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Product Type: Toys

 


2008 Award
Bright Beginnings Jiggle Brights
(Russ Berrie $10 Score:)

A sweet huggable cat that’s 12" from top to paw all done up in patterned velour. It’s pink, green and yellow—a happy palette with checks and polka dots and all stitched features with a quiet rattle sound sewn inside for safe keeping. Newborn & up.

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

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

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2008 Awards
Mega Bloks Smart Builders Piano
(Mega Bloks $34.99 Score:)

We are always on the look out for a beginning musical toy. Most are over the top in terms of frenetic lights/motion and or the sound quality is so poor you don't want that to be your child's introduction to musical exploration. So we were really delighted when this new piano arrived. There is a keyboard that you can set to play note for note or you can use the music bloks that sit on top on the piano to add layers of music/sounds/beats to what you're playing. Our testers noted that the bloks stay on well - a plus. Other comments included: "This is a fantastic toy"; "Interesting & fun now & will grow with him for a quite a while I suspect." "You can play the songs automatically or by pressing the keys, or you can use it as a straight piano (with several sounds) that has surprisingly good sound quality."

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ACTIVITY:Playing a tune is not so easy except with this clever toy. It comes with preprogrammed songs that play a familiar tune as the child hits the same or different keys…so the child has a sense of control. It can also be played with color-coding, but it is the non-coded format that is most child friendly and empowering.

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

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2008 Award
Earlyears Lullaby Ladybug
(International Playthings $16.95 Score:)

Friendly faced fabric bug with wonderful eye-catching patterns, bright colors, and interesting sounds. There are crinkle sounds in the big red wings and textured teethers in each “hand.” Pull the dotted butterfly on the big bug's belly and it plays Brahms' Lullaby with a music box/non-electronic sound.

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

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

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2008 Award
Karito Kids Travel Charmers
(KidsGive $19.99 Score:)

A welcome new collection of funky multi-cultural dolls with international stories and attitude! Each doll in the new collection is 16" tall, soft, huggable, with an outfit that will appeal to the five and up crowd, and a travel story of her own. There's Zoe from North America, Wan Ling travels from China to Japan, Pita goes to Brazil, Gia travels from Italy to France and Lulu travels from Kenya to Madagascar. A portion of the profits fun children's humanitarian projects. Each doll comes with a code that unlocks karitokids.com (a site that includes games and talks to the concept of giving). Our testers really liked that they could take these dolls along easily. They're slightly more grown up than Groovy Girls. We love the commitment to diversity.

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
Crayola Digital Camcorder
(Sakar $59.99 Score:)

This little camcorder is pretty remarkable for what it is. It has a built-in microphone and includes a 1.5"preview screen, a memory expansion slot and comes with a lot of engaging activity centers that kids will love exploring: a story maker, puppet show, jig-saw puzzles and photo editing center. The hardware is compatible on a MAC -- BUT the included software can only be used on PC - a definite drawback for MAC users. Kids can record their show and see them on the TV screen. For the youngest video maker, this is a magical tool that will save wear and tear on your regular equipment.

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
Playskool Kota My Triceratops Dinosaur
(Hasbro $300 Score:)

The ultimate fantasy toy for the youngest dino-lover. This fabric covered huge, life size baby dino comes loaded with animatronics. No, it does not walk, but kids can sit on is back, hold onto the handle hiding behind its head and by touching one of 11 areas on its body make Kota moves its head, tail, and horn. 40” long this gentle monster makes some not-too-scary dino sounds. Kota, a plant-eater, “munches” when fed “leaves” and plays a little music as well as making jungle noises and laughing sounds. Looks like a gift that will not be forgotten—for better or worse. (Editor’s note: Don’t be upset if some children find Kota a little over the top scary, despite his smiling face and gentle sounds.) Maximum weight of child is 60 pounds.

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
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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