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Product Type: Toys

 


2006 Award
Rugged Riggz
(Little Tikes $9.99 Score:) We’re big fans of this updated collection of basic trucks. Among our favorites are a Helicopter Hauler, a Sports Car Hauler with two cars, and a Garbage Truck. Still top rated, Motorcycle Hauler, and the classics (cement, dump, and hauler). New for 2007 are Haulers, Ford or Chevy trucks that haul racing cars. Also neat, Spark Racerz Hummers ($5 4), smaller-scaled, pull-back vehicles. All are just right for the 3 & up crowd. (800) 321-0183.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Automoblox
(Automoblox $32 Score:) A new collection of sleekly designed cars destined to be a bestseller in museum shops for their handsome design,, and a hit with kids for their playability. Each wooden car comes apart (making it part vehicle, part puzzle). The plastic connectors have shape receptors. For parents looking for “cool design” for the playroom, look no further. 4 & up. (973) 364-8090.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2005 Award
Groovy Girls Minis
(Manhattan Toy $4.99 Score:) Best props for dollhouse play this season are long-term multi-ethnic favorites, Groovy Girls, now launched as “minis” in molded plastic with various hairdos, groovy clothes, pets, and funky home furnishings. These little 4" dolls can stand on their own two feet and are pose-able for active pretend. New for 2007, Reese, Gwen, Lourdes and Leticia. These little 4" dolls can stand on their own two feet and are pose-able for active pretend. (800) 541-1345.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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Twin Time Dollhouse
(Fisher-Price $69.95 Score:) This big eight-room house has a patio, garage, a mom and dad and twins, plus 10 pieces of furniture and accessories. It opens to a spacious setting that folds up after playtime is done. The color scheme screams plastic, but a good value for the price. 3 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Calico Critters Townhome
(International Playthings $84.99 Score:)

Our testers have loved the characters and furnishings from this line for years. Now the new Townhome, in molded plastic, has a woodland look with red tile roof and lights that plug in and turn on with a switch. The animal critter families ($19.99 a set) are like storybook characters. The house opens for play and closes for storing all those little play pieces that kids adore. 4 & up. New for 2007 , outdoor furniture ($24.99 ) complete with sandbox! 4 & up. (800) 445-8347.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2006 Awards
Check-up Time Elmo
(Fisher-Price $19.99 Score:) A great prop for getting kids ready for a visit to the doctor. Comes with stethoscope, thermometer, sounds, a song, and a book. Also, techno-savvy tots can have a programmable Knows Your Name Elmo or Winnie the Pooh ($39.99 each). Not ready for testing, but they promise to know your child’s name, favorite food, birthday, and friend’s names. (Not sure why, but this seemed a little creepy to one of us.) These are all marked 18 mos. & up, but a better choice for 3 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Shout Elmo
(Fisher-Price $29.99 Score:) This season's Elmo is designed to get kids up and dancing along. He moves his hands around and moves as he asks kids to sing louder and (thankfully) softer. He takes four AA batteries. Marked for 18 mos. and up, we think these are a better choice for prechoolers 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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Doucette
(Corolle $24.95 Score:) A multiethnic collection of soft-bodied dolls. We love their polka-dotted outfits and charming faces with painted-on features. These would have been PLATINUM AWARD winners, except for the age label. While these are a perfect choice for 3s & up, small hair accessories and silky hair make them inappropriate for toddlers (the collection is marked 18 mos. & up). Other multicultural collections: Bebe Do ($50 ) come in two skin tones, and Les Minis Calins BLUE CHIP ($16 each) come in Asian and African American versions. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Baby Annabell
(Zapf Creation $39.99 Score:) For the first time, Annabell cries real tears. After her bottle, she randomly yawns and falls asleep, or starts to cry. Our testers liked the novelty and parents liked the “off” switch option. Crying, babbling Love Me Chou Chou ($49.99 ) disappointed our testers, who thought she was “too heavy… it had a seam on her head—looked like she had a brain surgery.” Take heart, there is still a My First Annabell ($19.95 ) a 14" baby doll, Caucasian or African American, who does whatever your child imagines. This doll is mislabeled 1 & up, however; the pacifier is too small to be safe for toddlers. (877) 629-9273.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Jules
(Corolle $55 Score:) Finding a boy doll is not easy, yet it’s a great gift, especially when there’s a new baby in the family. Meet Jules, a 17" bald baby doll in blue romper with bottle, bib, and pacifier. Like last year’s winner, Lila, he cries, laughs, and babbles. Both are a perfect armful for pretend play. 3 & up. PLATINUM AWARD ’05. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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