Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Dolls and Huggables

 


2012 Award
Barbie Dolls of the World, Australia
(Mattel $29.99 Score:)

Collecting dolls of other lands is a passion that frequently begins in the later school years. Girls may feel "too old" to play with dolls but still like having them in their rooms. The current Australian and Irish dolls are fairly reasonably priced for entry level collectors. For this age group they may also spark an interest in finding out more about their doll's country and customs. Mattel has a website with map and games and information dedicated to this collection. Each doll comes with a passport and display stand and is dressed in clothes or costumes that reflect the traditional or modern dress. Each doll also has a related animal. The Australian doll wears a safari outfit and has a koala bear.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Monster High Dead Tired Lagoona Blue Doll and Hydration Station Playset
(Mattel $44.99 Score:)

We have to admit when we first saw this collection, we thought it was the product of young toy designers having their way with making an edgy line of dolls that would really appeal to the older doll collector. We were wrong. The line has captured the attention of older school aged/tweens. It makes sense given the "twilightization" of america's pop culture at the moment. The dolls are all related to monsters we know and love.  There is Frankie Stein, Holt Hyde, Ghoulia Yelps, Abbey Bominable, Clawdeen Wolf, Cleo de Nile (you know the daughter of the Mummy). You get the idea. Each doll has a backstory and there own issues in high school. For example, Cleo de Nile is described as: "a princess but she's not a mean ghoul. This has allowed her to establish genuine relationships with fellow students who can 'Let Cleo be Cleo' even when 'her imperial bossiness' forgets that at Monster High she's just one of the ghouls." 

Our toy testers really loved the Hydration Bed set that comes with Lagoona.  Some will find this line ridiculous, after listening to our testers we know that they like the silliness of it all. While each of the dolls are dressed in over-the-top outfits, the focus is not on their sexuality but on their character. We like that! We also were thrilled that there were boy dolls in this collection as well.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Fijit
(Mattel $49.99 Score:)

We were really taken by Fijits at toy fair. They have an interesting and pleasing squishy feel to them (there are three different colors-with different names for each) when you poke them.  It feels the way we think the Pillsbury Dough Boy would feel if you were able to poke him.  That tactile aspect of this toy sets it apart from the recent version of hard plastic interactive robots. Fijit has a fun repetoire of tricks. She can tell jokes, invite your child to dance (either to her own music or your child's). She's programmed to say 150 different things. On the downside, she doesn't always understand your voice commands--this can be frustrating. She also is pretty loud (no volume control) and she requires 5 AA batteries.

That said our testers really liked her corny jokes and how she bops to the music. Pure novelty.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Journey Girls Wheel Chair and Crutches
(Toys R Us $24.99 Score:)

Scaled for Kelsey and other 18" dolls in the Journey Girls collection, this is a terrific foldable wheel chair with fabric seat and a pair of crutches as well as a plaster foot cast, an arm cast, ice pack and an elastic bandage. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Although the Journey Girls line is all about travelling and experiencing different places and cultures around the world, this foldable wheel chair with crutches and other props happens to be priced right! For kids with physical challenges it will be a welcome accessory for their dolls and dramatic play.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2011.

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2012 Awards
Journey Girls Kelsey & Friends
(Toys R Us $32.99 Score:)

With her striking auburn hair and hazel eyes, our 2011 Platinum winner, Kelsey is one of a collection of multi-ethnic 18" dolls that will not break the bank. For 2012, new clothes have been added to the collection and her affordable wheel chair is still available. She's featured as the most fearless--a girl who likes to go climbing and hiking. Maybe that is why she arrived along with a wheel chair and crutches set ( sold separately $24.99) She wears sensible outdoor clothes, a fleecy zippered vest, insulated knit shirt, shorts, walking shoes and carries a rugged backpack. All the dolls in the collection have soft bodies, jointed shoulders and luxurious hair for styling. Dressed in sports clothes they are active girls ready to take adventurous journeys. Their eyes do not open and close and they are not very flexible. Kelsey sits in the wheel chair with her legs stiff in front of her. Her hips are not jointed, so she sits, but stiffly. That said, they are an affordable alternative to many very pricey 18" dolls. Tanya is African American and heading for New Orleans Jazz Festival. Meredith is a blonde beauty dreaming of skiing in the Alps. Callie is an Asian girl, who longs to go to London and Alana is a Latina heading for Rome.


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

The wheel chair and crutches are listed and sold separately. Like the dolls, they are more affordable than most and well made.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2011 Award
Guidecraft Wooden Doll Bed
(Guidecraft $50 Score:)

This looks a little like the bed that baby bear's bed in the Three Bears, doesn't it? Perfect for dolls up to 21-inches, this solidly crafted all wooden doll's bed is smooth and just right for putting teddy bears and dollies to sleep for the night or a nap. It comes fitted out with a blue mattress, pillow and comforter. A very special gift that will hold up for many years to come. Also available in an espresso dark finish.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Corolle Classic Bebe Amour
(Corolle $110 Score:)

This totally beautiful baby doll is sure to bring on the ooooooo's and ahhhhh's! Bebe Amour is one of the Bebe Cheri doll collection. She is all dressed up in a plum colored corduroy jumper with a print blouse with a ruffled collar, striped leggings, bootees and a darling pink knit hat. The closest thing to a real baby, she is an adorable armful of a doll for pretend play. For those with a baby in the house, save those baby clothes! Bebe Amour is big enough to be able to wear real clothes designed for a 3-month-old infant. Baby Amour's name suits her perfectly. She is a totally lovable 20-inch doll with a soft body, sleeping eyes. She has a bald-head and is hand washable. We think older doll lovers will enjoy this best, although it's marked 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011.

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2011 Award
Barbie Sisters' Bike for Two
(Mattel $24 Score:)

This is the biggest of three sister sets that are all about active play. In this set Skipper and little sister Chelsea are dressed in turquoise and printed sun dresses. They are wearing helmets for safety and riding on o bike for two that really pedals. You do need to hold it in the middle to make the wheels and pedals of both bikes to engage. This has a kick stand that holds it upright when not in use. Very neat! Also in smaller sets, look for Skipper on a skateboard and Chelsea with a scooter. Or, look for Barbie and Stacie with skates. We liked the idea of the girls wearing helmets and being out and about doing active sports. Labeled 3 and up, we think these are a better choice for slightly older girls with more dexterity.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Barbie I Can Be Art Teacher Doll Playset
(Mattel $20.99 Score:)

Packaged with an easel with 3-way color change paint, Barbie Art Teacher has a big paintbrush in her hand and a button on her back to make her arm move when she gets creative. She has a palette in her other hand and her fluffy white cat that poses as Barbie magically paints her portrait. Kids can also use the brush for free style paining on the blank easel sheet. Barbie herself is wearing bright turquoise pants and cute printed top. Her blonde hair is done up in a generous ponytail that is ready for restyling. There was an earlier Art Teacher doll in their line, but this one has the color magic feature not found in earlier sets. Also new for 2011, a new Barbie I Can Be Babysitter Doll Set with a drink and wet baby. We like the art teacher better. They say 3 & up, but this is a better bet for somewhat older kids.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Barbie I Can Be...Architect: Career of the Year 2011
(Mattel $24 Score:)

Here she is, hard hat and building plans. Dressed for work, Barbie wears a tailored dress with short dark jacket. Peeking out on bodice of her dress is a skyline with skyscrapers Barbie has no doubt had a hand in designing. She comes with a small pink model of a Barbie house and sports a pair of glasses tucked stylishly on top of her long blonde hair. Voted career of the year, Barbie Architect is marked 3 & up but makes more sense for somewhat older girls.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011.

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