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2007 Awards
Baby Stella
(Manhattan Toy $24.99 Score:) Younger preschoolers will enjoy tending to this all-fabric baby doll that comes in two skin tones with a few strands of yarn hair. New this year are a fun bouncy seat and outfits for Stella. (800) 541-1345.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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Butterscotch My FurReal Pony
(Hasbro $250 Score:) It will be interesting to see how kids respond to this very large pony that has animatronics . . . it will whinny, move its head, and rock a bit, but will not walk or trot or gallop away! Not ready for testing. (888) 836-7025.

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2007 Award
Baby Chou Twins
(Corolle $34.95 Score:) Soft-bodied 11" bald boy and girl dolls in knitted rompers and hats with sleep eyes and tethered tiny teethers (not for kids who still mouth their toys). FOr boy doll only see entry for Jules, Platinum Award '06. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Trixieville
(Manhattan Toy $19.95 Score:) From the makers of Groovy Girls comes Trixieville—a more sophisticated collection of dolls that come with jointed hips and shoulders. First collection: Zayla (redhead), Avena (blonde), and Elonia (brunette) have a modern fairy look. Think Tinker Bell goes Vogue (with wings, of course). The furniture, including the Leafy Lounger ($19.99 5) and accessories for this line, are equally whimsical and fun. Our only regret is that these are not multicultural fairies. (800) 541-1345.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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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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