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Product Type: Toys

 


2014 Award
Manhattan Toy Folksy Foresters
(Manhattan Toy $19.99 Score:)

Instead of the usual plush huggables, these adorable forest critters are very friendly looking crew. Bennett Bear, Finley Fox, Ray Raccoon, and Rabbit are done up in corduroy with its interesting texture, detailed snouts and two tone bodies. We especially like Raccoon's black and white tail and Fox's pointy snout and two toned tail. These charming critters come in two sizes:13" and 8". All have easy to grasp under-stuffed arms and legs and bodies filled with polyester pellets that make them easy to sit up. The smaller sized ones make a nice fistful for toddlers and preschoolers to take along; while the 13" ones are more like an armful. You won’t go wrong with either.

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

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2014 Award
American Girl Beforever Samantha & Book
(American Girl $115 Score:)

Samantha, an American girl at the dawn of the 20th Century, is being brought up by her grandparents to be a proper young lady of her day. But her privileged life does not prevent her from befriending a servant girl and understanding her very different circumstances. American Girl introduced Samantha in 1986 and she is reintroduced this season in a new line of historical dolls with a refreshed look. Her original look had more of a historic period piece costume; while the update has a far more modern look. That said, we expect that many of the original Samantha doll owners will be eager to bring their daughters an update of their memorable doll. Samantha is the first, but not the last of the well-loved collection to be updated. There are new books and accessories, as well. Dressed in a charming pink dress with ruffled collar and velvet sash, she is a beauty. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Krazy Kars Max Traxxx Tracer Racers Truck Set
(Skullduggery $29.99 Score:)

Awesome described last year's Max Traxxx Racing cars and the awesome-ness continues with the new Tracer Racer Truck set. With 16 feet of glow-in-the-dark track and two LED light-up trucks with lights on the bottom, kids can change the setting to adjust the type of pattern the trucks will leave on the track. Yes, like the cars the trucks leave a trace of LIGHT. Did we mention that the tracks will light up in the dark from the LED lights? Our testers loved both leaving LED on all the way--this lit up the entire inside of the track or putting the LED lights on pulse...which left a broken pattern on the track. Either way - this is another big hit. The tracks go together well and come with suction cups so that you can make two ramps and race the cars. Use this dual track set alone or combine it with last years car set and they are ready for amazing tract time. The company tells us that there is a patent pending, we just know this is sooo much fun. 6 & up

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

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2014 Award
Global Girl Doll Collection
(Global Girl Dolls $89.99 Score:)

Older girls may have put away their baby dolls, but they often still long for one last doll to treasure and this collection certainly fits the bill. These are 21" dolls each dressed and styled for a specific country. These are nothing like your mother's or grandmother's foreign doll collection with traditional costumes. Tatiana from Russia, Vivienne from France, Mei Ling from China, Marcela from Argentina, Amahle from South Africa, and Tiffany from New York wear stylish and current sophisticated outfits. Each doll was made with a unique face mold and coloring that reflects the world of today's girls. The soft-bodied dolls are poseable and can sit as well as stand. They come dressed with underwear, pierced earrings, coats and hats or lighter outer wear, and casual sports outfits. Each has shoes, handbags, and a beautiful head of hair to style and re-style. A book ($9.99) is sold separately for each doll and features both fiction and non-fiction to acquaint the reader with life styles for differing cultures. They are so new, they are only sold on line through globalgirl.com.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Ideal Magic Magic Show
(Poof Slinky $55.55 Score:)

With 64 pieces and the promise of 220 tricks, this is a great place to start with a child interested in learning some magic tricks. The set inclues a top hat (no bunny), magic cards, cloth handkerchief, magic lunch box, a fake thumb, a magic wand, special tubes, bottles, cups, disappearing card box, etc.   There is also an instruction booklet that walks you through the tricks.While this may seem like pure entertainment, learning to do the tricks is really all about reading, following directions and practicing. It requires a lot of effort with a fun pay-off and may lead to a fun hobby.

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

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2014 Award
Quercetti Tubation Transparent
(International Playthings $49.99 Score:)

A 70 piece set of transparent tubes that connect like pipes. What we love about this kind of building set is that it is completely open-ended. Putting the pieces together is not only fun, but it helps build hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills and creativity. Comes with 28 straight pieces, 7 t-shaped pieces, 7 crosses and 28 curved pieces. A nice set to explore together.

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

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2014 Award
Disney Frozen Surprise Slides
(Wonder Forge $19.95 Score:)

Think Frozen meets Candyland. The four main characters (Elsa, Anna, Duke of Weselton and Kristoff) move around the mountains high above Arendelle. No ladders here but there are big  pieces on the board that players may be required to turn or flip and may send a player backwards or forwards towards the finish line. Very straightforward and for fans of the movie, this will become a favorite.

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

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2014 Award
Disney Planes Sky Race Action Game
(Wonder Forge $19.99 Score:)

Our testers loved the game play here that calls for "flying" your airplane from location to location. The planes are four soft foam gliders. You create a course to fly by placing the stage markers around your house. There are flight control tiles that challenge how you throw your glider (over your head, covering one eye, etc.). Each player takes a turn. The player that lands closest to the stage marker wins that toss. The player to have the highest score at the end of the course is the winner.

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

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2014 Award
Star Wars Force Grab
(Wonder Forge $15 Score:)

Star Wars fans will love this visual discrimination game that requires them to look at detail of 15 small SW icons (R2D2, Jabba the Hutt, Millennium Falcon, etc.). Players take turns rolling the objects. Then a card is turned over that has four SW objects pictured in certain positions (face up, face down). The first player to spot a match between the objects and one shown on the card must grab the "lightsaber" that matches the color in the background of the object on the card.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Pyramix
(Gamewright $21.99 Score:)

Our testers loved the look of this strategy game that comes with 56 cubes on a base tray. The game play involves pulling cubes off the pyramid. As you do this of course other cubes will fall - this is important since the cubes left at the end will determine your score. The score is also determined by the points you received from the illustrations on the sides of the dice. An anka is one point, a crane is two points, an eye is three points and a cobra is worth zero points. Our older kid testers got the game play much faster than our grown-ups!  

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

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