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Product Type: Toys

 

 
2005 Awards
Story Reader
(Publications International $19.99 Score:) We were happy to find that we could hear and read along with a set of Beatrix Potter’s classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten. The original art has been used, as well as the language. This platform is less complex than some other electronic book readers on the market. Simply plug in the cartridge and no touching or stylus is needed. The “reader” turns the pages and follows along. Other books in the series are licensed properties such as Dora, Scooby Doo and Bambi. We hope they will consider using more true storybooks with the artistic and literary merit of Peter Rabbit. (800) 454-9006. SNAP:New for 2006: The only new additions to this collection are more licensed characters—Sponge Bob, My Little Pony and more Dora. We preferred last year's set of Beatrix Potter’s classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten. The original art has been used, as well as the language. This platform is less complex than other electronic book readers on the market. Simply plug in the cartridge, and no touching or stylus is needed. The “reader” turns the pages and follows along. Other books for the series are more licensed properties such as Dora, Scooby Doo, and Bambi. Still recommended, 2004 SNAP AWARD winner, Active Pad ($24.95 ). This looks a lot like so many talking book platforms. Touch the pictures with a stylus and it says the name of the object. It’s a knowing-and-naming book with lots of familiar objects to talk about. Look for the shape and counting book version of this, too. (800) 454-9006.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
IQ Preschool Around the Blocks
(Small World Toys $25 Score:) A high-quality set of 26 blocks with upper and lowercase letters, plus images to match the letters. All store in a big cloth bag. SNAP Activity: Use these blocks for playing sound games. Put blocks with three distinctive sounds in sight. Ask child to find the block that has the same sound as the word you say. (800) 421-4153.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Mini Golf
(Alex $19.99 Score:) Our four year old testers thought this circus-themed miniature golf set was loads of fun. Comes with two clubs (with foam heads for safety); two balls; and six illustrated targets. For a basic plastic set of clubs, TotSports Golf Set (Little Tikes $20) comes with a pull cart, two clubs, and three balls. The Little Tikes set is marked 2 and up, but we'd say 4 and up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Jungle Friends HippoStamus and Zebrabilities
(Mega Bloks $5.99 Score:) Part of the My First Mega Bloks line, these are magnetized stackers. One is a zebra, the other a hippo. Three chunk pieces can be arranged in multiple ways on each and roll away on their wide wheeled bases. A fun choice for early floor games that do not demand too much dexterity. 6 months & up. (800) 465-6342

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Power Touch Baby
(Fisher-Price $29.99 Score:) This toy came too late for our annual book. It will not replace real picture books that baby can explore and enjoy. The mechanics of how a book works still require hands-on discoveries and the quality of a storybook like Good Night Moon or Runaway Bunny cannot be replaced by this sort of know and name talking book. That sid- this has reasonably clear pictures and responds to the turn of a page and touch of a hand. We have not seen the add-on books, but the platform and first book make a nice novelty.A good tool for talking and knowing and naming games. (800) 432-5437. Activity:This is an easy to activate language toy. YOu can play I spy games giving color riddles about objects in the pictures of shope words in your riddle..I spy something round and green.....etc. All of these kinds of knowing and naming - listening and finding games are a fun way to interact and reinfoce language and concepts. Together, you and your child can make up your own stories about what's happening in the picture.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
My Pirate Ship
(Mega Bloks $29.99 Score:) This is a play theme preschoolers often enjoy. Here the play pieces are big enough for small hands to enjoy safely. The ship has sound effects, a crew of two pirates, a monkey, a parrot and a mermaid. They say 1 & up- we’d say more like 2 and a half to three. This would have been a gold winner except for the misleading age label. (800) 465-6342

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Tiny 'n Tuff Fast Tracks
(Mega Bloks $29.99 Score:) A big cleverly designed container that doubles for storage as well as play is chock full of ramps and blocks for making a variety of super roadways that can cascade from the lid with built-in sound effects. Comes with two vehicles and highway signs. You’ll need to build it for 2’s but even 3’s will need help getting the ramp-ways built. Their Tuff ‘n Tiny Garage ($19.99 3.5) would have been a gold winner, too, but it is labeled for 1 & up. This is a toddler/preschool toy well beyond a one year old. The garage has built-in sound effects that won’t drive you to drink. It’s a colorful play setting with a working elevator, gas pumps, car wash, and ramps that attach in multiple ways. Comes with one vehicle but will accommodate many others. This can be a free standing or become part of the more complex roadway of the Tiny ‘n Tuff Fast Tracks set. Two and a half and up. (800) 465-6342

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Babipouce
(Corolle $29 Score:) Older babies are fascinated by dolls that look like real babies. The trick is to find dolls that are washable and safe enough for them to handle. Corolle has an assortment of dolls with all-fabric velour rompers in various colors and soft vinyl painted faces. Our favorites this season: Puppet Blue, with a tri-knottie hat, or Puppet Raspberry, that is easy to grap with an un-stuffed body, or Miss Grenadine with a bright red romper.

Age: Infants,Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Jittery Jungle Pals
(Infantino $6.99 Score:) This pull-down patterned elephant or cat with dangly legs jiggles when you pull it and easily attaches to a carseat or stroller. We also recommend this company's frog- or duck-faced Peek-a-Boo Rattle with crinkle sounds and teething rings as a welcome distraction. Also nice for take-along gazing, Tag Along Chimes ($5.99), two colorful critters with gentle chiming sounds that look down at baby.

Age: . Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Put and Peek Birdhouse
(Manhattan Toy $19.95 Score:) This cheerful fabric birdhouse is a parent-intensive toy with lots of possibilities for hamming it up. You an fly the four birds into the house (the roof opens wide, as does one side). Our nine month old tester favored holding (and tasting) the red bird as he watched his father fly the other ones about. Preferrable to Infantino's Puppies Playhouse (same idea, but the animals aren't as nice and the house is smaller and not see-through).

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2005.

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