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2001 Award
Three Pigs Puzzibilities
(Small World Toys $11 Score:) We liked the innovative raised pieces of this new crop of wooden puzzles. A scene from "The Three Pigs" is fun for retelling the story while matching puzzle pieces to pictures on the frame. Also charming: Noah's Ark, Two of a Kind, Fun Shapes, and mult-piece Word Builders. Testers liked City Life and Our Home with geometric shapes that call for looking at fine details. A clever Alphapatterns puzzle has a pattern on each letter that is an enlarged detail of the animal shown below it. 35.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2001.

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1999 Award
Sum Swamp
(Learning Resources $12.95 Score:) Players toss three dice, one with plus or minus signs as they move their critter through the swamp where they sometimes have to deal with odds and evens. Right on the mark for late first, early second grade. Also top rated, Timing it Right (good for reinforcing clock concepts). 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 1999.

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2001 Awards
Safari Rush Hour
(ThinkFun $20 Score:)

The object of this brainteaser is to get your jeep safely out of the African Savannah by sliding around all the wild animals in your path. Comes with pattern problem moves from beginner to advanced level. Develops visual perception, strategy, and patience! This is a variation of Rush Hour, PLATINUM AWARD '98. 8 & up. Also fun, a Jr. version of Rush Hour. 6 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Award
Pinky
(Ravensburger $18 Score:) A simple turn-taking game with some counting, and rules that call for memory and quick reaction. Two to four players roll die and put coins into the pig until he oinks. At that moment, the player shakes the pig, keeping all the coins that fall out until another player rolls "stop" on die. Also fun, BLUE CHIP Stacrobats ($18), where players stack the plastic figures without making all the others fall down.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Golden Retriever
(Folkmanis $60 Score:) We fell in love with this 30" stunning dog puppet. If your child can not have a real dog, this oversized puppet may do the trick. Past favorites: full-bodied tiger and irresistibly cuddly black Labrador puppy ($23). 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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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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