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2001 Award
Baby Food
(by Margaret Miller , Simon & Schuster $5.99 Score:) Miller's inviting yummy photos of babies eating are a good starting point for knowing and naming such things as a banana, spoon, and cracker. 6 mos. & up.

Age: Infants,Toddlers. Award Year: 2001.

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1999 Awards
The Borrowers
(Polygram $19.95 Score:) Based on the classic Borrowers books, this updated version stars John Goodman as a villain/lawyer who tries to rob a family of its home and, with them, the family of little people who inhabit the walls of their house. The whole family will enjoy this. Why not read the book together and use the book and video as an exercise in comparative literature? 8 & up.

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

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2000 Awards
Air Bud Golden Receiver
(Disney $19.99 Score:) Buddy, once a star canine slam dunker, now uses his considerable talents to help his pal Josh score as a quarterback on his school's football team. Break out the popcorn-this is one the whole family will enjoy watching together. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2000.

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1994 Awards
The Snowman
(Mirmax / Buena Vista $12.99 Score:) An enchanting fantasy of a snowman who takes a small boy on a flying adventure. A word of warning: One three year old dissolved in tears when the snowman melted. A better choice for 4 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1994.

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1995 Awards
Rabbit Ears Folktales Series
(Rabbit Ears $9.95 Score:) Many of our best-loved folktales and legends of heroes and heroines were found in this distinguished series. Most of our favorite titles, however, are no longer available. We suggest you rent and preview before you buy. Although done by well-known performers, these artful films have little or no animation and may be somewhat slow for kids who are accustomed to Disneyesque production values. Our top choices are : How the Leopard Lost His Spot, narrated by Danny Glover, and followed by Follow the Drinking Gourd, narrated by Morgan Freeman. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 1995.

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1997 Awards
On the Day You Were Born
(North-South $19.95 Score:) The Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Bill Eddins, debuts its Notes Alive series with a stunning animated version of Debra Frasier's picturebook, On the Day You Were Born. The story weaves animation with the orchestra's performance of Steve Heitzig's original score, and is followed by the author and composer discussing where they found their inspiration. Truly a gem! 4 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1997.

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1998 Awards
Lamaze First Mirror
(Learning Curve International $19.99 Score:)

Newly updated with bright graphics, this fabric-covered wedge with a mirror for baby to peer into is ideal for tummy time play. Covered in eye-grabbing orange with multi-colored piping. The unbreakable safety mirror in a soft fabric frame can be removed and used separately. Birst & up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 1998. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2000 Awards
Tolo Activity Cube
(Reeves International $10 Score:)

Glad to see this line back in the market place. We awarded the collection a Platinum Award in 2000. We're now adding them to our Blue Chip Classics award winners. What we wrote in 2000: We were really impressed with this new but classic-looking line of baby toys, crafted of sturdy primary-colored plastics. An Activity Cube for little fingers to activate has a mirror, squeaker, roller and spinning ball. The Gripper Ball has four easy-to-grab rounded handles and a see-through hourglass in the middle with beads that roll from side to side. Also highly recommended: Triangle Rings, Abacus Rings, Roller Rattle Ball ($5 each) with a jolly sound, and Reflector Rattle ($16) with colorful marbles that look almost liquid as they spin around a mirrored triangular well.

SNAP INFO: To develop two-handed play, kids need a variety of manipulatives with interesting payoffs. Tolo's Activity Cube has a mirror, squeaker, roller, and spinning ball for little fingers to activate. The Gripper Ball has four easy-to-grab rounded handles and a see-through hourglass in the middle with beads that roll from side to side. New for 2000, Play Triangle with spinning mirror and big beads.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2000. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2000 Award
Ambi Ted Triple Teether
(Brio $5.99 Score:)

The body of this teddy bear teether has three different colors and textures for baby to feel and taste. Just right for little hands.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2000. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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1998 Awards
Deluxe Gymini 3-D Activity Gym
(Tiny Love $50 Score:) Sadly, this product has been discontinued.

This play mat remains our favorite with two arches and dangly toys baby can gaze and eventually bat at. It gets high marks for keeping baby entertained. We prefer this design to the classic plastic activity gyms. Available in high-contrast black, white, and red version. Not for babies who are beginning to pull themselves up. Deluxe version is slightly larger.

SNAP INFO: This soft fabric playmat with dangly toys on soft arches comes in a variety of choices. For bold visual graphics select the black. white and red version. Easy to fold and carry along, the deluxe version is larger than most, a plus for bigger babies who may not be on the move, but ready to reach out and activate things. Like all playmats, this is to be used only with supervision and is not intended for babies who are pulling themselves up. Adaptation: Babies stop noticing toys that are always in their sight- just as you stop noticing a vase that's always in the same place. Change the soft danglies positions or substitute others to add visual interest.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 1998.

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