “This product is made with the finest of fabrics and is very detailed. … Others in the market are somewhat plain. This product also comes with the matching painted wood hanger,” Jason Butts of Three Cheers for Girls told TDmonthly. Launch date: April 2007.
―  “The most accommodating [supplier] is Three Cheers for Girls — very friendly and I receive my products in a few days!” retailer Lori Paris told TDmonthly in spring 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11608      (added 2/23/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $79.99
Age Range: 13 and up
SKU or Item #: 6 89076 04254 3
Launch Date: January 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Collectibles



This cute yet sinister warrior is three times the size of the company’s usual HazMaPo, and has bold orange hues and metallic accents. “Po” means “four legs,” a feature that contributes to the creature’s unique qualities. “Pretty much everything about UNKL is different from the rest of the toy market — even the rest of the urban vinyl toy market. Everything that we do at UNKL is rooted in high-quality design. … And, instead of just being a cool figure to sit on your shelf, HazMaPo has a story behind it: The HazMaPos are a united group of mini, Cold War-era assassins,” Leah Preston of UNKL told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 1, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11603      (added 2/23/2007)
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MSRP: $5.99
Age Range: 3 to 12
SKU or Item #: 899019001081
Launch Date: April 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Collectibles



Wackymals are a unique line of plush collectibles that combine two animals into one. The collection includes Tigeroo (tiger/kangaroo), Hurtle (horse/turtle) and many other wacky animal combinations. Wackymals inspire kids to use their imagination to create their own characters. Launch date: April 1, 2007. 
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11588      (added 2/23/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $12.00
Age Range: 17 and up
SKU or Item #: B00J1004
Launch Date: May 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Gifts
Novelties



Once these grannies are wound, they race along at crippling speeds. Launch date: May 1, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11587      (added 2/23/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $164.00
Launch Date: December 2006
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls



Sixteen-inch-tall Makeda, The Queen of Sheba is the first doll in EthiDolls' African Signature Educational Doll Collection. Her authentic costume is hand woven in Ethiopia, and her dress features a traditional border design of gold, lapis lazuli, ruby red and emerald green. Makeda's lustrous hair is braided in a long natural wave, and she is adorned with gold-plated jewelry and a classic neck tattoo. Queen Makeda's beautifully illustrated storybook and CD narration portray her rise to the throne and her legendary journey to visit King Solomon. “EthiDolls has introduced the first authentic collector-quality educational doll based on African women leaders from antiquity, and has imbued the product with the principles of fair trade,” Patti Gindoff, SVP of marketing for EthiDolls, told TDmonthly. Launch date: December 6, 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11586      (added 2/23/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $24.99
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: 922
Launch Date: August 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games



Word Sweep Junior! is a fun, vocabulary-building word game for the entire family. The game is clever, yet easy to play. Players simply identify words that appear consecutively in Merriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary and guess correctly to make a “Word Sweep!” They must keep an eye out for high-stakes “Super Word Sweeps” that allow players to earn double points, and “Group Word Sweeps” that permit collaborative word identification. The original and junior versions of Word Sweep! “are the only board games endorsed by leading dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster,” Clay Siegert of Intellinitiative told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11547      (added 2/21/2007)
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MSRP: $160.00
Age Range: 8 and up
Launch Date: November 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
Wooden Toys
General Toys



Designed by architect Steven W. Hurd, these blocks are the first in a series of architecturally themed building blocks created for all ages. Each set is designed around a particular building type, but the unique pieces allow for creativity and imaginative construction. The blocks are carved from imported hardwood, and the set includes 145 pieces, 15 different shapes, a printed plan and instructions. Castle Blocks are also available. “The Cathedral shape offers a dramatic initial building project and the unique shapes allow for a different level of imaginative play than most sets of building blocks,” Hurd told TDmonthly. Launch date: November 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11539      (added 2/21/2007)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Gifts



These are the same backpacks Gramcracker sewed for Freckles and Maya. The reversible packs are soft, cuddly and perfect for carrying secret treasures. They're washable but dislike a hot dryer. The opening has two top drawstrings with pom-poms designed for little hands to pull closed. The dimensions are 19" x 19", and one size truly fits all. This product is made in the USA.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11439      (added 2/9/2007)
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MSRP: $79.95
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puppets
Plush



This Dragon Puppet is 32" tall when sitting. From head to tail the puppet is approximately 52" tall.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11359      (added 2/6/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $29.95
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: RHD0401
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Creative Activities
Preschool
General Games



In this game, two to eight children split into two teams, put on their colored wristbands, and unfurl their flags. Each team hides a Gag — a multifaceted creature that is magnetic and can also stick, grab and hook in hiding places — for the other team to find. The company’s Get-Out-Of-Their-Way Play “products allow kids to reinvent their play places and use their imagination,” Rubbing Hands Founder Chris Friden told TDmonthly. “There is no technology required and they are based on simple play that kids instinctively do on their own: hiding, finding, following and inventing, to name a few. These are fantastic gifts and party activities.” This product is a 2008 iParenting Media Award winner.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11334      (added 2/2/2007)
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Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author

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