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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2007 Awards
Crank 'N Glow Flashlight
(Playskool $9.99 Score:) Kiss the batteries goodbye! Here’s a “magic” flashlight that you wind, and the faster you crank it, the brighter it glows. This is a novelty item that kids may enjoy for a few minutes and then it will turn into a piece of equipment. 3 & up. (800) 327-8267.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Inside Outside Cook 'n Grill Kitchen
(Little Tikes $149 Score:) Both Little Tikes and Step 2 get high marks this year for gender-free pretend cooking sets with an outdoor twist. The Inside Outside Cook n Grill Kitchen (Little Tikes $149 ) is a combo unit right on the mark for “pretend” cooking with a kitchen on one side and an outdoor grill on the other. (800) 321-0183. With an even more outdoor feel, Bistro Grille (Step 2 $99.99 ) comes with a cook surface, counter, and stool. While we like the design of the Bistro very much, the lower rating reflects the plastic hot dogs that are unnecessarily small and should be removed for kids who still mouth their toys. (800) 347-8372. For more kitchens, see Toddlers chapter.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Pretend & Play Office
(Learning Resources $29.99 Score:) A briefcase loaded with 75 items is full of props for playing office. Few of the props are electronic except for the calculator and cell phone. Kit includes a kid’s checkbook, blank calendar, wipe-off chart, and very skinny laptop (just a piece of cardboard that opens like a book cover with screen and keyboard printed). 3 & up. (800) 222-3909.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Baby Stella
(Manhattan Toy $24.99 Score:) Younger preschoolers will enjoy tending to this all-fabric baby doll that comes in two skin tones with a few strands of yarn hair. New this year are a fun bouncy seat and outfits for Stella. (800) 541-1345.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Baby Chou Twins
(Corolle $34.95 Score:) Soft-bodied 11" bald boy and girl dolls in knitted rompers and hats with sleep eyes and tethered tiny teethers (not for kids who still mouth their toys). FOr boy doll only see entry for Jules, Platinum Award '06. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Trixieville
(Manhattan Toy $19.95 Score:) From the makers of Groovy Girls comes Trixieville—a more sophisticated collection of dolls that come with jointed hips and shoulders. First collection: Zayla (redhead), Avena (blonde), and Elonia (brunette) have a modern fairy look. Think Tinker Bell goes Vogue (with wings, of course). The furniture, including the Leafy Lounger ($19.99 5) and accessories for this line, are equally whimsical and fun. Our only regret is that these are not multicultural fairies. (800) 541-1345.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Miss Corolle Collection: Doucette
(Corolle $24.95 Score:) We love this multiethnic collection of soft-bodied dolls with silky hair, bright knitted striped outfits, and charming faces with painted-on features. Other multicultural collections: Bebe Do ($50 4), a charming 14" baby doll available in two skin tones (in pink or blue romper); Chouquettes ($44.95 41⁄2), 14" girl dolls where the emphasis is age-typical hair play (they have very silky locks)—new this year, a beautiful Asian doll; and Les Minis Calins BLUE CHIP ($16 each 5), small baby dolls that come in Caucasian and Asian skin tones. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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Animal Puppets
(Gund $16 Score:) Good news! Gund has reintroduced their beautifully made hand puppets. Choose from some of their classic bears such as Manni, or other animals, such as Luke the Lion or Bamboo Panda. PUppets give children a safe way to play out their feelings and develope their language. (800) 448-4863.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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Tonka Toughest Mighty Crane
(Hasbro $29.99 Score:) Our tester thought he had broken the crane when a piece came off in his hand and he could not put it back on. Although he loved the crank action, it did not hold his interest for long and was soon classified as “broken.” Sadly, this is not up to the classic name of the Mighty Tonka! 3 & up. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Thomas and Friends Water Tower Figure 8 Set
(RC2/Learning Curve $39.99 Score:) This 25-piece set is a great buy and gives beginners a great place to start. Includes Thomas, a cargo car, water tower, and stone bridge for a figure 8. New for 2007, Edward the Great Set ($79.99, 29 pieces 41⁄2) features Edward & Spencer with Duke and Duchess Coach Car and Furniture Car; we’d pass on the Rheneas & the Roller Coaster Set ($129.99, 32-piece set 3) which looks great but the trains are hard to maneuver; Storm on Sodor Set ($179.99, 35-piece set) with tunnel, tumbling trees, breakaway shed, and collapsing windmill was not ready for testing. Still top-rated, Deluxe Aquarium themed set ($299 41⁄2). Call in the grandparents! (800) 704-8697.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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