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2002 Award
Triceratops Puzzle
(Lauri $7.5 Score:) Newest in the Lauri puzzlein a tray collecton is Triceratops, a 12 piece puzzle that will appeal to the dinosaur lover and calls for problem solving and patience. Like all the Lauri tray puzzles this comes with a pattern that can be used for matching for beginners. Put the pattern away when they are ready to do it without help. Also, new this season, a Unicorn puzzle with pastel pieces. 3-6

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Awards
Lacing & Tracing Tools
(Lauri $6.99 Score:) Newest addition to Lauri's sturdy lacing shapes. These seven chubby primary colored tools ( hammer, saw, wrenches, drilll, screwdriver) come with colorful laces that will keep little hands busy. This kind of play is good for quiet times and travel and will appeal to boys and girls. Lacing helps develop the same fine motor skills needed for writing. 3-7

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2003 Awards
My Keepsake Clock Kit
(Balitono $17 Score:) Our tester couldn't wait to get started painting this keepsake clock kit that comes with a round quartz clock that sits in the 7" x 4" wooden case. Comes with a small drawer beneath the clock for small treasures. Included in the kit: sandpaper, paint, varnish, two paintbrushes and a painting guide and stencil design. Would make a great present for a child to give (they will probably want one of their own too!). Well made and very special. Also recommended, Best Friends Frame Kit and Keepsake Chest. SNAP AWARD: THis is good looking finished product that needs to be painted in any way your young artist desires. So, it's got a finished look and feel with an open-ended agenda. Makes a great gift for child to give to a teacher or grandparent.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2002 Award
Smart Mouth
(ThinkFun $16.99 Score:) If your family enjoys word games, here's a clever new option for one on one or team play. The game comes with a fun blue letter holder that you load up with the plastic orange and green letter chips. Slid the loader forward and two letters appear. The object of the game is to be the person or team to shout out a five letter word that begins with the first letter and ends with the second letter. The game comes with many alternative ways to play that we found useful. For example, if you're playing with younger children (or just want to make it easier for everyone!) play with three or four letter words. We also enjoyed the version of playing famous people with those two initials. The winning team or player has the most chips at the end of the round. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
I Love Skating!
(by Jane Feldman, Random House $3.25 Score:) If you have a child inspired by the figuring skating competition at the Olympics, here's a quick little photo essay about five year old Nastia who is learning how to ice skate. We especially liked the discussion about falling (it happens!) and getting back up again. It shows Nastia getting ready for competition and winning (of course!).

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Weird Friends: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom
(by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey, Harcourt $16 Score:) An interesting look at how certain animals work together in nature. We felt like Johnny Carson reading this title -- chiming in "I did not know that, that's wild, wild stuff!" In any case, young school aged kids love knowing interesting factoids and this book is full of them with vibrant illustrations. For example, did you know that zebras have great hearing and ostriches have great eyesight so they roam the savanna together to avoid predators.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Mama Do You Love Me? Nesting Blocks
(Chronicle $19.99 Score:) Fans of the book, Mama, Do You Love Me? will love this set of 10 nesting blocks that have the words from the book on one side. Each block calls out the specials words used in Barbara M. Joosse's text. While it's a stretch to say that toddlers need to know that umiak is a type of boat, the blocks each have a numeral on one side. Barbara Lavallee's wonderful illustrations are faithfully reproduced. If you have a toddler, know a toddler this book is a must-read! The blocks would be a fun way of extending the experience.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Mother Goose Nesting Blocks
(Chronicle $19.95 Score:) A charming, well-constructed set of cardboard nesting blocks featuring Sylvia Long's award-winning illustrations. At first toddlers will enjoy knocking down your towers but before long they will delight in creating their own and knocking them down again and again! We recommend you bring home Sylvia Long's Mother Goose book as well.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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Apple Pie 4th of July
(by Janet S. Wong/ illus. by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Harcourt $16 Score:) It's the 4th with a parade and all the trimmings and the narrator, a Chinese American girl, is sure that no one will want Chinese food on this apple-pie day. An unusual take on living in two cultures for young listeners.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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Platypus
(by Chris Riddell, Harcourt $15 Score:) Here's a young science book about a Platypus who likes to collect things. One day he brings home a curly shell from the shore. But when he awakes, the shell is gone. Platypus finds it again and once again wakes to find it missing. Next day he rests with his feet in a pool of water when something bites him. Guess who! Platypus apologizes and finds an empty shell as his souvenir from the sea.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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