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2002 Award
Lamaze Octotunes
(Learning Curve International $29 Score:) A big velour octopus with stitched features and lug-along handle has eight colorful legs that squeak when they are squeezed. You can play a simple tune on them, but this is more a make-something-happen toy than a musical instrument. They say birth and up, we day better for 1 and up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Tolo Play Triangle
(Reeves International $10 Score:)

A spinning mirror and large beads invite baby to use two hands and individual fingers to activate this handsome rolling rattle. Also top rated: Tolo Acitvity cube, Roller Ball or Gripper Rattle, all beautifully crafted in sturdy primary-colored plastic with interesting action for baby to manipulate.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2002.

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Awards
Play-Doh
(Hasbro $2 Score:) Classic Play-Doh is still a favorite. Doh should be used with supervision in a place established for messy play. We prefer the dough without the doodads, since most of the kits are less open-ended, and tough to do. This self-hardening dough dries out if left uncovered.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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Children's Furniture
(Various $ Score:) Table and chairs are basic pieces of gear that will be used for years of snacks, art projects, and tea parties. Best bets are going to have steady legs and a washable table surface. After that, it's a matter of budget and style to fit your tast. Check the undersides of tables and chairs for smooth finishes that won't snag little fingers. Twos and threes also enjoy rocking or arm chairs scaled to their size. Some basic safety and design questions you may want to ask: Can your child get on and off chairs/bench easily? Is this a set that will work when your child gets a little bigger? If you're looking at a wooden set, are there exposed screws or nuts (check the underside) that can cut your child? Is the table surface washable and ready for abuse? (A beautiful painted piece will be destroyed by paint, play dough, crayons, etc.)

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

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Action Figures
(Various $ Score:) Because most action figures involve violent play themes, we generally do not write about them.

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

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2002 Awards
Journal of Wong Ming-Chung, A Chinese Miner
(by Lawrence Yep , Scholastic $10.95 Score:) Yep paints a memorable picture of what it was like to be a Chinese immigrant during the days of the Gold Rush. He has crafted a moving story of a boy's loyalty to the family he must leave and the larger family he finds. Also recommended: Marie Antoinette, Princess of Versailles, by Kathryn Lasky, 8-14.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Awards
The War Within
(by Carol Matas, Simon & Schuster $16 Score:) During the Civil War General U.S. Grant signed an order that forced southern Jews in areas he occupied to leave their homes and possessions. Told through the eyes of a13 year old girl who never questioned slavery or her acceptance of racial injustice, this is a fascinating and little known story.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
The Graduation of Jake Moon
(by Barbara Park, Atheneum $15 Score:) Kids who know someone suffering with Alzheimer's disease will relate to 13-year-old Jake and his feelings as he deals with his grandfather who is no longer able to take care of himself. Since they live together, Jake is dealing with the everyday realities of the disease as well as his own sadness, confusion, embarrassment, and deep love for the man who has always been there for him.

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

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Emma's Yucky Brother
(by Jean Little/ illus. by Jennifer Plecas, HarperCollins $14.95 Score:) Most adoption stories are about babies and how they arrive in the family. Max is no baby, he's four and not what big sister Emma was expecting. Through a series of get acquainted visits and a bumpy first stay, this charming story (written in an easy-to-read format) reflects the ups and downs of adopting older kids into a family.

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

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2002 Award
Jin Woo
(by Eve Bunting/ illus. by Chris Soentpiet, Clarion $16 Score:) David is less than thrilled when he learns that Jin Woo, a baby from Korea is about to join his family. In a tender story Bunting centers the story around the feelings of David, who was also adopted and is surprised to learn how excited his father and mother were when he came into their world!

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

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