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1999 Awards
Finger Puppet Theater
(Manhattan Toy $50 Score:) A tabletop fabric stage with working curtains and foldout platforms on which finger puppets can perform. This can be carried to a friend's house or to grandmas. A good choice for storytelling and language skills. Also top-rated, Barn Door Play Stage ($30) with farmhand puppets. New finger puppets ($5 each): Tiao Loong (Dragon) Little Empresses, Bonafidos (dogs) and Bipolar Bonanzas. Past winners: Royal Rumpus and Groovy Girls. 4 & up. SNAP INFO: This lightweight fabric stage will fit easily on a wheelchair table or any table top. This means kids can sit with ease behind the stage and do a show. The fabric stage has working curtains and foldout platforms on which finger puppets can perform. This are a good choice for storytelling and language skills. Also top-rated, Barn Door Play Stage ($30) with farmhand puppets. New finger puppets ($5 each): Tiao Loong (Dragon) Little Empresses, Bonafidos (dogs) and Bipolar Bonanzas. Past winners: Royal Rumpus and Groovy Girls.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1999.

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2001 Awards
Lost!... But Found, Safe and Sound
(National Park Service $15 Score:) This short film may not be your kid's favorite, but it just might save a life-especially if your family goes camping or hiking into the woods. Prepared by the Association of National Park Rangers this little realistic, no-nonsense film goes over the important things kids should know about how to stay safe if they get lost. a small brochure for adults comes with the video. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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1999 Awards
Big Bird Gets Lost
(Sony $12.95 Score:) In the newest of Sesame Street's Kids Guide to Life series, Maria takes Big Bird shopping. The bad news is that Big Bird gets lost; the good news is that Maria has taught Big Bird and viewers a catchy song for remembering their phone number as well as how to find help in the store. A non-threatening but valuable video with guest star Frances McDormand. 3-7

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1999.

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1995 Award
It's Potty Time
(A Vision $19.98 Score:) Potty Videos There are no magic bullets, but it may be a helpful reinforcement. Two to try: It's Potty Time developed by the Duke University medical Center, this "story" features kids of many ages getting ready to go to a party. Now I Can Potty (K.I.D.S. $19.95) Kids show and tell kids through songs and action how they learned to stop what they are doing to go to the potty.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 1995.

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1995 Awards
Spot Goes to School
(Disney $14.99 Score:) There are some real stories here that preschoolers will relate to. Spot's first day at preschool gives a reassuring glimpse of a typical day of playing with friends and paw painting. On the same tape is Spot at the Playground, which reinforces ideas of taking turns and safety without preaching. 2 & up. Also recommended: Where's Spot?, Spot Goes to a Party.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1995.

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1998 Award
Franklin Goes to School
(Polygram $12.95 Score:) Franklin is starting a school and worried that he should know how to read and write when he gets there. Many kids will identify with Franklin's fears about false expectations and with the dilemma he gets into by telling his friends he can eat 76 flies in the blink of an eye. Also, Franklin Plays the Game-with help from his coach and forest friends, Franklin learns about team play. In true turtle fashion, Franklin has an unhurried pace that's right for young viewers. 4 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 1998.

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1998 Award
I Love My Day School
(eaho Productions $12.99 Score:) If you have a preschooler who needs a preview of preschool, this will give him a look at the day from goodbye to hello again-all told in 12 original songs. 2 1/2 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1998.

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2001 Awards
Katy Cat & Beaky Boo
(Mudpuppy Press $14.95 Score:) This company continues to make marvelous puzzles from picture book art. There are 20-, 24-, and 36-piece floor puzzles in handsome, sturdy storage boxes. Also new, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Martha Speaks, Where the Wild Things Are. Past favorites: Go, Dog, Go!, Today I Feel Silly, & Bunny My Honey. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Award
Leap Phonics Pond
(LeapFrog $34.99 Score:) Kids who are playing with letter names and sounds will like the instant feedback of this electronic toy. Push the letter and it says its name, put it in another mode and it says the letter's sound. But many of the spelling games here are better for fives & sixes. SNAP INFO: For knowing and naming letter names and sounds this electronic toy offers ways to practice. It is less preschoolish than other Leap Frog products since it moves on to spelling lessons. Unlike many other products in this maker's line, the letters do not come out( or get lost) and they are written in lower case as well as upper case.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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1995 Awards
Mega Bloks
(Ritvik (Mega Bloks) $10 Score:) These oversized plastic pegged blocks are easy for preschoolers to take apart, fit together, and assemble into B-I-G constructions with a minimum of pieces. Select a set with wheels and angled pieces for more flexibility.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 1995.

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