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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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2001 Awards
Magna Shapes
(Edushape $20 Score:) An innovative building set of 54 primary-colored, rubbery plastic shapes with magnetic strips on the edges. Testers liked making small imaginative castles, bridges, and fanciful designs with this open-ended new construction set. 3 & up. SNAP INFO: Small enough to use on a tabletop or wheel chair table, this colorful innovative building set has 54 primary colored rubbery plastic shapes with magnetic strips on their edges. Testers were able to make free form as well as small imaginative castles and bridges. This open-ended set is for kids who still mouth their toys. ACTIVITY: It's fun for kids to discover how they can fit triangle together to make a square and squares to make rectangles. Use these words informally as you build with your child.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2001.

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1998 Award
Color See-Thru Blocks
(Guidecraft $39.95 Score:) Scaled to unit blocks, this 21-piece set of blocks with window panels of colored Plexiglas comes in squares, rectangles, and triangles. These make decorative accents for constructions with wooden blocks. Kids also like looking through them to see the world tinted in rose, blue and yellow.

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

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1998 Awards
Mini Traffic Signs
(989 Sports $12 Score:) Six wooden traffic signs are ideal for highway control! 4 & up.

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

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1996 Awards
Master Builder Block System
(T.C. Timber $25 Score:) These wooden blocks are 40 percent smaller than regular unit blocks but maintain their size relationships. Aside from mini-unit shapes there are interesting architectural sets for school-age builders: Roman, Egyptian, Mayan, Middle Eastern, Russian, and Japanese, and new for , the Coliseum ($50/110 pieces ) and the Leaning Tower of Pisa ($45/27 pieces).

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1996.

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2001 Awards
Thomas the Tank Engine Arched Viaduct
(RC2 Learning Curve $24.99 Score:) Two curved arches which connect to two pieces of ascending track provide a simple way to give trains a lift.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2001.

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