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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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Recent Reviews:

36 Cube by THINKFUNName: 36 Cube
Company: THINKFUN
Age: 8 and up
Price: $24.95
Category: General Games

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CALAFANT Treehouse by CREATIVE TOYSHOPName: CALAFANT Treehouse
Company: CREATIVE TOYSHOP
Age: 3-12
Price: $25.00
Category: Creative Activities

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Debbie and Friends: Story Songs and Sing Alongs by DEBBIE AND FRIENDSName: Debbie and Friends: Story Songs and Sing Alongs
Company: DEBBIE AND FRIENDS
Age: 2-7
Price: $14.95
Category: Music

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The Jimmies - Make Your Own Someday by PLUCKYPEA INC.Name: The Jimmies - Make Your Own Someday
Company: PLUCKYPEA INC.
Age: 2-11
Price: $15.00
Category: Music

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

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Globe-Toddlers French Classical Music for Children CD by TOT TALK INC.Name: Globe-Toddlers French Classical Music for Children CD
Company: TOT TALK INC.
Age: All Ages
Price: $14.99
Category: Music

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Treasure Chest Monkey by Treasure Chest Pets, LLCName: Treasure Chest Monkey
Company: Treasure Chest Pets, LLC
Age: 3-12
Price: $30.00
Category: Plush

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Accessory Chest Dog by Treasure Chest Pets, LLCName: Accessory Chest Dog
Company: Treasure Chest Pets, LLC
Age: 3-12
Price: $30.00
Category: Plush

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Media Chest Bear by Treasure Chest Pets, LLCName: Media Chest Bear
Company: Treasure Chest Pets, LLC
Age: 3-12
Price: $30.00
Category: Plush

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The Bummkinn Band: Rockin´ the YeeHaw by BUMMS THE WORD PRODUCTIONSName: The Bummkinn Band: Rockin´ the YeeHaw
Company: BUMMS THE WORD PRODUCTIONS
Age: All Ages
Price: $12.97
Category: Music

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

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Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could by BUMBLIN´ BEE RECORDSName: Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could
Company: BUMBLIN´ BEE RECORDS
Age: All Ages
Price: $15.98
Category: Music

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

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Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck: Special Kind of Day by BIG TRUCK MUSIC LLCName: Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck: Special Kind of Day
Company: BIG TRUCK MUSIC LLC
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.00
Category: Music

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

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Safari Jeep by WOODLAND MAGIC IMPORTSName: Safari Jeep
Company: WOODLAND MAGIC IMPORTS
Age: All Ages
Price: $35.95
Category: Wooden Toys

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Elf Magic Doll by ELF MAGIC LLCName: Elf Magic Doll
Company: ELF MAGIC LLC
Age: All Ages
Price: $26.95
Category: Christmas

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Portable Playtime - Plane Fun by PORTABLE PLAYTIME™Name: Portable Playtime - Plane Fun
Company: PORTABLE PLAYTIME™
Age: All Ages
Price: $35.00
Category: Preschool

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

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Spot Me ID Temporary Tattoos, Bracelets and Lanyards by SPOT ME IDName: Spot Me ID Temporary Tattoos, Bracelets and Lanyards
Company: SPOT ME ID
Age: 1-10
Price: $9.99
Category: Infant & Toddler

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

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Go Glider - Pink by GLIDE BIKESName: Go Glider - Pink
Company: GLIDE BIKES
Age: 5-10
Price: $129.99
Category: Vehicles - Riding

What It Is
This balance bike is created for 5- to 10-year-olds who are still working to perfect the art and balance of bike riding. It does not have training wheels or pedals, and is outfitted with 16" EVA foam tires and an adjustable seat and handlebars.

What We Thought

A 7-year-old girl who tested out the Pink Go Glider had a blast, commenting that, "It´s like a scooter but more fun." She had a very easy time navigating the bike and learning how to ride it. She felt very safe on the Go Glider, too, except when riding downhill; she thought she might have more control over a regular bike in that situation. Her younger sister, 4, had a harder time riding the bike but enjoyed it, nonetheless, as long as someone was around to supervise. [There´s also a Mini Glider for ages 2 to 5.] The bike´s strong, sturdy quality speaks for itself, as does its potential for fun! It does, however, carry a higher price-point than some balance and traditional bikes.

Why They´ll Want It

In addition to the rich pink shade (blue and red are also available), this bike offers adjustability to grow with the child, and provides a sturdy base for kids to learn the balance and confidence they need for riding. Since most balance bikes are sized for younger children, this one distinctively opens up opportunities for a different age range, including use in therapy and development for kids with disabilities. It features quality construction and keeps children active, which is something both parents and their kids can appreciate. — Julie L. Jones, 4/1/2009

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Triton: The Ultimate Three-Wheeled Cruiser by ASA PRODUCTS INC.Name: Triton: The Ultimate Three-Wheeled Cruiser
Company: ASA PRODUCTS INC.
Age: All Ages
Price: $379.00
Category: Vehicles - Riding

What It Is
This three-wheeled cruiser is a smooth, low-riding alternative to biking or “scooting.” It has an adjustable frame, pedals at the front so that legs are comfortably stretched forward while riding, and unique, side-handle steering.

What We Thought

The Triton certainly offers a good workout because being in such a reclined position challenges the leg muscles to take on the brunt of the work. I particularly appreciated the adjustability of the frame and the supportive seatback, which encouraged me to remember proper posture. The two side handles for steering keep the arms in a very natural position, as opposed to reaching forward as one would on a bicycle, and offer a nice effect given the decent turning radius of the cruiser. I had a little trouble getting the mudguards to fit snugly over the tires (they move back and forth a bit), but on the whole, the Triton wasn’t too difficult to assemble. The cruiser boasts a solid foundation but is also on the heavy side, so it´s not the most convenient for portability. I should mention, though, that ASA Products has a new cruiser model, the Mobo, with a folding design, which I imagine is much more conducive to both transport and storage.

Why They’ll Want It

The Triton gives a riding experience that’s distinctive from what many ride-ons offer. It would be especially nice to enjoy along the beach, and might be a good complement to a regular workout schedule. Also, parents will likely appreciate that its low-to-the-ground configuration makes it feel a little safer. — Julie L. Jones, 3/24/2009

What Others Thought
One Amazon.com reviewer raved about this product and gave it 5 out of 5 stars, but another posted a discussion saying that three out of the four Tritons he received were defective in some way. The product received four 5-star ratings and one 1-star rating on Overstock.com, where it was lauded for relaxed seating, the different sizes available, adjustability, solidity and exercise potential. The one negative review complained about broken wheels and brakes. The pink cruiser garnered 5 stars on Target.com from three reviewers, all of whom noted how wonderful it is for kids with disabilities.

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SLIDER™ the Unscooter™ by IDEA MILL LLCName: SLIDER™ the Unscooter™
Company: IDEA MILL LLC
Age: 3 and up
Price: $179.95
Category: Vehicles - Riding

What It Is
SLIDER the Unscooter is a three-wheeled vehicle that gives the thighs a mighty workout. Essentially, it is a hybrid between a scooter, skis and a ThighMaster. Unlike a scooter, you need never push your foot against the ground; the motion is all in the legs and hips. Easy to ride and maneuver, it’s a fun and different way of propelling yourself downtown.

What We Thought
We took turns Unscooting on SLIDER in the office courtyard, and it was easily our favorite ride-on. In that tight space, we could still take corners and even build up speed without much effort. You can propel it by scissoring your legs or swaying side to side, and more daring riders could, I’m sure, devise a myriad of tricks and other methods of getting from here to there right quick. The SLIDER was pretty easy to assemble and can stand alone without needing a kickstand.

Why They’ll Want It
Kids who want to go fast would love the SLIDER. Parents who are trying to encourage their kids to be more active will love it even more. It’s a great way to exercise your body without putting stress on the joints, and a fun way to go fast without expending fuel — but fear not, parents, the hand breaks works really well. — TDmonthly Staff, 3/17/2009

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Ballpark Classics™ by BALLPARK CLASSICS, INC.Name: Ballpark Classics™
Company: BALLPARK CLASSICS, INC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $349.00
Category: General Games

What It Is
Designed on a 1:18 scale, this mostly wooden tabletop ballpark lets players pitch and hit alone or in teams. The game easily assembles to recreate a classic ballpark, down to the vintage advertising decals on the fence and the lawnmower trails on the field. The pitcher rolls a ball down the pitching tube and the batter swings a miniature bat by pulling a lever. Since there’s a lever on both the pitcher’s and batter’s sides, it’s easy to play solo. Players keep track of innings with a peg by home plate. Each player also has a scoring disk to tally runs.

What We Thought
Ballpark Classics is a beautiful, arcade-style game that is good-looking enough to hang on the wall. The game is easy to play in concept, but as on a real field, it’s much harder to get a hit than it seems. The pitching pipe, however, allows a player to “throw” different types of pitches, and one can simulate various scenarios, including fastballs, sliders, walks, strike outs and home runs. The classic design will especially appeal to those with nostalgia for smaller, outdoor fields before the days of Astroturf. The no-batteries-needed game is made in the USA of quality materials, but does carry a high price tag.

Why They´ll Want It

Ballpark Classics would be a perfect gift for a baseball fan who can’t bear to hang up his cleats in the fall. It would be fun game for families to play together, since little legs wouldn’t be a hindrance to getting a home run. Dad will definitely forget the bad report card as long as he finds Ballpark Classics under the tree. — Alison Marek, 3/16/09

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Karaoke Edge by AUDIOSTREAM INC.Name: Karaoke Edge
Company: AUDIOSTREAM INC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $14.99
Category: Music

What It Is
Karoake Edge is a computer game on a hybrid CD+G disc that can also be used in a karaoke machine. It scores singers based on their ability to match pitches and is supported by various albums users can collect to build their karaoke library. In the game, the words of the songs show up as notes on a staff, convenient for sight-reading, and turn red or blue according to whether they're sung correctly or incorrectly. Singers use a microphone that plugs into the computer.

What We Thought
I enjoyed both the game and the on-screen feature that allows you to sing karaoke as you normally would. I was encouraged to see words like "Wow!" and "Awesome!" over many of the notes when I sang one of Taylor Swift's songs on the "Easy" level, but noticed when I tried to conquer the "Hard" level for the same tune, such praises were few and far between. The program stores scores so that individuals can compete against each other and even try to beat their own best performances. I liked, too, that for those who might be unsure of the notes or their pitch, it offers the option of having the vocals on, or even having a vocal come in when the singer fails to utter a note. My main complaint is that I couldn't see all the notes on the bottom staff of the game, and the window wouldn't expand; perhaps a formatting change might help.

Why They'll Want It
Who doesn't want to imitate their favorite rock star or country artist? Or better yet, steal the spotlight! For anyone who loves music (and especially loves to sing), this is an ideal gift. It would be a fun and competitive activity for friends to go back to again and again, with different songs, and would be awesome entertainment at a party. — Julie L. Jones, 12/23/2008

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Zube Tube™ by ULTIMATE COSMIC TOY COMPANY, INC.Name: Zube Tube™
Company: ULTIMATE COSMIC TOY COMPANY, INC.
Age: 3 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Novelties

What It Is
The Zube Tube™ is a long tube that consists of inner coils that produce various sounds through vibration. It was introduced 10 years ago and has since been recognized by “Good Morning America,” “The Washington Post” and “Parents” magazine.

What We Thought
The Zube Tube is very simple yet very enjoyable. It emits a myriad of sounds when one merely shakes or yells into it. During our office breaks, it is not uncommon for someone to pick it up and starting talking — or even singing! — into the tube. It definitely brings out the inner child in everyone who plays with it.

Why They’ll Want It
The Zube Tube can be shaken, plucked, yelled into, twisted and even sung into to produce “out of this world” sounds. It is simple, but everyone who sees it wants to try it … yes, even adults. — Melvin Chua, 12/2/2008

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Snuggle Bears Baby Journal Organizer & Keepsake by WS PUBLISHING GROUPName: Snuggle Bears Baby Journal Organizer & Keepsake
Company: WS PUBLISHING GROUP
Age: All Ages
Price: $24.95
Category: Infant & Toddler

What It Is
“Snuggle Bears” is an all-in-one reference guide and guide for baby’s first years. It has pastel-colored pages with cute illustrations throughout, plus room for photos, space to catalog monumental “firsts” in a child’s life, and special sections for parents’ reflections and hopes for their child. In the back is an accordion file with space for medical records, artwork, birthday mementos and other important documents.

What We Thought
I was surprised to find that, for being so compact, this book is designed to cover up to a child’s 3rd birthday. Not only is the design of the journal darling, but it also boasts a lot of functionality. My personal favorite is the removable, full-color growth chart that measures up to 39”. There are 27 pages that will accommodate photos, and the simple profiles for mom’s and dad’s family trees are great as well. The size of the files in the back is not large enough for every document, or a wealth of keepsakes, but select items could definitely be folded and stored there.

Why They’ll Want It
Any sentimental mother (or father) will delight in recording everything from the price of gas and stamps at the time of baby’s birth, to when the child got his first tooth or went for his first haircut. For caregivers who aren’t into designing their own scrapbooks, this journal offers a pre-organized shortcut that still accounts for milestones in a baby’s/toddler’s life and results in a beautiful keepsake to treasure for years to come. — Julie L. Jones, 12/2/08

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Lars Ümlaut Guitar Hero Action Figure by MCFARLANE TOYSName: Lars Ümlaut Guitar Hero Action Figure
Company: MCFARLANE TOYS
Age: 14 and up
Price: $10.99
Category: Action Figures

What It Is
The Lars Ümlaut Guitar Hero action figure is based on a character in the popular video game, “Guitar Hero” from Activision Publishing. It is a 5” figure with a removable guitar and various movable parts.

What We Thought
The figure is extremely detailed and enables kids to use their imagination. My cousin, who is an avid “Guitar Hero” player, appreciated the fact that the figure looks exactly like the character in the game.

Why They’ll Want It
Devotees of the video game will want to add this action figure to their collection of “Guitar Hero” paraphernalia. Also, there are many other figures in the series, opening up the potential for repeat business. — Melvin Chua, 12/2/2008

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Djubi by MoonRacerName: Djubi
Company: MoonRacer
Age: 8 and up
Price: $29.99
Category: Sporting Goods & Accessories

What It Is
This outdoor toy consists of two racquets and a custom ball with an elastic ring attached called a “Djubi.” It’s a new and exciting way to play catch while at the park, beach or any open space. There is a special hook on the racquet that allows each player to effortlessly launch the Djubi to the other player. A set comes with two racquets and two Djubis.

What We Thought
Djubi is an innovative game that is fun, versatile and does not take long to get accustomed to. Since there are no rules and no particular way to play, my friend and I made our own rules and created our own game utilizing the Djubi. The ball is soft enough that it would not hurt if it were to hit you. The game definitely has a high entertainment value because it combines the nostalgia of the game of catch with the technology of today.

Why They’ll Want It

Djubi is entertaining because it can be launched fairly accurately more than 100’. The net on the racquet is large enough to make catching the Djubi pretty easy. It is a great product for people who love outdoor games. — Melvin Chua, 12/2/2008

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Bari Koral Family Rock Band by LOOPYTUNESName: Bari Koral Family Rock Band
Company: LOOPYTUNES
Age: 2-7
Price: $10.00
Category: Audio & CD

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

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Thaddeus Rex: Shakin’ in Chicago by THADDEUS REX PRODUCTIONSName: Thaddeus Rex: Shakin’ in Chicago
Company: THADDEUS REX PRODUCTIONS
Age: 4-10
Price: $16.98
Category: Audio & CD

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

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Dixieland Jazz for Children by WIGGLE WORM RECORDSName: Dixieland Jazz for Children
Company: WIGGLE WORM RECORDS
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.99
Category: Audio & CD

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

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Double Shutter Jr. by BLUE ORANGE GAMESName: Double Shutter Jr.
Company: BLUE ORANGE GAMES
Age: 8 and up
Price: $21.99
Category: Travel

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

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Potions™: A Wizard´s Apprentice Game by DISCOVERY BAY GAMESName: Potions™: A Wizard´s Apprentice Game
Company: DISCOVERY BAY GAMES
Age: 8 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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Special Cross 40 Building Blocks by BIM BOM TRADING INC.Name: Special Cross 40 Building Blocks
Company: BIM BOM TRADING INC.
Age: 3-12
Price: $15.99
Category: Construction

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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