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2014 Award
Little Tikes Ultimate Cook Kitchen
(Little Tikes $150 Score:)

Our test family gave this kitchen setting very high grades. Our three-year old tester's mom tells us "he is having a ball with it..." He loves every detail of this kitchen and especially likes to make them Cappuccino and asking them if "we need some coffee?" She likes the fact that it went together easily and is also being enjoyed for pretend play by his six and seven-year old siblings. Although some of the hanging pieces do not stay in place, they had no complaints. It has been used daily since it arrived and as our tester's mom wrote, she is impressed with the durability of Little Tikes products... "if three boys can't destroy it, it has to be made well." We like the fact that his kitchen is not gender specific and will be enjoyed for years of dramatic play by boys and girls. 2 +

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Playmobil City Life Furnished Shopping Mall
(Playmobil $159.99 Score:)

We usually avoid shopping mall setting as too commercial. Yet, let's be honest, once built, this is a terrific play setting for trying on lots of roles as sales people, soda jerks, customers, and family members. No doubt a lot of drama does take pace in shopping malls, so why not a setting they can build and they pretend in. This elaborate set comes with seven playfigures (mostly female) along with lots of clothing that can be tried on the playfigures. There is even a mirror and bags for purchases as well as registers and money and computers. There are also manikins for displaying clothing as well as an ice cream shop and some athletic equipment. Just in case they run out of cash there is an ATM ( of course) and a coffee bar, planters, to choose from in the stores. All together there are 535 pieces in this very elaborate play setting. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Little Tikes Touch N Go Racers
(Little Tikes $12.95 Score:)

Choose one of the five Touch n Go Racers; a black and white police car, a green hatch back, a red truck or a blue or grey racer. All have buttons that start the engine, rev it up, honk the horn and a GO button that sends it zooming. Bring home two and have your own races. This is small, very special, but affordable toy that will get lots of action.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Corolle Mon Premier Sky Stroller
(Corolle $34.99 Score:)

We're always happy to report when there's a blue stroller on the market. This is a very light weight white and blue plastic stroller that is designed for Corolle's new Babipouce Blue Star Doll (also dressed in a blue romper). This is not the sturdiest of strollers but it gets high marks for color choice.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Corolle Bebe Bath Doll
(Corolle $52.50 Score:)

This 12" Corolle doll is really ready for bath time! Comes in a pink suit with a mask/snorkel, water wings and flippers. Designed for toddlers 18 months and up, this may do the trick to get reluctant bathers into the water. The polystyrene beads help the doll dry quickly.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Bebe Calin Maria Baby Doll
(Corolle $42 Score:)

The latest from Corolle's wonderful line of 12-inch Calin dolls - ideal for older toddlers.   We love that this is a multi-cultural collection and that there is always a boy doll in the mix.; They are hand washable and have soft vinyl heads, legs and arms. Their  beautifully finished rompers also add to the appeal. Their bald heads are a safe choice for toddlers who are still mouthing toys. Their bean-bag bodies allow them to sit in many poses and their sleeping eyes open and close. Best of all they are light and cuddly for early pretend play.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Corolle Babipouce Blue Stars Doll
(Corolle $40 Score:)

Corolle's line of Babipouce fills the bill as a great place to start in doll land. With all a soft fabric, huggable body and soft vinyl face (with painted featured), this is a safe choice for older babies and toddlers. The blue romper and coordinating velour hat (with knotted top) will be pleasing to the touch. Very sweet. If you're looking for a "pink" version, look at last year's Platinum Award winner, Babipouce Pink Cotton Flower Doll.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Does an Owl Wear Eyeglasses?
(By Harriet Ziefert/ illus Emily Bolam, Blue Apple $12.99 Score:)

With humor and straightforward answers to some silly questions, this little book will answer questions children have about why they may need eyeglasses. Of the several titles in this series, this one is the most informative.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Eye on the Wild, Tiger
(by Suzi Eszterhas, Frances Lincoln Books $15.99 Score:)

With handsome photographs in full color, Tiger follows a family of cubs and their mother from first wobbly stage to ready to leave home full-grown tigers. Without overwhelming young listeners or readers with information, this book and a companion book, Elephant capture the everyday events in the lives of young tigers and elephants.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Maisy's World of Animals
(Lucy COusins, Candlewick $14.99 Score:)

Another in Lucy Cousinís First Science series. This time out she takes toddlers on a tour of the habitats of animals all over the world. From the far northern Arctic to the mountains, deserts, savannah, ocean, jungle, and all the way to the Antarctic, there are tabs to pull and flaps to lift. With limited text, but lots of colorful images, this is a fun way to introduce some big concepts to beginners. There is lots to talk about on every spread.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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