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Product Type: Toys

 

Roboreptile and RS Media
(WowWee $350 Score:) RS promises to provide all of your media needs in the package of an interactive robot. Comes with a small color LCD screen on his chest, tweeters and woofer, a USB connector, and music playback; you can input data from your PC. Comes loaded with four personalities (each with its own distinct animations and expressions). Comes with 50 MB of internal memory or you can use an external memory card (additional purchase required). Also new, Roboreptile ($120 4), the latest in the robo “creature” line, 21⁄4' long, is truly creepy in that Jurassic Park/Terminator kind of way, with 28 remote functions. We found him less responsive to commands than his predecessors. 8 & up. Still top rated, the less expensive earlier versions: Robosapien ($99) and Robosapien V2 ($250); and Roboraptor ($100 ), a scary 32"-long white robotic dino that thinks he’s in a scene from “Jurassic Park.” He hisses and snaps. For our older toy testers this was cool. (Some little siblings may truly be freaked out by his aggressive nature). 10 & up. (800) 310-3033.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Star Wars
(Lego Systems, Inc. $34.95 Score:) For Star Wars fans there are several new kits worth noting: Jabba’s Sail Barge ($74.99/781 pieces 4): Our 11-year old tester thought the age label (8–12) was off—you’d need to be older to do this kit. He liked the toy, but had tough comments for the directions: “pictures were too dark on the instructions and that really threw off some of the building.” For the hard-core Star Wars/Lego fan, consider the Imperial Star Destroyer ($99.99/1366 pieces), and of course you’ll need the B-wing Fighter ($34.99/435 pieces) to go along with that! (800) 223-8756.

Age: . Award Year: 2007.

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K'nex Vertical Vengeance Coaster
(KNEX $59.99 Score:) Here is the latest twist on a K’nex roller coaster. This one is over 5 feet high, with a motorized chain lift that takes two cars to the top—where they zoom down the loops and spiral turns of 33 feet of track. Our crack K’nex testers gave the directions very poor ratings. Ages 10 & up. For younger K’nex builders, Light ups! 30 Models Kit ($29.99) looks challenging with rods that light, but not available for testing; also Gear Action Building Sets ($29.99 3) that have gear-driven motion; these work, but directions are not clear. 7 & up. (800) 543-5639.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Mag XL Magformers
(Rainbow Products $16.99 Score:) Here’s the newest fun in magnetic toys! Choose a set of either 14 or 30 geometric squares and triangles that can be set down on a flat surface. Give them a lift and—abracadabra—you have a 3-D ball that clicks together! Kids will have fun exploring the countless ways to invent new connections and constructions. Safe enough to leave out on the coffee table with no small magnets to worry over. This will entice grownups as well as kids. 5 & up. (541) 826-9007.

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

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2007 Award
Tall Stacker Pegs Building Set
(Lauri $40 Score:) Our tester was not sure at first about this toy, an unusual combo of big chunky pegs with crepe rubber shape pads with peg holes. Kids can build horizontally as well as vertically. Our tester wrote, “In my kindergarten class, the children . . . didn't seem to tire of it . . . I also loaned it to friends with children who are 5 and 7 . . . they absolutely loved it!!! They kept building hotels, etc.” This unusual construction set builds eye-hand coordination along with open-ended creative designing. Set has 100 pegs, large base, and 17 mats in varying colors, sizes and shapes. 4 & up. (800) 451-0520.

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

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2007 Award
Cosmic Catch
(Hasbro $24.99 Score:) A great game for the whole family! Everyone wears a different colored band on their hands and the ball then identifies each player by passing it around once. Our favorite game mode is much like Simon Says—the ball calls out the color that it should be passed to next. If you make a mistake, the game is over. There are more challenging games, in which you have to break the “code” the ball has in mind. 7 & up, but will also be enjoyed by older siblings and family members. 2–6 players. (888) 836-7025.

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

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2007 Award
Scavenger Hunt for Kids
(Pazow $6.98 Score:) Here’s a great card game for a play date, birthday party, or sleep-over. Sure, you can write your own cards for a scavenger hunt; in fact, this comes with some blanks for that purpose. But this comes ready-made with a basic game, a race version, and a team variation. There are three items on each card and players must find all of them. Bonus points are also awarded for the first to put the found objects away. Designed for 8 & up. (415) 885-5006.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Pisa
(HaPe $17.95 Score:) Construct a tower with colored rods between disks of wood. Roll the colored die, remove a rod of that color; but watch out, or the whole tower will fall! Harder than Pandabo,(HaPe $9.95 5) last year's Platinum winner. Pandabo is a beautifully crafted balancing game with a wooden panda holding up round, half-round, and square rods. Fine motor skills help as players take turns trying not to be the one who upsets the stack. They say 4 & up, we’d say more like 6 or 7 for both. (800) 661-4142.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Zingo! Heroes
(ThinkFun $16.99 Score:) Updated with a superhero theme, this is a fun variation on Vingo. Each player gets a card with Marvel comic heroes such as the Thing and the Hulk. The dealer pushes down on the superhero tile dispenser. Be the first to see a match and the tile is yours. Will appeal to boys—quick to learn and to play. 4 & up. Thinkfun has also added the Marvel license to other past award winners including Hopper Heroes ($16.99 4) and City Crossing, now with Spiderman ($16.99 4). Still top rated, last year’s Toot and Otto Game ($7.99 4), a fun variation on Connect 4. (800) 468-1864.

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

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2007 Award
Tangoes Jr.
(3M $25 Score:) A handsome new game based on Tangrams, the classic geometric puzzle game. Seven puzzle pieces with magnets inside fit into a tray that stores under a magnetic playing board. There are two levels of play. Level one cards allow for matching geometric shapes on the card; level 2 shows only a silhouette that child builds on. So this grows more challenging. Excellent for travel or home. They say 4 & up; we’d say save this for 5–8. (800) 542-6375.

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

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