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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2006 Award
Robosapien V2
(WowWee $250 Score:) Last year's Robosapien was a hit with our testers...but now he is an even bigger hit, literally! The V2 stands almost a head taller and able to do more stunts than his earlier self. He's a more powerful robot that kids can program with even more motions. While you can make something happen by just pushing a button, we liked the fact that kids really have to work to get the Robosapien V2 to do all of his tricks–--requires kids to stay with it!

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2007 Award
American Girl Emily
(American Girl $87 Score:) In the American Girl collection of dolls, each comes with a book that introduces girls to a bit of history through stories. Emily is in fact not an American girl, but an English girl, an auburn-haired beauty evacuated during WWII from London, to live with Molly and her family. Still top rated, any number of historic dolls from various times in our history. Last year’s winner was also an English girl, Elizabeth, from a prominent Loyalist family (and best friend of well-known Felicity). She’s 18" tall with long blond hair and blue eyes. PLATINUM AWARD 06. Still top rated, Nellie O’Malley (Samantha’s best friend). PLATINUM AWARD ’05. 7 & up. (800) 845-0005.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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Air Hogs Hydro Launcher
(Spinmaster $99.99 Score:) Promises to take flight from the water! Marked appropriately 14 & up (the propellers have a potential to really hurt). Equally neat looking, Air Hogs Helix Helicopter ($69.99)—a small-scale copter designed for indoor use. If this works, it will be great. No assembly required. 8 & up. Neither ready for testing. (800) 622-8339.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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Roboreptile and RS Media
(WowWee $350 Score:) RS promises to provide all of your media needs in the package of an interactive robot. Comes with a small color LCD screen on his chest, tweeters and woofer, a USB connector, and music playback; you can input data from your PC. Comes loaded with four personalities (each with its own distinct animations and expressions). Comes with 50 MB of internal memory or you can use an external memory card (additional purchase required). Also new, Roboreptile ($120 4), the latest in the robo “creature” line, 21⁄4' long, is truly creepy in that Jurassic Park/Terminator kind of way, with 28 remote functions. We found him less responsive to commands than his predecessors. 8 & up. Still top rated, the less expensive earlier versions: Robosapien ($99) and Robosapien V2 ($250); and Roboraptor ($100 ), a scary 32"-long white robotic dino that thinks he’s in a scene from “Jurassic Park.” He hisses and snaps. For our older toy testers this was cool. (Some little siblings may truly be freaked out by his aggressive nature). 10 & up. (800) 310-3033.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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K'nex Vertical Vengeance Coaster
(KNEX $59.99 Score:) Here is the latest twist on a K’nex roller coaster. This one is over 5 feet high, with a motorized chain lift that takes two cars to the top—where they zoom down the loops and spiral turns of 33 feet of track. Our crack K’nex testers gave the directions very poor ratings. Ages 10 & up. For younger K’nex builders, Light ups! 30 Models Kit ($29.99) looks challenging with rods that light, but not available for testing; also Gear Action Building Sets ($29.99 3) that have gear-driven motion; these work, but directions are not clear. 7 & up. (800) 543-5639.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Mag XL Magformers
(Rainbow Products $16.99 Score:) Here’s the newest fun in magnetic toys! Choose a set of either 14 or 30 geometric squares and triangles that can be set down on a flat surface. Give them a lift and—abracadabra—you have a 3-D ball that clicks together! Kids will have fun exploring the countless ways to invent new connections and constructions. Safe enough to leave out on the coffee table with no small magnets to worry over. This will entice grownups as well as kids. 5 & up. (541) 826-9007.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Cosmic Catch
(Hasbro $24.99 Score:) A great game for the whole family! Everyone wears a different colored band on their hands and the ball then identifies each player by passing it around once. Our favorite game mode is much like Simon Says—the ball calls out the color that it should be passed to next. If you make a mistake, the game is over. There are more challenging games, in which you have to break the “code” the ball has in mind. 7 & up, but will also be enjoyed by older siblings and family members. 2–6 players. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Scavenger Hunt for Kids
(Pazow $6.98 Score:) Here’s a great card game for a play date, birthday party, or sleep-over. Sure, you can write your own cards for a scavenger hunt; in fact, this comes with some blanks for that purpose. But this comes ready-made with a basic game, a race version, and a team variation. There are three items on each card and players must find all of them. Bonus points are also awarded for the first to put the found objects away. Designed for 8 & up. (415) 885-5006.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Tangoes Jr.
(3M $25 Score:) A handsome new game based on Tangrams, the classic geometric puzzle game. Seven puzzle pieces with magnets inside fit into a tray that stores under a magnetic playing board. There are two levels of play. Level one cards allow for matching geometric shapes on the card; level 2 shows only a silhouette that child builds on. So this grows more challenging. Excellent for travel or home. They say 4 & up; we’d say save this for 5–8. (800) 542-6375.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Roll 'n Multiply
(3M $24.99 Score:) Our testers agreed this is a good way to work on multiplication facts. Roll the dice and multiply, then take the disk with that number and place it on the board. Your objective is to get four of your color tiles in a row while blocking your opponent. Beginners check answers with multiplication table—more advanced players must multiply without the table. (408) 247-3298.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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