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Product Type: Toys

 


2007 Award
Miss Corolle Collection: Doucette
(Corolle $24.95 Score:) We love this multiethnic collection of soft-bodied dolls with silky hair, bright knitted striped outfits, and charming faces with painted-on features. Other multicultural collections: Bebe Do ($50 4), a charming 14" baby doll available in two skin tones (in pink or blue romper); Chouquettes ($44.95 41⁄2), 14" girl dolls where the emphasis is age-typical hair play (they have very silky locks)—new this year, a beautiful Asian doll; and Les Minis Calins BLUE CHIP ($16 each 5), small baby dolls that come in Caucasian and Asian skin tones. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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Animal Puppets
(Gund $16 Score:) Good news! Gund has reintroduced their beautifully made hand puppets. Choose from some of their classic bears such as Manni, or other animals, such as Luke the Lion or Bamboo Panda. PUppets give children a safe way to play out their feelings and develope their language. (800) 448-4863.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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Tonka Toughest Mighty Crane
(Hasbro $29.99 Score:) Our tester thought he had broken the crane when a piece came off in his hand and he could not put it back on. Although he loved the crank action, it did not hold his interest for long and was soon classified as “broken.” Sadly, this is not up to the classic name of the Mighty Tonka! 3 & up. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Thomas and Friends Water Tower Figure 8 Set
(RC2/Learning Curve $39.99 Score:) This 25-piece set is a great buy and gives beginners a great place to start. Includes Thomas, a cargo car, water tower, and stone bridge for a figure 8. New for 2007, Edward the Great Set ($79.99, 29 pieces 41⁄2) features Edward & Spencer with Duke and Duchess Coach Car and Furniture Car; we’d pass on the Rheneas & the Roller Coaster Set ($129.99, 32-piece set 3) which looks great but the trains are hard to maneuver; Storm on Sodor Set ($179.99, 35-piece set) with tunnel, tumbling trees, breakaway shed, and collapsing windmill was not ready for testing. Still top-rated, Deluxe Aquarium themed set ($299 41⁄2). Call in the grandparents! (800) 704-8697.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Geotrax All About Trains Motorized Starter Set
(Fisher-Price $24.95 Score:) A classic 20-piece figure-8 set with 13 pieces of track, motorized engine and trail car, yield sign, crossing sign, gantry with crate, coal loader and crossing gate. Comes with a wonderful live-action DVD (see p. TK for fuller review). A great value! Still top rated, GeoTrax Workin’ Town Railway ($39.99 4) This 30-piece set comes with a bridge, station, and windmill. Our testers found that it is possible for the train to get caught in a loop and fitting the tracks together is more challenging than with wooden tracks, since these only fit right side up. That said, kids liked the many features of this set and the flexibility of extending the system with other settings, such as the GeoTrax Coastal Winds Airport ($24.99 41⁄2). Marked 21⁄2—we’d say it’s a true preschool set. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Thomas and Friends Load and Sort Recycling Center / Echo Tunnel /Sodor Fire Sta
(RC2/Learning Curve $49.99 Score:) Three pieces of cargo slide through the Recycling Center ($49.99 5) and magically drop down the can, paper, or glass chutes and onto a waiting truck. Clever use of technology with a built-in message! Also great fun, Echo Tunnel ($49.99 5). Our tester loved speaking into the tunnel and hearing his own words echo back! There are also a train whistle and rackety track sounds that echo as trains run through the small tunnel that fits into any track set-up. One parent noted: “The ability to record one’s voice is so much fun for this age.” Also wonderful, Sights & Sounds Deluxe Fire Station ($69.99 5). An alarm activates lights and sounds of the fire crew with their fire truck and fire train. Switches above the doorways turn on lights and sounds, and open the double doors. 3 & up. (800) 704-8697.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Brio Double Suspension Bridge
(KNEX $25 Score:) This is the longest bridge in the line—three and a half feet long! Can also be used side by side for two-way traffic. Our tester liked the Stop & Go Station ($16.50 ); with a simple push button the train is locked into the station and then released to go. (800) 822-5639.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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Award
Soft and Sturdy Deluxe Blocks
(Step 2 $44.99 Score:) This is a 64-piece set of multi-colored foam blocks that come in 17 shapes and are scaled to each other, although they are not in traditional unit block sizes. The set comes with a big zip bag for storage. 3 & up. (800) 347-8372.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: .

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2007 Award
Mega T-Rex
(Fisher-Price $30 Score:) Two colorful articulated dinosaurs with eyes that light up, tails that move, necks that turn, and mouths that open, came roaring into the office as we went to press. To many a young dino lover, T-Rex will be a dream come true; for others, a true nightmare. 4 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Kid K'nex Wild Ones
(KNEX $9.99 Score:) These up-sized K’nex look related to your old Tinkertoys—our testers especially like the “crimpy pieces.” Fitting the pieces together can be challenging and requires finger strength as well as visual discrimination. Comes in a fun “wild one” carry case. Marked 3 & up, but we’d say more like 4 & up. (800) 543-5639.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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