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The Few, The Proud...The Award-Winning Toys!

Who Made the Cut This Year?

By Alison Marek and Julie L. Jones

Thousands of products are introduced to the toy industry every year, but only a limited number are good enough, playable enough and innovative enough to garner an award.

In addition to issuing TDmonthly Awards, TDmonthly Magazine regularly asks manufacturers to present their award winners to our readers so that retailers can quickly identify products with great potential and manufacturers can learn and be inspired by others' successes. Here are the most recent responses:

4 Shape Puzzles, Things That Go! by BRIARPATCH INC.

4 Shape Puzzles, Things That Go! by BRIARPATCH INC.Four individual puzzles help children learn shapes by putting the puzzles together. The shapes are cleverly shown in the puzzle pictures. The sturdy puzzles come in a self-closing carrier box designed for years of puzzle fun. "The unique Briarpatch Carrier design makes it a one-of-a-kind item, perfect for holiday and birthday party gift-giving. The award-winning SAMi artwork is also made for the specialty store shopper," Carol Comes, product manager for Briarpatch, told TDmonthly. This product is an Oppenheim Gold Award winner. Launch date: March 31, 2009.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $17.00; Age: 3 to 6) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Buzzlewords® The Spelling Bee Game Level 1 - 1st & 2nd grade by THE SPELLING BEE GAME INC.

Buzzlewords® The Spelling Bee Game Level 1 - 1st & 2nd grade by THE SPELLING BEE GAME INC.This is a fast-paced, fun Spelling Board Game that teaches spelling, vocabulary and reading as it's played using spelling words taken directly from any child's grade-appropriate spelling list. Also available in challenging Adult level for those who think they can spell but might find out otherwise.The fast-paced game teaches spelling, reading and vocabulary. "There are no other board games on the market which allow each player to spell words selected from their own grade level and which combine elements of chance, strategy and spelling knowledge in a way that makes learning to spell fun and easy," Richard J. Sullivan, president of The Spelling Bee Game, Inc., told TDmonthly. Launch date: July, 2009.
Awards: 2010 Creative Child Magazine Game of the Year, Children's Educational Board Game Category; 2011 Creative Child Magazine, Game of the Year, Children's Educational Board Game Category.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $14.95; Age: 6 to 8) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Creativity Kit by ARTTERRO

Creativity Kit by ARTTERROThere's no limit to what you can make with this beautiful collection of materials! With simple tips and lots of examples for inspiration, cut, glue and sew ornaments, bookmarks, jewelry, cards, mobiles, gift tags, collages & more! Two bonus projects in every kit! Turn the box into a mailbox, birdhouse or special treasure box. The inner tray is perfect for framing your art. Ages 8 and up
— "I love these craft kits because the materials used are so incredible. Kids get to play with 100-percent wool felt, glass and wood beads, and beautiful handmade paper. It’s an added bonus that the company has skipped excessive packaging and uses 100-percent post-consumer waste recycled paper, reusable bags and vegetable-based inks," said Autumn Orndorff, gift buyer for Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Ariz., after discovering Artterro kits at ASTRA Marketplace 2009.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $22.00; Age: 8 and up) ENTER ARTTERRO TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Wild Animal Baby - 4-DVD Deluxe Box Set by TOPICS ENTERTAINMENT

Wild Animal Baby - 4-DVD Deluxe Box Set by TOPICS ENTERTAINMENTWild Animal Baby is created to have kids laughing and smiling at the antics of Izzy, Rosie, Sandy and Skip as they solve mysteries and learn about the natural world. Brought to you by the National Wildlife Federation and Sunwoo Entertainment featuring high-quality animation and live action footage, these endearing animals aim to make learning fun and keep children glued to every educational episode. "Wild Animal Baby helps preschoolers develop important skills through 3-D animated characters, footage of real-life animals, animal sounds and intriguing puzzles. This multi-sensory approach is a feast for the eyes, ears and the entire body!" Aaron Zeigler, national account manager for TOPICS Entertainment, told TDmonthly. Single titles received a 2006 iParenting Media Award. Launch date: June 9, 2009.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $19.99; Age: 2 to 8) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


24" My First Train by MAPLE LANDMARK WOODCRAFT CO.Crafted from sustainably harvested, local hardwood maple, this train includes 6"-long cars, fat wheels and an easy to connect "knuckle hitch." Each car is sanded super smooth to the touch and has engraved detailing. No finishes or chemical coatings are used. As an added bonus, the train comes with a "pull stick" to make the whole train a pull toy. "The train is designed for the 3 years and under. There are very few products on the market that for that age group," Barbara Rainville, marketing manager for Maple Landmark Woodcraft, told TDmonthly. This product received a 2009 Preferred Choice Award, Classic Wooden Toys Category, from Creative Child Magazine. Launch date: January 23, 2009.
— Maple Landmark wooden trains are a big hit at Moon Rabbit Toys in Santa Fe, N.M., Owner Shana Hack told TDmonthly in June 2009.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $50.00; Age: 2 to 5) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Simple ABC Blocks by MAPLE LANDMARK WOODCRAFT CO.Crafted from locally harvested hardwood maple, this set of 16, 1 3/4" blocks can spell more than 250 words, phrases and names. Each letter is engraved using a clean, simple font for ease of reading. The Simple ABC Blocks are sanded smooth to the touch but left unfinished for a truly eco-friendly toy. They are made in Vermont. Launch date: January 25, 2009.
Awards: 2009 Creative Child Magazine Toy of the Year Award, Classic Wooden Toys category.
— Any kind of stacking alphabet blocks, no matter the maker, do well for James Dello Stritto, manager of Magic Box, Ltd., in New Orleans.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $23.00; Age: All Ages) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Go Green With Me by THE LITTLE ENVIRONMENTALISTS LLCKids can join EnviroGirl as she learns about saving the environment. "In Go Green With Me," parents and children will learn simple, eco-friendly tips that will help protect the planet. From recycling and solar power to worm composting and so much more, "Go Green With Me" is designed to make these important lessons fun to read and learn. The company's books are printed on 100-percent recycled paper with 100-percent post-consumer waste that is processed chlorine-free, using environmentally friendly inks/toner. This book received a 2009 Book of the Year award from Creative Child Magazine. Launch date: March 2009.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $6.95; Age: 3 to 7) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Shanda! by SHANDA TOYS

Shanda! by SHANDA TOYSThis playful pal does double duty as a bath toy organizer and bath time entertainer all in one. Multi-colored and sporting a big smile, Shanda! is designed to be a welcome friend to even the most fearsome at bath time. Shanda! has suction cups that allow her to easily adhere to the bathtub wall, a pouch that holds tons of toys (thus leaving the bathtub neat and organized during non-bathing hours) and a kid-friendly release that sends said toys tumbling into the water. Her Velcro paws can curl over a bath tub towel bar or shower rod. Shanda! can also hang in the nursery on baby's crib to store diapers or hang on high chair. This product received a 2009 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Award. Launch date: May 2009.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $19.95; Age: 0 to 8) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Dinosaur Pilloroo by PILLOROO DESIGNS LLC

Dinosaur Pilloroo by PILLOROO DESIGNS LLCPilloroo Pillows have a hidden pouch for hiding away a toy or gift item. The pillow is stuffed so the item cannot be felt from the outside. This product is made in the USA and received a 2008 Moms Best Award. Launch date: November 2008.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $32.00; Age: 3 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

My Pillow Pets by CJ PRODUCTS

My Pillow Pets by CJ PRODUCTSMy Pillow Pets are snuggly plush companions that are also a comfortable pillow for bedtime, television time or travel time. There are more than 20 styles, all made from soft, high-quality chenille and safety tested.The Original Pillow Pets come in both 11" and 18" sizes. "My Pillow Pets are the Original pillow pets. The overall design, special facial features, and highest quality chenille make them ideal for the specialty and gift market," Heidi Niehart, director of marketing for My Pillow Pets, told TDmonthly. This product has received the following awards: iParenting Media Excellent Product Award, Dr. Toy Best Vacation Toy, and Mr. Dad Seal of Approval. Launch date: 2003.
 6/29/2009 (Price: $24.99; Age: All Ages) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

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Following are some of the programs represented in's section of award winners: Dr. Toy, iParenting Media Awards, TIA T.O.T.Y., Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, The National Parenting Center, and Parents' Choice Awards.

You may also access TDmonthly's review section to see which products earned 5 TD stars.

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