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Vol. 31, No. 1

February 2015

Toy Fair 2015

Clockwise from top left: Y Rocker Go-Kart, from Yvolution; Worry Eaters Flint, from The Haywire Group; Star Wars Hailfire Droid, from Lego; Maximum Miles, from Tomy; Dohdles!, from Thames & Kosmos; Bloom Pops Flower Design Studio, from University Games; Bamboo Box Set Tool Kit, from Diggin; Color Me Up! Charmazing Hearts Collection, from Wooky Entertainment

State of the Toy Industry: 2015 by Sean McGowan

T

his is my 29th Toy Fair, and I’m happy to say this industry remains as intriguing as it was back in 1986 when I started analyzing it. 2014 had all the zigs and zags that have kept things interesting. At the midpoint of last year, many forecasts called for an increase in industry sales of about 3 to 4 percent, but I had a hard time finding many companies that were bullish enough to support that kind of growth for the whole industry. By October, optimism seemed a bit more justified, with consumer confidence rising, unemployment falling, and gas prices dropping money into consumers’ wallets. Looking back, however, I think the industry experienced a tougher time than the earlier forecasts had called for.

continued on page 48

page 191


An essential ingredient to every toybox, every childhood, every generation. See a world of puppets at www.folkmanis.com 0r call 1-800-654-8922 for a free catalog. Toy Fair Booth# 2751, Javits Center


in this issue February 2015

D

F eatures

epartments

18 Publisher’s Viewpoint

48 50 54 66

34 Industry Update

38 The Big Toy Book’s

67 244

Sweet Suite 2015

40 TIA Happenings 41 Spotlight On:

Creative Factor

42 Stat Shot

44 TIA Perspectives 80 Property Profile:

Rubik’s Brand USA

102 Q&A with Elf Magic 108 A Look Inside:

Tangle Creations

242 Property Profile: Peppa Pig

246 Raising the Bar 290 Flashback:

February 1995

250 253

TOY FAIR 201 5 CATEGORY GUIDE

What’s New..............................................68 Activities & Construction ...........................128 Games & Puzzles .....................................150 Dolls & Plush ...........................................170 Vehicles & Action Figures ..........................218 Infant & Preschool ....................................232

The Halloween Insid er

page 255

Specialty Toys & Gifts TOY FAIR 2015 Page S6

191

EDITOR’S VIEWPOINT

NEWS

Page S3

Page S3

ASTRA’S INSIGHTS

MEDIA CENTER

Page S4

Page S26

TIPS FOR MAXIMIZING PROFITS Page S27

Published by Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.®

Volume 31, Number 1 www.toybook.com P UBLISHER Jonathan Samet jsamet@adventurepub.com E DITOR - IN -C HIEF Jackie Breyer jbreyer@adventurepub.com S ENIOR E DITORS Marissa DiBartolo mdibartolo@adventurepub.com Ali Mierzejewski amierzejewski@adventurepub.com A SSOCIATE E DITORS Christine Duhaime cduhaime@adventurepub.com Phil Guie pguie@adventurepub.com E DITORIAL A SSISTANT Deanna Atkins datkins@adventurepub.com E DITORIAL I NTERN Magdalene Michalik P RODUCTION D IRECTOR Bill Reese breese@adventurepub.com C ONTROLLER /O FFICE M ANAGER Lori Rubin lrubin@adventurepub.com

U.S. Corporate Headquarters Laurie Schacht, President laurieschacht@aol.com

Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® 307 Seventh Ave., #1601 New York, NY 10001 Phone: (212) 575-4510 Fax: (212) 575-4521

Member, International Toy Magazine Association


viewpoint

We Can All Learn Publisher’s

FROM

T

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

he phrase “The times, they are a-changin’” has become a cliché, but the fact is, the marketplace is constantly changing, and you need to continually adapt how you market your business/products to succeed. Good product remains the driving force, though it is also fortunate when you can jump on a dynamo property (such as Disney Frozen). The good news is that online retailers have opened up more opportunities to get your product listed, but the next step is determining how to deliver your product’s message to the ultimate purchaser who is going to open their wallet and take out the cash or credit card to make the purchase (as kids are not the ones pulling out the Amex!). In the current marketplace, there are so many ways to deliver your message. Print and TV still remain key influencers, but social media, YouTube, and other types of digital media are playing an ever-growing role. Is your company participating in any or all of these options? If your rationalization is that your company is too small, or that you don’t have the budgets or time, then it’s important that you read on! For those who think they are too small to compete, there is a lesson to learn from the famous children’s story, The Little Engine That Could. This story teaches children the value of optimism and hard work. In the book, a large train must be pulled over a high mountain. For various reasons, larger engines refuse to try. The request is then made to the Little Engine, who succeeds in pulling the train over the mountain while repeating its motto, “I-think-I-can.” Each year, numerous new, small toy companies enter the North American toy marketplace. They all face similar obstacles, but there are those that manage to make a statement. One that comes to mind is Debbie Sterling and GoldieBlox. She created a product line that fits two growing trends: 1. STEM education and 2. female empowerment. Even as a small start-up company, Sterling did not market GoldieBlox from the school of “No, I can’t.” The company created captivating videos that developed a huge viral following, managed to get a commercial on-air during the Super Bowl

18 • THE TOY BOOK

Jonathan Samet publisher

(which also garnered tremendous PR exposure for her company) and even sponsored a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. GoldieBlox has a prolific and very active social media program as well. All of the above supports the point that GoldieBlox does not live by the motto of being a “Little Engine That Said I Can’t.” We at Adventure Publishing are also “little guys” who try to run our business by the “Yes, we can!” motto. Many people refer to us as the “big guys” in the toy trade pubs, and when you read this large and impressive issue of The Toy Book you can get that impression. But take a look at the masthead on page 16; we are a staff of just 10 people! We saw “the times were a-changin’” and our “little engine” made the decision to change with it. We identified that parents and grandparents play an important role in the ultimate toy purchase, so we created the hugely successful consumer-oriented Toy Insider program, celebrating its 10th year in 2015. We saw the growing role of bloggers and digital influencers and we launched Blogger Bash/Sweet Suite and the HoliDAY of Play. And we acknowledge the importance of social media with the launch of our new Toy Insider Social Media programs. We have incorporated all of the above into our “Voice Strategy” to offer our clients a fully integrated marketing/PR strategy; we are not just a company from which manufacturers buy print advertising. Clients that work with us and participate in some or all of our programs are benefitting from what we deliver, while realizing they are not receiving equal deliverables from our competitors or alternative options. If you are not familiar with any of the programs in our Voice Strategy (see page 190) or what our capabilities/deliverables are, then it is time to contact anyone on our masthead to learn more. The underlying theme of The Little Engine That Could should live in all of us, no matter what size your company is. The retail marketplace and media options are difficult terrains to navigate. But if your ultimate destination is Success, then let our “Little Engine” help you to get there. ■

FEBRUARY 2015


update

Industry

FanTOYstic Fact For 80 years and running, kids everywhere have first been exposed to the economic term “monopoly” through the board game of the same name. Developed by Philadelphian Charles Darrow and published by Parker Brothers in 1935, Monopoly has been played by millions worldwide over the years. Certain aspects of the game have even entered popular culture: For example, the top hatwearing Monopoly mascot, Rich Uncle Pennybags, has been parodied in films. Similarly, the phrase, “Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200,” featured in the Chance and Community Chest card decks, is widely used to indicate an unfortunate outcome. But as popular as Monopoly, now published by Hasbro, has become, a little-known fact is that the game is based on a real-life place, Atlantic City, which contributed to a notable incident in 1972. The city’s Commissioner of Public Works in Atlantic City sought to change the names of the real Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, considered among the least valuable properties in the game. Public outcry derailed the attempt and the streets kept their old names. In 2008, the colors of Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues were changed in the standard Monopoly game from purple to brown. To celebrate the milestone anniversary of Monopoly, Hasbro has released a Monopoly 80th Anniversary Edition featuring a vintage-styled game board, cards, money, and wooden houses and hotels. It also has the classic tokens, such as the lantern and the bag of money. Meanwhile, fans worldwide will gather for the Monopoly World Championship event, scheduled for September 7 to 9 at The Venetian in Macau.

Monopoly 80th Anniversary Edition

34 • THE TOY BOOK

CHRISTOPHER A. SINCLAIR NAMED CHAIR CEO OF MATTEL

AND INTERIM

Christopher A. Sinclair has been named the chairman and interim CEO of Mattel, effective immediately. The company also announced that Bryan G. Stockton has resigned as Mattel’s chairman and CEO and resigned from the board of directors. Sinclair has served as a member of Mattel’s board of directors since 1996 and as an independent lead director since 2011. He also served as chair of Mattel’s audit committee.

TOY STATE KICKS OFF FIVE-RACE SPONSORSHIP WITH TOMMY BALDWIN RACING Toy State has signed on as primary sponsor for the Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) No. 7 car. The Nikko/Toy State car is currently being prepped for NASCAR’s marquee race, the 2015 Daytona 500, scheduled to take place on February 22. This sponsorship will cover the initial five races of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series. In addition to car graphics, all driver and team apparel and signage will bear Nikko and Toy State logos, along with the redesigned branding of the company’s lights and sound brand, Road Rippers. This announcement builds on Toy State’s acquisition of Nikko last year. This year, Nikko-branded R/C vehicles will make their return to the U.S. market under the Toy State umbrella.

U.S., CANADA TO CONSIDER UNIFIED TOY STANDARDS U.S. and Canadian regulators, standards development organizations, and toy industry representatives held discussions in Ottawa, Canada, on January 7 to discuss the possibility of unified U.S.-Canadian toy safety standards that would be acceptable for both countries to use in regulating toys. Representatives of ASTM International, including members of the ASTM F15.22 Subcommittee on Toy Safety, Health Canada, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Toy Industry Association (TIA), and the Canadian Toy Association were present. A steering committee was appointed to begin the initiative, and will first look at similarities between ASTM F963, which was signed into U.S. federal law in 2008 under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), and Health Canada’s Toys Regulations under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA). Initial discussions will focus on coming to an agreement regarding the scope of a unified toy standard and a path forward that will be suitable to both countries. The TIA will keep members apprised of further developments.

FEBRUARY 2015


update

Industry

RETAIL TOY SALES UP 4 PERCENT ON BUILDING SETS, ELECTRONICS, FROZEN According to data from The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of toys generated $18.08 billion last year compared to $17.46 billion in 2013, an increase of 4 percent. Retail sales over the 2014 holiday shopping season got off to a bumpy start, with the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday experiencing mixed results of -2 percent and 1 percent, respectively (compared to the same time periods in 2013). However, Christmas week sales grew 27 percent, lifting December growth to 6 percent. Fourth quarter sales were up 3 percent for the 13-week period starting October 5 through the week ending January 3. In terms of sales performance across the various super-categories last year, building sets and youth electronics experienced the most significant increases at 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively, followed by action figures and games/puzzles, both increasing 9 percent. Compared to the previous year, infant/preschool toys and all other toys experienced dollar sales declines (-5.0 percent and -0.4 percent, respectively). Licensed toys, which represented 31 percent of total industry sales, experienced an increase of 7 percent last year compared to 2013. Looking at top toy properties, Disney Frozen captured the top spot overall, and was the top gainer among all toy properties for the year based on absolute dollar growth, generating $531 million last year.

36 • THE TOY BOOK

RUBIE’S EXPANDS ITS DRESS-UP LINE AND MORE

WITH

MARVEL, MINIONS,

Imagine by Rubie’s, a toy division of Rubie’s Costume Co. Inc., expands its offerings with new products and accessories, providing kids with the opportunity to dress up as their favorite characters 365 days of the year. Imagine’s newest licenses are inspired by 2015’s most anticipated movies, including Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Minions. In addition, Imagine offers products based on Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, The Wizard of Oz, WWE, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and My Super Best Friends. Along with these characters, Imagine offers a variety of non-licensed designs, such as ninjas, policemen, firefighters, military men, princesses, and fairies, as well as accessories including reversible capes, swords, masks, tutus, purses, wands, and tiaras. Rubie’s says the philosophy behind the entire collection is to encourage kids to dream, believe, and achieve through imagination. Avengers: Age of Ultron Captain America costume, from Imagine by Rubie’s

TOY BACKER LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER CROWDFUNDING SITE DEDICATED TO THE TOY INDUSTRY Toy Backer has created the first crowdfunding site dedicated solely to the toy industry. The intent of the site is to create a hub for creative innovators to be able to share ideas and see them brought to fruition, all through the financial backing of consumers. Toybacker.com utilizes a two-tiered crowdfunding platform that allows great ideas to be developed through direct consumer support. It also offers fully funded campaigners the option of having Toy Backer act as a direct agent to facilitate placement to a sponsoring toy or kids’ licensed product company. A soft launch of the site is planned during North American International Toy Fair and the company will continue its marketing campaign throughout the year.

Get the latest toy industry news delivered straight to your inbox each week for free! Subscribe to The Toy Book’s Toy Report. Send an email request to subscribe@adventurepub.com, and add that address to your address book to ensure delivery. For up-to-the-minute news, follow The Toy Book on Twitter: twitter.com/ToyBook, and like The Toy Book on Facebook: facebook.com/TheToyBook. Visit our blog at www.toybook.com.

FEBRUARY 2015


T

he Big Toy Book’s sixth annual Sweet Suite event will be held on July 16, 2015 at Pier Sixty

in New York City. Known as the Biggest Night of Play. the event will welcome more than 400

influential bloggers from around the country and more than 100 members of traditional

media to connect with the best toy companies and the hottest new products in advance of the holiday shopping season. Sweet Suite is the feature event at Blogger Bash, a two-day conference for experienced bloggers featuring parties, exhibitions, and speed dating sessions, giving brands the chance to connect with the most influential consumers. Now in its second year, Blogger Bash provides influencers and brands with a new type of conference. Eliminating hotels, convention centers, and exhausting speeches, Blogger Bash instead welcomes attendees into a high-energy atmosphere, giving them a chance to have fun while mingling with brands in a professional yet inviting setting. During Sweet Suite, bloggers enjoy one-on-one time with some of the hottest kids’ brands and products in modern lounge areas. The night gives bloggers a chance to meet old and new friends while they sip on martinis, feast on delicious sweet treats, and—best of all—play. After hours of kid-free toy time, bloggers are invited to kick back and dance it out at the Sweet Suite after party. Once the fun is over, enormous swag boxes are shipped directly to attendees’ homes, sparking a resurgance of excitement and social media impressions, and ensuring bloggers and journalists have products readily on-hand to review and share. For those who can’t attend the event, the entire four-hour party streams online, so consumers at home can get in on the fun and brands can get in front of even more people. The Big Toy Book also posts highlight videos to YouTube, so everyone can see each company’s top priority items hitting shelves in the fall. Last year, Sweet Suite generated more than 88 million Twitter impressions, more than 1,580 original Instagram photos, and hundreds of blog post recaps. This year, Sweet Suite will be bigger and better than ever before, welcoming more bloggers, more brands, and more press. There are sponsorship levels available for every budget, so don’t miss your opportunity to connect with digital influencers before the holiday shopping season is in full swing. If you’re interested in learning more

38 • THE TOY BOOK

about these events, contact Laurie Schacht at thetoyinsidermom@gmail.com.

FEBRUARY 2015


happenings

Toy Industry Association

by Ashlee Neuman, Toy Industry Association

A

s toy companies increasingly look to expand sales activity beyond the U.S. border, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) steadily grows its repertoire of global market research to help businesses identify which countries offer valuable export opportunities and how to effectively enter those markets. After completing research reports for the Brazilian and Chinese toy markets last year, TIA commissioned global consultancies Altios International and Kidz Global to conduct market and consumer studies in Australia and Mexico. Key findings from this round of research will be presented during the North American International Toy Fair in New York City from February 14 to 17. “Both Australia and Mexico have growing toy markets, and with Mexico’s proximity to the U.S. and Australia’s lack of a language barrier, these countries have interesting potential,” says Anne McConnell, TIA’s director of market research and data strategy. “Quantitative data on the business opportunities, as well as challenges that exist in each of these countries, will be thoroughly explored during the research presentations at Toy Fair.” In these seminars, experts from Altios and Kidz Global will examine findings on market demographics and economic growth, children’s routines and play preferences, cultural giftgiving occasions, brand awareness, primary retail and distribution channels, media opportunities, and more. For example, preliminary research shows that Australia’s climate and its citizens’ love of sports and physical activity provide a robust market for outdoor playthings. According to Kidz Global, kids spend nearly eight hours a week playing outside in Australia, compared to five hours in Mexico. More than 40 percent of Aussie kids choose to play with bikes, scooters, and other ride-ons when outside. Data from Altios International shows that the infant and

40 • THE TOY BOOK

preschool segment is the largest toy category in Mexico, representing 28 percent of the local market’s total value. This stems from the high number of babies born each year. Mexico is home to 34 million children ages 0 to 14—accounting for nearly 30 percent of the population. In addition to research on Australia and Mexico, TIA and Kidz Global will also explore data on the U.S. toy market, looking at market trends and influences as well as consumer behavior. “TIA recognizes the importance of providing members and industry stakeholders with information about opportunities both near and far,” says McConnell. “It’s critical that we keep our finger on the pulse of our own domestic market, and continue to track trends and shifts that impact toy businesses.” The market research presentations will be held on February 15. The U.S. seminar will take place from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.; Mexico from 11 a.m. to noon; and Australia from 2 to 3 p.m. These sessions are free for TIA members and $179 for nonmembers; attendees save $80 when they register for both the market research package and TIA’s Licensing Content Connection program. “In addition to these valuable research sessions, the everincreasing number of international retail buyers and global media representatives in attendance make Toy Fair an ideal place for toy companies looking to gain traction overseas,” says TIA President and CEO Carter Keithley. ■ To register for TIA’s market research sessions, visit the Knowledge Network section at www.toyfairny.com. More information about TIA’s research reports on Brazil and China is available at www.toyassociation.org.

FEBRUARY 2015


THE CREATIVE FACTOR DROP-IN LEARNING CENTER CELEBRATES 11TH ANNIVERSARY AT TOY FAIR by Brett Klisch, Peru Meridian Studios his year’s Toy Fair brings us the 11th anniversary of S PECIAL E VENTS H OSTED BY THE C REATIVE F ACTOR the Creative Factor drop-in learning center—an educaOn Sunday morning, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) will tional event made for creatives and by creatives in the host a Designer/Inventor Networking Breakfast. This is open to industry. This year’s learning center will offer a full schedule of all attendees of the show. If you are a manufacturer looking for events, panels, and classes geared toward what is important new talent, come have a bite to eat and chat with industry crein product development and new business in 2015. atives and designers. New inventors looking to expand their Inventors have their own invention track this year and will contacts with other people in the industry can also attend. start with classes on how to file a patent with the U.S. Patent The Creative Factor will host a screening of the documenand Trademark Office’s (USPTO) new free Pro Se tary I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story. patent filing program. WarThis documentary chronicles the life of Carren Tuttle, from the United oll Spinney, who brought Sesame Street’s Inventors Association of Big Bird to life and still, at the age of 82, America, will host a class puts on the costume and gives life to this on how to prepare for licharacter. TIA will hold a reception before censing your product to a the event at the theater in Times Square. Atmanufacturer. ChiTAG’s tendees can meet Spinney at the reception Mary Couzin will take atand participate in a Q&A session after the tendees through the show. Email perumeridian@hotmail.com to process of meeting with a inquire about tickets. ■ toy company’s inventor relaThe Creative Factor is sponsored by the tions department to prepare TIA and hosted by Brett Klisch of Peru you not only to pitch your Replicator Mini 3-D compact printer, Meridian Studios. If you have any questions, product, but also to wow the audience. from MakerBot contact perumeridian@hotmail.com. In our demo area, attendees will get to see the process that a new toy idea goes through, from idea to factory. Demonstrations will be given by 3-D modelers on the newest Creative Factor Specifics technology for designing a product on the computer. Attendees • All classes will be held in an on-floor classroom will receive hands-on experience from Formlabs 3D, one of the in Booth 4878, which is in the rear left of Hall 1. most cost-effective 3-D printers on the market. • The demonstrations will be at the bottom of the escalator lobby going down to Hall 1. In response to the crowdfunding trend, we will hold a Kick• Eric Nocella, from Klim Kozinevich, will be at starter panel for attendees to get first-hand knowledge of how the entrance to Hall 1C. people are creating successful campaigns. For those who suc• Peter Kelley, from Formlabs 3D, will be at the cessfully raised their own funding, Charles Berzon of Pro entrance to Hall 1B. Source Global will give a class on how to safely navigate sourc• Quirky.com will be at the entrance to Hall 1A. ing the manufacturing of your product in Asia.

T

FEBRUARY 2015

THE TOY BOOK • 41


S TAT S HOT Dollar Sales, U.S. TOY INDUSTRY Supercategories* Supercategories

2013

2014

Change

Action Figures & Role Play

$1.15 billion

$1.26 billion

10 percent

Building Sets

$1.64 billion

$1.85 billion

13 percent

$1.42 billion

10 percent

$0.64 billion

10 percent

$0.94 billion

6 percent

Arts & Crafts Dolls

Games & Puzzles

Infant & Preschool Toys Youth Electronics

Outdoor & Sports Toys Plush

Vehicles

All Other Toys Grand Total *80 percent estimated toys universe coverage

$0.91 billion

$0.94 billion

$2.22 billion

$2.32 billion

$1.29 billion $2.95 billion

$2.82 billion

$0.59 billion $3.51 billion

$3.61 billion

$0.89 billion $1.25 billion

$1.25 billion

$1.08 billion

$1.08 billion

$17.47 billion

$18.11 billion

3 percent 4 percent

-4 percent 3 percent 0 percent 0 percent

4 percent

Source: The NPD Group/POS Tracking Service

2014 Top Selling Traditional Toy Items Ranked on Dollars Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

42 • THE TOY BOOK

Item Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Hot Wheels Cars Basic Asst. LeapFrog Explorer Licensed Software Asst. Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 8GB MineCraft Core Steve w/Accessory Zoomer Dino Asst. Barbie 3-Story Dream Townhouse Nabi 2 8GB Bundle 7-inch Tablet Disney Frozen Sparkle Doll Asst.

Manufacturer Playmates Toys Jakks Pacific Mattel LeapFrog Samsung Jazwares Spin Master Mattel Fuhu Mattel

Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service

FEBRUARY 2015


european market UPDATE

The British Toy Market Great Britain Is the Largest European Toy Market

FEBRUARY 2015

THE TOY BOOK • 43


perspectives

Toy Industry Association

by Kristin Morency Goldman, communications specialist, Toy Industry Association

T

oy industry professionals can learn everything they want to know about the hottest new trends in toys, licensing, digital play, and more in a series of educational presentations slated to take place at this year’s 112th North American International Toy Fair—a full schedule of seminars can be found at www.toyfairny.com. In the meantime, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) has reached out to industry influencers and analysts in order to give The Toy Book readers a sneak peek at what’s in store for this year. Here’s what they had to say:

based activity. This is part of the bigger ‘Internet of Things’ evolution where consumers expect (and even demand) that ordinary, everyday objects be connected. Toys will be no exception.” Tonda Bunge Sellers, president of Digital Kids Media, the host of this year’s Digital Kids Conference taking place on-site at Toy Fair, agrees that connectivity is key when it comes to tech toys and games. “With the advent of the Internet and ubiquitous mobile devices, we are entering the age of ‘Connected Play,’ The toy industry is churning out a growing which [marries] physical play activinumber of tech toys that have multiple uses ties with the connectivity of the Interand build many different skills. These net through innovative new devices, include open-ended digital toys and creating altogether new play patgames that encourage kids to custerns,” she says. tomize and explore their creativity as Perhaps the most “connected” tech toys they play, as well as “smart” tech toys, currently on the market are those in the such as wearables, smartwatches, and toys toys-to-life category, which exploded in Tech toys, such as Tiggly Words, introduce kids to the fusion of digital and physical play 2011 when Activision’s Skylanders was inthat promote user-generated play. early on. “We are entering the era of ‘Smart Toys troduced, followed closely by Disney Infin2.0,’ where toys not only have some technical component, but ity. These digitally enhanced toys continue to attract the are also much more connected than before,” says Sean Mc- attention of children who have a strong appetite for innovation Gowan, senior analyst of leisure and lifestyle at Needham & and interactive play experiences. “Even Nintendo has entered the category with the holiday Co. “If 1.0 was any toy with a computer chip, and 1.5 was a toy that was related to an app, 2.0 will be toys whose tradi- ’14 launch of its amiibo action figures that connect and intertional play patterns connect the toy with other devices in ways act with compatible games,” says Adrienne Appell, one of TIA’s that greatly enhance the fun of both the toy and the screen- in-house trend experts. “We’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg

What’s Next in Tech?

44 • THE TOY BOOK

FEBRUARY 2015


with the toys-to-life category, and I personally can’t wait to see what’s in store.”

Licensing Trends

In the U.S., licensed toys based on movies, TV shows, and digital properties have been holding strong, accounting for roughly 30 percent of total industry sales over the past few years. The 2013 smash hit Disney Frozen (the highest grossing animated film of all time) has spawned an endless array of products tied to the movie, making it one of the most soughtafter movie licenses in recent history. “From dolls and games to outdoor toys and lifestyle products, Frozen’s Elsa, Anna, and Olaf can be seen in just about every children’s aisle at retail,” says Appell. “With Frozen 2 now in development, this licensing trend will surely hold strong for another couple of years—if not longer.” This year will be another huge year for movie tie-ins. Jurassic World, set for a June release, will have a major impact on toys and games, and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is expected to make a splash both in the U.S. and abroad. “It will have been a whole decade since the last Star Wars film release, and when you think about how much has changed in those 10 years, you realize how different such licenses have become,” notes McGowan. “More countries can access the movies, the purchasing power of the global middle class has grown exponentially (despite recessions in mature markets), and products that would have been impossible to conceive (or produce affordably) a decade ago are now possible.” The proliferation of homegrown properties around the world will, however, continue to create competition for U.S. brands and entertainment franchises, according to licensing and marketing analyst Ira Mayer. “Many of these non-U.S. properties are starting to expand globally,” says Mayer, citing Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, which were brought to life in China and quickly grew in popularity throughout Asia as examples. “With more and more children’s networks going global (and with online and mobile creating media outlets in emerging markets where there were none before), such properties are important both locally and globally.”

Learn More at Toy Fair

Toy industry stakeholders are invited to learn more about the many factors that are expected to drive toy and game sales

46 • THE TOY BOOK

through the upcoming holiday season by attending one of Toy Fair’s trends-focused educational sessions: • The hottest toy and game trends of the year will be unveiled by the TIA at its annual Toy Trends Briefing held on February 15. Free and open to media, buyers, and all other attendees, the presentation is a great way to get an overview of the show’s top trends and see product demos. • The Ninth Annual Digital Kids Conference, presented by Digital Kids Media, will take place on-site at Toy Fair from February 15 to 17. Play professionals who Frozen Karaoke Machine, from Sakar attend will learn how to captivate, engage, and educate children using the latest digital devices, apps, and games. • To help toy professionals understand the fundamentals and inner workings of the licensing world, TIA will host the fourth annual Licensing Content Connection seminar series from February 14 to 15. These presentations will provide toymakers with tips on how to leverage popular licenses to create exciting possibilities. These are just a few of Toy Fair’s many world-class educational offerings, which also include sessions focusing on toy safety regulations and standards, global market research, toy invention and design, tips for specialty retailers, and more. Consult www.toyfairny.com for the full roster of educational opportunities at the show. ■

Owned and operated by the TIA, Toy Fair 2015 will take place February 14 to 17 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Tens of thousands of buyers, media, and play professionals from around the world will be in attendance to write orders and preview hundreds of thousands of playthings on display across nearly 420,000 net square feet of exhibit space.

FEBRUARY 2015


State of the Industry

Some Trends Are Not Friends by Sean McGowan continued from cover NPD says a strong surge in sales in the final 10 days of the year brought December sales to an increase of 6 percent, fourth quarter sales to an increase of 3 percent, and full year sales to an increase of 4 percent. But if retailers, seeing flat sales (at best) in the weeks before that, got nervous and canceled orders, the surge came too late to help shipments, although lower inventories in stores after the surge probably helped. Reviewing my article in this space last year, I think my predictions were mostly on target, but they were also pretty timid, so I don’t want to crow too loudly. My predictions boiled down to four essential points: 1) Emerging markets were finally big enough to “move the needle” for the major multi-nationals, and this would continue; 2) The freshly launched PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Xbox One consoles would take more money from family budgets in 2014 than that category had taken in recent years; 3) Labor costs would continue to rise, but other commodity costs would not rise in a way that couldn’t easily be offset by price increases; and 4) Toys “R” Us could be staging a comeback, but in its efforts to improve its efficiency, it could still wind up not buying a lot more product from its suppliers. As noted, these were not terribly bold predictions. Emerging markets do matter much more to the results of the

48 • THE TOY BOOK

industry’s largest players, and the growth potential in these markets remains one of the industry’s brightest bits of potential upside. But, as Dallas Cowboy fans learned in the playoffs this year, the gods giveth and the gods taketh away. Just as Russia, for example, became one of the fastest growing emerging markets for Hasbro and Mattel, the ruble plunged, taking that economy into recession. Sales of PS4 and Xbox One consoles have exceeded all estimates, Nintendo staged a bit of a comeback late in the year, and the continued success of Disney Infinity and Activision’s Skylanders means that a greater portion of the family “fun” budget has gone to the video game sector, to say nothing of Candy Crush and other addictive mobile games. Commodity costs did, in fact, stay in a manageable range, at least on average, and are actually poised to provide some upside in 2015. And Toys “R” Us did improve its operations considerably—managing inventories better and improving margins— but still saw a drop in holiday sales. For 2015, I will make a few more predictions than last year, and will try to be a bit bolder with each. First, I predict that overall toy sales at retail will grow slightly in 2015, driven mainly by greater consumer discretionary spending (driven by lower gas prices) and by a solid license-driven product cycle. Disney Frozen merchandise should be up in the first half of the year, against sales in early 2014 that were constrained by short supplies. Sales of Star Wars merchandise should be very strong at year-end. (These “Disney book-

FEBRUARY 2015


ends” of Frozen and Star Wars, wrapped around a new Marvel’s Avengers film in May, ensure that Disney will have another very strong year in the toy aisles.) The combination of more money to spend and more reasons to spend it on toys will barely offset the continued pressure on industry sales from other product categories. Second, I predict that consumer spending on digital games will grow strongly. The story in video games in 2014 was mostly a shift in spending from older console products toward newer consoles. But as consumers shelled out $400 to $500 on new consoles, they had less money (at least temporarily) to spend on games. With about 30 million PS4 and Xbox One consoles now in place, those consumers will be eager to buy games, and that spending will be good for the gaming companies—and maybe not so good for traditional toy companies. Third, lower oil prices have already led to big drops in gasoline prices nationwide. I think this will continue for some time, and the lower price of crude oil will reduce transportation costs, as well as the costs of some commodities, most notably resin. Resin prices tend to follow those of crude oil, but in a slow fashion, rising slowly when oil prices surge, and falling gently when oil prices plummet. I believe we have already begun to see resin prices fall in response to falling oil prices, but we should see more significant decreases in the coming months. This may not provide much of a benefit to toy manufacturers until late this year or even next year, given the long lead times on factory pricing, but low oil prices should help toy costs significantly in the future. Fourth (recall: gods giveth/taketh), the strong U.S. dollar is going to be a challenge. Most toys are made in China, and sold to retailers either in yuan or in dollars, which have risen against most other world currencies. This makes the products more expensive. Those toys that are sold to retailers in local currencies are still “bought” by the local subsidiaries in dollars or yuan, and translating the local

FEBRUARY 2015

currencies back to dollars will bring a different kind of pain. It’s been years since the dollar has risen as quickly against the euro, British pound, Canadian dollar, Brazilian real, and other currencies as it did in the final months of 2014. And then, again, there’s the ruble. In short, the strong dollar could wind up wiping out the benefits of lower oil prices, at least as far as costs go. (The benefit to consumer discretionary income should remain.) Fifth, it’s pretty clear that Amazon has reached the tipping point. To the surprise of no one, the online mega retailer now accounts for a high enough share of total sales to be a major factor in everyone’s planning. Because it can offer many, many more SKUs than any other retailer, Amazon can help smaller manufacturers get more effective “shelf” space than they ever could have with traditional retailers. Its customer service and delivery speed (especially for Amazon Prime customers) raise the bar to an impossibly high level for many competitors. The company’s lack of profitability is not going to deter consumers from continuing to increase the amount of business they do with Amazon, and all manufacturers have to recognize that if you aren’t growing with Amazon, you probably aren’t growing. Sixth, the so-called “Internet of Things” is coming fast to the toy industry. Most millennial parents—and virtually ALL children of millennials—expect interactivity in their consumer products. It is no longer simply the anecdotal case of an 18-month old child expecting to be able to “swipe” the images in a book or magazine because that’s what they get from a tablet. It’s about these consumers expecting a degree of connectivity and interactivity in a growing number of the plain old products sitting around the house. The day is fast approaching when it will take more than a cute set of LED lights and a sound chip to make a toy seem to come to life. It’s going to take a degree of personalization and customizacontinued on page 241

THE TOY BOOK • 49


State of the Industry

Toys: By the Numbers

The NPD Group looks at the growth of trends and toy categories from last year and 2013, and offers insight for the market in 2015.

by Juli Lennett, president, The NPD Group’s Toys Division; and David Riley, executive director, The NPD Group

A

ccording to retail sales data* from global information company The NPD Group, after a 1 percent decline in dollars in 2013, U.S. retail sales of toys rebounded last year, growing 4 percent to $18.1 billion versus $17.5 billion generated in 2013. Unit sales also grew slightly at 1 percent over last year to 1.7 billion and, as a result, average retail price (ARP) also grew 2 percent to $10.35.

U.S. Toy Industry Dollar Sales by Quarter Fourth quarter contributes 50 percent of the total annual sales. However, third quarter sales grew two times faster than fourth quarter sales.

Q2

Q1

Q1/Q2

Q3

U.S. Toy Industry Dollar Sales Dollar sales increased 3.6 percent last year. Unit sales grew 1.2 percent, and ARP grew 2.3 percent to $10.35.

Q4

$18.1

$17.5

9

6

3

Dollar Sales in $Billions

2013

2014

Dollar Sales in Billions

The retail sales data represents approximately 80 percent of the U.S. market coverage.** While NPD does not project its toy retail sales data to reflect total market, for readers of The Toy Book, NPD was able to factor up to 100

50 • THE TOY BOOK

0

0

2

4

6

Percent Dollar Change

percent for a total market figure. With this in mind, NPD estimates the U.S. market size for the total toy industry to be in the $22 billion range in 2014. Retail sales over the last holiday shopping season got off to a bumpy start, with the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday experiencing mixed results of -2 percent and 1 percent (compared to the same time periods in 2013), respectively. However, with one extra shopping day the week of Christmas compared to last year, Christmas

FEBRUARY 2015


Supercategory Performance

Top 10 Dollar Growth Subclasses

9 of the 11 super categories posted gains. Building sets and youth electronics grew the fastest at 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Building sets and action figures grew at least two times more than any other subclass.

Outdoor & Sports Toys

Building Sets

Infant/Preschool Toys

Action Figures

Dolls Building Sets

Blasters/Shooters & Accessories

Games/Puzzles

Reusable Compounds

Action Figures

Traditional Plush

Vehicles All Other Toys

Strategic Trading Card Games

Plush

Play Set-Themed Figures & Accessories

Arts & Crafts

Fashion-Themed Dolls & Figures

Youth Electronics 4

3

2

1

0

(150)

(75)

0

75

150

Robotic/Interactive Playmates

225

Electronic Entertainment

Dollar Sales in Billions

Percent Dollar Change in Millions 250

week grew 27 percent, lifting December growth to 6 percent. Fourth quarter sales (October to December) were up 3 percent.*** In terms of sales performance across super categories last year, nine of the 11 super categories increased sales compared to last year. This positive growth was seen nearly across the board. Building sets and youth electronics grew the fastest; building sets increased 13 percent, and youth electronics increased 11 percent. Action figures and games and puzzles had similar results, with each increasing more than 9 percent versus 2013. Properties that drove the growth for these four super categories were: • Building Sets: Lego The Movie, Lego Juniors, and Lego Super Heroes • Youth Electronics: Zoomer, Frozen, and Galaxy Tab Kids • Action Figures: Minecraft, Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles • Games and Puzzles: Pokémon, Frozen, and Simon Looking at top toy properties, Disney Frozen captured the top spot overall and was the top gainer among all toy properties for the year based on absolute dollar growth, generating more than half a billion dollars last year. While Frozen did not capture the top spot in any of the 11 super

200

150

100

50

0

Sales Growth in $Millions

categories NPD tracks, and was the top property in only four of the 100 subclasses (paint kits, fashion styling and dress-up, children’s puzzles, and electronic entertainment), the property was represented in 39 different toy categories. Frozen was the big news story in the toy industry last year. It wasn’t due to that one hot toy that was a category killer, but because of the varied breadth and sheer number Brand and License Performance Licenses, which represent 31 percent of total toy sales ($5.7 billion), grew nearly three times faster than the rest of the market.

6.5

3.5

0.2 Licenses

Brands

All Other

Dollar Percent Change

FEBRUARY 2015

THE TOY BOOK • 51


State of the Industry Top 10 Properties Frozen took the top spot, with sales topping $550 million

Disney Frozen Barbie Ninja Turtles Disney Princess Nerf Star Wars Hot Wheels Lego City Little Tikes Monster High 600

400

200

0

Sales ($Millions) *Does not include Nerf Rebelle sales

of toys. Frozen had more than 300 different items on store shelves last year. Not surprisingly, licenses, which represent 31 percent of total toy sales, or $5.7 billion, grew 6.5 percent—nearly three times faster than the rest of market, which grew 2.3 percent. While the average retail price (ARP) of a licensed toy is

less than a brand, $12.24 for a licensed toy versus $13.02 for a branded toy, the ARP of licensed toys grew 3 percent last year, while the ARP of branded toys declined 4 percent. In terms of the top 10 dollar growth subclasses, there was a nice mix of more traditional boy categories, including building sets, action figures, blasters and shooters, and strategic trading card games; as well as girl categories, including play set-themed figures and fashion-themed dolls and figures. There were also mixed-gender categories that saw growth, including reusable compounds, traditional plush, robotic/interactive playmates, and electronic entertainment. One distinct trend we are seeing—and expect to see more of—are toys with embedded technology in the play. We see this in the last two subclasses on this list: robotic/interactive playmates and electronic entertainment. New product introductions drove the growth in robotic/interactive playmates, including WowWee’s MiP, Moose Toys’ Little Live Pets, and Spin Master’s Digibirds, while Frozen drove the growth in electronic entertainment. While there was a nice mix of growth in boy, girl, and gender-neutral categories, boys’ categories dominated the growth with building sets, action figures, and blasters and shooters, contributing nearly $500 million in sales growth last year. ■

Top 10 Items Five* of the top 10 items last year were also in the top 10 in 2013 Item Description

Corp Manufacturer

1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Figure Asst.*

2

My First Disney Princess Frozen Snow Glow Elsa (New) Jakks Pacific

3

Hot Wheels Car Basic Asst.

Mattel

4

LeapFrog Explorer Licensed Software Asst.*

LeapFrog

5

Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 8GB

Samsung

6

MineCraft Core Steve w/Accessory

Jazwares

7

Zoomer Dino Asst. (New)

Spin Master

8

Barbie 3-Story Dream Townhouse*

Mattel

9

Nabi 2 8GB Bundle 7-inch Tablet*

Fuhu

10 Disney Frozen Sparkle Doll Asst.

52 • THE TOY BOOK

Playmates Toys

Mattel

*Data as of January 13, 2015 data release. **Data is representative of retailers that participate in The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service. NPD’s current estimate is that the Retail Tracking Service represents approximately 80 percent of the U.S. retail market for toys. 2014 data = 52 weeks starting January 5, 2014 through week ending January 3, 2015; 2013 data = 52 weeks starting January 6, 2013 through week ending January 4, 2014. ***Oct-Dec 2014 data = 13 weeks starting October 5, 2014 through week ending January 3, 2015; Oct-Dec 2013 data = 13 weeks starting October 6, 2013 through week ending January 4, 2014.

FEBRUARY 2015


State of the Industry Eva Lorenz, Category Leader, Amazon Toys & Games

Eric Nyman, SVP, Global Brand Strategy and Marketing, Hasbro

How are you engaging consumers to drive sales? We are constantly observing and listening to customers so that we can continue to improve their shopping experience. One major trend we have seen lately is the growth of mobile shopping. Nearly 60 percent of Amazon.com customers shopped using a mobile device during the 2014 holiday season. On Cyber Monday alone, Amazon customers worldwide ordered more than 18 toys per second from a mobile device. As more and more customers browse the latest toys and games on their smartphones and tablets, we are enhancing the discovery and research experience with new editorial content from in-house product experts and toy enthusiasts. These are Amazon employees who live and breathe toys and games every single day—they are in regular contact with manufacturers to hear about the latest innovations, and are always testing new products and keeping up with industry trends. Our goal is to leverage their passion for toys and games to help customers discover something new, even while they are on-the-go. Examples of new editorial content include our Best Toys of the Month feature and personal anecdotes in the 2014 Holiday Toy List.

How do you utilize consumer feedback in product development? Hasbro puts our consumers at the center of everything we do and we’ve seen a tremendous amount of change in the way kids and families play today. Therefore, we conduct extensive research and are in constant conversation with our consumers to better understand their wants and needs and make sure we are delivering the world’s best play experiences. Over the last several years, Hasbro’s marketing team, in conjunction with our consumer insights team, have talked to tens of thousands of kids of all ages through research and in our three Fun Labs around the world. One example that highlights how we’ve utilized consumer feedback in product development is the Marvel Super Hero Masher line. We heard from consumer research that kids wanted more opportunities to customize and personalize their play experiences. Kids not only wanted to pick their favorite superheroes, but also customize them to make them unique by mixing and matching their superhero powers. One day they wanted Spider-Man’s web slinging abilities, but Hulk’s fist smashing hands; the next day they wanted Thor’s gauntlet and Iron Man’s mask. This feedback helped us to better understand there was a need to reinvent and evolve action figures as we know them.

What categories were driving sales in 2014? There were a number of pretty incredible innovations introduced in 2014—everything from wearable technology products, like the LeapFrog LeapBand and VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch, to robotic toys such as [Spin Master’s] Zoomer Dino and Chatsters Gabby Interactive Doll. We also started to see interest from customers in personalized 3-D printed toys, such as the Create Your Own 3D Printed Mixee Me and Create Your Own 3D Printed Bobble Head with Mixee Bobbler. In addition, the Maker Movement continued to gain traction in the industry with MaKey MaKey items, new littleBits products, and Modular Robotics kits. Newly launched active play toys, such as the Nerf Combat Creatures TerraDrone, BOOMco Rapid Madness Blaster, and Zing FireTek Rocket, also generated a lot of excitement.

54 • THE TOY BOOK

What measures have you taken to keep pace with consumer technology expectations? We continue to leverage consumer insights to ensure we are creating the most innovative experiences with our brands. Our marketing, design, and development teams are constantly researching and looking at the latest trends to uncover new technology to bring into our products. We listen closely to kids and consumers through testing to find the right way to integrate technology into our products and ensure the experience is as fun and “friction free” as possible.

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Carter Keithley, President & CEO, Toy Industry Association

Willie Wilkov, Chief Marketing Officer, Tomy International

What challenges are currently facing the toy industry and how is the TIA addressing them? Over the past several years, our industry has done a tremendous amount of work to maintain and strengthen our robust safety standards. Nonetheless, the toy industry continues to be confronted with spurious allegations about the safety of toys and non-toy children’s products. Of course, these misleading allegations often emerge around the holiday season, and they have the potential to damage our industry’s reputation and unnecessarily worry toy-givers. This is especially frustrating given the many proven developmental benefits of toys and play. As part of our ongoing efforts to provide families with accurate information about safe play, in November TIA conducted a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s (U.S. PIRG) Trouble in Toyland reports issued from 2008 through 2013. We determined that PIRG’s reports were based on improper testing methods that are not approved by the federal government, and failed to support the group’s allegations that the identified toys present any danger to children at play. In fact, none of the supposedly hazardous toys identified in the reports from the last six years were recalled as a result of PIRG’s allegations—and 20 percent of the products named by PIRG are not even toys. We provided media outlets with our analysis; our findings were included in more than 50 news stories, including a national NBC package, which aired in more than 30 local markets. We are developing strategies and messages to further educate government, consumers, and the media about the safety of toys and the intrinsic value of play for children of all ages. We have started a dialogue with the emergency and pediatric physician communities to see how we might partner with them to promote messages about safe play, including the use of proper safety gear for ride-on toys and parental supervision at all times.

What categories were driving sales in 2014? What categories will flourish this year? Vehicles, plush, action figures, and role play were category leaders across all of Tomy’s lines—whether from licensed or proprietary brands. We expect 2015 to perform similarly, with an increase in the presence of role play as we dive deeper into that increasingly popular play pattern and spread a little Tomy magic in that category across many of our preschool lines.

FEBRUARY 2015

In what new ways are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers? Social media is completely integrated into the marketing for each of Tomy’s brands. Our communications are designed to drive true engagement, not just push out marketing messages. Tomy’s social media channel content for each of our brands is written and posted by our own employees who are parents themselves, which makes the content honest, real, and approachable—and, consequently, highly engaging for our customers. We are less product-focused and more interest-driven. Our goal is to learn more about what motivates and excites our consumers, which informs not only our communications, but also product design and development. How have you seen consumer expectations change over the past decade? While parents have always expected quality, value, and safety from their children’s toys, now they have the tools to ensure what they are being sold and told is truly what they are buying. When a millennial mom sees a toy featured in a magazine, she’s checking her phone to see what other people have to say about it; she’s going to read reviews posted on retail websites; she’s going to ask her friends about the toy on Facebook; and she’s going to let everyone know what she thinks about a toy if her child has a very positive or negative experience. It’s our mission to make the world smile and we go the extra mile to earn the trust of all our customers across the globe.

THE TOY BOOK • 55


State of the Industry Sharon DiMinico, Founder and CEO, Learning Express

Ben Gadbois, Global President and COO, Spin Master Ltd.

How are Learning Express retailers engaging consumers in-store to drive sales? Every month, our stores publish a full calendar of events to draw people into the store. We engage, we entertain, and have we product demonstrations. We also offer classes, costumed character appearances, and featured guests (silhouette artists, musicians, authors, etc.). We learned early on that customer-centric services and the “wow” factor would be the only way to compete with buying toys online from the comfort of your home. In addition, we recognize that having a strong team is essential to long-term success, so our owners are spending more time training and developing their staff. They are encouraged to take more responsibility in all areas of the business. Having the right product, at the right time, in the right amount, at the right price is another key to driving sales. Lastly, giving your customers “unexpected,” over-the-top service, as well as dramatic merchandising and free giftwrap, are also important elements of continued growth.

Which toy categories do you expect to expand in 2015? Which do you expect to contract? While it isn’t a category itself, robotic technology is advancing the toy industry in revolutionary new ways. Toy robots are nothing new to the market, but over the past few years we are seeing more innovative integration of robotics, allowing kids to do incredible things. From our trainable, voicerecognizing dog, Zoomer, to the autonomous, fiercely independent Zoomer Dino, toys are coming to life and great new play patterns are emerging. This year, we are fusing the latest technology and robotics with the iconic Meccano brand (known as Erector in the U.S.) with our latest robot, Meccanoid G15 KS. Meccanoid embodies the core values of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and empowers children by acting as a fun and engaging way to learn about coding, robotics, and engineering. As society advances, so do our toys and there is a new thirst in the market as consumer behavior shifts toward products that can be both fun and educational. With that in mind, I expect the doll category may contract slightly. Though there are perennial hits within the category, the growth that we’re seeing in others and the shift toward less gender-specific toys means that newer brands may be less successful in the category in the years to come.

How can specialty retailers compete with mass retail in 2015? Shopping a specialty retailer is a much better experience than walking the aisles of a big-box store. Specialty retailers have people who offer a warm greeting, give advice, and answer questions. They have a vested interested in the success of their business so they make sure their customers are happy and 100-percent satisfied with their selection. Although a few of our stores do a big business with Hasbro and Mattel, for the most part we try to support smaller manufacturers whose focus is primarily “specialty.” There is also the advantage of placing reorders up until the week before Christmas. We also participate in all of the shop local promotions that happen throughout the holiday season.

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How have you seen consumer expectations change over the past decade? The impact of technology on consumer behavior cannot be understated. Many toy companies have taken note of this shift in consumer behavior and have created items that fall into the new classification of “phygital”—toys that have both a physical and digital play pattern. This is an exciting new challenge for toy makers, which results in even greater value for consumers. Over time, that added value becomes an expectation. Today’s toys have to be much more than simple playthings; they need to embrace technology, offer multiple ways to interact, and should live on beyond the physical playroom.

FEBRUARY 2015


State of the Industry Simha Kumar, President, Sports and Fitness, Children’s Entertainment, Sears Holdings How are you engaging consumers in-store to drive sales? Kmart is focused on offering the most-desired toys—affordably and conveniently. We feature top licensed toys and hundreds of Kmart exclusives— whether purchasing in-store, buying online and picking up in-store, or having them shipped directly home. Our engagement approach has featured compelling, creative promotions and offers that resonate with our members and customers. Some recent holiday examples included leveraging our popular Fab 15 list of the season’s hottest toys and offering special incentives like free two-day shipping for six months via the Shop Your Way Max program with the online purchase of any Fab 15 toy. Members could also enter a Shop Your Way sweepstakes to win all 15 of the Fab 15 toys, and the annual Kmart holiday toy catalog carried a broad selection of on-trend toys for all ages and stages and featured hundreds of deals and coupons via the online version. How do you differentiate your toy department from the average retail toy department? Kmart features hundreds of exclusive toys, including the WWE 31-inch John Cena action figure, My Little Pony, Holiday Barbie, and more. In addition, we drive added value via our exclusive brands, such as Just Kidz. Our Shop Your Way program is another key point of differentiation. It’s free to join and members get access to special deals, early access to sales, and the ability to earn points and redeem them on future purchases. We’ve also established Kmart as a leading integrated retailer, providing the right mix of toys available in store, online, and via mobile.

58 • THE TOY BOOK

Paul Solomon, Co-CEO, Moose Toys In what new way are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers? The popularity of toy unboxing videos on YouTube has given Moose the opportunity to reach more consumers on platforms other than TV. Moose has seen first-hand how social media allows consumers to engage more directly with our products. For example, Moose garnered more than 11 million views from our animated Shopkins webisodes. We are constantly creating new content for fans to enjoy, which deepens the brand experience. Our webisodes encourage consumers to create their own character stories and share via social media. When fans become brand advocates, they create their own content. The 1.2 million Shopkins videos on YouTube are testament to that. Which toy categories do you expect to expand in 2015? Which do you expect to contract? We will continue to grow in the girls’ category and we are excited to expand the electronic pet category. With Little Live Pets, we will introduce 13 new pet items in 2015. While cute and cuddly will continue to be well-represented in the brand, we think kids are ready to embrace interactive pets from all creepy, crawly walks of life. Expect new technology to bring these pets to life in 2015. What categories were driving sales in 2014? What categories will flourish this year? In 2014, Moose Toys had a breakout year in the U.S. market, becoming a true competitor in multiple toy aisles. We experienced our greatest growth in the girls’ and electronic pet categories with Shopkins and Little Live Pets driving sales. We are especially proud of how our homegrown brands thrived in a year dominated by girl toys attached to a major motion picture-licensed property (brrrr). At Moose, we love creative freedom and we take great pride in our development process, producing toys with wonderful character personalities, amazingly detailed designs, and the latest technology.

FEBRUARY 2015


State of the Industry Geoffrey Greenberg, Co-President, Just Play How do you use 3-D printing in your R&D? Will you incorporate 3-D printing into your consumer offerings in the future? We use 3-D printing extensively in our development process. The quick turnarounds enable for faster approvals and the ability to make changes as needed without a long wait. A designer can be much more precise when working with a printed sample, and it helps move the development process along more quickly. From an innovation perspective, 3-D printing offers a multitude of unique approaches in how we engage consumers in the process. From a development and customization angle, as well as how these products are offered via retail or directly to the consumer, we’ll see how this more accessible form of technology will impact the industry in 2015 and beyond. In what new ways are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers? We try to engage our consumers through a variety of social platforms. It’s a great way to dialogue with our consumers, and we learn so much from that interaction in terms of likes, and even dislikes, about product. We take all of their feedback very seriously and try to incorporate as much as we can into future product. This real-time digital conversation not only empowers consumers to express their opinions and know they’re being heard, but it also enables us to give our consumers exactly what they want and need in a meaningful play experience. How have you seen consumer expectations change over the past decade? What we’re seeing now is almost a hunger for new products at the start of each season, where we see huge spikes in POS as a result of new product introductions. There’s a halo effect across carry-forward items too, but the importance of new items in pulling consumers back into retail each season is growing.

60 • THE TOY BOOK

Søren Torp Laursen, President, Lego Systems How has the success of The Lego Movie helped to transform the entertainment and merchandising arm of Lego? We are thrilled that The Lego Movie captured the attention of so many people around the world last year, serving as an anthem for creative building that drove families to pull out their existing Lego collections or try one of the Lego sets that we had on shelf. While we do not have ambitions to become an entertainment company, we know that storytelling and content—be it film, TV, YouTube tutorials, or fan-generated animations—is an important way that we create relevance while inspiring new ideas for play time. The movie was a perfect validation of our belief in the power of stories, and we look forward to deeper relationships with our content partners to continue to enhance what we do best in delivering fun and creative building sets that inspire children to become their own storytellers. What’s the oddest or most creative product request you’ve received from a consumer? We are amazed by the creativity of Lego builders—even more so by the things they’d like to build. We hear from thousands of fans each year with every request you can imagine and even the ones you can’t—from the obvious things like popular TV and movie franchises and sports mascots to the more obscure, such as replicas of famous inventions and collegiate buildings. The beauty of the Lego system is that we offer thousands of unique elements, making it easy for anyone to build whatever they’d like to see. We have also created a way for fans to bring their dream Lego set to life through Lego Ideas, a crowdsourcing platform where fans submit their proposals and if they receive 10,000 supporters, their creation moves into official consideration to become a real Lego set. Lego Ideas has helped us to create sets such as the Lego Ghostbusters Ecto-1, Lego Back to the Future Delorean, and Lego Research Institute.

FEBRUARY 2015


John Gessert, President, American Plastic Toys

Jazwares

Which toy categories do you expect to expand in 2015? Which do you expect to contract? We are starting to see more interest at the consumer level in toys that promote or support basic play patterns. We have received notes from consumers that complement our products not only for being made in the U.S., but also for providing a basis for good basic role playing that results in active play that promotes imagination. Another role-play area that seems to be increasing from initial line reviews for fall is in doll-related play. It appears that demand for doll accessories has increased for 2015. It appears that the demand for entry-level riding toys is diminishing as we go into 2015. This may be the result of pressure at retail for shelf space more than customer demand or children moving to entry level, more-sophisticated riding toys (e.g., bicycles).

How have you seen consumer expectations change over the past decade? Over the past 10 years, the convergence of toys and entertainment has been unprecedented. Consumers have come to expect both online and offline experiences from their favorite brands. It’s not enough anymore to create a new toy. Stories, videos, and other content is needed to really engage kids and toy fans of all ages. This leads into another big change: If you want to reach consumers today, traditional formulas from years ago need to be augmented with strategies that include communication across multiple social platforms. Kids are engaging in new ways with different types of media; they might interact simply by sharing images and video of exciting new toys on various social channels or become avid fans and essentially create celebrities on YouTube. They want the whole experience and the brands of tomorrow will have to provide it in accessible and innovative ways to stand out from the crowd.

How have you seen consumer expectations change over the past decade? The two main areas where we have seen a change in customer expectations are in accessibility and assembly. Today’s customer expects to be able to find, examine, purchase, and praise or complain about products. They want—and, frankly, expect—to be able to do all of these activities at the tip of their finger, or thumb, as is more often the case today. The second would be ease of assembling products. Customers are placing a high value on ease of assembly more so today than in the past. It doesn’t seem that consumers are against all products that require assembly. They seem to take issue with excessive assembly. In response to this trend, we have both engineered and re-engineered products to reduce the amount of assembly, trimming of parts from clusters, and eliminating fasteners like screws.

How do you use 3-D printing in your R&D? Will you incorporate 3-D printing into your consumer offerings in the future? We are extremely happy with the 3-D printer and rapid prototype machines here at Jazwares, which help us to design products that are of superior quality. We use the machines specifically to determine the best size, scale, and articulation for figures. This allows us to then create samples for customers and to better share our vision with licensors. Our digital team has been working on some creative ways to meld our 3-D outputs with customizable skins that may be available to consumers in the future.

FEBRUARY 2015

Laura Zebersky, CCO and EVP,

Which categories were driving sales in 2014? Which categories will flourish this year? The global success of action figures related to gaming properties, such as Minecraft, Plants vs. Zombies, and Terraria, will continue well into 2015 and beyond. Content for preschoolers is better than ever and after our successful 2014 launch of Chuck and Friends, we are thrilled to be launching Peppa Pig in 2015.

THE TOY BOOK • 61


State of the Industry Jay Foreman, President and CEO, The Bridge Direct

Tony Norman, Co-Founder, President, and CEO, Innovation First International

Which licenses do you anticipate will be key drivers in 2015? I think everyone would agree on The Avengers, Frozen, Cinderella, Minions, and Star Wars, along with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; however, there are a few nontraditional brands emerging from toy companies, like Shopkins, that should be considered.

How do you use 3-D printing in your R&D? Do you plan to incorporate 3-D printing into your consumer offerings in the future? We have three commercial-grade 3-D printers at Hexbug headquarters that run pretty much continuously. Design is iterative, and our 3-D printers enable us to engage in rapid prototyping. This rapid prototyping allows us to get real working samples out to focus groups quickly and frequently, so as to gather feedback and make the necessary changes prior to starting production. This highly accelerated production process significantly reduces our time to market and sets us apart from other toy companies.

Which toy categories do you expect to expand in 2015? Which do you expect to contract? Certainly boys’ action will be hot and probably as hot as dolls was in 2015. Without anything new seeming to emerge to displace Frozen, I’d expect that category to slow a bit, as it won’t be easy to keep the volume up in that category. How have you seen consumer expectations change over the past decade? I think access is the biggest way their expectations have changed. The Internet has allowed greater access to more product, broader distribution, pricing transparency, and free or low cost at-home delivery. On top of that, the consumer is looking for value, more so than ever, and knows how to find it. What’s the oddest or most creative product request you’ve received from a consumer? When I was still making Britney Spears dolls, consumers were asking us to make bald dolls to replicate her look when she shaved her head. I guess it’s not always about “hair play!” In what new way are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers? We are doing all we can to stay on top of social media and all the emerging ways and concepts hitting the market. It’s a full-time job just trying to stay one step ahead. YouTube and Facebook are still our biggest ways to reach consumers directly, but what do I know... I still carry a flip phone!

62 • THE TOY BOOK

In what new ways are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers? Social media is an incredibly useful platform that allows us to engage in a two-way conversation with our customers on a much deeper level than we could ever do before. Through social media, we are better able to understand exactly who our customers are and how they are talking about our brands, which enables us to deliver more valuable content to them. Across all social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook), we host contests and giveaways and take opinion polls to engage with consumers in a fun, social manner. It’s our goal to provoke consumers to speak about our product through the use of content, so that we can best learn from their insights. Which toy categories do you expect to expand in 2015? Which do you expect to contract? Retailers are establishing a dedicated space for the robotics construction category. We are committed to being the major player in this space with our booming VEX Robotics line. It’s going to be another big year for STEM.

FEBRUARY 2015


State of the Industry Kathleen McHugh, President American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) How can specialty retailers compete in 2015? ASTRA is launching an exciting new program that is designed to help independent specialty retailers position their stores as destinations. The program will offer exclusive products for ASTRA member retailers that will not be available elsewhere. What’s unique about this effort is that manufacturers have submitted proposals for exclusive ASTRA products, and a committee of retailers is reviewing them to ensure that they are good fits with what our storeowners need. In addition to offering the products only to ASTRA stores, the manufacturers who are selected will also provide marketing support. This is one way that we are helping retailers compete in an environment where so many manufacturers are offering their products at different price points online. We are also building systems that will make it easier for ASTRA members to get member-only discounts on product, and we are increasing our capacity to coordinate co-op advertising and play day information. Working together in the specialty toy industry to synchronize all these resources will save time and money. What challenges are facing the specialty toy industry and how is ASTRA addressing them? Big ticket items moved slowly in 2014, so we will help retailers share their strategies either for increasing sales of those items or making the decision to limit the amount of those items they carry. We continue to see the disappearance of Generation X from brick-andmortar stores, thanks to their preference for the convenience of buying online. We will continue to help retailers broadcast the Shop Local message, which resonates with those shoppers, and to make their stores more of a destination for family outings and events.

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In what new ways are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers? We engage with consumers across all brand and corporate social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as retailer sites, like Wal-Mart and Kohl’s. At Mattel, we have a fully functioning reporting and engineering team dedicated to understanding what the consumer is saying and turning that data into actionable improvements for both our manufacturing and design process. How do you use 3-D printing in your R&D? Do you plan to incorporate 3-D printing into your consumer offerings in the future? 3-D printing has been an integral part of our toy design process for many years. It enables us to more effectively communicate the vision to internal and external stakeholders, rapidly iterate on product concept prototypes, as well as improve time to market. With the rise in popularity of customization, we see 3-D printing as an intriguing way for consumers to more deeply insert themselves into their favorite brands and take control of their play experience. Which licenses do you anticipate will be key drivers in 2015? Thomas and Friends is the No. 1 infant-preschool license globally and we’re #ThomasObsessed in 2015 as the brand celebrates 70 years of friendship. From the opening of the first U.S. Thomas Land theme park this summer and Thomas’ Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon to the biggest content pipeline ever, 2015 will be an unprecedented year of branded programs and activations for Thomas and his fans. We also partner with the best, from Universal and Nickelodeon to Disney and WWE, and we are very excited for our 2015 collaborations on some of their hottest brands. For the first time ever, Hot Wheels and Star Wars have come together to provide a thrilling—and unique—vehicle experience for fans of all ages with both “inspired by” cars and authentic replica vehicles. Additionally, Mattel’s newest brand, Mega Bloks, will bring the big screen to life through construction play with Minions and SpongeBob.

FEBRUARY 2015


State of the Industry

THE (CONTINUING) EVOLUTION OF TOYS, AND THE COMING OF TOYS 4.0 by Bruce D. Lund, founder, Lund and Co. Invention LLC

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e see it happening before our very eyes: I can feel the ground move under my feet as the toy business changes, convulses, and evolves. The tidal wave of children’s tablets and smartphones with toy and game combinations that we thought would be the undoing of us all has quieted. Now, waves of drones and robots are on the rise, capturing headlines and the public’s attention. They’re popping up all over—and not just in toy retailers, but at electronics retailers and other non-toy specific outlets. The Internet of Things, aka “IoT,” is one of the next big things in technology. It will no doubt become part of the toy industry and toys will be in communication with us, each other, your kitchen appliances, and satellites circling the Earth—all interconnected for reasons that will become clear to us one day. Apple’s Siri system has evolved into dolls and plush that seem to carry on a real conversation with kids. Not to mention, wearable electronics will continue to evolve and expand. One component of Toys 4.0 will be sophisticated, interactive, and intelligent electronics. That, at least, seems abundantly clear. Yet, those electronics do not lend themselves to many product categories in the same way that plastic universally replaced metal and wood as the choice material for toys. We see the innovation of smaller, more agile, and inventive companies taking business away from the lumbering giants that are less able to innovate and are forced to deploy their resources to feed the insatiable maw of their existing brands. These behemoths are left with little or no room for real innovation, new brands, or new technologies. We see the consumer fatigued by some of these older brands. The toys their grandfathers played with do not hold the allure of the new and never-before-seen. These brands become tired and lack freshness in the face of the fireworks of the new

66 • THE TOY BOOK

flashier items and product ranges. All things come to an end—whether it be the Roman Empire or the once-masters-of-the-sea, the British Navy. Child World and Kiddie City were once prominent toy retailers that have long-since disappeared. Today, Toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart struggle to maintain their once dominant positions, as forces such as Amazon threaten their leadership in the toy arena. As manufacturers such as Worlds of Wonder, Trendmasters, and so many others disappeared from the landscape, so, too, may we be seeing the twilight of once-dominant brands and companies. They will also slip into the shadows of toy history, to be replaced by newer, fresher, more exciting, edgier, or more sophisticated concepts. History teaches the inexorable march of the new. Industry 4.0 is on the cusp, according to those whose business it is to observe and comment on such things. It is a developing new generation of factories and products, industrial, commercial, and consumer, though it is not yet close enough to clearly define. Toys 4.0 is evolving before our eyes, but has not yet taken clear final form. The transition from metal to plastic took a decade or more, and only in hindsight would it have been clear that the transition to a new state of the industry took place. The times they are a-changin’. It’s just not yet clear how. ■ Bruce D. Lund has been a constant champion of the toy industry for more than 30 years, and both he and his team have invented some of the hottest toys and games on the market. After a brief stint at the Marvin Glass & Associates studio in Chicago, Lund started his own toy design and product invention company. He has created hundreds of toys and games, including TMX Elmo, Baby Alive Sip ’n Slurp, Baby Alive Yummy Treats, Uno Roboto, Dino Construction Company, and more.

FEBRUARY 2015


KIDZ IDZ GLOBAL LOBAL PRESENTS RESENTS TOP OP TOY OY BRANDS RANDS FOR FOR GIRLS IRLS AND AND BOYS OYS

K

idz Global, in exclusive partnership with the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), has announced the results of a major new research project undertaken through its BrandTrends service. This targeted research reveals the top favorite brands and licenses of children and young people worldwide across a variety of product categories, including toys, fashion, video games, films, books, and sports teams. In the toys sector, Disney, Lego, Hot Wheels, and Barbie were consistently found in the top 10 favorites of children worldwide. In the U.S., Lego is the No.1 brand for boys and Barbie is the No.1 brand for girls. Research revealed that toys follow gender specific demarcation except for Lego and Fisher-Price for the youngest, which appear in the top 10 for both boys and girls.

PERCENT OF SPONTANEOUS MENTIONS—BOYS Lego

24.8%

Nerf

Hot Wheels Fisher-Price Mattel

Disney Marvel

Disney•Pixar Cars Hasbro

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

PERCENT OF SPONTANEOUS MENTIONS—GIRLS Barbie

13.5%

6.0%

Monster High

7.4%

4.1%

Lego

10.6%

Disney

4.2%

Mattel

2.6%

Fisher-Price

2.5%

My Little Pony

1.9%

Hello Kitty

2.1%

Hasbro

1.8%

American Girl

9.3% 7.1% 6.4% 4.9% 3.7% 2.9% 2.9% 2.2%

Source: The BrandTrends Research Project—study commissioned by LIMA

In addition, favorite toy brands and licenses originated as toys rather than from other entertainment categories. More interestingly, none of the licenses in either the boys’ or girls’ toy lists are less than 3 years old, with the exception of Disney Frozen.

Methodology This worldwide survey was conducted with systematic and consistent tracking procedures, using unaided awareness research techniques to reveal kids’ top three favorite brands and licenses across a large variety of categories, including entertainment, lifestyle, sports, and food and beverage. The BrandTrends research methodology specifically requires “unaided mentions,” ensuring that the final data is both reliable and highly accurate. The children (or their parents for the youngest kids) completely and spontaneously named their “top three” brands and licenses. The data was then edited and aggregated to reflect the opinions and favorites of the total population of children and young people.

FEBRUARY 2015

THE TOY BOOK • 67


What’s New

Tomy Launches New Miles from Tomorrowland Toy Line

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isney Junior’s Miles from Tomorrowland is a new intergalactic adventure series that incorporates unique space and science facts into the storylines that chart the outer space missions of Miles Callisto and his family. Miles’ family helps connect the galaxy on behalf of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and includes Miles’ Mom, Phoebe, the ship’s captain; Leo, Miles’ mechanical engineer dad; his tech-savvy big sister Loretta; and his best friend and pet robo-ostrich Merc. Together they explore new galaxies filled with peculiar aliens, space-age vehicles, and high-tech gadgets. The Callistos take viewers on a futuristic journey designed to fuel kids’ natural interest in space and remind Stellosphere them of the importance of things much closer to home—family bonds. Tomy will bring storytelling and space adventure to life with its innovative toy line that captures the sense of wonder and exploration of Miles from Tomorrowland. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the line focuses on long-standing play patterns and includes vehicles, figures, play sets, and role-play toys. This toy line allows kids to re-create adventures from the TV episodes or invent new stories from their own imaginations for Miles and his friends. The line will also feature big action with large-scale characters featuring voices and accessories. The entire line is interconnected with a design that provides added features and additional play value. Key products are expected to be at retail in August. The Stellosphere is a three-ships-in-one play set that serves as the Callisto family’s home base. The Stellosphere transforms into a play set that includes a Mini StarJetter, a Top Ship, and a Cross Vehicle Rocket System that attaches to all three ships, as well as to all vehicles across the Miles from Tomorrowland toy line, adding lights and sounds. The Maximum Miles figure is a 10-inch-tall Miles and features his Laserang and Blastboard gadgets. Maximum Miles speaks eight phrases from the show and recognizes his gadgets—the Laserang lights up when it is in Miles’ hand and the Blastboard lights up when it is placed on his Maximum feet. Maximum Miles can also ride on the back of Miles the Maximum Merc figure, sold separately. The Superstellar Blastboard is a role-play gadget that provides three balancing games: Blastboard Surfing, Light Speed, and Free Play. Designed for kids ages 4 to 8, the Superstellar Blastboard Blastboard features lights and sounds to keep kids engaged. In addition to Miles from Tomorrowland, Tomy’s Sonic Boom toy line will showcase new character introductions and will feature new play patterns based on both the new game launching this fall and the TV series. Tomy will expand its Sonic Boom toy range across multiple categories, including plush, action figures, R/C, role play, and novelty. New to the line are the Sonic Boom Power Sneakers, which illuminate with movement and feature a skidding sound.

68 • THE TOY BOOK

FEBRUARY 2015


What’s New Glow, Learn, Explore with University Games

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reat Explorations, a line from University Games that encourages curiosity and exploration with glowing celestial experiences, will expand this year to include the Glowing Planetarium. With its fiery orange appearance, the Glowing Planetarium serves as the perfect sun for any solar system. It projects stars onto walls as it rotates, creating an immersive celestial experience. The new line of Great Explorations STEAM Learning Kits teaches kids about science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics through hands-on activities led by Professor Flubberstein. With the Build Your Own Robot Kit, kids can build a dancing robot while learning about pulleys, circuits, voltage, and current. In the Egg Drop Kit, kids explore a classic engineering challenge while learning about force, design, and efficiency. The line features more than 10 kits with different activities to appeal to all interests.

Jazwares Brings Virtual Worlds to Life

J

azwares will launch its second sandbox gaming toy line with characters from the video game Terraria. Fans will now have the chance to take the virtual fun into the real world with this toy line, which includes figures, role-play products, play sets, plush, and electronics, including the Night’s Edge Sword and the Biome multi-level play set with an exclusive figure. Jazwares’ launch of a Peppa Pig toy line will encourage imagination and creativity as Peppa will have an accessory, plush, or play set for every occasion. The toy line includes Peppa’s Family Campervan, which includes two Peppa figures, a grill, and a table. Blueprints Paper Craft lets kids discover ways to take what they see in the virMarvel Paper Craft tual world and physically re-create it in the real world. The line includes figures, vehicles, and entire play environments all made from paper. Paper Craft will be available in licenses including Barbie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Marvel, Star Wars, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Jazwares will release three new series of Bungees characters, along with new game boards and accessories so players can become the ultimate Bungees Masters. The line will debut new Bungees characters for series two, a new collectors board for the deluxe pack, and a battleground expansion pack that includes extra accessories. Jazwares will launch new Teen Titans Go! toys, including a new line of 5-inch articulated figures featuring Night Wing and Speedy. The line will also expand into plush, figures, play sets, and role play to enhance Bungees Battleground game play and imagination.

70 • THE TOY BOOK

FEBRUARY 2015


What’s New Sakar Brings Frozen Hits to Karaoke

S

akar International introduces its Frozen karaoke line, which includes a variety of easy-to-use karaoke systems for Frozen fans. The Frozen Karaoke Machine with Flashing Lights includes a handheld microphone and Anna and Elsa graphics. Kids can connect a smart device to play their own songs or sing along to “Let It Go,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” and “In Summer.” Sakar will also roll out Frozen-inspired alarm clocks, walkie-talkies, digital cameras, and more. For Power Rangers fans, Sakar will roll out Super Mega Force-branded headphones, earbuds, speakers, cameras, and more. Kids will also be able to create their own music with Power Ranger-inspired acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, microphones, and tambourines. In addition, a line of Power Rangers cameras and digital recorders will be available for users to record and share their own action-packed adventures.

Frozen Karaoke Machine with Flashing Lights

Hasbro Sends Spuds to Save the Day

M

r. Potato Head Marvel Mixable, Mashable Heroes, from Hasbro, allow kids to mix and match pieces from Marvel characters, including Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, and more. Each 2-inch Mr. Potato Head figure also includes one or two sets of three-piece superhero costumes. The costumes include masks, armor, signature weapons, and more. Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron Iron Man Arc FX Gloves feature a light-up repulsor in the palm of one glove. Kids can raise their hand to activate lights and blasting sound effects from the articulated glove. The Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron Hulk Gamma Grip Fists are flexing foam hands that let kids grip and grab. Twister Moves Skip-It features a built-in counter that keeps track of kids’ movements as they skip to beat their best score. Twister Moves Hoop also has a built-in counter so kids can track how many spins they’ve completed. To enhance play with these products, kids can wear the Twister Moves Tracker band to count moves while walking, running, dancing, jumping, and more. The band includes eight mini games for more ways to move.

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Mr. Potato Head Marvel Mixable, Mashable Heroes

Zing Brand Toys’ Rockets Fire Skyward

T

he Firetek Rocket, from Zing Brand Toys, is the newest addition to the Air Storm Firetek line with lights and sounds, ready for outdoor day or night fun. Kids can turn the light switch on the rocket to power up the action, then attach it to the launcher, pull the tab, and let it fly. The whistle-screaming arrows fly up to 250 feet high. Zing Brand Firetek Rocket Toys will also expand the distribution of its Air Hunter and Air Huntress Firetek Bows. These bows, which let kids send arrows screaming through the air up to 145 feet, will now be available at retailers nationwide.

FEBRUARY 2015


What’s New

The Bridge Direct Takes New Direction with Proprietary Lines

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he Bridge Direct will launch three new internally developed brands this year: Bun Bun!, Make 2 Wear Strand Bands, and Mystro. Debuting this spring, Bun Bun! is a new collectible plush line based on the worldwide trend of stylized, Twinkie-shaped, stackable plush that are reminiscent of the Beanie Baby obsession. The first Bun Bun! collection will arrive at specialty retailers early this year as the newest entry to the “piled-up plush” craze. Named after the Urban Dictionary term for “a sweet significant other; one you like to squeeze and kiss,” Bun Buns come in a range of sizes from mini to jumbo and an assortment of original characters, including Kit Kit the Cat, Pup Pup the Dog, and Shu Shu the Monkey. Another hot trend that has spiked in recent years is do-it-yourself fashion accessory kits, and The Bridge Direct has a new launch in that space under its Make 2 Wear brand. Much like Rainbow Loom was in its unprecedented debut, Strand Bands are unique in the current market. The soft and stretchy Strand Bands, along with the helpful Strand Band Styler tool, offer kids a simple and fun way to braid, weave, bead, or fringe customized stylish bracelets that can be taken on and off with ease. “The secret is the super strong—yet soft to the touch—latex strands, which come from an exclusive supplier only contracted by us to produce this material for this product category, as well as our patentpending styling tool, which allows the user to craft great DIY accessories,” says Jay Foreman, CEO and president, The Bridge Direct. The peel-apart Strand Bands let kids control the thickness of their designs and create endless colorful and mixable styles with beads and charms. The M2W Strand Band Styler is a unique apparatus designed specifically for versatile use on a lap or table top. It features a sturdy clip, an open center for easy weaving, and cut out slits on the bottom to tightly hold bands in place. Expected to arrive in stores this summer, the Make 2 Wear line is for kids ages 8 and up. Lastly, The Bridge Direct has created an original and innovative electronic musical memory game called Mystro. Through a pattern of lights and sounds, the game challenges players’ skills to follow both visual and auditory cues in order to create a song. A variety of musical choices are offered—such as classical, electronic, and popular favorites—so there’s a style for everyone. This musical brain teaser features various game modes, different play levels, a sleek modern design, and a convenient size that makes it the right size for traveling. Targeted to kids ages 6 and up, Mystro will be available at retail in the fall. Make 2 Wear Strand Bands

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FEBRUARY 2015


What’s New

Uncle Milton Super-Sizes Fun

U

ncle Milton will expand the Dino X Team brand this year with the Skeletal Slime Chamber. Kids can extract dinosaur bones out of a slimy green preservation gel and then build the bones into a complete dinosaur skeleton replica. Once their dinos are complete, kids can put them back into the slime chamber for display on a light-up base. Kids can collect and display three different dinosaurs. The new Super Moon In My Room is more than 35 percent larger than the original Moon In My Room and it automatically matches the light of the real moon outside. Super Moon In My Room also has a special solar eclipse light effect and includes soothing nighttime sounds and sound bytes from the original moon landing. Kids can manually set the moon to 12 different lunar phases using the included remote control. Scare Factor is a brand that lets everyone in on the fun of scaring friends and family. Gross-out Slime Labs and a fun Scare Projector with which to tell scary stories will bring kids creepy fun. Each product in the line features a “scare meter” on the packaging, rating each toy from “Scary,” to “Hideous,” to “Ahhhhh!”

Spin Master Kicks into Spy Gear

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pin Master’s Spy Gear line gains three new items this fall, including the Spy Gear Snake Cam, which lets kids see around corners and underneath doors, and Spy Gear Ultimate Night Vision, which enables navigation in pitch-black conditions and sight for up to 50 feet away, thanks to infrared technology that creates an invisible stealth beam. Users can switch between short- and long-range vision modes. With the press of a button, the Spy Gear Video Walkie Talkies can wirelessly communicate with both video and audio for up to 160 feet, no Wi-Fi or 3G mobile network required. The walkie talkies have a foldable design that allows for compact storage and screen protection. Spin Master will introduce a new character to its Flutterbye Fairies line, Flutterbye Fairy Princess. The figure arrives dressed for a celebratory ball, and glides across the air, guided along by kids’ hands. Arriving this fall, Flutterbye Fairy Princess comes with a USB charger and a base. Another addition to the line is the Flutterbye Unicorn, who leads the way to the ball. Kids can magically fly this unicorn, which comes with a charging base, with their hands. DigiBirds are full of animated movements, and can tweet and sing on command. Blowing into the included Whistle Ring activates their songs, and collecting and synching together multiple birds results in a choir that harmonizes as they sing. DigiBirds now come in new styles—DigiChicks, DigiPenguins, and DigiOwls—and each bird type is available in multiple designs. A downloadable app unlocks more songs.

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DigiPenguin

FEBRUARY 2015


What’s New Alex Soars and Slinks into Fun

A

lex Brands’ Poof Turbo Tunnel Ball is a hollow football that kids can throw more than 360 feet. Modeled after an airplane wing, the ball is made of soft foam. The new Sound FX Slinky is a walking, talking, spring toy. This motion-activated Slinky makes 10 different sounds as kids watch it flip and walk. Both products are designed for kids ages 5 and up.

PPW Toys Bakes Bad

P

PW Toys’ latest addition to the PopTaters line, Mr. Potato Head Fries-enberg, portrays the likeness of Walter White, aka Heisenberg from AMC’s Breaking Bad, in spud form. Under license by Hasbro and Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Fries-enberg’s parts and pieces are removable and interchangeable, just like the classic Mr. Potato Head. The parts can be mixed and matched with any of PPW’s other PopTaters. This collectible item will be available in the spring at specialty online and brick-andmortar retailers.

Thinkway Brings Back Disney•Pixar Favorites

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all-E and Eve are back in Thinkway Toys’ Disney•Pixar collection, designed for kids ages 4 and up. With Interaction Eve, kids can play in five interactive modes that bring Eve to life with voice, light-up eyes, multiple expressions, and flying sound effects. In Talk Mode, Eve will respond to a kid’s voice, and in Flying Mode, users can tilt Eve up and down for flying sounds or hold her upright for landing sounds. Interaction Eve can be moved around on the base and is compatible with Wall-E, which is sold separately. U-Command Wall-E allows kids to control his realistic expressions, light-up eyes, original movie voice, sound effects, movements, and more. Using the infrared remote control, kids can pre-program their own action sequences and watch their roU-Command Wall-E bots carry out the commands. Wall-E stands 9 inches tall and features animated arms, turning track wheels, and blinking, light-up eyes. From The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible Talking Superhero is built for action. Kids can raise his arm, pull his leg, press his chest button, and turn his waist for original voice and sound effects. Finally, Interaction Nemo allows kids to play with Nemo in three different modes: Talk Mode, Action Mode, and Explore Mode. Nemo talks and moves with sound effects and has smart sensors that allow him to detect if there’s an object in front of him and then back away from it. Mr. Incredible

Talking Superhero

78 • THE TOY BOOK

FEBRUARY 2015


Property Profile

Continues

AFTER MORE THAN 40 YEARS,

to Puzzle America

THE TOY BOOK CHATS WITH HOLLY RIEHL, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF RUBIK’S BRAND USA, ABOUT WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE TOY THAT CHANGED AMERICA. Tell us about the rise of the Rubik’s Cube and its effect on Amer- ular today? ican pop culture. It starts with the colors, tactile appeal, and challenge. Rubik’s Cube is the addictive puzzle that has fascinated Everyone wants to hold it, twist it, and try to solve it. Also, with fans of all ages since the craze of the 1980s. Having just cele- the resurgence of traditional toys and parents seeking fewer brated its 40th anniversary, it still remains the bestselling toy electronic gadgets, the Rubik’s Cube remains a perfect toy and gift for every occasion. The famous Cube is universally enterto date, with more than 400 million Cubes sold worldwide. taining, while teaching STEM concepts, problem-solving skills, Hungarian lecturer and Proand—of course—patience. fessor of architecture Erno Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube in the early 1970s and The Rubik’s Cube was inducted into the National Toy patented his puzzling creation. Hall of Fame this year. What does this new achievement The Cube was then brought to mean for the toy? the U.S., where it kicked off a First, it is a great honor to be global sensation that has grown recognized by the Toy Hall of Fame beyond the Cube itself. People and selected based on the organieven wrote books on how to zation’s criteria of iconic status, longevity, fostering discovery, solve the Cube, and they held and exemplifying innovation. first, second, and third place Over the years, the Rubik’s spots on The New York Times New innovations on the Rubik’s Cube include Cube was a finalist five times, bestseller list of paperbacks. the Speed Cube (left) and the Rubik’s Void (right). but the difference last year was Rubik’s Cube also inspired songs that the initial 1,100 nominations were generated by an eleand its own Saturday morning TV program. It was used to create a range of art, including mosaics, and it is consistently fea- mentary school that experienced the STEM benefits through tured in media as a symbol of intelligence, frustration, and the educational community outreach program You Can Do the challenge. Plus, Rubik’s Cube has inspired organized speed Rubik’s Cube. Through social media, the initial nominations competitions in more than 50 countries with World Rubik’s led to thousands of global nominations from Rubik’s fans past and present. We are very proud to take our place in the Toy Cube Championships held every two years. Hall of Fame alongside other timeless classics such as MonopWhat is it about the Rubik’s Cube that continues to make it pop- oly and Barbie.

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What’s next for the Rubik’s brand this year and beyond? New innovations are plentiful within the range of Rubik’s. Recently we launched redesigned 2-by-2 and 3-by-3 Rubik’s Cubes, which have smoother action and tougher tiles (so consumers can no longer cheat by peeling off the stickers). Another great innovation is the Rubik’s Void, which gives a “hole” new challenge for any keen puzzle enthusiast and Cube enthusiast. Last year saw the launch of the long-awaited Speed Cube. This revolutionary design allows the solver to customize the tension, which affects the speed—which is of course very

important to our speed cuber fans. The Liberty Science Center premiered the world’s first museum exhibition about Rubik’s Cube, which is touring the U.S. throughout this year and then it will debut around the world for the next seven years. The Rubik’s Brand is also inspiring an expanding thirdparty range of products with U.S. licensing agent The Sharpe Co., including Rubik’s-branded apparel, stationery, and housewares targeting a wide audience of the 1980s generation of retro buyers and ensuring Rubik’s is present in the lives of the next generation. ■

Rubik’s Licensed Products The iconic Melting Cube T Shirt was nominated for a Licensing Excellence Award last year, and this year, the licensee will expand the style of the shirt into an entire line, including hoodies, onesies, towels, wall art, rugs, and mugs.

The Robe Factory’s Rubik’s Cube Fridge keeps food and drinks cold, while adding retro cool style to any room. The mini fridge portrays a foreverunsolved Cube and can hold up to nine cans of soda.

FEBRUARY 2015

Novelty gifts, from Rubik’s Ltd. and Robe Factory, Paladone, and Intermed, include mugs, iPhone cases, stationery, coasters, and pens featuring the iconic, colorful puzzle.

Rubik’s Cube Light, from Paladone, lets fans of the puzzle light up any room in style, while also putting their puzzle-solving skills to the ultimate test. This fully functioning Cube features LED lights to illuminate any room, or put a fun, bright twist on gameplay.

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What’s New Hog Wild Makes Bedtime Less Scary with Brobo

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og Wild’s new light buddy, Brobo, is a daytime toy and nighttime sleep solution. Featuring both light and dim modes, Brobo gives little ones control over the darkness and shadows that sometimes make bedtime difficult, all from the safety of their own beds. Brobo is a soft, plush robot with a five-minute auto shutoff with LED lights that are cool to the touch. Kids can simply swipe Brobo’s right hand across his chest to activate flashlight mode. Swiping his right hand across his chest again activates nightlight mode. Brobo comes in five different characters: Brobo, Pep, Trex, Mumu, and Dog. There is also a free kidfriendly Brobo Bounce app available. Hog Wild will also introduce Unicorn and Sea Life Poppers. The poppers shoot six colored soft foam balls up to 20 feet when kids squeeze their bellies.

Brobo

Pacific Play Tents Gives Playhouses Personality The Ballerina Pavilion, from Pacific Play Tents, provides a fun dress-up room, prop, and showroom for little ones to be the star of their own show. Pink and purple pastel colors make an eye-catching pavilion that can be placed in any room. This 100-percent cotton canvas pavilion is designed for kids ages 3 and up and features a metal structure frame, an attached floor, and two mesh windows. TawrTus the Turtle Dome Tent and Tunnel Combo features the smiling face of the turtle as the tunnel, while the tent is the shell. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, TawrTus packs compactly for portability and features mesh top panels and easy setup. Kids can design their own teepee with the Cotton Canvas TeePee with Paint set. The blank canvas teepee stands 64 inches tall and has four sides for kids to paint inside and out. This teepee is made sturdy with four wooden poles, which allow for easy assembly and extra durability. Kids will love the dual windows and the roll-up door on the Heart Girl Playhouse Ballerina Pavilion Tent. There is also a tunnel port in the back to add the Heart Girl Tunnel, which features padded wires and folds flat. The Heart Girl Playhouse Tent can be used indoors and outdoors. The Heart Girl Dome Tent can be used alone or can be combined with the Heart Girl connecting tunnel. It is sturdy, durable, and includes a Heart Girl storybook. The Heart Girl 10ft Parachute provides hours of imaginative play. The parachute has enough handles for up to 12 kids to play. The unique design is sturdy, playful, and eye-catching, and comes with a Heart Girl storybook. The Presto tent comes pre-assembled. Parents simply remove the tent from the carry bag and pull the string upward. This cabana has the structural stability to withstand wind and provide protection from harmful UV rays. A touch in the center brings the tent back down.

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What’s New Hexbug Expands Underwater World

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he colorful school of Hexbug Aquabot robotic fish expands to deeper depths with a new Jellyfish, Seahorse, and remote control Angelfish. Kids ages 3 and up can expand their collection with these new fish, which feature LED lights and motion sensors for self-waking activation. Powered by electro-magnetic propulsion and an automatic on and off sensor that activates when submerged in water, the aquatic Hexbug fish propel around and explore their environments.

Yvolution Launches Innovative New Line of Ride-Ons

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he Y Rocker Go-Kart, from Yvolution, is a kid-powered pedal kart that features Yvolution’s patented lean-to-steer technology, allowing kids to carve easily around tight corners. Kids steer by swaying their bodies from side to side. The Y Rocker Go-Kart has a sleek, light-weight frame with a low, adjustable racing-style bucket seat for increased maneuverability. Its wide all-terrain tires allow it to go off-road, and the quick-stop back pedal brake and anti-vibration rubber hand grips give kids the enhanced control they need to have a safe and comfortable ride. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the Y Rocker Go-Kart can hold up to 165 pounds and is available in red or pink. The Y Explorer Deluxe is a kid-powered, three-wheeled beginner go-kart that features an innovative rear-wheel steering system for easy maneuverability that gives kids total control and stability as they ride. Its rugged, extra-wide front tires allow for a fast, smooth ride anywhere kids want to go, while the quick-stop back pedal brake makes it easy and safe to stop. The Y Explorer Deluxe also has an adjustable racing-style seat for a comfortable fit and lightweight construction that allows for easy travel. The go-kart is designed for kids ages 5 and up and can hold up to 110 pounds. The Y Scoot Flow is a reinvented traditional scooter with a lightweight design. This non-folding scooter has a single-piece steel frame with a sleek, curved tube design. Unlike other scooters with folding mechanisms, Y Scoot Flow has no rattling loose parts. It features a rugged slip-resistant deck with grip tape, durable polyurethane wheels for a smooth, long-lasting ride, anti-vibration rubber hand grips for comfort, and a rear-wheel brake for safe and easy stopping. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the Y Scoot Flow can hold up to 154 pounds and is available in red. Y Rocker The Y Scoot Coaster combines elements of a skateboard with elements of a scooter. With a Go-Kart scooter-style front wheel and skateboard wheels in the back, the Coaster allows kids to perform both scooter stunts and skateboard tricks. It features a durable patterned skateboard deck and an easy-press, dual rear-wheel brake that stops both wheels at once. This skateboard/scooter combo also has an adjustable handlebar and anti-vibration rubber hand grips that make it comfortable and easy to ride. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the scooter can hold up to 110 pounds and is available in red. The Y Scoot Cruzer is a long-board scooter built for cruising. It has a rugged steel frame; a reinforced slip-resistant longboard deck with grip tape; and oversized, durable polyurethane wheels for a smooth, fast ride. Y Scoot Cruzer also has an adjustable handle bar, anti-vibration rubber hand grips, and a rear-wheel break. Designed for kids ages 7 and up, the scooter can support up to 220 pounds.

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What’s New NKOK Gets Camouflaged

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KOK has partnered with camouflage designer RealTree to bring kids a line of highdefinition camouflage toys. The Compound Crossbow, a large crossbow equipped with a red LED scope, three suction-cup arrows, and a target to practice on, allows kids to shoot up to 50 feet. In addition, a RealTree Pistol Crossbow Set, an Archery Set, Walkie Talkies, and a Roleplay Camping Set will also be available.

RealTree Compound Crossbow

Eastcolight Lets Kids Discover and Share

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he 360 Super HD Microscope, from Eastcolight, features a 360-degree rotatable, wide-angle eyepiece for easy viewing. With the top and bottom LED light sources, kids can view both solid and transparent objects and adjust the brightness for maximum viewing comfort. The builtin selectable color filter allows for contrast enhancement. Kids can also record and share their findings with photos or video using the included smartphone adaptor.

Sony Pictures Consumer Products Has Reel Fun Toys in the Works

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ony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP) has partnered on new products based on its upcoming slate of film releases, including the action-comedy Pixels, due in theaters this summer. SPCP will have a line of licensed items in categories such as costumes, collectibles, and gifts and novelties. Kellytoy will provide plush dolls in different sizes based on the characters from Hotel Transylvania 2. Looking ahead to the new Smurfs movie scheduled for August 2016, SPCP is partnering on toys and games, including The Smurfs iTalk mobile app, from Cupcake Digital. Users will have the chance to talk, giggle, wiggle, feed, and dance with their very own Smurf. They can also earn Smurfberries and buy treats for their blue pals. The Smurfs Bakery, from Budge Studios, is a mobile app in which users can join Smurfette in the kitchen and whip up desserts, including a Smurfberry Ice Pop. Through 3DMe, Ghostbusters fans can get a personalized Ghostbusters figurine. Fans can create their own collectible by uploading a picture of their face, selecting from a variety of themed character bodies, and choosing a hair color and style. Beginning this spring, Wonderland Toys offers a selection of 17-inch talking dolls featuring characters from Breaking Bad, including Walt as the Cook, Heisenberg, Jesse, and Saul. Each doll features quotes from the TV show. There will also be an exclusive figure featuring Walt in his underwear through Diamond Comics.

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What’s New Painting Lulu Brings Creativity to the Digital Space

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ainting Lulu is a traditional coloring book that bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds. Kids color in the included activity book and then scan their creation into a smart device using the free Painting Lulu app. The coloring page instantly appears on the device and kids can continue coloring where they left off using the Digital Crayon. With a tap of the Digital Crayon, kids can easily re-touch, save, and print their creations. The Digital Crayon is designed with a smooth touch and thick grip to fit ergonomically in a child’s hand. The one-click share feature on the app also makes it easy for kids to share their artwork with their loved ones. With a commitment to conservation of the environment, all of the Painting Lulu activity books are made with 100-percent recycled paper. Additionally, all 10 Painting Lulu characters resemble recyclable consumer goods, including Milky the milk carton, Toby the plastic water bottle, and Max the broken calculator.

Jakks Brings Out Girls’ Inner Princesses

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akks Pacific ramps up its Disney Frozen line with the Disney Frozen Musical Winter Coach. In ride-on mode, kids can hold the easy-grip handle, which includes a secret compartment to store their favorite jewels and plays the song “Let It Go.” With the touch of a button, the handle releases from the locked position into wagon mode so kids can tow their favorite toys in the storage area under the seat. Girls can dress up in the Elsa and Anna Coronation Dresses. These satin dresses feature a multicolor glitter floral print on the skirt. Each dress’ bodice also features a glitter print and an Anna or Elsa cameo. By pressing the button on the top of the icy blue Do You Want to Build a Snowman Jewelry Box, kids can watch Anna and Elsa move to build Olaf while “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” plays. The jewelry box comes with a pink heart ring symbolizing the sisters’ love. Girls can dress up as their favorite Princesses with the Disney Princess Keys to the Kingdom Dress. The dress features a baroque-print bodice, confetti-style glitter print on the skirt, and unique shapes from the chosen Princess’ story. Little princesses can also dress up like Sofia with the Sofia the First Royal Signature Dress. The lavender dress features lace and sequins, a peplum gown, and a Sofia cameo at the neckline. They can also wear the Sofia the First Musical Melody Amulet, which plays the Sofia the First theme song and glows softly. Girls can dress up as their favorite Disney Fairy with Tink’s Blossom Party Pixie Dress. The dress features purple shimmer accents, has sparkle and glitter detail, and comes with a pair of glitter fairy wings. Thomas fans can pull along all of their favorite toys in the Thomas & Friends Roll ’n Go Wagon. The wagon features details and graphics of Disney Frozen Musical Thomas and the handle folds down for easy storage. Winter Coach

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What’s New Zuru Expands Robo Line to Land and Sea

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uru’s Bunch O Balloons features an innovative, ready-to-go, pre-tied, self-sealing mechanism that allows kids to fill 100 water balloons in 60 seconds by following three steps. Kids can connect the attachment, fill the balloons, and watch them self-seal. Each pack contains three bunches of 34 balloons and a quick fix adapter. The balloons and the self-tying O-rings are 100-percent biodegradable. The X-Shot Bug Attack combines two Zuru brands: X-Shot and Creepeez. Using Creepeez as moving targets for the Bug Attack blasters, kids can throw the bugs against a wall, shoot them as they crawl, and watch them fall. Kids can also launch the bugs into the sky and shoot them as they soar, or launch them on a moving target and shoot to perfect their aim. The Eliminator blaster features a double barrel for power and comes with two bugs. The Rapid Fire blaster features a multi-load barrel that rapidly shoots six darts and comes with three bugs. Zuru will expand its Robo line of robotic swimming fish and mermaids to include the Robo Turtle. Using the latest in micro-robotic technology, Robo Turtle can walk on land and swim in water. Its lifelike design and movements create a cool visual display for kids. Carbon sensors on Robo Turtles’ shells activate them when they are dropped in water or touched lightly while on land. X-Shot Bug Attack

Moose Toys Grows the Little Live Pets Family

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oose Toys will extend the Little Live Pets line this spring with new bird designs, the addition of the Owl and Baby Bird that sing and talk to each other, and five new Series 2 Butterflies. The Series 2 Tweet Talking Birds line features the new Cardinal and Robin designs. The new Series 2 Butterflies feature sparkling wings and new wing shapes. Kids ages 5 and up can nurture their butterflies and watch them magically flutter in the palms of their hands.

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Owl and Baby Bird

Electronic Arts Debuts New PvZ Comic

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lants vs. Zombies: Timepocalypse is a new plantfilled, zombie-zapping comic adventure. The followup to the comic Plants vs. Zombies: Lawmageddon, Timepocalypse features Crazy Dave helping his niece, Patrice, and young adventurer, Nate Timely, as they fend off Dr. Zomboss’ latest attack that takes place throughout time. Artistic duo Paul Tobin and Ron Chan take PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies through the ages, which range from pre-history to the future. Designed for readers ages 8 and up, Timepocalypse features zombies, powerful plants, a pirate named Chestbeard, disco dance-offs, and more.

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What’s New Tech 4 Kids Introduces New Collectibles and Storytime Innovations

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itro Grinders, from Tech 4 Kids, are collectibles on wheels that never fall over and perform tricks at kids’ fingertips. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, these characters will jump, twist, spin, and ride through any customizable mini skate park. Nitro Grinders feature detailed graphics and more than 50 characters to collect in the first series. Squishy Pops are miniature My Little Pony collectibles that kids can wear as stylish fashion pieces. Kids ages 4 and up can customize Squishy Pops bracelets by adding charms and mini ponies that complement kids’ looks and personalities. When a Squishy Pop pony is squeezed, it makes a “pop” sound. With 36 pieces to collect, Squishy Pops come in Fashion Packs or a mystery pony in a surprise capsule. With Storytime Theater, kids can see and hear their favorite storybook characters come to life. The Storytime projector connects wirelessly to any smart device. Kids can choose a Digital Story Key and place it on the projector to activate the story. As the key softly glows, the story projects on a wall with custom animation for every page. Storytime Theater has four modes: Read-ANitro Grinders Loud, Storyteller, Bedtime Mode, and Custom.

WowWee Revs Up Robotics

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owWee will introduce REV (Robotic Enhanced Vehicles), which are app-enabled and built for battle. Equipped with BeaconSense technology, a proprietary indoor GPS system that enables them to sense their surroundings and navigate accordingly, REVs can think and fight for themselves. REVs are hardwired to outwit, outplay, and outlast their human opponents. REV require no special surface or mat to play on, and a limitless number of people can enter into the game. Designed for players ages 8 and up, each REV Starter Kit comes with two specially equipped vehicles. A player can download the free app and jump into the driver’s seat of one vehicle, while setting the second vehicle to Autonomous Mode. There are multiple game modes, such as Chase, Evade, and Capture the Flag. WowWee’s MiPosaur is a robotic creature with evolving intelligence and personality. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, It can sense its own surroundings and environment and interact with them in a lifelike way. Featuring GestureSense technology that allows kids to control MiPosaur with a swipe of the hand, it also features a sturdy mobile inverted pendulum balance and comes with an interactive TrackBall with BeaconSense technology. MiPosaur can chase the trackball, play with it, and guard it, and will alter its moods depending on various interactions. MiPosaur is fully interactive with the MiP robot, and an app will feature more games.

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What’s New VTech Helps Kids Catch All the Action on Camera

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n the heels of last year’s Kidizoom Smartwatch, VTech will bring more technology that is popular among adults to the next generation of kids with the Kidizoom Action Cam. The Kidizoom Action Cam lets active kids capture their adventures with videos and photos. The Action Cam comes with two mounts so kids can attach it to their bikes, skateboards, and more. It also comes with a waterproof case, so kids can take videos and pictures up to 6 feet underwater. This durable video camera also captures stop-motion videos and time-lapse photos. Kids can also explore their creativity with fun effects, frames, and photo filters. “The success of the Kidizoom Smartwatch demonstrates why VTech is an innovator for children’s technology,” says William To, president, VTech Electronics North America. “With the introduction of our Kidizoom Action Cam and other Smartwatch news coming later in the year, we are continuing to set trends for kids’ wearable technology at an affordable price that will resonate with kids and parents alike.” VTech will expand its Go! Go! Smart family with extensions to the Wheels, Friends, and Animals lines. For the first time, the Go! Go! Smart Wheels line will feature remote-control vehicles in the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate RC Speedway. Go! Go! Smart Animals will move from the zoo to the Grow & Learn Farm, and Go! Go! Smart Friends will be available in wide distribution, anchored by the Busy Sounds Discovery Home. Go! Go! Smart Friends features adorable, colorful play sets and chunky characters that infuse traditional role-play with modern technology and are packed with personality. An evolution of VTech’s Go! Go! Smart Wheels and Go! Go! Smart Animals, Go! Go! Smart Friends features MagicPoint technology that brings the characters and play sets to life with lights, sounds, music, and motion, while delivering manipulative play features and charming details and giving children a comprehensive, multifaceted play experience. The Go! Go! Smart Friends Busy Sounds Discovery Home Kids can capture includes VTech’s innovative new MagicChat feature, which allows two figures to biking adventures chat and sing songs together. with the Kidizoom “We are excited to build upon the success of our Go! Go! Smart Wheels and Action Cam. Go! Go! Smart Animals lines to introduce Go! Go! Smart Friends, a new collection of characters offering unique personalities, encouraging imaginative play, and emphasizing cause and effect relationships,” says To. Kids can share life’s VTech will expand its infant and preschool line with adventures from their Go! Go! Smart Friends point of view with the more than 20 new product announcements. VTech will Busy Sounds Kidizoom Action Cam. also expand its baby line this year with eight new Discovery Home products for kids ages 0 to 24 months. Each item helps to build the foundation for basic mental processes, including sensory-motor pathways, emotional responses, language, and other cognitive abilities.

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What’s New Worx Brings Scents to Its Style

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orx Toys introduces 17 new colors with fragrances to its line of Bo-Po (Brush on-Peel off) nail polish. The new additions bring the total line to 27 different colors, shades, glittering styles, and glow-in-the-dark fun for manicures and pedicures. New names for the Bo-Po colors and fragrances include Freak of Nature green with sour apple smell; Mint Chocolate Chip light green and glitter with mint smell; and Night Glow orange glow-in-the-dark with peach smell.

BooKid Toys Debuts in the U.S.

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ooKid Toys will debut a new line of products in the U.S., including a battery-operated train on a farm that kids can assemble and play with on the track. BooKid will also offer two different styles of puzzles. The Make a Match Puzzle consists of 10 different two-piece puzzles per box. Kids must match images to make the puzzle fit: For example, a puzzle piece that shows a potato will match the piece that shows French fries. The 4 in 1 Puzzle contains four 9- by 13-inch puzzles, each with a different number of pieces so players young and old can enjoy playing together. BooKid’s Activity Books consist of five different lines, from Soft to Jumbo. These batteryoperated books help kids learn how to train on a draw, connect lines, solve farm mazes, color by number, put on stickers, solve Sudoku, and more.

Yomega Bounces High with Battle Ballerz

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his year, Yomega introduces Battle Ballerz, the first characters with removable, high-bounce heads. Kids can collect their favorite characters, then pop the heads off of their bases for high-bouncing fun and challenging games. Each pack comes with two Battle Ballerz characters, action accessories, and two Game Discs. Each Game Disc presents a fun challenge for players to perform, and has grooves so it can be connected to others to create ramps or obstacles. Star Wars Battle Ballerz will arrive later this year, along with other licensed properties. Yomega’s Kendama Pro lets players master the basics of juggling the ball on the cups or create amazing new tricks of their own. Yomega’s Kendama Pro has new colors and finishes, including Metallic, Stripes, “Cracked Earth,” and Soft Touch Rubberized. The new Coyote Kendama series features Trickster, Painted Desert, and Malachite water-dipped finishes. For Kendama fans looking for a new challenge, Yomega introduces Monkey Knuckles, a ball and cord juggling game that is easy to learn and offers unlimited opportunity for play, expression, and creating tricks.

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What’s New Delta Children Furnishes Kids with Their Favorite Characters

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elta Children lets kids give their rooms an icy makeover with the new Disney Frozen line of kids’ furniture. The Frozen Plastic Toddler Bed is outfitted with colorful decals of Disney Frozen’s Anna and Elsa, two safety rails, and a low-to-the-ground design. Designed for kids ages 15 months and up, this bed holds up to 50 pounds, and uses a standard crib mattress. The Toddler Bed is also available with Paw Patrol characters. The Frozen Chair Desk with Storage Bin features a removable cup holder, a fabric storage bin, and a scratch-resistant finish that protects the Frozen graphics. Designed for kids up to 50 pounds, this desk wipes clean with a dry cloth. The Chair Desk with Storage Bin is also available with Star Wars graphics. The Frozen Table and Chair Set with Storage features Disney Frozen’s two princesses, a spacious tabletop with built-in storage in the center, and two chairs. Kids can also get organized with the Frozen Multi-Bin Toy Organizer with six uniquely sized fabric bins and the Frozen Fabric Toy Box, both featuring Anna and Elsa. The Table and Chair Set with StorFrozen Chair Desk age and Multi-Bin Organizer are also available featuring Paw Patrol characters. with Storage Bin Little Jedis can relax in the Star Wars R2D2 Club Chair and Star Wars Yoda Club Chair. The Club Chairs are soft, plush, air-filled, oversized chairs featuring washable velour covers and embroidery. They hold up to 100 pounds and deflate for easy storage or travel. The Club Chair is also available with Paw Patrol, Disney•Pixar Cars, or Disney Princess graphics. Kids can give their rooms a tune-up with the Star Wars 3D Plastic Twin Bed. Built with a sturdy plastic and steel frame, it features two removable guardrails, colorful decals, and 3-D accents of Darth Vader at the headboard. It is easy to assemble and fits a standard twin mattress. The 3D Plastic Twin Bed is also available with 3-D Disney•Pixar Cars characters. Delta Children will also introduce Disney Princess, Disney•Pixar Cars, Minnie Mouse, and Mickey Mouse Upholstered Chairs with Ottomans. These chairs feature a plush, padded seat with a coordinating footrest, along with kids’ favorite characters. Recommended for Mickey Mouse kids ages 3 to 6, these chairs wipe clean with mild soap and water. Upholstered Chair Delta’s 9 Bin Plastic Organizers provide an easy way to get kids to clean up after with Ottoman playtime. They feature characters such as Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Disney•Pixar Cars, and Disney Princesses. These organizers feature three tiers of plastic bins for little ones to stow books, toys, and other treasures. The clean up checklist on the side makes straightening up a fun, interactive learning experience. The Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Activity Easels with Storage will inspire little artists with a magnetic dry-erase surface on one side and a chalkboard on the other. It includes a magnetic character puzzle, alphabet magnets, and two fabric storage bins. The Paw Patrol Wooden Easel features strong and sturdy wood and two fabric bins for storage. One side of the easel features a magnetic, dry-erase surface, and the other features a chalkboard. It includes a magnetic character puzzle and alphabet magnets. Additional styles include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Minnie Interactive Wood Toddler Bed features sturdy wood construction and is designed for kids ages 15 months and up. The bedtime checklist on the footboard easily wipes clean. The interactive clock with a day of the week spinner helps make learning to tell time fun. The Interactive Wood Toddler Bed is also available in a Mickey style.

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Don’t Get Caught With Your Plants Down! Join the global expansion of Plants vs. Zombies™. For more information on domestic and international licensing opportunities, please contact PopCapLicensing@popcap.com.

©2015 Electronic Arts Inc. Plants vs. Zombies, PopCap, EA and the EA logo are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc.


What’s New Razor Spins and Drifts into Toy Fair

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azor will introduce a new line of ride-ons for this year. The Razor Jr. Lil’ Crazy, designed for kids ages 3 and up, will allow some of the youngest riders to get a little wild. Little ones will be able to get in on the drifting action with this smaller version of Razor’s Crazy Cart. Redesigned for younger riders with simplified controls and a maximum speed of 2 mph, the Lil’ Crazy provides a fun introduction to performing spins and drifts. Also from the Razor Jr. line is the Mini Mod, a fashion-forward ride-on for a new generation of riders. The Mini Mod’s design features a vintage style with modern colors. This electric scooter, with speeds up to 2 mph, features side footrests and a foot-pedal-activated motor that stops when released. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the Razor GFD Fury is all about fast drifts and furious sparks. Featuring the same go-kart style frame and wheels as the Ground Force Drifter, the GFD Fury also has the unique Spark Bar that leaves a shower of sparks in its wake. At speeds of up to 10 mph, riders can power slide through corners, throw fish tails, and make fast 180-degree spins.

AG Properties Updates Classic Brands

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riginally introduced in 1983, AG Properties’ Care Bears will get a more vibrant and colorful look in their new iteration. With a website, digital games, and a number of apps, the Care Bears take sharing even further with thousands of fans on social media. The brand has also introduced a new campaign, #ShareYourCare, which speaks to the core values of the brand. Partners that will show off Care Bears products at Toy Fair include master toy partner Just Play, Wonder Forge for domain games and board games, Commonwealth Toy & Novelty Co. for backpack clip-ons, Playhut for indoor play tents, Montco for activities including corrugated artboards for coloring, Karmin Int’l for puzzles, Beaver books for water magic board books and bilingual books, Kellytoy USA for amusement park plush and sporting goods, Bendon Publishing for color and activity books and educational books, and Skyhigh International for back-to-school and stationery. Strawberry Shortcake is celebrating her 35th birthday with events coast to coast. Strawberry Shortcake will help to open the North American International Toy Fair, be honored on February 16 at a fancy fete in The Bridge Direct’s Toy Fair booth, and show off her wares at Mercedes Benz Fashion week on February 17, where she will unveil her exclusive Papyrus card line by artist Bella Pilar. Strawberry Shortcake will also throw a special Hollywood Oscar preview party with birthday cake and cupcakes. With more than 600 licensees, Strawberry Shortcake and her friends have seen several updated looks, but her values remain the same. Licensees include master toy partner The Bridge Direct, Jazwares for electronics, Montco for activities including corrugated artboards for coloring, Karmin Int’l for puzzles, Beaver books for water magic board books and bilingual books, Kellytoy USA for amusement park plush and sporting goods, Bendon Publishing for color and activity books and educational books, and Skyhigh International for back-to-school and stationery.

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5 Questions with

The Toy Book talks with CEO Piper Worthington as Elf Magic celebrates its 25th anniversary. You founded Elf Magic 25 years ago. What makes Elf Magic unique in the Christmas marketplace? Yes, 25 years! The original Elf Magic Elf was a handmade gift from my grandmother way back in 1956. And then, 25 years ago, my children wanted their own Elves, and of course their friends wanted them too, and so Elf Magic was born! Back then, my mom, my friends, and I were putting all of the pieces together ourselves. The demand continued to grow and things took off. We were actually the very first Elf tradition to be mass-produced and offered to consumers at large. We’ve succeeded all these years because our tradition is different, and it appeals to the way kids want to play. These Elves don’t watch you from afar and report naughty or nice behavior to Santa. Our faithbased tradition is meant to remind families of the true meaning of Christmas and to reinforce the love, kindness, and friendship of the season. Our Elves are meant to be touched and held, cuddled, loved, dressed, and played with. With a full line of clothing, pets, and accessories, kids can bring their own magical Christmas worlds to life. How will you celebrate Elf Magic’s 25th anniversary? We are so excited about this anniversary! To complement our best-selling Elf Magic Elves, Pocket Elves, and Giant Elves, we’re bringing back the two original Elf Magic Elves in special commemorative packaging. Both will wear Santa’s workshop aprons and include a 12-page mini-storybook. We will also release new Elfits and accessories, which happens every year. How has Elf Magic changed over the years?

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Well, our Elf fashions may have changed, but that’s about it. Our tradition, allowing kids to literally embrace the Christmas spirit, is timeless. It’s a tradition kids have loved and will always love—holding their Elves in their hands, hugging them to their hearts, and feeling the love and joy that is Christmas. The play pattern is definitely timeless—dressing, nurturing, and loving their Elves. How do you maintain successful retail partnerships? Our commitment to the specialty channel has played a huge role in our success. We know that our specialty retailers are able to display our line in a way that communicates the play value. They do well articulating the differences between Elf Magic and the other 25th anniversary Christmas traditions. We support commemorative Elf them as well with substantial promotions and terms, a big library of marketing materials, displays, event support, and more. We protect our stores by location, in an effort not to oversaturate the market. What are some of your favorite Elf Magic memories? I enjoy hearing from the kids who love our Elves. Kids call and leave messages for their Elves, who have returned to the North Pole. They also request their Elves to come back for special occasions. I love seeing photos of the Elfcapades or adventures that the Elf Magic Elves get into across the country. There are some pretty creative Elves out there! In addition, we visit children’s hospitals with Santa and Jingle and Jangle (our mascot Elves), and make sure that every child in the hospital receives one of Santa’s Elf Magic Elves. Those are always special memories. ■

FEBRUARY 2015


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What’s New Wicked Cool Toys Bakes Girl Scout Cookies All Year Round

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his year, Wicked Cool Toys will introduce a line of role-play toys inspired by the girls’ leadership organization, The Girls Scouts. The Girl Scouts Cookie Oven will feature mixes inspired by Girl Scout Cookies, such as Thin Mints and Trefoils. The real, working oven comes complete with tools and mixes to allow girls to make cookies that look and taste just like the real thing. The oven features a viewing window that lets bakers see the treats they’re making, and a warming station to heat and melt cookie coatings and frostings. With the Girl Scouts On-the-Go Wagon and Cookie Stand, girls can express their creativity, learn new skills, and experience the fun of Girls Scouts all year long. Wicked Cool’s Girl Scouts toy line will hit mass-market retailers throughout the U.S. beginning this fall. Wicked Cool will also add to its Wild Kratts, WWE, Disney Wood, and Cat Paw lines.

Morphmallow Puts a Twist on Style

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paghetti Headz, from Morphmallow LLC, is a fashion accessory that twists in and out of girls’ hair and includes a charm or feather that dangles at the bottom. Collectible and eco-friendly, Spaghetti Headz are made of polymer clay and can be twisted easily into long or short hair, or cut and made into a bracelet. Known for its themed charm packages, Morphmallow will release 16 new collections, which will feature charms inspired by sports, puppies, flowers, princesses, and more. In addition, there will also be fluorescentand glow-in-the-dark-themed collections. Spaghetti Headz include three twists per pack and are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

Skyrocket Toys Shows a Sweet Way to Write

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ith Skyrocket Toys’ Candy Craft Chocolate Pen, kids can write, mold, and decorate with chocolate. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the motorized chocolate pen dispenses liquid chocolate that hardens into solid chocolate at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Chocolate tubes in different colors can easily be switched to create multicolor treats, and partially used tubes can be stored for future use. Clean up is a breeze, as melted chocolate never actually touches the pen. Kids can explore their creativity with the different molds. Skyrocket’s line of Prank Star toys are designed for kids ages 3 and up. The newest addition this spring is the motorized Fart Bubble Gun, which blasts out a strong stream of cherry-scented fart bubbles and real farting sounds. Candy Craft Chocolate Pen

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What’s New PlaSmart Molds Kids into Professional Tricksters

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laSmart’s new Gags ’n Tricks line from Agent Trickster gives kids everything they need to pull off perfect pranks. The Master Collection, for the most serious tricksters, features 12 pranks, including the Hand Buzzer, Whoopee Cushion, Pet Poo, Nail Through Finger, Magic Ink, and more. Moving down in size, the Essential Collection contains six Gags ’n Tricks that are must-haves for any prankster. Lastly, the Whoopee Cushion and Gags ’n Tricks Assortments will be available separately for purchase. Suitable for kids ages 6 and up, this line will roll out in the spring.

Underground Toys Expands Doctor Who Line

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nderground Toys expands its offerings for Doctor Who. Make your Tardis key easier to locate with figural Doctor Who Key Chains. The expanding lineup includes a range of fan-favorite heroes and villains, including Weeping Angel, Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, Tenth Doctor David Tennant, Adipose, and the TARDIS key, in sizes ranging from 3 to 5 centimeters. The Doctor Who Noise Isolating Character Ear Buds are available in multiple character styles, including Dalek, Weeping Angel, and Adipose. Travel through time and space in style with Doctor Who Lanyards featuring either 3-D figural or etched rubber charms in many styles. Underground Toys presents the Doctor Who 4Inch Resin Figurine Collection, including every Doctor and all the greatest monsters from the classic BBC science-fiction series, in meticulously rendered 1:21 scale. New figures include Cyberman (Earthshock) and the Fifth Doctor. Fans can also collect all their favorite characters as fully articulated 3.75-inch action figures. Voc Robot and Draconian are new to the collection. Underground Toys also offers a Star Wars-licensed home and kitchen line, including a Feel the Force Mug. Push the button on the handle of the Feel the Force Mug and watch as the mug mixes and stirs your drink—all using the power of the Force. It is ideal for tea, coffee, Doctor Who Twelfth Doctor hot chocolate, or any other drink in the galaxy.

Hav-A-Ball with Toysmith

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oysmith’s Hav-A-Ball promotes active and outdoor play among kids ages 3 and up. Available in four sizes, this lightweight yet durable ball comes in a variety of bright colors and requires a needle pump (not included) to inflate. Kids ages 5 and up can tend the garden just like Mom and Dad with Toysmith’s Kid’s Garden Sets. Each set includes a 5-inch metal garden pail with a matching spade, a rake, and three label stakes in two assorted styles.

Hav-A-Ball

Regenerated figure

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A Look Inside

Tangle Creations Lights Up The Night

The Toy Book talks with Richard X. Zawitz, CEO and Tanglemaster Tell us how your own personal background has influenced Tangle’s product lines. My background with majors in Asian Philosphy and sculpture at the University of Hawaii is the reason I discovered The Tangle Particle, which I eventually developed into Tangle, The Fun Twisty Thing. I discovered that in nature, science, and the humanities, there is a common fundamental energy pattern. In nature and science you will find curves, waves, circles, and spirals in both quantum and cosmic energy forms. In the cosmic realm, there are spiral galaxies, light waves, sound waves, etc. Some scientists have postulated that the universe is an endless, infinite curve. From this discovery, I began my quest to manifest this energy in my 3-D art. Eventually, what started out as a wooden sculpture I created that could be manipulated into “infinite” shapes became Tangle. I went to Hong Kong to produce my first mold and, to date, more than 120 million Tangles have been sold or used promotionally. How does Tangle’s vast array of consumer products integrate successfully under one company? I observed over the years that being present in only one product category would confine my creative juices, so I made up my mind to build a multiple product platform company that integrates many types of playful, useful products that enhance kids’ and adults’ lives and teach and inspire creativity. We discovered through testimonials that our customers used Tangle to relieve stress, to stop smoking, and for hand therapy. We also heard from teachers, therapists, and other professionals that they used Tangle for kids with special needs,

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such as Autism. Teachers have also used Tangle in classrooms for more efficient learning in a new practice called “fidget to focus.” When people fidget, they engage the brain stem, which results in more efficient learning. Thus, we developed a special version of Tangle for therapeutic use. In fact, we have a medical device registration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for various therapeutic uses. Another offshoot of Tangle that we developed was a sports ball line called Matrix Nightball. This occurred because someone copied my design elements and created a ball, and of course, did not bring this ball to me to market. This inspired me to create my own proprietary sports ball line. I eventually added lights and Nightball was born. What's new for Tangle in 2015? 2015 will be one of Tangle’s most exciting years in our 34year history. We are rolling out Nightballs nationally and internationally with our footballs, soccer balls, and softballs. What’s really exciting will be our new additions to the Nightball line, which includes NightRackets, Night Basketball, and Night Disk. A new line of Nightgear will include light-up gloves, light-up arm bands, and flag football belts that light up. Even more exiting will be the organization of Night Leagues. We are working with the flag football association of Northern California to develop a Night Flag Football League, the first of its kind anywhere in the world. We are also adding a new wind up, called Sliders, that will be so much fun, as well as an inflatable called Pool Tangle, that consists of 8-inch Tangle sections that connect and disconnect for use in the pool. I

FEBRUARY 2015


What’s New Imperial Toy Is Bubblier Than Ever

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mperial Toy introduces its Super Miracle Bubbles Bubble Refill Station, which holds up to 128 ounces of bubble solution and includes 33 different bubble toys and tools. Kids can fill the station with either Super Miracle Bubbles or Blitz bubble solution, and then push down on the nozzle for a controlled stream of bubbles. Play with bubbles kids will, with Star Wars Bubble Bottles featuring Yoda, Darth Vader, and R2D2. Each themed bubble toy comes with 8 ounces of solution. The Kaos Aqua Bow accurately launches water balloons at targets up to 150 feet away. It comes in pink and green, and includes a wrist bracelet for comfort and control. Kids can pre-load the Roto Shot, from Splat X, with up to eight units of ammo for rapid fire up to 100 feet away. Kids can push the trigger to advance the ammo, which includes sticky strike shotz. The Gigagoogly Ball starts out small, but can be pumped up to three feet tall. Kids can toss, bounce, and squash the ball, and watch as the fringe wiggles in a silly way.

Rubie’s Supercharges Dress-Up

School Zone Gets Animated

rom the Batman Unlimited Collection, by Rubie’s Costume Co., the Deluxe Batman Costume includes a muscle chest jumpsuit with attached boot tops and a matching cape. This caped crusader is available in child sizes small, medium, and large. From the DC Comics Universe, the Supergirl costume includes a pink sequin dress with a tutu skirt and an embroidered matching cape. This gal of steel is available in toddler, small, and medium sizes. Rubie’s is also set to roll out a new Paw Patrol costume collection based on Nickelodeon’s TV series for preschoolers. The Marshall costume includes a jumpsuit, a headpiece, and a backpack. This heroic little pup costume is available in toddler and child size small. Also featured in the line are Chase and Skye costumes. Rubie’s Costume Co. will expand its Imagine by Rubie’s line this year to include new products from Marvel’s Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. Perfect for dressup and role-play fun any day of the year, each of these superheroes packs a powerful punch. The Muscle Chest Shirt Box Set includes Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and Iron Man.

vailable on School Zone’s Little Scholar tablet, Charlie & Company is a liveaction/animated educational video series about a golden retriever and his animated friends. Kids can learn with Charlie, Miss Ellie, and a cast of colorful characters. Past adventures included a trip to the farm, a construction site, and a gym, while upcoming adventures include an afternoon at the zoo, an art studio, and a U.S. Coast Guard station. There’s also a special Christmas episode. Kids can help Charlie and his friends “puzzle it out” and sing along to songs by The Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark.

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Hulk Muscle Chest Shirt Box Set

FEBRUARY 2015


What’s New Reeve + Jones Repackages the Classics

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eeve + Jones has grouped some of its greatest jokes together and designed fresh new packaging for Jokes on You, The Classics. The boxed sets of six and 12 jokes contain all the great gags, such as magic ink, squirt rings, snapping gum, Bronx cheers, dribble glasses, money snatchers, and more. Also available from Reeve + Jones is the self-inflating Gas-o-Matic whoopee cushion, funny glasses, squirt cameras, spilled ketchup, and more.

Neat-Oh! Gets Organized with Favorite Characters

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he Neat-Oh! Dinosaur Stompin’ Grounds Lava Lair is a new addition to Neat-Oh!’s Dinosaur Collection. The Lava Lair includes a hand-painted dinosaur, a container of gooey lava, and a sturdy Lava Lair base for play. There are three additional play sets in the Stompin’ Grounds line to collect: Skeleton Swamp, Terrible Tar Pit, and Lurking Lagoon. The cardboard Dinosaur Merchandiser is a new display option for specialty retailers. It includes the cardboard display, four of each of the aforementioned Stompin’ Grounds play sets, and more Neat-Oh! Dinosaur Collection products. The Hot Wheels Full Size Custom Car Kit with Stickers is a sporty car for vehicle lovers. Measuring almost 4 feet long when assembled, it is designed for kids to sit inside. The cars are sturdy, fully printed cardboard and include repositionable structures so kids can customize them. The trunk opens so they can store their cars inside. When playtime is finished, it collapses flat for easy storage. For both kid play and Barbie doll play, Neat-Oh! introduces the Barbie Full Size Play House Stickers. Kids can decorate Barbie’s Dream House with repositionable stickers. For Barbie doll play, the house features balconies, a threshold doorway with a ramp, and interior platforms. When playtime is over, it collapses flat to store easily. The Star Wars Storage Space Case fits into a standard modular square unit and can help take care of all kids’ Star Wars storage needs. This case features a durable design with Star Wars graphics and holds up to 3,000 bricks, figures, and other toys and accessories. The Star Wars Vehicles Millennium Falcon ZipBin Race Case stores cars safely when traveling to and from the track. This Millenium Falcon-shaped case makes it easy to take cars on the go. It also unzips into a two-lane raceway and holds more than 100 Star Wars Vehicles and other die-cast cars. The Star Wars Character Storage Bin with Lid stores up to 1,000 bricks, figures, and other accessories. Kids can unzip the toy box to find a play area for their favorite Star Wars characters. The stackable bin is easy to carry and transport, so kids can take their galactic adventures on the go. The Neat-Oh! Star Wars Play Mat is an easy-to-clean, EVA foam play Dinosaur Stompin’ Grounds Lava Lair mat. It opens up a world of fun where kids can play with Star Wars vehicles and die-cast cars. Kids can roll up or fold the mat and stow it away easily. The Star Wars Vehicle Tin stores 18 vehicles in a sturdy tin with a latch to protect the contents. It’s lightweight and features a handle for easy portability.

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What’s New Moff Band Adds Sound Effects to Active Play Time

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off Band is a wearable smart toy that turns a child’s every movement into realistic sounds. Kids wear the Moff Band, a Bluetooth connected slap-bracelet, on their wrist and instantly have the ability to play different activities with realistic sound effects connected to their movements. By moving their arms, kids can activate sounds for playing air drums, air guitar, ninja swords, magic wands, cooking sounds, lazer blasts, and more. New sounds are added regularly, and currently, more than 30 different sounds and activities are available through the free app. Parental controls allow parents to select which sounds they want to activate, and which sounds to deactivate, hide, or save for newness at a later date. Parents can also individually unhide sounds, enabling them to keep the existing sounds fresh and new for kids. Newer sound activations include animals (cat, dog, horse, and tiger), tennis, baseball, nature (wind, rain, waves, and thunder), train, motorcycle, handbell chimes, bowling, carpentry, and more. Two Moff Bands can by synced to a single iOS device. Moff Bands are compatible with Apple iPhone 4s, iPhone 5/5c/5s, iPhone 6/6 plus, iPod Touch (5th gen), iPad (4th gen or newer), iPad Mini, and iPad Air, and requires iOS 7.1 or later. Android compatibility will be available soon.

Little Tikes Offers Kid-Sized Fun

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he Little Tikes Sizzle & Serve Grill, from MGA Entertainment, has cool colors, fun wheels for portable play, realistic styling, and 14 accessories to give kids ages 18 months and up the ultimate grilling experience. The Little Tikes Cook ’n Store Kitchen comes fully assembled and folds up for easy storage. Features include a spinning spice rack and 34 accessories that store inside. It is suitable for kids ages 18 months and up. The Little Tikes Cape Cottage is a backyard playhouse packed with fun and realistic features, such as modern windows, arched doors, and brick details. The cottage allows kids ages 2 and up to explore new adventures, as well as build social skills. With the Little Tikes Fish ’n Splash Water Little Tikes Fish ’n Splash Water Table Table, little fishermen can catch and count colorful little pond swimmers right in their own backyard. Kids ages 2 and up can fill the fish bowl with water and watch it come splashing down, or try to launch critters across the pond and onto the lily pad. The Little Tikes Jr. Jump ’n Slide is an inflatable bouncer for backyard play. It features an enclosed bounce area and an extra-wide slide that lets two kids race at once. Its compact design makes it easy to transport and set up. Little Tikes Cape Cottage

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What’s New na2ure Challenges Kids to Put It Together

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ni-gram-it Board Game, from na2ure, encourages kids to build animals using their body parts. The game features color-coded, double-sided tiles with high-resolution photographs of an animal’s body part on one side and a word naming that body part on the reverse side. Players can build new animals on each turn or expand on ones that have been played.

Galt Toys Sets Sail

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n Pirate Pursuit Game, from Galt Toys, players must fill their loot bags with coins from the treasure chest before the pirates catch up to their galleon. Kids ages 3 to 7 can play with two to four players as they wind up the pirate galleon and set sail around Treasure Island.

Scholastic Experiments with Clifford the Big Red Dog

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cholastic Media and Young Scientists Club have new science kits based on Clifford the Big Red Dog, including Clifford Water Science, in which Emily Elizabeth explains simple water experiments having to do with icebergs, phases of water, making rain, colored celery, chromatography, and more. The set equipment includes a lab tray, a measuring cup, and test tubes. With Clifford the Big Red Dog: Science Kits for Little Hands, intended for ages 3 and up, kids can learn the real science behind the magic along with Emily Elizabeth. Experiments include funny mirrors, building a kaleidoscope, magic rainbow glasses, a tornado in a bottle, magic crystals, and more. The set equipment includes a measuring cup, a test tube, and a colorful lab tray. In The Magic School Bus: Science Explosion, a tabletop game suitable for ages 5 and up, the first player to the finish line gets to explode the volcano. There are two games in each box: a matching Clifford Hand Puppet game featuring science-based topic cards, and a memory and strategy skills game. Along with a laminated, two-sided board, Science Explosion includes a volcano, a bowl, colored measuring cups, game cards, and more. Kids can explore sugar and salt crystals, make a crystal star, grow a crystal tree, and more with Growing Crazy Crystals. The kit comes with an observation chart for tracking crystal growth. Scholastic has partnered with Douglas for Clifford the Big Red Dog plush. The line includes Sitting Clifford and Standing Clifford in multiple sizes; a 30-inch Extra Large Lying Down Clifford; a 22-inch Large Floppy Clifford; and an 11-inch Small Lying Down Clifford. Douglas’ Clifford for Baby line includes Sshlumpie, Snuggler, and Hand Puppets. New items for University Games/Briarpatch’s I Spy line include the I Spy Spooky Mansion Game, in which players spot and collect objects located throughout the title mansion. The first to collect an object from every room and escape wins. With the I Spy Find It Fast Hourglass, players read the riddles and try to find hidden under-the-sea images before time runs out. In the I Spy Water Maze Game, players follow the riddles and guide creepy crawly insects through a durable, liquid-filled magnifying glass maze by tilting and turning it.

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What’s New Batapult into Fun with OgoSport

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goSport’s latest additions to outdoor play include the Batapult, designed for kids ages 6 and up. Whether kids are aiming to improve their baseball or softball skills or just want to practice their swing, the Batapult offers kids hours of two-in-one play. Players can launch and hit the ball up to 175 feet without the use of excessive force. With the Aero Zipp Disk, kids ages 6 and up can play a variety of toss-and-catch or target-style games. With the disk’s aerodynamic design, kids can throw the disk up to 175 feet with little effort.

Zorbz Revs Up Water Balloon Fights

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orbz, from Blue Matrix Labs, is a line of self-sealing water balloons featuring patented fill, snap, and seal technology. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Zorbz brings the frustration and time spent tying water balloons down signifcantly. This year, Blue Matrix Labs will launch a line of Zorbz combat toys. The Zorbz Combat Trigger Filler is ergonomically designed for kids to quickly fill Zorbz water balloons. The trigger enables easy fill application and limits water usage. The Zorbz Combat Launcher enables Zorbz water balloons to soar more than 100 feet and features an easy grip handle. The Zorbz Combat Power Pump includes 150 Zorbz selfsealing water balloons and is easy to transport. It features a lightweight design and quickly fills up to eight Zorbz water balloons.

Pomegranate Helps Kids Grow

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ids can track their growth with Pomegranate’s range of Growth Charts. Available in Charley Harper and Kliban Cats, each set comes with 50 small stickers for decorating and marking milestones. With The Wizard of Oz Coloring Cards, kids can create full-color reproductions of original Wizard of Oz art. The set includes 10 5- by 7-inch cards, 10 envelopes, and six non-toxic crayons that come inside a metal box that can be used for storage. Kids can personalize each notecard on the back. Pomegranate will introduce the Kliban CatMobile and the Inuit Art from Cape Dorset Mobile to its mobile line. Each adds color and character to kids’ rooms. Kids can follow along in a 3-D tale with Edward Gorey’s The Tunnel Calamity. This freestanding tunnel book features eight die-cut panels with concertina walls and includes a lens for enhanced viewing. Young Naturalist’s Sketchbook will introduce kids to wildlife observation and drawing. With 86 pages for sketching or writing and 38 full-color illustrations, the wire-bound sketchbook encourages hours of creative play.

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What’s New Darice’s LockerLookz Expands to RoomLookz his fall, LockerLookz Ltd. will expand beyond lockers to bedroom décor RoomLookz with RoomLookz. The first wave of products will include Peel & Stick Wallpaper to decorate any surface—not just walls. Styles include Pink Quatrefoil, Aqua Dot, and Black Swirl. Magnetic accessories will include the Magnetic Dry Erase Wallboard to jot down information and then wipe it away. The 14- by 14-inch wallboard comes in pink, aqua, or white. Flower Magnets and Gem Magnets add color and come in multiple colors, while the Magnetic Storage Bin can be used to tidy up a room in glam style. Each bin is tied with a white grosgrain ribbon topped by a round gem centerpiece, and styles include Pink Dot or Pink Lace, Aqua Swirl or Aqua Poppy, and more. The LED Tabletop Lamp will come in styles such as Pink Quatrefoil, Aqua Dot, or Black and White Swirl—each featuring a grosgrain ribbon at the base. Standing 12 inches tall, it also has a motion sensor and is battery operated. The initial RoomLookz line will also feature a 10-inch-tall Candy Dispenser, which includes a screw-on-and-lock glass globe. LockerLookz will also introduce new locker wallpapers, rugs, bins, frames, and white boards.

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Discovery Shows Off Lines for Animal Planet and More

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iscovery Consumer Products offers new toys, books, and more through its various licensees, including the new Glow Art Drawing Board, from NKOK. The Bridge Direct will expand its Good Stuff line with Discovery Kids View-Master Reel Packs, featuring Age of Dinosaurs, Safari Adventures, and Marine Life reels. Each reel pack comes with three reels containing 3-D images and fun facts. Parragon will debut Discovery Kids-inspired coloring books; factivity books, sticker books; fact books; and books focusing on dinosaurs, sharks, space, and more; while the Animal Planet toy line continues to grow within the ocean, land, and dinosaur categories, as well as new themes. Smart Play has a new line of kids’ educational toys that introduces kids to the world of animals. The line includes 3-D flashcards and puzzles, puzzle cubes, alphabet floor puzzles, a lighted click-and-see toy projector, and an electronic learning pad. MasterPieces Puzzle Co. will offer family-friendly puzzles and craft kits depicting Animal Planet and Shark Week themes. SCS Direct Inc. has Animal Planet Hatch ’Em Eggs with safari, rainforest, dinosaur, and ocean-themed animals. When placed in water, they can grow up to 10 times their original size, and each egg comes with a collectible card with fun facts about the animal. Based on the TV series, new Gold Rush products for this year include deluxe, basic, and mini-panning kits, authentic Gold Rush Pay Dirt, and Pay Dirt Vial refills.

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What’s New Lexibook Introduces New Consoles

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exibook has developed Playdroid TV, a console that brings the gaming experience of games such as Clash of Clans, Candy Crush, and Angry Birds to the big home screen. Playdroid TV is an Android console with games, multimedia features, and more. More than 30 games, including bowling, tennis, running, fishing, and more are included, so kids can take advantage of the console’s capabilities right out of the box. Thousands of games are also available for download from the Playdroid Market, including classic Android games. Designed for kids ages 10 and up, Playdroid TV’s multimedia features include storage, Internet, video downloads, and more, all directly synched to a TV. A second controller is sold separately so that kids can share the fun and challenge others. The TV Game Console 200-in-1 is an interactive TV console providing kids with realtime action and entertainment. The console includes 200 built-in games on a mini SD card, including 39 interactive sports games and 161 arcade and mini-games. This multi-player console also features photo, video, and music apps. The Micro Arcade Machine has 240 classic video and arcade games in one console. It features 16-bit graphic quality, a joystick, and a 2.5-inch screen. Games feature sports, adventure, arcade, logic, and other themes.

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Maverix Picks Up Speed

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or kids who like to go fast, Maverix USA’s Urban Spirit is a lightweight ride that tackles inclines and flat surfaces alike. With a max speed of 12 mph, kids can coast, soar, and climb with this motor-powered long board. The Urban Spirit is designed to hold up to 165 pounds.

Big Mouth Brings a Wave of New Pool Floats

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ig Mouth Inc. has new floats for relaxing and playing in the pool. New food-themed floats include the Pizza Slice Pool Float, which resembles a 5-foot-long slice of pepperoni pizza; the Gigantic Bouncing Burger Ball, a 3-foot-wide inflatable cheeseburger that bounces like a ball; and the Chocolate Donut Float, which even has sprinkles. Other new floats include the Pink Flamingo Pool Float, featuring a 4-foot-wide flamingo; and the Game Controller Pool Float, a 4-foot-long float shaped like a retro game controller. Red Cup Pool Party Pong brings party pong to the pool. It is shaped like a Red Cup and measures more than 5 feet in length. The officially licensed Star Trek Captain’s Chair Pool Float resembles the captain’s chair from Star Trek, while the Classic PacMan Pool Float Set features both Pac-Man and Blinky the Ghost. Each float measures more than 3 feet in width. Big Mouth Inc. brings popular candies to the pool with the 4-foot-tall Warheads Pool Pillow. The Junior Pink Flamingo Mints Candy Pool Float, the SmarPool Float ties Inflatable Pool Noodle, and the Tootsie Roll Inflatable Pool Noodle each measure more than 5 feet long. The Tootsie Roll Pop Ball is a 3-footwide Tootsie Roll that bounces and floats, while the Dots Candy Pool Float features rainbow colors.

FEBRUARY 2015


The Maya Group Gets Crafty with Orbeez

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he Maya Group will introduce a new line of Orbeez activities called Orbeez Crush, with which kids can crush the Orbeez and create a wide assortment of crafts. Kids can customize Crushkin Critters to collect or share with friends. They come in three themes: Farmyard, Pets, and Safari. The Sweet Treats Studio comes with a Crush Center for kids to create their own compound and sweet treats to decorate, including a three-layer cake on a pedestal tray. Kids can also create Crush ’n Design 2D Window Art in three themes: Beautiful Wings, Love & Happiness, and Undersea. Crush Magic displays let kids show off their Crush creations with two mold designs in three themes: Butterflies & Stars, Sweet Treats, and Lots of Luv. Grown Orbeez are available in Classic and Fashion colors. The Maya Group will also update Orbeez with the new Orbeez Spa line, providing a way for girls and tweens to pamper and de-stress. The Orbeez Ultimate Soothing Spa comes in a purple and white color scheme and provides a spa-like experience for girls’ toes. The waterfall feature and bouncing Orbeez on her feet will make any girl feel relaxed. Other products in the Spa line include the Massaging Body Spa and the Relaxing Hand Spa. Crushkin Critters

FEBRUARY 2015


What’s New Asa Products Takes Kids on a Frozen Adventure

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obo Tot Disney Frozen, from Asa Products, is an ergonomically designed three-wheeled cruiser intended for toddlers ages 2 to 5. Its adjustable frame grows with kids and lasts for years. Parents can rest easy knowing that the Mobo Tot provides a safe and durable ride that makes outdoor adventures fun.

Tiggly Combines Digital and Tactile Play

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iggly’s new Tiggly Patterns helps kids to learn about the patterns that surround them. By understanding patterns, kids can make predictions about what should come next, make connections, and solve problems—crucial skills for mathematical learning, language development, and social development. Tiggly Patterns offers preschoolers five colorful toys in the shape of a rainbow that interact with three learning apps to help them recognize, identify, create, and explain patterns while also developing critical thinking skills. Tiggly Words features a set of colorful toy vowels that interact with three learning apps to help kids ages 4 to 7 construct words and solve silly problems to become better readers, listeners, and talkers.

Tiggly Patterns

FEBRUARY 2015


Sound of Fun Rides into Toy Fair Kurve Skullz balance bike

FEBRUARY 2015

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ound of Fun, the U.S. distributor of Kiddimoto wooden balance bikes and coordinating helmets and gloves, will introduce 13 new products this year, including Superbike, Marc Marquez. This wooden balance bike is designed after real engine motorbikes. Named after Marc Marquez, the Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and current MotoGP world champion, the Superbike features under-seat exhaust pipes and slick 10-inch pneumatic tires with inner tube for a smoother ride. Also new this year is the black Kurve Skullz balance bike, which is designed with appealing curves and a skull pattern. Its rugged construction and 12-inch pneumatic tires with inner tube ensure long-lasting fun for young riders ages 2 to 6. Kids can keep safe and look sharp in Kiddimoto Helmets, which are internationally approved for safety. The ABS hard plastic BMX dirt-style shell comes with an adjustable band to ensure a snug fit, while allowing the helmet to grow with kids. New helmet designs for this year include Skullz, Cherry, and Black Goggle.

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What’s New Arklu Expands Lottie Doll Line

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rklu introduces new Lottie dolls featuring girls with relatable storylines and unique fashions. The Rockabilly Lottie Doll is dressed in a vintage-style varsity jacket featuring the message, “Be Bold Be Brave Be You,” on the back, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and a tutu skirt. The Muddy Puddles Lottie Doll has rain boots and a yellow hooded raincoat with blue striped lining. She also has a long-sleeved T-shirt, corduroy shorts, and striped leggings. The School Days Lottie Doll is dressed in a school uniform that includes a navy pinafore, a white shirt, a bow tie, and Mary Jane shoes. She also comes with glasses, a red-and-white striped scarf, a cat-themed school bag, and a set of collector cards featuring leadership tips for girls. The Superhero Lottie Outfit Set features a design similar to the Super Lottie Doll and is intended to inspire girls to acknowledge and embrace their potential. The set includes a metallic, all-in-one suit with a belt; a pink-and-gold metallic cape; a sparkly gold mask; and a pair of winged boots. Rockabilly Lottie Doll

Day 6 Smartens Up Sports Toys

Aliquantum Parashoots into Fun

ay 6 Sports Group launches Backyard Sports, a line of smart sports toys that combine a mobile game with a physical component intended to get kids active. The Sonic Boom Bat, Trick Pitch Ball, and three-sided Triple Threat Bat all unlock power-ups in Backyard Sports Baseball 2015. They are all officially licensed by Major League Baseball. The Mega Morph Super Hoop has a motorized rim that changes sizes during play. Licensed with the National Basketball Association (NBA), it features a game announcer and sound effects, an electronic scoreboard, and a shot clock. The hoop’s Action Track technology lets kids score to get codes that unlock digital game power-ups in Backyard Sports NBA Basketball 2015. The Malibu Sports & Recreation brand will also launch limited-edition Throne flying discs with wrap-around, licensed DC Comics graphics, along with other outdoor toys that promote social activity.

his year, Aliquantum International will grow its Djubi line with the Djubi Parashoot, intended for kids ages 8 and up. Utilizing the Djubi Mini Launcher to fire it into the air, the Parashoot features a delayed timer, which allows it to reach maximum altitude before opening. Aliquantum will also bring the Rilakkuma brand and its three characters—Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiiroitori—to North America, in categories such as plush, apparel, accessories, electronics, and stationery. PowerUp 3.0 is the latest model of PowerUp, which combines traditional origami with technology. With PowerUp 3.0, kids can control a paper plane using a smart device with Bluetooth technology for more than 10 minutes of continuous flight. The kit includes paper templates, a crash-proof propeller, and a portable charging station.

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Triple Threat Bat

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FEBRUARY 2015


Activities & Construction

The Bridge Direct Lets Kids Get Creative with Favorite Friends

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or the first time, licensed characters will join The Bridge Direct’s Inkoos draw-wash-redo plush line. This spring, kids can creatively design the twosided surface of characters including Minions Bob and Stuart; Disney Princesses Ariel and Rapunzel; and Disney Frozen’s Elsa, Anna, and Olaf. The Color ’n Create Inkoos come with metallic threading and stick-on gems for extra sparkle. The smaller Color ’n Go size will also be available in several character styles for fun on the go. The C3 WWE StackDown SmackDown Ring Playset offers young WWE fans a new buildable battle ring at a lower price point. Kids can build, brawl, and rebuild with more than 450 pieces, including three collectible C3 figures, with an exclusive Sting figure.

Mindware Is a Snow-Brainer When It Comes to Activities

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indware’s new craft kits include Make Your Own Glitter Snow Globes, designed for kids ages 6 and up. After shaping the clay and oven-baking it for a permanent finish, kids can assemble the globes and add glitter. The kit features a no-leak, double-seal system, and each kit includes two snow globes, 12 clay colors, and a sculpting tool. With Make Your Own Puzzles, kids can attach virtually any image to the kit’s special adhesive foam boards, and then slide them through the puzzle-making machine to create their own customized puzzle pieces. Recommended for kids ages 5 and up, each kit includes 10 4- by 6inch adhesive sheets and 10 mailing envelopes with sticker seals. Mindware’s food science line expands with two new kits recommended for kids ages 8 and up. Tasty Food Science Fizzy Drinks lets kids create their own scientific carbonation station, as well as discover the principles that make drinks fizzy. Soda makers are guided along by a lab book, recipe cards, and detailed experiments. Each kit comes with a fizzy drink glass, a syrup storage bottle, a fine mess strainer, a funnel, and more. Tasty Food Science Bakeology lets aspiring bakers create a mini-bakery and uncover the science behind making dough. Soft, golden pretzels are brought to life through the power of yeast, while light, fluffy pancakes are created through a chemical reaction. The kit includes a personal lab book, a wooden rolling pin, a dough scraper, four measuring cups, and a pastry brush.

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Activities & Construction Kahootz Celebrates 50 Years of Spirograph

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o commemorate Spirograph’s 50th anniversary, the Original Super Spirograph returns with the addition of interchangeable Spiro-Tracks, which let kids create unique pattern shapes. Each jumbo set contains more than 75 pieces, including 19 Spirograph Precision Wheels, two Spirograph Precision Rings, two Spirograph Precision Racks, 34 Spiro-Tracks, reusable Spiro-Putty, design pens, a guide book, a real metal die-cast #50 Spirograph wheel, and more. In addition, each set comes in a storage case with a built-in work desk. Kids can design on the go with the classic Travel Spirograph. This portable Spirograph studio has a built-in design ring, a work surface, and a storage compartment for holding the wheels, pens, paper, design guide, and finished artwork. The classic mix-and-match fashion drawing tool returns with the Fashion Plates design set. Kids can create different looks by combining the rubbing plates together with the new Fashion Plates tablet. With a few passes of the rubbing tool, designs transfer onto sketch paper, at which point kids can add colors and detail using the included artists’ pencils, as well as the fashion textures built into the back of each Fashion Plate. The set includes the drawing tablet, 15 double-sided fashion plates, colored pencils, 20 sheets of design paper, and a carry-along portfolio and storage case. Original Super Spirograph

K’NEX Introduces Buildable Blasters

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’NEX’s Mighty Makers is a new construction toy line designed to empower girls through creative and stimulating building sets made in the U.S. These STEM-based sets are designed by women for girls ages 6 and up. The introductory line includes sets such as the aviation-themed Up, Up, and Away; the engineering-themed Around We Go; and the marine biology-themed Deep Sea Dive. Each set includes colorful rods, connectors, panels, story-based instructions that follow the life of the included figure, and an exploration card for additional fun and learning. K-Force: Build and Blast is another new line from K’NEX. This line features sets that allow kids ages 8 and up to construct a customized blaster with endless possibilities. The line includes six different types of blasters, buildable targets, and blaster missile packs. The Sky Sprinter Roller Coaster is the tallest K’NEX coaster ever made, standing more than 7 feet tall. Designed for kids ages 9 and up, the set features more than 800 classic K’NEX pieces and a blaster motor. Designed for kids ages 9 and up, the new K’NEX Education: Robotics set includes 715 K’NEX rods and connectors; a control device; three motors; ultrasonic, color and light, and touch sensors; and PC compatible software so that kids can build a programmable dog that follows commands, a car with a smartphone holder, an airplane with retractable landing gear, and more. K-Force: Build and Blast The Lincoln Logs: 100th Anniversary Tin is the first Lincoln Logs set since 1956 to feature real, made-in-the-U.S. wood logs. This 102-piece set celebrates 100 years of the iconic brand and includes a frontiersman figure, two horses, and more for classic building fun.

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Activities & Construction Activision, Crayola Bring Skylanders to Life with Color Alive

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ctivision and Crayola have partnered to launch an augmented reality product featuring Skylanders that allows kids to bring their coloring book pages to life using the Color Alive! app. Kids aim their device’s camera at the colored page to bring their unique Skylanders drawings to life, while the included Magic Crayon activates special effects. Kids can then interact with the coloring book characters, and even take photos with them. The Color Alive! app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones and tablets. Activision and Crayola will also partner up this Easter for a special coloring edition of the Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack. Kids can color in the black and white packaging, and then watch the characters come to life on their smartphone or tablet devices using Crayola’s Color Alive! app. The limited-edition Starter Pack will include crayons and will be available exclusively at Toys “R” Us.

Spin Master Builds Up Construction Lines

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pin Master expands its Meccano line with new model sets intended for kids ages 8 and up. The space-themed 15 Models Set—Space Quest features 230 parts and builds 15 models, with designs inspired by intergalactic travel, while the 20 Models Set— Desert Adventure includes more than 270 parts, and builds 20 different models ranging from Desert Buggy to Chase Helicopter. The 25 Motorized Models Set—Mountain Rally includes more than 300 parts and builds 25 models, which kids can bring to life with the included 3V motor. Kids can rebuild the kit into a variety of vehicles and machines. New additions to the Signature Series include the Eiffel Tower, which features more than 1,500 parts for building two models. The Meccano version of the iconic French landmark incorporates lights and electronics for a programmable light show. Aspiring space pioneers can fly to the Knits Cool Knitting Studio edge of the atmosphere and beyond with the Virgin Galactic Whiteknight Two, which has a programmable LED light show and authentic rocket sounds. With the Meccano Crane set, kids can build a motorized working crane featuring three motors for lift and rotation, along with lights and sound. The kit includes more than 1,900 parts. This fall, Spin Master will also debut new crafting kits designed for kids ages 6 and up, which let them create their own bracelets, chocolates, and more. The Text Cool Bracelet Studio comes with 34 bracelet bands, one letter and one emoticon wheel, rollers, and clasps for creating custom message bracelets. The kit also comes with its own storage accessory. With the Cool Baker Chocolate Maker, kids can make cute 3-D chocolate shapes without having to use a stove or a microwave. Each kit includes the chocolate maker, as well as molds, tools, and even baggies and gift tags for sharing. Kids can create their own headbands, infinity scarves, and phone pouches with the Knits Cool Knitting Studio. Along with three pairs of knit posts and 60 yards of yarn, the kit includes one sewing needle, decorative buttons and charms, and accessory storage. Girls can create a threadless, 36- by 28-inch quilt using the Sew Cool Cozy Quilt Kit, which includes 12 pre-cut squares, quilt borders and backing, and six button sets.

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Activities & Construction Hexbug Introduces Two New Series to Its VEX Robotics Line

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ith Hexbug’s VEX Robotics Ball Machines, kids ages 8 and up can construct their own kinetic art mechanisms while simultaneously learning important STEM principles, such as kinematics, linkages, and reciprocal motion. This collection of six robotics construction kits teaches kids about robotic design concepts through the use of automation. Kits include the Fork Lift, the Handoff, the Hexcalator, the Hook Shot, the Pick & Drop, and the Screw Lift. Each machine can be motorized or powered by a hand crank, and can operate independently or linked to other machines. With the VEX Robotics Age of Innovation Kits, aspiring scienctists and engineers ages 8 and up can immerse themselves in the technology behind some of the most ancient inventions. These kits teach kids STEM principles, such as gearing, torsion, and kinetic energy through hands-on learning. Kids can collect and build the Roman-style Crossbow, which projects foam darts; the medieval Catapult, which shoots balls; the Orbit, which features a real working solar model; and more. VEX Robotics Ball Machine

Magformers Transforms Construction

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agformers introduces new sets that let kids combine imagination and construction, each one containing different types of geometric shapes in various colors. The 100 Pc Inspire Set, an expansion of the Inspire range, includes squares, triangles, rhombuses, isosceles triangles, and more in six different colors. Lights, window insets, diamonds, and an idea booklet are also included. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the unique shapes allow them to construct castles, crowns, hearts, and more. Other new sets include the Unique 44 Pc Set, which contains five different geometric shapes—squares, sectors, arches, and newly introduced cones and sphere sectors—in rainbow colors. The included idea booklet offers guidance on how to build curved 3-D structures, such as balls, towers, butterflies, and more. The 124 Pc Math Activity Set promotes learning through magnetic construction. Kids can use the high-performance magnets to solve math problems such as patterns, addition, subtraction, and both 2-D nets and 3-D structures. The set contains 12 different geometric shapes including squares, triangles, rectangles, and trapezoids to go with Super Magformers squares and triangles. Kids can use the included 50-page math book to lay out shapes and complete various mathematical challenges. With the RC Cruiser 42 Pc Set, kids can harness the Magformers to build a range of vehicles, including speedy roadsters and cars. The wheels can be recharged with the enclosed USB for repeat racing, and the pieces come in opaque black, blue, and red. The new Wow Neon 27 Pc Set lets users place their shapes on various pattern cars and perform pull-up tricks to create 3-D designs. The set contains squares, triangles, sectors, character squares, trapezoids, and more, in neon rainbow opaque colors. It also includes 30 cards with fully illustrated instructions for creating different builds. All Magformers sets are compatible with one another, and the structural nature of the toy fits in with the STEM curriculum.

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Activities & Construction Diggin Gives Kids the Tools to Build

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Bamboo Box Set Tool Kit

iggin has expanded its wooden toy line to include two eco-friendly Bamboo Box sets for kids ages 3 and up. With the Bamboo Box Set Tool Kit, little builders can begin tinkering with the included tools and wooden building pieces. The set includes a tool kit, a work bench, a hammer, a screwdriver, a wrench, and bolts and nuts that are conveniently sized for little hands. The Bamboo Box Set Kitchen allows kids to pretend to be chefs in their own personal kitchen. The set includes an oven, a stove top, a utensils rack, a spoon, a knife, a fork, a pot, a pizza, an egg, and a salt shaker, so kids can start cooking. When playtime is over, all of the pieces to both sets can be stored neatly inside. Diggin Active will also introduce its Slimeball line—an active role-play line for kids ages 6 and up. Slime or be slimed with new products, including Slime Gear, Slingers, and Slimeballs that leave no mess.

Ohio Art Enhances Classic Play Patterns

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he Frozen Etch A Sketch Jr., from Ohio Art, features a magic drawing screen with an Elsa and Olaf graphic. This classic toy that shakes to erase is designed for kids ages 3 and up. The TRENDiY art line is an assortment of edgy and fashion-forward arts and crafts activity kits. The new Mexican Bracelets kit contains everything kids need to make 20 bracelets. Ohio Art’s Nanoblock Tyrannosaurus Rex Skeleton is a micro-sized building block system that builds up a prehistoric creature. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, construction enthusiasts can build with more detail than ever before.

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Saban Teams Up with Julius Jr. for Down-on-the-Farm Fun

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aban Brands will extend two of its most recognizable properties, Power Rangers and Julius Jr., with new activity and construction toys. The Power Rangers Dino Charge Deluxe Dino Charge Morpher features lights and sounds from the TV series and includes two Dino Chargers. It emits different sounds depending on which Dino Charger kids insert. More than 40 Dino Chargers will be released this year. The Power Rangers Dino Charge Deluxe Dino Saber includes one Dino Charger, and forms the Dino Cannon when combined with the Morpher. The preschool brand Julius Jr. will expand with the Sortin’ Sagebrush Farm, which inPower Rangers Dino Charge cludes one poseable, 3-inch Worry Bear Deluxe Dino Charge Morpher figure, smooshberries, and hen accessories. It can connect to other Julius Jr. play sets for extended play. The Julius Jr. Box Top Guitar features more than 20 sounds including music, interactive games, and phrases.

FEBRUARY 2015


Activities & Construction Hasbro Lets Girls Mix It Up

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ids can remix creativity by creating custom color Deco Pops with the Dohvinci Color Mixer kit, from Hasbro. Kids ages 6 and up pop the plug out of an empty Deco Pop tube, twist the wheel to choose a color, then press. Kids can add as many colors as they want. Once the mix is created, pop the tube into the Styler, then aim, squeeze, and design with swirls of color. This kit includes three different-colored Deco Pop tubes, one empty tube, and a pop-up art project to keep and display. Kids can create completely unique ponies with the My Little Pony Pop 5-Inch Pony figure assortment. This new, larger 5-inch size makes it easy for kids to add their personal touches. Pop out the pony pieces, snap the pony figure together, and add some personality by decorating and drawing unique designs on the pony. Each ready-to-decorate figure comes with three tails, three manes, hair accessories, a marker, and themed stickers. Fluttershy and Princess Celestia pony figures will launch in the spring, followed by Princess Cadance and Princess Luna in the fall.

Moose Toys Adds Glitter and Glam to Beados

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oose Toys adds some sparkle to its Beados craft activity line with Beados Glitter. In three simple steps, kids ages 4 and up can create their own Beados worlds with beads that feature a glitter finish and stick together with just a spray of water. Once dry, the beads fuse together and kids can display their designs on the included stands or use the connectible play pads and scene cards. The Beados Glitter line also includes themed refill packs, a starter pack, an activity pack, and the Glitter Quick Dry Design Station.

My Little Pony Pop 5-Inch Pony

Shrink, Swirl, and Sketch with Alex Brands

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ith the Shrinky Dinks Bake & Shape 3D Jewelry set, from Alex Brands, kids can use the silicon molds to bake thin, flexible Shrinky Dinks shapes into sturdy plastic cuffs, earrings, or rings. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, kids can design and color the Shrinky Dinks shapes, slide them into the included molds, and then watch them bake in the oven. The kit includes enough pieces to create 12 bracelets, 10 rings, and four earrings. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, the Tilt & Swirl Painter is an interactive, tilting art maker. Kids fill the four side cups with paint, drop in the foam balls, and shake it up. Then, slide open the hatches to let the balls paint swirls and patterns all over the page as kids tilt and move the base. Alex’s line of Sketch It Nail Pens will expand this year with the Sketch It Nail Pen Salon. Kids can create nail art with professional-grade, two-tip nail pens in five different colors. The Salon also includes 49 color-in appliqués that kids can peel, stick, and fill in using the nail pens. Kids can then decorate their nails with more than 130 nail gems.

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Activities & Construction Fashion Angels Targets Tweens

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ashion Angels will launch a new line of Upcycling kits for tween girls this year. These new kits take two important tween trends, saving the planet and do-it-yourself projects, to the next level with a fashionable approach. Each kit is themed by the material it reclaims to create the projects: T-shirts, plastic bags, plastic bottles, and toys and games. Each Upcycling kit comes with a design guide featuring step-by-step instructions for up to 10 projects, plus ideas to create variations on those projects for even more unique items. Each kit also includes basic craft materials, such as earring hooks, chains, beads, bracelet wire, and more. With the Upcycling line, kids can turn plastic grocery bags into a wall hanging or a headband, an old T-shirt will become a pillow or a wrap bracelet, a plastic bottle can be transformed into a purse, and old game board pieces can turn into a statement necklace. Additionally, Fashion Angels will present new additions to its It’s My Biz line of girl entrepreneur kits, and new items for its tween lifestyle line Style.Lab. This line includes accessories, room décor, tweenfocused natural beauty care, and more. Fashion Angels will also expand the product offerings of its licensed brands, including Monster High, Ever After High, Barbie, My Little Pony, Equestria Girls, Littlest Pet Shop, Hello Kitty, and Project Runway. Fashion Angels will also welcome Mattel brand American Girl to its licensed product line this year.

Kids Can Create, Style, and Wear with Wooky

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he Charmazing Color Me Up! Hearts Collection, from Wooky Entertainment, is a line of collectible, design-yourown charms. Kids can customize bracelets, necklaces, and more with unique charms, gems, and beads. With the free Charmazing app, kids can scan their charms and complete their collection virtually. The Chalk It Out! Hair Stencil Kit is an easy-to-carry compact case with six hair chalk color pods, stencils for designs, and a hair clip for kids to add temporary color to their locks. Kids can match their nail art to their accessories with the nail polish colors and gems in Wooky’s Polish Duo. The set includes four plastic bangles, two bottles of nail polish, and nail art accessories. The Light Up Nail Dryer & Top Spot Nail Art kit offers kids a complete nail art set, including manicure accessories and a light up nail dryer, to give tweens the full nail salon experience. The set includes five nail polishes, a nail dryer, and nail tools. Kids can make beaded bracelets with the Style Me Up X-Loom craft kit. The expandable beadloom tool lets kids measure the length of their bracelet as they create bead designs. There are more than 3,400 beads and craft materials to choose from, and kids can expand the size of their bracelets up to 16 inches. Based on the Disney movie Descendants, the Descendants Light Table & Sketchbook features illustrations of characters and a backlit-tracing table. Kids can use detailed stencils, stickers, and sketching pages to design their own fashion collections.

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Crayola Provides Colorful, Creative Fun

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he Crayola Crayon Carver lets kids engrave messages and designs into their crayons to make their mark. The Crayon Carver is motorized for easy customization, and the easy tracing process yields great results. Kids ages 6 and up can carve designs into either jumbo or standard crayons. The Carver features built-in storage, offers easy cleanup with a removable shavings box, and includes 40 tracing tiles and eight crayons. The Crayola Color Alive Easy Animation Studio features a poseable mannequin with smooth action technology, which allows animation in only a few poses. Kids ages 6 and up can personalize and animate 10 characters and five backgrounds. The studio comes with a mannequin stand and a device stand, a 30-page design book, 12 Twistables colored pencils, and an app. Kids can add a colorful twist to their favorite gear and accessories with the Crayola Thread Wrapper, and can create custom color threads with Crayola Fineline Fabric Markers. The set comes with a motorized threading unit, a re-threading attachment, six Crayola color spools of thread, two empty spools, and a Fineline Fabric Marker. It is designed for kids ages 8 and up.

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Activities & Construction Out of the Blue Has Character

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his fall, Out of the Blue will debut a new line of vinyl, stick-on Colorforms play sets featuring licenses such as Disney Frozen, Doc McStuffins, Cars, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. New special features for Colorforms include glow-in-the-dark, glitter, magic reveals, sound effects, and record-and-play-back capabilities. The On the Go Assortment line includes three Colorforms sheets in each package, as well as a two-sided, foldout background with pocket storage. The Take Along Assortment includes four Colorforms sheets, one of which has a special feature such as glow-in-thedark or glitter. The Create a Story Boxed Set has an easel play area that unfolds from the box; six large Colorforms sheets, one of which has a special feature; and four backgrounds. The Colorforms Roll and Play Story Creator includes six scrolling backgrounds, re-stickable Colorforms pieces, and the ability to record and play back the user’s voice with sound effects.

University Games Is in Full Bloom

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-Create, a new division of University Games, will debut a new craft and activity line, Bloom Pops. The Flower Design Studio allows kids to create Bloom Pops with Poppi and display their customized creations on Poppi’s Display Tree. With more than 30 petals and more than 40 gems, girls can design, decorate, and display their unique Bloom Pops. Girls can also create flower jewelry with the Flower Jewelry Pack. With a mix of necklace chains, chain links, hair clips, and bag tag clasps, girls can wear their Bloom Pops or attach them to their clothes and other accessories. The Flower Bouquet Pack comes with bendy flower stems and a bouquet wrap. Bloom Pops theme packs, Sweet Pop and Rock Pop, include sweet petals shaped like cupcakes, bon-bons, and other desserts; or edgy petals with skulls, lightning bolts, and animal prints. Both sets also include chain links and squishy charms. Bloom Pops

Crafty Kids Have International Playthings

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ids can read and play with Imaginetics A Bright & Sunny Day, from International Playthings. Young children who cannot read yet will enjoy being read the Heart Girl story. After the story, kids can play with Heart Girl and her friends Daisy and Mittens. The set contains a play board and 22 individual magnets. The Imaginetics Happy Birthday play set does double duty as a birthday card and play set in one. The set includes a play board and 27 individual magnets. Each play set is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Decorate Your Own Princess Fairy Wings feature stretchy shoulder straps designed to fit kids ages 3 and up. Silver and pink glitter stickers are easy for small fingers to apply and will securely stay in place. The Aquabeads Beginners Studio has everything kids need to create amazing bead art. The set includes 800 jewel and classic beads in 12 colors, which can be stored in the star-shaped palette. Kids simply select a design template, slide it into place under the template lid, create bead art, and spray with water. Once it dries, the creation is complete. The Studio is designed for kids ages 6 and up.

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Kids Preferred’s Buildex Line Is High-Quality Fun

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ohn Deere and Kids Preferred have partnered on a new Buildex line that has something for kids at multiple ages. With the John Deere Harvest Table and Chairs Set, parents of kids ages 1 and up can furnish little ones’ rooms with high-quality wood designs that feature John Deere’s signature colors and logo. Utilizing Buildex’s building technique, all of the included components can be safely secured into place without the use of tools or glue, and the set can be assembled and disassembled in minutes. The John Deere Model 7930 Deluxe Building Kit, for kids ages 8 and up, allows kids to create wood performance vehicles without the use of glue. For kids ages 18 months and up, the John Deere Ride-On Tractor allows kids to build the wooden performance vehicle, and then ride along using its steering and suspension functions. The set offers safe and secure assembly without the use of glue or tools.

John Deere Harvest Table and Chairs Set

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Activities & Construction Kids Can Learn and Create in Style with Blum

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Art Gear

lum School Gear, from Blum, consists of colorful pre-loaded cases stocked with core school essentials. Four contemporary designs contain 41 pieces for kids to do their best in class. Blum also offers Art Gear, fabric art cases featuring everything kids need for creative art fun. Durable, functional, and portable, Art Gear is available in Ready Dog, Leapfrogs, Tree Owls, and Butterfly Fields styles.

Lego Builds Up Imagination

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ego Duplo Disney Sofia the First Royal Castle lets little princesses play with Sofia, her stepsister Princess Amber, and Clover the rabbit while exploring the castle, which is full of surprises. Designed for kids ages 2 and up, the set features a throne room, a hidden treasure chest in the basement, and a revolving dance floor. This multi-level castle introduces kids to building, with Duplo blocks that are designed for little hands. Kids can combine this with the Sofia the First Royal Stable for more adventures with Sofia’s horse, Minimus the Great. The 3-in-1 Lego Creator Future Flyers robot features an orange, black, and white color scheme, a large robo-head with one blue eye, a removable backpack with foldout wings, and removable rocket boosters. Kids can build a powerful rocket pack, a futuristic jet, or a futuristic sports car. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Lego Minecraft Creative Adventures Crafting Box lets kids build their own Minecraft models from the instructions, inspirational images, or their imaginations. This set, which includes a Steve minifigure with an accessory, a skeleton, and a mooshroom, lets kids use the periodic table poster to identify Lego Minecraft elements or try out a diamond pickaxe. The Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle set, from Lego’s Disney Princess line, lets kids join Anna and Olaf as they visit Queen Elsa’s ice palace. They can build the castle, play hide-and-seek in the secret staircase, go ice skating, ski down the ice hill, or prepare frozen treats in the castle’s ice cream bar. Lego Star Wars Hailfire Droid lets kids roll into battle against the Clone army on Geonosis. This highly maneuverable Droid can speed across any terrain on its huge wheels. Designed for kids ages 7 and up, the Droid also features folding side pylons, an adjustable gun, and four spring-loaded shooters. Lego will also introduce the Birds set created by their Lego Ideas program. Created by gardener and bird enthusiast Thomas Poulsom, and selected by the Lego Ideas members, each replica bird hails from a different continent. The models all come with their own presentation stands showing their scientific names. With the Lego Bionicle Pohatu—Master of Stone set, kids can summon the elemental power of Pohatu. By attaching the convertible Jeterangs to the feet of this poseable Bionicle figure, kids can launch it into the sky. Pohatu comes with everything to prepare kids for the battle for the Golden Mask of Stone.

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Lego Star Wars Hailfire Droid

FEBRUARY 2015


Creativity for Kids Owns DYO

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ids can design their own sunglasses with Creativity for Kids’ Decorate Your Own Sunnies kit. Suitable for kids ages 8 and up, kids can decorate three pairs of sunglasses with resin shapes, rhinestones, and gem strips and keep them safe with three included sunglass cases. The sunglass assortment includes one fun color, one glitter pair, and one pair that changes color in the sun. With the Deluxe Easy Weave Fleece Blanket, kids ages 7 and up can create a soft woven blanket out of a pre-cut fleece base and Easy Weave fleece strips. There’s no sewing involved and kids can make trendy embellishments using the pom-pom and tassel tool. Finish it off with a “Made by me” tag. Budding gardeners can create their own hanging terrariums with the Macramé Terrarium, designed for kids ages 7 and up. The set includes quick-grow chia and wheat grass seeds, potting mix, colorful sand and gravel for layering, a garden mister, baby deer and mushroom figurines, 20 feet of macramé cord, and more. The Do Art Outdoor Chalk Art Set encourages kids ages 4 and up to create artwork outdoors. The set includes 12 sticks of vibrantly colored chalk, two chalk holders, a blending brush, blending foam, a kneeling cushion, and a storage case.

FEBRUARY 2015

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Activities & Construction Kid O Toys Offers Constructive Fun for Kiddos Tara Toy Is Off the Hook

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ara Toy is putting a licensing spin on the classic latch hook activity. This spring, kids can create soft and shaggy projects themed to Disney Frozen and Mattel’s Monster High. Each kit includes a picture frame that kids can decorate with gem stickers for display, as well as more than 100 meters of colorful yarn. The licensed Latch Hook Design Activity kits are designed for kids ages 6 and up.

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ew products from Kid O Toys facilitate water play, color matching, and more. With the five-piece Pour & Spin Submarine Set, kids can pour water over the wheel to make it spin, blow through the periscope to create water bubbles, and use the two sieves to drain the water and create rainfall. When finished, the parts snap back together to re-construct the submarine. The Water Tower Set is a multi-layered toy that offers early lessons in water exploration. The water spins through the wheel and trickles through the sieve, creating raindrops through the waiting funnel and into the clear bottom cup. The pieces can be used either individually or together. With Mix & Match Animals, brightly colored pieces of familiar zoo animals can be mixed, matched, and snapped together to form new versions. Click + Pop Links have linking pieces that can be connected, twisted, and turned to construct a range of unique shapes and designs. Each set includes 18 pieces and features matching colors. Mix & Match Animals

Bizainy Creates Kid-Sized CEOs

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izainy will debut three new activity kits designed to emphasize creativity, critical thinking, and dialogue. Through play combined with real-world experiences, each activity kit teaches business and money management skills to kids and teens. The Kids’ Café Kit allows kids to get into business by serving yummy snacks in their very own café. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the kit includes a café banner, a daily specials sign, a menu template, an order and bill pad, and customer comment cards. The Café Kit also comes with a business planner, which shows kids sample menus, meal recipes, information on budgeting and profits, and lessons on bill tabulating. The Dog Walking & Pet Sitting Kit shows kids ages 10 and up how to make money by caring for neighborhood animals. The kit includes business cards, a pet instructions pad, a menu of services, a receipt pad, and a client book. Additionally, the business planner includes pet services ideas and tips on building a business, database management, customer service, and budgeting and profits. Kids can learn how to sell refreshments with the Concession Stand Kit, designed for kids ages 10 and up. The kit includes a sale banner, a products for sale sign, price tags, a sales pad, and a decorate-your-own money box. Plus, the business planner gives kids a marketing plan, product ideas, product forecasting, and tips for budgeting and profits.

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The Orb Factory Is Purr-fectly Creative

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he Orb Factory will expand its line of no-sew plush this year with the Plush Craft Kitty. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the kit includes a stylus and punch fabric-by-number pieces to create a plush friend that doubles as a piece of room dĂŠcor. The kit also includes sparkling eye pieces and a glitzy fishbone collar.

FEBRUARY 2015

Wedgnetix Is Good for 2-D or 3-D Constructs

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ith Wedgnetix, from ImagAbility, kids build their own stacking blocks by linking Wedgnetix bars to create squares, rectangles, and hexagons. Each Wedgnetix construction bar has an embedded magnet, allowing for 2-D designs that interconnect while lying flat, or 3-D designs that rise into the air. Wedgnetix is available in 16and 32-piece design kits, each containing a design guide.

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Activities & Construction Magnetic Play Sets Let Kids Build&Imagine

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uild&Imagine play sets aim to expand a child’s possibilities by developing foundational skills for the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Featuring adventurous leading female characters and rich illustrated details, these magnetic construction sets put the child in the role of designer and architect, providing a launch pad for imaginative play. Kids can hop into the shoes of best friends Malia and Skyler as they rush home from school to their favorite hangout, Malia’s Beach House, where they make music videos, tend to the vegetable garden, and hang out in the pool. As dusk falls, Skyler’s dog Hubble nudges them out of the gate to explore along the coast. Malia’s Beach House

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PomTree Pillow Puffs Are Perfect for Kit-ing Around

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his year, PomTree puts its focus on tween crafters with its Pillow Puffs Designer Felt line. The Pillow Kits come in different styles including Designer Elephant, Raccoon, Fox, Monkey, Cat, and Owl. The Accessory Kits feature a trio of key chains—the Pillow Puff Designer Kit Keychain Owl, Raccoon, and Bird—and the Pillow Puff Designer Kit Purse with Compact in Bird or Panda. The Big Pillow is extra big and soft, and has two styles for this year: Monkey and Dog. Each has sparkle gems and puffy paints for custom decorating. The Designer Felt Mega Kits allow kids to craft a total of six mini-pillows. The kits come in Woodland Critters and Zen Critters styles. Pillow Puffs are intended for ages 5 and up, and have sticky back felt pieces that do not require sewing. The line is divided into four different categories—pillow, accessory, mini-pillow, and big pillow—with a choice of 12 themes in all. Pillow Kits

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FEBRUARY 2015


Interplay Sets the Craft Scene

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nterplay will expand its craft, nature, and tech toy lines to include the Craft Scene jewelry range for kids ages 8 and up. New collections based on seasonal fashion trends will include Steampunk Jewellery, Shamballa Rainbow Jewellery, and Infinity Bracelets. Recommended for younger kids ages 4 and up, Fairy Garden, from Interplay’s Craft Box line, allows kids to create their own magical indoor fairy gardens. Interplay’s Technokits, designed for kids ages 8 and up, allow kids to get hands-on with electrical and mechanical projects. Thanks to interlocking printed card pieces, there’s no need for glue and no mess to clean up later. Kits include a Stunt Buggy that spins and does tricks, a turbo-charged Dragster, a Hovercraft, and a Racing Truck. Rivets, a range of 3-D construction kits, allow kids to make dragon, hornet, racing car, jet fighter, and pterodactyl sculptures using a riveting system. Using the pre-cut cards, kids can fold and fix pieces together using the Rivets Gun and reusable plastic rivets.


Games & Puzzles Wiggles 3D Chimes Into the Game Aisle

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ellz, from Wiggles 3D, is a new magnetic game that kids can take on the go. The game stores inside the travel pouch, which opens to become the game arena. The game includes 40 custom bells in four colors and three different sizes. Each player uses the magnet wand to pick up bells of one color—but picking up bells of another color will end his or her turn. The first player to collect all 10 bells of one color is the winner. The game is designed for two to four players ages 6 and up.

Blue Orange Games Gets Two Thumbs Up

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n Thumbs Up!, from Blue Orange Games, two to six players race to be the first to stack different colored rings on their thumbs based on the order shown on a challenge card. The challenge cards require each player to focus on the order of numbers and match their colors. The fast-paced game is designed for players ages 6 and up. Wink is a silly party game for four to eight players ages 8 to adult. Each player must covertly wink at his or her secret partner without being detected by the other players. The secret partners are determined by whether the opposite player has the matching card the partner seeks. In King’s Gold, two to six players ages 8 and up race to steal the king’s treasure and become the richest pirate at sea. The object of the game is to earn the most coins by obtaining the best combinations of dice rolls. Each combination of dice results in a different type of action. The different dice combinations keep the game exciting and competitive as players steal from their fellow pirates and give their shares to the king. Designed for one to eight players ages 7 and up, Color Clash challenges players to find the correct tile in this brain twisting game. Each of the 36 Color Clash tiles features three things: a picture of different color chameleons, a word that refers to a specific color, and a color that the word is written in. Players will find it difficult to recognize the color a word is written in when it spells another color, also known as the Stroop Effect. Eight game variations are included in the rule book to mix up the fun. Super Genius is a new collection of educational matching games developed to assist parents and teachers in helping kids practice important academic concepts in engaging ways. Available in five different variations, kids are challenged to find a match between an image and a word, or a mathematic equation and its product or sum. In all game variations, there is only one match between any two cards. Super Genius comes with five game rules and a portable magnetic box. In Crab Stack, players must crawl smart or get swept away. The object of the game is to immobilize your opponents’ crabs by landing on top of them, or to wash them away with the Wave Rule. This wooden game requires strategy to make sure that your crabs are not trapped or washed away. Designed for two to four players ages 8 to adult, the last crab crawling is the winner.

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Games & Puzzles Hasbro Games Are Big Fun for Little People

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he Game of Life Junior, from Hasbro, is a fast-paced game that is similar to the originial version with cooler vehicles. Kids can choose from the Blue Wheeler, the Pink Cruiser, the Yellow Speedster, and the Green Rider, and start going on life adventures as they try to collect stars along the way. The game is designed for two to four players ages 5 and up. Crocodile Dentist is a game of daring dentistry. Kids must try not to get chomped as they take turns pressing down on the crocodile’s teeth. If a player presses the croc’s sore tooth, he’ll snap his mouth shut and that player will get chomped. The last player to get chomped is the winner. In The Mashin’ Max Game, players must take turns scurrying around the board collecting berries to store in their tree stumps, but if a player sets off Mashin’ Max, he’ll spin around the board and slam his giant fists down to capture him or her. The player to collect the most food and avoid Mashin’ Max wins the game. Jenga XL is an extra-large version of the classic Jenga game. The game features 30 foldable cardboard blocks that come together to form a giant tower that stands more than 30 inches tall. Players push, pull, and stack Jenga XL game blocks to build the tower higher and higher. The first player to make the tower crumble loses the game. Jenga XL

Thames & Kosmos Gets Kids Thinking with New Game Line

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hames & Kosmos introduces Dohdles, an artistic and silly guessing game for three to six players. One player must use modeling clay to create a Dohdle, or an approximate shape based on an object or a living thing, while others guess what the Dohdle is. Players can ask the sculptor yes or no questions, or they can ask for a letter of the word to help guess the shape. The harder a shape is to identify, the more points a sculptor gets. If players think they can guess a Dohdle, they will throw guessing cubes into the sorting funnel, and the player’s cube that comes out the fastest gets to guess first. Points move players around the game board, and the player who makes it around the board first wins the game. The special clay will not dry out or harden, and it can be used again for multiple games. Unongo is a geometric puzzle game where players race against the timer to work out a puzzle of interlocking shapes. The faster players solve the puzzle, the more gems they will get. The player with the most valuable gem treasure after nine rounds of solving puzzles wins. Thames & Kosmos also welcomes Dimension, the spherical, stackable, fast-paced puzzle game that enhances multi-dimensional thinking. All players try to position the spheres on their trays to earn as many points as possible. The task cards indicate how the spheres must be placed to earn points. For example, two orange spheres must be on the same tray, blue and black must touch each other, and blue must not touch white. Players must race to complete these tasks against a timer.

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Games & Puzzles University Games Celebrates 30 Years

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Who Goosed the Moose

niversity Games celebrates its 30th anniversary with new games this year. For young game players, the Briarpatch brand will launch new licensed games featuring The Very Hungry Caterpillar, designed for kids ages 2 and up. Additionally, three new games based on Nick Jr.’s Blaze and the Monster Trucks TV series will teach preschoolers about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts. The University Games brand goes retro with Hang on Harvey, a fast-paced family skill and action game that first launched in 1969. Players must race to be the first to help Harvey scale the wall. The company will also release Red Herring, the game of fish definitions. Players compete to create hilarious definitions for obscure words in the dictionary. Additionally, the company will launch the winning game from this year’s National Young Game Inventors Contest, STATE the Picture, by 11-year-old Katlyn Chiles. In the Front Porch Classics lineup, Who Goosed the Moose is a ring toss game designed for kids ages 5 and up. Featuring 18-inch antlers that attach to the barrel package for play, the game folds up for easy storage. Pluck the Ducks is a safe shooting gallery game designed for kids ages 5 and up. Players are challenged to pop soft foam balls at a silly cast of ducks in flight. The new Moonshine Games Collection, designed for players ages 8 and up, features Moonshine Dice, Pass the Gumbo, and Knuckledown Marbles, which are classic games of dice, marbles, and chance packaged inside plastic, vintage-looking Mason jars.

R&R Games Adds Fast-Paced Fun to the Game Closet

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n Caffeine Rush, from R&R Games, players are baristas and orders are flying in fast. Players ages 8 and up have to grab ingredients, pump out orders, and rake in the perks, but if someone finishes your drink, they snag your tips. As each drink is served, the barista must pull a new order and shout it out. Spit It Out is a fast-paced party game in which players ages 10 and up have to retrain their brains to give the wrong answer to easy questions. But sometimes players will be challenged to give the right answers, too, and they will only have 30 seconds to spit them out. Cup-a-Cup is a game of quick thinking and fast hands, in which players ages 6 and up roll the dice, identify the missing colored shape, and then swipe the matching cup off the table. But no cup is safe since they are all up for grabs. The first player to collect three cups wins. Slideways is a fast-paced game of logic and skill in which players ages 8 and up try to outwit their opponents. Players move their bars on the board or flip colors to get four in a row. This travel-size game may not be as easy as it seems.

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Games & Puzzles SmartGames Challenges Players to Use Their Noggins

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utterflies, from SmartGames, is a unique sliding puzzle game featuring 48 challenges in which players must arrange the pieces to create beautiful butterflies. In Penguins Parade, a magnetic travel game featuring 48 challenges, players must arrange the pieces on the gameboard to line up the penguins four in a row. Three Little Piggies challenges little ones to fit large pieces on the game board so that the Piggies are either playing outside or hiding in their houses when the wolf shows up. There are 48 challenges in total. IQ Blox is the newest addition to the IQ series and features 120 challenges. This version features walls that form blocks for the pieces. Players have to set up the game board with walls according to the challenge and fill in all of the pieces to complete it. IQ Candy challenges players to fit all of the candy-colored pieces onto the game board, adjusting to the different-shaped protrusions that pieces must fit over. There are 60 challenges to complete. Three Little Piggies

MasterPieces Puzzle Co. Celebrates 20 Years

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asterPieces Puzzle Co. celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with new licensed lines and brand extensions. The company has partnered with Ty for Ty Beanie puzzles. Nostalgic Beanie Babies are featured in 700-piece search-and-find jigsaw puzzles in specialty acetate boxes, and new Beanie Boos are featured in 100-piece puzzles with no-mess glitter. Tetris-branded brainteaser puzzles support a growing category of novelty and specialty puzzles for kids and adults. The Tetris Cube is a game featuring 16 3-D plastic Tetriminos. Players can find solutions from easy to difficult, depending on how many levels they can solve. Additional puzzles include a flat Tetrimino puzzle, a traditional 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, and a three-layer Tetrimino brainteaser. A new partnership with Discovery Channel has allowed MasterPieces to create Animal Planet puzzles for both kids and adults; Shark Week puzzles; and Cake Boss puzzles, featuring colorful cakes from the TV series. MasterPieces has also partnered with the NFL Players Association to create 100-piece puzzles for kids, each packaged in easy-to-store foil packs. Each puzzle features popular players, including Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers. A licensing agreement made with the National Hockey League (NHL) will result in 1,000-piece Panoramic puzzles featuring top team arenas. There will also be a line of NHL Checkers, which will feature hockey puck playing pieces and a playing board that depicts a realistic ice arena. The U.S. Army has granted MasterPieces licensing rights to produce a custom-painted puzzle line by artist Dona Gelsinger, as well as wood craft and 3-D wooden puzzles featuring Army vehicles.

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Games & Puzzles Bananagrams Walks on the Wild Side

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ananagrams will showcase Bananagrams WildTiles, along with the brand’s existing tabletop games. Bananagrams WildTiles includes six monkey WildTiles, putting a new spin on the original Bananagrams racing crossword game. Players ages 7 and up can pick up a WildTile and play it as many times as they need. The WildTile will stand in for any letter while players race to complete their grids.

LCR Goes Wild with George & Co.

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new twist on the original Left Center Right (LCR) dice game, LCR Wild, from George & Co., gives players the chance to choose their moves. The unpredictable play of the game creates an added twist of excitement. LCR Wild is designed for ages 8 and up.

TCG Brings Peppa to the Playroom

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CG will launch a full range of officially licensed Peppa Pig games and puzzles. The Peppa Pig Pop Up Foam Floor Puzzle includes 26 easy-to-grip, thick foam puzzle pieces featuring pop-up characters, vehicles, and landmarks. It includes a zippered vinyl bag for easy storage, and is designed for kids ages 3 and up. With the Peppa Pig 12-Piece Mix & Match Puzzle, kids ages 18 months and up can mix and match five different outfits with their favorite Peppa Pig friends. The set includes five tops, five bottoms, and two faces. There are two styles to choose from, and the puzzle comes in a wooden storage box for easy cleanup. The Peppa Pig Wood Puzzle Clock features 12 die-cut wooden shapes that show hours on one side, minute values on the other, and a surprise image underneath. Kids ages 2 and up will learn counting, colors, shape recognition, and more with the help of self-correcting spaces that reinforce the position of each piece. The Peppa Pig Domino and the Peppa Pig Match Up Game assortments will teach kids about problem solving. The Domino game includes 28 dominos made from extra chunky card stock for kids to line up and match their favorite Peppa Pig friends. In the Match Up Game, kids collect pairs of Peppa Pig friends on 24 match cards. Both games come in a re-sealable foil bag for easy storage. Peppa Pig Gigantic Ups & Downs gets kids ages 3 and up to climb ladders and slide down snakes into muddy puddles as they race to be the first to the top. The game includes five large Peppa Pig character pawns, a spinner, and a 38-inch square play mat. When kids press the red button, the Fairground Ride spins in the Peppa Pig Fairground Ride Game. If a player lands on a red space, he or she must hop off, but if that player guesses where an empty swing will land, they can jump back on.

Peppa Pig Wood Puzzle Clock

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FEBRUARY 2015


Games & Puzzles Set Enterprises Rounds Out Game Night

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et Enterprises Inc. celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with the release of Mini Rounds of Set, Quiddler, Five Crowns, and Karma. The Mini Rounds come in pocket-sized click tins, and are shorter, faster versions of the full games. Mini Rounds are designed for easy travel and each takes about 10 to 15 minutes to play. The Set Mini Round provides a great way to introduce kids to the classic Set game. With just three features, it is easy to learn, and the round-shape cards accent the visual perception of the game. The Quiddler Mini Round has four rounds to the game, which is half as many as in the original Quiddler. The Five Crowns Mini Round is a five-suited rummy-style game, and the Karma Mini Round is unpredictable, with a subtle strategy that gets players’ competitive juices flowing.

Mindware Challenges with Trivia, Strategy, and Memory Games

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n Animal Trivia Challenge, from Mindware, players build their animal knowledge through three types of challenge cards: Know It, Name It, and Rank It. Players earn Survival Tokens with point values for each correct answer, but they must watch out for predators and pitfalls. The game includes 216 cards, each offering both a beginnerand an advanced-level challenge. In Leaps and Ledges, players maneuver their pawns into the tower’s crown by strategically placing cards, but only pawns of the same color can occupy a level. Rampage and Wild cards cause opponents to be knocked backward or forced to overshoot the crown. Players need to match each other’s answers—either the most or the least—in Choice Words. The game modes include Scratch Play, where one point is scored for each phrase that players haven’t thought of; and Match Play, where players earn points for correctly guessing how others will fill in the blanks. As the time runs out, the phrases get more far-flung. Fast fingers and a creative mind are necessary for Zany Chain, where players race to make objects out of chain. For each round, the Chain Maker picks a topic card, reads the topic aloud, and then chooses from three different images. With the timer ticking, the Chain Maker creates the images while the other players shout out their guesses. The game includes a chain, a directional timer, and 315 topic cards. In Memory Mix Up, players load the shaker with tokens featuring favorite objects, quickly memorizing them before the shaker is turned over. After one token is secretly removed, players race to identify the missing object. The first player with the correct guess wins the token, and then another token is added to begin the next round. The game includes a shaker and 50 object tokens. Hucklebee is a plush toy game that helps kids learn colors, shapes, and how to follow directions. Grownups read instructions from the included deck of cards, and kids follow the prompts while cuddling Hucklebee. The cards include directions such as, “Rub noses with Hucklebee!” and “Now clap Hucklebee’s square hands together!”

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Leaps and Ledges

FEBRUARY 2015


The Haywire Group Puts It All Together

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rankenWords, from The Haywire Group, is a fast-paced compound word game that will have players racing to identify compound words faster than their opponents. For example, if a player sees the card “match” and the card “box,” he or she must grab them quick to make “matchbox” before his or her opponent grabs the cards needed to make the compound word “sandbox.” Each card features a word and an image to help early readers play the game. In Taco Takeover, players go head-to-head to see who can correctly fill their taco orders first. If a player draws a “la cucaracha” card, or if he or she is served an “antacid” by an opponent, that player is out of the game for a round. Beardos challenges older game players to name famous beards. One player wears the beard card, which features the beard silhouette of a famous person, and he or she gives the other players clues one at a time until someone names the beard.

FEBRUARY 2015

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Games & Puzzles International Playthings Launches New Action Game

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nternational Playthings introduces Buddy’s Balloon Launch, a highflying, action-filled balloon game. Players take turns rolling the die and cranking Buddy’s fin. The first player to make Buddy’s balloon launch wins. This game is designed for two to four players ages 3 and up.

FoxMind’s Stinker Smells Like a Winner

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n FoxMind’s latest party game, Stinker, players try to outsmart each other and make sure their answers are not Stinkers. Three to six players ages 8 and up randomly draw letters to compose answers to goofy questions. Regardless if the word is misspelled or entirely made-up, players must convince the judge that their answers make “scents.” Being quick and witty is essential to winning the game.


Tactic Games Bets on Fun

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actic Games USA introduces iKNOW Mini Amazing Earth, a small game cube full of fun facts and interesting information. In this trivia game, players win points by choosing question levels themselves and answering correctly. Using betting tokens, players score more points by guessing other players’ success. The game is designed for two to four players ages 15 and up. Minions Hit Them Out Game is an indoor and outdoor throwing game designed for players ages 5 and up. Two or more players aim a fabric-coated rubber ball at eight minions and try to knock them down.

Sugar Lulu Has Games for Tweens

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ugar Lulu introduces two new games designed for girls ages 8 and up. Drama Queens lets girls put on silly, crazy, wacky performances as they act out what’s written on their card. Decked Out is a stylish classic deck of cards that features pretty patterns and special instructions for lots of fun games. Each game comes packaged in a stylish patterned tin.

Miniland Educational Gets Crazy

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razy Tangram, from Miniland Educational, is a quick travel-friendly game designed for kids ages 4 and up. Part of the new Miniland On the Go collection, the game features an outer space scene and oddly shaped pieces. Kids can place all of the magnetic pieces in the “warehouse” planet on the board. Then, they choose one Frame Puzzle: What We Eat of the many crazy-shaped pieces that are seen floating around space and put them in the center of the board to create different models. Kids can use Crazy Tangram to play Traditional Tangram as well by selecting only the seven traditionally shaped pieces. Frame Puzzle: What We Eat is new to the Miniland Parenting Tool Collection. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, this set of four plastic puzzles features non-traditional, wavy-shaped pieces and a solid frame for easy assembly. There are six pieces in each puzzle. The set also includes a didactic guide with important information about the food pyramid and nutrition in general. The puzzles teach kids about the origins of food and different types of foods and how to classify them.

FEBRUARY 2015

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Games & Puzzles All Things Equal Turns Awkward into Hilarious

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ust in case things weren’t awkward enough with Awkward Family Photos, All Things Equal has released Awkward Family Photos Movie Line Caption. Recommended for kids ages 12 and up, the game asks players to caption awkward images from the awkwardfamilyphotos.com website with lines from hundreds of memorable movies. No movie knowledge is required, and the game comes with 160 funny pictures featuring 330 movie lines. All Things Equal has also launched a new version of Loaded Questions, featuring updated game play and more than 1,000 new and classic questions designed to spark laughter and creative discussion. A grown-up version of Loaded Questions, Adult Loaded Questions, asks players to write their own personal answers to 308 suggestive, silly, and stimulating questions. Adult Loaded Questions is intended for players ages 17 and up.

Haba Cleans Up Game Time

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he Magnetic Game Fairy Garden, from Haba, promotes creativity and imagination with a twosided, 28- by 40-inch fairytale scene for the fridge. Kids choose and place 64 magnetic pieces to create their own fairytales. When they’re done, they can remove the pieces and begin again. Kids can help restore order in a messy, smelly laundry room with the Monster Laundry Game by spotting and snatching the most golden clothespins. This fastpaced game of rummaging and grabbing includes a tin washing machine package, clothespins, and mischievous monster cards. Game play meets art in the Equilibrius Stacking Game, a wacky and whimsical game from Lilliputiens. Select a sturdy critter card and stack it wherever you like to sculpt all kinds of crazy creatures. This game is intended for players ages 3 and up.

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U.S. Games Systems Takes No Prisoners

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.S. Games Systems, in partnership with Eagle and Gryphon Games, will re-launch the Mystery Rummy Card Game series. The most popular titles in the series—Jack the Ripper, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Jeckyll & Hyde, and Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld—will return, along with the fifth game in the series, Escape from Alcatraz. In this thematic card game inspired by actual events, players are in charge of uncovering prisoners’ devious escape plans from dozens of criminals, such as Doc Barker and Bernard Coy. On each turn, players gather information by melding matching plan cards or playing off an existing plan. When players collect eight matching plan cards and identify the plan’s mastermind, they can foil the escape plan, capture the culprit, and score points.

FEBRUARY 2015


Cardinal Brings Character to Game Night

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ardinal offers new licensed games this year, including Wikipedia: The Game About Everything, recommended for kids ages 8 and up. The game features questions about entertainment, history, and pop culture, as well as questions about page rankings and disambiguations. The Do You Want to Build A Snowman Game, intended for kids ages 5 and up, features Olaf from Disney Frozen. The game calls on players to complete the spelling of their word before Olaf disappears. For the crowdsourced Star Wars Trivia Game, players test their Star Wars knowledge with hundreds of questions from the Star Wars universe. Each question was written and submitted by an actual Star Wars fan, and the game challenges players to build a timeline while answering the trivia questions. This year, Cardinal introduces Puzzle Capsules, which turn puzzles into collectibles. The line features licensed characters such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Darth Vader, and more. Cardinal’s Puzz 3D line will expand this year with the 91piece Iron Man Puzz 3D, which replicates the Marvel superhero in three dimensions; and the Jurassic Park Puzz 3D, which players can assemble and then display. The What’s On My Pizza Game features unique pizza toppings. Every slice shows a single topping that is a bit unusual, such as a gummy or a ladybug. Iron Man Puzz 3D

FEBRUARY 2015


Games & Puzzles Educational Insights Brings Fiasco Fun

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rankie’s Food Truck Fiasco Game, from Educational Insights, lets kids place an order using a spinner, and then use the Frankie Squeezer to find and grab a food that matches the shape they spun. The first to complete a five-course meal wins the game. In RiddleCube The Game, players draw a challenge card, then fold, twist, and stretch the RiddleCube to create the picture or word challenge in the card. The first player to complete five challenges wins. Players race to fill their breakfast bowl in the Crazy Cereal Electronic Game. If the colorchanging spoon lights up, pick up a matching colored piece of cereal; if the spoon flashes, pick up two pieces at once. Whoever has collected the most cereal when the bowl is empty wins.

Ravensburger Challenges Strategic Thinkers

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ugs in the Kitchen, from Ravensburger, is a unique board game featuring a battery-operated Hexbug Nano that crawls across the 3-D game board as players attempt strategic moves to lead it into their traps. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the game challenges players to rotate the 24 utensils to create paths for the bug. Eiffel Tower, Mickey & Minnie Edition is a 216-piece, 3-D puzzle featuring the Eiffel Tower decked out in Mickey and Minnie artwork. The puzzle is made of precision-cut, flat, hinged, and rounded pieces that click into place with no glue required. Puzzlers can put the structure together by the numbers located on the inside of every piece, by the exterior design, or both. Designed for kids ages 12 and up, this puzzle is a 17.3-inch-tall replica of the Eiffel Tower with a Disney flair. Artist’s Desk is a 1,000-piece puzzle that provides a peak into the design process of an artist. It showcases the drawing desk of a Disney•Pixar artist, featuring images of familiar characters during the drawing process.

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Winning Moves Puts a Twist on Toy Fair

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n Connect 4 Twist & Turn, from Winning Moves Games, players need four in a row to win— but there’s a new twist: Each layer of the tower twists, creating exciting game play strategies. Two players ages 6 and up can drop, twist, and win. The object of Fish, Fish, Squish is to be the last player with an “unsquished” fish. Players ages 5 and up start the game by molding a school of five fun dough fish. Cards are flipped, in turn, until a player gets three in a row. That player is awarded a free squish of any opponent’s fish—but watch out, because everyone else is trying to squish their fish, too. Guess Who requires two players ages 6 and up to guess which person in the crowd is the person on their opponent’s card by asking yes or no questions to solve the mystery. Hi-Ho Cherry-O helps kids develop and practice math skills such as counting, addition, and subtraction by picking fruit from their trees to fill their buckets. The game is designed for two to four players ages 3 and up.

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THE TOY BOOK • 167


Games & Puzzles CSE Games Gets Loud

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oud About is a fast-paced game of action memory, from CSE Games. Players must select actions and words to be loud about in this laughter-inducing card game. The goal is to quickly act out and shout out those actions and words faster than your opponents. This game puts reaction and memory skills to the test, combining elements from games such as Slapjack and Charades. Designed for three to eight players ages 8 and up, one round takes about 15 minutes to play. Quartex is an abstract strategy tile game that is a board game and a puzzle combined. Players must play tiles by matching and placing them beside other tiles already in play. If one player’s tile completes a four-corner shape, he or she earns a point token of that color. As the number of tokens collected increases, the value decreases, so in this game, sometimes less is more. Because players decide where tiles are placed, the shape of every game of Quartex is different. The game is designed for two to five players ages 8 and up.

ThinkFun Brings Royalty to Logic Games

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ll Queens Chess, from ThinkFun, is a strategy game using only the most powerful chess piece. In this two-player game designed for players ages 8 and up, players must plan their moves carefully to outwit the opposition and get four Queens in a row. Just like in a game of chess, the all-powerful Queen can move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, but in this game, pieces can’t be captured.

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Patch Products Is All In

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amily and friends can play together with new family-friendly games from Patch Products. In Stack Attack, a stacking game for players ages 8 and up, two to four players try not to be the one to knock down the tower. Yeti in My Spaghetti is a wacky game that can be played with two or more players ages 4 and up. Players must carefully remove the noodles one by one without letting the Yeti fall into the bowl. For three or more players ages 6 and up, 5 Second Rule Jr. is a family-friendly version of the 5 Second Rule party game. In addition, Patch will add two new games to its line of party games. In All In, players ages 14 and up must decide whether the statement on the card is true or false and put their chips in. Players who put chips on the wrong answer will lose them. Four of more players can play The Game of Things… Peggable Version, a less expensive version of the humorous who-said-what original The Game of Things... game. New to Patch’s Perplexus line of brainteasers is a smaller line called Microplex. Available in three versions, each Microplex features a different shape and theme, including Orb, Gridlock, and Drakko.

FEBRUARY 2015


Want to Reach Millions of Consumers During the Holiday Season? • Holiday Gift Guide in the

November issue of Woman’s Day magazine, read by nearly 21 million* consumers (*MRI Spring 2014) AS SEEN IN

• Extensive Online Presence A comprehensive companion website, toyinsider.com, features links to participating advertisers’ and retailers’ websites and includes product reviews, demo videos, and guest blogger contributions.

• Widespread Media Coverage Laurie Schacht, the TOY INSIDER MOM, appeared in more than 200 National and Major Market TV segments, along with hundreds of print and online features.

• Participation in National Sweepstakes and Guerilla Marketing Programs to showcase participants’ products

To participate in the 10th Annual The Toy Insider™ contact: Jonathan Samet —(212) 575-4510 x 2321, jsamet@adventurepub.com Laurie Schacht — (212) 575-4510 x 2320, laurieschacht@aol.com www.toyinsider.com


Dolls & Plush Cuddle Barn’s Plush Can Sing

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r. Charlie, from Cuddle Barn, shows kids fun facts about eight different parts of the body. Kids ages 18 months and up can place his magnetic stethoscope over his colorful patches to activate fun learning songs. Miss Melody is a lovable teddy bear that sings five classic children’s songs. Sophie Sniffles is an elephant that cannot stop sneezing. Kids can activate her to see how she deals with her sneezing and sniffles. Cuddle Barn’s reindeer sings the “Ugly Sweater Song.” Kids are encouraged to try to beat him in his wardrobe selection during the holiday season. Dr. Charlie

MGA Has Crazy, Stretchy, SunKissed Magic Hair

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i-and-Va (Viviana and Valentina) are a new line of dolls created by MGA Entertainment with Hispanic girls in mind. With Vi-and-Va, every day is an adventure and a reason to celebrate the bond of family and friendship. Vi is Valentina’s big sister. She is spontaneous and easy going. The 16-year-old is passionate about sharing her love of music, and she’s always ready to break out her guitar at family gatherings. Va is just turning 15 years old. Super neat and organized, Va loves learning to cook from her mother and grandmothers, and she’s already perfected some savory family recipes, such as empanadas. SunKissed Magic Hair lets Moxie Girlz have fun in the sun. Kids ages 5 and up can decorate their hair with glitter gel and watch as it changes color in the sun. The dolls also come with barrettes and hairbands for mix-and-match fun. The Moxie Girlz Knitting Fun Doll is a fun way to craft colorful scarves and hair accessories. Each pack comes with a variety of gorgeous and colorful yarn, ribbons, and beads that will make it simple and fun for girls and their dolls to stand out. The Lalaloopsy Stretchy Hair Doll allows kids to style and create many hair-dos. Its long hair stretches up to three times its original length. Kids ages 5 and up will enjoy endless hours of hair play with the new Lalaloopsy Girls Crazy Hair Dolls. The dolls come with colorful bendy hair to help create different hairstyles. There are six different ways to style each Lalaloopsy Girl, including cutting, lengthening, coloring, glittering, adding accessories, and styling.

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Lalaloopsy Girls Crazy Hair Dolls

FEBRUARY 2015


Dolls & Plush Angel Love

Madame Alexander’s Babblebabies Talk Like Real Babies

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adame Alexander will showcase its Newborn Nursery Babblebabies, which are designed to look and feel like real babies. Each Babblebaby weighs 3.5 pounds, measures 19 inches in length, and features more than 80 real baby sound combinations. When kids speak to the dolls, they respond with cooing, chuckling, sighing, giggling, squealing, and more. Intended for kids ages 3 and up, the six dolls in the collection include both boy and girl options. Each member of the Babblebabies line—Munchkin, Sweet Baby, Angel Love, and Baby Face—comes with a different hair, eye, and skin color. Babblebaby Munchkin has either blonde or brown hair, to go with blue eyes and a light skin tone; while Babblebaby Baby Face has either brown or blonde hair, brown or blue eyes, and a light skin tone. Babblebaby Angel Love has brown hair, brown eyes, and a dark skin tone.

Hasbro Hosts a Tea Party for Mommies in Training

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urreal Friends Lil’ Big Paws, from Hasbro, is an interactive line of silly pets, including Peek-a-Boo Daisy, a curious kitty that plays peek-a-boo; DJ Howler, a rambunctious husky puppy that howls; and Tug ’n Luv Bouncy, an energetic puppy that wants to play tug-of-war. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, these pets will launch in the spring. Additional pets will be introduced in the fall, including Treat Time Frankie, a French bulldog pup with a taste for sweets; and Sneezy Kiki Koala, a friend from down under with a cold. Each pet comes complete with its own feeding accessory. The Littlest Pet Shop Limo features rolling wheels, fits multiple pets, and has a hot tub where the pets can relax. This limo includes Deco Bits pieces and stickers so kids can customize the stylish ride, an exclusive Pink Poodle pet, and a pair of sunglasses. Kids can host a magical tea party for two with the Baby Alive Teacup Surprise Baby doll. The doll includes accessories for a fancy baby tea party, such as a sippy teacup. When kids add ice-cold water to the baby’s tea set, they can watch as it changes color. The doll drinks and wets her diaper and is available in three skin tones. Another addition to the Baby Alive doll line is the Sips ’n Cuddles doll. Kids give the doll a drink of water from her sippy cup and then check her for a wet diaper and give her a change. Kids can even decorate her bottle with colorful stickers that match her dress. The doll is available in two skin tones. Baby Alive Sips ’n Cuddles In addition to fan favorites Fluttershy, DJ Pon 3, Applejack, and Rarity, Hasbro will add new characters to its line of My Little Pony Equestria Girls dolls. Sweetie Drops, Lyra Heartstrings, Roseluck, Cheerilee, and Amethyst Star dolls will join the line, each with a colorful outfit, matching shoes, and a pair of sunglasses.

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Dolls & Plush

Blip Toys Brings Interactivity to Plush

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right Eyes Pets, from Blip Toys, is a new line of touch-activated plush with expressive light-up eyes. Kids can pat the pet’s head to see its eyes blink open and hear it sigh and sniffle as it wakes up. When kids tickle the pet’s chin, they will hear happy noises and see attentive wide eyes. When it’s time to snuggle up together for bedtime, a soft touch to the pet’s back puts it to sleep, as its eyes slowly close and it starts to snore.

PopStar Dress-Up Brayden

The Beatrix Girls Head to Nashville

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he Beatrix Girls, PopStarClub’s line of collectible pop star dolls, are going on a country tour this year. The dolls wear country-inspired fashions and hairstyles while rocking out to their new country songs. Each doll comes with a country-styled musical instrument. The Beatrix Girls will also hit the red carpet this year, sporting glitzy high-fashion outfits. The Chibi Beatrix Girls Dolls are integrated with an augmented reality digital app. These five-inch dolls have the styling of the original 12-inch dolls, including their signature full hair. In the app, girls can interact with the band and customize and share their own concert experience with The Beatrix Girls music. The app interacts with the dolls, and is downloadable on all smart devices. Each doll comes with a brush, a stand, and a musical instrument. The dolls also come in Stage, London Tour, and Country Tour versions. Each doll activates different features in the app. Girls can join The Beatrix Girls on their next performance with the PopStar Dress-Up Line. Brayden’s electric blue dress, Ainsley’s sparkly magenta and gold dress, and Lark’s shiny punk-pop skirt are available. Each dress-up outfit comes with a microphone and a role-play guitar. A kidsized wig styled to match Brayden’s purple hair, PopStar dress-up shoes, and a microphone that plays The Beatrix Girls music are also available. Beatrix Girls Country Tour

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Dolls & Plush The Bridge Direct Celebrates 35 Years of Strawberry Shortcake

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trawberry Shortcake, the little girl with big possibilities, will celebrate a big birthday this year with the Strawberry Shortcake Classic Rag Doll 35th Anniversary Edition, from The Bridge Direct. This special reproduction of the original rag doll from the 1980s includes all the authentic details from her hat to her shoes, including her berry sweet strawberry scent. Kids can also join Strawberry Shortcake and her cat Custard for a party in the Strawberry Shortcake’s House Playset. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, this set features an exclusive 6-inch Strawberry Shortcake doll and a Custard figure that are ready to bake and decorate the strawberry-shaped house for a celebration. The back of the house opens up to reveal the interior of the café with a cozy upstairs area for Custard. Strawberry Shortcake’s House Playset

Cloud b Creates Plush with a Purpose

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loud b’s Super Max the Turtle is a compact, portable, and easy-to-clean version of the Twilight Turtle that helps empower children to feel strong and calm wherever they are. The reallife Super Max is fighting childhood brain cancer with the loving support of his friends and family, and Super Max the Turtle’s smile is modeled after the boy he’s named after. The portability of this turtle allows for easy travel, and it projects blue, amber, or green stars from its shell. Mini Twilight Buddies are colorful, cuddly soft friends that kids can name and register online to receive a customized printable birth certificate. Mini Twilight Buddies project stars onto bedroom ceilings and walls to ease the transition from playtime to bedtime. Each character provides a soft glow in blue, green, and amber, with the option to cycle through all three colors. Cloud b’s Stay Asleep Buddies—Simple Sleep Trainer is designed to help kids ages 1 and up understand when it’s time to stay in bed and when it’s okay to wake up. The Stay Asleep Buddies feature a cuddly interactive plush hedgehog that engages kids while delivering melodies and glowing reminders of bedtime and playtime. Parents set the hedgehog’s internal timer to countdown for the desired wake-up time, and a soothing lullaby sound loop plays for 45 minutes while a night light glows from the character’s heart. Developed in conjunction with the Sleep Lady, Kim West, Stay Asleep Buddies feature a motion sensor that reactivates the lullaby sounds and lights if kids wake up too early.

Stay Asleep Buddies—Simple Sleep Trainer

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Dolls & Plush Saban’s Julius Jr. Talk-O-Matic Pal Has Something to Say

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ntended for kids ages 2 and up and available at Toys “R” Us, this 12-inch, soft Julius Jr. Talk-O-Matic Pal, from Saban Brands, includes more than 10 signature phrases such as, “Eureka!” and, “The best inventions are the ones that help your friends!”

Gund Cuddles Up to the Classics

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und will introduce its new line of licensed, surface-washable plush for kids ages 1 and up. New to Gund’s licenses, Pusheen, the chubby gray tabby cat, will be transformed into a soft and cuddly 12-inch plush. The Internet sensation has millions of followers online and is known to love cuddles, snacks, and dress-up. Gund’s plush version brings the web comic to life in her classic pose, and its washable surface makes for quick and easy cleaning. Superhero fans can save the world with DC Comics Malone as Batman. This 12-inch high-quality plush bear comes dressed as Batman in an accurate costume. Straight from the movie Kiki’s Delivery Service, Gund will introduce a 6-inch seated Jiji plush based on the beloved magical cat. Staying true to the animated character, the plush will have Jiji’s iconic red bow. From the illustrated world of Beatrix Potter, Gund will present its Classic Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit plush. This high-quality, 9-inch plush features Peter’s signature blue coat and details directly from the original illustrations from Mr. McGregor’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Gund’s Grumpy Cat Scarf Hat is designed to fit most kids, teens, and adults. The Grumpy Cat Scarf Hat features a soft plush hat with embroidered details that recreate the sassy cat’s signature cranky expression. Two attached long scarves end in hand-warming paw pockets. Appropriate for fans ages 3 and up, the Scarf Hat is 36 inches long and surface-washable. Gund will bring Uglydoll’s Wage to life in 12-inch plush form dressed as Captain Kirk. The high-quality plush features accurate costume details from the sciencefiction series. Lastly, Gund will introduce collectible Beanbag Pals to its line of Sesame Street products with its Sesame Street Elmo Beanbag Pal. This soft, 3-inch beanbag plush pal features embroidered character details and can be squeezed, stacked, tossed, thrown, and more. Safe for kids ages 1 and up, the surface is washable and there are a variety of favorite characters available for kids to collect. DC Comics Malone as Batman

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Dolls & Plush New Mattel Dolls Have Got the Power

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Barbie in Princess Power: Super Sparkle Doll

irls can relive the music and fun of the Barbie in Rock ’n Royals movie with the Barbie in Rock ’n Royals dolls, from Mattel. The Princess Courtney doll transforms from her royal gown into a rockin’ outfit after she discovers her voice at popstar camp. The doll plays two songs from the movie and is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Kids can transform the pop star Erika doll from her on-stage look to a blue ball gown, as she discovers her inner royal. Erika also plays two songs from the movie. Barbie stars as Kara in Barbie in Princess Power, in which she plays a modern-day princess kissed by a glitter bug and discovers new powers. With the Barbie in Princess Power: Super Sparkle Doll, kids can transform Kara from her pink princess gown to her hero alter ego, Super Sparkle, by pushing the gem on her bodice. Kids can also accessorize her hero caped look with wrist cuffs and a tiara that transforms into a mask. With the Barbie Bubble-tastic Mermaid Doll, kids can make bubbles by dipping her fin into the bubble solution and pulling the string on her back, causing her tail to spin and create bubbles. The doll includes a brush and a tiara for her long, pink-streaked hair.

Aurora Showcases Fluffy Tushies

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ooHoo & Friends, from Aurora World, is a plush collection of more than 100 characters that will expand with more than 20 new styles debuting this year. Each animal comes with a personality tag featuring its name, habitat, and personality traits for educational value and friendship. YooHoo & Friends also has an interactive website and animation series. Aurora Tushies are woodland plush toys that come in a playful romping pose with their fluffy tails high in the air. Tushies come in eight styles for kids to collect. Aurora’s Miyoni line features adorable animals that are realistic and made with attention to detail. This collection features more than 180 styles with more than 14 new styles arriving this year. Sea Sparkles, Aurora’s line of mermaid dolls with yarn hair, will introduce six mermaids called Sea Shimmers, dolls with long-flowing doll hair infused with shimmering mylar, sparkling crowns, and new outfits. With more than 20 styles and three collections, Sea Sparkles continues to grow with soft mermaid dolls and seafriend plush. Aurora’s My Little Pony collection will feature new ponies with styled, brushable hair Aurora Tushies with mylar highlights that make them sparkle. There will be 12 new additions in the 6.5-inch size, as well as new 13-inch styles. Raggedy Ann celebrates her 100th birthday this year, and to celebrate, Aurora’s Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls will include a limited-edition 100th Anniversary hangtag. Aurora will also introduce new special 2015 anniversary doll editions throughout the year.

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Dolls & Plush JC Toys Launches New Expressive Baby Dolls

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C Toys will expand its doll line this year with the Deluxe Newborn Bath Set. The 14-inch baby doll comes dressed in a reusable diaper, and kids can place the doll in the included tub with accessories, such as the rubber ducky. When bath time is over, kids can dress the doll in the hooded towel. The Deluxe Layette Set also includes a 14-inch doll, as well as a hospital bracelet, a soft cap, a pair of booties, a diaper, a onesie, and a top and bottom ensemble. Animal Play Theme Dolls are available in four different styles, each featuring its own special facial expression and a unique pet. Each pet doubles as a rattle and fits snuggly into each doll’s pocket.

Deluxe Newborn Bath Set

Just Play Gets Interactive with Favorite Characters

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oc McStuffins Take Care of Me Lambie, from Just Play, is an interactive plush that comes to life with realistic movements from her head to her toes. Lambie talks and sings as her eyes, ears, mouth, and body move along to show how she’s feeling. She has more than 50 interactive responses that are activated through three trigger points on her wrist, tummy, and heart. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, Lambie also comes with doctor’s tools such as a stethoscope, a thermometer, an otoscope, and sticker bandages for a thorough checkup. Just Play’s new Care Bears Sing-a-longs interact with each other and can talk, sing, and dance in sync to three different songs. They sing solo, as a duet, or in a group. Kids can start the fun by squeezing their hands or giving them a hug. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Sing-a-longs are available in Cheer Bear, Grumpy Bear, Funshine Bear, and Share Bear styles. When kids squeeze Peanuts Happy Dance Snoopy’s hand, the plush boogies to the tune of “Linus and Lucy.” If kids give Snoopy a kiss, he responds with a return kiss, a laugh, a pout, or a raspberry sound. The Puppy In My Pocket brand is back with more than 100 puppies, as well as play sets and accessories. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, girls can collect and take care of their new teeny-tiny puppy friends. The puppies have realistic and detailed features and soft coats. Kids can put them in their pocket or a carry case, or snap puppy charms onto the Puppy In My Pocket bracelet, earrings, or rings. Just Play will add three new puppy families to its Puppy Surprise line. The new puppies feature special new coats and hairstyles, and some puppies also make barking sounds. The line will also expand to include Kitty Surprise. Care Bears Sing-a-longs

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Dolls & Plush Neat-Oh! Introduces Plush for Water Play

Nici Wonderland Dolls

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plushy Water Animals, from Neat-Oh! International LLC, go from bed to the bath to the beach and more. The Microban antimicrobial filling makes this plush dry quickly to resist mold and mildew. Splushy Water Animals are available in bear, rabbit, elephant, and gorilla styles, and feature bright colors and removable hoodies. These 12-inch plush friends are designed for kids ages 2 and up. Nici Wonderland Dolls will inspire kids with the world of imagination. These plush dolls— Minilina, Minilotta, Miniclara, and Minilara—are cuddly, soft to snuggle, and machine washable. Neat-Oh!’s Everyday Princess Dolls are designed to encourage imaginative play and empower girls to design and control their own creative realm. The line includes 4.5-inch dolls Sophie, Emma, and Haley. Each doll comes with a bean bag chair, and Haley the Ballerina doll includes a take-anywhere purse. The product line also includes a dollhouse-themed backpack; a 60 Doll Butterfly Chateau; Buddy the Dog, who comes with a bean bag bed; and a life-sized 54-inch fairy castle that can be customized and expanded.

Jakks Pacific Dolls Up with Disney Characters

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Fashion Twist Tink

akks Pacific will introduce Sing-A-Long with Elsa this year. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, Elsa is a perfect duet partner. Kids can pass the microphone back and forth and sing the full-length song “Let It Go” together and watch Elsa’s necklace and dress light up. Elsa sings and says more than 15 original phrases in both English and Spanish. Jakks will also feature Disney Frozen Anna and Elsa Toddler Dolls, dressed in their iconic outfits from the film. Their Royal Reflection eyes shine and shimmer. The 9-inch Disney Fairies Tink Fashion Doll has shimmery fashions inspired by the new Disney Fairies DVD, Tinker Bell & the Legend of the NeverBeast. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, Tink comes with an animal charm belt that doubles as a bracelet for little girls. The 9-inch Disney Fairies Fashion Twist Dolls transform the Disney Fairies from daytime fashion to sparkle nighttime fashion with a simple twist. Each doll comes with a sparkling lip gloss ring for both the doll and the child. These dolls are available in Tink, Rosetta, and Silvermist styles. Gruff, Pixie Hollow’s loveable friend from Disney’s Tinker Bell & the Legend of the NeverBeast, comes to life with the 10-inch Disney Fairies Fluffy Gruff Plush. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, Gruff is perfect for pixie parties with fairy dolls or snuggling at bedtime. The Sofia the First Toddler Doll, designed for kids ages 3 and up, is dressed in her signature lavender gown with beaded accents and sparkle detail. She also wears her amulet and tiara. Sea of Color Ariel’s magical tail creates a light show when placed in water. She sings “Part of Your World” and says 15 sounds and phrases. Baby Bath Ariel goes on a bathtime swimming adventure as her tail flutters and changes color.

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Dolls & Plush Wicked Cool Signs On for Cabbage Patch Kids

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icked Cool Toys has entered a licensing agreement with Original Appalachian Artworks Inc. as the master toymaker for its Cabbage Patch Kids brand, created by Xavier Roberts. The line will allow kids to embrace and create lifelong memories along with parents and avid collectors who have known the brand for more than 30 years. Wicked Cool Toys’ Cabbage Patch Kid toy line will hit massmarket retailers throughout the U.S. beginning this fall.

DEMDACO Provides Giggles and Hugs

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iggaloos, from DEMDACO, are 7-inch plush that make giggling sounds when kids spin them. Once the spinning stops, the Giggaloos produce a sigh or an exhausted sound. Kids can watch as these interactive plush wiggle and giggle. There are 12 styles available in the line. Hugzies are 14-inch plush that hug kids from every angle. These super soft characters feature elongated arms and weighted paws for the perfect hug. Hugzies are available in 12 different styles.

Hugzies Dancing Cabbage Patch Kid

Spin Master Brings Little Charmers Out from the Small Screen

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ittle Charmers is a new girls’ preschool line, from Spin Master, based on the TV series of the same name. The line features 8-inch character dolls Hazel, Lavender, and Posie. Each is dressed in a charming outfit and iconic headband, and comes with brushable long hair. The Hazel Doll with Her Magic Disappearing Cape is an 11-inch Hazel doll that comes with an outfit, a hat, and a special cape, which disappears with the push of a button. She says six different phrases, such as, “Hi! My name is Hazel!,” and features two magical effects. Spin Master’s plush line based on the video game Minecraft continues to grow. The Minecraft Medium Plush Assortment contains soft, accurate representations of common enemies such as the Creeper, the zombie, the undead skeleton, and the Enderman. The Minecraft Large Iron Golem Plush has pixilated embroidered detail and soft plush material. Chubby Puppies can waddle or hop, depending on how their feet are positioned. They each have oversized ears and a wiggling tongue, just like an actual puppy. Each one comes with its own favorite toy or treat that fits inside its mouth. Intended for kids age 4 and up, Chubby Puppies come in 12 different breeds. The Ultimate Dog Park is a play set built for Chubby Puppies. Its features include a puppy-powered elevator, a tumbling slide, a series of bone-shaped doors, and a tire swing.

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Pillow Pets Gets Crazy

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razy Clingz, from Pillow Pets, are removable, repositionable plush adhesive wall art characters that stick to any surface. Made of high-quality chenille, Pillow Pets Crazy Clingz are available in polka dot, fairy tale, garden, space, and sports styles. The Pillow Pets line of Lambie plush foldable stuffed animals now includes Lambie from Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins. Also new to the line are Larry and Bob, from DreamWorks’ VeggieTales. All three characters are 18 inches tall.

Be a Hero with North American Bear Co.

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ittle ones can save the day with Baby Heroes from North American Bear Co. Available in Baby Hero Girl and Boy, these 14-inch plush dolls feature contrasting velour and satin, embroidered facial features, and appliquéd masks. Baby Heroes are safe for babies and are machine-washable. Dolly Pockets Nursery Verse, for kids ages 2 and up, brings the mother of rhyme to life. The soft velour goose doll stands 14 inches tall and comes with three fairytale friends in tricot that rattle or squeak tethered to the pockets of her cotton dress. Baby Heroes

FEBRUARY 2015


Dolls & Plush Commonwealth Has More Dumb Ways to Die in Plush Form

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ommonwealth Toy & Novelty Co. will launch plush featuring the Dumb Ways to Die characters, which serve as warnings of what never to do, such as getting toast out of the toaster with a fork, keeping a rattlesnake as a pet, or dressing up like a moose during hunting season. The line includes 5-inch and 8-inch plush, as well as a 12-inch dancing plush—all of which feature the Dumb Ways to Die theme song. There is also a 3.5inch clip-on plush. Botch

Future of Play Brings Fresh Ideas to Dolls and Plush

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uture of Play brings a pretty punch back to the fashion doll category with 7UNITED. These seven 12.5-inch dolls are united in friendship and style, sharing their culture, fashions, and more. 7UNITED dolls have built-in voice recognition technology that allows girls to interact with them without being connected to the Internet. Each doll can translate in different languages based on the country she represents. 7UNITED will also offer hair and fashion play. These dolls are designed for kids ages 6 and up. Future of Play’s Luv & Learn Bear is an interactive and furry friend for kids of all ages. The bear features two-way Bluetooth technology and an accompanying app that lets kids record messages, play math games, solve puzzles, sing songs, read stories, and more. Luv & Learn Bear can instantly switch between six different languages, is Skype-enabled, and has a built-in speaker and microphone, which allows kids to speak to family members through Skype calls. It also includes an SD card for kids to download stories, songs, and recorded messages.

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Uglydoll and Star Trek Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before

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glydoll introduces Star Trek dolls that will be available in 12-inch and clip-on varieties. The line will feature Ox as Spock, Wage as Captain Kirk, Ice-Bat as Scotty, Babo as Bones, and Tray as Uhura. Also new from Uglydoll is the Bad Hair Day doll collection, featuring 12-inch and clip-on dolls. The line will feature Jeero, Trunko, and Big Toe. The 12inch dolls are suitable for kids ages 1 and up, and the clip-ons are suitable for kids ages 3 and up. Wage as Captain Kirk

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Adora Mixxes It Up

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ixxie Mopsie, from Adora, lets kids mix and match her piece by piece, changing her hair, clothes, arms, and legs. Simple button closures help kids practice their fine motor skills while encouraging them to mix patterns and colors on the sleeves and leggings. Her soft, colorful hair can be styled with the included hair accessories. Mixxie Mopsie is designed for kids ages 4 and up. My 1st Adora dolls have soft, squeezable bodies for kids to hug, tote, and snuggle. Removable clothes and a magnetic pacifier encourage little ones to nurture and role play. My 1st Adora dolls are suitable for kids ages 1 and up. Mixxie Mopsie

My 1st Adora


The Voice Reaching Both Trade and Consumers

Contact: Jonathan Samet or Laurie Schacht Adventure Publishing Group 307 7th Avenue, Suite 1601 New York, NY 10001 Tel: 212-575-4510 Fax: 212-575-4521 www.adventurepub.com


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T HE D EFINITIVE I NFORMATION S OURCE

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Get Involved to Get Noticed oy Fair is upon us once again, and the hunt is on to find the top new toys for 2015. As the economy is on the rise (even a little bump is welcome!), consumers are finding a little more pocket money for discretionary spending, and it seems that toys are not being forgotten. Toy industry sales saw a little nudge in the fourth quarter, and the trend looks to continue this year. This spells good news for independent and specialty toy retailers. Now is the time to remind your customers and your neighborhood that you’ve got a lot of great new toys on your shelves. As a mom of two young kids, I am your target audience. Moms in my neighborhood (myself included) are always looking for fun things to do with their kids on the weekends. Events that sound like fun for kids of various ages, and a place where adults can hang out and chat, are best. If you can arrange play dates, perhaps one Saturday a month, it would go a long way toward driving interest in new products with potential customers. Examples might include craft activities, game days, or themed parties. Be sure to have a full stock of whichever products kids will play with so that parents can make a purchase and continue the fun at home. Be sure to engage the parents. Perhaps offer coffee, ask them about

their kids’ interests, and then tell them a little about your store and make a suggestion about a new toy that fits their kids’ interests. Join—or help start—a local loyalty program with other independent retailers in your neighborhood that encourages consumers to shop local. Jackie Breyer, Long Island recently introduced Long Island Loyeditor-in-chief alty, a program that independent retailers can join. Members receive a credit to their card equal to 10 percent of their purchase at any store that is part of the program. They can then spend that credit at any retailer in the program. Word is spreading rapidly, and it seems to be spurring sales and interest at participating retailers. ●

ON THE COVER: THE WHIMSICAL SEA SERPENT PUPPET, FROM FOLKMANIS, FEATURES SCALY-LOOKING, MIDNIGHT BLUE SKIN WITH A FEATHERY, THREE-HUMPED SPINE HIGHLIGHTED WITH BRIGHT BLUE ACCENTS ON ITS MOVABLE HEAD AND TAIL. MORE NEW PRODUCTS FROM FOLKMANIS CAN BE FOUND ON PAGE S10.

NEWS Madame Alexander and NASCAR Join Forces

The Madame Alexander Doll Co. has partnered with NASCAR Team Properties to design and develop new NASCAR play doll collections, including dolls featuring superstar Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The first of the new collections will be introduced this fall. The product will be distributed through Madame Alexander’s distribution channels across all retail tiers and e-commerce merchants, including madamealexander.com.

ASTRA ANNOUNCES SPEAKERS FOR MARKETPLACE & ACADEMY

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) announced that networking guru Sarah Michel and retailer Bob Negen will headline ASTRA’s 2015 Marketplace & Academy. This year’s event will take place June 7 to 10 in Charlotte, N. C. Michel will open the Marketplace & Academy with an interactive keynote, Where Community and Connections Intersect, which will show the ASTRA community how to connect effectively during Marketplace & Academy and beyond, so members can do business better, faster, and easier. Participants will learn how to communicate their value to anyone, anywhere, at anytime—and therefore increase their access and influence in their communities. Negen’s closing keynote, Retail Success: How to Create a Store that People Love, Runs Like a Dream, and Makes Lots of Money, will show retailers how their stories can boost business and why an “attitude of gratitude” is critical as a toy retailer. Participants will also learn how to stress less and have more fun in their businesses. Visit www.astramarketplace.org for the complete ASTRA Marketplace & Academy program.

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John Deere Signs Kettler

Kettler USA has signed on to produce a John Deere line, which will be available at retail this spring. The new licensed line features three- and four-wheel children’s pedal tractors modeled after the classic John Deere equipment. Toys in the collection will be available for kids ages 2 to 10. All items include a high-impact molded resin body, oversized resin tires with tread, and adjustable seats. The realistic tractors come in seven different models, all including working accessories such as removable hauling trailers, front loaders, and front-lifting hoods. John Deere Rolly Trac Lader Tractor

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Growing in 2015:

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Key Questions to Drive Your Business Strategy

by Kathleen McHugh, president, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)

nother holiday season is behind us. Whether your fourth quarter results exceeded your wildest expectations or caused you months of sleepless nights (or both!), there are two goals for the new year shared by most retailers who are members of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA): more sales and more profit. The outlook is optimistic. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, consumers ramped up their spending late in the year, posting a 5.1percent increase in November alone over the previous year. The prediction is for steady, but moderate growth. Are you leveraging your budget, your staff, and your brand to ensure that you benefit from the growth trend? Here is a runthrough of basic questions to help you focus on key areas that can contribute to a successful 2015.

Attract More Customers:

A key to getting new customers walking through your door is to increase awareness of your store and to position it effectively as different from other shopping choices in your market. • Brand. Can your staff say what differentiates your store from the competition? Does your outreach (social media, appearances, advertising, earned media) clearly communicate what is special about your store? • Referrals. Are you asking your current customers to recommend the store to their friends and helping them to follow through? • Social media. Are you talking to potential customers through multiple channels and are you asking your most loyal customers to help you? • Appearances and involvement. Are you involved in the community, sharing your expertise with schools, parent groups, clubs, and churches? Are you developing win-win tie-ins with non-profits that provide support to your charity while raising awareness about your store? • Public relations. Do journalists and bloggers who cover your market know you are your community’s expert on toys and play? Do they know you are available as a reliable resource for when they’re working on stories?

Sell More to Each Customer:

A satisfying in-store experience makes customers more willing to sup-

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port your store—even if they can get a slightly lower price elsewhere. • Staffing. Do you hire people who make customers feel wonderful about the value and service they are receiving? Is your team skilled at asking targeted questions and providing solutions to the “problem” the customer is seeking to solve? • Product knowledge. Does your staff know your products and how to communicate the value of specialty toys to customers who may be concerned about price? Do they help your store build its reputation as the place to come for reliable information about toys? • Merchandising. Does your store present a unique, welcoming, easy-to-navigate visual image and feature displays that encourage customer interest in additional products? • Events. Do you offer appealing family activities that encourage customers to spend more time in the store and consider additional products?

Get Customers to Come Back (Often):

It costs five times more to get a new customer than to keep the one you already have, so customer retention is a critical part of any growth strategy. • Relationships. Do you get the name and contact information for all of your customers in order to send them news and special offers? • Service. Is the service you provide so far ahead of the competition that your customers feel you know them well and care about them? • Information. Do you make it simple for customers to contact you for additional information or needs? • Incentives. Beyond the great everyday experiences customers have in your store, do you give them reasons to come back more often? • Shop local. Do your website, social media, signage, and outreach remind customers about the value of shopping locally and how much you appreciate it? Whether you are just starting a retail store or you are a seasoned veteran who shares your experience with other specialty retailers, ASTRA is a central resource for independent toy store owners growing their businesses. For more information about ASTRA membership, check us out at www.astratoy.org, or join us in June at ASTRA’s annual Marketplace & Academy. l

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The Jester Pops Up in Schylling’s New Line

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CHYLLING TOYS offers a new take on The Jester, made famous by the classic Jack in the Box.

The character now has its own preschool toy line, which includes a kaleidoscope, an activity dress-up Jester, a Jester humming top, and a High Wire Rider. Schylling will also add to two of its wooden toy lines, including the Fisher-Price Classics line, which expands with the 1973 Movie Viewer and the 1968 Vintage Little Snoopy Wobbling Pull-Along. New to the Brio range are Brio Minis, including the Bumblebee, the Ant, and the Caterpillar. All three are made for tiny hands. The Brio Wooden Railway will expand with a new rollercoaster set, new trains, track accessories, and a My First Brio Railway for train enthusiasts as young as 18 months. The StyleModel line also expands with new design sets for aspiring fashionistas. StylePrincess offers coloring activities, while Horses Dreams features spiral-bound coloring and sticker books.

The Jester line

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Bachmann Chuffs Along with Thomas

Safari Ltd. Explores Prehistoric Times and Mythical Worlds

LTD.’s new Carnegie Collection Velociraptor figure measures 8 by 3.5 inches and features a 1:10 scale. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, this Cretaceous period predator is safe and educational. The 1:1-scale Shrimp figure from Safari Ltd.’s Incredible Creatures line gives kids the chance to look at a deep-sea shrimp without needing a boat. New products will also explore the mythical realm of quick-witted gnomes and strong dragons. Green Gnome, from the company’s Mythical Realms line, is a 2.5- by 2.25-inch figure recommended for kids ages 3 and up. Kids can create their own stories with these magical creatures capable of outwitting unfriendly foes. The Guardian Dragon, suitable for kids ages 4 and up, is the biggest, strongest guard, measuring 3.5 by 6.25 by 5.25 inches. AFARI

esigned for kids ages 8 and up, the new Whistle & Chuff Thomas! Ready-to-Run Train Set, from BACHMANN INDUSTRIES, features a Thomas the Tank Engine with speed-activated sound and moving eyes. His analog sound system includes a whistle, puffs, and steam exhaust upon stopping. The ready-to-run electric train set comes with a 36-inch circle of snap-fit E-Z Track. Also included are Troublesome Trucks Nos. 1 and 2 with international-style hook and loop couplers, as well as a power pack and a speed controller.

Green Gnome

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The Haywire Group Gobbles Up Kids’ Worries

he Worry Eaters, from THE HAYWIRE GROUP, are plush collectibles that eat childhood fears and concerns. The soft, 9-inch plush feature big eyes and striped bodies and are available in eight different characters, including Schnulli, Saggo, Enno, Polli, Flint, Flamm, and twins Bill and Betti. Each character has a hang tag that tells kids if they write or draw their fears, concerns, or worries onto a piece of paper and toss it into the plush’s zippered mouth, the Worry Eater will hold onto that fear for them so they can get a good night’s sleep. After a child feeds his or her worry to the plush pal, parents have an opportunity to seek out the worry and talk to their children about their troubles at an appropriate time. The Worry Eaters, designed for kids ages 3 and up, offer reassurance that someone is always there to help. Flint

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Fat Brain Toy Co. Whirls, Twirls, and Connects

SuperCopter

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Laser Pegs Sets Sights on the Sky

his spring, LASER PEGS will introduce its Supercopter building set, which will give kids everything they need to build more than 30 different models, including the Excavator, Ballistic Rocket, Sea Explorer, and Alien Beast. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, this set includes 169 tinted bricks and 36 Laser Pegs, and is compatible with other construction bricks. The Supercopter can be powered with an AC adaptor or batteries and features sound-activated illumination. In addition, the Interstellar Rover, for kids ages 5 and up, allows kids to build more than eight different models, including a Hover Craft and an Orbiter. The set features an AAA Power Base and new tinted bricks, and works well with the Laser Pegs National Geographic Space Kit.

ini Squigz, from FAT BRAIN TOY CO., can stick to any smooth surface without leaving residue. Forty percent smaller than the original Squigz, Mini Squigz can be pushed and stuck together for new play experiences. Kids can whirl, twirl, and spin with SwingyThing, a new activity toy. SwingyThing’s colorful, spinning flippers and dippers will cause crazy chaos, while 52 challenges get kids’ hands and brains working together. Great for stress relief, building motor skills, and improving concentration and hand-eye coordination, SwingyThing is fun in rest or in motion. New to Fat Brain Toy Co.’s building line is Joinks. Made from flexible connectors and wooden sticks, kids can construct all kinds of creative structures that bounce, wiggle, and move. Wooden sticks are added to colorful, chunky, and flexible Joinks connectors to make construction simple with expanding possibilities. Kids can add geometrically inspired spheres as a finishing touch, and suction cups to secure structures as they build. Joinks

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Kent Displays Makes Its Offering Clear

he latest addition to KENT DISPLAYS’ Boogie Board LCD eWriters is the Place ’n Trace Paperless Doodle Pad, featuring a translucent liquid crystal display as its writing and drawing surface. It allows kids to trace 3-D objects and 2-D images. The Activity Center mobile app provides structured tracing activities, so kids can learn, play games, draw, and more.The Boogie Board Play ’n Trace Paperless Doodle Pad will be available during the holiday season.

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Folkmanis Expands Puppet Line with Reptiles and More

nown for creating soft and realistic-looking puppets, FOLKMANIS expands its line with the Winged Dragon, designed for kids ages 3 and up. Kids’ hands can animate this green flying reptile’s mouth and wings as they create their own magical fairytales and performances. The Small Snowy Owl allows kids to spread the bird’s wings and engage in hours of imaginative play. Made for kids ages 3 and up, this puppet is compact and ideal for portable fun. Folkmanis’ Frilled Lizard puppet contains multiple variations of movement in the reptile’s mouth and forelegs. Kids will find many surprises in this quirky friend and will have fun making its collar frill forward and back with a gentle squeeze. The sand-colored Frilled Lizard is designed for kids ages 3 and up. The whimsical Sea Serpent puppet features scaly, midnight blue skin and a feathery, threehumped spine with bright blue accents. Its head and tail are moveable and kids can animate its mouth and tail pocket for a hypnotic effect. The Sea Serpent is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Frilled Lizard

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HQ Kites & Designs Takes Toys to New Heights

Q KITES & DESIGNS USA introduces the Spacerail Glow in the Dark—Level 2 ball roller coaster, which provides high-speed action. Kids can send the space sphere steel ball on a course of wild rotations, loops, and hairpin turns. Then, they can hoist the sphere back to the starting position with a battery-powered elevator. The coaster is designed for kids ages 12 and up. Also from HQ Kites & Designs are the fun-to-fly Simple Flyer Deltas, suitable for kids ages 5 and up. Made with durable ripstop polyester and fiberglass frames, these kites include 80 feet of line on a winder.

Space Rail Glow in the Dark—Level 2

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Play Visions Enables Kids to Get Elbow Deep in Play

expands its indoor sand activity line with Sands Alive! Glow, featuring glow-in-the-dark sand. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, kids can write messages and draw designs right into the sand using the UV Penlight. Then, kids can put on the UV LED glasses and watch the Glow Sand change color. Sets are available in various sizes and themes. Kids can watch the Aqua Dragons come to life as they eat, swim, and play in their illuminated underwater habitats. Suitable for kids ages 6 and up, Aqua Dragons look like three-eyed, long-tailed, hairy-headed dragons that kids can care for and watch grow. Soapy Dough, Play Vision’s latest compound, can be molded before it’s taken into the bathtub. Once immersed in water, kids can rub the Soapy Dough between their hands to turn it into a frothy, bubbly soap. Soapy Dough comes in a 3-ounce container and includes two extrusion molds. It is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Play Visions will also introduce Twisties, a hair adornment that allows kids to give themselves new hair-dos. The colorful coils are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

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Dress Up and Soar with Aeromax

y First Career Gear Dolphin Trainer, from AEROMAX, is an ocean blue one-piece top that shows future zoologists what’s needed to perform all tasks. The shirt features imagery of fish for feeding, a lanyard with a whistle, arm patches, and a slot for a personalized name badge. Kids can practice laying down the law with the Police Officer ensemble. This one-piece outfit features a dark blue, button-down shirt with arm patches and a matching dark blue bottom. A fabric policeman hat and black belt are included. When kids want to enforce the rules, they can use their Police Accessory Set, which includes a radio, a badge, handcuffs, and a billy club. Aeromax’s Fighter Pilot outfit is a light green jumpsuit with contrasting black zippers, colored patriotic patches, and an American flag on the upper arm. The look is topped off with a black baseball cap with the word “Ace” embroidered in gold stitching. The Firefighter costume features a fabric collar, zipper and Velcro closures, a reflective stripe, and gusseted pockets on both legs. The outfit also has a black plastic clip to hang a helmet (not included) on the right hip pocket of the jacket. It is available in black or tan. Kids ages 3 and up can accessorize with four tools in the Firefighter Accessory Set, which includes an axe, a crow bar, a fire extinguisher, and a badge. The fire extinguisher can be filled with water. The Aerobatic Foam Flyer is light and easy for little fingers to grip. Flight instructions show kids how to create a stunt rodeo loop, a boomerang loop, or a stunt dive. Kids can send it flying like a paper airplane up to 100 feet.

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My First Career Gear Dolphin Trainer

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Sneak & Peek with Educational Insights

DUCATIONAL INSIGHTS expands its construction offerings with the Design & Drill BrightWorks kit, which features 12 patterns

for custom glowing creations. After inserting one of the translucent bolts, young builders use the kid-friendly power drill and then watch the results shine. With the Design & Drill Flower Power Studio, kids arrange and drill the designer plates and bolts into various patterns. When it’s time to pack up, everything fits into the foldup board. New science toys include the GeoSafari Jr. Sneak & Peek Periscope, featuring a wide viewing area, easy-grip handles, soft goggles with a comfy nose placement guide, and a built-in LED light. With the GeoSafari Jr. Science Utility Vehicle, kids can get an up-close view of grass, dirt, and other terrain. The 3x magnification and night-vision LED lights allow for the study of ants and spiders, day or night. With Nancy B’s Science Club Stir-It-Up Chemistry Lab & Kitchen Experiments Journal, kids can perform experiments in the kitchen with 11 reusable chemistry tools. The 22-page activity journal is filled with experiments, such as making bubbling “lava” in a bottle using household ingredients. For preschoolers, Magic Moves RainbowJam lets kids touch multiple colors to compose their own musical masterpieces. Two modes of play include instrument and song. GeoSafari Jr. Sneak & Peek Periscope

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Douglas Toys Is Tickled Pink and Purple

TOYS adds to its plush line with creatures both real and mythical. New to the Douglas Classics collection is the King Golden Retriever, which stands 12 inches tall and has appropriately regal features. Mixed plush lengths and silky soft fur capture the details of the breed. The 12-inch-tall Samson Clydesdale comes with its mane and tail tied with multiple red ribbons, and has feathers on each hind foot. Douglas’ new Tickled Pink Collection arrives in stores in March. The line includes Astra the Unicorn, Deedee the Pink Penguin, Blinky the Owl, and more. Each 8-inch to 12-inch plush aniKing Golden Retriever mal is made of soft, fluffy fabric and saturated in shades of strawberry cream pink with a touch of white. Some plush in the line also have sparkling features, including both Deedee and Blinky, which have beaks and feet sprinkled with silver glitter. For its Tickled Pink and Purple line, Douglas has combined both hues for a trio of vibrantly colored plush: Flufferton the Dog, Swinger the Monkey, and Allegra the Horse. Each 12-inch animal features sparkly accents on their feet, hands, and ears. New plush pigs include Pauline, who is white with charcoal gray spots and comes in 7-, 10-, and 16-inch sizes. She is joined by Douglas’ new teacup pigs, which include Yogi the Brown Spotted Pig. Each is 6 inches with intricate coloring details. Another new pig is the 7-inch Mudpie, who is creamy white with spots of chocolate brown. Douglas will also introduce new Plumpies, 9-inch soft, sitting animals that are all understuffed to make them extra squishable. Some of the Plumpies have an embroidered belly button or other details, such as satin neck bows and paw pads. OUGLAS

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For SmartLab, Fun Is a Science

ith new science and construction kits from SMARTLAB TOYS, kids can make soap, grow plants, and even write secret messages in invisible ink. An extension of the Spa Lab line, All-Natural Spa Soaps lets kids create soaps using a microwave oven, the packaged molds, white or clear glycerin soap base, and three different pigments. Each set includes pre-printed boxes for gift-giving. Kids can grow a sunflower and a bean with the Get Growing! Greenhouse, which includes a drip-drop system for watering the plants, as well as a Seed Growth Chart for measuring the growth of each plant. The set includes a 10-piece, self-watering greenhouse, pots, packets of seeds, a booklet that teaches facts about plants, and more. The Girls Only! Secret Message Lab contains everything girls need to create codes and write secret messages. Each kit features cipher wheels, invisible ink pens with UV reveal lights, red acetates, code wheels, two Magic Lock cases for storage, and more. The Drop Zone Glider is a buildable glider with a 28-inch wingspan and a time-release cargo hold with multiple payload options. There is also a target with a bullseye for helping kids master timing and angles. With the Demolition Lab: Wrecking Ball set, kids can build an abandoned schoolhouse or mix and match building panels to create their own one-of-a-kind structures, then knock them down with the wrecking ball using the science of energy, momentum, and gravity.

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BeginAgain Encourages Imaginative Play

olor ’n Eggs, from BEGINAGAIN, is a new game that combines the fun of puzzles and matching with teaching colors in both English and Spanish. Each of the six brightly colored chickens is designed to fit only in its matching egg, developing both primary color learning and cognitive skills. Little ones can learn animal names and sounds with the Sounds Around the Farm Playset. Each of the eight animals is labeled with its name on one side and the sound the animal makes on the other side. The two-sided, paperboard barn stands up inside the Color ’n Eggs wooden storage tray for barn and animal play. Each character teaches reading, animal recognition, and sounds while encouraging imaginative play. The Color the Sea Playset features eight sea creatures labeled with its name on one side and its color on the other. Each character teaches reading and sea creature and color recognition, while encouraging imaginative play with the paperboard cave that stands up inside the wooden storage tray. The What I Like… Safari Playset features animals labeled with their name on one side and what the animal likes to do on the other side. Kids can arrange the animals in pairs to create a rhyming, safari-themed poem. Each character teaches reading, animal recognition and actions, and imaginative play with the paperboard safari landscape that stands inside the wooden storage tray. All of these BeginAgain toys and games are designed for preschoolers ages 2 and up. They are made with eco-friendly, all-natural rubber wood with non-toxic, child-safe stains.

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Extra by Mayflower Makes Balloons Easy to Get Into

XTRA BY MAYFLOWER has developed a kit system to make it easy for specialty retailers to get involved with balloon sales. Starter kits make it easy and inexpensive to have a helium regulator that automatically fills each balloon, a safety stand for the helium bottle, and a curated selection of top-selling designs. There are birthday booster kits with best-sellers, top licenses, and lots of other categories available. When retailers know what designs work for their market, they can order individual designs with no dollar minimum order requirements imposed. The Extra by Mayflower program features made-in-Minnesota Anagram balloons, which are self-sealing. There are hundreds of designs available in a variety of shapes, sizes, licenses, and price points.

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Make Music with Schoenhut

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Eitech Offers Models in Steel

ITECH sets are intended to promote three-dimensional thinking, creativity, and learning skills. The latest additions to the line include the Eitech Skyscraper Construction Set, which offers young builders everything they need to construct models of rockets, racecars, airplanes, and famous buildings and bridges from around the world. The Eitech Triceratops Construction Set introduces a new series featuring the same steel construction set, now in dinosaur designs. Part-building toy, part-dinosaur, it also includes illustrated instructions with easy-to-follow directions.

expands its kid-friendly piano line to include Animal Digital Pianos. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, each 25-key piano sits on the floor within easy reach of little hands. Budding musicians can choose from fun themes, including alligator, dog, and princess. With the Limited Edition Raggs Twinkle Tunes Piano Book, kids ages 3 and up can play on their electronic keyboard and follow along in their song books to music inspired by the TV show Raggs. The instrument is portable for easy travel and kids with no previous piano study can learn with Schoenhut’s patented Tri-Play Learning System. The set also includes a CD that features music from the show. The Raggs Books Set includes three 24-page full color piano books designed to snap in and out of the Twinkle Tunes Piano Book. Each book features activities to accompany the songs and an additional CD to assist kids while learning the tune. Songs from the books can also be played on all Schoenhut toy pianos. Titles include Sing-ALong Songs, Celebration Songs (holidays), and Learning Songs (ABCs, numbers).

Alligator Animal Digital Piano

Skyscraper Construction Set

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Roominate Inspires Kid Engineers

expands its product range to include an Amusement Park, an RV, and school-themed sets. The stackable and customizable line of wired building systems inspire hands-on play. Using circuits, modular pieces, and universal joints, girls can build spinning windmills, carousels, lamps, and more. Roominate will also introduce a new app to wire and control Roominate creations on a mobile device.

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Beeline Introduces Pulp Fiction Talking Figures

CREATIVE has teamed up with Miramax and Quentin Tarantino to manufacture and distribute the first collectible line of talking action figures based on the film Pulp Fiction. Designed for fans ages 17 and up, the new series of 13-inch talking figures will each include a signature accessory, custom-tailored clothing, and up to 12 iconic and explicit movie quotes. Beeline Creative will also introduce ThreadHeadz, a collectible line of standing stylized plush. Measuring approximately 6.5 inches in height, Thread-Headz will launch with key characters from Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2, with more licenses to follow. EELINE

Pulp Fiction Jimmie and Jules figures

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Amusement Park

YuhuHugs Encourages Imaginative Play

introduces DreamHut, a new indoor, interactive play space that grows with kids. DreamHut features a compact design that opens up to reveal a play area. It contains a playroom with a chalkboard, magnetic walls, a folding table, windows, curtains, and an interchangeable backdrop with four options: underwater adventure, fantasy, countryside, and outer space. When closed, the DreamHut is approximately 4.5 feet high and 2 feet wide; when opened, it expands to nearly 6 feet in depth. When kids are done playing, the DreamHut can be transformed into a cabinet, armoire, or desktop that can serve as a storage place for toys. The DreamHut also features a designated shelf to hold a tablet, where kids can download educational iBooks from iTunes, including Farmer for the Day, Adventures in the Castle, Space Explorers, and Underwater Adventures. In addition, the YuhuHugs team of child psychologists, teachers, and children’s authors have developed 12 Lessons for Greatness, a downloadable guide that helps children master 12 life skills. The series features the Yuhu and Hugs characters and includes 12 stories.

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Hape Homes In on Home Education

APE introduces its craft range, a wooden line that fosters artistic activities such as painting, sewing, embroidering, and more. It includes the Crabby Mosaic Kit, which allows kids to make a giftable, 9.45- by 9.45-inch framed colorful crab mosaic consisting of 108 different-sized round wooden discs. It includes a self-peel background, which serves as the template to place the discs and eliminates the need for messy glue. Four new origami crafts featuring Friendly Elephant, Brave Lion Look, Puppy Face, and Piggy Mode allow kids to make 3D framed art pieces and masks to wear, with pre-printed paper that indicates where to fold. Flower Fun combines more than 20 pre-cut felt pieces that kids can personalize with paints. The customizable kit includes a variety of colors and sizes of blossoms and petals, which can be single- or double-layered and glued in place. Hape’s new home education range concentrates on the core math, language, and motor skills required for kindergarten. The wooden collection includes Find and Count Colors, a 53-piece set with four detailed images that kids must match to a color strip. Children count out wooden tiles for each color in the image, and then self-check by turning over the color strip. New additions to the Early Melodies range include two student-sized Vibrant Guitars, available in blue or red. Each has a 29.5-inch, scaled-down basswood body and four tune-able strings. Hape also has new role-play toys, including the Puppet Playhouse, a three-piece set with a customizable wooden puppet theater, a blackboard, red stage curtains, and two hand puppets—a boy and a girl.

FEBRUARY 2015


Specialty

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Stir It Up with Learning Resources

EARNING RESOURCES will introduce its Gears! Gears! Gears! Build & Bloom Building Set for

kids ages 4 and up. With this mix-and-match set, kids can create their own spinning flower garden from a variety of interchangeable parts. Create-a-Maze allows kids to build a maze out of curvy pieces by following the designs pictured on the activity cards. Once the maze is ready, kids will map a path through by tilting the board and guiding the ball around obstacles and into the goal. Learning Resources’ New Sprouts Stir Fry Set encourages kids to cook up a healthy meal of vegetables in their own wok. The set includes tongs to add in the vegetables, peapods, carrots, broccoli, peppers, celery, onions, a take-out container, a spoon, and a fortune cookie. New Sprouts Stir Fry Set

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Haba’s New Introductions Are Just Purr-fect

ater Play Mat Little Frog, from HABA, is full of surColette Mini Rattle prises for kids ages 6 months and up. Press his belly to see him swoosh, or explore his body for touchable textures and surprise sounds. Little Frog includes a teething ring and loops with rustling foil. Purr-fect for capturing little one’s attention, the Colette Mini Rattle, from the Lilliputiens line, is a fun feline rattle that features a multi-colored kitty with patterned whiskers and tail, and makes a bell sound when shaken. Kids ages 4 and up can get back to the classics with the Spinning Top Swirling Strawberry. When kids wind the cord around the stem, place the strawberry cap, and pull the cord quickly, the strawberry gets spinning with no batteries required. From the bath to the beach, the Amphibious Vehicle is a go-anywhere vehicle that can handle it all. Spinning, webbed wheels take on any terrain and work in water, in dirt, or on sand. A top handle makes it easy to drive in any condition. Kids ages 3 and up can practice putting with Sand Golf. Simply set the holes, flag, and cup in the sand and start swinging. The player who sinks his or her ball in the cup with the fewest strokes wins the game.

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DuneCraft Lets Kids Grow and Nurture

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UNECRAFT will introduce The Ultimate Habitat, a state-of-the-art ecosystem to raise a tree frog, a hermit crab, a newt, a lizard, and more. The habitat features the lush foliage of a variety of plants these creatures prefer. There are three planting holes, a multi-depth pool with a seethrough side, and sitting ledges. The Ultimate Habitat comes with seeds and germination mixture, and kids can catch a critter, buy a critter, or order a tree frog separately. DuneCraft’s new additions to the Organic Veggie line include Onions, Spinach, and Broccoli. Elderberry and Radishes have been added to the Sprout ’n Grow Greenhouses line. The edible plants are easy for kids to sprout and grow.

FEBRUARY 2015


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EarZings Offers Pierce-Free Earrings

arZings are a new concept in pierce-free earrings. Different from clip-on or magnet earrings, EarZings use a patented coil design that gently hugs the earlobe to secure to the ear. Girls who do not have pierced ears can wear the hypoallergenic jewelry pieces, which are available in 24 styles.

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YOXO Introduces Buildable Wynd

OXO will distribute Wynd, a white winged horse that kids can build using Y-, O-, and X-shaped links that are made in the U.S. from recycled wood pulp in the company’s wind-powered workshop. Upon completion, YOXO Wynd stands 21 inches tall. The 62 YOXO pieces in this set can also be attached to stuff around the house—toilet paper tubes, paper towel rolls, cardboard boxes, etc.—inspiring kids to build anything they can imagine. Wynd is designed for kids ages 6 and up.

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Specialty

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Science Wiz Gets Kids Excited About Circuits CIENCE WIZ

presents Cool Circuits Junior, the follow-up to the Cool Circuits game. For kids 6 and up, this set is less difficult than the original, and includes 40 new puzzles, eight 3-D puzzle pieces, and six orange barriers. When kids complete a circuit puzzle challenge, the game board will light up and play music. Kids can build, record, play, and explore sound vibrations with the new Sound Science Kit. Twenty activities are included, and building a working Edison phonograph is the centerpiece of the product. It is designed for kids ages 8 and up.

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OWI Captures the Power of Air

he latest eco-friendly vehicle from OWI INC., the Air Power Racer features a pump-up bar with a pressure meter, which measures the volume of compressed air inside. The red silicon tube creates an airtight fit, and there is a safety valve for releasing air if the tank is full. Once the air chamber is full, kids can release the compressed air, which expands and drives the vehicle up to 50 meters in 35 seconds. The air chamber is made of recyclable polyethylene terephthalate. The Kingii Dragon Robot is a lizard with artificial intelligence, as well as an infrared sensor that is programmed to escape or follow. In the escape mode, the robot will spread its frill—which encircles its head and is made of pleated material—drop its jaw, illuminate its bi-color LED eyes, and scurry away until reaching a safe distance. In the follow mode, the robot will assess danger by unfurling and shaking its frill. If it does not sense danger, it will proceed to follow—just like a pet lizard. Kingii Dragon Robot

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Green Kids Club Saves the Elephants

he Elephant and the King is GREEN KIDS CLUB’s newest story, about African elephants being taken for their ivory and a special lion that helps the Green Kids save the elephant’s life. The Green Kids, Maya and Victor, travel worldwide working with kids from many cultures to protect the environment—and the animals that depend on it. To enhance play value, Green Kids Club also offers a Lion Suit that fits all of the Green Kids Dolls. Green Kids Club books and plush are suitable for kids ages 5 and up.

Green Kids Doll with Lion Suit

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Thames & Kosmos Is Out of This World

ith the new Remote-Control Machines: Space Explorer kit from THAMES & KOSMOS, kids can engineer an R/C model of a robotic rover resembling the ones used to explore Mars. Kids can also build nine additional space-themed models with the 237-piece construction set, including a lunar rover, a rocket launcher car, a space shuttle with opening and closing cargo bay doors, a robotic space shuttle payload arm, a moon lander, a wacky astronaut, a satellite, a Mars station, and a cross-wing flyer. Kids can learn various STEM skills through the fun, hands-on construction projects. The full-color, 64-page step-by-step illustrated manual also teaches kids about real-world examples of the outer space robots, vehicles, and devices they are creating. They can read about the history of Mars exploration, the technical features of the Mars Curiosity rover, robotics in satellites, deep-space exploration, and robots in popular space-related science-fiction. Kids First is a new line of science kits that allow parents to introduce specific topics and hands-on empirical learning to young kids to gradually prepare them for more advanced science kits and schoolwork. Geared toward kids Remote Control Machines: Space Explorer ages 3 to 5, the kits in Level 1 encourage curiosity and pretend play though simple activities described in the storybook-style manuals. Kids follow along as two inquisitive kids take a trip to the grocery store and build vehicles along the way in Automobile Engineering. In Aircraft Engineering, little hands use plastic building pieces to create a passenger jet, a space shuttle, a hand glider, and seven other vehicles mentioned in the accompanying story. Also in the line is the Amusement Park Engineer, which challenges kids to create their own rides, including a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and a bumper car. Thames & Kosmos also introduces the Geeker Speaker Lab, with which kids can turn any surface into a larger speaker. The audio jack that is attached to the vibration speaker connects to standard audio output sockets. Kids can experiment and stick the speaker onto a variety of objects, such as sand and water, to see which makes the best sound. With signal generating apps, kids can also experiment to visualize different sound wave patterns.

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Brush Buddies Gets Sleepy

leepin’ Buddies, from BRUSH BUDDIES, teach kids to sleep by giving them a buddy to mimic and fall asleep with side-by-side. A USB connection allows parents to upload voice recordings, lullabies, stories, and music, which they can set to play for up to an hour. The adjustable sleep timer gradually lowers the volume of the music and slowly closes the plush pal’s eyes to show kids that it’s bedtime and help them fall asleep.

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International Playthings Expands Calico Critters

NTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS expands its Calico Critters line of miniature flocked animals with the Splash and Play Whale for the Calico Critter babies to play on. The set features a slide, a sand box, a bucket, a shovel, a whale spout, and a rocker. Kids can join the Calico Critters on a seaside adventure with the Adventure Treasure Ship. The ship features four secret compartments, a lookout tower with a steering wheel and a crow’s nest, a slide, a bridge, a lifesaver swing, a treasure chest, and more. Calico Critters are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

Adventure Treasure Ship

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elope Builds a Bricky Hat and Necktie

he ELOPE Bricky Blocks line offers new apparel made out of construction blocks. Each is compatible with most major building brick systems and comes in red, blue, black, and white. The Bricky Blocks Baseball Hat is a six-panel, snapback baseball hat with a panel on the bill, and one curved brick panel on the front crown. For more formal occasions, the Bricky Blocks Necktie is a wearable toy that doubles as a fashion accessory, and comes in four pixel-style sections that lock together to make a full-length tie. By leaving out one section, the necktie can be made shorter for kids. The adjustable elastic neck strap fits most and tucks underneath a shirt collar. The Bricky Blocks Bow Tie has an adjustable elastic strap that fits all ages, and can double as a pixilated hair bow. The Bricky Blocks Scarf is 100-percent acrylic, soft and superthick, and knit in standard block colors. It measures 60 inches in length.

Bricky Blocks Baseball Hat

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A S T R A’ S M A R K E T P L A C E & A C A D E M Y

THE WORLD OF

The Trade Show Event That Inspires Play. More than a TRADE SHOW, ASTRA’s Marketplace and Academy is the place to:

> Shop the FREE Marketplace, where you’ll discover the hottest new toys, many from manufacturers who are new to the marketplace.

> Get a jump on 4th quarter buying, and take advantage of amazing show-only discounts.

> Learn business building tips and best practices at the Academy, in sessions led by innovators and thought leaders in the industry.

> Connect with fellow retailers and toy lovers to share

THE YEAR’S BIGGEST

secrets, laughs, hilarious game-playing, and cups of coffee.

GATHERING OF THE

SPECIALTY

TOY INDUSTRY JUNE 7-10, 2015

CHARLOTTE

NORTH CAROLINA

REGISTER American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

NOW.

Register at www.astramarketplace.org or 1-800-591-0490 SHOW-ONLY DISCOUNTS!

4TH QUARTER BUYING!

GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


MEDIA CENTER

Love Always Everywhere, from RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS, presents a simple and tender introduction to the universality of love. Written and illustrated by Sarah Massini, the book is a follow-up to her first children’s book, Books Always Everywhere. Designed for kids ages 3 to 7, this book provides a joyful and inspirational story that celebrates love in its many forms. Whether quiet, loud, shy, or proud, the lyrical text champions love for a faithful pet, a best friend, or simply everyday actions. With charming artwork and a heartwarming message, it is perfect for kids to share and read aloud every day of the year.

Animalopolis, from HAPPY MOON RECORDS, is the newest release from children’s singer-songwriter, Melany Perkins. The acoustic pop album for kids of all ages welcomes listeners to the City of Animals, where kids learn lessons such as how to get along with each other. Half of the 12 tracks are upbeat to encourage movement and half are subdued to encourage quiet time. Animalopolis is the result of a live musical science show with Perkins’ husband, Tim “Mr. Science” Perkins. The show was developed for Very Special Arts, a national organization that uses the arts to reach special needs kids. Since then, the duo has served all over the world on U.S. State Department-sponsored tours of China and Jordan to work with refugee kids.

The Billy Jonas Band has released its album Build It Back Again, available from BURNSIDE DISTRIBUTION. Employing humor and heart, the 13-track album celebrates resilience and growth in the face of life’s most challenging moments. Each “funky folk” song is as playful as it is educational, and ultimately teaches kids about the importance of optimism and staying positive. The album invites interaction and further music making. The title track is a history lesson ballad portraying the rise and fall of civilizations. “Good for You, Good for Me” trumpets the future rewards from current hardships, while “Maybe, Maybe Not” is a philosophical response to all of life’s best- and worst-case scenarios.

PARRAGON introduces a new line of enchanting story and activity books for children starring Glitterbelle, a bright and energetic little princess. For kids ages 6 and up, the series of titles includes Glitterbelle: The Sparkliest Princess Ever!, a sparkly picture book; Glitterbelle: Me and You, a fill-in journal; Glitterbelle: Doodle, Dazzle, Create!, an activity book; and Glitterbelle: Dazzling Dress-Up, a dress-up sticker activity book for fashionistas. Glitterbelle is a modern-day princess who is smart, funny, and enthusiastic. Like all princesses, she has pretty dresses covered in sequins, but she prefers wearing leggings and her glittery sneakers. She loves her parents, the King and Queen, adores her pet dog Bob, enjoys racing around on her scooter, and can often be found climbing trees with her best friends, Dazzlina and Angel.

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Tips for

g n i z i m i x Ma Profits

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With Your Retail Space

by Misty Wilfing, marketing director, Gabriel Logan

hen trying to grow their businesses, many retailers often overlook the importance of optimizing the space for customers. Spending a little time to revamp a store’s layout can result in a big profit increase. Follow these simple tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your space:

1. Make An Entrance

The space directly inside your store’s doors is referred to as the “decompression zone.” Keep this space open so customers can get a feel for the store without feeling bombarded by products. Placing a well-organized display 10 to 15 feet toward the back of the space will show customers the quality and type of toys they can expect throughout your store. High-quality nesting tables are perfect for a welcoming entranceway. While the displays are set back from the windows, impressive toys will still grab children and adults’ attention. Premium, new, hard-to-find, or unique offerings from your stock will have the biggest impact on consumers when they are seen right away.

2. Guide the Customer’s ExperIence

Consider the path that you want customers to take through your store. Focus on designing a route that takes visitors past all of your toys that will maximize sales. Rows of aisles, like those found in grocery stores, provide consumers with a clear, organized path

FEBRUARY 2015

Norman & Jules, located in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.

through the store. If you are working with a circular space, keep in mind that more people turn right upon entering a room. Also, make sure you are placing toys at the correct height for their targeted audience. Toys for younger kids should be placed low on shelves so they are more likely to grab their attention at eye level. In order to create an efficient store layout, owners should consider freestanding fixtures and tables. These versatile pieces of furniture keep inventory organized and offer flexibility for changing traffic patterns and featured toys.

3. Check Your Checkout

Managers often overlook the most important part of the store: the space where customers pay. To encourage shoppers who are on the fence about making a purchase, checkout counters should be clear of obstruction and easily accessible. In addition, the checkout area is a great spot to put small, inexpensive impulse buys. While frequently purchased toys also work well on the counter, smaller items that may not receive the attention they deserve elsewhere in the store standout most here. Batteries, cards, and wrapping paper are other great options to keep near the checkout aisle. The counters at the register should be large enough to lay down everything customers want to purchase. A cluttered, unprofessional checkout counter can turn purchasers into browsers or create a bad lasting impression as they leave your store. In order to maximize profitability you must create the best possible atmosphere for your customers. ● Misty Wilfing is the marketing director for Gabriel Logan, which has been designing, building, and installing custom fixtures since 2002. Located in Logan, Ohio, the company has worked with companies nationwide to deliver durable, high-quality products. For more information, visit www.gabriellogan.com.

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Vehicles & Action Figures Kids Take Control of Favorite Characters with Jakks Pacific

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ith the RC Hulk Smash, from Jakks Pacific, kids can get Hulk power in their hands. This fully functional R/C vehicle lets kids go through obstacles or knock them over with Hulk’s swinging arms. Hulk spins, flips, smashes, does wheelies, and self-rights when he turns over, and his massive arms can be adjusted for different movements. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, this R/C also features a variety of Hulk phrases and sounds. Kids can race around with the new Mario Kart RC Racer. The Racer can rotate its wheels while in motion or standing still, and drive in anti-gravity mode, just like in the new Mario Kart 8 game. The Mario Kart RC Racer can drift around corners and perform special tricks from up to 100 feet away.

Hasbro Transforms in Three Steps or Less

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ach Transformers: Robots in Disguise 1-Step Changers figure, from Hasbro, features a character from the new animated series Transformers: Robots in Disguise. The figures convert from robot to vehicle and back in a single movement. Kids can collect Bumblebee, Underbite, Sideswipe, and Strongarm. The Transformers: Robots in Disguise Mega 1Step Optimus Prime figure stands more than 11-inches tall and converts from a truck to a powerful robot in one smooth motion. Kids pull the trailer apart to convert from vehicle to robot, then push the figure’s chest and swing the cab down to convert back. The built-in connector ports let kids attach Mini-Con figures and use them as weapons and armor for battle. The Transformers: Robots in Disguise 3-Step Changers are available in Bumblebee and Grimlock. Kids can convert each figure in three steps and get right into the action. Kids can also download the Transformers: Robots in Disguise app on a smartphone or tablet and then scan the shield on the Transformers Transformers: Robots in Disguise figures to unlock a character, weapons, and more. 3-Step Changers Grimlock Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man: Web WarJurassic World riors Web Slingers 6-inch Action Figure assortment includes Spider-Man, Hero Masher Agent Venom, Spider-Man 2099, and more. Kids can target the bad guys and take them down by launching high-flying webs at the villains. Each figure features five points of articulation and includes two webs and a villain target. Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors Web Slingers Racer assortment features Spider-Man with an ATV, Agent Venom with a motorcycle, and more. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, two webs can launch from each vehicle racer. Hasbro will also introduce a new line of Jurassic World Hero Mashers featuring dinosaurs from the upcoming film. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, the assortments of Jurassic World Hero Mashers let kids collect their favorite dinosaurs and mix and match the interchangeable pieces to create new dinosaurs from their imaginations. The line includes a Dino Assortment, a Hybrid Dino Assortment, and a Tyrannosaurus Rex Pack.

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Vehicles & Action Figures May Cheong Group Races to Toy Fair

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burago, from May Cheong Group, will bring Ferrari fans a variety of innovative model cars with its line of Ferrari Race & Play die-cast cars. The line will feature the California T, the 458 Speciale, the Laferrari, and a variety of classic Ferrari road cars. Models will be available with authentic colors, details, and markings in 1:18-, 1:24-, and 1:43-scale lines. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the Maisto Tech Rock Crawler 3XL is an oversized R/C measuring 15 inches long. The vehicle is stocked with 2.4 GHz electronics, massive tires, articulated suspension, and four-wheel drive. Kids can take the Maisto Tech Rock Crawler XL outdoors for off-road driving. From the Maisto Exclusive line, die-cast car fans of all ages can detail new vehicles, including the Corvette Stingray Z51, the 2015 Ford Mustang GT 50th Anniversary, and the Mercedes Benz AMG GT. The line allows kids and collectors to add more detail and realism to the cars’ engines and bodies.

Maisto Tech Rock Crawler 3XL

Playmates Packs On the Turtle Power

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ids can re-create the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ mutations over and over again with Playmates Toys’ Pet to Ninja Turtles action figures, designed for kids ages 4 and up. The figures convert (or mutate) from little pet turtles into fully articulated Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael figures. Each 5.5-inch figure comes ready to fight crime with its character’s signature weapon. With Mix and Match Mutations, kids can mutate TMNT characters to give them different heads, arms, legs, and torsos. Each action figure is 4.5 inches tall and allows kids to create hundreds of unique mutations. Kids can choose from the four turtles, as well as Splinter, Metalhead, Shredder, Slash, Tiger Claw, Bebop, Rocksteady, and Casey Jones. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, T-Machines allow kids to race with their favorite characters from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show on Nickelodeon. Each die-cast vehicle is designed to capture its character’s personality and includes an action-posed, non-removable figure in the driver seat. T-Machines Single Pack Vehicles will continuously roll out throughout the year, beginning with Raph in Shellraiser, Fishface in Shell Crusher, Shredder in Shreddermobile, and more. In addition, T-Machines 2-Pack Vehicle Sets will feature decorated Ninja-Charged vehicles complete with translucent wheels. The line will include Mikey in Hot Rod and Shredder in Shreddermobile, Leo in Stealth Bike and Donnie in Service Truck, and more. Kids will also be able to give their T-Machines a powerful boost with the Shell Launcher with Mikey in Party Van. Compatible with all T-Machines, kids can load their vehicles into the launcher, pull back on the shell, and watch their vehicles take off. Each launcher comes with an exclusive Mikey in Party Van vehicle. A line of basic playsets, including the T-Machines Garage & Lair Shell Launcher with playset and Sewer Gas Station playset, as well as a Turtles Revenge Mikey in Party Van playset, will be available this spring for kids ages 3 and up. The playsets will include everything kids need to build cities where their TMachines vehicles can battle.

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Vehicles & Action Figures Imports Dragon’s Johnny Test Line Adds a Shock

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mports Dragon brings kids ages 7 and up the Johnny Test Shocking Figure, which allows kids to “test” their luck. With four different modes of play, kids have a 50-percent chance of getting “shocked” by the figure. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, additional sets include Johnny Test Assorted Car Figures, which allow kids to fit their figures inside their mini spy- or turbo pack-styled cars, and the Johnny Test Collection Series 1 Figures, which are available in single and double packs. Each single pack features one figure that’s visible inside the packaging and one hidden figure, while the double packs include two visible and two hidden figures. Kids are encouraged to collect and trade common, uncommon, and ultra-rare Johnny Test figures.

Bounce, Flip, and Ripp with Toy State

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uilding on its key brands, Toy State will debut new Cat, Nikko, Road Rippers, and Hot Wheels products. For its younger market, Cat Roll ’n Go Machines, available in Haulin’ Harry and Powerhouse Pete, add character, vocals, lights, sounds, and music to Cat machines. Featuring a spin-ball action, kids simply spin the ball for motorized forward and reverse drive. Cat Bouncing Machines offer kids a characterized Haulin’ Harry dump truck that plays sounds and music and features bouncing action. Nikko VaporizR 2 is a full-function vehicle for land and water. Reaching a maximum speed of 9.3 mph, kids can dominate terrain even in the snow. The battery features a oneRoad Rippers Dancing Car hour quick charge and the vehicle is available in blue and red. The Nikko 1:14 Scale Mini Countryman WRC offers kids full proportional steering and throttle and a 2.4 GHz system that lets up to 40 players race at the same time. Kids can dance along with the Road Rippers Dancing Car, available Hot Wheels Flipping Fury in a Volkswagen Beetle and a Mini Cooper S. Each vehicle features lights, music, realistic sounds, and dancing action. Road Rippers Skidders, available in a Ford Mustang and Nissan 370Z, peel out when they take off. Each motorized street racer plays music and vehicle sounds and has working lights. Toy State will launch the Hot Wheels RC Trac Thrasher, made for off-road action. Featuring a buggy-inspired body style, this vehicle features lean steering and allows kids to pull off 360-degree spins. In addition, the Hot Wheels Flipping Fury brings kids two vehicles in one as it flips from one side to the other while it plays music and sounds and lights up.

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Vehicles & Action Figures Skyrocket Toys Amps Up Its Sky Viper Drones

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kyrocket Toys’ Sky Viper Drones are back this year with several new high-flying, high-tech choices spanning a range of features and prices. Designed for kids ages 12 and up, drones feature extreme performance capabilities, onetouch stunts, six-axis digital stabilization, and variable modes of flight sensitivity, so novice flyers and R/C experts can all join in the fun.

Sky Viper Video Drone

Spin Master Shows Off Dragons, Rescue Dogs, R/C, and More

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his fall, Spin Master will expand its DreamWorks Dragons line, based on the TV series of the same name, as well as the film, How to Train Your Dragon 2, with the deluxe Blast & Roar Toothless figure. The 15-inch dragon has multiple points of articulation, a mouth that opens and closes with retractable teeth, lights, and sound effects, and a glowing mouth and spine with firing projectiles. The Paw Patrol pups are ready for any type of rescue, thanks to the Paw Patrol Rescue Training Center. With this play set, Chase can rescue a kitty from a tree, launch tennis balls for target practice, and ride the zip-line. For emergencies requiring water, Paw Patrol Jumbo Action Pup Chase or Marshall each have a Pup Pack that transforms into a super-soaking water cannon, just like in the TV show. Both Paw Patrol items are recommended for kids ages 3 and up. Based on the popular video game, the Minecraft Vinyl Figure Assortment features two versions of the blocky character Steve: one with his pickaxe and grass cube, and one with his diamond helmet and sword. The other character in the set is the hostile Creeper with his diamond cube. Each figure has a ball-jointed head. Spin Master’s Air Hogs line of R/C vehicles gains the Helix Ion, a 4-channel quad-copter with gyro stabilization and 2.4 GHz control for optimal flight response. It features a patented ExoFrame that protects all four propellers during bumps and crashes. The Helix Video Drone has a builtin 60 frames-per-seconds action camera that captures fast-moving objects. Both R/C vehicles are recommended for kids ages 10 and up. Air Hogs’ free-flying and air-powered toy airplanes include the Titan glider, Air Hogs’ largest plane to-date. It requires no batteries and has multiple ways of flying: one way is for distance, while the other requires flipping the tail to perform acrobatic stunts. The Hyper Disc is an inflatable flying disc that can be filled with helium or air. Measuring 2 feet in diameter, it flies like a Frisbee and floats like a blimp. Thanks to a lightweight design and small diameter, it can be tossed, rolled, flipped, bounced, and used for tricks. The Sky Stunt Jet can do loops, stalls, corkscrews, and more. It has a 300-foot range and a Minecraft 6-inch Vinyl Diamond Steve ducted fan that can withstand crashes.

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Auldey’s New R/C Helicopter Is All Talk

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uldey Toys will introduce new R/C items and vehicles intended for kids of all ages. Launching this fall, Wave Racers is a new brand of racers, tracks, and play sets that kids control. Kids activate their racers via a wave sensor, so that the faster they wave their hands, the faster their Wave Racer will go. Intended for kids ages 6 and up, play sets include the Skyloop Rally & Speed Streak, the Epic Challenge & Triple Loop Raceway, and the Mega-Match Raceway. TrackPack extensions are available for expanding or customizing tracks. This fall, the Sky Rover brand will feature all-new packaging and logo execution, with a modern-looking style and simplified messaging. The line’s key driver will be the Voice Command Helicopter, an R/C vehicle intended for kids ages 12 and up, which can be controlled using a headset and 12 verbal commands—no hands required. Special features include smart hover and auto-pilot, making the helicopter easy to maneuver. Super Wings is an animated preschool series coming to NBC Sprout in March. Auldey will support the show with a full line of products designed for kids ages 3 to 6. Sky Rover Voice Command Helicopter


Vehicles & Action Figures Mattel Gets Its Wheels Rolling

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he Hot Wheels Ultimate Auto Garage, from Mattel, is packed with action and adventure for kids ages 4 and up. There are more than 35 parking spaces available for kids to store their collections, and the set includes five Hot Wheels vehicles and a helicopter. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Matchbox Elite Rescue Chopper offers realistic chopper rescue play. The chopper has responsive helicopter sounds and spinning rotors, it shoots projectiles such as hydro missiles, it stores and launches cars, and it picks up vehicles with its claws. Kids can transport their smaller vehicles by hooking them on and bringing them to hard-to-reach locations to complete the challenging tasks at hand.

Pikachu, Tomy Chooses You

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omy International will expand its Pokémon line this year with Ash’s Arena Challenge. Kids can turn Ash’s hat backward to get him battle-ready and send Pikachu into action. The buttons on the arena activate Pikachu’s Quick Attack, Thunderbolt, and Iron Tail to take down any opponent. These three actions also activate music, voice, and attack sounds for realistic battle play. The set includes articulated Ash, Pikachu, and Wobbuffet figures and is designed for kids ages 4 and up. Tomy plans to expand the John Deere Gear Force and Monster Treads brands, and will introduce Mighty Movers, a new line of action vehicle launchers and play sets. John Deere Monster Treads Lightning Wheels features tires with LED lights. Chuggington StackTrack High Speed Rescue Motorized Playset When kids spin the wheels, they can see lightning wheel action. The John Deere Gear Force Mega Scoop Tractor is a tractor featuring multi-purpose mega scoop arms, lights, and motion-activated sounds. John Deere Mighty Movers Bullpen Escape challenges kids with launching, skillful, and crashing play. Kids propel the tractor under the bull, and crash through the hay bales without going off-course. Tomy’s Chuggington StackTrack line features new play sets based on the new season of Chuggington. The High Speed Rescue Motorized Playset features an engine-powered turntable and a motorized Wilson engine that climbs and races fast. The Drop & Load Dash Motorized Playset is based on the Delivery Dash at the Docks TV special airing this fall. The play set features an enginepowered crane that moves up and down, and it includes a motorized Koko engine that triggers additional climbing and racing actions. Ash’s Arena Challenge Additionally, Tomy is the global master toy licensee for the upcoming Disney•Pixar film The Good Dinosaur, set for release in the fall. Tomy will produce a full range of toys designed to capture the unique personalities of the film’s characters, including figures in multiple sizes, feature plush, interactive toys, role-play items, bath toys, and more.

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Anki Races to the Forefront

Saban Gets Charged Up

nki, a company dedicated to bringing artificial intelligence and consumer robotics to everyday lives, will showcase the next generation of Anki Drive. A battle racing game that utilizes physical toy cars capable of driving themselves through a specially designed app, Anki Drive originally debuted in 2013. This new Anki Drive experience will continue Anki’s dedication to inventive product creation.

he latest member of Saban Brands’ Power Rangers action figure line is the Power Rangers Dino Charge Dino Zord Cycle with Figure. Along with a poseable, 5-inch Ranger figure, it includes three different ways to play: the Cycle Mode, morphing into Dino Zords, and morphing with Zord Builder items.

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Vehicles & Action Figures Carrera RC Takes Flight with New Quadrocopter

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he Carrera RC Quadrocopter RC Video One is a four-blade helicopter that features Carrera’s 2.4 GHz control system for easy maneuverability and a small video camera to record flight action. One hour of recharge time gives kids seven minutes of flying time. The Mini Turnator is ready to flip and spin at a moment’s notice. The 2.4 GHz ServoTronic system gives kids control over the small four-wheeled car, which can drive forward and backward, flip, and spin in place. Eighty minutes of charge time gives kids up to 20 minutes of driving fun. Carrera RC Quadrocopter RC Video One

Race Around Bikini Bottom with NKOK

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KOK will introduce a line of WWE-branded vehicles for wrestling fans. Kids can choose from John Cena and Randy Orton-inspired Rumble Vans, which will be available in both battery-operated and R/C versions. Each van will feature lights and sound effects from the real WWE superstars. In addition, each star’s Die-Cast Tour Bus will feature a hidden door that leads to storage space for an included WWE die-cast racecar. Rounding out the line will be the John Cena ATV R/C, which lets kids control the four-by-four with John Cena riding it. For SpongeBob SquarePants, NKOK will bring fans the battery-powered SpongeBob Hot Rod Boat Race Set, allowing kids to race head to head throughout Bikini Bottom on the 8-foot track. The set features a lap counter and jellyfish details, and includes two vehicles, two controllers, and 16 track pieces. The Mean Machine line will get two new additions: the Rock Crawler and the Extreme Terrain. Both large and aggressive four-by-fours are available in a variety of body styles. The Rock Crawler will be available with a 1970 Ford Bronco body and a 2015 Jeep Wrangler body. The Extreme SpongeBob Hot Rod Terrain will be available in 2015 Jeep Wrangler, 2015 Ford F-150, Ford Boat Race Set F-150 Raptor, and Dodge RAM 2500 Power Wagon bodies. Animal Racers, a sub-brand of Junior Racers, will feature five animals with jovial jockeys that become animated with motion. The Stunt Runts line will include friction-powered vehicles available in four different body styles. In partnership with RealTree, NKOK will release its Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R/C truck, which features full suspension, a high torque motor, and full-functioning controls. The truck is wrapped in an authentic RealTree snow camouflage graphic. NKOK’s 22-inch long R/C Tyrannosaurus Rex will roar into the Discovery Kids line with lights and sound effects. The T-Rex features realistic teeth and skin, has an animated neck and jaw, and makes stomping noises as it walks.

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Moose Toys Brings World of Warriors to Life

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oose Toys will launch a range of mini figurines based on the combat and adventure game World of Warriors. With more than 120 figurines to collect, kids can amass their armies and challenge their friends. The line features two-, four-, and eight-figure packs, as well as an Action Figure with Mechanical Features, Battle Gear, and a Battle Playset.

Toysmith Gets Prehistoric

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pic Dinos, from Toysmith, are 22-inch dinosaurs made of soft, pliable vinyl. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, there are four different styles to choose from. Each dinosaur is vibrantly colored and features realistic details.


Vehicles & Action Figures World Tech Toys Gives Hulk Wings

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orld Tech Toys has teamed up with Marvel for R/C toys based on The Avengers, the Amazing Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Avengers characters will include Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk, while the Guardians of the Galaxy lineup will feature Star-Lord, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon. The company will also introduce a large selection of drones and create a line of flying and driving R/Cs based on the Sonic Boom, WWE, and Ghostbusters properties.

Borgfeldt Puts Racers in the Fast Lane

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he Litehawk Apex Motorcycle, from Borgfeldt (Canada) Ltd., is an R/C motorcycle modeled after Moto GP motorcycles. Featuring slick rubber tires, side guards, rear swing arm suspension, and mechanical gyro stabilization, this R/C offers maximum control on two wheels. Designed for kids ages 10 and up, racers can reach speeds up to 9 mph, and with its 2.4 GHz digital system, riders never have to worry about frequency or channel conflicts with other racers.

Hulkbuster (left) and Hulk (right) Helicopters

Silverlit Expands Its Nano Fleet

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ilverlit’s three-channel Nano Spy Cam allows kids to capture photos and videos midflight or from a secret location inside the transmitter carrying case. Its gyro stabilizer ensures smooth flying, and there are 32GBs of memory support included. Named the World’s Smallest R/C Model Helicopter by Guinness World Records, Silverlit’s Nano Falco XS is 2.3 inches and easy for kids of all skill levels to fly. The tiny helicopter features three-channel control and comes with a travel friendly storage case that converts into a landing pad. The Nano UFO is a four-channel, lightweight mini-UFO that flies inside and outside in calm conditions. The durable design and gyro stabilizer give kids a smooth flying experience and allow them to perform 360-degree flips and turns. The Nano UFO features LED lights and comes with spare propellers and a USB charging cable. Silverlit will also introduce its Sky Griffin, which features three-channel, super-wide infrared control and a pre-selected dual-band system. Thanks to auto stabilizing technology and a special propeller system, kids will be able to take advantage of the Sky Griffin’s precise speed control and excellent flying stability. Nano Spy Cam

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Future of Play Goes ROG

F Skullduggery Lights Up the Raceway

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he Max Traxxx Tracer Racers Dual Lane R/C Set, from Skullduggery, allows kids to customize their own racing circuits and compete head-to-head against a friend. With a glow-in-the-dark dual loop, six dual glow-in-the-dark corners, and more than 36 feet of glow-in-the-dark track, this set lights up the night as kids send their R/Cs zooming through the course. The two included Tracer Racers beam purple light rays from their undercarriages onto the track, which is engineered to emit glow remnants long after the racers have passed using Light Trace Technology.

uture of Play will produce toys based on ROG (pronounced “Rogue”), an original three-book series, the first of which will be available in June. The comprehensive toy line will feature collectible, triggered-appearing action figures; a battle arena; and a collection of trading coins called Eros. Players can go head-to-head in the ROG Battle Arena, where two figures collide and can reveal their power. ROG toys are suitable for kids ages 6 and up.

Tree House Kids Lets the Chase Begin

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ree House Kids debuts a new line, Cops and Robbers Chase Play, which features a 1:24-inch scaled 2015 Ford Mustang GT. The police car and getaway car both showcase fully functioning lights and opening doors. The sets include articulated figures that can sit in the cars and interact with accessories and gadgets.

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Infant & Preschool Julius Jr. Comes to Literary Life

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aban Brands, in partnership with Random House Children’s Books, will release activity, coloring, and storybooks based on its Julius Jr. series this year. Pirates and Superheroes—Little Golden Book retells an episode of the Julius Jr. TV series. The Rock On!—Big Coloring Book is an oversized coloring book with a built-in handle. The book features images of Julius Jr., Clancy, Ping, Sheree, and Worry Bear for kids to color. The Crayon Craze!—Step into Reading Paperback features Paul Frank’s creations and comes with a shiny foil cover, as well as two sheets of sparkly stickers. All three books are suitable for kids ages 2 to 5. Intended for Paul Frank fans ages 3 to 7, the Sticker-Tastic!—Deluxe Stickerific Paperback is an activity book featuring more than 300 stickers, while Open the Door and Explore—Pictureback with Flaps has a flap to lift on every spread.

PlaSmart Makes Drawing Magical

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ids can bring a blank canvas to life with PlaSmarts’ Magic Canvas. Designed for kids ages 1 and up, this activity makes no mess, requires no clean up, and allows artists to make unlimited creations. Kids simply fill the stylus with water and reveal hidden colors in the canvas as they draw. The magic continues as kids watch their pictures slowly disappear and dry back to a blank canvas, or turn the magic canvas over to start another piece of artwork.

Gund Makes Baby’s Playtime Huggable

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und introduces a new line of plush made especially for infants and preschoolers. The My First Farmer’s Market Playset is a five-piece set that acquaints kids with healthy foods through play. The 9-inch brown plush shopping bag contains a tomato squeak toy, a carrot crinkle toy, a lettuce rattle, and a milk carton sound toy. The line is designed to get kids thinking about healthy foods at early ages. Babies can fall asleep to calming ambient music with Gund’s Sleepy Seas Sound and Lights Octopus. This cute and cuddly plush toy helps soothe baby to sleep with relaxing sounds and glowing lights. With the push of a button, the octopus plays comforting sounds, including ocean waves, bubbling water, and spa-like music. Circles of light glow from within the toy before automatically turning off with the music. The Nicky Noodle Comfy Cozy combines the coziness of a baby blanket with the fun of a playful baby monkey. Ideal for naptime or playtime, the machine-washable Comfy Cozy features plush animal accents (monkey head and paws), silky rich brown fabric, and a matching satin underside. Nicky Noodle will also be available in additional formats, such as rattles, plush toys, and more.

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Infant & Preschool Imports Dragon Celebrates Caillou’s 25th Anniversary

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mports Dragon will expand its Caillou product line as the brand celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The Caillou Classic Doll features his iconic baseball cap and outfit, and has a soft body with a latex head, arms, and legs. The Caillou’s Bath Time Play Set includes one Caillou figurine and accessories that use suction cups to stick to the bathtub. Both products are suitable for kids ages 1 and up. The Caillou Jet, designed for kids ages 3 and up, features light-up wings, a pilot Caillou figure, and additional accessories for airborne adventures.

Babies Make Music with NKOK

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KOK’s Junior Explorers line features toys designed for babies ages 6 months and up. The Musical Drum and the Frog Guitar each feature music, bright colors, lights, and sounds, and allow babies to make music while using their imaginations. Both toys offer volume control so parents can turn the sound down if needed. The Electronic Rock-aDuck Stacker plays music as babies stack plastic rings onto the musical base. When the duck is placed on top of the stack, babies receive a musical surprise. Frog Guitar

Fisher-Price’s Little People Line Is Ready for Takeoff

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he Little People Spinnin’ Sounds Airport, from Fisher-Price, introduces toddlers ages 1 and up to air travel. From check-in to takeoff, kids can act out the entire air travel process with this play set. The set features airplane sounds, a removable airplane, a baggage cart, an Eddie the Pilot figure, two luggage pieces, and a table and chairs. With the Thomas & Friends Turbo Flip Thomas, from Fisher-Price, kids can press the remote control button to send Thomas off to the races. Thomas can also spin in reverse, pop a wheelie, do a back flip, and say two new phrases. The Thomas & Friends Shipwreck Rails Set features spiraling action, molded ship detail, and an auto reset function for uninterrupted play. The Thomas & Friends Rail Rollers Spiral Station lets kids load Thomas and Diesel Rail Rollers into Tidmouth Sheds and watch them spiral down to the bottom, slide into the spinner, and soar back to the top. The set features characters and locations from the Thomas & Friends TV Thomas & Friends Rail series. Rollers Spiral Station Little dinosaur lovers can let their imaginations run wild with the bony Imaginext Ultra T-Rex. Three power pads bring the T-Rex roaring to life. Kids can turn the power pad behind his tail to make him walk, or turn the power pad above his hip to make him stand tall and activate the LED lights in his spikes and eyes. The T-Rex features realistic sound effects.

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Peek-a-Boo Mobile

Tiny Love Embraces Multi-Function Toys

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he Peek-a-Boo Mobile, from Tiny Love, features a dual-motion system that offers an engaging display for babies. The fronds gently rotate around the characters to create a peek-a-boo show that will captivate infants. The mobile also features a music box with a soft, flowing night-light that plays 30 minutes of continuous music and features 15 different melodies. The mobile arm detaches from the music box, which has piano keys for added playability for older babies. The music box can be converted to a floor toy, extending play value into toddler years. The Double-Sided Crib Toy acts as an entertainer and soother for babies. It attaches to both portable and traditional cribs. One side features a calming nighttime sky that soothes babies with a twinkling light show while playing 30 minutes of continuous lullabies or white noise. The other side has playful features for development, including activities, a click-and-reveal bird tree, a spinning ball with colorful beads, an exploring slider, and a crinkle-textured leaf with a peek-a-boo flower.

Tomy Is in Tune with Toddlers

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ith the Lamaze Clip ’n Go Squeezy Donkey, from Tomy, babies can squeeze the donkey’s tummy and watch his ears pop up. Featuring satin legs with crinkle and “clip-clop” hooves, the donkey is made from soft velour fabrics with bright, bold colors and patterns. The Lamaze clip lets adults hook Squeezy Donkey to strollers, car seats, and more to take him along for on-the-go fun. Lamaze Sonny the Glowing Bunny teaches colors in four different languages: English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Press one of Sonny’s colorful ears to illuminate his tummy, and he will say that color. Press two ears at the same time, and a song will play as his tummy rotates through different colors of the rainbow. Featuring soft velour fabrics with bright, bold colors and contrasting black-and-white patterns, Sonny also has a soothing nighttime melody. Tomy’s Push Me Pull Me Puppy is a combination pull-along and push-along toy. The puppy will follow babies along no matter which way they push or pull his leash. Featuring a happy song and realistic walking movements, babies can press his nose and hear him bark and pant. The puppy is designed for kids ages 1 and up and includes a bone and a dog dish for role-play. When kids push along the Jumbo Jamboree, it becomes a one-man band that plays five instruments at one time. Kids can also separate the instrument pieces that make up his body to play each one by itself: remove his nose and toot a little tune with the saxophone, or shake his ears to create a gentle melody with jingle bells. When kids pull out the top handle, the orange section becomes a drum, the green section is a harmonica, and the yellow section is a xylophone. When kids want to put Jumbo Jamboree back together, they can match his colors back into the correct sections and pop his ears and nose back on, and he is ready to roll along once again. Lamaze Clip ’n Go Squeezy Donkey

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Infant & Preschool American Plastic Toys Captures the Comforts of Home

Peppa Pig Mega Mat

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merican Plastic Toys will offer a wide line of injection-molded toys this fall, including the Cozy Comforts Kitchen, which features a realistic kitchen design with a single-cup coffee machine and a raised gas burner that makes a boiling water sound when pots and pans are placed on it. The kitchen also includes a microwave, a refrigerator, an oven, a toaster, and lots of accessories. Intended for kids ages 3 and up, it stands more than three feet tall. My Very Own Study & Play Desk is a compact, easyto-assemble desk set designed for kids ages 2 and up. It features a large writing surface; book and storage spaces; and special compartments for markers, crayons, and other art supplies. The desk stands 22 inches tall and comes with a stool. The fully assembled Huge Nesting Shopping Cart has a molded seat that can hold a doll or a stuffed animal. The cart is suitable for kids ages 3 and up, and the back of the basket folds up and away when nesting. An update to the classic picnic table, the Kid’s Picnic Table is an all-in-one square table with benches. Intended for kids ages 2 and up, the colorful table can be assembled without tools or screws, and proCozy Comforts Kitchen vides space for up to four children. American Plastic Toys expands its automotive line with the colorful Fashion Doll SUV. The SUV is suitable for 11- to 11.5-inch fashion dolls.

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TCG Lets Kids Play in Peppa’s World

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he Peppa Pig Value Mat, from TCG, offers kids more than 3.5 by 2.5 feet of Peppa Pig play space. The mat includes a Peppa Pig character and a vehicle, and is backed with durable foam. The Peppa Pig Mega Mat is more than 5.5 feet wide and 3.5 feet tall, and is backed with durable foam and wipes clean. The mat includes two Peppa Pig characters and a vehicle.

Yookidoo Gets Babies Moving

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he Gymotion Activity Playland, from Yookidoo, is a three-stage activity gym for babies that grows with them from infancy to toddlerhood. Featuring a battery-operated musical mobile and several multi-textured toys, babies can play while lying down or in a sitting position. The Gymotion folds up into a selfcontained carrying case for easy transport.

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Visit us at Toy Fair Booth # 6015


Infant & Preschool Fill ’n Fun with International Playthings

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nternational Playthings has new offerings for infants and toddlers, including the Deluxe Fill ’n Fun Water Mat, which is designed for kids ages 6 months and up. Adults can inflate the outside border with air and the inner chamber with water to provide babies and toddlers with a toy for tummy time and more, as they splash the water to move the five colorful friends. The Feed ’n Roll Froggy, also for babies and toddlers ages 6 months and up, teaches cause and effect. Kids can feed froggy the colorful balls and then watch them roll out of his belly. Sometimes the balls roll out quickly and sometimes he needs a wiggle. The Toy Box Musical Animal Train is designed for kids ages 1 and up. Little ones can push the funnel down and watch the train take Kitty Cat and James Giraffe for a ride. It plays four tunes and makes train whistle sounds. The train’s eyes move from side to side when the train is in motion. The Playtime Parachute is perfect for play dates as it promotes teamwork, turn Deluxe Fill ’n Fun taking, and coordination. This colorful 10-foot nylon parachute has 12 sturdy handles Water Mat evenly spaced for multiple players, and is intended for kids ages 2 and up. The Pirate Ship Sand & Water Table, designed for kids ages 2 and up, is a 20-piece set with a lot to offer. Kids can use the scoop cup and strainer to fill the pirate ship with water, then watch water sprinkle down the crow’s nest to move the two water wheels. The easy grip shovel, and anchor and skull and crossbones sand molds are great for the beach or sand box.

Explore & More Rocking Owl Stacker

Skip Hop Is a Hoot for Little Ones

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esigned for tots learning to walk, Skip Hop’s Explore & More Rolling Owl Push Toy keeps toddlers moving. As the owl waddles along, the colorful beads in his belly tumble around, making a soft rainfall sound. The toy also features flapping textured wings and rubber wheels to soften sound and protect floors. Kids can practice motor skills and develop hand-eye coordination as they rock, stack, and play with the Explore & More Rocking Owl Stacker. Designed for babies ages 6 months and up, the stacker consists of five unique play pieces, including the stacking base, textured rings that make various sounds as kids stack them up, and an owl head with rattling beads inside. The Zoo Little Kid Backpack holds all the supplies a preschooler might need for a busy day of work and play, and the mesh side pocket adjusts to fit a juice box, a sippy cup, or a water bottle. The front pouch is ideal for snacks and includes extra pockets for pencils and other travel necessities, and the padded straps are easy on kids’ shoulders.

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Playskool Is Ready for On-the-Go Fun

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asbro will expand its line of storable, portable Playskool toys. The Stack ’n Stow Cups feature a lion base and seven colorful cups that have easy-grasp tabs and colorful cut-out shapes. Designed for babies ages 9 months and up, the cups help develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as babies try to pile the cups on top of one another or nest them all together. The lion base locks the cups in place for easy travel, and the lion’s tail can hook onto a bag or stroller. The Roll ’n Gears Car Toy is a two-in-one portable toy that allows preschoolers to explore how gears work and cars move. In car mode, kids can roll the toy along the floor Roll ’n Gears Car Toy while watching the little passengers spin around inside. When the set is open, they can begin to explore early engineering play by stacking up the five removable gears, or arranging them around the car to explore how they all fit together. The set helps develop fine motor skills and allows kids to discover cause and effect when the gears they’ve placed begin to move and shift.

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Infant & Preschool Hedstrom Taps Babies’ Senses

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edstrom’s focus on sensory play and development continues this year with its new PuzzleMat. This colorful puzzle has two-sided pieces featuring a zoo theme on one side, and uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers on the reverse side. Made out of durable foam, this puzzle helps teach kids the basics behind counting and the alphabet. Designed for kids ages 18 months and up, the Sensory Play Mat has tactile shapes and designs and will keep kids exploring. The mat features a vibrantly colored shape-sorting puzzle with textures on one side and letters and numbers on the other. Sensory RingStackerz are a new spin on a classic toy. From grape-scented to glitter-filled, each ring will appeal to kids’ senses. These five different rings are designed for kids ages 6 months and up. Also for kids ages 6 months and up, the Sensory Shape Ball combines two classic toys: a ball and a shape shorter. Kids can roll, bounce, and learn with this brightly colored ball by fitting the correct shape into the corresponding space. The two-sided pieces have textures that will help kids explore their senses while learning letters, numbers, and shapes. Sensory RingStackerz

Green Toys Offers Eco-Friendly Fun

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ade in the U.S. from 100-percent recycled plastic milk containers, Green Toys’ line of environmentally friendly toys expands this year with the Watering Can, designed for kids ages 18 months and up. Kids can play with this classic set outside, indoors, or in the bathtub. Featuring an easy-to-pour spout and a carrying handle, kids can help in the garden and learn to take care of the world around them. The Sport Boats set includes a blue Launch Boat, an orange Race Boat, and a green Speed Boat. The boats’ tops are interchangeable for mix-and-match fun and the easy-open design allows for quick cleaning. Each lightweight boat also includes a duck captain figure for imaginative play and is suitable for kids ages 2 and up. Green Toys’ Block Set, a basic building set suitable for kids ages 1 and up, includes 18 colored, lightweight blocks that have been re-engineered to feature an easy grip and better stacking action. The blocks do not contain any BPA, PVC, phthalates, or external coatings. All toys in this line are packaged using recycled and recyclable materials and are printed with soy inks.

Kids Preferred Thinks Outside the Box

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ids Preferred and Disney Baby have partnered to bring kids ages 6 months and up the Mickey Mouse Jack in the Box. Bringing together music and the element of surprise, this jack in the box plays “Mickey Mouse March” as kids wind the crank until Mickey pops out.

Watering Can

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State of the Industry

continued from page 49 tion that can only be delivered with a good set of APIs. Frankly, I’m a bit skeptical of the broader “Internet of Things.” Just because all the devices in my house can talk to each other doesn’t mean they all have something interesting to say. But it’s going to be especially important to the toy industry because of the nature of play and the nature of a child’s brain. Toys (and play in general) are best when rooted in storytelling and in the creation of experiences that bring to life what resides in a child’s imagination. Who hasn’t had his or her heart warmed to watch a 3-year-old girl host a tea party for her dolls and stuffed bears? Who hasn’t smiled as a 7-year-old boy smashes his action figures together, calling each by name? To these kids, the toys are their playmates, and it is now possible for these plastic playmates to “know” far more than they ever could before. They can know who your child is and who else is in the room (that is, what other toys are there). Every play experience can be infused with fun learning because the toys will know so much more and can coach kids in a way for which few parents have the patience. Seventh, Black Friday will continue to fade in importance. Clearly, one lesson of the past few years has been that consumers have become less responsive to the sales on Black Friday. They have learned that there is very little incentive to buying early if the incentive is to save money. Other than a small number of doorbusters, prices will generally be better a few weeks after Black Friday, and cyber shoppers are less and less inclined to brave the insanity of crowded stores, so they will seek bargains all through the holiday season. Eighth, and finally, I predict that precisely because of the point about greater connectivity in toys, traditional toy makers could see more competition from outside the toy industry. Moore’s Law is not necessarily a friend of the traditional toy industry. The fact that computing chips grow more

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powerful even as they get cheaper might seem to be great news at first. That cost curve is, after all, what made Furby a great product back in the ’90s when it was launched at $30. The technology imbedded in that initial Furby had existed for years, but would have resulted in a retail price closer to $100 just a few years earlier. So, Sean, continually dropping chip prices is a good thing, right? Especially if you’re saying that all toys are going to need some chips? Well, yes and no. Yes, the silicon cost curve makes it possible to do magic for a good price. But it helps everyone else, too, and some of the consumer electronics companies accustomed to operating on razor thin margins are capable of making the same magic toys. Let’s say you have an idea for a great interactive doll or plush, but in order for it to have all the features you want, the cost would be way too high. So, you wait for the costs to come down. But, while you’re waiting, other people are perhaps coming up with essentially the same idea. You may have had it first, but it won’t matter if having the idea first doesn’t let you make it cheaper. Once the chips get low enough in price to make it economically feasible, you can start making it—and so can everyone else. In fact, if your competitors are willing to make it for a lower profit than you’re willing to take, they will come out with “your” great idea before you do. Many consumer electronics companies operate in much lower gross and operating margins than are the goals of traditional toy companies. As the industry moves increasingly to chip-based toys, the competitive landscape may get even more challenging. Best wishes to all. Have a happy and prosperous 2015. ■

Sean McGowan is a managing director in the equity research department of Needham & Co., a New York-based investment bank. He has been covering toy stocks since 1986, and has also covered video games, juvenile products, sporting goods, and consumer electronics.

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Peppa Pig

Property Profile

Wins Over the U.S.

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ntertainment One (eOne) Licensing’s Peppa Pig is making friends wherever she goes. A global sensation and the No.1 preschool toy license in the U.K., Spain, Italy, Australia, and Brazil, the lovably cheeky character is now a hit in the U.S., too, where she is the star of an expanding licensing program. Among Peppa’s playmates are more than 30 licensees spanning numerous categories, from toys and books to apps and party goods. Airing daily on Nick Jr., Peppa Pig has been the No.1 show on the channel with kids ages 2 to 5 since October 2013. New episodes, including two 15-minute specials, will be introduced throughout this year and next year. Also a winner at retail, the brand’s new master toy partner, Jazwares, will launch its Peppa Pig toy line starting this spring with expanded placement at Toys “R” Us, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens. New apparel offerings will roll out at Target, Kmart, Kohl’s, The Children’s Place, and Journeys Kidz. Party City will debut a range of Peppa Pig party goods at its stores nationwide. “We are so excited about how quickly and completely Peppa has endeared herself to American audiences, and we are delighted to be growing our consumer products program organically and in sync with our rising TV viewership. As a result, the brand is experiencing a rapidly building fan base,” says Joan Grasso, vice president of licensing in North America, at eOne Family. “We look forward to working with our expanding list of licensing partners and continuing to grow the Peppa brand in the U.S. for many years to come.” eOne also welcomes a host of additional new licensees this year, which will introduce Peppa into a variety of other categories. New partners include Amscan for party goods,

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Better Toyz for sporting goods, Palamon for Halloween costumes, Primary Colors Corp. for novelty stationery and confections, and Fiesta for amusement toys. New publishing titles, including Peppa Pig books from Scholastic and Candlewick Press and more editions of the Fun to Learn Peppa Pig magazine from Redan, will be available at key mass retailers from coast to coast. The first Peppa Pig stage show in the U.S. will debut in late fall in New York City. The show will tour nationally beginning next year. eOne’s Peppa Pig DVD series is becoming a major entertainment hit in the U.S. as well. Episodic DVDs, including “The Balloon Ride,” “My Birthday Party,” and “Peppa’s Christmas,” were all ranked among the top preschool titles at launch. “Muddy Puddles,” which makes its retail debut in March, will feature high-impact packaging, including a gift set with a limited-edition collectible plush toy from Ty and strong POS support. Peppa also continues to grow within the digital space, with episodes now available on all digital platforms, including iTunes. The property’s newest apps, Peppa’s Activity Maker and Peppa’s Paintbox, are also proving popular with fans. The two free apps are currently available to download on both iTunes and Google Play. eOne recently announced that Peppa Pig merchandise has reached $1 billion in global annual retail sales. Licensing programs are now active in more than 50 countries with more than 700 licensees appointed worldwide. The TV show airs in more than 180 territories and is translated in more than 40 languages. The future is bright for this little pig. ■

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Rainy Day Peppa, from Jazwares, loves playing in the rain and jumping in muddy puddles. Peppa is 9 inches tall and wears a yellow raincoat with a matching hat and wellies. With five points of articulation, kids can pose her for realistic play. Rainy Day Peppa is designed for kids ages 2 and up.

The Peppa Pig Fairground Ride, from TCG, features a merry-go-round with three seats for the Peppa figurines to take a ride. Players press the red button on the top of the carousel and watch the fairground ride spin. Players who land on a red space have to hop off, but they’re not out yet. If they guess where an empty swing will land, they can jump back on. The set includes four Peppa figures and is designed for two to four players ages 3 and up.

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Kids ages 3 and up will discover the world of Peppa Pig on the ABC Foam Cube Puzzle, from TCG. This giant foam floor puzzle includes 36 large, soft, easy-to-grip foam puzzle pieces that make up the play area and interlock into cubes. The finished puzzle measures more than 3 feet wide and includes a zippered vinyl bag for easy storage.

Kids can travel around with Peppa Pig and her family with the Peppa Pig Family Campervan, from Jazwares. The play set features accessories for camping fun. Kids ages 3 and up can roll out the awning and prepare for Peppa Pig’s BBQ. The campervan includes Peppa and Daddy Pig in their holiday outfits, as well as removable top and benches, a foldable picnic table, a BBQ grill, and a working awning.

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Explodes with Family-Friendly Tech by Reyne Rice, toy trends analyst and consultant

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uring the first week of January, International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 unveiled the latest consumer electronics innovations. Kids, families, and educators were among the target audiences for this new world of technology, which extended across all exhibitor areas. Here are some of the family tech-focused highlights from the show:

Robotics Were Out in Full Force From STEM to STEAM to STREAM, the robotics segment was highly visible on the CES 2015 show floor. Spin Master introduced Meccanoid G15 KS, a three-foot-high dynamic and side-cracking robot with the ability to transform and rebuild into multiple incarnations, as part of the revived Meccano and Erector range of products. WowWee debuted its new BeaconSense technology, which allows the playful and powerful MiPosaur dinosaur to chase its companion robotic ball and follow its owner; and added new kid-to-robot components to the MiP line. Ozobot announced its new Ozobot Groove app, while Modular Robotics showed off its range of modular, blockbuilding play products, vehicle builds, and interactive models, such as the Moss Zombonitron 1600 and the Moss Exofabulatronixx 5200. Later this year, the company will add more modular sets for extended model building.

Droning Has Never Been This Exciting Drones also played a big role at CES 2015 with multiple toy and kid-friendly drones whizzing overhead, both at the press

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events and on the showroom floor. Examples included Parrot’s new MiniDrone and Bebop Drone, and Extreme Fliers’ Micro Drone 2.0, both with eye-in-the-sky camera capabilities. There will be new ground-to-air drones from Spin Master, which will be released from embargo at February’s North American International Toy Fair. Meanwhile, WowWee’s new vehicle range, REV, added artificial intelligence and GPS tracking BeaconSense tech to mobile app-controlled driving, allowing for single- and multiple-player options. Orbotix’s Sphero continued to be a crowd-pleaser, with attendees lined up to play with the mobile app-controlled racers. The company is a social media darling, and has grown its range to include STEM-based curriculum products. Its recently introduced SPRK Education program has added teachers and after-school programs interested in utilizing Sphero 2.0 and related accessories in their learning approaches.

Crowdfunding Played a Key Role Crowdfunding played a key role across the CES floor. The successfully crowdsourced Wonder Workshop, situated in the Eureka Park New Exhibitor Zone, showcased its code-building robots, Dash and Dot. Thanks to the company’s recent work with code.org to incorporate the kid-friendly Blockly programming language, kids as young as age 5 can REV Starter Kit, from WowWee

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Meccanoid G15 KS, from Spin Master

build simple code to activate these colorful robots and make them race, play music, and more.

Not Just Going Through the Motions New motion-sensor technologies are adding play value for companies such as Lego, which is partnering with The Eye Tribe to use eye-tracking technology to engage consumers at retail. In huge consumer displays, passersby can use their eyes to build virtual Lego products. Lego Fusion products—in which consumers construct a building façade, scan it into the app, and watch it come to life on-screen—are now available across retail partners. Lego Minecraft sets, introduced at retail in January, also appeal to hands-on kids who love making, creating, and sharing their builds across social media platforms.

Training the Brain, and the Body, Too Brain-building and fitness technologies have new applications in the toy industry. Uncle Milton launched The Force Trainer II: Hologram Experience, from its Star Wars Science brand, allowing attendees to use their brainwaves to slay attacking droids and power up their starship. Lumosity scored with its newest range of kid-focused braintraining online games, LumiKids, while Nabi showed off its new fitness tracker, the Nabi Go wristband, which encourages kids to stay fit, use their fitness points to score

The Force Trainer II: Hologram Experience, from Uncle Milton

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with online games, and earn Nabi coins that go toward prize incentives. Echoing the success that GoPro has had with the adult, active sports-capture market, multiple manufacturers introduced new action cameras and wearable cameras for kids to capture their world, in addition to new kids and family tablets. In addition, Human-Eyes unveiled Virtual Reality 3D, 360-degree camera technology that captures stereoscopic video. The possibilities for these devices include 360-degree video capture of family vacations, kids’ sporting events, and concerts.

Extending Beyond Three Dimensions In the 3D Pavillion, 3-D printing continues to expand. XYZprinting has designed its own robot-building program that uses its priced-for-home DaVinci 3D printers, while 3Doodler launched its second-generation 3Doodler Pen 2.0, which has a lighter, slimmer design and offers a literal draw-in-the-air experience. 3Doodler’s latest pen extrudes heated plastic filaments that cool almost instantly as the user layers them to form a solid, stable 3-D structure. Even the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) showcased an original product in this category, in its holiday-themed window exhibit. Educational bundles of 12 pens, which encourage architectural drawing, artistic designing, and other applications, are available. More kids’ technology innovations will be revealed later this quarter, as embargoes lift and toy manufacturers reveal their newest iterations at Toy Fairs worldwide. ■

Reyne Rice is a seasoned industry professional with 30 years of experience in marketing, researching, and analyzing the toy industry. With 15 years as a trend expert, trend hunter, and industry analyst, Rice consults on both family and youth trends for toys, games, technology, entertainment, and licensing. She currently advises trade associations, entertainment studios, manufacturers, consumers, and media outlets on the hottest trends and innovations. She can be contacted at reyne@reynerice.com.

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Staying Ahead of the Counterfeiters’ Curve by Howard N. Aronson

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ost trademark and copyright owners know that counterfeit and pirated goods—whether designer watches and handbags, electronics, or toys—may be stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials when the illicit products enter through ports and airports. But in order for CBP to work for you as an owner of intellectual property rights, you must take several straightforward legal steps.

Stopped in Their Tracks

Every year more than 11 million containers arrive at American seaports; 10 million by truck at land borders; 3 million by rail; and an additional 250 million cargo, postal, and express consignment packages by air. But only about 30,000 trademarks (as well as copyrights and trade names) are recorded for border enforcement with CBP, despite the fact that federal trademark and copyright registrations number in the millions. In 2013, U.S. Customs stopped toys with a retail value of almost $9 million. In 2012, that number was almost $14 million. And what is more important than the lost profits is the fact that counterfeit toys are safety hazards and could hurt—and even kill—children. Some imports are toys with high lead content, for example. Cheap

What is more important than the lost profits is the fact that counterfeit toys are safety hazards and can hurt—and even kill—children.”

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counterfeits also could have substandard parts that break easily, and thus pose a choking hazard.

You Have to Register Although toys represent a small proportion of all the goods seized, the large dollar amounts demonstrate the damage counterfeit goods can inflict on the toy industry. In fact, the CBP is not able to stop all such illicit imports. These seized goods represent a small proportion of the actual total of counterfeit and piratical goods in the retail market. So, as part of a toy company’s anti-counterfeiting strategy, registering with CBP can be an effective tool. Trademarked products (as well as copyrighted works and some trade names) can be detained or seized by CBP. In the case of trademarks, for example, CBP applies a three-level analysis for infringement: 1. Counterfeit products that bear marks that are identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a federally registered trademark; 2. Products bearing “copying or simulating marks” (trademarks that are confusingly similar to a federally registered trademark); 3. “Gray market goods,” or products that carry a trademark that is authorized by the owner for use only outside U.S. borders. In practice, CBP seizes products that carry a counterfeit of a federally registered trademark that is recorded with CBP. If the brand owner has not given consent in writing for the product to be imported, the products will be seized and may ultimately be destroyed. In addition, civil fines may be imposed by CBP against those who direct, assist, or aid and abet

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the importation of counterfeits. CBP can also seize products that bear a counterfeit of a trademark that is federally registered but not recorded with Customs and Border Patrol. In practice, however, it is unlikely that such products will be seized, because of the immensity of the task of identifying and seizing products bearing counterfeits of recorded marks. That is why toy companies should make registering their trademarks with CBP a priority.

Seized, Detained, and Destroyed When counterfeit products are seized, CBP notifies the brand owner and also discloses the identity of the manufacturer, exporter, and importer, as well as any available details about the shipment. CBP may also provide a sample of the product to the trademark owner. CBP does this to allow the trademark owner to examine, test, or use the sample to pursue civil remedies against the importer. As for products bearing confusingly similar marks (a “copying or simulating mark”), CBP also has the authority to detain and seize such products, denying entry for the products and detaining them for 30 days. During that period, the importer must either remove the confusingly similar mark or obtain written consent from the trademark owner. If the importer does neither, the products are destroyed at the end of 30 days. However, CBP does not provide this protection against confusingly similar marks for unrecorded trademarks. Again, the bottom line is, toy companies should record their trademarks with CBP. In the case of gray market goods, CBP will not destroy the

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goods, as it may with counterfeit products, but will deny them entry. The standard for gray market goods is that the goods be “physically and materially different” from those authorized products in the U.S. (with some exceptions). For example, some of the differences sought by CBP include labeling, product construction, accessories, and accompanying documentation or warranties. For their part, brand owners must provide CBP with sufficient evidence of the differences between the gray market goods and the brand owner’s U.S. goods. (As with confusingly similar marks, only registered trademarks that are recorded with CBP are entitled to protection against gray market goods.) According to CBP regulations, in order for CBP to allow the gray market goods to enter the country, an importer must remove the registered and recorded trademarks from the products, or affix a disclaimer.

What Recording Requires Counsel can advise toy manufacturers about the process of recording their registered trademarks with CBP to benefit from the agency’s enforcement powers. As discussed above, the recording process requires information from the trademark owner about persons or entities who are authorized to use the trademark, and also about the manufacturing location for the goods. Applying for gray market protection additionally requires evidence of how the foreignmanufactured products differ from those produced for the market in the U.S. Counsel will also advise toy manufacturers about notifying CBP of shipments, activities, or parties suspected of involvement in counter-

If the brand owner has not given consent in writing for the product to be imported, the products will be seized and may ultimately be destroyed. In addition, civil fines may be imposed by CBP against those who direct, assist, or aid and abet the importation of counterfeits.” THE TOY BOOK • 247


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feiting, which in turn allows CBP to provide that information to the particular office or port of entry, sometimes leading to a criminal investigation. In addition, toy companies can provide product identification training guides to CBP to guide the agency in identifying products that may be counterfeits. In other words, after registering, toy companies should cooperate with CBP to provide information and assistance in order to make this aspect of trademark protection as effective as possible.

Protection in a Market Without Borders

Beyond the problem of strengthening the traditional borders, holders of trademarks for toys are often being hurt by new technology—including 3-D printing, which allows counterfeiters to copy goods—and expands the channels through which the goods enter the country. The business models adopted by counterfeiters have also shifted, presenting even greater challenges to enforcement of U.S. laws to stop intellectual property infringement. The latest wrinkle is the import of counterfeit goods via the Internet—by mail and express courier shipments. The Internet offers lower costs to counterfeiters—not only lower costs of entry, but also fewer overhead costs for the online retail market than for traditional retail outlets. In addition, the Internet offers anonymity, a significant advantage for manufacturers attempting to circumvent the laws protecting intellectual property. CBP reports that direct shipping of counterfeit merchandise to consumers has contributed to an increase in the import of these goods by mail as well as shipments by express courier. To fight the growing number of goods that enter the U.S. illegally by express consignment shipping (now more than half of all intellectual property rights seizures), CBP will work di-

If a violation is found, the merchant’s account can be shut down—a major blow to the counterfeiter, because no merchant can remain in business without a way to receive payment.”

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rectly with importers to allow them to opt to abandon shipments detained by CBP on suspicion of trademark or copyright violations. Failing in efforts to gain further legislative protection for intellectual property in the face of these new threats, intellectual property holders teamed up with payment processers to stop infringement, forming the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and launching the Payment Processor Initiative. Code-named RogueBlock, the program has set up a procedure by which rights holders can report online sellers of counterfeit or pirated goods to participating money transfer networks and credit card and payment processing companies. When the payment processors and money transfer networks receive a complaint, they investigate whether or not the merchant has violated its contract with the payment processors or money transfer networks. If a violation is found, the merchant’s account can be shut down—a major blow to the counterfeiter, because no merchant can remain in business without a way to receive payment. (The program advises members to proceed cautiously against suspected counterfeiters, to allow for genuine mistakes on the part of some merchants.) Participants in the RogueBlock program have referred more than 9,000 websites for investigation, and almost 4,000 merchant accounts have been terminated, according to Kristina Montanaro, vice president of legal affairs and strategic planning of the IACC. (Each account can represent many websites, as counterfeiters typically operate more than one site.) The RogueBlock program has the advantage of being more effective than the attempts to shut down scores of successive websites for counterfeits. That’s because it is difficult for a merchant to establish a merchant account, compared to the ease of setting up a new website. In addition, the program’s effect is international and not limited by national laws. Intellectual property counsel can advise toymakers on these and other ways to protect their rights in the face of these ■ new challenges. Howard N. Aronson has provided legal counsel to toy industry companies for the past 35 years. He is the managing partner of Lackenbach Siegel LLP, an intellectual property law firm recognized for its nine decades of handling toy company issues. Contact Aronson at haronson@LSLLP.com .

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A Tale More Fun Than A Barrel Of Monkeys The Story Behind the Iconic Toy, Which Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary This Year by Tracy Leshay

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hen Disney•Pixar featured Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) in all three of The Toy Story movies, it was proof that this celebrated toy was not only iconic, but still a whole lot of fun. It’s hard to believe that it has been hanging around since 1965; and yet, this year marks BOM’s 50th year in stores. But as popular as it is, finding facts related to this classic game’s beginning is nearly impossible. Fortunately, my grandfather, Milton Dinhofer, now age 91, provides the missing links regarding this nostalgic toy’s evolution. After earning his engineering degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dinhofer went on to design the recognizable monkeys, which are still found in those plastic barrels today. Dinhofer didn’t work for any big toy company; it was at his Long Island home where he toyed with his many game ideas. Leonard Marks, the BOM inventor on file, was a schoolmate of Dinhofer’s, and in 1961, told him that he had an idea for a game—an idea that came to him while waiting to sell his line of greeting cards to a small mom-and-pop store. “As he waited for the shop’s owner, Marks started fiddling with [an open box of] snow-tire replacement chain links that were on the counter, hooking them together,” recounts Dinhofer. Later, when the owner approached to look at Marks’ greeting cards, he was still playing with the links. “Marks was so interested in playing, he hadn’t realized so much time had passed,” adds Dinhofer. “He said to the owner, ‘This would make a great toy.’” That store owner,

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Milton Dinhofer

Robert Gilbert, then said to Marks that he was friends with a successful toy promoter named Milton Dinhofer, and Marks immediately reached out to his old school friend. Dinhofer already had two major toy achievements to his credit: He created what he believes to be the first full-size, wearable space helmet, which made the covers of both The Saturday Evening Post (November 8, 1952) and Collier’s (April 18, 1953)—two popular magazines of the day. Prior to that, he invented, designed, and successfully brought to market the Sip-n-See, a line of twisted plastic drinking straws featuring different characters.

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Dinhofer says it was not only the first twisted straw, but also the first plastic drinking straw on the market. It provided an alternative to the glass and paper straws being sold at the time, and it sold more than 5 million pieces, one of which would influence the design of BOM. Recounting his first business meeting with Marks, Dinhofer states that he brought a pile of his links over and started playing with them. They are in Dinhofer’s possession today and are red, S-shaped links, each made from a 1/4-inch plastic rod with a pinched end for connecting. As he watched Marks play with the links, Dinhofer thought to himself, “Monkeys!” “I told [Marks] he had a winner,” says Dinhofer. “I would develop it and he should sell it. We signed an agreement that night.” Asked why he chose monkeys, Dinhofer responds, “What else would you make them? Monkeys came to my mind instantly.” Dinhofer modeled the monkey’s arms after his Sip-n-See cowboy straw, which had s-shaped arms just like a link. “Our first step,” Dinhofer explains, “was to have a patent search made. Many linking games were disclosed, but nothing with animals.” Dinhofer admits that while none of those patented toys were successful, he still believed in their idea. It would take Dinhofer three months to go from a sketch to a functional monkey—in other words, likable and linkable. “We had to have 10 to 15 perfect pieces in order to see how they played,” he says. The biggest challenge in designing them was the monkey’s balance. After that, Dinhofer researched monkey photographs and made numerous sketches until he got the toy’s cute face down on paper. Dinhofer selected a body that he liked from another of his sketches, and then invested in a professional model maker. Under his supervision, A. Santore, of A. S. Plastic Model Company, carved one perfect sample. Dinhofer then found a company that would make a beryllium mold from Santore’s monkey and run sample

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Original drawing of the head for Barrel of Monkeys

monkeys from it. Looking at Dinhofer’s first run of monkeys, they look identical to Lakeside Toys’ 1965 debut version. The only difference between Dinhofer’s monkeys and ones sold today is that shortly after the toy’s release, more hair was added to their bodies. As for the name, “More fun than a barrel of monkeys” was a common phrase during the ’60s that dated back to at least the 1800s; however, that was not where Dinhofer and Marks got the name for their toy. “I also have one package with the name Chimp to Chimp on it,” discloses Dinhofer. Chimp to Chimp was BOM’s initial name, and like BOM, it featured 12 monkey playing pieces. Twelve monkeys seemed just right to Dinhofer, since too many links would require actually lifting the children higher to accommodate the growing chain of monkeys; a situation that wasn’t necessarily ideal. “Three to 12 year olds had to stand to link all 12,” says Dinhofer. When asked if Chimp to Chimp monkeys came in a cardboard tube similar to Lakeside’s 1965 version, Dinhofer says, “Lakeside had more experience at $1 [retail prices]. I had designed very expensive packaging. It was much more expensive than the cardboard can that Lakeside used, and much more expensive to load.” Once Chimp to Chimp was shopped to retailers, Dinhofer says that Marks showed to Woolworth’s, which was then the

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“When the owner approached to look at Marks' greeting cards, he was still playing with the links. ‘Marks was so interested in playing, he hadn’t realized so much time had passed,’ adds Dinhofer.” biggest chain with 2,100 stores. “They liked it, but wanted a & Hobby World’s Toy Hit Parade chart. At No. 3, coincidenguarantee that we would put it on TV for 13 weeks, or ap- tally, was BOM’s future Toy Story co-star and eventual Hasproximately $150,000 to $275,000 worth of commercials,” bro brand-mate, Mr. Potato Head, simply listed as Potato he says. TV advertising was becoming the norm, and this Head. made it impossible for Marks and Dinhofer to agree to WoolToday, BOM is sold by Milton Bradley under the Hasbro worth’s deal, which seemed too expensive and risky. umbrella. As it turns 50, Dinhofer cannot help but reflect on In time, Marks moved on and partnered with another its history. “I had a lot of talent; too bad it took me 50 years man, Herman Kesler, while Dinhofer met James R. Becker at to realize it,” he jokes. But thanks to Dinhofer and many Lakeside in 1969. Becker would eventually become Lake- other talented people, BOM has successfully existed for alside’s president, but at the time, he was a vice president and most half a century. Why is it so successful? Is it the barrel, still relatively new at the company. the monkeys, the links, or maybe the Through Becker, Dinhofer came to learn game’s simplicity? It likely doesn’t how Lakeside picked up BOM from Kesler hurt that it brings a smile for under and Marks: In 1964, Kesler called Zelman $10. Quite possibly, it was just a perLevine, the chairman and president of fect storm of ideas, people, timing, Lakeside Toys, and set up a meeting in and luck. New York City. At the meeting were Levine, Whatever the reason for BOM’s Becker, and Lakeside’s soon-to-be national longevity, after hearing Dinhofer’s sales manager, Stanley Harfenist. recounting, one can’t help but imagAccording to what Becker would tell ine a big 50th birthday bash with Dinhofer, Kesler walked into the meeting monkeys swinging from chandeliers, room, and just as Marks had done with his barrels of champagne flowing, and links at Dinhofer’s, Kesler un-cupped his Dinhofer photobombing us all. At the hands, dropped the monkeys onto a table, very least, it would offer the chance and started to link them together. Becker to raise a glass and toast to all who also said that he himself brought up the put those monkeys in a barrel, and phrase, “More fun than a barrel of monthose barrels into tiny, happy hands. keys,” at the meeting. Levine immediately And when my grandfather raises his approved the item, and took all of the samown glass, may he be beside his own drawing of the original Barrel of Monkeys links ples back with him to Minneapolis. favorite links—including his chilLegal documents show Kesler and dren, his grandchildren, his greatMarks signed an agreement with Lakeside dated January grandchildren, and his great-great-grandchildren, because ■ 29, 1965. Dinhofer also has royalty statements showing truly, what could be more fun than that? gross sales beginning in the first quarter of 1965. He speculates that if Lakeside used his original mold, that would Tracy Leshay is the granddaughter of Barrel of Monkeys explain how the toy got to market so fast after contracts were signed. Lakeside also used similar packaging to their inventor Milton Dinhofer. She is a Los Angeles-based children's already successful Pick-Up-Sticks game, which probably book author and photographer. Her debut picture book, She sped up the release process. Dinhofer’s news clippings show Yelled. I Screamed... She Pulled my Hair, will be released early that by April of 1967, Barrel of Monkeys was No. 2 on Toy next year.

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FIVE TIPS

EXPORT TOY SALES

TO BOOST

by Steve Reece, brand marketing and product development consultant

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oy Fair season is the time when members of the toy industry dust off their passports, open their international contact address books, and see if they can improve their international distribution. The following tips and fundamental practices should resonate with all kinds of toy companies because they have been tried, tested, and proven to work over time.

1. BUILD TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS

One can argue that all sales depend on trusting relationships, but since retail buyers tend to move around more than international toy company owners, maintaining good relationships is even more fundamental when trying to build an export sales business. While every seasoned company has good relationships with distributors they have been doing business with for years, as well as unexplored business relationships, companies also have negative relationships as a result of bad past experiences. There are only so many distributors out there, and aside from new kids on the block or companies that fell by the wayside, if we look at the international toy companies we deal with today, around 70 to 80 percent of them are the same as they were 15 years ago. You need to take a long-term, nurturing approach to your relationships with distributers to build a platform for continued commercial success. Don’t just sell anything you can to anyone you can whether it will work for them or not.

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2. TAP RESOURCES & KEEP FOCUS

Selling in general depends heavily on legwork—such as consistently following up and dogged persistence—and on persuasive brilliance. However, you will often meet companies that proclaim export sales is an important element of success, even though they do not assign any significant resources or focus to international opportunities. Even smaller companies will happily hire new staff to chase a new distribution channel in North America, but that will only offer them a fraction of the global opportunity that one sales person chasing the huge global opportunity (outside the U.S.) via export sales would offer. On the same note, you might roll your eyes when companies claim they are very focused on selling internationally, but never leave North America. For sure, some international companies will visit the U.S. in particular, especially for the North American International Toy Fair every February, but many won’t. If you think you are seriously committed to international sales, but you have never attended Hong Kong in early January or Nuremberg for Spielwarenmesse in late January/early February, then you have a different definition of “committed” than I do. It’s easy to cheapskate out of the costs of visiting these shows, but to build enough of the right relationships you really need face-to-face time with key companies in each major export market, and these shows are the most efficient vehicles you will find in order to accomplish that goal.

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Each country has its own commercial and cultural framework, which can lead to legislative and bureaucratic considerations as well as practical language issues. Some product categories that are strong in the U.S. are not popular in other markets.”

3. UNDERSTAND & EMBRACE THE FRAGMENTED NATURE OF THE EXPORT OPPORTUNITY

The U.S. and Canada combined make up 25 percent of the global toy market, which leaves a lot of opportunities in other countries. One of the major stumbling blocks for North American companies is understanding the fragmented nature of the export markets. When your new export salesperson comes into your office excited that they just received an order for 5,000 units from Holland, you may not share that excitement, while a single purchase order from Wal-Mart for 150,000 units would make you giddy. The reality is that North American mass retail offers a one-of-a-kind volume opportunity. Everything else outside of that is about putting together a jigsaw puzzle of many pieces, and over time this jigsaw puzzle can grow into a bigger business of many pieces, almost like a specialty-centric business with mass distribution as a bonus. Each distribution partner makes up a smaller part of the business, thus reducing the risk of having your business reliant on just a few third parties. Piecing together an export jigsaw puzzle of your own allows you to lay strong foundations to partially reduce the roller coaster effect of trading with mass retail domestically.

4. BE AWARE OF LOCAL/REGIONAL COMMERCIAL & CULTURAL DIFFERENCES

Each country has its own commercial and cultural framework, which can lead to legislative and bureaucratic considerations as well as practical language issues. Some product categories that are strong in the U.S. are not popular in other markets. For example, toys that promote aggressive or violent play do not sell well in Germany, so the action figure category is not as strong in Germany as it is in North America.

254 • THE TOY BOOK

Europe—which combined makes up around 25 percent of the global toy market—is highly fragmented, and while the European Union (EU) harmonizes standards and regulations to a degree, there are countries in Europe outside of the EU. For example, safety standards vary from country to country. If you just managed to figure out the latest domestic toy safety standards, try getting your head around EN71, REACH, and WEEE regulations in Europe. Furthermore, European employment law tends to grant the worker significantly more rights versus the U.S. Aside from Europe, Japan and China— which make up the No. 2 and No. 3 toy markets in the world, respectively—have even more significant cultural and regulation differences. The logical way to deal with these challenges is to make them someone else’s—for example, your distributor’s— responsibility, and then build on your own knowledge of all these factors over time. While the extra margin of always selling directly to retailers in each country may be appealing, I have seen far too many North American companies wander blindly into doing this, leading to major challenges and issues, such as customs and import documentation issues that cost millions of dollars to resolve, or companies hiring sales staff they could not fire without significant payoffs. In the first instance, selling through distributors for lower margin would avoid so much risk, management time loss, and other issues.

5. ENGAGE LOCAL OR EXPERT HELP

In the same way you may need to engage a specialist representative to enter a new distribution channel domestically, you may want to consider looking at expert help to kick-start your export sales. There are numerous companies offering market entry services and international representation. Again, everything has a price, but you can save years of wasted effort and investment by tapping local market knowledge. At the very least, speaking to international toy market experts will help to increase your knowledge base. ■ Steve Reece runs a toy and game industry consultancy offering product and concept representation in Europe and beyond, The strategic consultancy offers reliable and cost-saving sourcing services and consumer insight. For more details visit www.stevenreece.com.

FEBRUARY 2015


®


presented by


Welcome: Editor’s Note ADVENTURE PUBLISHING GROUP, INC.®

Halloween in 2015

This Halloween is shaping up to be better than ever. Thanks to an upswing in the economy, coupled with a weekend Halloween for the second year in a row, the holiday is on track to set new records. More adults will be dressing up this year, and some will purchase multiple costumes in order to celebrate in style all weekend long. The trend of families dressing up in coordinating costumes expands with more options for taking family time to the next level. And with bigger budgets and a longer window open for partying and trick-or-treating, families will look to build out their home’s creepy/haunted themes, both inside and out. In this issue, we take a look back at what worked for Halloween 2014 and look ahead to trends and top costumes for 2015. Enjoy The Halloween Insider! —Jackie Breyer

Winter 2015 Tabl e of C on ten ts 6 Perspectives: Pop culture continues to influence costume shopping. 8 Halloween Stats 9 Industry Update 10 Insider Look at: Trends Partying Down in 2015 14 Insider Look at: H&P Expo Stock Up for Saturday 16 Expert Perspective: Howard Beige, Rubie’s Costume Co. 30 Flashback: Halloween 1995

P r od u c t S h o w c a s e CO-PUBLISHERS

Laurie Schacht and Jonathan Samet laurieschacht@aol.com and jsamet@adventurepub.com

18 Adult Costumes

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Jackie Breyer jbreyer@adventurepub.com

20 Home Décor

SENIOR EDITORS

Marissa DiBartolo mdibartolo@adventurepub.com

22 Kids’ Costumes

Ali Mierzejewski amierzejewski@adventurepub.com

24 Pet Costumes

Phil Guie pguie@adventurepub.com

26 Makeup & Accessories

ASSOCIATE EDITORS

Christine Duhaime cduhaime@adventurepub.com EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Deanna Atkins datkins@adventurepub.com

EDITORIAL INTERN

Magdalene Michalik

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR

Bill Reese breese@adventurepub.com

All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form is prohibited without prior written consent of Adventure Publishing Group. All photographs, logos, and artwork are the property of their respective owners.

The Halloween Insider

28 Toys & Media

ADVENTURE PUBLISHING GROUP, INC. www.adventurepublishinggroup.com 307 Seventh Ave., #1601 New York, NY 10001 T: (212) 575-4510; F: (212) 575-4521

Winter 2015


Perspectives Rubie’s: The Biggest Player in a $7 Billion Industry

Pop culture continues to influence costume shopping.

by Howard Beige, executive vice president, Rubie’s Costume Co.

F

The Wizard of Oz Dorothy costume, from Rubie’s Costume Co.

6

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The Halloween Insider

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â&#x2014;?

Winter 2015


July 16-17 â&#x20AC;˘ NYC â&#x20AC;˘ Pier Sixty Get your brand in front of the most influential consumers! The second annual Blogger Bash will join more than 450 top bloggers and press with the top companies in baby, fashion, toys, food, travel, and more. A new kind of conference, Blogger Bash lets brands and bloggers mingle in an exciting, fun party atmosphere, while making important, lasting business connections. It's time to make an impression.

Sponsorship packages available Contact Laurie Schacht at thetoyinsidermom@gmail.com or 212-575-4510 ext. 2320


Insider Look at: 2014 Stats The Breakdown

$

1.4 1.1

brate Halloween in 2014, up from 158 million in 2013

billion

spent on adult costumes

$

162 million people were expected to cele-

$

350

billion

spent on childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s costumes

Where Halloween shoppers spend their money

million

spent on pet costumes

97%

Shoppers spent an estimated $2.8

on Halloween costumes in 2014

billion

78 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 said

they would dress in costume in 2014, up from 73 percent in 2013

16 Percent of people said they would turn

to pop culture for costume inspiration

33 Percent of Americans said they would

throw or attend Halloween parties

46.7 Percent of Americans said they would

31% 29%

decorate their homes and yards

The average adult ages 18 to 24 spent an es-

timated $87 on Halloween activities, up from $78 in 2013

$7.4 billion was projected to be spent on

Halloween products in 2014 Hard Goods Stores

8

Department Stores

Discount Retailers

Source: National Retail Federation

Source: Alliance Data Proprietary Consumer Panel

The Halloween Insider

Winter 2015


Industry update NRF Survey Reveals 2014’s Top Costumes

According to a National Retail Federation (NRF) 2014 Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Disney’s Frozen and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) character costumes were expected to top kids’ Halloween costume wish lists last year. It was projected that an estimated 2.6 million kids planned to dress up in a Frozen costume, while about 1.8 million would dress up as one of the re-imagined classic characters from TMNT. The survey also revealed that princess (3.4 million), animal (3 million), and Spider-Man (2.6 million) costumes would be popular among kids as well. In addition, 75 million adults were expected to dress in costume, with most planning to stick to traditional options.

Winter 2015

Rubie’s Grows Its Team

In Canada, Robert Bauer joins Rubie’s as the director of sales. With more than 20 years of experience in independent account sales in the Halloween and party industries, Bauer will be responsible for sales at the company’s independent accounts. Rubie’s has also announced the promotion of Renne Fink to general manager of the Imagine by Rubie’s sales division in the U.S. Fink came to Rubie’s in April with more than 20 years of experience in consumer product sales and experience in toys and the mass market and has since worked closely with the Imagine team. Lastly, Tempe Krieger, previously at Elope Inc., joins Rubie’s as the manager of West Coast operations. Krieger has 12 years of experience in the Halloween, toy, and fashion industries and more than 15 years of experience in sales and operations. In addition, Krieger is vice-chairman of the Halloween Industry Association.

The Halloween Insider

9


Insider Look at: Trends Partying Down in 2015

The Halloween industry is as diverse as ever, and with the holiday falling on a Saturday in 2015, this could be its best sales year yet.

by Phil Guie (additional reporting by Kari Love)

T

Batman: Arkham Harley Quinn costume, from Rubieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Costume Co.

10

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The Halloween Insider

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Superheroes and Horror Headline Costume Trends

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Winter 2015


ipated costumes aimed at kids are once again tied to films and TV series: Rubieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will have lines based on "" ! ! "! !   and  !  ! "!  "  ", while Disguise will have Disney-Pixarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s "  and Disneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s "", to name just a few. As far as noticeable trends in licensed costume subgenres, superhero brands continue to expand. This year, there will be costumes and assorted paraphernalia based not only on the comic book heroes themselves, but their related villains, classic TV characters, and more. For example, Rubieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will offer multiple versions of DC Comicsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; The Flashâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;one based on the comics and the other based on the TV show that launched last year. In addition, the most popular superheroes will be available for boys and girls in all age groups, and even pets. Other popular licensesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and ones with decidedly more grown-up appealâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;include TV hits  "!   " and  " !  ! (). Dan Shoemaker, the national sales manager for Kalan LP, says clowns should be a strong trend, thanks to both  and the upcoming film version of Stephen Kingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s novel, . â&#x20AC;&#x153;But the level of scary will depend on the type of retailer,â&#x20AC;? Shoemaker says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be the scary, creepy clown in the Spirit Halloween-type organized places, while more family-oriented places will have a familyfriendly, scary clown.â&#x20AC;?

Opportunities There for the Tech-ing

In lieu of licenses, some manufacturers will rely on high-tech accessories to scare up business this year. Morph, for example, will have masks with eerie effects powered by mobile devices, which it created in partnership with Ghoulish. For the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Digital Dudz line, one of its items is a clown mask with an eye slot for an iPhone. Users can download an app for the mask, which creates creepy eye effects. Rubieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will continue to utilize the latest technological advancements in its costume lines. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s licensed Marvel costumes will feature printed graphics on the back, as well as on the front, for the first time.

Winter 2015

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The costumes sold at $20 and $30 price points today are far superior to the costumes sold at the same price points a short eight or 10 years ago,â&#x20AC;? says Beige. Morbid, a wholesale supplier of animated props, decorations, masks, and costumes, which is among Rubieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family of companies, will introduce masks EL Masks, from Morbid Enterprises utilizing electroluminescence (EL), which creates a glow-in-the-dark effect without heat. To date, the cost of the technology has kept it from becoming widely popular. However, as it becomes more economical for development and distribution, the company expects to expand EL use on all types of products. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As far as it being a trend, I would say itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on the way,â&#x20AC;? says Scott Ritter, sales, at Morbid.

Girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; DIY Is A-OK

This Halloween, major manufacturers are offering an abundance of dress-up options for girls. Disguise, for example, has both traditional tutus and sleeker jumpsuit-style costumes for some of its major licenses, including "". The company is also riding the trend of girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; costumes based on boy characters, so that girls now have the option of wearing either a costume with a skirt, or the jumpsuit for boys and girls. Rubieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will cater to girls and women with a doit-yourself (DIY), mix-and-match program featuring a variety of different components to choose from. For example, for a licensed character such as DC Comicsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Supergirl, there is a range of different tops and corsets, skirts, capes, boot tops or boots, tights or leggings, etc. Beige credits the rise of DIY, which reflects consumersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; growing interest in personalizing their own costumes, for the new program. â&#x20AC;&#x153;[It] allows the consumer who wants to dress as a

The Halloween Insider

C 11


Insider Look at: Trends /C=4D5?56:B=D8;B=B8AC=DA?D8=CBACDA;C<=D?2>D6><6CD:??+0 B>9D:??+D9<33C=C>AD3=?7DB>4D?A;C=D)65C=1<=:DA;BAD7<1;A ,CDBAAC>9<>1DA;CD@B7CD5B=A40(D@B4@D!C<1C-D

Real-Clothing Costumes Are for Real

Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Shark Hoodie, from Rasta Imposta

12

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The Halloween Insider

Cosplay Key

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The Family That Dresses Up Togetherâ&#x20AC;¦

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Winter 2015


From left to right: Scooby-Doo Scooby,Velma, Daphne, and Fred costumes, from Rubie’s Costume Co.

include coasters, party items, and licensed cups, plates, and bowls. “Sales have gone up in all categories of accessories in recent years,” he says. Beige predicts the biggest growth for this Halloween to be in couples and family costumes, including pet costumes as part of the family unit. To that end, Rubie’s product offerings will allow families to dress up by common theme such as The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, the Minions, and more. Among Halloween industry experts, the growing demand for group costumes is supported by social media, which makes it easier to coordinate themes and purchases. “[Group dress-up] will be what an increasing amount of consumers are looking for this year,” says Beige. “It allows families and friends to celebrate their Halloween events together.” ●


Insider Look at: H&P Expo

Stock Up for Saturday The Party and Costume Industry Prepares for a Saturday Halloween at the H&P Expo.

L

by Dacia Rivers ast year, Halloween landed on a Friday, which lead to a significant boost in sales for costume and party supply stores everywhere. What’s even more exciting is that this year, Halloween falls on a Saturday, which means even more people will be attending Halloween parties, dressing up, and going trick-or-treating. This makes it especially important for stores to stock up early for what promises to be another stellar sales year. According to the National Retail Foundation, Halloween spending in 2014 reached $7.14 billion. For 2015, industry experts predict that number will soar even higher.

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The Halloween Insider

In the past, Halloween was predominantly celebrated in the U.S., but the holiday’s popularity is starting to spread. Last year, the Halloween & Party Expo, which is the annual trade show for the Halloween, costume, and party-supply industry, hosted attendees from 70 different countries and territories, proving that Halloween and party sales are booming worldwide. The sales don't just stop at Halloween. Costumes are becoming more popular throughout the year, thanks in part to popular dress-up events such as Renaissance Fairs and sci-fi, comic, and fantasy conventions. Combined with birthday parties and other year-round celebrations, consumer demand for costumes and party goods is a flourishing business that lasts throughout the year. The best way to prepare for this steadily increasing stream of business is to attend the 2015 Halloween and Party Expo. A fun-filled and informational four-day event, the expo brings party supply and costume retailers the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. The expo hosts booths from hundreds of exhibitors, showcasing the cutting-edge party and costume gear that customers will clamor for this year. The 2015 expo will feature the most international exhibitors yet, bringing even more one-of-a-kind party and costume goods than ever before. With the exhibit hall split into three separate areas—Halloween products, fantasy costumes, and party goods—attendees can go straight to the areas that interest them. Visiting the new product area in the exhibit hall is a quick and easy way for repeat attendees to check out

Winter 2015


up-close view of the most cuttingedge exhibits, then find their way to the individual booths to learn more and connect with sellers. When visitors aren't wandering through the exhibits checking out the goods, there’s still plenty for them to do, including a Thursday evening Kick-Off Party, where guests can see the latest costume gear up close and personal while enjoying live music and entertainment. “There’s always something fun, and that’s what it’s all about— that’s why you come to this show,” says Richard Adler, buyer for Mr. A’s Costume and Magic. Sharon Wiess, buyer at Joe Sam’s Fun Shop, agrees that the expo is definitely worth the trip. “If you don’t make this expo, and buy at this expo, you’ve pretty much lost all the insight of what’s going on in the industry.” Visiting the expo each year can help boost sales at Halloween and party stores immensely. Some buyers report that their sales have slumped in the years they didn’t attend the expo—more than enough reason to make attendance a priority. “The show’s kind of become the industry standard,” says Scott Smiledge of Vampfangs. “This is the only show that we come to every year, and it’s been a success for us.” Between visiting the many booths and taking in so much information, visitors might need a little break from time to time. While wandering the expo, attendees are welcome to relax in the Artist’s Showcase to enjoy music and drinks while watching pumpkin carving demonstrations from renowned carver Ray Villafane. In the Zen Den, tired visitors can receive free massages to rejuvenate worn-out muscles. Throughout the weekend, industry experts will

Winter 2015

present educational sessions, designed to inform partyand costume-based business staff on a wide variety of topics, ranging from employee healthcare to creating online stores, improving customer service, and more. Business experts will host these free-of-charge discussions to help small business owners learn how to stay afloat while increasing sales and remaining visible in a vast marketplace. For the first time ever, the expo will be held in New Orleans during Mardi Gras season. This scheduling allows attendees to spend time enjoying the sights, entertainment, and cuisine the Crescent City has to offer each day after the exhibits have closed. From parades and po’ boys to live jazz music and Sazerac cocktails, the world famous New Orleans nightlife beckons expo attendees to come and explore the city after a day of learning, placing orders, and networking. The 2015 Halloween & Party Expo runs February 6 to 9 in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Interested attendees can register as a buyer at no cost, but must show proof of industry involvement—this exclusive event is not open to the public. Visit halloweenpartyexpo.com to see the full schedule and a list of events and exhibitors, as well as to register to attend. ●

The Halloween Insider

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Expert Q&A Rubie’s Costume Co.

Rubie’s Remains on Top of Trends

The Halloween Insider chats with Howard Beige, executive vice president, Rubie’s Costume Co., about licensed lines, Rubie’s continued success, and what’s next for 2015.

How was Halloween 2014? Did it live up to expectations? Halloween 2014 being on a Friday was an excellent Halloween for all of the retailers that we have been speaking to. However, it was a very condensed Halloween and the last four to five days were extremely hectic for the majority of retailers. Were there any surprise hits in 2014? I think the magnitude of success for Frozen and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a surprise. People expected it to be successful, but not to the degree that it was. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was also a completely unexpected success that people were not prepared for. The other property that trended much higher than originally expected was Star Wars. How does creating the same character at multiple price points benefit both retailers and consumers? Creating multiple price points of the key characters for licensed and generic Star-Lord, from products benefits both retailers and conRubie’s Guardians of sumers by accommodating the various the Galaxy line.

16

The Halloween Insider

amounts that consumers are willing to spend. It also allows retailers to differentiate themselves by carrying costumes that fit their key price points. This has been a very successful formula for our retailers and can only be accomplished by dedicating the necessary design resources and making the commitment to inventory that Rubie’s does. How do you think the upcoming Star Wars film will affect sales in 2015? Do you think these science fiction characters will take the place of superhero favorites that have been popular in recent years? I believe that will be a very important film in the Star Wars universe and will stimulate sales of all Star Wars products, including Classic and Rebels as well as the characters featured in . The film will also have a halo effect on all Classic Star Wars characters like Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Stormtroopers. With the movie incorporating action-based characters, it shares many similarities to the popular superhero characters. I believe it will help the overall superhero and science-fiction categories to become an even more important part of Halloween 2015 and future Halloweens.

Winter 2015


THI: In addition to Star Wars, what do you think will be the top licenses in 2015? HB: We believe the top boys’ licenses for this year will be Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Batman, Superman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Minions. We believe for girls it will be Frozen, DC Comics Superheroes (Batgirl, Supergirl, Wonder Woman), Minions, Monster High, and Ever After High.

loween as the age group of the person participating in cosplay and attending the dozens of Comic Cons that take place across the country are also the most serious fans of Halloween. The most popular characters that we see the osplay participants dressing up as coincidentally are the same characters that we see becoming more important in Halloween a year or two later. ●

THI: How do children’s sales compare to adults? Which division do you invest the most energy in? HB: Rubie’s invests an equal amount of energy in children’s costumes and adult costumes because of the many different retailers that we serve. Some of our customers do more business in adult costumes, while others do more business in children’s costumes. Obviously with Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, the growth in adult costumes will be larger than the growth in children’s costumes. THI: How do you think a series of weekend Halloweens will affect sales? HB: Specifically with Halloween falling on a Saturday, we are projecting a 12 percent increase in adult costumes and related categories, such as wigs, hats, makeup, accessories, and decorations due to the growth in adult participation this year.

THI: What types of enhancements and technology will we see utilized in costumes in 2015? Are these types of costumes primarily geared toward younger audiences? HB: We will continue to see technology and other enhancements, such as 3-D printing and enhanced graphics, increase in the costumes that are offered for this Halloween and beyond. These improvements are offered on costumes for all ages. THI: How much do current costume trends reflect the increasing visibility of cosplay? HB: Cosplay is having a tremendous effect on Hal-

Winter 2015

Blockbuster Hits

Rubie’s will produce costumes based on these feature films debuting in 2015:

•The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, February 6 •Marvel’s Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, May 1 •Jurassic World, June 12

•Minions, July 10 •Marvel’s Ant-Man, July 17 •Hotel Transylvania 2, September 25 •Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, December 18

The Halloween Insider

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Product Preview: Adult Costumes 2. 4.

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1. Inspired by The Flash TV series, the deluxe Flash costume, from Rubie’s Costume Co., includes a muscle chest jumpsuit with a molded belt, a headpiece, and boot tops. It is available in adult sizes standard and extra large. 2. From Rubie’s Star Wars Collection, the Secret Wishes Darth Vader costume includes a jumpsuit with molded pieces, a cape, a belt, and a mask. This costume is available in adult sizes extra small, small, medium, and large. 3. Rasta Imposta debuts a full line of Sriracha costumes, costume kits, and hoodies for this year. Rasta Imposta’s men’s and women’s Sriracha kit costumes each feature a shirt and novelty hat in the look of the iconic bottle. 4. The line also consists of men’s, women’s, teens’, and children’s Sriracha bottle costume tunics and dresses. 5. Show off your fun and playful side with these officially licensed Sesame Street sandwich board costumes. These costumes, from Disguise, are available in Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert, and Ernie styles.

The Halloween Insider

Winter 2015


7. 9.

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6. OppoSuits offers Bat Guy and Pumpking, well-fitted Halloween-themed suits that are durable enough for multiple wears. Both suits include a jacket, pants, and a tie. The Bat Guy is suitable vampire wear for hanging upside down in a cave or spending a night out on the town. The Pumpking suit is the perfect combination of scary and sophisticated dress for Halloween parties. 7. Rasta Imposta debuts a full line of hoodie costumes this year. Themes include animals, holidays, and many of the company’s top licenses. The Panda Hoodie serves as a great costume, and will also keep wearers warm all winter long. Animal hoodies are available in a wide variety of size ranges, from child through adult. 8. From the blockbuster movie Guardians of the Galaxy, the Deluxe Rocket Raccoon costume, from Rubie’s Costume Co., includes a jumpsuit with a tail, a backpack, a holster, and a mask. The costume is available in adult sizes standard and extra large. 9. Packed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Power, Rubie’s Leonardo costume includes a muscle chest jumpsuit with shoe covers, a mask, a stuffable shell, and a belt. It is available in adult sizes standard and extra large.

Winter 2015

The Halloween Insider

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Product Preview: Home Decor -

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1. Poseable to any position, Pumpkin Plugs, from Wolfe Face Art & FX, bring life and personality into pumpkin dĂŠcor. 2. The Indoor Specter Projector with Sound, from Gemmy, creates a spooky atmosphere with five Halloween character slides, spooky sound effects, and colorful, swirling lights. 3. Life Size Medusa, from Gemmy, makes a terrifying greeting for your Halloween visitors. She stands 5 feet tall, speaks scary phrases, is sound and motion activated, and her eyes light up and snakes move as she speaks. 4. Airblown Ursula, from Gemmy, is an inflatable character that lights up, self-inflates in seconds, and deflates for easy storage. 5. Gemmyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Animated Shark Candy Bowl gives trick-or-treaters a scare by screaming when they reach into this motion-activated bowl. 6. Wheelchair Granny, from Morbid, looks like a prop but startles passersby with movement, light-up eyes, pre-recorded audio, and a meat cleaver. 7. Clown on dolly (aka Hobo), from Morbid, got a bit too demented for his own good, so he is strapped to a hand truck like Hannibal Lecter. Hobo vibrates as he struggles to get out of his confinement, and features audio in which he pleads passers-by to let him go and he will promise to be good, while diabolically laughing.

The Halloween Insider

Winter 2015


Product Preview: Kids’ Costumes 3.

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1 & 2. From Marvel’s Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, the Deluxe Hulk Costume by Rubie’s Costume Co. includes a muscle chest jumpsuit with attached boot tops and a mask. The Deluxe Thor Costume includes a muscle chest top, pants with attached boot tops, and a cape. Both costumes are available in child sizes small, medium, and large. 3 & 4. Sesame Street’s officially licensed Elmo and Cookie Monster costumes, from Disguise, each feature glitter detailing and include a tutu skirt and a plush shrug with a character hood. 5. From the Nickelodeon series Paw Patrol, the Chase costume, by Rubie’s Costume Co., includes a jumpsuit, a headpiece, and a backpack. This heroic little pup is available in toddler and child size small. Marshall and Skye are also featured in the Paw Patrol Collection.

The Halloween Insider

Winter 2015


8. 6.

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6. The Princess Amanda costume, from Princess Paradise, is a sweet and sparkly purple and gold princess dress. Featuring puffy sleeves and a full skirt, the set also includes a bejewled princess crown. 7. The Tan Firefighter costume, from Aeromax, features a fabric collar, a zipper, velcro closures, a real reflective stripe of yellow ribbon, and gusseted pockets on both legs. Designed for kids ages 18 months to 3 years. 8. From the DC Comics Universe, the Supergirl costume from Rubie’s Costume Co. includes a pink sequin dress with a tutu skirt and an embroidered matching cape. Available in sizes toddler, small, and medium. 9. Disguise’s Red Ranger Dino Charge Classic Power Rangers costume includes a jumpsuit, a mask, a belt buckle, and a shoulder piece. Available in boys’ sizes: 4-6, 7-8, and 10-12. 10. Scooby Doo, the classic crimefighting pup, comes to life with this girls’ Scooby costume from Rubie’s Costume Co. The costume includes a hooded tutu dress with a belt and is available in child sizes small, medium, and large.

Winter 2015

The Halloween Insider

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Product Preview: Pet Costumes

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1. From Rasta Imposta, in collaboration with Chiquita, comes the iconic Chiquita Banana costume for dogs. It features straps to secure the costume to a dog’s body, and depicts the Chiquita brand label. 2. From Rubie’s Pet Shop Boutique, the Donatello costume from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Collection includes a jumpsuit, a headpiece, and a shell. The costume is also available in Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo. 3. Accessorize with the Force with a Star Wars Yoda Headband by Rubie’s Pet Shop Boutique. 4. The Spider-Man costume from Rubie’s Pet Shop Boutique includes a shirt and a hood for dogs.

The Halloween Insider

Winter 2015


Product Preview: Makeup and Accessories 4.

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1. The Lucky Charm Mullet, from Mullet on the Go, is 12 inches of wavy, ginger mullet hair secured by an Irish Green Headband with an embroidered lucky shamrock. One size fits all leprechauns. 2. Looking dead is out and looking undead is in. The AMC Walking Dead Make-Up Kit, from Wolfe Face Art & FX in partnership with Trick or Treat Studios, is the ultimate, all-inclusive makeup set for an undead experience. 3. Too much brain to fit in one head? The Thinking Cap, from Cinema Secrets, is a natural bald cap with an exposed brain that looks creepily real. 4. From Elopeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s line of Sequin Masks, the molded Owl Sequin Mask features sparkling faux sequins and rhinestones that shine from any angle. Designed for masqueraders ages 14 and up. 5. Add drama to any costume with this pair of Gold Ram Horns from Elope. Painted a bright, burnished gold and made of 100-percent lightweight EVA, these big sheep-styled ram horns stay comfortably secured to the head by a clear, adjustable strap. 6. From Rubieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Highest Heel Signature Collection comes the Fierce-11 snake skin print boot with 4.5-inch micro heels.

The Halloween Insider

Winter 2015


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7. The Iceman mullet from Mullet on the Go is more than just business in the front and a party in the back. This mullet features 12 inches of blizzard-blowing brown wavy mullet hair secured in a Stars & Stripes Ski Hat. One size fits all. 8. Masqueraders ages 14 and up can dress up as a cat without having to worry about applying makeup with Elope’s Kitty Sequin Mask. The molded black mask features carefully placed rhinestones and sparkling pink faux sequin accents inside the ears and on the mask’s nose. 9. Whether kids are more of a Thing 1 or Thing 2, the Dr. Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 Suspenders delivers Dr. Seuss fun for kids ages 3 and up. 10. With Wolfe Face Art & FX’s professional quality Zombie Face Painting Kit, normal humans can seamlessly tranform into zombies in a few simple steps. The makeup is smudge proof, easy to apply, and easy to remove with soap and water. 11. For those looking to go out with a full devil face, Cinema Secrets’ Diablo offers detailed devil appliances with horns and ears that can be purchased separately. 12. The Backyard Betty-Girl Mullet Wig Headband from Mullet on the Go makes pulling off a mullet easy for women of all ages. This mullet is 12 inches of blond wavy wig locks full of true Southern beauty fastened to a red, black, and white bandana print scarf.

Winter 2015

The Halloween Insider

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Product Preview: Toys & Media 3.

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1. Zombie Poppers, from Hog Wild Toys, are available in Creepy Kim or Dead Zed styles. Kids can shoot the six included foam balls out of the zombieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head by squeezing the figure. 2. FrankenWords, from The Haywire Group, is a fast-paced compound word game that will have players racing to identify compound words faster than their opponents. Each card features a word and an image to help early readers play the game. 3. The Magical Tale of Halloween Dust, from N&J Publishing, helps kids discover bravery during the Halloween season. The book, written by Patricia Cardello and illustrated by Monica Rondino, teaches kids not to be afraid on Halloween when people are dressed up as scary characters. A new Halloween tradition, the book also includes a pouch of magical dust. 4. Johnny The Skull, from Fotorama, is a fast-paced electronic game. Johnny sees ghosts wherever he turns, and each player must help him by shooting the ghosts as Johnny swivels in all directions and projects these visions on the walls and ceilings. Players must use the laser blaster to shoot quickly as each ghost appears. 5. Author Audrey Kinsman brings a new Halloween tradition into the mix with The Switch Witch and the Magic of Switchcraft. This hardcover book and Switch Witch doll will encourage kids to switch out their extra pounds of Halloween candy for a fun toy and book combo.

The Halloween Insider

Winter 2015


The Voice Reaching Both Trade and Consumers

Contact: Jonathan Samet or Laurie Schacht Adventure Publishing Group 307 7th Avenue, Suite 1601 New York, NY 10001 Tel: 212-575-4510 Fax: 212-575-4521 www.adventurepub.com


Flashback: Halloween 1995

O

Manufacturers Are All In Favor of a Standardized Halloween Holiday in 0ctober

ne of the hot topics of conversation among those in the Halloween industry has been the idea of making Halloween the last Saturday in October, regardless of the date. This idea has received the enthusiastic support of many manufacturers, who all thought a potential change is productive. This year, manufacturers and retailers will concentrate on whether a Tuesday night Halloween will negatively or positively affect sales. John Kenny, vice president of merchandising at La Mendola, says that when Halloween “falls on a weekend, it’s great.” Marty Mandell, vice president of sales at Charades, expands on this, saying, “It would be a boon to the holiday for several reasons. First, it would legitimize the holiday by placing it on a certain day, similar to Washington’s Birthday. Second, it would tend to create a more concentrated effort on the behalf of retailers and manufacturers, and it would be to everybody’s advantage; nobody would be hurt by the move.” One of the strongest reasons behind this move, from a manufacturing point of view, is the fact that the day of the week that Halloween falls on becomes unimportant if it’s always on a Saturday. “Whatever negatives there are each year with the day of the week that it falls on would be eliminated by making it on the same day each year,” notes Sam Cornish, president of Collegeville/Imagineering. All in all, it seems that almost all manufacturers think that this move would be beneficial for everyone.

2.

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3.

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1. Casper the Friendly Ghost is just one of the many licensed

costumes available this year from Collegeville/Imagineering.

2. Zauder Brothers presents two makeup sets for 1995: hypo-allergenic and fragrance-free

for ease of use by almost anyone.

3. The Frankenstein Monster, from the Universal Monsters collection, comes with a jacket with an inset shirt, pants, a headpiece, and shoe covers.

4. Rubie’s Costume Co. offers a variety of licensed costumes for 1995, including the Batman Forever costume, which comes in three sizes.

30

The Halloween Insider

Winter 2015


marketplace

I n dus t r y

BUSINESS DIRECTORIES 2015 Trade Show Directory $39.95 Independent Sales Rep Directory $69.95 Toy Wholesalers & Manufacturers $29.95 We carry Salesman’s Guides to Find Buyers and Trade Show Exhibitor Lists for Toy Fair and others! 1-800-635-7654 • forumpublishing@aol.com www.Forum123.com Free Magazine: www.RFmagazine.com

The Toy Book Volume 31, Number 1 THE TOY BOOK (ISSN-0885-3991) is published bi-monthly by Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® Editorial and advertising offices are located at 307 Seventh Ave., Room 1601, New York, NY 10001, Phone (212) 575-4510. Periodicals Postage paid at New York and additional mailing offices. Copyright © 2015 Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Printed in U.S.A. Subscription rates: $48 one year, foreign $200. The Toy Book is a trademark of Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® Registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Postmaster: Send address changes to: The Toy Book, c/o Adventure Publishing Group, 307 Seventh Ave., Room 1601, New York, NY 10001. Opinions and comments expressed in this publication by editors, contributing writers, or solicited or unsolicited documents are not necessarily those of the management of The Toy Book.

288 • THE TOY BOOK

Classifieds Playtime Sales & Marketing Co. LLC A Toy Manufacturers Sales Representative Corporate Office 331 Piermont Road Norwood, New Jersey 07648 TEL: 201-784-7727 FAX: 201-784-1912 E Mail: murraybass@playtimesales.com // lensoyka@playtimesales.com

The Playtime Sales & Marketing Company, LLC. is a Toy and Electronics Manufacturers sales representative organization. Our prime focus is to represent Toy and Electronics Manufacturers to the Mass Market Retailers. The principals of our Company are Len Soyka and Murray Bass. Our only vocation has been in the Toy Industry. We are dedicated toy professionals.

Our geographical areas of sales coverage and accounts include: • NEW ENGLAND…Connecticut North to Maine and Upstate N.Y. Accounts… CVS Drug, BJ’s Whle Club, Benny’s, TJ Maxx, I Party and CW Price. • N.Y. METRO…N.Y. City and New Jersey. Accounts… Toys R Us and their DOTCOM and Global Divisions, FAO Schwarz, Xmas Tree Shops, Shepher Distributors, Burlington Coat Factory, Buy Buy Baby, Marlon Creations, ToyZam, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Steven’s Intl.,TRU Express and NY area Supermarket Chains. • MID-LANTIC…Pennsylvania, Wash D.C., Northern Virginia and Western Ohio. Accounts…Rite Aid Drug, Group Sales, Boscov’s, Liss Bros, 5 Below and Big Lots. • K mart USA // JC Penney Catalog // Universal Studios Orlando // Gordman’s // Duckwall // Pamida // AAFES • CANADA…Walmart, Toys R Us, Canadian Tire and Big Lots. We employ a staff of 5 toy sales specialists. Our contact information is listed on our above shown letterhead. We welcome your inquiries.

FEBRUARY 2015


Place a classified in Please contact Bill Reese 212-575-4510 x2322 breese@adventurepub.com

Activision..................................................291 Adora Doll ................................................175 Aeromax Inc. ............................................S15 ALEX Toys ...........................................20–21 American Plastic Toys ................................87 Anagram International Inc........................S11 ASTRA .....................................................S25 Auldey.......................................................221 Aurora World Inc. .....................................183 Bachmann Trains ..............................225, 229 Bananagrams.............................................157 BERG USA...............................................227 Blue Matrix Labs ......................................105 Blue Orange Games..................................155 Bookid Toys USA.....................................125 Carrera of America ...............................26–27 ChizComm ................................................119 Cuddle Barn ..............................................179 Delta Children’s Products ...........................59 DEMDACO ..............................................292 Diggin Active Inc......................................117 Douglas Company ....................................189 Eastcolight ............................................28–29 Electronic Arts ............................................99 Elf Magic ..................................................173 Entertainment One Family........................127 Fashion Angels..........................................145 Fat Brain Toys ............................................S2 Folkmanis..............................................12–13 GennComm...............................................185 George & Co.............................................166 Gund..........................................................187 Hasbro.......................................................1–2 Haywire Group .................................162, 171

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Advertiser Index

HEXBUG....................................................19 Hog Wild.....................................................85 Imperial Toy..........................................69, 71 Imports Dragon ...........................................95 International Playthings ............................135 Intrepid Investment Bankers LLC ............115 Jazwares ......................................................45 JC Toys Group ..........................................181 Kahootz Toys ............................................141 Kent Displays..............................................97 KidStuff PR ..............................................S21 Kids Wish Network ..................................287 Laser Pegs .................................................129 Madame Alexander Doll Company ..........177 Magformers LLC ......................................147 Maisto/Bburago.....................................10–11 MasterPieces Puzzle Co............................165 Mindware ..................................................167 Moose Toys.................................................17 Neat-Oh International .................................93 NKOK...................................................22–23 Odyssey Toys ............................................223 Pacific Play Tents......................................111 Painting Lulu ............................................137 PlaSmart ...............................................S5, S7 Play Visions ................................................83 PPW Toys..................................................124 R&R Games..............................................153 Regal Logistics..........................................113 Rubie’s Costume Company ......................107 Rubik’s Brand Ltd. ...............................30–31 Saban Brands ............................................8–9 Safari Ltd ..................................................S13 Sakar International......................................65

Scholastic Media.......................................121 School Zone ................................................77 Schylling Toys ..........................................131 Sesame Workshop.....................................233 Silverlit......................................................219 Smart Toys and Games .....................143, 161 Sony Pictures Consumer Products............109 SpaghettiHeadz by Morphmallow LLC .....S23 Spin Master .................................................47 Tangle Creations .........................................91 Tara Toy Corp. ..........................................149 Tech 4 Kids .................................................89 Thames & Kosmos .............................151, S9 The Bridge Direct .....................................4–5 The Display Connection ...........................159 The Orb Factory Ltd .................................148 TOMY.......................................................6–7 Toy Industry Association ..........................249 Toy State ...............................................14–15 ToyBacker .................................................103 TÜV Rheinland of North America ...........237 UL .............................................................139 Uncle Milton Industries ..............................79 Underground Toys ................................73, 75 University Games .....................................133 VTech..........................................................53 Wicked Cool Toys.....................................101 Wiggles 3D ...............................................163 Wooky Entertainment .........32–33, 35, 37, 39 World Tech Toys ...................................24–25 WTHRA....................................................239 Yomega Corp....................................123, S19 Zing Brand Toys .........................................57 Zuru.............................................................63

THE AD INDEX IS PUBLISHED AS A COURTESY. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO BE ACCURATE, LATE ADDITIONS AND CHANGES IN LAYOUT MAY RESULT IN ERRORS OR OMISSIONS.

FEBRUARY 2015

THE TOY BOOK •

289


Flashback: February 1995 1.

Sailor Moon is a new animated series from DIC Entertainment and will be featured in DIC’s newest licensing program. Master toy licensee Bandai America will unveil its action figures at Toy Fair. 2 . Kids can make Suzie Stretch, from Irwin Toy, move, twist, dance, and jump as they do. 3 . Galoob has launched Sky Dancers at Toy Fair. The dolls, inspired by the fall of maple seedlings, will fly up off their base with the pull of a string. 4 . Tyco introduces Doodle Bear, a bear kids can doodle on over and over. Once washed, she is ready to be drawn on again. 5 . The ComfyKeyboard helps provide a bridge for children between toys and computers, and can be used with Comfy interactive movies. 6. Crayola introduces Glow in the Dark Crayons, with which kids can charge the pictures they draw under a normal light source for 15 seconds. After the lights go out, all images will glow bright yellow in the dark. The eight-pack of crayons comes in seven colors and one colorless crayon that can only be seen in the dark.

1.

2.

3. 4.

News Brief CBS/Fox Video Releases Four New Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Episodes CBS/Fox Video brings America’s favorite neighbor, Mister Rogers, to home video with the release of four new episodes: “Love,” “Kindness,” “Making Music,” and “The Circus Fun.” Each video includes a coupon for a handcrafted, hardwood fun-size trolley that travels to the Neighborhood of Make Believe for $8. All Mister Roger’s Neighborhood videos are closed captioned and are available in VHS stereo format. They run approximately 30 minutes each.

290 • THE TOY BOOK

5.

6.

FEBRUARY 2015


Get in on the fun!

Contact your Account Executive; call 888.336.3226, or visit DEMDACOretailers.com

Giggle with us at the Toy Fair!

Visit Booth 5469

February 2015  

Whether you were able to attend the show in New York earlier this month or just read about it on toybook.com, you’ll want to take a look thr...

February 2015  

Whether you were able to attend the show in New York earlier this month or just read about it on toybook.com, you’ll want to take a look thr...