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Product Type: Toys

 


2006 Award
S.S. Duckie and Up, Up and Away
(Gund $19.95 Score:) If you’re in the back seat with your toddler and you need to go five more exits, these playsets make great choices! These are toys for telling little stories to your tot and hamming it up. There are lots of choices this year! A little ship loaded with two quacking ducks, crinkly starfish, and squeaker fish; or choose a white, red, and blue jet with rattle sounds, male and female pilots, and luggage; or My Doctor kit with two medical play figures and stethoscope. Finally, consider the Lavender Backpack with My Little Baby doll in the carrier and accessories inside the pack. (800) 448-4863.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Little Pretenders
(Chenille Kraft Co. $24.99 Score:) A new line of costumes made of wipe-able vinyl provides the most affordable choice. Each theme comes with accessories (stethoscopes, extinguishers, etc.) and appropriate headgear. Other costumes include Veterinarian, Hair Dresser (the pretend blow dryer makes a great sound), and Doctor. 3 & up. (800) 621-1261.

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

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Super Star Sing-Along Vanity
(Little Tikes $47 Score:) “Mirror, mirror on the vanity, will I be part of the future American Idol insanity?” We’re not big on vanities that come loaded with a karaoke mirror, a wireless microphone (the hairbrush) . . . and an applause button (honest!). Not available for testing. 3 & up. (800) 321-0183.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Lili
(Corolle $60 Score:) Older preschoolers will love the articulated and fashionable 17" Lili dolls. Choose the blond Rose, auburn Melodie, dark brunette Belle, and strawberry blond Flore. Each is dressed in a très jolie outfit that is totally “now.” These will appeal to slightly older girls as well. Think younger American Girl dolls. 4 & up. Also new, Chouquettes ($39.95 1⁄2)—adorable 14" girl dolls come with blond or brunette hair and hairbrush for age-typical play. (800) 668-4846.

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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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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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
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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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
Shake 'N Go Speedway
(Fisher-Price $39.99 Score:) This is a closed system with looping tracks, but the upside is kids can use the cars off the track, too. Kids loves the two innovative cars in this racing set that have to be shaken to make them go. Does this mean no batteries? Sorry, Charlie! Still, this is going to make a memorable gift and a better choice than electric trains for this age. 4 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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