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2002 Award
What Dads Can't Do
(Douglas Wood/illus. Doug Cushman, Simon & Schuster $14 Score:) We know him and love him-this dad who can't win at checkers half the time and can't give a bath without getting wet. He can't pitch or hit a ball very well either. A tender send-up of dear old dad! Even better than its sweet companion book, What Moms Can't Do.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
The Reluctant Flower Girl
(Lynne Barasch, HarperCollins $14.95 Score:) April is less than thrilled that her big sister is about to get married. Being flower girl is a small consolation to losing her sister to Harold. In a tender but funny story, April tries to undermine the wedding.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Rattletrap Car
(Phyllis Root/illus. Jill Barton, Candlewick $15.99 Score:) It's a hot day and Poppa is taking Junie, Jakie, and the baby to the lake in their rattletrap car. Root's playful lyrical language will tickle young listeners.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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Music Cube
(Munchkin $34.99 Score:) Compared to Neurosmith's Music Blocks, this has poor sound quality. It's also a one-trick pony---playing a few tunes that cannot be changed with multiple cartridges like Neurosmith's. As each face of the cube is pushed a new instrument chimes in. However, the biggest complaint from testers was the lack of a volume control. It is super loud.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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Award
Radio Flyer First Wagon
(Radio Flyer $45 Score:) Tots who are steady on their feet will like filling this deep classic wooden wagon with removable side slats. This is your "father's wagon"! Big enough for hauling favorite dolls and toys--not meant for kids to ride in.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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2002 Awards
Operation Space Chase
(Learning Resources $13.95 Score:) Here's a fun way to reinforce place-value skills with hundreds, tens and ones. The object is to get your spaceship to the space station first by rolling the number and operational dice to advance on the board. 6-8. If you are looking for a fractions game, consider Pie in the Sky ($12.95)which rated a four. 7's and up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Awards
Lace and Link Numbers
(Lauri $14.99 Score:) Kids practice sequencing with these classic rubber numerals that fit into puzzle frames that link together. Lacing and handling the 4" numerals helps reinforce their shapes in a tactile way. For many children, before they can write or recall them with ease, "feeling" the numerals helps them remember the direction, shape and name of these sometimes confusing symbols. 4-7

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

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2002 Awards
Countdown
(Cadaco $15.99 Score:) Hands down, one of the best math games ever! A quick two player game that can be played by kids of mixed ages and math ability. It's played with dice on an uncomplicated wooden board. Each player has 10 wooden pegs that flip. The object is to be the first player to turn over all your pegs by rolling dice. Players may add, subtract, multiply or divide the numbers they roll in order to get the number the combination that makes the number they need. 6 and up. (800) 621-5426. SNAP INFO: No special adaptation is needed for this excellent math game that can be used for beginners and beyond.

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

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2002 Award
Knex Missions in Space Sets
(KNEX $29.99 Score:) Builders continue to report that they need more finger strength for K'nex than for Legos. Fans of K'nex gave high scores to the new Apollo 15 Lunar Lander($2999/501 pieces) that comes with an astronaut and neat sound effects. The Jack Knife Big Rig Race Transport($16.99/296 pieces) Also scored a solid four.

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

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2002 Award
K'nex Screamin'Serpent Roller Coaster
(KNEX $89.99 Score:) Our test family raved about the 1280 piece set that stands 6 feet by 3 feet when built! They said their child was so "thrilled with the results that it was a bigger hit than Disney World!" That said, they reported that it took over 36 hours to build and is truly for dedicated K'nex builders. The Trampoline (scored a four) was also a multiday project that our 10 year old builder thought was "neat" but only for those with lots of patience. The set also required some "jerryrigging" to get all the parts working smoothly.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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