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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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FlyZone Micro Ultrix by HOBBICOName: FlyZone Micro Ultrix
Company: HOBBICO
Age: 12 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Remote Controlled

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

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Slugga™ the Bat and Ball Carrier by THE ORIGINAL BULLPEN CO (OBC)Name: Slugga™ the Bat and Ball Carrier
Company: THE ORIGINAL BULLPEN CO (OBC)
Age: 3 and up
Price: $45.00
Category: Sporting Goods & Accessories

What Is It?
This unique plush cartoon bat-and-ball carrier makes toting baseball equipment a cinch for kids of all ages. The bat slips into Slugga’s face and body, while the ball rounds out his cap-topped head. Although the carrier can be worn like a backpack, Slugga can also hang from the shoulders in the front, so kids can walk with their baseball buddy down the street like real pals. A special padded pillow prevents the base of the bat from slamming against the wearer’s body.

What We Thought
No one in the office had ever seen a product like Slugga for toting baseball equipment. One staffer thought her little nephews would go crazy for it. Though we didn’t have any balls or bats handy, we found Slugga made a good Sno-Fling porter, too.

Why They’ll Want It

Parents of little sluggers who are apt to drop balls into oncoming traffic while running to games will appreciate Slugga. The strap keeps the ball and bat snugly against the wearer, ensuring the safety of both the child and the equipment. — Alison Marek, 12/13/07

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What's a Dame to Do? by games for dames™ by sisters 2 inc.Name: What's a Dame to Do?
Company: games for dames™ by sisters 2 inc.
Age: 18 and up
Price: $29.00
Category: Adult Games

What Is It?
A circular boardgame for gal friends, “What’s a Dame to Do?” presents a player with a dilemma and the other players must guess how she’ll resolve it. The one who most often guesses the “correct” answers wins. So what’s a dilemma? Oh, being called “Ma’m” for the first time or being hit on by a guy 20 years older than you. And possible solutions? Helpful strategies, such as speaking in a foreign accent, downing the Chardonnay or using a hose.

What We Thought
After two rounds, we initially skeptical gals were convulsed with laughter, mascara’d tears and snot running down our faces. Not attractive, but that made it even funnier. What busted us up? Potty humor, of course. When faced with the horror of overflowing the toilet at a friend’s housewarming party, our very well-mannered Southern colleague was presented with such helpful solutions as “Speak with a foreign accent!” “Make a game of it!” and “Start a trend!” We all (including she) agreed that the second choice was her best bet, and we’ve haven’t been the same since.

Why They’ll Want It
”What’s a Dame to Do?” is an outrageously funny game that reminds us all of those uncomfortable moments that require quick thinking and creative resolutions. It’s a great game for friends, enemies, co-workers, sisters, moms and great-grandmas. Any woman with a bit of “experience” can relate. Got problems, sorrows, embarrassments? “Make a game of it!” — That’s what they did at Sisters 2 Inc. and we three dames think it’s gonna be all right. — Alison Marek, 11/20/07

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Playful Chef by PLAYFUL LIFEName: Playful Chef
Company: PLAYFUL LIFE
Age: 3 and up
Price: $39.99
Category: Creative Activities

What Is It?
The cooking set includes kid-sized versions of real chef utensils, including a mixing bowl, baking pan, whisk, measuring cups, measuring spoons and more — all packaged in a little backpack. A denim apron, a three-minute timer and bright orange, plastic safety scissors are also included.

What We Thought
The set is very well thought out, emphasizing parent-child bonding, safety, fun, healthy habits and cooking before children even learn to read! Color-coded measuring spoons and cups allow pre-readers to join the fun, while recipe cards detail preparation instructions on one side and ten steps to healthy eating on the other. The cards even include quotes that parents can repeat to their kids, such as “You want to take good care of your special tools, so we can use them again”!

Why They’ll Want It
Kids will love feeling like real chefs with these miniaturized, but fully functional utensils that fit perfectly in their little hands. The tool belt apron itself is absolutely amazing, with its adorable design and adjustable straps (which will allow kids to continue using the apron as they grow). After kids are done cooking and cleaning, they can neatly place the utensils and apron back into the backpack and take it with them anywhere. — Sivhour Sim, 11-1-07

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Bump 'n Chuck RC Bumper Cars by KID GALAXY INC.Name: Bump 'n Chuck RC Bumper Cars
Company: KID GALAXY INC.
Age: 6 and up
Price: $34.99
Category: Remote Controlled

What Is It?
The Bump ‘n’ Chuck (which got a giggle from 8-year-old Cole – “Do they throw up?”) is a radio-controlled bumper car game with two bumper cars, two ejectable bumper car drives (they pop out when one of the cars is hit in a certain way; there are two “eject” buttons on the sides), two controllers and the need for lots and lots of batteries.

What We Thought
“They go pretty fast,” commented Cole, who raced his orange bumper car up and down the sidewalk. “And they’re easy to control,” chimed in Gabby, doing spins and figure-eights with her blue one. But when bumper time came... nothing. “They’re hard to hit right,” pointed out Cole. “Really hard. I can’t get the guy to pop out. Make sure you write about that.” And he was right. The kids tried slamming into each other, into walls, into a dog (a big dog). Nothing. So they hit the buttons on the cars themselves, and the plastic drivers jettisoned... and made “the best screamy noises ever.”

Why They’ll Want It
Yup, with a sound chip, the drivers fly out, screaming all the way. The kids forwent the bumper car aspect and began playing their own imaginary games with the bumper cars and drivers. Space ship fights, movie action scenes and just plain making the drivers fly up and scream. “They’re pretty fun,” acknowledged Cole, “but not for playing bumper cars.” That pretty much sums them up. — Mark Zaslove, 10/23/07

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Kingka by KINGKA LLCName: Kingka
Company: KINGKA LLC
Age: 3 and up
Price: $29.99
Category: General Games

What Is It?
This matching and memory game introduces kids (and their folks) to basic Chinese characters and pronunciations. Kingka comes with color boards lain out with squares that introduce a single Chinese character; corresponding photos of the actual objects are printed on the flip side. The instructions give recommendations for three basic games ranging in level from elementary to advanced. In addition, the more advanced games have variations that expose kids to the characters in new and exciting ways. Kingka also includes a CD that helps players learn the subtle differences in Chinese pronunciation. Made in USA, this brain teaser game challenges people in all age groups.

What We Thought
The various Kingka games are an easy way to boost Chinese character recognition. The glossy cardboard playing pieces are nicely designed and hefty enough to withstand repeated play. Printing photos on the backs of the character cards lets kids easily and quickly associate the two corresponding visuals, thereby increasing their chances of learning the Chinese word for a common object or number.

Why They’ll Want It
Kingka would be a great supplement at Chinese language schools; even adults will enjoy this fun and nonthreatening introduction to a whole new way of reading! It’s also perfect for Chinese-American parents who want to expose their children to Chinese characters. However, the game has broad enough appeal to reach a much wider audience, since parents are always searching for ways to stimulate their kids’ developing brains and language skills. - Alison Marek, 10/18/07

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Pop Up Pen Pal Cards - Holiday by PLAY ODYSSEY INC.Name: Pop Up Pen Pal Cards - Holiday
Company: PLAY ODYSSEY INC.
Age: 6 and up
Price: $12.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
This set of 12 easy-assemble pop-up self mailers is meant to inspire beginning writers. The glossy printed card stock comes prefolded. It’s also ruled with manuscript printing guidelines on the front cover and inside, underneath the greeting, so little holiday-card creators can easily write addresses and messages neatly and correctly. The kit comes with glue-in supports for the pop-ups and an assortment of potential pop-ups with a holiday theme, such as the three kings, a penguin, Santa’s elf, etc.

What We Thought
The cards are easy to assemble; a glue stick is required as a separate purchase. Making pop-up greetings would be a fun project for a young family and a great way to get the kids to practice their penmanship. There don’t seem to be any identifiably female characters among the pop-ups, but boys will find plenty of characters to love.

Why They’ll Want It
Kids are fascinated by the magic of pop-up books and they’ll have fun creating their own pop-up pages. The pop-up support is easy for little hands to fold and even clearly marks where the paste should go. Kids will especially love that there are no envelopes involved; just fold over the card, seal it with the included snowflake stickers, address it, stamp it and sent it to grandma! — Alison Marek, 10-5-07

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Groovy Girls Holiday Sylvie Starr by MANHATTAN TOYName: Groovy Girls Holiday Sylvie Starr
Company: MANHATTAN TOY
Age: 3 and up
Price: $17.00
Category: Dolls

What Is It?
This velour plush rag doll wears tights of a silver, sparkling fabric and gold satin shoes that complement the gold touches in her pageant-winner look. She’s not easily poseable, but has whimsical hair and a purse that dangles with the ladylike swing of her legs. Her dress is removable, but the other clothing and accessories, which are not, might make another outfit a difficult fit. Her earrings are sewn in so she doesn’t have to worry about losing them. She has a star’s smile.

What We Thought
I don’t consider myself a “doll person” but the more I looked at her, the more I liked her. And my mother — also not a “doll person” — commented, “She is really CUTE!” This is a great doll for a collection or to serve as a girl’s daily companion. Groovy Girls have accessories, too, which add to the fun. How about a stylish car or pet horse for starters?

Why They’ll Want It
Remember Holly Hobby? Well, Sylvie’s the new “it” girl in the ragdoll world, and every girl identifies with glam. They can bring her into their imaginary worlds and create stories for any number of daily experiences. Sylvie Starr would make a great gift. — Dena Welter, 10/2/07

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Farkle by PATCH PRODUCTS INC.Name: Farkle
Company: PATCH PRODUCTS INC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $8.99
Category: General Games

What Is It?
In this simple dice game, two or more players try to be the first to gain 10,000 points, and may risk “losing it all” on each turn as they strategically decide whether or not to roll for more points.

What We Thought
There’s not much to this game — a score pad, a shaker cup and six dice — but it can be a lot of fun! The hardest, and potentially most frustrating, point is at the very beginning, when each player must secure 500 points by their roll(s) in one turn to get on the scoreboard. I had to wait a few rounds to be a part of the scoring game, but the nice thing is that things can change quickly! A roll of three pairs, for example, boosts a player’s status by 1,500 points.

Why They’ll Want It
The name alone sparks curiosity, so kudos to the manufacturer for keeping this classic alive and well. It’s simple, which may be frustrating to those who anticipate more involved games, but the fact that it’s easy to learn makes it a great pick-me-up-and-play game at a party or casual social gathering. Want to add a little more participant involvement? Try getting everyone to yell “Farkle!” when a player loses points. — Julie Jones, 10/2/07

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Kids Love Spanish: Volume 1 – Basic Words by BROCK SISTERS PRODUCTIONS LLCName: Kids Love Spanish: Volume 1 – Basic Words
Company: BROCK SISTERS PRODUCTIONS LLC
Age: 2-8
Price: Not Specified
Category: Educational

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

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Dynasties by JOLLY ROGER GAMESName: Dynasties
Company: JOLLY ROGER GAMES
Age: 10 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: General Games

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

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Backpacks by FRECKLES & MAYA GIRLS ACCESSORIES USAName: Backpacks
Company: FRECKLES & MAYA GIRLS ACCESSORIES USA
Age: All Ages
Price: Not Specified
Category: Gifts

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

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NASCAR Baby by TEAM BABY ENTERTAINMENT LPName: NASCAR Baby
Company: TEAM BABY ENTERTAINMENT LP
Age: 1 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Videos & DVDs

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

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Making Healthy Choices by STARBOUND BOOKSName: Making Healthy Choices
Company: STARBOUND BOOKS
Age: 5-7
Price: $11.95
Category: Books

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

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Dolly Goes to the Supermarket by DHMName: Dolly Goes to the Supermarket
Company: DHM
Age: 3 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

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

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Small Sister by CLARION BOOKSName: Small Sister
Company: CLARION BOOKS
Age: 3-5
Price: $16.00
Category: Books

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

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Your Very Own Robot, Choose Your Own Adventure by CHOOSECO LLC.Name: Your Very Own Robot, Choose Your Own Adventure
Company: CHOOSECO LLC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $5.99
Category: Books

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

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Where, Oh Where, Is Santa Claus? by HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURTName: Where, Oh Where, Is Santa Claus?
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3-7
Price: $16.00
Category: Books

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

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Wake Up Engines by CLARION BOOKSName: Wake Up Engines
Company: CLARION BOOKS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $16.00
Category: Books

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

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City Lullaby by CLARION BOOKSName: City Lullaby
Company: CLARION BOOKS
Age: 3-5
Price: $16.00
Category: Books

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

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Jazz Baby by HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURTName: Jazz Baby
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3-7
Price: $16.00
Category: Books

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

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Hello Rousseau by BIRDCAGE PRESSName: Hello Rousseau
Company: BIRDCAGE PRESS
Age: 7 and up
Price: $9.95
Category: Books

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

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Auto Mobiles – Galactic Pals by UP AND AWAY INCName: Auto Mobiles – Galactic Pals
Company: UP AND AWAY INC
Age: All Ages
Price: $12.99
Category: Infant & Toddler

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

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Giant Open Gift Box of Beads by HAMA - MALTE HAANING PLASTIC ASName: Giant Open Gift Box of Beads
Company: HAMA - MALTE HAANING PLASTIC AS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $34.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

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

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Ball of Whacks by U.S. GAMES SYSTEMS, INC.Name: Ball of Whacks
Company: U.S. GAMES SYSTEMS, INC.
Age: All Ages
Price: $29.95
Category: Puzzles & Skill

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

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i-gami – Color Harmonies by PLASTIC PLAY INC.Name: i-gami – Color Harmonies
Company: PLASTIC PLAY INC.
Age: 10 and up
Price: $29.99
Category: Construction

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

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Touch It Bubbles / Burbujas Tocables by YOMAX INC.Name: Touch It Bubbles / Burbujas Tocables
Company: YOMAX INC.
Age: 4 and up
Price: $1.59
Category: General Toys

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

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Play Scene: Happy Camper by MUDPUPPY PRESSName: Play Scene: Happy Camper
Company: MUDPUPPY PRESS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $11.00
Category: Books

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

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BibleMan PowerSource Series: Tuning Out the Unholy Hero by TOMMY NELSONName: BibleMan PowerSource Series: Tuning Out the Unholy Hero
Company: TOMMY NELSON
Age: 6 and up
Price: $14.99
Category: Videos & DVDs

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

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Cartooning: Shortcuts, Formulas, & Cheap Tricks by HAMMINATIONName: Cartooning: Shortcuts, Formulas, & Cheap Tricks
Company: HAMMINATION
Age: 8 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Videos & DVDs

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

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Many of the toys considered for review are donated to children's services organizations, such as Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Also, to recover the cost of reviewing, starting August/2012 we may occasionally resell products that are sent to us.

* Please make checks payable to ToyDirectory.com, Inc. Payment does not guarantee a positive review. Advertising with ToyDirectory and TDmonthly Magazine does not guarantee a positive review. Quality, play value and educational value are considered when reviewing toys and games.

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