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Awards
TotSports Bowling Set
(Little Tikes $14.99 Score:) Six see-through plastic pins are loaded with colorful balls that shake rattle and roll when they are knocked over with the big but lightweight bowling ball. A good classic toy with a fresh new look. Fun for active play indoors or out. Says 2 & up, but 2's won't understand this or enjoy it as much as preschoolers and even early school aged kids. See the SNAP suggestions for making a math game for older kids (800) 432-5437. SNAP Activity: This is a good game that develops eye hand coordination and requires repetitive setting up and fetching the ball. Taking turns and following rules are also built into the fun. Young kids love such games for their own sake and especially if the grown-ups in their lives are bowlers, too. If appropriate, you can build some simple counting or adding skills with this,as well. With preschoolers, keep track of how many pins were knocked down. Keep a tally with chalk or pencil and paper. Make bundles of five stick marks. Player who gets two bundles first is the winner of that round. For school aged kids, tape numerals 1-6 to the pins and have your child add up the scores. Set a number for grand slam winner. First player to knock down ten wins the round!

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

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2003 Award
Champion: The Story of Muhammad Ali
(Jim Haskins/ill By Eric Velasquez, Walker Books $17.95 Score:) Starting with his childhood and following his rise to fame and the downturns along the way, this young people's biography does not sugar-coat the tough times as well as the triumphs in Ali's career. Haskins gets into the spiritual as well as political side of the Ali, who became more than an athlete- a larger than life icon and role model for young black men and women. 6-10.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2002 Awards
Little Louie the Baby Bloomer
(by Robert Kraus/illus. by Jose Aruego and Ariane D, HarperCollins $15.95 Score:) Little Louie is late in learning how to throw a ball, pull a wagon, rattle his rattle, and talk. But Leo, his big brother and the original late bloomer, takes the time to teach him, and in Little Louie's own good time, he blooms. Also, Leo the Late Bloomer. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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Awards
Plan Toys Fruit Play Set
(Brio $15 Score:) Like a real knife, there's a right and wrong side of the wooden "knife" that kids use to cut apart Velcroed halves of three wooden fruits. Veggies set also available. SNAP: Wooden fruits and veggies can be “cut” apart with wooden knife that seems to cut the Velcro-ed segments. Comes with lemon, orange, pear, mushroom, carrot, and tomato, plus board and wooden knife. Activity: Use fraction words when you ask child to cut you a half of one fruit or a quarter of something else. (888) 274-6869.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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2002 Award
Grandpa & bo
(by Kevin Henkes, Greenwillow $14.95 Score:) Bo spends the summer with his grandpa in the country. They go fishing, play ball and share simple everyday events. By summer's end both are unhappy about having to say good-bye. They decide that Christmas is so far off they will celebrate a summer Christmas and make a wish on a shooting star. May be a little romanticised version of visits to grampa's- but it's a gentle, satisfying story. 5 & up

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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Little Pig Is Capable
(by Denis Roche, Houghton Mifflin $15 Score:) It's not Little Pig who is having separation fears. It's his parents who are over the top worriers....in fact one might say they suffer from anxiety disorder. So, when Little Pig goes off with the Snout Scout Troop they have warned him about every eventuality except the big one- a wolf in pig's clothing. But fear not- as the title says- this little pig is capable! 4-8.

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

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2002 Awards
Lacing Beads in a Box
(Lights, Camera, Interaction! $15 Score:) Thirty painted wooden shapes (rectangles, squares, triangles, circles and ovals) come with colorful patterns. The squares are marked with numerals from 1 to 10. Comes with two long laces (red and green) and all are neatly contained in a wooden box with a plexiglass sliding top for storage. An open ended toy with multiple types of learning possibilities. Talk with your child about making patterns with the numbers, patterns and shapes. SNAP Award: Encourage your child to sequence the numerals in order; also work on making patterns with shapes or colors. If you use a red, then a green, then a red, ...what comes next? Work on simple patterns and gradually make them more complex. This is really an open ended set for developing language, fine motor and math skills.

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

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2002 Award
Buy It Right Shopping Game
(Learning Resources $19.95 Score:) Making change and shopping is not always clear to kids who don't get to handle more than their milk money at lunch. This game involves a lot of buying and selling and some flexible thinking. Kids roll three numeral dice and decide if they want to call a 4, 2, 1 $4.21 or $1.24...a choice that depends on if they are buying or selling. This comes with 100 realistic looking plastic coins and 40 play bills and a working calculator. Unlike a lot of mall shopping games aimed at girls, this is a gender free game that will be enjoyed by boys and girls. 6 & up.

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

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2003 Award
Talking Math Mat Challenge Game
(Learning Resources $29.95 Score:) This is one way to help kids learn math facts while thinking on their feet! Kids step on the vinyl mat to answer the math quiz that's programmed with two levels of difficulty. Level one asks kids to find a numeral named, simple addition, and subtraction. Level two asks for the "next" number in a sequence of three as in 5,4,? Or 5,6,?; Addition and subtraction jumps to missing factors as in 11 + ? is 15. Keep in mind that beginners need concrete materials to count before they learn the facts in rapid fire fashion. So this is more fun than flash cards, but not very different in content. It's for children who are ready for drill. Labeled 4-7, most fours will do only the numeral game. This is far more appropriate for mid-first and second graders. Forget the newer Factor Frenzy () and Light ‘N Strike Math (). Both require too many steps to enter an answer—totally frustrating. We passed on the Alpha-Bug Step ’n Spell, which became too difficult too quickly and was not especially responsive. Also, testers gave the new-for-2007 ABC Chalk Talk! ($39.95 ) thumbs down because it is “buggy.” Players correctly identified “c” as the first letter of cup, but were told repeatedly that they were wrong. The tone of the machine isn’t mean but isn’t very pleasant, either. (800) 222-3909. SNAP AWARD ChIldren who avoid pencil and paper tasks, for any number of reasons, will find this active math drill game entertaining as well as getting practice with beginning math skills. However this is not a tool for kids who still need concrete materials to count. It's several steps beyond that.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2002 Award
Maisy Cleans Up
(by Lucy Cousins, Candlewick $9.99 Score:) Charley the alligator has come to visit Maisy. But before she can play or share her cupcakes Maisy has some serious cleaning to do. Charley helps and even stays off the wet kitchen floor till it dries. A simple story with a chance to know and name all the cleaning tools Maisy uses.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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