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Product Type: Toys

 


2008 Award
Corolle Naima Calin
(Corolle $39.99 Score:)

We're always on the look out for dolls that reflect our diversity. Among the most adorable African American dolls is a huggable, soft-bodied 12-inch baby doll named Naima from their Calin collection. Her beanbag body makes her easy to pose. Dressed in a red and white cotton knit outfit with red headband, she is a bald headed baby with big brown eyes that open and close. She does not come with the usual extras such as a pacifier or bottle or toy that would be risky with toddlers who tend to mouth their toys. This one is an adorable armful for beginning pretend play.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Big Ben Bear
(Mary Meyer $9 Score:)

Big Ben is part of the new Bennett Bear family from Mary Meyer. Big Ben is available in a 12" and 15" size. There's also a Baby version (9"). The Bennett family is alone as our Bears of the Year. Most of the other entries weren't huggable enough for our testers. Still a huge hit with every child that visits our office- the over-sized, extremely cuddly Creamy Bear from Mary Meyer.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Miss Corolle Collection
(Corolle $54.95 Score:)

We are always delighted to find a multicultural collection of beautiful dolls and every one of these 14" girl dolls is adorable. The three Caucasian dolls are named for their hair and skin tones: Vanilla Blonde, Redhead and Brunette. Of the three, the redhead with freckles is the cutest. Our personal favorite is Coralie, a very pretty girl of color. Each are dressed in contemporary clothes and look like girls of today. They have soft bodies and long hair to style. They cannot sit independently without a pillow or something supporting their backs. That may be frustrating for some younger children. These are play dolls marked for girls from 3 & up. Frankly, we’d save these for a little later, say the 4’s and 5’s on your list.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Playmobil Circus Collection
(Playmobil $15 Score:)

When we first saw this amazing set at Toy Fair, we both scribbled in our notebooks looks great! When the toy went out to our testers the response was as we suspected: "Easy to follow instructions and attention to detail that is astounding" "Loved the flickering lights in the tent. Love the high wire!" If you're already a Playmobil fan, you know that these make great parent child projects. There are lots of pieces so adult assistance is a must but then your child will enjoy hours of pretend play. The backdrop to this collection is of course the Big Top that comes with a red and white tent, seating, and of course the ring leader. You can then add additional sets including the band (that has sound effects in their platform), the animal trailer, the horse circus act, animal trainer, tightrope artists, and dog circus act. Really very special! The additional sets make perfect presents for aunts and uncles.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Plan Toys Road and Rail Play Set Railway Station
(Plan Toys $169.99 Score:)

We have always been huge fans of wooden train sets. Last year's safety scare with many of the wooden trains had to understandably put a chill on this category. Which is why we were really excited when we first saw this new set at toy fair. The container is the railway station-- it opens up (your child will need some help here) and then you have an amazing play setting complete with track, trains, and station. Will work with other train tracks you may have from Thomas the Tank or Brio. A memorable holiday gift for any preschoolers.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
EyeClops Bionic Eye Multizoom
(Jakks Pacific $44.99 Score:)

We originally raved about the original EyeClops that allows you to blow up images that you can view on your television screen. Ever look at your carpet or your skin up close? Really gross and cool -- all at the same time. This year they improved the product by making the magnification even better (you can set it at 1o0, 200 or 400X). You can move around with it rather than having to be tethered to your tv. One of the best hands-on science toys we've ever seen for the home market.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
EyeClops Night Vision
(Jakks Pacific $79.99 Score:)

If you've read our reviews over the years you know we really like glow in the dark toys. So it's not too much of a stretch that we were going to be interested in this night vision toy. As usual we packed into the office bathroom to check out. It really does work. The company says that the infra-red driven technology allows you to see clearly for 50 feet in pitch black. Our bathroom wasn't that big! Only kidding--we tried it in larger rooms and were amazed by what we could see. Editors note: While we have noted that consumers have posted comments on-line that they had trouble with getting the product to work properly--we did not have a problem and our testers really gave this product high marks. If it doesn't work-for $80 you should complain! Get a replacement--it's cool!

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Imaginext Spike the Ultra Dinosaur
(Fisher-Price $129.99 Score:)

This is the clearly the year of the dinosaur! Spike, a green remote control dino that really roars, lights up and moves (his neck also moves independently) is a leading part of this trend. Spike's controls are easy to learn. He's marked for kids 3-10. It really depends on your child- we had mixed reactions. He's not nearly as scary as Wowwee's dinos of the past, but not as warm and fuzzy as the larger Kota from Playskool. If you have a five or six year old in the "dino-zone" this will be a hit.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Gotz Aquini Drink and Wet Dolls
(International Playthings $30 Score:)

Finding an anatomically correct doll is not easy; finding one that can go in the tub is even harder. Select either the boy or girl 13" versions with painted features. Each comes with potty seat and bottle along with snap off and on romper and towel for drying off. New outfits are slightly different than photo. A perfect choice for the potty training set.  We were just informed that the BOY is being discontinued.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Fun Fly Stick Magic Levitation Wand
(Unitech Toys $26.95 Score:)

Want to see kids up and moving? Here's a fun novelty toy that seems to work by magic. In fact the magic is electrostatic! Remember how you used to make a balloon float after rubbing it with your hair…or how you gave your little sister a shock by dragging your feet on the carpet? Same idea…only more fun! Press the button on the magic wand, toss one of the three flying toys up, touch it once with the wand and get ready for magic! Your wand will keep the silvery iridescent toy levitating as you chase it around the room. A word of caution, this is not to be used within 3 feet of any electronic devices such as a computer or TV. Therefore, this is a toy that will need supervision…and please, let the kids play with it.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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