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January 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 1


TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Books

HarperCollins Takes the Cake With Fancy Nancy and Others

In November 2008, TDmonthly surveyed retailers across the country about their sales of books for kids, young adults and teens. Classic children’s books, such as “Goodnight Moon” from HarperCollins, and Dr. Seuss’ evergreen titles from Random House earned nods from many, while HarperCollins’ fabulous "Fancy Nancy" stole center stage to land at the top of the list.

(No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were chosen by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with Magazine.)

MSRP: $15.99
Age Range: 4 to 8
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books

For Nancy, there's no such thing as too, too much; she loves her frilly bedroom, her lace-trimmed socks, and her pen with a plume. Nancy teaches her family how to be fancy, too. Then following Nancy's lead, the fancied-up family heads for a festive night out (at the local pizzeria).  A messy food mishap puts a damper on Nancy's joy, but her supportive family and the “I love you” at bedtime smoothes everything out.
- “‘Fancy Nancy’ has done really well — the whole series,” said Merrick Smith, owner of Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland, Ore.
- “All the ‘Fancy Nancy’ titles have sold for me,” Jeanette Lauture, owner of Aunt Jean’s Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., told TDmonthly in November 2008.
- Terri Bracken, owner of Earth Explorer Toys Zionsville, Ind., said, “Fancy Nancy is a new one. Yesterday we sold out so we had to reorder.” Bracken said she reorders the books about every two months.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9946      (added 11/7/2006)

Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $29.95
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: September 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls

This set includes an 8" vintage-style pixie elf, a keepsake storage box and a children's picture book with a rhyming story that tells how the elf helps Santa out by watching children's behavior by day and reporting it to Santa at night. The elf is designed to be placed throughout the house during the Christmas season, creating a hide-and-seek activity for the whole family. Launch date: September 2005.
— “Elf on the Shelf is doing really well since we put those out five or six weeks ago,” remarked Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toys in Anchorage, Alaska, in November 2008. “We just brought them in in November. [We] sold 24 last month, and 24 already this month,” Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly.
— In a December 2011 survey about books, 2 out of 12 retailers named Elf on the Shelf their best-seller. "We sold 18 already, in just a couple weeks," Andrea Scartozzi from Hardware Toy Center in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly. William Meredith, owner of Learning Express in Cary, N.C., agreed. "Elf on a Shelf is our number one item. It has been for years!" he told TDmonthly.

Where to Buy: Smart Kids Toys; Kazoo Toys; Escapade Direct

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17594      (added 2/18/2008)

MSRP: $8.99
Age Range: 0 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books

This board book, one of several in the Precious Pals series, is sturdy enough to handle the babies it draws in with its whimsical illustrations and touch-and-feel textures inside. Babies and young children will enjoy both the visual and tactile stimulation presented by the book, which is made infant-friendly by its padded cover, heavy-duty board pages and rounded corners. 
— “Our board books are popular,” said Rosie Morris, manager of Whiz Kids in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
— “The board books … have been really popular,” Genevieve Collogne, manager of Wooden Horse in Los Gatos, Calif., told TDmonthly.
— Eight percent of 52 retailers said in November 2008 that board books comprise their best-selling books.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21667      (added 12/10/2008)

MSRP: $17.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books

More than 60 years old, Margaret Wise Brown’s “Goodnight Moon” continues to lull children to sleep with its gently colored illustrations by Clement Hurd and simple, soothing message. The baby bunny in the story goes to bed, bidding goodnight to all of the things in the bedroom and the familiar view outside the window. 
— “My classics like ‘Goodnight Moon’” are top sellers in the book category, said Elizabeth Ryan, owner of Tales & Toys in Venice, Calif.
— Three of 52 retailers told TDmonthly in November 2008 that “Goodnight Moon” is a best-selling book for them.
— As of 8.12.10, this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 65 reviews on and was listed No. 7 in best-selling toys and games. PROS: Vivid illustrations, stimulates imagination, entertains while teaching values.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21668      (added 12/10/2008)

MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Launch Date: May 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books

Jane Dyer’s rich illustrations and an allegory about making chocolate chip cookies present simple but solid anecdotes about some of life’s most important issues in Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s whimsical instruction manual for manners and morals. Accompanying each colorful picture, a single concept is defined by a related phrase that captures the essence of the abstract, such as kindness or respect. For example, Rosenthal defines cooperation: “How about you add the chips while I stir?” Launch date: May 2, 2006.
— “‘Cookies’ is very popular,” Erin Dedmon, owner of The Wee Loft in Dana Point, Calif., told TDmonthly in November 2008.
— “‘Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons.’ [It’s] for children and adults, about kindness, patience. Great book,” said Gwen Bowden, manager of Doodlehopper for Kids in Springfield, Va., who sells about 15 per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21669      (added 12/10/2008)

MSRP: $12.95
Age Range: 4 to 8
SKU or Item #: 0761147632
Launch Date: November 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books
Creative Activities

A first book of motion for kids, the book shows a variety of animals in motion, including a horse in full gallop, a turtle swimming up the page, a dog running, a cat springing, an eagle soaring and a butterfly fluttering. Scanimation is a state-of-the-art six-phase animation process that combines the "persistence of vision" principle with a striped acetate overlay to give the illusion of movement, reminiscent of the kinetoscope days. Rhyming text full of simple questions and nonsense replies accompany the animations. Launch date: November 2007.
- “They are so cool. …. We've sold so many, people are coming in and asking [for it] because someone they know bought one,” Phil Wrzesinski, owner of Toy House and Baby Too in Jackson, Mich., told TDmonthly in November 2008.
- “We're bringing in hundreds,” said Theresa Oppenheim, owner of Toy World in Wayzata, Minn.
- “Everyone is coming in to see these,” agreed Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids in Madison, Wis.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17040      (added 1/11/2008)

Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books

Part of Usborne’s series of books introducing young children to unfamiliar experiences, this short, 8” x 8” soft-cover book is an illustrated account of the first day of school. The friendly, colorful pictures are designed to be talked about so that little ones will have an easier time externalizing possible anxieties about a change in routine. The series covers many first experiences, from the introduction of a new baby sibling to a hospital visit or travel on an airplane.
— Eight percent of 52 retailers told TDmonthly in November 2008 that Usborne is their top-selling supplier of books.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21670      (added 12/10/2008)

MSRP: $27.50
Age Range: 12 and up
Launch Date: September 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books

Third in the popular “Inheritance” series by Christopher Paolini, which begins with “Eragon,” “Brisingr” continues to chronicle the dragon rider Eragon’s journey and training as he undertakes a heroic quest to help rescue his cousin’s betrothed. Roran and Eragon undergo primarily separate journeys, having to face many tests and overcome great odds. The story is themed in the classic high-fantasy genre, filled with magic, dragons, elves, dwarves, and sword fighting, as well as the value of friendship, family and courage. Launch date: September 20, 2008.
— “The new Christopher Paolini book, “Brisingr.” [We sell] over 100 per month,” said Jessica Wood, buyer for Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt.
— Two of 52 retailers named “Brisingr” as a best seller in November 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21671      (added 12/10/2008)

MSRP: $12.95
Age Range: 8 to 13
SKU or Item #: 978-0-8109-9313-6
Launch Date: April 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books

Published under the Amulet Books imprint, this “novel in cartoons” by Jeff Kinney chronicles the experiences of an unlikely hero, Greg Heffley, who finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving. Greg tries to use his best friend’s popularity to his advantage, kicking off a chain of events that tests their friendship in hilarious fashion. The book features approximately 300 black-and-white illustrations.
— It is “a completely unique approach to middle-grade fiction — combining hilarious diary-style narrative with web comic art,” Valerie Ralph, in publicity for Abrams Books, told TDmonthly. Launch date: April 2007.
- “For the younger reader, the best seller is “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney,” Jessica Wood, buyer for Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt., told TDmonthly in November 2008.
— Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barstons Childs Play in Rockville, Md., told TDmonthly in a December 2014 interview that Diary of a Wimpy kid books are best-sellers at her store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10948      (added 1/5/2007)

MSRP: $14.95
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books

A Dr. Seuss classic from 1971, “The Lorax” is a brightly illustrated book filled with lyric verse about a timely theme. The Lorax is a strange creature that watches over a forest filled with marvelous trees. As the forest is cut down to make things for the growing community, the trees and the habitats of the various creatures that live there disappear until there’s almost nothing left. Dr. Seuss’s simple, clever and powerful message about environmentalism will stick with young readers.
— “The Dr. Seuss always sells out,” said Elizabeth Ryan, owner of Tales & Toys in Venice, Calif.
— “Dr. Seuss is always popular,” agreed Pat Cooley, owner of Cooleykatz Toys in Livermore, Calif., in November 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21672      (added 12/10/2008)

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Marie RavenWriter's Bio: Marie Raven has a long history with the specialty toy industry as a family business. In addition to freelancing for TDmonthly Magazine, she writes creative and technical material for various other businesses. Read more articles by this author

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