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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Dolls and Huggables

 

 
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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2011 Award
Barbie Sisters Skateboard Skipper & Chelsea
(Mattel $20 Score:)

We like the accent on sports and physical activities in three different sets of Barbie Sisters. This set features Skipper with a skateboard and turquoise helmet. She's wearing a striped shirt and purple pants, hightop sneakers and she's plugged into her music. Her little sister, Chelsea, is riding on a scooter that is pink, of course. So is her helmet. Also in the collection Barbie and Stacie are all dolled up in lavender and pink outfits, helmets, and roller skates. See the biggest and showiest Sisters set that features Skipper and Chelsea with helmets, aqua and printed sundresses and riding on a Bike for Two! The bikes really pedal! Marked for 3 & up, but probably a better bet for slightly older girls.

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

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2011 Award
Fur Real Friends Cookie Puppy
(Hasbro $64.99 Score:)

While she does fewer tricks than our past award winner Biscuit, Cookie, the latest addition to the Fur Real line of pets, is still very special. Most importantly, she's very huggable. Unlike many dolls in this category, you don't feel all the armature underneath. Cookie barks, she turns her head, she wags her tail, she also whines when you speak to her (voice activated). If a real puppy is not in the cards, this may do the trick. 4 & up. 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: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Manhattan Toy Boysterous Dolls
(Manhattan Toy $17 Score:)

Choose your favorites from this multi-ethnic group of 8" dolls. Each comes with a sports accessory - a skateboard, soccer ball, ski board, hockey puck, or football. Their fabric bodies have an armature inside that makes them bendable and pose-able and there are magnets in their hands and feet so that they can sort of stick to their sporting equipment. Finding the right spot in a hand to connect to a sports ball can take a few tries, however. They have stitched features and wear sports clothes that do not come off. Finding boy dolls can be challenging and these are especially nice for dramatic play. Also, look for the double-sided Boysterous Extreme Sports Zone ( $30 ). The long green play mat has graphics for a soccer game on one side; flip it over and it has a hump of a bump for the skateboarders to ride on. When they are all done, kids can store the dolls and sporting equipment away in the mat. So, it's a neat setting and a storage container.

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

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2011 Award
Corolle Miss Corolle Classic 14" Ambre
(Corolle $65 Score:)

Ready for the winter weather in great style, this 14" beautiful doll is charming in her red coat,  pink jumper, tights, Ugg-inspired boots, fleece hat and striped scarf. She has blond hair and blue eyes--one of this classic line of dolls that happily look like girls (and are dressed like girls!). A perfect birthday gift for 3s & 4s.

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

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