Page 1


®

TOY FAIR 2016 »

HOT NEW TOYS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

STATE OF THE

INDUSTRY»

SEAN MCGOWAN'S PREDICTIONS FOR 2016


FEBRUARY 2016

®

Volume 32, No. 1 — Published by Adventure Publishing Group

Jonathan Samet Publisher jsamet@adventurepub.com

DEPARTMENTS 20 Editor’s Viewpoint 32 Industry Update 52 TIA Happenings 54 Stat Shot 55 Kidz Global 78 Sweet Suite 2016 100 Property Profile: Peanuts

101 Property Profile: Strawberry Shortcake

170 Talkin’ Toys: Bananagrams

118 Talkin’ Toys: PlayMonster

238 Women in Toys Celebrates 25 Years

122 Talkin’ Toys: Sony Pictures Entertainment

240 Outside the Box

136 Talkin’ Toys: KD Interactive 157 The Rubie’s Insider

242 Talking SEO 244 Raising the Bar 248 Industry Marketplace 250 Flashback: February 1996

79 What’s New

186 Dolls & Plush

130 Smart Tech & e-Connected

Category Guide

202 Vehicles & Action Figures

172 Games & Puzzles

233 Infant & Preschool

138 Activities & Construction

60 Looking Ahead: Predictions for 2016 62 State of the Industry Q&A

74 Toys Competing with the Entertainment Industry 75 Succeed in the Drone Zone

specialty toys & gifts: 215

216 ASTRA’s Insights: How to Get Visitors to Your Exhibit Booth

218 Toy Fair 2016

Marissa DiBartolo Senior Editor mdibartolo@adventurepub.com Ali Mierzejewski Senior Editor amierzejewski@adventurepub.com Maddie Michalik Assistant Editor mmichalik@adventurepub.com Varuni Sinha Assistant Editor vsinha@adventurepub.com Joe Ibraham Assistant Visual Media Editor jibraham@adventurepub.com Bill Reese Production Director breese@adventurepub.com Lori Rubin Controller/Office Manager lrubin@adventurepub.com

U.S. Corporate Headquarters Laurie Schacht President laurieschacht@aol.com Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® 307 7th Avenue, #1601, New York, NY 10001 Phone: (212) 575-4510 • Fax: (212) 575-4521

state of the industry 2016 56 Toys: By the Numbers

Jackie Breyer Editor-in-Chief jbreyer@adventurepub.com

76 Embrace the Grind to Succeed in Exports 77 Kids at Play: How Do They Spend Their Time and Money?

232 Life’s a Pitch: Tips for Pitching New Products

On the Cover: The Haywire Group’s Calafant Cardboard Kit, Zing’s Wet Head, Carrera’s Nintendo Mario-Copter, Jakks Pacific’s Make It Pop Fashion Dolls Performance “Spotlight Ready,” WowWee’s CHiP, DynaCraft’s 24V Surge Ice Drifter, NKOK’s EZ 3D Printer, Spin Master’s Micronoid, Glitek’s Glide, Jada Toys’ Batman/Superman Metals 4-Inch Figures Twin Pack, Jazwares’ Peppa Pig Treehouse Play Set, Adora’s Mixxie Pony

The Toy Book Volume 32, No. 1 THE TOY BOOK (ISSN-0885-3991) is published bimonthly 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 © 2016 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.

Member, International Toy Magazine Association


editor’s viewpoint

THIS YEAR, IT’S ALL ABOUT

KEEPING THE MOMENTUM GOING by JACKIE BREYER, Editor-in-Chief IT’S TOUGH NOT TO KICK THIS YEAR OFF with a positive attitude. The toy industry was up nearly 7 percent overall last year, and this year is looking good thus far. Of course, we have to keep things in perspective. After being up 7 percent, even a flat year would be pretty good. As a journalist covering the toy industry for the past 14 years—after getting my start shortly following the tragedies of September 11th— this is actually the best shape the industry has been in during my tenure at The Toy Book. And I have to say, it’s a really interesting time to be covering this industry. As a child of the 1980s, I’m not shocked at the number of hit properties from that decade that are still crushing it at retail. Entertainment brands that were huge when I was a kid—Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Cabbage Patch Kids, Transformers, My Little Pony, and so many more—have been refreshed time and again, but the essence of the properties themselves have remained true, and those core values resonate with kids in a timeless fashion. Not to mention the parents who, like me, will never say no to buying just one more doll or action figure that reminds them of simpler times, when play itself was what we now refer to as “traditional play.” What the child-sized version of me would delight in (and the current-sized version of me still marvels at) are the cool new technologies being applied to toys today. Things like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and the ability for a toy to be customized and personalized for any child, are a different kind of magic. One of the best things about the industry being up—in my journalistic opinion—is the innovation. Companies are taking chances with new technology, but even traditional toys are getting revamped. Toy Fair this year is not just a bunch of “what else is new; I’ve seen this before.” I expect to see a lot of new products that will get me—and retailers and consumers—ex-

20  THE TOY BOOK | February 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

Thanks for the amazing Barbie Dream House, Daddy. Now I need 65 more dolls to complete the set.” cited for the year ahead. We’ve already gotten sneak peaks at some of the hottest toys for this year, but there’s really nothing like walking into the Javits Center on that first day of Toy Fair, ready with an open mind, fresh pens, and a clean notepad (or for my millennial colleagues, some type of digital device), set to see all the best that the industry has to offer. Our team will be at the show in full force, developing our list of the Toy Insider’s hot toys for the holidays, and we’re getting pumped. I hope to see you at the show! Be sure to stop by our booth, #1801, and say hi. We’d

love to meet you and hear about your picks for best toy of the year! Enjoy this Toy Fair issue of The Toy Book, and, as always, feel free to tweet @jackiebreyer with your feedback. » Jackie Breyer is editor-in-chief of The Toy Book and the Toy Insider, and editorial director at Adventure Publishing. She has been reporting on new products and toy industry trends for 14 years. Contact her at jbreyer@adventurepub.com.


INDUSTRY UPDATE MATTEL EXPANDS BARBIE FASHIONISTAS LINE WITH THREE NEW BODY TYPES

Mattel added three new body types to its Barbie Fashionistas line—tall, curvy, and petite—as well as a variety of skin tones, hairstyles, and outfits. This year, the line will feature dolls with four body types (the original sculpt and three new ones), seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, and on-trend fashions and accessories. The original line, which released last year, included 23 dolls with a variety of skin tones, hair colors, and articulated ankles that allow the dolls to wear flats as well as heels. The new dolls will be on shelf at major retail stores worldwide in the spring. » Barbie Fashionistas, from Mattel

TOY INDUSTRY GROWS NEARLY 7 PERCENT IN 2015

U.S. toy sales grew 6.7 percent in 2015, according to retail sales data from The NPD Group, generating $19.4 billion and marking one of the strongest performances the industry has seen in years. Nine of the 11 super-categories posted gains in 2015. Games/Puzzles and Vehicles grew the fastest at 10.8 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively, followed by Building Sets and Outdoor & Sports Toys. Outdoor & Sports Toys and Dolls had the largest dollar gains followed by Building Sets and Infant/ Toddler/Preschool Toys. The Star Wars brand was the No. 1 absolute dollar growth contributor to three of the super-categories: Action Figures, Vehicles, and All Other Toys. Turn to page 56 for more details. »

CHIZCOMM CHALLENGES TOY INDUSTRY TO #GETCHIZZYWITHIT

ChizComm Ltd. will return to the North American International Toy Fair with its first-ever promotion to win one month of free public relations and marketing services. Participants must submit a photo or video of them “Getting Chizzy With It” via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #GetChizzyWithIt and tagging @ChizComm for a chance to win. The deadline is March 15 at midnight, and the only requirements are fun and creativity. For details, visit ChizComm’s YouTube page at ChizCommLTD. »

32  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

WBCP SIGNS LICENSEES FOR BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) signed new licensees for a global licensing and merchandising program for the upcoming film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, releasing in theaters on March 25. Mattel will unveil a full toy line, including action figures, vehicles, play sets, and collectible figures; The Lego Group will launch construction sets; and Rubie’s Costume Co. will introduce a new line of costumes and accessories for kid and adult fans. Other licensees include Funko for stylized collectible figures; Thinkway Toys for a role-play line; Jakks Pacific for Batman and Superman collectible figures; Tonner Dolls for detailed fashion dolls; Bandai America for poseable figure model kits; Spin Master for remote control Batmobiles; and Buffalo Games for adult puzzles. In addition, Sideshow Collectibles will launch detailed statues; The Noble Collection will introduce prop replicas; NECA will launch an 18-inch figure; Soap Studios will launch replicas of the Batmobile; and Hot Toys, Kotobukiya, SquareEnix, Medicom Toy, Prime 1 Studio, and Union Creative will launch collectibles. »

Batmobile and Multiverse Superman, from Mattel


INDUSTRY UPDATE FANTOYSTIC FACTS: STAR TREK CELEBRATES 50 YEARS

➢➢ Toy partners for this year include Mattel, Spin Master, Wooden Expressions, and USAopololy for board games. ➢➢ The entire Star Trek franchise includes six series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, totaling 726 episodes. Desilu Productions, headed by Lucille Ball, produced the original series. ➢➢ Stephen Hawking guest starred in an episode of Star Trek, as himself, playing a game of poker with Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, and Data. ➢➢ An October 1967 TV Guide ad from RCA cited Star Trek: The Original Series as the reason to buy a color TV.

➢➢ There are more Star Trek websites than U.S. government websites. ➢➢ NASA’s Space Shuttle Constitution had its name changed to Enterprise, following a letter-writing campaign from Star Trek fans. ➢➢ After the first season, Nichelle Nichols wanted to leave the show, but reconsidered after a conversation with Martin Luther King Jr., a big Star Trek fan. ➢➢ The first interracial kiss on U.S. television was on Star Trek. ➢➢ When the original Star Trek became a hit on TV, Leonard Nimoy’s dad, who worked as a barber, offered customers a Spock cut at his barbershop.

TOY STATE SIGNS FOR TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES VEHICLES

Toy State secured a licensing partnership with Nickelodeon to design, develop, and manufacture lines of toy vehicles featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles entertainment brand. The threeyear deal will allow Toy State to create Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed lights and sound, preschool, and R/C vehicles. Product will be available at major retailers later this year. Toy State recently added Barbie and NASCAR to its licensing portfolio, joining the company’s flagship Road Rippers and Nikko brands, as well as lines featuring leading licensed properties including Hot Wheels, Caterpillar, WWE, Thomas & Friends, and DC Super Friends in its brand lineup. »

DCP, BANDAI AMERICA LAUNCH FINDING DORY PRODUCT LINE

Disney Consumer Products (DCP) and Bandai America unveiled the global product lineup for Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory, debuting in the U.S. on June 17. With recognizable sounds and voices from Dory, Marlin, and Nemo, Bandai America’s products capture the essence of the film and transform key moments into play sets, interactive toys, feature figures, plush, and bath toys. Highlights include a My Friend Dory interactive soft figure and Swigglefish figure. The merchandise will roll out globally starting in May. »

➢➢ After Star Trek was canceled, Nichelle Nichols volunteered for a special recruiting project at NASA, where she recruited America’s first female and male black astronauts. ➢➢ Scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory wore Spock ears while monitoring the Mariner V on October 1967.

34  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Party Van, from Toy State

PILLOW PETS, DCP SIGN SHARK WEEK LICENSING AGREEMENT

CJ Products, creators of Pillow Pets foldable plush, partnered with Discovery Consumer Products (DCP), the licensing arm of Discovery Communications, for the Shark Week Pillow Pet. Shark Week Pillow Pets feature realistic attributes and are surface washable. They will be available in May for merchandising. Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is TV’s longest running summer event, and Shark Week last year was the highest-rated Shark Week in the event’s 28 year history in prime time TV. »

SPIN MASTER EXPANDS GAMES PORTFOLIO

Spin Master Corp. entered an agreement to purchase the library of board games from Editrice Giochi SRL, one of the oldest privately held toy companies in Italy. The sale includes the Editrice Giochi brand. The acquisition enables Spin Master to expand its selection of games and licensed products in the Italian market with games such as Risiko, Italy’s most popular strategic game, and Scarabeo, the leading word game in Italy. The acquisition also complements Spin Master’s recent acquisition of Cardinal Games. The parties expect to complete the transaction in early February. » STAY CONNECTED!

/TheToyBook Air Hogs Star Trek Enterprise, from Spin Master

@ToyBook


tia happenings

TOTY 2016:

Celebrating 100 Years of Toys and Play THE CLOCK IS TICKING DOWN TO ONE of the most anticipated and exciting events in the toy industry: the 2016 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards, which kicks off Toy Fair week on Friday evening, February 12 at the iconic American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This prestigious annual awards ceremony recognizes the most outstanding new toys to hit the marketplace. TOTY 2016 is particularly meaningful, as this year’s event will spotlight the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) centenary—celebrating 100 years of hard work and enthusiasm dedicated to bringing the magic and joy of fun, safe play to children of all ages. The festive evening will also include

the induction of Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Co., into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, and support the inspiring philanthropic work of the Toy Industry Foundation. It was a century ago on June 9, 1916 when a small group of toy manufacturers banded together to form an association called the Toy Manufacturers of the U.S.A. to support its members and lead the growth of the U.S. toy industry. On that day, an inaugural meeting of 46 toy manufacturers was held at the Hotel McAlpin in New York City to discuss the establishment of a trade association that would support U.S. toymakers, promote American-made products, and encourage

year-round toy sales. Over the course of 100 years, the Association has greatly evolved and underwent two name changes—the Toy Manufacturers of America in 1996 and to its current name, the Toy Industry Association, in 2001. Today, TIA is made up of not only manufacturers, but also inventors, designers, retailers, licensors, distributors, and more, representing large and small companies, both foreign and domestic. What has remained constant over the decades is TIA’s mission to provide expert guidance, business-boosting resources, and a unified voice for its 900 member companies and the North American toy industry at large. “TIA is proud of its longevity in serving

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Toy Halls of Fame

52  THE TOY BOOK | february 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM


tia happenings

TOTY Awards 2015

this incredible industry and supporting toy companies as they seek to brighten the lives of children through the joy and benefits of play,” says TIA President and CEO Steve Pasierb. “This milestone represents the hard work and wisdom of all those who have helped to shape the Association of today. We look forward to ushering in another century of innovation, growth, and success for the entire North American toy industry.” To kick off the centenary celebrations, TIA held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and formal gala on September 17 for the new Toy Halls of Fame Exhibit at The Strong museum in Rochester, N.Y. The state-of-the-art Toy Halls of Fame features both the Toy Industry Hall of Fame and the National Toy Hall of Fame under one roof, bringing together America’s favorite classic playthings and the brilliant toy professionals who helped bring them to life. The centenary festivities continue this year at the North American International Toy Fair with a striking visual timeline showcasing significant moments in TIA history. Finally, a centenary tribute video will be featured at the TOTY Awards, which will begin with a black tie optional pre-dinner reception with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, creating a relaxed atmosphere where participants can network and connect with industry friends and new and old business partners. Lively décor, a seated dinner in the museum’s famous Hall of Ocean Life, and live entertainment will add to the festivities. The presentation of the TOTY Awards will include the overall Toy of the Year and the highly coveted People’s Choice award. This year’s TOTY finalists were selected

from approximately 700 nominees, submitted by more than 200 companies. Mass and specialty retail buyers, youth experts, academics, and journalists staffed the nomination committees that narrowed the field to the slate of finalists. These finalists represent unique products and properties spread across 12 categories, including Educational, Infant/Toddler, e-Connected, Innovative, and more. The winners have been selected based on votes cast through mid-January by mass and specialty retailers, journalists and bloggers, TIA members, and consumers. The People’s Choice Award is based exclusively on consumer votes. Some of last year’s winners include: Zoomer Dino, by Spin Master, for The Best Toy of the Year award; Crayola Paint Maker, by Crayola, winner of the People’s Choice Toy of the Year and the Activity Toy of the Year awards; Simon Swipe, by Hasbro, winner of the Game of the Year award; and LEGO Technic, by LEGO Systems Inc., winner of the Educational Toy of the Year award. Finally, the evening will continue with Disney’s Bob Iger’s induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. As the steward of the world’s largest media company and some of the most respected brands recognized and loved by children and adults worldwide, Iger will join an impressive roster of 70 individuals who have been previously honored for their significant contributions to the growth and success of the toy industry since the Hall of Fame was established in 1985. Iger officially joined the Disney senior management team in 1996 as chairman of

the Disney-owned ABC Group. Now, as chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Co., Iger’s strategic vision focuses on three fundamental pillars: generating the best creative content possible; fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology; and expanding into new markets around the world. Iger has built on Disney’s history of unforgettable storytelling with the acquisition of Pixar (2006), Marvel (2009), and Lucasfilm (2012), three of the entertainment industry’s greatest storytelling companies. “Just about every child around the globe has been touched by the magic of Disney,” says Pasierb. “Mr. Iger has done an impressive job of building on Disney’s rich history and growing its storytelling portfolio, creating new experiences and unforgettable memories for generations of kids to come.” TIA is grateful to the following companies for their unwavering and generous support of the TOTY awards and the centenary events: Jakks Pacific (Diamond sponsors); VTech, Fat Brain Toy Co., and Playmates Toys (Gold sponsors); Dallas Market Center and Coyne PR (Silver sponsors); and GES, Educational Insights, Gourvitz Communications, Uncle Milton, Learning Resources, Women In Toys, Keller Heckman, Thames and Kosmos, TekConn, The Halo Group, Wooky Entertainment, and WowWee (Bronze sponsors). »

To reserve tickets for the 2016 TOTY Awards ceremony, visit toyassociation.org/TOTY. More information about TIA’s centenary celebrations can be found at toyassociation.org/centenary.

TOYBOOK.COM | february 2016 | THE TOY BOOK  53


Dollar sales in billions, u.s. toy industry, super-categories* SUPER-CATEGORY

ANNUAL 2014

ANNUAL 2015

CHANGE

Action Figures & Accessories

$1.32

$1.43

9 percent

Arts and Crafts

$1.04

$1.00

-4 percent

Building Sets

$1.86

$2.04

9 percent

Dolls

$2.38

$2.58

8 percent

Games and Puzzles

$1.46

$1.61

11 percent

Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Toys

$2.89

$3.06

6 percent

Youth Electronics

$0.63

$0.60

-5 percent

Outdoor and Sports Toys

$3.30

$3.59

9 percent

Plush

$0.98

$1.00

2 percent

Vehicles

$1.30

$1.43

10 percent

All Other Toys

$1.07

$1.11

4 percent

GRAND TOTAL

$18.23

$19.45

7 percent

*Approximately 80 percent of U.S. toys retail market. Source: The NPD Group, Inc./Retail Tracking Service. Data is representative of retailers that participate in the NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service. The NPD’s current estimate is that the Retail Tracking Service represents approximately 80 percent of the U.S. retail market for toys.

TOP SELLING TRADITIONAL TOY ITEMS IN 2015, RANKED ON DOLLARS RANK

ITEM

MANUFACTURER

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Shopkins 12-Pack Assortment

Moose Toys

Paw Patrol Basic Vehicle with Pup Assortment

Spin Master

Hot Wheels Car Basic Assortment

Mattel

Shopkins Two-Pack

Moose Toys

Barbie Dreamhouse

Mattel

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Figure Assortment

Playmates Toys

Minecraft Mini Figures Assortment

Mattel

BB-8 App-Enabled Droid

Sphero

Hot Wheels Five Car Gift Pack Assortment

Mattel

Minecraft The Cave

LEGO Group

Source: The NPD Group, Inc./Retail Tracking Service. The list does not include items that are exclusive to specific retailers.

54  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM


KIDZ GLOBAL

TOYS ARE STILL ON TOP While entertainment brands and characters continue to increase in popularity, playing with toys remains kids’ No. 1 leisure activity. by PHILIPPE GUINAUDEAU, CEO, Kidz Global TODAY, CHILDREN KNOW MORE entertainment brands, characters, and licenses than they did four years ago. In 2011, children from Europe 5 (the UK, Italy, Spain, France, and Denmark) knew 271 brands* (number of different brands spontaneously mentioned by the child or by parents of children ages 0 to 14). This year, kids know 416 brands, marking an increase of 54 percent over four years—but their combined purchasing power has not changed in the same proportions. What are the reasons for such an increase in the number of brands children know? This growth is linked to three concomitant factors: 1. The sheer number of brands has expanded, but far from our 5 percent total. Therefore, this only explains a small fraction of the phenomenon. Furthermore, toy and game brands did not gain any traction here, still remaining at 9 percent of the brands. 2. Kids now have increased access to the Internet, which in turn increases brand awareness–especially in regard to entertainment content—and generates a strong appetite for licensed products. 3. Distribution has increased the concentration of the offerings of the most popular brands. This effect has enhanced the reputation of these brands, while making it more difficult for the less supported brands to break through. Today, children all know the same six to eight mega brands and a wide range of others that differ from one child to another. What consequences does this landscape present for licensees and toy manufacturers? Imagine: 416 different brands, giving kids prolific choice. Now more than ever, it is important for manufacturers, licensors, and licensees to perfectly master the key factors in the popularity of their brands. Simultaneously, digital entertainment is

growing quickly, and is becoming increasingly popular with children and teenagers of all ages. The majority of kids now have access to a mobile device, whether it’s a smartphone or tablet of their own, or one belonging to a parent, resulting in countless hours spent playing with apps and games. However, no matter how much it may seem like kids are glued to their devices, playing with traditional toys and games is the primary leisure activity of kids ages 3 to 6, far ahead of the second-most popular activity: watching TV. In the U.S. for instance, 16 percent of the active hours** of a 3- to 6-year-old child is dedicated to playing with toys and games, while 11 percent of their active hours are spent watching TV. The same applies in all the countries studied, even in Brazil. In this country, where watching TV is practically a national sport (thanks to the novellas and sports—especially football), this activity is on-par with playing with toys, at 12 percent of kids’ time. For kids ages 7 to 9, playing

with toys and games ranks as the second most popular leisure activity, right behind watching TV. So, although time spent on digital activities is increasing among kids—including the younger ones—playing with toys remains—by far—the most important leisure activity for kids up to 9 years old. »

*Source: Kidz Global - BrandTrends, October 2015 **Source: Kidz Global - Kids Observer Research, December 2015

Philippe Guinaudeau is a senior consultant with 24 years of experience in marketing research. He is also the CEO of Kidz Global, an international market research and consulting firm, with offices in Paris and Hong Kong.

TOYBOOK.COM | FEBRUARY 2016 | THE TOY BOOK  55


State of the

Industry TOYS: BY THE NUMBERS

The NPD Group looks at the growth of trends and toy categories from last year and 2014, and offers insight for the market in 2016. by JULI LENNETT, U.S. Toys Industry Analyst, The NPD Group MARKING ONE OF THE BEST YEARS IT HAS SEEN IN MORE THAN a decade, the U.S. toy industry grew 6.7 percent to $19.4 billion in 2015, compared to 4 percent growth in 2014, according to retail sales data* from global information company The NPD Group. Unit sales also grew significantly at 6 percent over last year to 1.9 billion, compared to a 2 percent increase in 2014. Based on trends happening in the first half of the year, NPD estimated that the industry would grow 6.2 percent for the full year. After tremendous growth during the third quarter as a result of several retailer events, including the Star Wars Force Friday event, NPD projected that annual growth would land somewhere between 6.2 and 7.3 percent. A number of factors coalesced to grow the industry nearly 7 percent in 2015, including strong super-category performance, movie and other content-related toy sales, a healthy holiday shopping season for the industry, and the continued integration of technology into the world of play.

U.S. Toy Industry Dollar Sales Dollar sales increased 6.7 percent, or $1.2 billion, in 2015. Unit sales grew 6.0 percent and average retail price of $10.38 was 0.6 percent above 2014.

18.2 BILLION

$

19.4 BILLION

$

U.S. Toy Industry Dollar Sales by Quarter Q4 contributed nearly 50 percent of the total annual sales; however, Q3 grew 1.6x faster than Q4.

Q3

Q4

$10

$8

$6

$4

$2

$0

0.0%

Dollar Sales ($B)

56  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

2.0%

4.0%

6.0%

% Dollar Change

8.0%

2015

Q1/Q2

Q1

2014

Q2


TOY FAIR 2016

Super-Category Performance

Nine of the 11 super-categories posted gains. Games/Puzzles and Vehicles grew the fastest at 10.8 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively. Outdoor & Sports Toys Infant/Toddler/Preschool Toys Dolls Building Sets Games/Puzzles Action Figures & Accessories Vehicles All Other Toys Arts & Crafts Plush Youth Electronics $4.0 $3.5 $3.0 $2.5 $2.0 $1.5 $1.0 $0.5 $0

($100)

$0

Sales ($B) In terms of sales performance across the super-categories tracked by NPD, nine of the 11 super-categories posted gains in 2015. Games/Puzzles and Vehicles grew the fastest at 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively, followed by Building Sets and Outdoor & Sports Toys. Outdoor & Sports Toys and Dolls had the largest dollar gains followed by Building Sets and Infant/Toddler/Preschool Toys. Star Wars was the No. 1 absolute dollar growth contributor to three of the super-categories: Action Figures, Vehicles, and All Other Toys. Properties and products that drove the gains for the fastest growing super-categories were: • Games/Puzzles: Pokémon, Star Wars, Pie Face • Vehicles: Star Wars, Hot Wheels, Sky Viper, Anki Drive • Building Sets: Lego Minecraft, Lego Star Wars, Lego Classic • Outdoor & Sports Toys: Nerf, Disney Frozen, Star Wars Properties with ties to content, whether that content was in the form of a movie (Star Wars, Jurassic World, Minions, and Avengers), TV show (Paw Patrol), app (Minecraft), or a strong YouTube following (Shopkins), were also top contributors to the industry’s annual growth. “Movies” in total outperformed the market in 2015, growing by 9 percent. With the early release of Star Wars toys on Force Friday, Star Wars managed to become the No. 1 property for the year, earning more than $700 million in sales. It also brought in more sales and contributed more growth than Jurassic World, Minions, and Avengers combined. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuting late in the year, 2015 was only the beginning, and there is room for the property to grow further this year.

$100

$200

$300

Dollar Change ($MM)

Top 10 Properties

These 10 properties make up one-fifth of total industry dollars. Star Wars Disney Frozen Nerf Barbie Minecraft Hot Wheels Shopkins Disney Princess Lego Star Wars Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $0

$200

$400

$600

Sales ($MM)

TOYBOOK.COM | FEBRUARY 2016 | THE TOY BOOK  57


State of the

Industry equally engaged in traditional play and activities as they are technology play and activities, according to NPD’s Kids’ Share of Time & Wallet 2015 report, demonstrating that kids are not swapping dolls and building sets for tablets and video games, but are making time for both types of play. Tied together with this, the study found that mobile device usage has impacted the way in which kids engage with TV and movies. Kids today are spending about 6.7 hours per week watching traditional television and about 4.3 hours watching TV, movies, or videos on a mobile device, which includes smartphones, tablets, and iPod touches. The integration of mobile devices into kids’ daily lives has shifted the technology landscape, and has the potential to positively influence their relationship with traditional toys. Amid the growth of

The holidays boded well for toy sales this past holiday shopping season. With Christmas Day falling on a Friday in 2015, consumers had one extra day to shop in the week compared to 2014. As a result, the week of Christmas (Dec. 20 through 26) grew 25 percent in 2015, and its growth was larger than all the other weeks in Q4 combined. The week of Christmas also represents 8 percent of all toy sales for the year, and is the second most important week of the year for the toy industry—the week before Christmas being No. 1 at 8.5 percent, illustrating the importance for retailers to stay well-stocked up until Christmas Eve. Another important callout for 2015 is the co-existence of traditional and technology play as a toy industry influencer. NPD recently found that kids are just about $1,800 $1,600 $1,400 $1,200

Dollar Sales By Week for Q4 2015

The five largest weeks in Q4 contribute over one third of all dollar sales for the year.

$1,000 $800

Difference 2015 v 2014

$600

Dollar Sales 2014

$400 $200 $0 -$200

Week 40

W41

W42

W43

W44

W45

W46

W47

W48

W49

W50

W51

Kids’ Share of Time and Wallet

73 percent of kids ages 0 to 14 are engaged with a mobile device in a typical week. Activities Engaged in During Typical Week—Incidence

W52

technology and mobile device usage, the U.S. toy industry—as we clearly see from its annual performance—is also growing, and at a higher rate than it has been for the past few years. As evident from the list of top new items for 2015, manufacturers are integrating technology and mobile in more and more interesting ways. Examples of such toys include Sphero’s BB-8 App-Enabled Droid, Anki Overdrive Starter Kit (which is used with a mobile device), and Spin Masters Meccanoid G15. In addition, drones are occupying an exciting, emerging space for retailers. Looking specifically at the sales of drones within the toy industry, dollar sales reached about $40 million for full year 2015, with $37 million coming from Q4 alone**. There is a lot of fresh and exciting activity taking place within the toy industry, setting the stage for even more innovation and development to come in 2016 and beyond. Today’s products are appealing to kids, but they are also bringing older children and adults back into the toy marketplace, growing sales and restoring play, in all its shapes and forms, into the lives of more people across all ages. » *Source: The NPD Group Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, January-December 2015 **Drones tracked under the U.S. Toys Retail Tracking Service are intended for kids aged 0 to14 and typically retail for less than $100. 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.

Percent Among Moms with Kids 0 to 14

87

Traditional Play/Activities

85

Technology Play/Activities 73

Mobile Device Play/Activities Hobbies/Interests

51

Sports/Outdoor Recreation

49

58  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

Juli Lennett, senior vice president, industry analyst for The NPD Group’s U.S. Toys division, has spent the past 11 years at NPD managing client relationships and consulting to a variety of manufacturers, licensors, and retailers within the toy industry.


State of the

Industry LOOKING AHEAD:

PREDICTIONS FOR 2016 by SEAN MCGOWAN, managing director, equity research department, Oppenheimer & Co. I'VE BEEN COVERING THE TOY INDUSTRY from an investment perspective for 30 years, and one of the things I’ve always loved about Toy Fair is how it forces us to look forward rather than backward. Even before the holiday season peaks, companies get so focused on the following year that they start talking about “this year’s line” even before the year they are in has become “last year.” It’s a great reminder that if you spend too much time looking back, you will either trip or skip over what’s right in front of you. Still, it helps to look back a bit even as you’re looking ahead. As we review the past year, several important aspects of the toy industry have changed significantly. We will discuss these changes, and my predictions for 2016.

PREDICTIONS FROM 2015 1) Industry sales will grow slightly (Industry sales were actually up approximately 7 percent); 2) Consumer spending on digital games will grow strongly (correct for mobile games and newer console video games, not as true for older-generation software); 3) Commodity prices, especially oil, will continue to be unusually low, helping manufacturing costs (dead on); 4) A strong U.S. dollar will offset the benefits of lower commodity costs (double dead-on); 5) Amazon will reach the “tipping point” (spot on—see more on this below); 6) Smart toys will grow in influence (true, but nothing is ever easy); 7) Black Friday will decrease in importance (correct, although I didn’t predict its

60  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

ascendance in the UK); and 8) Competition from outside the traditional toy industry will grow (drones, anyone?).

PREDICTIONS FOR 2016 1) Retailer Shuffle Some of the topics from my 2015 predictions repeat this year, but first, let’s talk about some areas that have seen some change in the past year. As I wrote this column a year ago, Mattel was the world’s largest toy company—as measured by sales and by the market value of its stock—but it is now being challenged on both fronts. The value of the U.S. dollar has soared against most major currencies, ravaging the sales and profits of companies making products in China and selling them in the U.S., or selling them euros, pesos, pounds, reals, rubles, or Canadian or Australian dollars and then translating the results back to dollars. However, I would argue that one of the biggest things to change in the last year has been the growth in Amazon’s power in the industry. Across the retail landscape (in both the U.S. and, even more, in Western Europe), online retailing has steadily gobbled share of total retail sales, and 2015’s holiday season appears to have gone well beyond the tipping point. Amazon’s share of total toy sales may not be as high as that of some of the largest retailers of toys (Walmart, Target, Toys “R” Us), but its share of the industry’s growth is staggering. Sales data shows that the U.S. toy industry’s total sales grew approximately 7 percent. If we assume that Amazon’s share of the industry grew from about 10 to 12

“One of the biggest things to change in the last year has been the growth in Amazon’s power in the industry. Across the retail landscape... online retailing has steadily gobbled share of total retail sales, and 2015’s holiday season appears to have gone well beyond the tipping point.” percent, that would imply that a significant percentage of the industry’s growth accrued to Amazon. That’s just math, and the share and dollar figures may be off a bit, but I still think the point is fairly unassailable; online sales are crucial to the industry and Amazon in particular is a customer that is likely to become increasingly important. So, the first of my predictions for 2016 is that Amazon could very well break into the ranks of the industry’s top three retailers.

2) Lego Takes Charge Another area where the industry saw considerable change over the course of the year is industry leadership. At the end of 2014, the market value of Mattel’s stock was about 50 percent higher than that of Hasbro. One year later, Mattel’s market value was less than 10 percent higher than that of Hasbro. So, Mattel is still the leader, but its advantage has eroded. Similarly, in 2014, Mattel posted sales of more than $6 billion, whereas Lego


TOY FAIR 2016

sales were 28.6 million Danish krone. Assuming a strong second half, I believe the company will post sales of more than 34.2 million krone. When translated into dollars, I believe that is going to come up short against Mattel’s sales. But I suspect that if we were to translate Lego’s 2015 sales at the exchange rate in effect at the end of 2014, Lego’s sales would be about the same as Mattel’s. Of course, Mattel’s sales have also been hurt by the strong dollar, but the point is that Lego is poised to become the No. 1 company based on sales. And considering its extraordinarily high profit margins, it is highly likely that its market value would be higher if it were a public company. So, my second prediction is that Lego will end 2016 as the world’s largest toy manufacturer as measured by annual sales.

3) Currency Takes a Back Seat Currency has been a pretty big factor for just about any company making products in U.S. dollars (or the Chinese yuan, which didn’t move much against the dollar) and selling in currencies that have weakened. The euro’s slide began in earnest in late 2014 and picked up steam in 2015, and was joined by other emerging market currencies to make 2015 the toughest year in decades for U.S. companies selling abroad. But at this point, this is old news. My third prediction for 2016 is that by mid-year, the year-over-year comparisons of the U.S. dollar against the euro and the British pound are likely to be fairly modest, and that by the holiday season, currency will no longer be a major factor (or excuse) in the results of most major companies.

4) Commodity Prices Matter My fourth prediction is that commodity prices, often the flip side of currencies, are likely to provide a significant benefit in 2016. Oil remains low, as do most other commodities, and companies that contract with factories in China are likely to benefit from the lower commodity prices (and the lower value of the yuan), even if the only benefit

“In theory, the sharp drop in gas prices should have put so much more money in consumers’ pockets that spending would rise and lead to a stronger recovery. It hasn’t happened yet, and I am reluctant to predict it will happen in 2016, despite the continued low prices for gas.” is to offset the effect of higher wage rates in China. One of the surprises of the recent low oil price environment is that lower gasoline prices have not provided as big a lift to consumer spending as I and many economists had predicted. In theory, the sharp drop in gas prices should have put so much more money in consumers’ pockets that spending would rise and lead to a stronger recovery. It hasn’t happened yet, and I am reluctant to predict it will happen in 2016, despite the continued low prices for gas.

5) Production Costs Fall My fifth prediction relates to the last two—currency and the impact o n production costs. The Chinese government continues its experimentation with allowing market forces to drive the rate of exchange between the yuan and other major currencies, and the result has been the opposite of what “experts” predicted for a long time: The yuan is dropping. The conventional wisdom was that the Chinese government was artificially depressing the value of the yuan, and that if it floated freely, it would rise sharply, eroding China’s competitive position in the global manufacturing web. However, the value continues to drop as China has eased off the strict control of the rates. This, in turn, reduces the cost for foreign companies manufacturing goods in China. (In all likelihood, the government knew the rate would fall because of its own weak economy, and allowed this to happen

precisely because it would improve the benefit of manufacturing in China. If its economy rebounds strongly, I would not be surprised to see exchange rate controls return.) But before toy makers go and spend the windfall this might have been expected to produce, recall that labor rates continue to rise, and that, in fact, the very same forces inducing the government to allow the yuan to fall (i.e., a desire to stave off social unrest that would result from falling incomes among workers) are driving minimum wage increases.

6) Star Wars Maintains Momentum—This Year My sixth and final prediction has to do with a couple of key licensed properties: Star Wars and Disney Princess. Star Wars sales are up huge year-over-year, driven by the phenomenal success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and we believe the year-over-year increases will remain quite solid in the fourth quarter, when the new Star Wars: Rogue One has to repeat the record-breaking performance of The Force Awakens. I predict that the year-over-year growth will be much more difficult from December 2016 forward. Episode 8 is expected in December 2017, which could help, but that will be comping against sales of Episode 7 products, so the growth is likely to moderate. As for Disney Princess, I think the industry is going to see that the decline in sales of Frozen merchandise may not lift sales of other Disney Princess products quite as much as the rise of Frozen cut into sales of other Disney Princess products. I wish all readers a successful Toy Fair and a very prosperous 2016. »

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

TOYBOOK.COM | FEBRUARY 2016 | THE TOY BOOK  61


State of the

Industry EVA LORENZ,

MAUREEN SMITH

Record numbers of shoppers used mobile devices to make holiday purchases in 2015. How will you address the needs of mobile shoppers this year? During the 2015 holiday season, nearly 70 percent of Amazon.com customers shopped using a mobile device. In fact, Amazon.com customers shopping on the mobile app more than doubled. On Cyber Monday alone, Amazon.com customers ordered more than 23 toys per second from a mobile device. During the 2015 holiday season, we made it even easier for mobile shoppers to discover and take advantage of great deals from Amazon. Amazon introduced more than 150 hand-picked Lightning Deals only through the Amazon mobile shopping app available on Android, iOS, and Fire OS. Thanks to the new “Watch A Deal” feature, holiday shoppers could pick the deals they were most excited about and receive a notification to their mobile device when the deal was live. With this new feature, Amazon customers could effortlessly take advantage of deals throughout the day and while on-the-go. In addition, Prime members in more than 20 metro areas could use the dedicated Prime Now mobile app to enjoy free two-hour delivery on select Deals of the Day throughout the 2015 holiday season.

How have consumer expectations changed over the past few years? Our consumers are engaging with content across more platforms than ever before, and they’re looking to connect with their favorite brands and characters in a wide variety of mediums: mobile games and apps, streaming entertainment, social expression, in-person experiences, and much more. We’re constantly evolving our brands and characters and deepening their stories to bring engaging and immersive experiences to life and ultimately reach kids and families wherever they are consuming content. As technology rapidly evolves, we’ve seen that consumer expectations do, too. Today’s kids are technologically and digitally savvy, and we strive to create products that fit their lifestyle by integrating better technology and more intuitive features that deliver enhanced play experiences.

Category Leader, Amazon Toys & Games

Did the popularity of Star Wars toys drive additional, non-Star Wars toy sales in the fourth quarter? What are your expectations for Star Wars toy sales in 2016? In 2015, Amazon.com celebrated May the Fourth and Force Friday by offering customers access to a new, one-stop shopping destination for the classic and celebrated Star Wars franchise. The Star Wars Store, available at amazon.com/starwars, features toys, collectibles, media, entertainment, fan memorabilia, and much more. Customers can find a wide selection of new toys and games, including products only available on Amazon.com. It’s clear that Star Wars has an enduring popularity. Sales of Star Wars items on Amazon.com more than doubled in 2015 and we expect the momentum to continue into 2016 with a new Rogue One selection launching in December. What categories drove sales in 2015? There were a number of toy trends that emerged last year, including products related to the latest entertainment. Paw Patrol and Star Wars were among the most popular. Construction also continues to be a popular category as building sets evolve and include programmable technology, such as the Meccano Meccanoid. There were several innovations introduced in 2015, including the Ozobot and Osmo Gaming System for iPad. Newly launched interactive play toys, including Fisher-Price’s Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo, also generated a lot of excitement among Amazon.com customers throughout 2015.

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Senior Vice President, U.S. Marketing, Hasbro

Record numbers of shoppers used mobile devices to make holiday purchases in 2015. How will you address the needs of mobile shoppers this year? As third-party reviews and recommendations become some of the most impactful paths to purchase, we continually work directly with retailers, online influencers, and editorial review sites to ensure in-depth, unbiased assessments of our products to help consumers make the most informed decision before purchase, and make that information available wherever they’re researching products. In what new ways do you use social media to correspond directly with consumers? Social media remains one of our strongest mediums to connect directly with our consumers, and have an ongoing conversation with fans. We use our social channels as a tool to break news as well as a platform to offer exclusive content and engaging experiences for our consumers. We’ve even used social media as a way for our fans to have a say in the features of certain products, like the fan-voted property spaces on our 2015 Monopoly Here & Now U.S. Edition board and our new 2015 Transformers FanBuilt-Bot Combiner, Victorion. Beyond our owned and operated sites, we also connect directly with influencers to create unique and tailored Hasbro brand experiences for their audiences on their platforms, whether that means inspiring YouTube challenges or unboxing videos, creative Instagram photos, live Periscope streams, in-depth blogs, and more.


TOY FAIR 2016

STEVE PASIERB

President and CEO, Toy Industry Association (TIA) What challenges are currently facing the toy industry and how is the TIA addressing it? Some of the hot topics right now include online privacy and drone registration. Our members are just as mindful of safeguarding privacy as consumers. When a major brand recently launched a toy with an innovative online component, we had the foresight to collaborate with the manufacturer and government stakeholders to ensure responsibility, and will continue to work closely with our companies moving forward. Toy drones can be wonderful sources of entertainment, but there are regulatory challenges from the FAA and elsewhere that impact our members and partners while confusing consumers. We also anticipate more unnecessary state and local legislation aimed at regulating the composition of children’s products. We have consistently maintained that any state laws should align with the strong federal standards that have governed toy safety for years. Addressing legislative challenges on behalf of the entire toy industry and advocating tirelessly for members’ interests is always a cornerstone of TIA and something our members identify as a top value of membership. We also recognize that we will forevermore have a global reach. Our staff is already working internationally and members are seeking growth in both developed and developing nations. In addition to the business challenges of opening new markets, there are regulatory and other hurdles to address. Southeast Asia is a particular region of opportunity where TIA can and will do more. What are your key initiatives for the year ahead? We will be loud and proud. The industry and TIA are committed to advancing the universal concept of open-ended play. One phenomenal example is TIA’s Genius of Play, which touts the role, value, and intrinsic joy of play. This is a digital and grassroots campaign that had parents pledge 60 minutes of open-ended play daily and our first-year goal was for 1 million hours. We’ve already surpassed 5 million hours in just six months and blown away every metric of success. TIA looks forward to championing the developmental benefits of play to parents and caregivers, with more content and information in 2016. Leading the conversation around toy safety is an essential role where we’ve seriously upped our game. Our goal is to engage proactively in a year-round dialogue. We made great strides in 2015 by balancing the conversations and questioning the validity of claims and accusations made by NGOs, and we will build upon that for 2016. Given the deep commitment to safety and overall burden of testing that each member brings to their products, we need to take back the dialogue on safety to help families make appropriate choices and ensure safe play. Toys are the instruments of play and TIA members make great, safe toys.

SHEHNAZ SAFIUDDIN Senior Vice President of Toy & Hobby, TOMY International

What were the top selling categories in 2015? Were there any surprises? Our licensed toys performed strongly in 2015. Beginning with the blockbuster Inside Out in the early summer and continuing through the end of year with the holiday release of The Good Dinosaur, our toy lines based on these Disney•Pixar movies brought the rich storytelling and treasured characters to life. We were delighted that the key driver item in our Miles from Tomorrowland line (the Stellosphere) delivered high play value, and as a result sold well at key retailers in stores and online from the time it hit shelves in late summer through the holidays. A pleasant surprise for us was the fact that our Miles from Tomorrowland Blastboard completely sold out at retail. Pokémon delivered growth for us in 2015, both in the core figure and plush categories, and our John Deere lines had another solid year. We believe the reason our licensed lines did so well in 2015 is because of the TOMY magic and innovation we bring to product design. We work hard to bring our licensor partners’ characters to life, and that is what keeps kids smiling and their parents coming back for more. What do you anticipate will be strong categories in 2016? We are getting early reads from retailers predicting that evergreen play patterns and classic licenses will be strong in 2016. In particular, our line of licensed toys based on the upcoming Disney Animation Studios film Zootopia has sold-in strong for early 2016—mostly focused on action figures, vehicles, and plush. We will also have some incredible new additions to the Miles from Tomorrowland line that will build off our 2015 success. We are also excited to unveil an all-new licensed vehicle line, Gear Force Horsepower, designed to fuel continued success in the vehicle aisle. Both Pokémon and Sonic the Hedgehog celebrate milestone anniversaries—20th and 25th, respectively—in 2016, and we are looking forward to augmenting those perennial best-selling brands with special anniversary items and promotions. 2016 also marks our 70th anniversary as a John Deere licensee, and we have no plans of slowing down. In addition, we will refresh our flagship Lamaze infant brand—now in its third decade—to solidify its leadership position in that category later this year.

TOYBOOK.COM | FEBRUARY 2016 | THE TOY BOOK  63


State of the

Industry SHARON DIMINICO Founder and CEO, Learning Express

How do you engage consumers in store to drive toy sales? We have knowledgeable team members who are able to discuss the use and benefits of our toys and are very adept at demonstrating them. We also have many areas in the store where we “boutique” merchandise—combining products from several categories that have a common theme—which encourages a spontaneous purchase. How did demand for Star Wars products impact the specialty toy market? Do you expect to expand Star Wars offerings? We will continue to devote space on our shelves to Star Wars-licensed products. It is a strong license for us, especially Lego. We are seeing a stronger response now due to movie-generated interest, but it has traditionally been one of our best licenses. Which categories drove sales in 2015? 1. Art, 2. Sports/Outdoor Play, 3. Construction, 4. Preschool, 5. Party Favors, 6. Fashion, 7. Books, 8. Plush, 9. Science, 10. Games. How do you differentiate your toy department from the average retail toy department? We merchandise by age for ages 0 to 5 and then by interest for ages 6 to 12. Because of our size, we focus on a curated selection of the very best. We employ people who are able to answer most questions a shopper may have, such as the developmental values of a toy he or she is considering. It’s a more intimate shopping experience for the customer. As the popularity of smart tech toys grows, do you see an impact on consumers’ demand for more traditional toys? The demand for traditional toys continues, but I believe it’s because our team members are very good at communicating the benefits and developmental value of our toys. Record numbers of shoppers used mobile devices to make holiday purchases in 2015. How will you address the needs of mobile shoppers this year? We launched a new “responsive design” website in September that is great for mobile viewing.

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GEOFFREY GREENBERG Co-President, Just Play

What categories drove sales in 2015? Which categories will flourish this year? Kids desire to be a part of a story, to partake in wild adventures, and explore their horizons. Oftentimes, the best way for them to feel a part of something is to play it out themselves. Toys that encourage children to play out their fantasies by truly engaging their imaginations are those that see the most success. We aim to develop our toys around the latest and greatest content that delivers more than just entertainment to kids, but also teaches them valuable life lessons, provides them with a sense of adventure, and broadens their range of knowledge. We strongly expect to see toys that enable storytelling, such as role play and collectibles, to continue to drive sales in 2016. Collectibles will continue to grow in popularity, providing kids with a new way to play and explore themes and characters, offering them the opportunity to create personalized collections that represent their interests. We expect role-play items to drive sales this year as well. The role-play category possesses limitless possibilities in terms of revolutionizing the way we play. As technology continues to grow, the opportunity to implement the latest technological developments into a toy further expands creative boundaries, thus adding more magic to the child’s experience. Shared experiences between parent and child that focus on a favorite toy or character pave the way for continued re-launches of beloved brands. How have consumer expectations changed over the past few years? In this day and age, consumers—especially children—possess a very short attention span. With information and innovation constantly evolving at an extremely rapid rate, it is no surprise that consumers do not often award a second glance to anything that could be considered last season’s leftovers. They expect new product launches with much greater frequency. There was a time when a good portion of most product lines used to carry forward; you’d see key drivers change from season-to-season, and consumers would remain consistently engaged and purchasing throughout multiple seasons. What we’re seeing now is almost a hunger for new products at the start of each season. The numbers speak for themselves, as we have witnessed large spikes in point-of-sale resulting from new product introductions. There’s a halo effect across carry-forward items too, but the significance of new items in pulling consumers back into retail each season has become increasingly important. Consumers also expect a level of technology that is both innovative and engaging. The toys do not necessarily always have to possess the flashiest and most grandiose tech, but it is important that the play pattern keeps the child’s interest and engages them enough to encourage hours of enamored play.


State of the

Industry SIMHA KUMAR

PAUL SOLOMON

How do you engage consumers in store to drive toy sales? As a retailer that has been selling toys for more than 50 years, we know driving toy sales starts with being well-positioned to deliver on what’s trending, but equally as important are engaging with our members in-store and delivering an unparalleled retail experience. To capture this excitement, Kmart launched a new brand identity this year, leveraging our iconic heritage and making shopping fun again by bringing back member favorites such as Bluelight Specials, Freebie Saturdays, and other instore events to create an overall enhanced experience at Kmart.

What were your top-selling toys/toy categories of 2015? Any surprises? Shopkins was definitely our top-selling brand in 2015. We expected Shopkins to continue to grow in popularity; however, we were delighted to see that the brand dominated so many major markets around the world, led strongly by the U.S. More children are collecting, trading, and displaying than ever before. Our strong licensed merchandise program is also thriving, giving kids ways to wear, decorate, and accessorize their life. This year, Shopkins has evolved from a brand to a lifestyle. We’ve also seen great success with Little Live Pets. The Little Live Pets Birds continue to be one of our strongest sellers. The brand expanded this past year to include Mice and Turtles, which both proved to be favorites among kids as well.

President, Children’s Entertainment, Kmart

Did the popularity of Star Wars toys drive additional, non-Star Wars toy sales in the fourth quarter? Do you plan to dedicate as much space to Star Wars in 2016? Enthusiasm for the brand was high when we introduced products from the new movie into our existing robust line of Star Wars toys on Force Friday in September. Interest grew throughout the season as the frenzy reached a fever pitch with the movie’s premiere coinciding with the peak of holiday shopping. By positioning Kmart as a destination for Star Wars toys and offering exclusives such as the limited-edition Kylo Ren (Starkiller Base) figure and A-Wing Micro Machines, we drove customers both online and in-store to capture their piece of our cross-category assortment of Star Wars toys and beyond. We’re ready for the Star Wars interest to continue, and we’re excited to tap into proven pop culture powerhouses such as highly anticipated 2016 movie sequels, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Captain America, and Finding Dory, to inform our inventory selection and offer on-trend toys for all ages and stages. Record numbers of shoppers used mobile devices to make holiday purchases in 2015. How will you address the needs of mobile shoppers this year? A recent survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that 22 percent of shoppers planned to purchase on mobile during the season, the highest since NRF began asking the question in 2011, so obviously mobile continues to play an important role in the shopping mix. To kick off the busiest shopping season of the year, Kmart refreshed its mobile app this past November with easy-to-use features designed to help shoppers cross everything off their shopping lists. New features and benefits include Bluelight Special Alerts, layaway options, and exclusive offers to make it easier than ever for our members to shop, earn points, and get the best deals online, in-store, and through their smartphones.

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Co-CEO, Moose Toys

How have consumer expectations changed over the past few years? Over the past few years, as technology advances, children have grown to expect a brand to be immersive and interactive. Children enjoy experiencing their favorite brands through a variety of mediums. For example, Moose has expanded Shopkins to have a strong social presence, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. We also introduced an app with which kids can play games and interact with their favorite characters in Shopville. With almost 3 million downloads in four months, the app is a great example of how technology helps immerse a child in a brand. Finally, kids can experience Shopkins on YouTube, watching the brand’s webisodes or their favorite YouTube personalities hunt for rare characters. This all ties back to consumers’ desire for immediate content and the importance of a brand to deliver engaging and interactive experiences. We’re beginning to see more innovation and risk-taking in new product introductions than in recent years. Will you introduce any new products or lines that take play to a new level? The Little Live Pets family of electronic pets continues to grow. With its huge success in 2015, Moose is excited to push the boundaries and explore the “live” part of the brand this year. Implementing all new advanced technology, Moose is launching its most lifelike pet yet—the Little Live Pets Puppy. Children of all ages will fall in love with the newest pet in the Little Live Pets family that takes lifelike play to the next level.


State of the

Industry BEN GADBOIS

Global President and COO, Spin Master Ltd. The toy industry was up approximately 7 percent in 2015. What are your expectations for 2016? Robotics continues to be an interesting space for Spin Master with many of our toys incorporating the technology, like our Zoomer Kitty and Meccanoid personal robot. As technology advances, we’re seeing the costs of development and production come down, making it possible to launch new innovations and market them at a very attractive price for consumers. For Spin Master, that means the opportunity to bring toys to life through a variety of technologies, like robotics, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. What appeals to us is the ability to create more complex and long-lasting play opportunities to keep children engaged. However, even as we expand our technical know-how, we always keep things kid-friendly first. A great example is our Meccano brand, which we reinvigorated for the modern era of toys through the launch of Meccanoid. This is real-world engineering that can be used by kids, bringing STEM subjects to life in a meaningful way through play. Licensing is another strong area for the industry, and clearly the most outstanding example of that was Star Wars. Our lineup has a strong licensing component, and in addition to new items from Star Wars, we’re looking forward to introducing iconic brands such as The Powerpuff Girls, Teletubbies, and Popples to a new generation, while also seeing great promise in new properties, such as The Secret Life of Pets. We’re beginning to see more innovation and risk-taking in new product introductions than in recent years. Will you introduce any new products or lines that take play to a new level? Innovation has always been at the heart of everything we do at Spin Master and our launch as a publicly traded company last year has enabled us to continue on this path. In 2016, consumers can expect to see more toys, games, and entertainment properties from Spin Master that push the boundaries of fun into new territories. Our new Air Hogs Connect: Rescue Force, for example, brings together a physical Air Hogs quad copter, a digital app, and an immersive augmented reality experience like never before. Kids pilot a real quad using their smart device, which in turn displays the augmented reality world, within which their quad is projected. The system itself is simple, with only the vehicle, mat, and app—all from Air Hogs— required, but delivers a brand new play opportunity and a deeper level of play for R/C enthusiasts.

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SOREN TORP LAURSEN President, Lego Systems

Star Wars drove toy sales in the fourth quarter. Which licenses will be hot in 2016? Star Wars was a strong driver for 2015 toy sales, but many properties contributed to growth last year, and we also continue to see the importance of and need for unique, homegrown play opportunities to propel the Lego business, such as Lego City, Friends, and Ninjago. Star Wars will continue to be a key property for Lego growth, fueled not only by the films, but also by our new original Disney XD TV series, Lego Star Wars: Freemakers Adventures. Additionally, we see continued growth coming from both DC Comics and Marvel Super Heroes franchises and from Lego Disney Princess, both the classic stories as well as new building sets linked to Frozen. We’re also thrilled to support the new Angry Birds movie with a line of building sets linked to the film. The toy industry was up approximately 7 percent in 2015. What are your expectations for 2016? To see growth in the toy industry is exciting. Our own business continues to grow strongly and ahead of the industry, which we see being a true testament to the fact that in spite of all the noise about the things that distract children from traditional toys and play, there is still a growing need for the role that toys play in their lives. As long as we, and everyone in toys, remains focused on what our play materials mean to children—both physically and digitally—and we continue to serve their needs, we believe that our business, and the industry overall, will continue to grow. We’re beginning to see more innovation and risk-taking in new product introductions than in recent years. Will you introduce any new products or lines that take play to a new level? We have a relentless focus on innovation, and this year we’re really excited about our new Lego Nexo Knights property, which integrates physical Lego building with a highly collectible mechanic that links to an exciting digital play world. Medieval knights in a futuristic realm come to life through an exciting new TV series on Cartoon Network, a digital gaming app, and an extensive line of building sets, where every engagement can unlock new powers to enhance a child’s play experience. Lego Nexo Knights brings together everything that today’s kids love: Lego building and self-expression, strong characters, a deep content-driven story, and digital gaming.


TOY FAIR 2016

ERIC BRIGHT

Director of Merchandising, GameStop Why did GameStop decide to expand its toy offerings? What are your plans for this year? We saw a natural synergy between our video game business and that of the toy and collectibles industry. Both industries share a lot of the same successful intellectual properties, making it an opportunity to appeal to specific pop culture fandoms and delight our customers in new ways. Great properties, such as Star Wars, Assassin’s Creed, Pokémon, Batman, and Halo all have roots in video games and also have an appeal as toys and other licensed goods. 2015 was an incredible year for the toy industry and for the expansion of toys and collectibles into all of our GameStop stores and the opening of physical retail locations in Australia and Europe and here in the U.S., in partnership with well-known online purveyor ThinkGeek. We are tremendously excited for a powerful lineup of video game titles releasing this year that will have crossover opportunities across a variety of merchandise categories, including toys and collectibles. Plus, with the strong trend of blockbuster movie releases and the continued success of certain game and TV franchises continuing into 2016, along with demand for product with ties to this content, we will have toys and collectibles for all of the major releases and pop culture phenomena. How do you engage consumers in store to drive sales? We work with our partners to offer products or deals that can be found only at GameStop, and our buy, sell, trade model remains a key driver for our customers. The ability to trade in the games and electronics they are no longer using and receive cash or credit toward the purchase of anything in our GameStop stores, including our toys and collectibles, is a powerful way for customers to afford even more of the items that they love. Did the popularity of Star Wars toys drive additional toy sales in the fourth quarter? Do you plan to dedicate as much space to Star Wars in 2016? We saw tremendous growth in our Star Wars-related licensed goods last year. Everything from action figures, to apparel, to lightsabers, to high-end statues, toys, and collectibles really worked for us based on the tremendous success of the recent film. Now in 2016, we continue to see great sales from The Force Awakens merchandise and we are already eagerly awaiting the release of the next Star Wars movie, as we will have a full range of licensed product and exclusive items that will appeal to our customers.

STEPHEN BERMAN

Chairman and CEO, Jakks Pacific In what new ways do you use social media to correspond directly with consumers? As you know, kids crave authenticity while also being entertained. With that in mind, Jakks partners with more than 300 key bloggers and influencers across all social channels throughout the year to give kids what they want—authentic, engaging content. Partnering with influencers such as The Mommy & Gracie Show, Disney Car Toys, and Tsum Tsum Marie, to name a few, gives us the opportunity to reach our consumers directly through a trusted source. This allows us to be more creative as well. For example, we encouraged a Tsum Tsum Tuesday Takeover, where we partnered with 25 different bloggers and influencers across all channels for the launch of our collectible line of Tsum Tsums. This proved to be highly effective for many reasons. By teaming up with key influencers and providing them with a “first look” into our newest items from the Tsum Tsum line, these users were able to create unique content for all their social media channels. Accumulating more than 40,000 YouTube views in one day, our influencers received a large amount of fan engagement across all channels. In using our dedicated campaign hashtags, the Tsum Tsum Takeover garnered more than half a million impressions just on Twitter alone. By running campaigns like this throughout the year, Jakks hopes to grow its influencer database and kick up the social media content for each brand and licensor. Star Wars drove toy sales in the fourth quarter. Which licenses will be hot in 2016? With excitement and anticipation behind the hot summer blockbuster movies, Batman, Superman, Marvel, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be hot this year. Star Wars and Frozen will continue to be hot licenses this year, as will Tsum Tsum. One thing we know to be true, Hollywood plays a major role in the toy industry. Many toys and games are tied to Hollywood blockbusters, which allows kids to continue the fantasy off screen during play time. The Jakks Big-Figs brand has many items tied to theatrical releases, including massive 20-inch figures ripped from the new Warner Bros. feature film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and a colossal 48-inch Leonardo figure from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Additionally, we have an amazing XPV Marvel RC Rollover Rumbler, straight from Captain America: Civil War.

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State of the

Industry LAURA ZEBERSKY

Chief Commercial Officer, Jazwares The toy industry was up approximately 7 percent in 2015. What are your expectations for 2016? Jazwares grew more than 20 percent in 2015 and we expect another great year for the entire industry in 2016. Consumers are thrilled with the diverse product offerings in the toy aisle; there seems to be a hot brand for everyone. The great lineup of content, including movies, TV shows, digital entertainment, and video games, coupled with high value, great quality, and innovative product in the toy aisle, will continue to drive purchases higher in 2016. What were your top-selling toys last year? Any surprises? Our top-selling toys of 2015 included all of our Peppa Pig items, but the Peppa Pig Deluxe House led the way along with our Minecraft figures. The pleasant surprise was how quickly our newest intellectual property, Tube Heroes, rose to the top of our point-of-sale data in a very competitive market for action figures. This brand cements the relevance of digital talent in the toy aisle. What categories drove sales in 2015? Which categories will flourish this year? We expect the preschool category to continue growing in 2016. Jazwares will be especially focused on preschool, and we expect significant growth in Peppa Pig and Chuck and Friends. New for 2016 will be the re-launch of Weebles. How have consumer expectations changed over the past few years? Consumers expect the best quality and value and don’t settle for less. The availability of product reviews and ratings truly empowers all consumers.

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JOHN GESSERT

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Toy Industry Association; President, American Plastic Toys Record numbers of shoppers used mobile devices to make holiday purchases in 2015. How will you address the needs of mobile shoppers this year? The shift of consumer spending via mobile devices from traditional brick-and-mortar stores has been shocking. We all knew that this was going to happen, but the shift in the Black Friday sales to Cyber Monday sales was more significant than most people expected. We did a complete re-work of our website in 2015. One of the mandates from the beginning was to make all content mobile friendly. Even as a smaller company with a relatively simple product line, we recognized the importance of being mobile device-friendly. We felt that it would hurt consumers’ first impression of us if we did not endeavor to make our web presence mobile-friendly. The toy industry was up approximately 7 percent in 2015. What are your expectations for 2016? While I am hopeful that the industry will have another banner year, I am reluctant to predict that 2016 will be as strong as this past year. There are several factors that will affect our industry in the coming year. The strength of licensing after the Star Wars hangover will be interesting. It will be very interesting to see how the Disney Princess license will be managed and promoted by Hasbro compared to Mattel. This shift will not only have effects on two of the world’s largest toy companies, but the ripple effects will also be interesting. I expect that 2016 will end with a small to moderate increase after being a bit of a roller coaster year due to the elections, the year after the Star Wars release, and new product success. We’re beginning to see more innovation and risk-taking in new product introductions than in recent years. Are you introducing any new products or lines that take play to a new level? Our product line and relative play patterns are relatively basic. However, we still see the need to be aggressive in investing in new products that push some of the traditional conceptions in the marketplace. We have a couple of new products that some might consider too “this” or “that” that have really resonated with the buyer during early presentations. Aside from the critical importance of new products to a toy company’s success, we are introducing new products that strive to take even the most basic play patterns to a new level.


State of the

Industry KIMBERLEY MOSLEY

TONY NORMAN

How did specialty toy retailers fare in 2015? Early indications—including an increase in overall toy sales for the industry as a whole— suggest that it was a strong year for specialty toy retailers, building on the 5 percent growth in holiday sales that independent retailers posted in 2014. Watch for reports of 2015 results—coming soon—based on data collected by Advocates for Independent Business. Consumers continue their use of both online and in-store shopping options. Good news for ASTRA retailers: Consumers still like shopping in a physical store. According to the 2015 Deloitte Holiday Survey, 93 percent of U.S. retail sales occur in stores. Although some consumers use the store as a showroom to test drive the product before purchasing online, more than two-thirds do the opposite—researching and then visiting the store to buy. Even online giants are exploring physical locations. Who would have thought we would see Amazon opening a brick-and-mortar store?

We’re beginning to see more innovation and risk-taking in new product introductions than in recent years. Will you introduce any new products or lines that take play to a new level? Innovation in toys is at the helm of everything we do. We pride ourselves on offering children an interactive and engaging experience with all of our toys and over the years we have successfully brought fun and exciting educational elements to all of our products. More recently, we believe we are taking this to the next level with our VEX Robotics by Hexbug line. Based on the widely popular VEX Robotics educational platform, we are bringing STEM education into the home for kids of all ages. This line uses robotics as a tool to engage as kids “learn by doing.” Alongside this, we will further develop water play with our new energetic AquaBot Wahoo as well as introduce our Battle Ground robots, which use I/R remote control and blast-off pieces.

What are your expectations for 2016? The shop local trend will pick up more momentum, especially with millennial parents. Shoppers will want more BOPUS (buy online, pick up in store) options, or at least be able to put an item on hold for pick up. Parents and educators will increasingly recognize the importance of play in healthy child development, and the toy industry will provide resources and leadership in making that happen—through in-store information, web content, and publications like ASTRA’s Make Way for Play booklet and the TIA’s Genius of Play initiative.

What were your top-selling toys/toy categories of 2015? Were there any surprises? 2015 was a fantastic year for Hexbug. Our nano V2 range remained strong as we introduced the updated Neon and Glowin-the-Dark products. Our best-selling items were the Battle Spider and Battle Spider Battle Ground. We believe this is due to the interactive elements of these products. Launched later in the year, the Battle Ground gave kids a creative play pattern, which allowed them to embark in combat with their Battle Spiders using the ground pieces to reflect the products’ laser light and secretly apprehend their opponent. The surprise line for us was our range of cat toys. We quickly realized a lot of people would do anything to keep their pets entertained as the nano Cat Toy and Mouse Cat Toy became our No. 1-selling products in terms of volume at Target.

President, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)

What challenges are facing the specialty toy industry and how is ASTRA addressing them? Shoppers continue to get more savvy and empowered. They walk into our stores armed with information about products. Our store owners and staff are armed with reliable knowledge about play and how to find the best fit between a child’s needs and the toy. We like to think of our store staff as “playfessionals.” In 2016, ASTRA will launch the Certified Play Expert (CPE) program to increase our retailers’ knowledge of child development and skills to help guide the purchase to the best toy with the highest play value. Consumers expect an online option for any purchase. They expect customer service excellence and a personalized customer experience. ASTRA will provide more technology-focused educational offerings to help members leverage their POS data to gain insights into buying behavior and to better understand their inventory. ASTRA will also provide members with more education on how to fulfill consumer needs with online options for purchasing and/or information.

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Co-Founder, President, and CEO, Innovation First

How do you think consumer expectations have changed over the past few years? Kids today are so much more tech savvy and there is more pressure than ever to present them with new ways to engage and play. Our forward-thinking approach to product development allows us to see the world from a kid’s perspective and the products we produce, especially the new VEX Robotics line, has given us the opportunity to go beyond kids’ expectations by not only giving them something they can use their hands to build, but also something that they can motorize and introduce that hot robotic element that kids are craving.


TOY FAIR 2016

JAY FOREMAN President and CEO, The Bridge Direct

The toy industry was up approximately 7 percent in 2015. What are your expectations for 2016? I’d anticipate steady or down. I think consumers have spent the “gasoline bonus” they got with low oil prices, and more importantly, between the malaise in China and its effect on the global markets and the election with the Republicans hammering the fact that “our country is a disaster,” consumer confidence is going to soften. That’s just my two cents on that. Also, there is no big driver like Star Wars or Shopkins in toys. We’re beginning to see more innovation and risk-taking in new product introductions than in recent years. Will you introduce any new products or lines that take play to a new level? We’re big on keeping play where it has always been—basic and generally on the floor or tabletop. We’ll let others make the next big innovation, which winds up to be the next big closeout, on their own. What were your top-selling toys/toy categories of 2015? Any surprises? Our biggest surprise was how well our Shopkins “Kinstruction” construction line sold through in the fourth quarter. Companies have tried to place girls’ construction and building into the market and, with the exception of Lego Friends, not many have succeeded. So regardless of how well Shopkins core toys performed, we were sitting on eggshells waiting to see sales results. Fortunately, the product blew out. Star Wars drove toy sales in the fourth quarter. Which licenses will be hot next year? I think Shopkins will stay hot, along with core Star Wars. There is a lot of buzz on the Trolls movie. I wish them luck. I tried to bring Trolls back 12 years ago, along with Hasbro’s Trollz line, and it just didn’t work. Of course with DreamWorks behind it, this just might be the time. What categories drove sales in 2015? Which categories will flourish this year? It will be interesting to see if drones are a flash in the pan or here to stay, along with hoverboards. Those were the two most dynamic and interesting new categories in 2015. I imagine they will stay top of mind.

RICHARD BARRY

Executive Vice President, Global Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys ”R” Us, Inc. How do you differentiate your toy department from the average retail toy department? As the world’s leading dedicated toy retailer with stores in more than 35 countries around the world, we compete on our status as the toy authority, offering a differentiated shopping experience through our many brands and broad assortment of toys, an unbeatable in-stock position, exceptional customer service, and toy expert employees to help shoppers find the right product for the child in their lives. One of our competitive advantages is our extensive and differentiated merchandise assortment, which includes private-label products and branded exclusives, providing our customers with exciting and unique products only available at Toys “R” Us. We believe strongly that these items are important to both margin and differentiation, but we also remain nimble to bring hot and new products to customers before they’re available anywhere else when possible, while also working closely with manufacturing partners big and small to identify truly innovative products that kids will love. Another factor that sets Toys “R” Us apart is our ability to bring products to life for our customers in a very engaging and visually appealing way with in-store destinations on a global scale. Last year, we were able to do that with the highly anticipated movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The excitement consisted of a year-long celebration in honor of the epic Star Wars saga, such as Star Wars feature shops containing hundreds of products based on the blockbuster franchise, and exclusive items that could only be found in our stores. We also have a partnership with Claire’s, a specialty retailer of jewelry and accessories, in select Toys “R” Us stores around the world, to bring an assortment of jewelry to our customers. Creating experiential moments for kids and families visiting our stores is also important, and for this reason, we regularly host fun and interactive in-store events with our valued partners, such as Hasbro, Lego, Mattel, and Activision. We are also very different from our online-only competitors, as we have the opportunity to leverage both our physical stores and e-commerce capabilities to provide a compelling shopping experience for our customers as we advance our omni-channel strategy. As we strive to fulfill our mission to be the best toy company in the world, we look forward to continuing to provide our customers with the latest toy innovations, unique shopping experiences, and ability to shop with us however and whenever they choose.

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State of the

Industry "GOOD" ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH

by BRUCE LUND, founder, Lund and Co. Invention LLC THE TOY INDUSTRY IS A LITTLE TINY industry in a world that is getting bigger all the time. Our industry is, if not besieged, then at least beset by myriad forms of competition for the hearts and minds—and dollars—of the consumer. The competition from video games, apps, movies, and many other entertainment and play options is formidable and continues to be more compellingly entertaining all the time. There is no doubt that the industry knows this. How do we succeed as an industry, as individual companies, in this sea of competition? Like so many things, it is simple, but not easy. I remember many years ago walking into the showroom of one of the great Spanish doll companies of that era, and on introducing myself, they commented on one of our most successful dolls, Baby Sip ‘n Slurp, with Hasbro. They thought it was a great doll. It made me realize, adding up the play features of our doll—drinking, mixing up the juice, the silly straw, blowing bubbles, the slurping noise, wetting, etc.—that a very simple equation all added up to a lot of great play value. It is that simple: just add it up. Give the

TMX Elmo

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product a lot of play value—not just one or two fun things, but more. While you may not get credit for it because all those play features can’t be depicted on the package, you will get credit for it at home, with the child, and with the parents once they see the child play with the toy. This is valuble because you cannot buy word-of-mouth promotion. In a world of extraordinarily compelling, novel, ever-new competition for a child’s attention, how else can we grab it and keep them having fun? Make your toys great. Recently, our new boys collectible line with Vivid Imagination—Fungus Amungus—has been well-received. In this product, we used the same formula from long ago: one toy with additive play value. Kids can watch them grow and move as if alive, plus they are fun to play with even if kids have just one character, plus they stick to things. It adds up to a great value with engaging and ongoing play, resulting in satisfied consumers. All of that equals success. There are also other ways, of course. Another big success was TMX Elmo, with Fisher-Price. Not only was TMX Elmo a great toy with more and bigger action than any toy of its ilk, but the marketing of the product leading up to its introduction was nothing short of genius. The marketing centered around the idea that it was “top secret.” They couldn’t tell consumers about it. What do consumers want to know about more than that which they are not allowed to know? We want what we can’t have. The closed box, looking more like a high-security vault containment than a toy package, revealed nothing about the product either, other than an infectious laugh when you lifted the flap.

So, to compete in today’s highly competitive retail area, we can tell the story of the product in a compelling new way, and then, of course, deliver on the promise with a compelling product. TMX Elmo did not disappoint on its way to becoming the fastest selling toy ever on the day of its release, and that year’s Toy of the Year (TOTY) winner. Similarly, our “TumbleTime Tigger,” also with Fisher-Price, actually did a cartwheel in the package. The presentation was captivating and never before seen. It took the in-package demo of toys to a new level—patented even. And the sales went through the roof. We need to be as innovative in marketing and packaging as our industry has always been with the product itself. It’s simple. Just create a genius level product, supported by genius level marketing, and add in some genius packaging solutions to sell the product on shelf, and voila: a successful, hit product. Like I said: It’s simple—it’s just not easy. How else do we succeed against the titans of entertainment that vie for kids’ imaginations and play time? There are other ways, of course, that you should consider not instead of, but in addition to, the great play value of additive play features described above. I can’t tell you all of them, of course, because then you wouldn’t need us anymore. » Bruce D. Lund has been a champion of the toy industry for more than 30 years. 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 Tummy Treats, Uno Roboto, Dino Construction Company, and more. Look for his new book, Bruce’s Beliefs, Everything I Know About Business (and Life) I Learned Playing with Toys, at createspace.com/3785943. Follow his blog at lundandcompany.com.


STAT SHOT

Succeed in the Drone Zone

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State of the

Industry

EMBRACE THE GRIND TO SUCCEED IN EXPORTS by STEVE REECE, CEO, Kids Brand Insight

THERE IS A BIG WORLD OUT THERE. Around 75 percent of the global toy market lies outside the borders of North America. Things change once you go beyond these borders—consumers, business culture, media, families, distribution and retail channels, and the attitude toward play all change. Unless your company has a raft of hot licensed products with global rights, or unless you create a global brand of your own, you will find that export sales is 50 percent pure grind, 30 percent quality products (that are easy to do business with), and 20 percent sheer luck. There are millions of toy products on sale worldwide at any point in time. More than a million products are on display at the Spielwarenmesse international toy fair in Nuremberg every year. Product selections resemble a massive washing machine spinning cycle, spitting out a few placements here and a few placements there. The reality is that you can be as strategic as you want, but decisions to take on new products or retail listings (once you move away from the aforementioned must-have licensed or power brand heroes) are—to a degree—arbitrary and driven by getting your product in the right place at the right time as much as by demonstrating PowerPoint charts indicating your global distribution touch points. In my opinion (based on tens of millions of dollars in toy sales in countries outside my own), the secret behind growing a successful export business is to “embrace the grind.”Go to more of the international toy fairs than your competitors, develop more international contacts than anyone else, and build relationships that can work for you for the rest of your career instead of dumping volumes of stock and running.

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To put all this in a formula: Export success = effective presentation x quality of product x number of products x number of companies presented to x frequency of presenting to those same companies. So, forget the glitz, forget the pretentious strategizing, and just embrace the grind! Having said that, cultural and market awareness is another area I would include in “effective presentation,” because understanding how your product or approach might need to change from one market to another is pivotal to maximize your chance of success. Those companies with an inflexible, one-size-fits-all mindset are the ones that want to do things exactly the same way in other countries despite huge disparity and fragmentation of the global toy market outside the U.S. For example, if you are used to doing more than 50 percent of your business with two mass-market retailers, you won’t find that kind of opportunity outside the U.S. Of course there are major retailers in other markets, but the volume potential is significantly lower. You may be able to sell a large volume via a single customer account in the U.S., but that number may be more like 10,000 to 30,000 in the UK, 5,000 to 10,000 in Holland, 10,000 to 30,000 in France, or 5,000 to 10,000 in Australia. We can see from these rough estimates that you have to build an international portfolio to make the numbers stack up versus domestic numbers. Another major point to be aware of is how toy and game distribution varies by market. For instance, the UK has Argos, its own distinct market leader in catalogue and online-based retail. Clearly in this kind of format, a thumbnail-sized image versus shelf presence is what sells a product. Or

take a look at Germany, where no single retailer or channel has the market leadership position. In fact, Germany is a fragmented distribution market. What you get in Germany is a very large independent “mom and pop” channel with thousands of small retailers at the heart of a fragmented, wholesaler- or field sales-driven market. Finally, a thought on chasing exotic distribution markets such as China, Japan, and India: While China and Japan make up the second and third largest toy markets globally, they are not easy to reach. Non-branded toys shipped directly from Chinese toy factories saturate China. Consumers do not always know western brands, so it can be an uphill battle to progress in the Chinese market. Japan is so culturally distinct that even major corporate toy companies use third-party distribution partnerships. While Japan is a large-scale established toy market, it’s probably the hardest major toy market for western companies to enter. India­is a fast-growing market, but with very little structured distribution. Up to 95 percent of the Indian market is in independent retail without any major buying groups to simplify distribution. In several cases, the low-hanging fruit for North American companies is often found in Europe. Therefore, in order to succeed in the global toy industry, the key is to embrace the grind! »

Steve Reece is the CEO of Kids Brand Insight, a consultancy to the global toy industry offering export sales; factory finding in China, India, and beyond; and consumer testing on toys and games.


STAT SHOT

Kids at Play: How Do They Spend Their Time and Money?

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SWEET SUITE

SWEET SUITE 16: MAKING WAVES IN NYC THE TOY INSIDER’S SEVENTH ANNUAL SWEET SUITE EVENT will take place on July 13 aboard the Majesty Yacht docked in New York City. Known as The Biggest Night of Play, the premiere toy party of the year will welcome more than 400 influential bloggers and vloggers and more than 100 members of traditional media to connect with toy companies in advance of the holiday shopping season. Sweet Suite will be the feature event at the third annual Blogger Bash, a two-day conference for experienced digital influencers featuring parties, exhibitions, and speed pitching sessions. Blogger Bash welcomes attendees into high-energy party atmospheres, giving them a chance to have fun while mingling with brands in a professional yet inviting setting. Last year at Sweet Suite, bloggers enjoyed one-on-one time with representatives from more than 75 of the hottest kids’ brands and properties on the market, including VTech, Activision, LeapFrog, Hasbro, Spin Master, Lego, TOMY, Disney, and more. #SweetSuite15 generated more than 95 million Twitter impressions, more than 8,000 original Instagram photos, and hundreds

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of blog post recaps. This year, Sweet Suite will give digital influencers and members of the press a chance to meet old and new friends while sipping on cocktails, feasting on sweet treats, and—best of all—playing with toys before they even hit the market. Enormous swag boxes will once again be shipped directly to attendees’ homes after the event, sparking a resurgance in social media impressions, and ensuring bloggers and journalists have products readily on-hand to review and share with their followers. With five different levels of sponsorship, there is something to fit every budget, allowing toy companies of all sizes to get in on the action and get products in the hands of the most influential press, bloggers, and vloggers. Get on board to party, play, and make an impression. » If you’re interested in learning more about these events, contact Laurie Schacht at thetoyinsidermom@gmail.com.


What’s

New MOOSE TOYS

With Moose Toys’ new Shopkins Season 4 Food Fair Sweet Spot Playset, kids can send their favorite Shopkins characters on a ride down the gumball machine, take a roll in the candy cart, or hang around on the lollipop stand. Each play set includes two exclusive candy bags and two exclusive Shopkins characters. The Shopkins Cupcake Queen Café from the Shopkins Season 4 Food Fair line allows kids to display their Shopkins or box up their favorite cakes for a take-home treat. This play set includes two exclusive cake boxes and two exclusive Shopkins.

SPIN MASTER

Joining Spin Master’s Zoomer line of interactive toys is Zoomer Chimp. Zoomer Chimp can follow and react to movements, respond to voice commands with tricks and sounds, run on four legs, or balance on two legs. His color changing eyes show how he’s feeling. Zooming Marshall is based on the TV series Paw Patrol, and features more than 80 missions and tricks, more than 200 Paw Patrol sounds, and a transforming pup pack with water cannons. He moves on his own, follows kids, and reacts to movements. Spin Master debuts its line of The Secret Life of Pets products, based on the animated film in which lost pets must overcome their differences to make their way home. Walking Talking Pets are motorized, talking characters that deliver core pet play. They have signature sound effects and motorized motion. The Deluxe Talking Pet Plush feature sound effects from the movie activated by squeezing or shaking. The Walking Max Feature Plush has a lifelike personality with two modes of play, walking moves, signature phrases, and a detachable leash. The Popples line will include the Talk & Pop Plush: Bubbles & Lulu, 11-inch soft plush that feature 13 sounds and phrases from the new Netflix original series. When kids turn them inside out, they become a rolling plush ball. Each plush in the Pop Open Plush Assortment pops open from a soft fuzzy ball into a plush friend. Kids can join the Popples at their favorite hangout with the Deluxe Treehouse Playset, featuring a different section for each character just like in the series. The set also includes a two-inch figure, swirling ramps, elevators, and swings, and is compatible with other Popples play sets. New Trucktown items include Twistin’ Trucks, which feature articulated wheel axels that bend and a midsection that allows the trucks to twist and turn. What’s Up Jack can stand vertically, twist, and comes with a handle for kids to pick him up. Spin Master adds to its Chubby Puppies line with Chubby Puppies Babies. The Pet Care Playset features an automatic elevator, a slide, a basket, and bubble bath. The Chubby Puppies Babies also automatically push the carousel around. Chubby Puppies Babies connect to vehicles and automatically push them along in the Vehicle Pack. Muzlings is an interactive toy that exudes silliness and has a friendly disposition. Kids can interact with three modes of play, create their own songs in music mode, and interact with Muzlings with more than 100 unique phrases. The Muzlings will also ask for a hug, blow kisses, and ask kids to sing along with them. Each Muzlings’ face lights up and talks with its animated mouth. Hatchimals are interactive creatures that hatch when kids release their magic. Spin Master also adds to its Tech Deck line of mini replica skateboards and mini BMX bikes. There are more than 200 Tech Deck Single fingerboards available and the Tech Deck BMX have front and rear brakes, an interchangeable mag, spoke tires, and real working cranks.

12-inch Talking Gidget Plush

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What’s

New HASBRO

With the Yo-kai Watch and medals, from Hasbro, fans can imagine summoning Yo-kai characters in real life. Kids can slide the Yo-kai medals into the watch and it will recognize each medal and play the character’s name and tribe song. The watch comes with two exclusive Yokai medals. Each Yo-kai Watch Medal Mystery Bag includes three Yo-kai medals with three ways to play: summon, collect, and discover. Kids can place the medal in the Yo-kai Watch to summon Yo-kai. Players can collect medals, and scan them into the Yo-kai Land app for more fun. Fans can show off their Yo-kai collection with the Yo-kai Medallium Collection Book. This set includes the collection book similar to Nate’s in the TV series, an exclusive Yo-kai medal, two feature tribe pages, clear collection book pages with slots to store Yo-kai medals, and a character sticker sheet. All Yo-kai products are designed for kids ages 4 and up. Hasbro will introduce Play-Doh Town, a new line of customizable figures and play sets designed for kids ages 3 and up that lets them build up their own towns and tell unique stories. Kids can use the Play-Doh Town Firehouse Playset’s fire stamper to create crazy fire scenes, then fill up the water cannon and hydrant to save the day with Play-Doh water spray. Kids can also press out a hairstyle for the firefighter figure using her hat, or create a variety of different hair accessories using the included half molds. Kids can take the fire pup for a walk or prepare fiery Play-Doh adventures, open the garage, and drive in the fire truck vehicle. The Play-Doh brand also jumps into desserts with two new play sets. Kids can roll out Play-Doh pie dough and use the molds to create fruit fillings in the Play-Doh Playful Pies Playset. They can whip up a big colorful batch of Play-Doh cakes with the Play-Doh Cake Party Playset and add swirls of Play-Doh frosting.

JUST PLAY

Just Play will introduce a new toy line featuring characters from the new Disney Junior series The Lion Guard. Kids can pretend to help Kion as he and his friends protect the Pride Lands with the new Pride Land Play Set, which features an exclusive Kion figure and other accessories. Additional 3-inch collectible figures, including limited-edition chaser figures, as well as small play sets such as Bunga’s Coconut Launcher and Beshte’s Boulder Catapult, will also be available. The 8-inch Pride Land Brawlers figures feature Kion, Bunga, and Beshte as interactive friends who say multiple phrases. The more they are together, more phrases are unlocked. The soft plush characters come in three sizes and assorted characters, as well as Kion and Bunga Light-Up Talking Plush. Kion lets out a roar and Bunga toots, and both feature the Mark of the Guard emblem on their arms. All toys in this line are for kids ages 3 and up. Pride Land Play Set

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What’s

New

GLITEK

The Glitek Glide features a user-replaceable battery back, LED lights, and a Bluetooth speaker. The Glide is CE-, FCC-, and RoHS-certified. It can drive up to 12 mph for 10 to 12 miles on one charge and has a Samsung Lithium-ion battery pack that is UL approved. It can hold up to 265 lbs. and has a charge time of about 90 to 120 minutes. The Glide is available in black, red, blue, and white.

CARTOON NETWORK

With a new animated series produced by Cartoon Network Studios and a full worldwide licensing program set to launch this year, The Powerpuff Girls are making a comeback. As master toy partner for the brand, Spin Master will launch a line of plush, figures, play sets, dolls, and role-play items at U.S. retailers this fall. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Deluxe Flip to Action Playset is a two-in-one play set that transforms from the girls’ bedroom to their superhero lab and includes 2-inch Bubbles and Professor Utonium figures. Addtionally, the Aura Powerpods with 2-inch Doll Assortment puts The Powerpuff Girls’ new Aura powers at the center of playtime. Each pack of Aura Powerpods includes a translucent aura power vehicle and a 2-inch figure of each girl, along with a 2-D villain character. The vehicles have a pullback feature that lets them zip around or break through walls. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the packs are available in Bubbles/Bunny, Blossom/Stapler, and Buttercup/Cannon. The Vectron Flying Powerpuff Girls Assortment lets each girl fly with the power of her spinning light trails. Each set includes a heart-shaped charging base and is designed for kids ages 5 and up. Cardinal Industries Inc. will create a full range of puzzles based on the characters and stories from the new series. Launching this fall at all retail channels, the line will be available for fans of all ages, with additional details and designs available in the coming months. In addition to its full assortment of Halloween costumes for kids, teens, and adults, Disguise will offer a line of role-play items focused on dress-up apparel and accessories inspired by The Powerpuff Girls. Available across all retail channels this fall, the collection includes dress-up sets, jewelry, makeup, wigs, and more. Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttercup will also make their vinyl toy debut through a new partnership with Funko, which will offer Pop! Vinyl figures, Mystery Minis blind boxes, a My Mojis collectible line, and Dorbz figures. The line will debut at Comic-Con International San Diego in July. Pressman Toy Corp. will produce a line of original board games, card games, and puzzles based on the franchise, which will be available throughout North America beginning in the fall. In spring 2017, A&A Global will add an assortment of products for vending machines, including stickers, temporary tattoos, toys, and other novelty items, and Toy Factory will launch products including plush toys, pillows, rubber balls, novelty hats, and more for outdoor amusement parks, family entertainment centers, and traveling amusement venues.

The Powerpuff Girls Aura Powerpods with 2-inch Doll Assortment

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What’s

New EYEBLACK JR.

EyeBlack Jr. gives kids a new way to show how much they love their favorite Nickelodeon characters—right on their faces. Athletic Strips feature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Bella and the Bulldogs, all on self-adhesive themed strips that kids can wear under their eyes just like the pros on the field. The latex-free strips use an easy-on, easy-off gentle adhesive. Each package features a different character with six unique pairs of under-the-eye athletic strips.

PLAYMATES TOYS

THE BRIDGE DIRECT

The Bridge Direct goes retro with a new line of Mini Arcade games featuring Pac-Man and Space Invaders. These arcade games are miniature versions of the originals with real-time gameplay. Players can use the joystick to move around the maze and steer clear of the ghosts in Pac-Man. Players must beat the invasion with the joystick and move the laser cannon across the screen in Space Invaders to fire at the aliens. These nostalgic games are designed for kids ages 8 and up.

Playmates Toys introduces its new T-Blasts line, bringing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ personalities and features to highly stylized blasters designed for kids ages 4 and up. With the Double Barrel and Cross Bow Blaster Assortment, kids can pull back and release to launch two oversized Ninja Turtles character darts, which are made of soft foam. This collection features Double Barrel Leonardo, Double Barrel Donatello, Double Barrel Raphael, and Cross Bow Michelangelo. Each blaster in the Quad-Blaster Assortment comes with four Ninja Turtles character darts. Kids can press the trigger to rotate the barrel, then pull back and release it to launch the darts. This collection includes Quad Blaster Leonardo, Quad Blaster Michelangelo, and Quad Blaster Raphael. The Talking Shell Cannon Assortment features blasters that say more than 10 Turtle battle phrases, and have battle sound effects. Each of these blasters comes with six Ninja Turtles character darts and a cartridge. This assortment includes Talking Shell Cannon Leonardo and Talking Shell Cannon Michelangelo. All of the blasters fire the character darts up to 40 feet. Also included in the line are Ninja Turtles Dart Refill Packs, offered in a variety of characters. The darts are compatible with all blasters across the line and feature kids’ favorite heroes and villains.

Cross Bow Michelangelo Blaster

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What’s

New EDGE BRANDS

Designed for kids ages 12 and up, Edge Brands’ Kore Trixter Pro Multi-Directional Scooter features a brake cable through the front pole that allows for 360-degree rotation. A reinforced steel peg beside the front wheel allows for tricks, and a switch lock folding mechanism allows kids to take their Trixter Pro anywhere. The Kore Double Edge Flexboard has a high-density deck with fiberglass rods that create a smooth ride, and quad wheels to improve stability. The Kore Black Mini BMX Bike is a stunt bike with a functional and compact design for kids ages 12 and up. With Narly Noggins Helmet Gear Accessories, kids can decorate their helmets with fun accessories including a shark fin, dragon wings, and a unicorn horn. There are 12 different Noggins for kids to collect.

TOMY

Kore Trixter Pro Multi-Directional Scooter

TOMY will introduce a new line of toys based on the movie Zootopia, set for release in theaters on March 4. The Police Station Playset features figures of Clawhauser and Safety Squirrel and a helicopter. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the play set projects images on the Police Station computer screen and features electronic lights and sounds. Judy’s Police Cruiser is a vehicle based on Judy Hopps’ Police Cruiser in the film and includes Judy and Law-Breaking Mouse figures. The line also features a core figure line, with articulated collectible figures in twopacks, and a small plush line, featuring Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde, Mr. Otterton, Finnick, Mr. Big, and Assistant Mayor Bellwether. TOMY will expand its Sonic Boom line with RC Sonic, which features a Sonic figure, a hoverboard, and a J-turn remote control, allowing kids to control Sonic’s tricks and spins. The Sonic v. Dr. Eggman is a set that features an articulated Sonic figure and his hoverboard, which doubles as a launcher. Sonic can battle the articulated Dr. Eggman figure and his vehicle. Kids can launch Sonic’s hoverboard into Dr. Eggman’s vehicle and watch it burst open. TOMY will also expand its Miles from Tomorrowland line with a focus on the series’ second season’s theme: Galatech. The Galactech Stellosphere is a play set that is three ships in one and features an XVR system, lights, sounds, and phrases from the show. The Galatech Exo-Flex Arm lights up and bends, making kids feel like they’ve blasted off straight into the series. The line will also feature Galactech Maximum Miles and Maximum Merc figures, and Galatech Basic Figures, which feature the entire Callisto family and Merc. TOMY’s Good Dinosaur line expands with Ultimate Arlo, a 13-inch Arlo figure that interacts with the 3-inch Spot figure. He can walk toward Spot, communicate with Spot when he’s on his back, and react when Spot bites his tail. The line also includes Motion Dinosaurs, which are stylized battery-operated dinosaurs that walk. TOMY will also help celebrate Pokémon’s 20th anniversary this year with 8-inch plush and 2-inch figures of favorite characters. Featured Pokémon toys include the Throw ‘n Pop Poké Ball, which pops open upon impact and includes a 2-inch Pikachu figure. The Pikachu Feature Plush moves its ears, makes cute sounds, and lights up when kids hug it. Zootopia Nick Wilde small plush

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What’s

New

HEXBUG

Hexbug will expand its line of AquaBot robotic fish with a new school of underwater deepsea divers. The new Sea Creature energetically swims, dives, and spins through water. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Sea Creature features a twist-to-turn on and off feature. Equipped with a high-speed propeller, the aquatic swimmer explores its environment by swimming around at various depths. New to the line of VEX Robotics construction kits is the VEX Robotics Zip Flyer. Kids can send the propellers more than 30 feet into the air. The faster kids pull the zip stick, the faster and higher the propeller flyers go. Kids can build the model in two different ways. The VEX Robotics Snap Shot lets kids build their own handheld blaster. The Snap Shot fires four plastic balls more than Hexbug nano Nitro 10 feet, features open internals so kids can see the planetary gears, and has working shock absorber style springs. Kids will learn about gear ratios and spring energy while they play. Both VEX Robotics kits are designed for kids ages 14 and up. Hexbug nano Nitro is a collection of colorful bugs that are twice as fast on the ground as nano v2s. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Hexbug nano Nitros are available in multiple colors. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Battle Bots are battling robots. Kids can wage combat with Ripsaw, which has a spinning horizontal blade, and Rhino, which has a flipping, lifting arm that can be activated from the infrared remote control to send parts flying. After each match, kids can reassemble the robots in preparation for another match.

PLAY VISIONS

Floof, from Play Visions, is a new compound that is light, soft, and easily moldable. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, Floof looks like snow, feels like a marshmallow, and molds like clay. Play Visions will roll out Floof creativity sets, including Mr. & Mrs. Snowman, Polar Babies, Mini Snowball Maker, Sasquatch Target Game, S’mores Party, and Sunny Day Clouds. Each set includes 120 to 180g of Floof and various molds, shapes, and pieces. Bag O Dirt is artificial play dirt that feels like real dirt, without the real mess. Kids can enjoy a personal garden, dig up treasure, or pick at fake bugs. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the set comes with 2 pounds of play dirt and assorted gardening tools. Designed for teens and adults ages 14 and up, Soothing Sands is a desktop Zen Garden for home or work environments. The soft sand helps people escape the tensions of everyday stress, while the sculpting tools and display pieces help clear the mind of chaos. Soothing Sands Inner Reflections and Soothing Sands Aroma Essence each contain 1 pound of sand, a rock with an inscription, wood sculpting and massaging tools, essential oils, and a bamboo display tray. Snowtime Anytime snowballs are made of a soft material that feels like snow without the mess or slush. Play Visions will add new sets, such as the Polar Ball Bat & Snowball Set and the Snowtime Anytime Snowball Blaster to give kids new opportunities to engage in snowball fights inside. Chameleon Skinz accessory tape is temperature sensitive and changes color as it’s touched. New colors include green to yellow, orange to yellow, charcoal to pearl, navy to aqua, and purple to pink. Chameleon Skinz are designed for kids ages 5 and up.

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What’s

New BLIP TOYS

Based on the new Disney Junior animated short films, Whisker Haven: Tales with the Palace Pets, the Disney Palace Pets Sweetie Tails, from Blip Toys, are candy-colored collectibles that are all dressed up for the Confection Costume Contest. Rouge, Slipper, and Daisy feature long rainbow tales, multi-colored candy stripes, and a three-piece treat-shaped fascinator. These new Disney Palace Pet figures are designed for kids ages 4 and up. Street Shots combine vehicles and blaster play for kids ages 5 and up. The Street Shots blasters fire the vehicles at scale speeds of more than 500 mph. The included accessories launch the vehicles up walls and over furniture.

Disney Palace Pets Sweetie Tails

JAKKS PACIFIC

Designed for kids ages 4 and up, Ba-BOOM-ies Blind Packs, from Jakks Pacific, feature a hidden Mylar balloon surprise that explodes right out of the blind pack pouch. Each Ba-BOOM-ies balloon features different licenses and characters that kids can collect and trade, such as Marvel, WWE, Minions, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ba-BOOM-ies balloons stay inflated for months and have a loop on top, allowing kids to hang and display their collections. The Disney Princess Little Kingdom Makeup and Jewelry Collection lets kids adorn themselves with jewelry and kid-friendly makeup while collecting Disney Princess Little Kingdom characters and their fairytale friends. The Disney Princess Little Kingdom Makeup Set lets kids choose between four makeup types, including lip gloss, body glitter, hair mascara, and nail polish; and seven princess characters, including Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Aurora, and Snow White. Each set includes one princess and two refills and is designed for kids ages 5 and up. Play sets, vanities, jewelry boxes, and more based on the princesses are also available. Tsum Tsum (translated to “stack stack” in Japanese) is a collection of Disney characters that kids can collect, stack, and display. Jakks’ collection of collectible figurines in three different sizes features characters from multiple Disney properties. The collection includes single packs, three-packs, nine-packs, a holiday assortment, and a portable play case. All of the figures are designed for kids ages 6 and up.

Tsum Tsum collectible figurines

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What’s

New

ENTERTAINMENT ONE

Entertainment One’s Peppa Pig will expand with new product offerings this year. Master toy licensee Jazwares adds plush, figures, vehicles, and play sets for kids ages 2 and up to its collection. The Muddy Puddles Family Pack is a set of plush characters featuring Peppa, her family, and her friends. When kids squeeze the toys’ tummies, they snort with laughter. Jazwares’ line of building sets expands with Peppa Pig’s Treehouse Construction Set and Peppa Pig’s House. The 39-piece Peppa Pig’s Treehouse set includes Peppa Pig and Rebecca Rabbit figures, and the 97-piece Peppa Pig’s House set includes Peppa, George, Mummy, and Daddy Pig. Blind Bag Figures will be sold separately and each mystery bag will contain one of 24 character figures from the series, all of which are compatible with the construction sets. Parragon, a new Peppa Pig licensee, introduces the Peppa Pig Happy Tin, a keepsake tin that includes three books for coloring, sticker, and activity fun; four felt-tipped pens; and a double-sided poster to color. The Make It Together Peppa Pig Craft Tube includes everything kids need to make a Peppa Pig sock toy. Montco offers the Peppa Pig Pop-Outz! Grab Bag, an activity kit featuring two 6by 9-inch coloring boards, three washable markers, and a 4- by 6-inch sticker sheet with 25 paper stickers. Each character is die-cut to pop out and stand. Suitable for kids ages 3 and up, Pop-Outz! Special Delivery features four coloring boards with 10 pop out characters and icons die-cut with pop-out stands, a background scene in full color with stand-up feet, 10 washable markers, and a sticker sheet. Peppa Pig’s Treehouse Construction Set

PARTY ANIMAL

Party Animal Inc. debuts WWE TeenyMates, a line of 1-inch mini collectible figures. The first series includes 32 figures of WWE Superstars and Legends such as John Cena, The Rock, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. WWE TeenyMates are sold in blind packs, each of which contains two WWE figures, a collector sheet, and two double-sided puzzle pieces that feature a mini-collector poster on one side and a wrestling ring on the other. Each TeenyMates Big Sip character cup features a unique 3-D NFL character design available in a variety of team uniforms. The 16 oz cups are BPA-free, made with 100-percent safe materials, and feature a straw and stop cap. Fans of NFL TeenyMates will soon be able to take their collection on the go with the TeenyMates Carry Case. The carry case is a foldable football field play set with room to store TeenyMates and accessories. Party Animal also introduces a new line of mini collectibles designed for football fans ages 4 and up. Mad Lids are mini collectible caps that look like 2-inch versions of official New Era NFL caps. Mad Lids will be available in blind packs that contain two mini caps, a collector sheet, and two display stands. Fans can collect all 32 NFL team caps, including hard-to-find rares. TeenyMates Big Sips

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What’s

New

OFFICE OXYGEN

Office Oxygen has launched Gyrobi, a toy that spins and twists like a gyroscope for anyone with the urge to fidget. It is a handheld manipulative object that can be used with or without looking down at it to help develop fine motor skills and fidget constructively. This toy is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Loopeez is another fidget toy that users can manipulate without looking down. Simply turn the sparkly beads over and over the dual axes of the rings in an infinite loop. The colored curved pieces are molded to fit perfectly in one hand or two. Left: Loopeez. Right: Gyrobi.

LITTLE KIDS

Little Kids’ Candylicious Bubbles line consists of edible bubble solution in assorted flavors including cherry, grape, bubble gum, and Tutti Frutti. The line features the Candylicious Bubbles Assortment, Candylicious Bubbles Character Assortment, and the Candylicious Bubble Machine. The Fubbles Fubblezooka is a new motorized bubble blaster. Kids attach the reusable bubble bottle to the blaster, pull the trigger, and blast continuous big bubbles. Kids can pour bubbles into the front of the Fubbles Bubble Blastin’ Machine, push the button, and the moving wands blow continuous bubbles. The Junk Ball Pro-Pass Football features a hollow core for maximum distance, three wings for tighter spirals, and a dimpled grip for easy throwing and catching. The Junk Ball Accu-Strike Soccer Ball features raised scuffmarks for ultimate ball control. The soft foam material also makes it a great training tool for heading and juggling. The Night Flyers Airbender is easy to catch and throw. Kids can grip the wing, aim, and release with a flick of the wrist. Kids can spin the Night Flyers Airstream by the tail and release, or throw using the front like a football. With the Peanuts Giant Wand Assortment, kids can blow big bubbles with Peanuts Movie characters. The Peanuts Snoopy 8oz Bubbles features a Snoopy’s doghouse bottle shape with a Snoopy and Woodstock wand. The Snoopy Action Bubble Blower makes it easy to blow continuous bubbles when kids pull back on Snoopy’s head and a stream of bubbles flies from his mouth. Nickelodeon Flex Flyers are lightweight, flexible discs that are easy to throw and catch, featuring Marshall from Paw Patrol or Leonardo from The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in full-color raised relief. Nickelodeon Bubble Machines are easy and fun for kids—simply fill the bubbles into the machine, press the button, and the wands blow continuous bubbles. They feature styling from Paw Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bubble Guppies, and Dora the Explorer. Kids can help Chase save the day with the Paw Patrol Action Bubble Blower. Press the star on Chase’s pup tag to launch streams of continuous bubbles from his tennis ball launcher. Each bottle topper in the Paw Patrol Bottle of Bubbles Assortment is a fully decorated and sculpted 3-D figure head, featuring Marshall, Chase, or Skye. Paw Patrol Water Squirters are the perfect way to save the day with the Paw Patrol pups. Kids can squeeze and submerge the water squirter under water, and release to fill, take aim, and squirt. They are available in Marshall, Chase, and Skye styles. Squeeze and submerge the end of the Paw Patrol Water Blasters under water, then pull back on the pup’s head to fill. Take aim and push the head back into the tube to blast the water. They are available in Marshall and Chase styles. Each Paw Patrol Water Sprinkler features a fully sculpted Marshall figure, blasts water up to 10 feet high, attaches to any standard garden hose, and easily secures into the lawn. Snoopy Action Bubble Blower

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What’s

New

BERG

Berg Buzzy Racing

The Berg Buzzy Racing, from Berg USA, allows kids to pedal forward and backward. Designed for riders ages 2 to 5, the four wheels keep kids stable and the EVA tires prevent flats. The seat and steering wheel are adjustable, allowing the cart to grow with kids. The Berg Choppy combines a classic style with comfort and functionality. Designed for kids ages 3 to 8, the Berg Choppy features an adjustable steering column and seat and a compact size for easy storage. Kids will ride in style with the metallic orange and tribal designs.

JAZWARES

Marvel-licensed vehicles join Jazwares’ Lil’ Chuck & Friends Mini Vehicles line of 20 trucks for on-the-go fun. Chuck & Friends Talkin’ Spider-Man Vehicle is a talking vehicle featuring phrases and sounds from your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Kids simply press the Spider-Man logo to activate sounds, and watch as its eyes light up. Made out of soft, chunky plastic, this larger vehicle is perfect for safer play with little ones. Animal Jam, in association with National Geographic, is the No. 1 online social game for kids with more than 40 million registered players worldwide. Kids can jump into the world of Jamaa with a line of collectibles and play sets by Jazwares. Animal Jam characters—including Penguin, Bunny, Monkey, and more—will be available as collectible toys with matching accessories so kids can dress up, trade, and show off their favorite Animal Jam avatars and pets. A limited-edition Light Up Ring reveals a secret pattern on select characters. Kids will also be able to decorate the dens or have a dance party in the Club Geoz Ultimate Dance Party play set. The Weebles brand returns with a new line of unique friends who share similar values, learning the qualities of friendship together. All six Weebles friends feature a weighted round base and 3-D heads and arms. Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down. Kids can have them drive in their wobbly connecting cars and play in the Wobble Around Treehouse. Jazwares’ Peppa Pig toy collection features a range of preschool items, including plush, figures, toy vehicles, and play sets. Busy builders can create their own Peppa world with construction sets small and large, including a Treehouse set, Peppa’s House set, and more. Twenty-four blind bag figures designed to work with all construction sets will also be sold separately. Kids can squeeze the plush characters’ tummies for extra fun or collect Peppa and all her friends with fun themed accessories. Kids’ favorite digital stars on YouTube come to life in action figure form in the Tube Heroes DanTDM Diamond Dimension Pack. Part of the next wave of collectible Tube Heroes, the pack comes with a 2.75-inch posable action figure of DanTDM, his best buddy and scientist Dr. Trayaurus, a moving mine cart that fits both characters, and DanTDM’s arsenal of removable weapons. There are 18 Tube Heroes to collect this year.

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Wendy Weeble


What’s

New TUCKER TOYS

Tucker Toys’ new E-Z Grip Ball Jr. bounces on any surface, including sand, water, and grass. The tough outer web combined with a durable, inflatable inner ball provides high-bounce performance. The clingy, textured grip makes for easy throwing, catching, and kicking. It inflates to 4.25 inches in diameter and is soft, durable, and waterproof. The E-Z Grip Football is tough and has a textured grip, but also helps with precision for the perfect field goal or punt. The E-Z Grip Soccer Ball is ideal for bouncing and kicking on any surface. The grip not only helps throwing precision, but it also keeps feet from slipping on the ball’s surface. Phlat Ball AeroFlyt is a streamlined, more aerodynamic update of the Phlat Ball line. Tucker Toys’ Trick Shots are collectible action figures that pack the power of a pro, challenging kids to become the master of the Trick Shot. They can perform across the room, bounce off walls, and fly into the included goals. These figures fit in backpacks and pockets. Kids can collect them and play with their friends to see who can make the craziest Trick Shot.

ALEX BRANDS

Alex Brands will expand the Poof line with the Poof Turbo Tunnel Ball and Fling Flyer, each designed for ultimate throwing ability. Ultra-Tek Destiny and Outlaw blasters are new to the BuzzBee Toys line. The Ultra-Tek Destiny is a clip-fed, fully automatic dart blaster that blasts 10 darts per second up to 72 feet away. The Outlaw is an air pressure water blaster that can shoot water up to 42 feet away.

Phlat Ball AeroFlyt

TANGLE

Tangle introduces the Tangle NightBall Basketball, with a unique Matrix design that makes the ball easy to grip, dribble, bounce, and shoot. With motion-sensor LEDs built right into the ball, kids can shoot hoops anytime—day or night. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the NightBall Basketball is available in green and orange. The Tangle NightRacket has bright LEDs that light up the racket in cool patterns, making nighttime racket play possible. The set includes a light-up Matrix ball and a light-up birdie, enabling two different play patterns. The NightRacket is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Tangle NightRacket

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Property

Profile

THE GOLDEN AGE OF PEANUTS IS NOW PEANUTS, THE GLOBALLY BELOVED brand created by Charles Schulz in 1950, enjoyed its biggest year to date in 2015, a year that also marked the 65th anniversary of the Peanuts gang. (Remarkably, Charlie Brown still doesn’t look a day older.) The brand—which enjoys an unprecedented 99 percent consumer recognition and 3 billion social media impressions annually—created its biggest U.S. retail footprint ever, with programs at Target, Toys “R” Us, Macy’s, The Gap, Pottery Barn Teen, Safeway Albertsons, Barnes & Noble, and QVC; halo partners such as Le Sportsac, Coach, and Burton; and promotional partnerships including McDonald’s, Teleflora, U.S. Postal Service, and Unicef. The Peanuts Movie, the brand’s first-ever 3-D CGI-animated feature film, became the No. 1 family film in the world for three consecutive weeks, received a Golden Globe nomi-

Flying Ace Snoopy

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nation for Best Animated Feature Film, and earned a coveted 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. Its box office grosses are approaching $250 million worldwide. Peanuts’ global licensing program, featuring more than 1,000 licensees worldwide, continues to be anchored by long-term partners including MetLife, Hallmark, Cedar Fair, ABC, and Universal Studios Japan. In particular, 2015 was a banner year for Peanuts toys, with Just Play’s Happy Dance Snoopy feature plush leading the charge, and multiple toy awards showered upon the brand, including the Toy Insider’s Top Holiday Toys. As this year takes off like a Flying Ace, a wealth of exciting new content and marketing programs promise to create vast opportunities for Peanuts licensees and retail partners worldwide. A series of new animated shorts based on the Peanuts comic strip will air in the U.S. on Cartoon Network and Boomerang this year. Toy licensees are developing products in key categories, including figures, play sets, plush, feature plush, crafts and activities, games, puzzles, vehicles, R/C, and seasonal toys. And following the extraordinary success of The Peanuts Movie, a fall packaging refresh will focus on Peanuts CGI—the fresh, bold style with which kids everywhere identify. “This is the most exciting time for Peanuts in years,” says Leigh Anne Brodsky, managing director, Peanuts Worldwide. “Between the creativity of the movie, the celebration of timeless Peanuts milestones, and the fun marketing events we have in store, it’s truly a golden age of Peanuts.” Among the upcoming Peanuts celebrations and initiatives are the 50th anniversaries of the Charlie Brown’s All Stars and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown TV specials and, in 2017, of the perennially popular stage show, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Original content initiatives this year

will include celebrating “The Many Faces of Snoopy,” and a nonpartisan voter-education collaboration with Rock the Vote. Of course, Peanuts means kids and kids mean… toys! This year’s toy line features fun and innovative new products from: • Just Play, featuring TV-driver Flying Ace Snoopy feature plush, Snoring Snoopy feature plush, and a new line of Peanuts blind bag figures, plush, and figure sets celebrating The Many Faces of Snoopy, including Flying Ace, Masked Marvel, Flashbeagle, and Joe Cool. Back by popular demand, Happy Dance Snoopy will also be available next year, the 60th anniversary of Snoopy’s happy dance! • Little Kids, including Peanuts bubble toys and bubble wands. • Ao Jie, featuring junior sports seasonal toys, such as bowling sets, racquet sets, flying discs, and jump ropes. • Palamon, including updated Peanuts character costumes for infants, toddlers, children, and adults. • Cra-Z-Art, featuring the best-selling, newly redesigned Snoopy Sno Cone Machine, originally introduced in 1979 and named by Time magazine in 2011 as one of the 100 best toys of all time. • Sakar, including youth electronics, including selfie sticks, flip cameras, Bluetooth speakers, and walkie talkies featuring the Many Faces of Snoopy artwork. “In October of 1950, when Charles Schulz launched his comic strip in just seven newspapers, he introduced the world to wise, witty, philosophical, and ingenious little characters—and they quickly became a worldwide phenomenon,” says Brodsky. “In 2016, we’re proud to celebrate Schulz’s creation with an array of content and products that capture the magic of the Peanuts gang in brand-new ways. We invite licensees from around the world to join us and be part of the magic of Peanuts.” »


TOY FAIR 2016

THE SCENT OF

SUCCESS STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, THE original doll with the sweet scent, continues to delight girls of all ages as she wraps up her first year with her new owner, Iconix Brand Group. Strawberry Shortcake and her signature scent celebrated another holiday season last year. Strawberry’s toy licensee, The Bridge Direct, launched a vintage program that

retro soft doll, from The Bridge Direct

capitalizes on the popular retro trend that has taken over the toy aisle in recent years. This past holiday season, the retro-style 35th anniversary 6-inch Strawberry Shortcake doll—which will look familiar to many of today’s moms who grew up with the beloved red-headed doll—was the top performer on a Target retro endcap. For fall 2016, The Bridge will continue to promote the nostalgia of the brand, with an expanded line of vintage toys, including Then & Now Doll Assortments, which will feature Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Muffin, and Raspberry Torte in both their 1980s iterations and today’s look, and a retro three-pack that will include Strawberry Shortcake, Lemon Meringue, and Lime Chiffon. The Bridge will also expand its vintage ragdoll line to include Lemon Meringue and Raspberry Torte. Iconix is excited to announce that Funko has signed on to produce a line of its popular and collectible Pop! Vinyl figures based on the vintage look of the dolls, reimagined for the Pop! aesthetic, as well as a line of Mystery Minis. These collectible figure lines will be released in the third quarter of this year. Success in the digital sphere has long been a part of the Strawberry Shortcake strategy, anchored by the brand’s partnership with Montreal-based app developer Budge Studios. Strawberry’s extensive app library has seen more than 86 million downloads to date and is the No. 1 Girls iOS brand for the last three quarters. Candy Garden, the first of four Strawberry apps that Budge will release this year, debuted in January. The first season of “Strawberry Shortcake: Beyond the Box,” aired on the brand’s YouTube channel at the end of 2015. The humorous, 1- to 3-minute shorts feature the doll line in clever, stop-motion animation. Season

6-inch retro doll, from The Bridge Direct

two, which will feature even more antics, will premiere this spring. Strawberry Shortcake’s YouTube channel boasts more than 27 million minutes watched per month. Strawberry Shortcake continues to see international success, particularly in Latin America. Habibs, the quick-service restaurant in Brazil, featured Strawberry Shortcake friendship jewelry premiums in its kids’ combo meal from November through February. Brazilian fast-fashion giant Riachuelo will launch its second collection of girls’ outerwear in April. “Since taking over the stewardship of the Strawberry Shortcake brand, we feel confident that we’re in a good place to revitalize and take the property to a new level,” says Carolann Dunn, vice president of licensing for the Iconix Brand Group entertainment division. “Strawberry Shortcake is rich in art and story, has a proven play pattern for success in girls toys, and is the only girls brand with a signature scent and flavor profile. We are excited to leverage her brand attributes on a line of consumer products, promotions, and halos that are organic to the brand, while simultaneously developing new and compelling content for girls on channels, platforms, and screens where they consume." »

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What’s

New

PERCYVITES

PercyVites, a video personalization platform for people of all ages, offers an experience in which fans can immerse themselves in their favorite characters’ worlds by inserting their own pictures, party details, and messages directly into various fun clips of animated series and personally addressing them to each friend and family member. The Percy Party Dashboard allows for easy organization of party details and RSVPs, simplifying the party planning process for parents and kids. New licenses for this year include Sonic, Franklin, Build-A-Bear, Shopkins, and more.

DYNACRAFT

The Dynacraft 24V Black Ice Drifter features a twist-grip throttle that makes it easy to reach speeds up to 12.5 mph, then kids can stop pedaling and start drifting. The Black Ice Drifter features a durable steel frame, a low comfortable seat with a wide base to keep riders firmly grounded, and front wheel pegs that help kids’ feet stay in place. The drifter sports a black-on-black look with a glossy finish and shiny alloy accents. The pneumatic front tire features a fierce tread and the rear tires are equipped with PVC sleeves to keep kids sliding and drifting. Designed for kids ages 13 and up, the Black Ice Drifter features a hand brake and can hold a maximum weight of 154 lbs. The Dynacraft Hello Kitty 6V Kitty Kar features a custom body style in the shape of Hello Kitty.This stylish set of wheels includes the full Hello Kitty face in the front and a Hello Kitty embossed steering wheel with working sounds. An MP3 cord and speaker allows kids to cruise along to their favorite tunes. The car features bright pink accents, and kids can cruise up to 2.5 mph. The ride-on features Hello Kitty’s signature bow, which lights up. The vehicle’s contoured, comfy seat and adjustable play seat belts offer peace of mind to parents. Dynacraft 24V Black Ice Drifter

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What’s

New DGL TOYS

DGL Toys will add new innovation to its Quadrones line of branded drones, expanding on last year’s line of Quads. Each drone in the line offers the standard features of most drones that are on the market from basic trick performance drones to first-person view cameras to Wi-Fi-enabled drones. DGL Toys has Quadrone also recently launched a dedicated website for the brand. The company will also launch its new line of Gemlins collectible character gems. Gemlins come in family names such as Aquamarine, Ruby, Emerald, Topaz, and more, and are sold in-four packs, fivepacks, and 10-packs. There are more than 100 Gemlins to collect in the first series, and each Gemlin has its own unique face, details, and history. Kids can also make bracelets and necklaces with the Gemlins they collect. Gemlins play sets are also available. DGL Toys has also signed the license for Yo-kai Watch for flying toys, sound banks, drawing projectors, remote-control toys, and room guards. Created by Michele Goren, Knolly Nibbles is a lovable mouse with no tail and a big heart. Her message is to teach kids that being different is not just OK—it’s normal. Created eight years ago, Knolly Nibbles soon grew into an icon within the Goren family and eventually captured the hearts of some key industry animators with backgrounds at Dreamworks and Disney. After unsuccessfully attempting to launch the property on her own, Goren discovered the crowdfunding website ToyBacker.com and launched a crowdfunding campaign to get initial product capital raised and get awareness of the IP. DGL Toys noticed Knolly Nibbles, took it on as a new IP, and has now signed Knolly Nibbles for a full line of comprehensive toys, including electronic plush, remote-control toys, and impulse price point goods.

Knolly Nibbles

FUTURE OF PLAY

MagicMeeMees, from Future of Play, are little collectible creatures that speak to each other. Each figure features proprietary technology that allows kids to discover their fun personalities. Future of Play has partnered with Nickelodeon to create a new gaming platform featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). Kids can bring the heroes and villains of TMNT into head-to-head battle with the TMNT Battlesnap Sewer Slam Game and TMNT Battlesnap Mutagen Mayhem Game.

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What’s

New

WILD REPUBLIC

Light Blazers, from Wild Republic, are light-up sabers that come with six different accessories that allow kids to assemble their own personalized toy. With three different light options that can be assembled from six variable part options in multiple colors, kids can create more than 80,000 different combinations.

PACIFIC PLAY TENTS

The Rocket Ship, from Pacific Play Tents, features large mesh windows to see the stars and planets. It has wings, a Velcro door, and features a built-in waterproof floor for outdoor play. The sturdy, durable Heart Girl Dome Tent can be used alone or can be combined with the Heart Girl Tunnel. The tunnel features extra padding over the wires to protect kids’ knees. The 10-foot Heart Girl Parachute provides handles for up to 12 kids to play. These products also come with a Heart Girl storybook. The Ice Cream Truck comes fully equipped with mesh windows, inside pockets, and an order counter with a roll-up window so kids can serve their customers. This ice cream truck provides enough space for multiple kids to play in and an outlet for imagination. The Vintage Teepee features chic graphics and an inside cotton lining of stars. With a window for extra air ventilation and for parents to see inside, the tent Ice Cream comes with four sturdy poles and four hanging flags at the top. There is also a large entryTruck way, so kids will stay cool while playing and using their imaginations. No floor is attached, so parents can easily put a small table, chair, or sleeping bag inside. The Woodland Teepee is illustrated with friendly animals glistening in gold. With an elegant design and gold accents, this teepee is made of durable cotton canvas fabric and sturdy bamboo wooden poles. The lightweight, foldable Low Profile Chairs feature bright colors and a padded armrest. Kids can sit comfortably indoors or outside. Tatami Mats are mildew-resistant, so they can be used for both outdoor and indoor play. These durable mats fold up and can be carried with the built-in handles. They are available in red, blue, or black. The Wild Flowers Teepee features a pink and white cotton lining, a roll-up window, and four little flags at the top. The teepee is made of durable cotton canvas and real bamboo poles. Cozy Shades help soften the light for a calmer space. Adults can cover fluorescent lights with these Cozy Shades, which fit over standard ceiling fixtures with sturdy, sewn-in magnets. Cozy Shades are also great for specialized learning environments and help children with visual sensory issues. They are made of flame-retardant polyester for safety and come in a set of four.

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What’s

New UNCLE MILTON

Uncle Milton will launch its classic Ant Farm toy with a new look to celebrate its 60th Ant-iversary and the company’s 70th anniversary. Uncle Milton will also launch Virtual Explorer, a product line that links classic toys with virtual reality, allowing kids new ways to play. The Star Wars Science line will continue to expand with a new version of the 20Q game, in which fans of different ages can test their knowledge of their favorite licenses. The In My Room brand will expand with new licenses offering fresh ideas for kids’ room décor. Uncle Milton will also launch the Blo ’n Glow light-up balloon line to offer kids new light-up experiences and the I Bug You line of figures, plush, and gift packs.

SUPER IMPULSE

Super Impulse’s Precision RBS, the new Rubber Band System, is a unique rubber-band launching line that delivers safe fun with three models. The lightweight Talos holds up to 20 rubber bands in two sizes, launches up to 30 feet, and includes a built-in extender for even more power. The Chiron has storage for up to 100 rubber bands, a quick-loading design, and a release option to separate into two different RBS shooters, including a hand launcher. The Hyperion features pinpoint accuracy 50 feet downfield, three different band sizes, holds 26 loaded bands, and has extra side storage. The Blast feature launches 14 bands at once. Super Impulse’s World’s Smallest toys are designed with the same working functions as the original, classic toys, but in miniature form. The iconic Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone pull toy has the same friendly face, movable eyes, bell, and classic red receiver as the original. Kids and kids at heart can take a trip back in time and enjoy the classic Fisher-Price Rock-A-Stack. Just like the original toy, there are five colorful, stackable rings and a wobbly base that rocks back and forth. The World’s Smallest Doodletop features a felt tip pen bottom that draws spirals as you spin it, while The World’s Smallest Sock Monkey has the same woven brown “sock” color, white feet, and red lips as the classic toy. With Dragon Tamers, kids pull on the invisible string to manipulate their dragon, available in three colors. Unlike bubbles that pop on impact, Tap Bubbles let kids easily blow thousands of little bubbles that they can touch, catch, and stack. Dragon Tamers and Tap Bubbles are both merchandised in all-inclusive displays with built-in video display screens. Minions Klippets clip directly to backpacks, clothing, luggage, and more so that kids can take a little Minion mayhem with them wherever they go. Kids can also find their favorite characters from My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Adventure Time in Klippets form, as well as Rubiks Cube and Etch-a-Sketch versions.

Hyperion

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What’s

New

DIGGIN’ ACTIVE

With Diggin Active’s new Slimeball Fingers, kids can use a launcher to fling slime right from their fingertips. The soft and safe Slimeballs are squishy but don’t make a mess or leave marks. With the Mega Rocket, kids can throw a 6-foot rocket more than 100 feet. The rocket inflates to its full length in seconds, and can be used in the pool, backyard, or at the beach. Weighted fins allow for aerodynamic performance over long distances. Diggin’s Black Max Light Up Football has a smart LED system that knows when kids catch and throw. A weighted spiral ring causes tighter spirals and longer throws, and light effects help light up the night. Mega Rocket

ZURU

Zuru’s Micro Boats, suitable for kids ages 6 to 12, use micro-robotic sensor technology to speed through the water in six directions, including reverse activation and 360-degree doughnut speed. Kids can race on the Micro Boat racetrack, trying to avoid the chomping shark at the end. Designed for kids ages 4 to 9, My Magical Seahorse swims on its own Robo Fish Recharge when kids place it in water. Kids can watch as it dances, swims, and creates bubbles. Robo Jelly Fish swims in multiple directions as it mimics a real jellyfish when it’s placed in water. Robo Jelly Fish features LED lights and a charging stand, which also acts as a night-light. Robo Fish Recharge has the latest micro-robotic technology, is water-activated, and comes with a recharge pad for 16 hours of play. Just drop them in water and watch them swim in five different directions. Kids can collect all five Robo Fish Recharge unique fish to create their own aquarium. Also new to the Robo Fish line are the Deep Sea Angler, which has glow features, and Wimple Fish. Characters from Finding Dory come to life in a new line of water-activated swimming fish. The line features small character fish, a Dory Coffee Pot, and a Nemo Playset. The Robo Alive range will see the addition of Lively Lizard, which moves in all directions with lifelike movements. Kids can pick him up by his tail or tickle his stomach and watch him shake his behind. His mischievous personality and speedy body make him difficult to catch. When kids rest his head on their hand he will take a break, but put him back down and the chase starts again. Zuru’s X-Shot Excel Series unveils new blasters that can shoot darts approximately 55 feet. The line features two new items: Barrel Braker TK-3 and Reflex Revolver TK-6. The Barrel Braker TK-3 shoots three darts in one round and each round is delivered in less than five seconds. Zuru’s X-Shot Bug Attack series brings new ways for kids to train their eyes in blaster play through the use of moving targets. The line combines Creepeez bugs—which crawl down the wall, and their line of blasters. The series also includes the Eliminator and Rapid Fire, which can shoot darts up to 55 feet. Kids can customize their bag with BagBAE charms. Each one has a unique personality to match kids’ moods. They can collect the BagBAE charms and share photos with #BagBAE. In the world of Hamster House, the hamsters are full of surprises. They buzz, scoot, scurry, and zoom around. Kids can go shopping or throw a party at the Ultimate Hamster House. They can collect all nine hamsters and build and customize the world in which they have their adventures. Kids can also collect characters from the new Trolls and Ice Age films. Available in key chains and mini-figurines, these products let kids reenact their favorite movie scenes.

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What’s

New WINFUN

WinFun’s Boom and Voom bumper cars let kids race Boom and Voom bumper cars mini bumper cars without leaving their homes. Each car comes with a remote control and allows kids to select a player mode to race the two cars. The cars make fun noises when they hit each other or another obstacle in their path. The Boom and Voom bumper car set is for kids ages 2 and up. The Dancing Elephant moves around using a remote control and blows bubbles as it flaps its ears and plays music. This toy is for kids ages 18 months and up. The Beep Bop musical line from WinFun encourages kids to be creative and work in a group. The line includes an Electronic Keyboard, Electronic Keyboard Super Star Set, Super Star Drum Set, Rockin’ Sounds Electric Guitar, Let’s Jam Microphone with Stand, and Step-to-Play Giant Piano Mat. The Skip ‘n Toss Beetle challenges kids to keep up with the rhythm of the music, play ring toss, and jump over the toy as it spins. It offers kids the opportunity to get up and move around while enjoying music from their new toy. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, it has two different speeds, three height options, and can be used indoors and outside.

AMERICAN PLASTIC TOYS

Beach Basket

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The Beauty Salon, from American Plastic Toys, features a large heart-shaped mirror adorned with working lights. The pink and purple workspace has a built-in sink and comes with 15 salon essentials, including a hairdryer, scissors, makeup, and more. Kids can store their tools in the additional shelving and sit on the included stool. Trail Biters are large-size vehicles in silly shark and alligator character styles that feature mouths that open and close for jaw-chomping fun. Big knobby tires make it easy for push-and-play action. The Gigantic Dump Truck and Gigantic Loader are each nearly two feet long and feature strong steel axels. Designed for kids ages 18 months and up, the trucks feature either a working dump bed or loader arm. All the beach essentials are packed into the portable Beach Basket, including buckets, a shovel, and tropical fish molds. Kids can also use the top of the basket to sift through sand and find hidden treasure.


What’s

New TECH 4 KIDS

Squishy Pops are squishy, mini-sized collectible characters that stay stuck when turned upside down. Each squishable, stickable character has a suction cup that will stick to any flat surface. Designs include solid characters and all-new crystal characters. When paired with the Squishy Pops Display Set, children can display and collect them all. They are available in My Little Pony, Finding Dory, and Despicable Me varieties and are suitable for ages 4 and up.

My Little Pony Squishy Pops

VTECH

VTech’s Go! Go! Smart Adventures will continue to grow with new themes and extensions to the Friends, Wheels, and Animals lines. The Go! Go! Smart Friends line evolves with a new princess and kingdom theme, and will introduce a luxurious palace that expands to 4 feet long. Go! Go! Smart Wheels will feature a Gold Mine Train Set with its first motorized train that can climb hills on its own. And, for the first time, Go! Go! Smart Animals will include domestic animals and a sprawling three-story Pet Hotel. Allowing for the combination of learning fun and creativity, VTech will introduce the Touch & Learn Activity Desk Deluxe, an expandable, three-in-one learning desk with interactive activity cards. It features an interactive desktop and five pages for kids to explore, filled with engaging content, including letters, numbers, music, animals, and more. Eight expansion packs (each sold separately) will focus on a specific curriculum, such as nursery rhymes, vocabulary, animals, and numbers. The desk also transforms into an easel and chalkboard with plenty of storage space for art supplies to encourage natural play and learning. VTech will also expand its successful core baby, infant, and preschool lines to introduce nearly 50 new products designed for each child’s unique age and stage. VTech’s learning products are developed with critical insight from its Expert Panel, which specializes not only in subject areas such as reading, language arts, math, and science, but also the spectrum of childhood development. VTech will continue to grow its online Milestones resource, specifically created to help parents select toys based on the individual needs of their children. It offers expert-endorsed recommendations developed in collaboration with Dr. Lise Eliot, early brain development expert and member of the Left: Crinkle & Roar Lion. Expert Panel. Right: Go! Go! Smart Friends Enchanted Princess Palace.

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What’s

New

OHIO ART

Bizzy Buzz Buzz

The Retro Toy Line from Ohio Art includes the AstroRay Gun, which was first introduced in 1962. The 2016 version of the AstroRay Blaster will look just like the original and comes with four safe foam darts. It includes a light-up feature to replicate the original play pattern. The Bizzy Buzz Buzz was first introduced by The Ohio Art Co. in the fall of 1966. The original let kids write, draw, and design with the sturdy, cordless, and motor-driven drawing toy. The 2016 edition will function just like the original and will include an instruction pamphlet and three color ink pens. Spudsie, the hot potato game, sports a wind-up mechanism with a bell. Ohio Art celebrates 55 years of Etch A Sketch with the classic Etch A Sketch. The toy lets kids twist and turn to create pictures, and, when finished, kids just shake it and start all over again. The 6.25- by 4-inch screen is perfect for home or on the go, and is recommended for kids ages 3 years and up.

IMPERIAL TOY

Imperial Toy’s Star Wars Figural Bubble Toppers blow bubbles into a galaxy far, far away. The Star Wars Bubble Figural Toppers feature all new characters Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren, as well as classic favorites like Chewbacca. These 8-ounce bottles come with Super Miracle Bubble solution and lifelike sculpted toppers. Imperial Toy also makes a splash with its Finding Dory and Finding Nemo Bubble Blasters. Complete with Super Miracle Bubble Solution and a shellshaped dipping tray, kids dip the wand in the solution and watch the bubbles flow. There is also an R2-D2 Bubble Blaster, which allows for endless bubble fun with everyone’s favorite droid. Disney Glow Pods let kids accessorize their outfits even in the dark. These light-up badges and accessories feature Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Elsa, and Olaf. Lumination Glow Pods have designs for boys and girls, with everything from bracelets and necklaces to stickers and masks. Kids can channel their inner monster with Monster Hands, which are gloves that will turn any kid into a ghoul in seconds, encouraging imaginative play and maybe a few scares. Imperial Toy has transformed Disney characters into miniature sweets. D*lectables’ first line features characters such as Cinderella, Ariel, Mickey, and Minnie as ice cream, doughnuts, and cupcakes. All of these items from Imperial Toy are for kids ages 3 and up. Finding Dory Bubble Blaster

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Talkin'

Toys

NEW YEAR, NEW NAME: PATCH BECOMES PLAYMONSTER The Toy Book catches up with Bob Wann, CEO of PlayMonster

Patch Products is now PlayMonster! What’s the story behind the new name? The name was changed to PlayMonster to better represent the diversity and quality of the company’s product line, which is a reflection of our mission and values. We started the process several months ago with motivation to simply update and evolve our logo, but as we researched and examined the changing marketplace, we saw an opportunity to create a playful new brand name that better expresses our belief in the power of play and that play is not only about fun, but also about making a difference in people’s lives. The new name also better reflects that we are champions of play, a belief and attitude shared by all of our employees—from the

management team to sales people to product creators. How has PlayMonster evolved over the past 30 years? PlayMonster was founded as Patch Products in 1985 and named for co-founders and brothers Fran and Bryce Patch. The company started more than 30 years ago with children’s puzzles, but has since grown into one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of award-winning games and toys that enrich the lives of the young and the young at heart. The company has grown tremendously over the past five years alone, because we’ve expanded from being a games-only company into a multi-category toy and game company developing play for all ages, with our infant toy line Mirari, all the way to our best-selling games such as The Game of THINGS… for adults. With this variety of products, we’re now shipping millions of units of toy and game products per year, three times as many as we did five years ago. We wholeheartedly believe in bringing high-quality play to people of all ages, and will continue to do so under the PlayMonster name.

PlayMonster has experienced rapid growth over the past few years, and is now a top 30 toy company. To what do you attribute this growth, and how do you plan to maintain it? We’ve continued to be picky about the games we create and take under our brand. We only want to produce quality products that have timeless play, not a toy or game that’s frivolous, or some short-term fad that will not have long-term appeal. A good example of this is our popular party game 5 Second Rule. We first started working on it seven years ago, and today it’s even more popular than it was when it first launched. It is still a top seller because of the fun interaction it creates. Ellen DeGeneres enjoys it so much that she frequently plays the game on her show, and the interaction between her and her guests is hilarious. In the same way we’re picky about specific ideas, we’re also careful in the acquisitions we make. We look for long-lasting play value, often with a point of

continued on page 246

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What’s

New

IMPORTS DRAGON

Imports Dragon introduces its line of 6- and 2.5-inch National Hockey League (NHL) figurines, coinciding with the creation of its own hockey game. The limited-edition player replicas will represent 86 NHL players with realistic, colorful details. The players include Connor McDavid, Pekka Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist, Corey Perry, and Sidney Crosby. The new 2.5-inch Figure Starter Pack Game lets collectors of the 2.5-inch NHL figurines put their players into action. The object of the game is to score five goals with the help of figurines that players can get through a starter set or in individual packs. The starter set includes three figurines, six dice, a game mat, and an instruction booklet. The Major League Baseball (MLB) series of 6-inch collectible figurines includes players Jacon deGrom, Josh Donaldson, Zack Greinke, Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa and many more.

Pekka Rinne figure

GEOSPACE

A combination sling shot, glider, and suction dart, Geospace’s new Sling ’n Stick Foam Flyer is made of tough molded foam. The flyer features a suction-cup nose that sticks to walls and windows. Kids can loop the elastic band onto the flyer, pull it back, and launch. It can fly up to 50 feet, and is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Kids can launch the Jump Rocket Distance Maxx up to 125 feet, thanks to its special launch pad. Kids jump on the rubber bladder, which pushes air into a tube, powering the foam-tipped rocket. Kids can adjust the angle of the rocket up to 60 degrees to alter the height or distance. Jump Rocket Distance Maxx is recommended for kids ages 3 and up. Geospace adds five new metallic colors and a see-through zip storage bag to update its Solar Geoflux Amazing Interactive Springs line. The line features springs that transform from what looks like a series of rings into a 3-D sculpture centerpiece that resembles a giant atom or an extra-planetary orchid. When kids insert their hands through the coils, Geoflux begins to spiral up and down their arms, spinning so fast it’s a blur of motion. Geoflux can then “bridge” over to their other arm, staying in perpetual motion. Kids can also place Geoflux on a broom handle, lower one end slightly, and watch as it moves along the handle, twirling rapidly. Constructed of one continuous band of rugged stainless steel, Geoflux folds flat for easy storage in the included travel pouch. It is designed for ages 6 and up. Now even lighter and more maneuverable than Geospace’s previous model, the aluminum Walkaroo Wee! Lite Stilts are compact enough to allow kids as young as age 3 to experience all the wonder of stilt walking. As kids grow, parents can lengthen the adjustable tubes. The soft foam grips are at waist height for greater control and comfort. Non-slip, non-marking foot pads inspire confidence on all surfaces. The leg height adjusts easily from 10 inches to 15 inches, so kids can control the thrill factor. The Sling ‘n Stick stilts are safe for kids ages 4 and up. Foam Flyer

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Talkin'

Toys

GEARING UP FOR GHOSTBUSTERS

The Toy Book chats with Sony Pictures Consumer Products’ (SPCP) Mark Caplan, senior vice president, Global Consumer Products about 2016 plans. Congratulations on your recent promotion! What is your vision for the consumer products division? What are your long-term and short-term plans? It’s a benefit to our consumer products business to have a studio behind us that is a leader in filmed entertainment. We collectively have a long-term mentality in developing our consumer products business in concert with many other areas of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Ghostbusters is certainly one of the keys to building our business in the coming years ahead. We will introduce more content during the North American International Toy Fair in New York City, which will enable our ongoing efforts in consumer products. You’ve managed the Ghostbusters brand for more than 10 years. What are your plans for the franchise as we gear up for the new film to hit theaters this summer? We have a strong group of consumer products partners and retailers getting behind our efforts. Categories such as toys, apparel, publishing, mobile games, and backto-school are all going to be available in the weeks leading up to the film’s release in July. How are you addressing fans both new and old with Ghostbusters consumer products? Our consumer base is quite expansive. It originally started with fans that grew up with the films and the animated TV shows. Product was developed with them in mind. Companies such as Lego, Mattel, Funko, and Atari have created product perfectly suited for those uber fans and collectors alike. With the upcoming 2016 film, we are now moving the product into the mass market, targeting the younger generation, who prob-

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ably have heard about it from their parents or have seen it running the dozens of times per year on TV. How important is the international box office to the film launch? This will be a key to our success as we continue to build Ghostbusters into an ongoing licensing business. We have high hopes for the property in many countries where the overall film box office strength will help propel the success of the property. This will allow for many more opportunities to grow our consumer products business. What is your strategy for identifying and expanding in key areas of growth internationally for SPCP overall? As a global company, we have theatrical marketing offices in all major markets. This allows us to work cooperatively with our local staff. In terms of growth, we have a strong network of international agents that is helping us build consumer products programs and identify new opportunities. What’s new in the area of location-based entertainment for SPCP? This is certainly a growing area of our business. In fact, we have a couple of parks underway in Dubai and Russia, and are in discussions for China. In October of this year, Dubai Theme and Resorts will open Motiongate, a massive theme park that will house our Sony Pictures Studio location with

seven themed attractions based on Ghostbusters, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania, and The Smurfs, to name a few. How important is the growth and relevancy of an interactive gaming strategy for your franchises? It’s been an important area to our group for many years. It’s where I cut my teeth in the licensing business, going all the way back to the 16-bit era, when licensed games really started to impact the console business. We’ve traveled a long way since that time, and we are very involved in PlayStation 4 and the next generation consoles, in addition to mobile and virtual reality platforms. What is planned for The Smurfs? The Smurfs are an important ongoing business for SPCP. With another movie releasing in March 2017, we continue to develop new licensing partnerships. Jakks Pacific, Simon and Schuster, Rubie’s Costume Co., and Ubisoft are just some of the partners we have in our stable of licensees for the upcoming movie. »

Ghostbusters figures, from Mattel


What’s

New D NOW INC.

With Megaloop, from D Now Inc., kids can surround themselves inside the world of a bubble using a bubble wand. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the Megaloop bubble wand gives kids the opportunity to create giant bubbles using Uncle Bubble brand Ultra Bubble solution, which can create bubbles large enough to surround an entire person.

TPF TOYS

TPF Toys makes its U.S. debut with Splashlings, a collectible mermaid-themed toy line, invented by Pound Puppies creator Mike Bowling. The line of mermaid characters and their friends features An Ocean Full of Friends, including a special group of mermaids and shells, 100 pets, underwater gems, and treasures for kids to play with and collect. A “Splashlings” digital series from Shaftesbury will debut simultaneously with the toy line, and Splashlings collectible cards from Upper Deck will launch later this year.

Megaloop

UCC DISTRIBUTING

UCC Distributing introduces Minecraft Craftables, which include a random buildable figure scene and a random colored stone block. Each figure stands 2 to 4 inches, depending on the character’s scene, and comes packed in its own reusable colored stone block. Kids can use the stone block to store their figures or other Minecraft toys. There are 10 different Craftable scenes to collect, including Spider Jockey, Alex and Enderman, Pig Rider, Squid, Diamond Steve with Enderdragon, Steve in Nether Portal, Creeper and Ocelot, Wolf, Steve, and Gold Steve with Ghast. The Five Nights at Freddy’s Figure Hangers Mystery Pack is based on the video game app Five Nights at Freddy’s. With 10 different characters to choose from, kids can collect Freddy, Bonnie, Foxy, Chica, Balloon Boy, Mangle, Puppet, Toy Bonnie, Toy Chica, and the rare chaser figure Golden Freddy. Each figure stands about 3 inches tall, and can be used as a key chain, a backpack clip, a belt clip, a collectible figure, or anywhere kids can hang them. Left: Five Nights at Freddy’s Foxy Figure Hanger. Right: Minecraft Craftables.

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Splashlings play set


What’s

New

AG ENTERTAINMENT

Originally released in 1983, the Care Bears toy line continues to expand, teaching kids to share their care. This year, Just Play will introduce Glow-A-Lot Care Bears. These plush toys use the energy from the lights or sun to make their fur glow, and include Love-A-Lot, Wish, Sweet Dreams and Bedtime Bears. The plush are intended for kids ages 3 and up. Wonder Forge is sliding into 2016 with the Care Bears Surprise Slides Game, taking kids through the world of Care-A-Lot. The game promotes color recognition and cooperative play. The Care Bears Matching Game, a classic game of picture matching, encourages memory and matching skills. Both of these games are designed for kids ages 3 and up. The Care Bears 3D Fabric Pillow, from Cra-Z-Art, allows kids to design and decorate with no sewing or stuffing required. The Care Bears Color and Shimmer Messenger Bag with sparkling glitter accents comes complete with markers and gemstones, and Care Bears Crystal Surprise comes with OptiArt Gems to create fun Care Bears Belly Badges. These toys are designed for kids ages 6 and up. Montco Crafts introduces Care Bears Grab Bag, Foil Bag, Special Delivery and Fun Pack Pop-Outz, and Color in Character kits. These kits are ideal for ages 3 and up.

WICKED COOL TOYS

Wicked Cool Toys’ licensed portfolio involves new Girl Scouts-inspired role-play toys, including the Girl Scouts On-The-Go-Wagon and Girl Scouts Selling Stand. The Cabbage Patch Kids line expands with new kids and pets, including CPK Baby So Real. This 14-inch interactive lifelike doll comes with a bottle and offers digital and traditional play patterns. CPK Baby So Real has color LCD-animated and expressive eyes; an accelerometer that allows the doll to know where it is; sensors in the forehead, back, diaper area, and feet for play response; vibration for feedback; baby sounds; Bluetooth capabilities; and more. Kids can also play with the baby in the virtual world with the Baby So Real app. Kids can interact with the baby in the virtual nursery with food, play, and sleep modes, and offline mode allows kids to play with their baby without using the app. Earn points to open new features of the app, mini games, and more. Wicked Cool Toys also introduces the Xtreme Cycle Moto-RC, which offers non-stop action with a patented gyroscopic stabilization system. The system is made up of a flywheel mounted in the rear wheel and four-bar linkage steering system that allows for ramp jumping, driving on various terrains, and recovering from crashes. The cycle is specially designed to always right itself after it falls and has front shocks to absorb bumps. The Xtreme Cycle Moto-Cam features a built-in camera with which young cyclists can capture flips, tricks, and sharp turns just like professionals do in extreme cycling. The Moto-Cam has the same extreme features as the Moto-RC. It has 640x480 VGA resolutions and allows kids to record video at 30 frames per second and store 12 to 15 minutes of video. The MasterChef Junior line will expand with new cooking sets, including Cooking Essentials, Pizza, Breakfast, Baking, and Burger. Each kit includes real cooking tools, recipe cards offering healthy alternatives, and plating suggestions to elevate kids’ dishes.

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Xtreme Cycle Moto-Cam


What’s

New

SUNRIGHTS INC.

Sunrights Inc. will work with Hasbro to relaunch the Beyblade franchise. The third generation, known as Beyblade Burst, will feature battle toys with a dynamic “burst” feature, designed to bring more excitement to the play pattern. Battling will trigger the spinning tops to dynamically disassemble, setting the stage for suspenseful competition. The toys will also include a digital component for western markets. The Beyblade Burst animated TV series, currently in production in Japan, will follow a new cast of characters, storylines, and battle drama. Sunrights, the fast growing entertainment arm of Japanese production company d-rights Inc., will handle the distribution of broadcast, merchandising, and promotional rights for Beyblade Burst in western markets, outside of Hasbro’s toy rights.

SONY PICTURES CP

Sony Pictures Consumer Products expands the digital reach for Ghostbusters, with a movie coming out this June. Ghostbusters will make guest appearances in high-profile games such as Fruit Ninja and The Respawnables. On consoles, kids can play with some of their favorite Ghostbusters characters and relive classic scenes from the original films with expansion packs for Lego Dimensions, from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Featuring more than 4,600 pieces, the two-story Lego Firehouse Headquarters stands 14 inches tall and features a laboratory, living quarters, and a containment unit. New Ghostbusters action figures, from Mattel, are 6-inch figures, and include renditions of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinon, and Leslie Jones outfitted with new jumpsuits from the upcoming film. Simon & Schuster offers action-packed book tie-ins, featuring full-color stills. In addition, the Mega Mini Kit comes boxed with a tiny, detailed Proton Pack with lights and sounds. The kit also includes a mini book with stickers for kids to to decorate their own Proton Packs.

Lego Dimensions Ghostbusters Level Packs


TOY FAIR 2016

DUNCAN

EZ Dimension 3D Printer

NKOK

NKOK’s new EZ Dimension 3D printer has an SD card reader, making it super easy to use. Kids can insert the project card, select the file, and click “print.” With no computer required, the EZ Dimension 3D printer operates completely on its own and comes with more than 200 designs. Kids can turn the entire world into a laser tag arena with Discovery Kids Wrist Blaster Lasertag. These futuristic wrist blasters feature sounds and vibrations with each direct hit. With an innovative design, they sit naturally on top of the wrist. The set includes three dynamic blasters, which allow up to three different teams and hundreds of players.

Duncan introduces the Mega Bounce and Mega Bounce XL, both engineered for maximum bounceability. The Mega Bounce balls bounce on almost any terrain, including grass and sand. In addition, they are easy to throw and catch thanks to their super-grip graphics. The Mega Bounce balls can be used in the yard, or at the beach, park, or playground, and includes a foot pump.

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AULDEY TOYS

Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the Sky Rover Voice Command Drone from Auldey Toys is an innovative drone featuring Voice Command technology. It responds to 12 commands when kids speak them through the headset. Kids can say "Take off” and watch the drone as it performs stunts in response to verbal commands. It also has four individual motors that are protected by propeller guards. With the Sky Rover Voice Command Missile Launcher, kids can fly a helicopter and launch missiles using their voice. With the command “Enemy scan,” the helicopter can fly in a circular motion, and it will launch missiles in response to “Missile fire.” This drone comes with eight missiles and has a gyro-balanced engine for stable indoor-only flying.

Sky Rover Voice Command Missile Launcher

SCHOOL ZONE

School Zone’s Littler Scholar is a 7-inch tablet with content focused on School Zone’s curriculum for children in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. The tablet includes content from Charlie & Company, School Zone’s preschool series designed for kids ages 3 to 5, which inspires curiosity, nurtures a love of learning, and empowers preschoolers by teaching them the skills they need to succeed in school. Littler Scholar delivers big learning that’s just right for little hands and small storage spaces. The Littler Scholar features less preloaded content for a faster boot time, more than 70 apps, games, videos, books, and songs that focus on early reading and math skills, a textured easy-grip green bumper with a Charlie illustration on the back, large app icons, an easy-to-read font, and controls for setting time usage and turning sound effects on and off.

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MOOSE TOYS

Moose Toys’ Little Live Pets Tweet Talking Duck and Baby can sing, eat, and even speak to one another. The mother duck can teach her baby how to sing, and kids can help the mother feed and nurture her baby. The closer they are, the happier they become. Kids can collect all three duck families. With Little Live Pets Mouse Track, kids can place their Lil’ Mouse on the Lil’ Mouse Trail and watch the rodent run. Mice can roll in the wheel and squeal with delight as they drop down the ramp, and get dizzy in the Spin Around Playzone.


ODYSSEY TOYS

Odyssey Toys’ Pocket Drone is lightweight and collapsible, allowing kids to fit it into a pocket after folding the blades inside the main unit. It is designed for kids ages 15 and up, and comes with a carrying pouch and a remote. When kids are ready to fly, they pull the blades out and launch the Pocket Drone into the sky. With a built-in HD camera, kids can capture video and pictures that save directly to the included Micro SD card. The Pocket Drone features gyro technology that allows for indoor and outdoor flying, as well as WiFi technology, USB charging, and LED lights for flying at night.

Micronoid

SPIN MASTER

Spin Master introduces Micronoids, an assortment of three characters that kids can build. Each Micronoid communicates with the others through subsonic sounds and has multiple play modes that showcase its personality. They can answer yes or no questions, dance, and communicate with the Meccanoid G16 and G16KS. Also new to the Meccanoid family is the Meccasaur T-Rex, with which kids can build their own walking and roaring dinosaur using Meccano parts. The dinosaur has multiple modes, answers yes or no questions, and can guard a room. The Meccanoid G16 is a 2-foot-tall interactive robot that kids can build themselves. It has multiple interactive features, including the ability to tell stories and jokes, and teach lectures. Kids can control the robot with Learned Intelligent Movement (LIM) programming, or use the companion app for Ragdoll and Motion Capture Programming. It has a faster processor speed and twice the memory as the Meccanoid G16, and now understands natural language.

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Pocket Drone

WOWWEE

CHiP (Canine Home Intelligent Pet), from WowWee, recognizes its master, responds to commands using the Smartwatch, and plays fetch with its Smartball. CHiP can even recognize when it’s time to recharge. With a 360-degree system of physical, digital, and tactile play, CHiP is none of the mess of a real pet. REV Air is WowWee’s latest addition to the Robotic Enhanced Vehicle battle/ game platform. It features Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and Flight Control Systems, and its app-based flight experience allows kids to engage in battle both in the real world and against an AI enemy. Lumi offers app-based gameplay that allows kids to fly a virtual quadcopter using direct commands. Using the free app on any smart device, kids can select motions and stunts to fly around. Various game modes challenge kids to follow sequences of lights and music while Lumi reacts to their performance.

CHiP (Canine Home Intelligent Pet)


ZING

Designed for kids ages 4 and up, Zing’s Stikbot Studio Pro builds on the success of the original Stikbot. The pro version includes a green screen, which allows kids to upload their own photos, animated backdrops, or the images provided in the new Animation Studios app as a background. There’s even a blue screen for kids who have green Stikbots. The new and free mobile app, Zing Animation Studios, snaps individual photos and stitches them together into a film, complete with built-in music and sound effects options.

TECH 4 KIDS

The Storytime Theater Projector is an all-in-one bedtime and entertainment projector for children. Using a tablet and the Storytime Theater app, kids can unlock Disney stories by selecting Press ‘n Play on the screen. Through a wireless connection to the projector, stories are magically brought to life on the bedroom wall with custom animation for each page. Children and families can collect eight Press ‘n Play stories featuring familiar characters from Disney Frozen, Tangled, Sofia the First, and Doc McStuffins, as well as from Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Cars. The Storytime Theater Projector now allows kids to project their own photos and movies stored on their smart device. This projector is designed for ages 3 and up.

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SAKAR INTERNATIONAL

Sakar International’s new Smartwatch Cameras sync to any Bluetooth smartphone or tablet to record kids’ fitness progress. The durable Smartwatch makes it easy to take photos and videos on the go, with storage space for more than 100 photos. The new Bluetooth Fitness Smartwatch tracks steps, distance, and calories burned with exercise modes for walking and running. The light-weight, touch-screen Smartwatches come with multi-activity tracking, alarm, stopwatch, and built-in voice recording capabilities. Kids can choose from more than 40 different watch faces. Parents can track their child’s daily activities and goal progress directly from their smartphones. The Smartwatches are available in a wide assortment of brands, including Hello Kitty, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Emoji, DC Super Hero Girls, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Shopkins, Discovery Kids, My Little Pony, Nerf, Bratz, and Avengers. Sakar's new Nerf Camera Drones include Nerf Recon Drone and Nerf Air Defender X Drone Cam Copter. The drones can capture high-definition photos and videos using the built-in 16.1 MP HD camera. Kids can control the camera and see video in real time as they fly it from a distance of up to 100 meters. These drones respond quickly with a 2.4 GHz radio remote commanding the drone to move forward, backward, left, right, hover in place, or flip with 360-degree view. The Nerf Air Defender X Drone Cam Copter’s 32 built-in LED lights and Wi-Fi streaming capabilities allow it to be flown at night. A quick rechargeable battery allows for 18- to 22-minute flight times. Sakar’s new line of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and DC Super Hero Girls’ youth electronics provide hours of fun for girls and boys alike. Kid-safe headphones feature a built-in volume limiter, providing safe listening and clear acoustic performance. The ear-cups are lightweight and feature padded comfort with an adjustable headband for a universal fit. These headphones are compatible with all portable devices. Sakar’s wide range of walkie-talkies keep everyone in contact with a push-to-talk button and flexible safety antenna for crisp and clear sound quality. Sakar’s new lineup of molded selfie sticks featuring characters from Bratz, Frozen, Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony and more. With built-in, aux-in connectivity, users can snap selfies via a button on the stick. Compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones, sticks include an adjustable smartphone cradle that accommodates devices of different sizes.


Talkin’

Toys KD GROUP PLANS EXPANSION IN THE U.S. The Toy Book chats with Eric Levin, strategic director, KD Group. THIS YEAR MARKS THE RETURN OF KD Group as a North American International Toy Fair exhibitor. While the company is better known in Europe, KD Group is no stranger to the U.S. toy and kids’ electronics businesses. The company’s Kurio line has been a leading kids’ tablet brand in the U.S. for the past four holiday seasons. The Toy Book sat down with KD Group’s Strategic Director Eric Levin to learn more about the company’s plans for U.S. growth and expansion. What is KD Group’s background? KD Group has been the leading manufacturer of innovative kids’ electronic toys throughout Europe for more than 20 years. Under our Kidz Delight (KD) brand, we offer a wide range of toys that help build early learning skills for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. They are sold at mass and specialty retailers in more than 20 countries. Tell me about your plans for expansion in the U.S. KD Group is most known in the U.S. currently for our Kurio line of kid-safe Android

and Windows tablets. Under that brand, we give kids the latest technology they want, but with the safety features that bring parents peace of mind. Meanwhile, our KD line of toys has been available in the U.S., but has been largely “under the radar.” We are committed to changing that this year and beyond. We believe KD Group has the experience, resources, and commitment needed to be a significant player not only in the kids’ tablet market, but also in the toy industry more broadly, expanding into categories that include preschool electronics, traditional toys, and licensed products. KD Group is committed to building a talented and experienced team here in the U.S. to ensure that we who are close to the market are creating products that work for American consumers and retailers. Where do your new product ideas come from? Do you work with outside inventors? KD Group has always sought to be innovative by adapting new technologies, whether it is motion recognition, voice recording, or image projection, for example, to guarantee cutting-edge educational toys that are ergonomically designed for children. We have an in-house team of product engineers, scientists, and educators who collaborate on product development, and we also work with established outside inventors. In fact, our doors are always open to new opportunities and we welcome inventors to help us innovate. continued on page 246

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Top: Animal Trio. Middle: Tinyboo. Bottom: Kurio.


TOY FAIR 2016

COGNITOYS CogniToys' 7-inch Dinos are cloud-based, Wi-Fi-enabled smart toys that engage children in intelligent conversation. CogniToys can explore a wide variety of topics during playtime and can answer questions, tell stories, play games, and more. The toy explores favorite colors, animals, and more to customize engagement. By listening to kids’ questions and adapting to their needs, the CogniToys Dinos will become smarter over time. The Dino is powered by IBM Watson and Elemental Path’s Friendgine technology.

RAVENSBURGER

Smartscope, by Ravensburger, allows kids to explore science in a new way. With special lenses built into the Smartscope, kids can use the camera on a smartphone or tablet to take a closer look at objects and discover more about insects, plants, materials, minerals, and more with 15 amazing activities. The Smartscope includes a pipette, a petri dish, and magnifying lenses. It’s designed for kids ages 8 and up.


Activities &

Construction THE ORB FACTORY

Designed for kids ages 7 and up, Sew Softies Jumbo Hamster, from The Orb Factory, allows kids to get creative. Kids can learn to sew pre-cut pieces of fabric together, insert a beach ball, and inflate their creation to give the Jumbo Hamster dimension. Fuzzeez Bear allows kids to create their own furry friend. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, they can fill the reusable mold with wool, use the spray bottle to wet it, snap on the back of the wool, and place it in the dryer. Once the creation is dry, kids can pop open the mold to reveal their new Fuzzeez friend. PlushCraft Puppy Pack, suitable for kids ages 5 and up, is a plush trio of mini 3-D pals. Kids can use the stylus and pop fabric pieces into three different mini 3-D figures to make puppy pals that don’t require any sewing.

LEGO

Lego expands its Creator line this year with Park Animals. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, this 202-piece kit lets kids take care of a dog, a duck, and ducklings, each with poseable joints and authentic colors. Kids can also rebuild the characters into a squirrel or an owl. The Lego Technic Race Kart set features 345 pieces and is designed for kids ages 9 and up. Kids can zoom around the circuit with this two-in-one replica of a real-life race kart, featuring a detailed engine with a moving piston, a fuel tank, and exhaust pipes. They can also tilt the orange racing seat to reveal the working transmission, or rebuild the entire model to create a track car. The Fire Boat joins the Lego City lineup, with 412 pieces for kids ages 6 and up. Kids can construct the entire boat, then aim the water cannon to extinguish the flames with the water stud shooter and keep the lighthouse from burning down. The Heartlake Supermarket joins the Lego Friends line this year. Kids can build up the supermarket and grab a shopping cart so minifigure Mia Nexo Knights Fortrex can pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables, breakfast cereals, and sushi. This 313piece set also includes a bakery and a beauty stand. Lego Elves moves into its second year with new sets, including the Fire Dragon’s Lava Cave. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, kids will build up the lava cave and take minifigures Emily Jones and Azari Firedancer the fire elf on an exploration adventure where they will meet Zonya the fire dragon. This 441-piece set is full of accessories, such as a secret map and campfire. Lego launched Nexo Knights earlier this year, a new property about a medieval kingdom set in a futuristic world. The Fortrex set features 1,140 pieces, and lets kids create a two-in-one rolling castle. Kids can also launch the Knight Cycle and Aero-Striker V1 to engage the Ash Attacker and Scurriers. The castle features fold-out walls to reveal the headquarters. The set includes five scannable shields to give kids new Nexo Powers, including Ground Pound, Super Human Speed, Hawk Holler, Chicken Power, and Charging Attack. In addition to these lines, Lego will also expand its Bionicle, Ninjago, Mixels, and Architecture lines.

Lego Creator Park Animals

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Activities &

Construction JAKKS PACIFIC

Real Construction, from Jakks Pacific, is a tool-based construction line designed for kids ages 6 and up. Real Constructon Action Boats includes tools, material, fasteners, and a working motor that lets kids create boats that will speed through water. The materials are pre-cut to make assembly easy and precise. Kids can build two different boats, including a sail boat or a speed boat. The Real Construction Deluxe Workshop includes tools, material, fasteners, and eight project ideas. The Real Construction brand encourages kids to use their imaginations while also incorporating key elements of the STEM curriculum. Kids can safely saw, nail, and build structures and models with little mess.

K'NEX

K’NEX’s Mighty Makers line expands this year with the Mighty Makers Director’s Cut Building Set. Kids can follow the interactive, story-based building instructions and learn about the science behind making a movie. Bonus online instructions show kids how to incorporate a smart device into the set to make their own movie. The set features 320 parts and pieces, including a buildable camera and a stand, a theater with seats, Lily and her dog Zoom figures, and adjustable bands that fit most mobile devices. The set is designed for kids ages 7 and up and will release in the fall. New to K’NEX’s K-Force line is the K-Force K-25X RotoShot Blaster Building Set. This blaster allows kids to construct an incredible blaster, and then fire off five shots without reloading. The set includes a RotoChamber, five foam darts, a quick fit grip, and a preload ring. Kids can download instructions to create four additional custom blasters and targets. Models can be built one at a time. Additionally, The K-Force Flash Fire Motorized Blaster Building Set features a motorized rapid fire chamber that fires up to 10 darts as fast as kids can pull the trigger. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, both new K-Force additions will be available in the fall. The K’NEX Thrills: Classic K’NEX Ferris Wheel Building Set includes 744 rods and connectors, one motor, and a detailed instruction booklet that offers kids two additional building ideas. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Lincoln Logs, and K’NEX will celebrate with the Lincoln Logs: 100th Anniversary Tin. Inspired by an original Lincoln Logs building idea, the 100th Anniversary Tin includes 111 real wood logs and is designed for kids ages 3 and up. All K’NEX rods, connectors, and pieces are made in the U.S.

K-Force K-25X RotoShot Blaster

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MOOSE TOYS

With the Beados Starter Kit 4 Color Pen, from Moose Toys, kids can load their pen with neon beads, select the color they need, and pop it into the template. The beads join with water to make super bright Beados creations brighter than ever before. Moose Toys continues to grow its Qixels line with new themed refill packs, including Space Dinos and the Ocean. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the line also includes a Design Creator that glows in the dark and a Mega Pack refill with more than 1,200 Qixel cubes, letting kids create a pixelated world of monsters, warriors, bugs, and more.


Activities &

Construction PLAYMONSTER

Fright Factory

TECH 4 KIDS

Gemmies, by Tech 4 Kids, is a new craft and activity line that allows kids to make 3-D crystal gem creations. Kids can clip and connect gems and bands to make crystal pets, animals, flowers, and more. Gemmies Design Studio includes storage for the gems, light-up display stands, and a design mat. Gemmies are designed for kids ages 6 and up. The 3D Magic ImagiPen uses UV gel curing technology to let kids create up and build out, resulting in unique 3-D creations. The pen does not require heat, can inspire creative fun, and is designed for kids ages 8 and up. Fright Factory allows kids to create frightening 3-D creations using EwGoo UV curing gel. With creepy molds and the Fright Factory Creature Creator, kids can create insects, reptiles, bats, and more. Kids can place the stencil into the chamber, spin the crank, and watch as the electricity bolt lights up. Eventually, the EwGoo turns from ooey gooey gel to a hardened creation. This spooky activity is designed for kids ages 6 and up.

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My Fairy Garden, from PlayMonster, formerly known as Patch Products, combines a homegrown garden and a fantasy-filled play set. Kids can plant the quick-germinating seeds and care for their garden, then set up fairies, woodland friends, and other accessories. My Fairy Garden is available in three different versions. Willow’s Tree Hollow includes a tree hollow with opening doors; Calla’s Lily Pond includes a teacup house with opening doors, leaves and stems, a stream, a bridge, two fairy figures, and gardening accessories and tools; and Freya’s Magical Cottage includes a flowerpot cottage with opening doors and a terrace, cottage furniture, rooftop trim, and a toadstool. All three sets include a bottom tray, two different fairy figures, gardening tools, accessories, potting soil, and quick-germinating seeds. My Fairy Garden sets are designed for kids ages 4 and up.

REEVES INTERNATIONAL

Paulinda’s Super Dough, from Reeves International, is a lightweight, soft, and smooth modeling compound for kids that can be refreshed by just adding water. Kids can paint the dough wet or dry, and it is gluten-free and non-allergenic. Plus, if the dough dries out, kids can easily add water to revive the compound. The Fun 4 One display contains 12 different animals to choose from: cat, dog, zebra, sheep, giraffe, monkey, T.rex, bird, rooster, koala, hippo, and hedgehog. The Shiny Eyes Display contains 12 individual packages, including Ella Owl, Jonny Elephant, Cobby Lion, Mimmy Kitty, Alina Parrot, Cora Bird, Tommy Bear, and Betty Owl.


Activities &

Construction CRAYOLA

The Crayola Air Marker Sprayer turns Crayola markers into spray art. The Air Marker Sprayer is electric-powered for continuous creativity without the mess of paint. Kids can create realistic-looking airbrush art for craft projects, school projects, and more. Kids can plug in the unit, secure a Crayola Broad Line Marker into the easy twist-andload nozzle, and then release the trigger to spray. The sprayer works with most Crayola Broad Line Markers, and has a compact, convenient design. Kids can create colorful designs and patterns with a few twists of the wrist with the Crayola Color Spin Out. Insert a paper disc, choose a marker color, then crank the handle, and watch art happen. Connect up to three markers at once and adjust gear arms for different outcomes. Color Spin Out works with Crayola Pip Squeaks Skinnies Markers. With the electronic Crayola Crayon Factory, kids can use the included crayons or recycle their old Crayola crayon bits to make melted creations. They can mix, melt, and mold to make colorful car, heart, and puppy crayons for playing and doodling. Create custom gel jewelry, charms, key chains, room décor, and more with Crayola Creations Jewel Maker Design Studio. Kids pick a mold, mix the gel, and add some glitter, confetti, or pictures to the mix. Creations are ready to wear or share in 30 minutes. With the Crayola Emoji Maker, kids can mix, measure, and click to create their own emoji stampers. It comes with everything kids need to make 16 custom color markers for creating and sharing unique emoji messages with friends.

ALEX BRANDS

Alex Brands will expand its line of Shrinky Dinks kits with 3D Flower Jewelry, Statement Jewelry, and 3D Butterfly Lights. These kits allow kids to color, bake, and shrink wearable 3-D jewelry and 3-D room décor accessories out of precut plastic sheets. With patent-pending silicon bracelet, ring, and flower molds, kids can infuse their own personal styles as they creatively color and transform the flat sheets into 3-D works of art. Alex Toys will also release new spa kits that feature body tattoos, including the Layer & Wear Watercolor Tattoos and Show Your Glow Tattoos. Tweens can also host their own nail and hair salon parties with Sweet Scent Sprinkle Nails, the Color Shift Nail Kit, and the My Lites Custom Streaks hair kit. Alex Toys’ new Sweetheart String Art and 3D Stellar String Art kits contain unique plastic molds that let kids create string art room décor without the hassle of nails or pins. New Make-a-Statement Necklace, Stitch & Wear Wood Jewelry, and Paint & Sparkle Galaxy Jewelry craft kits let kids create accessories featuring embellished galaxy pendants, natural wood elements, and butterfly hair accents, while new Simply Needlepoint kits and an updated “Knot-a” Quilt in a chevron design will help kids learn basic stitching and sewing. The Guy Gear collection will expand to include Sk8 Deck Wall Art, which allows kids to color and display their own skate deck. The set includes a display stand for a wall or a shelf. Alex’s construction brands will also expand this year, with four new Citiblocs building sets that feature patent pending connector hardware. The six new connector pieces allow kids to join, hinge, and rotate classic Citiblocs pieces for more versatile, creative building. Additionally, Alex will add two new Galax-Z kits to the ZOOB line.

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Activities &

Construction MAGFORMERS

The Magformers Tiny Friends 20-Piece Set helps kids build 12 different animals using geometric shapes. Kids can create a puppy, a butterfly, a snail, and more with squares, triangles, and isosceles triangles in bright opaque colors. Each shape is compatible with all Magformers shapes and accessories. With the Neon 14-Piece Set, kids can build a cube, a small house, and a small “magic ball” using squares and triangles. The Walking Dinosaur 81-Piece Set lets kids learn about prehistoric time periods and build 15 walking dinosaurs, including a T.rex, a Triceratops, and a Stegosaurus. Walking Dinosaur 81-Piece Set

Large African Safari

PLAYMOBIL

Playmobil will debut its Porsche 911 Carrera S, fully equipped with functioning front, rear, and dashboard lights. The set includes the Porsche, two figures, a show wall, a rear spoiler, a front apron, eight rims, a car jack, tools, a Lechuza planter, and other accessories. It is recommended for kids ages 4 and up. Playmobil expands its National Hockey League (NHL) line to include new team goalies and players, which kids can use with the existing NHL Hockey Arena. Additional play sets and accessories are set to roll out later this year. Count down to liftoff aboard the Space Rocket with Launch Site, designed for kids ages 6 and up. Outfitted with working lights and sounds, kids can use the movable maintenance platform to help the space technicians inspect the rocket prior to launch. Kids can take a ride on the wild side with the Large African Safari. With a bright and colorful design and large, rounded pieces, this Playmobil set is ideal for toddlers ages 18 months and up. Seat up to three passengers and the driver in the safari bus for an up-close and personal look at lions, zebras, giraffes, elephants, crocodiles, and more. The set includes five figures, multiple vehicles, landscapes, and animal figures. The Large City Zoo will help kids learn about animal species from around the world. The set features a rocky arch topped with decorative animal cutouts and a colorful zoo sign, multiple animal exhibits, and a souvenir shop. The Water Park with Slides features two jumbo slides and a wave pool at the bottom. The set includes two adult figures, one child figure, a multi-level structure with slides, and accessories. The Pirate Raiders’ Ship features three main sails and a functioning cannon with four projectiles. Kids can play with the set on the floor or in the bathtub. Kids can add the RC Underwater Motor (sold separately) to give the set an upgrade and remotely guide the ship through water. The Deluxe Dollhouse is a multi-level house with six rooms, a balcony, and a functioning doorbell. The set includes two figures, a mailbox, window boxes with flowers, and other accessories. Additional furnishings are sold separately. The Furnished Children’s Hospital features a front desk, a downstairs exam room, and doctor and nurse figures. Kids can use the functioning elevator to transport patients to the second floor. The set also features a baby room and a bathroom with a toilet, a sink, five figures, rolling beds, a reclining exam table, a respirator, a defibrillator, bandages, stethoscopes, medical charts and tools, and more. The Large City Zoo, Water Park, Pirate Raider’s Ship, Deluxe Dollhouse, and Furnished Children’s Hospital are all designed for kids ages 4 to 10.

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Activities &

Construction CLICKBLOCK

ClickBlock magnetic building sets feature interlocking grooves and neodymium magnets. The Complete Transportation Set is part of ClickBlock’s X-Bar series. The set includes 55 pieces and a builder’s guidebook to help kids build trucks, loaders, trains, helicopters, jet planes, and more. The Super Set—also part of the X-Bar series—includes 48 pieces for kids to build geometric shapes, towers, bridges, words, and houses. They can also use the cogwheel structure for stronger binding strength. ClickBlock’s Discovery Set is part of its 2-D series. Interlocking grooves provide stronger hold and durability so kids can discover different structures built from magnetic squares and triangles. All ClickBlock 2-D sets are compatible with ClickBlock 3-D sets. The Space Gear Set—part of ClickBlock’s 3-D series— includes magnetic gears that allow kids to build moveable aircrafts, towers, bridges, and animals. All of these toys are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

Complete Transportation Set

REDWOOD VENTURES

Designed for kids ages 14 and up, Redwood Ventures’ new AtmosFlare 3D Drawing Pen makes 3-D drawing accessible and easy for beginners and experts. Using multiple extrusion and curing options, the pen allows for precise design control, even when using multiple ink colors. A combination of 3-D pronging technology, colorful ink, and LED light helps bring kids’ drawings to the real world.

THE HAYWIRE GROUP The Haywire Group gives cardboard some play value with Calafant, cardboard building kits that encourage and support creativity. Kids first construct the kit, color it, and then play with it using their existing toys.

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Activities &

Construction GROW’N UP

The Crayola Super-Duper Art Studio, from Grow’n Up, lets preschoolers share their artwork with their friends. The studio features a chalkboard, a magnetic whiteboard, and a desktop. The giant drawing board encourages kids to share creative fun together, or parents can easily convert the easel into a desk without using any tools. The Crayola Qwikflip Glow Easel is a double-sided easel with LED lights, a chalkboard surface, and paper clips. It features 10 lighting sequences and three locking easel positions. Kids can use the two included gel markers to draw, doodle, and light up their creations. The double-sided design lets two kids draw at the same time, while enhancing motor and social communication skills. Both easels fold for easy storage and are designed for kids ages 3 and up. Crayola Qwikflip Glow Easel

MGA ENTERTAINMENT Gel-a-Peel, from MGA Entertainment, is a compound that stretches and molds to any type of design. After drying for two hours, the compound can become a cellphone case, a headband, a pair of earrings, and more. Each kit includes a Gel-a-Peel color tube, a drawing tip, a clear drawing sheet, a cleaning tool, and an accessory template with eight projects.


TOY FAIR 2016

THE BRIDGE DIRECT

The Bridge Direct expands its line of Shopkins C3 Kinstruction sets this year, letting kids ages 6 and up build up the world of Shopkins with multiple-piece construction sets that are compatible with all major construction brands, as well as create their own Shopkins characters by mixing and matching pieces. New Shopkins C3 Mini Packs include the Shopping Cart, Checkout Lane, and Frozen Treat Stand. Kids can build these for standalone play or to add to larger sets to build a Shopkins world. Each set includes two buildable, mix-and-match figures. Shopkins C3 Shopping Packs each come with more than 100 pieces. New sets include the Flower Shop and the Baby Shop. The assortment of Shopkins C3 Scene Packs expands to include the Fancy Boutique with Polly Perfume, Penny Purse, Prommy, and Beverly Heels; and the Burger Bistro with Fiona Fries, Cheezy B, Soda Pops, and Millie Shake. Each set features more than 120 pieces. Shopkins C3 Food Fair Truck lets kids build up a hangout spot with a mini table and chairs for Taco Terrie, Frank Furter, Millie Shake, and Ice Cream Dream figures. Finally, the Shopkins C3 Deluxe Set Food Court is the largest new play set, featuring a pizza parlor and a sushi restaurant. The set includes Candy Apple, Candi Cotton, Suzie Sushi, Little Sipper, Banana Splitty, and Pretz-Elle figures. Additionally, The Bridge Direct will launch Infinity Linx, a new activity line targeted toward girls ages 5 to 8. Kids can design and create their own wearable statement jewelry with a collection of interconnecting pieces in different shapes and designs. From simple to intricate pieces, kids can put together endless different designs, take them apart, and recreate new ones.

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Activities &

Construction SPIN MASTER

Spin Master continues to grow its Kinetic Sand line of squeezable sand that never dries out. Suitable for kids ages 3 and up, the Kinetic Sand Sandcastle Set comes with 1 pound of sand with molds, tools, and a sandbox. The Kinetic Sand Limited Edition Beach Sand is 3 pounds of beach sand that feels wet, but keeps your hands dry. Spin Master also introduces Kinetic Sand Build, a new formula that holds its shape while kids play and doesn’t dry out. Made for kids ages 5 and up, the Kinetic Sand Build Bakery Boutique lets kids create an assortment of bakery treats using seven pieces and two colors of Kinetic Sand. New for the spring is Kinetic Foam, a Kinetic compound that is stretchy, leaves no residue, and dries so kids can keep their creations forever. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the Kinetic Foam Single Pack comes in four different colors and can be stretched, wrapped, and modeled. The Kinetic Foam Multi Pack comes in three colors. Kids can create their favorite characters with The Powerpuff Girls Kinetic Foam and Marvel Kinetic Foam, each of which includes six Kinetic Foam Colors and five design templates. Kids can now bring the Build-A-Bear experience home with the Build-A-Bear Stuffing Station, allowing kids to stuff their own characters. Made for kids ages 4 and up, the kit will include skins, outfits, accessories, certificates, hearts, stuffing, a key, and a wish maker. Build-A-Bear Furry Fashions includes an additional skin, an outfit, accessories, a certificate, a heart, and stuffing for kids to make another bear.

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AMLOID

Crayola Building Blocks, from Amloid Kids@Work, helps fuel kids’ imagination in a creative way. The 36-inch-tall Crayola Crayon Tube is perfect for builders of all ages. It is designed to provide kids with hours of fun-filled play while advancing cognitive skills. The tube is ideal for storage and makes a great decorative statement in any child’s room. This year, Amloid’s Crayola construction line will expand with new items that bring fun and excitement to the category while staying true to Crayola and its resonation with parents and kids.

MINDWARE

MindWare’s Science Academy Science Kits encourage hands-on, safe science experiences for kids ages 8 and up. The six interactive labs include soap, lip balm, perfume, volcano, slime, and eco forensics. The Piccalilly craft line includes décor kits that make it easy for kids to personalize their rooms with colorful, handmade accessories with no sewing required. The kits include Felt Flower Pouf, Latch-a-Loop Pillow, Pom-Pom Rug, and Chandelier, each designed for kids ages 8 and up. The Keva Maker Bot Maze lets kids experiment, innovate, and create with Keva planks. Kids can customize a pair of motorized robots, then construct mazes, tunnels, doorways, passages, and obstacles from the planks and connectors. The Keva Maker Bot Maze is designed for kids ages 7 and up. Big Dig Dino brings home the mystery and excitement of a paleontological dig. Kids can use the included tools to extract a dinosaur skeleton that is buried in plaster. Once the excavation is complete, kids can wash and assemble the hard plastic bones to form a complete T.rex or Triceratops dinosaur model. The Big Dig Dino is for kids ages 8 and up.


TOY FAIR 2016

KAHOOTZ TOYS

Kahootz Toys will bring Spirograph to a younger audience this fall with Spirograph Jr. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the portable design station features a built-in Spirograph ring, which works with the included Spirograph wheels. The chunky designs make it easy for young kids to move the pieces, while the built-in storage makes clean up easy for adults. For kids ages 8 and up, Spirograph Shapes features new wheels in teardrop, heart, star, and other shapes. Kids can combine each wheel with the three new ring designs to create Spirograph art. The set includes three markers and is compatible with all existing Spirograph design sets. Kahootz will launch the Fashion Plates Superstar Deluxe Set this spring, featuring new superstar-inspired fashion designs. Kids can create their own star with the mix-and-match design plates, a portfolio case, and more. With the Action Plates Design Set, kids can create and color combinations of comic-style characters. Kids can choose and combine the different plates together into the Action Plates tablet, and with a few passes of the rubbing crayon, the design transfers to the paper. Each of the 18 double-sided rubbing plates features action-packed poses, super gear, gadgets, and more. The Play-Doh Classic Style Fun Factory is a vintage-style storage box with eight cans of real Play-Doh, along with a Classic Play-Doh Fun Factory play set, modeled after the original version first introduced in 1960. Shaped like an actual factory building, the set pumps out Play-Doh in fun shapes such as spaghetti noodles and I-beams for constructing buildings. It also features a built-in storage tray to hold all of the interchangeable shape plates.

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Activities &

Construction LASER PEGS

Laser Pegs Ventures launches the Light Up Pull Back Motor, which is included in the new Rally Cars Pull Back Runner kit. Kids can pull the model back, let it go, and watch as it zooms across the room. The 8-in-1 Rally Cars kit allows builders to create a Dune Buggy, a Rally Car, a Sand Racer, and more. Kids can add the exclusive Light-Up Pullback Motor to watch their creations speed away. Laser Pegs’ exclusive Zippy Do Power Base, 58 tinted construction bricks, and Light-Up Pullback Motor lets kids add light effects to their cars. Laser Pegs will also add new 6-in-1 Zippy Do Models to its line, including the 6-in-1 Attack Chopper, which lets kids build the Chinook, News Chopper, Attack Chopper, and more. The Zippy Do Attack Chopper comes with a Zippy Do Light-Up Power Base and 82 tinted construction bricks. With the 6-in-1 Mustang, kids can build the Aurora Fighter, Executive Jet, Communications Jet, and three additional models. The Zippy Do Mustang comes with a Zippy Do Light-Up Power Base, two Laser Pegs light-up pieces, and 60 tinted construction bricks. The 6-in-1 Ladder Truck lets kids construct a Rescue Chopper, Crane, Loader Truck, and more using the included Zippy Do Light-Up Power Base and 92 tinted construction bricks. New 3-in-1 Zippy Dos let kids make three models in each kit using the included construction pieces and the Zippy Do Light-Up Power Base. New styles include Space, Construction, Rescue, Trains, and Jets. Laser Pegs also introduces the Starter Kit, perfect for kids who are ready for their first Laser Pegs set or for those who want to expand their light-up brick collections. The Laser Pegs Starter Kit comes with more than 200 pieces, allowing kids to construct dinosaurs, racecars, spaceships, helicopters, and more. It also includes 10 Laser Pegs and two Power Bases so kids can light up whatever they build. The Start Kit is compatible with all Laser Pegs kits, as well as other major construction kits. New to its core product line, Laser Pegs’ 4-in-1 MPS Mini Bulldozer lets kids make a Mini Bulldozer, a Mini Crane, and more. The 12-in-1 Power Block Galactic Cruiser comes with more than 111 pieces so kids can create a Battlestar Cruiser, a Spaceship 5, an Escort One, and more. The Educational Series kit is packed with more than 39 games that help kids with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, spelling, reading, writing, grouping, matching, and more. It includes 12 word blocks, 12 letter blocks, and 12 number blocks. Kids can plug any of the 36 blocks into the 3-D Lite Board to light up their games and Rally Cars Pull Back Runner refine their STEM skills.


TOY FAIR 2016

RAVENSBURGER

The Sweetheart Storage Pencil Cup, from Ravensburger, lets kids assemble their very own pencil cup with this two-in-one plastic puzzle craft. Kids can find and snap together the sturdy, numbered pieces, then insert the included compartment to create a utility cup perfect for pens, pencils, art supplies, and more. It features a sweetheart design, has 54-pieces with easy-click technology, and measures 3.7-inches when complete. The Sweetheart Storage Pencil Cup is for kids ages 7 and up. The Sweetheart Storage Box is a plastic puzzle craft that kids can use to store letters, supplies, and treasures. Designed for kids ages 9 and up, the 216piece premium puzzle measures 23 by 16 by 13 inches when complete. The Sweetheart Storage Jewelry Tree lets kids display jewelry on a handmade jewelry tree that they constructed themselves. Once done, kids can hang everything from jewelry to hair ties from the included hooks and branches of the tree. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the set includes 21 accessories and measures 14 by 4.9 by 6.7 inches when complete. The My Deco Set Original Mandala Designer Classic gets creative with giftwrap. With this set, kids can create custom gift boxes by simply setting the guide on the included paper, picking a template, and tracing the design. Kids can then color and follow the simple instructions to fold their own original gift box. This craft is for kids ages 6 and up.

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FEATURE

RUBIE’S COSTUME CO. TALKS

HALLOWEEN Rubie's Costume Co.'s Executive Vice President Howard Beige discusses last Halloween's success and his predictions for 2016. How was Halloween 2015? Did it live up to expectations? Halloween 2015 was a winner! Retailers across the country had a very successful Halloween season and noticed a significant increase in sales the last week leading up to the holiday. As Halloween continues to grow in popularity, it’s now becoming a friends and family event for adults, kids, and even pets! The key to Halloween is parties and getting to-

gether with family and friends just to have fun. It’s the only holiday that nothing else is expected of you, but to have a good time—and Rubie’s is dedicated to making that happen! Will Halloween falling on a Monday this year adversely affect sales? With Halloween becoming more of a family and friends event, the day of the week Halloween lands on has become less important as children and adults alike enjoy dressing up and celebrating together. Aside from Star Wars, what were the top costumes for Halloween 2015? What will be hot for Halloween 2016? The top costumes for 2015 were Star Wars, DC Comics, Marvel, Minions, Jurassic World, and Paw Patrol. As always, blockbuster movies had an incredible impact on what consumers were buying. For 2016 the best-sellers are predicted to be costumes based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man, DC Super Hero Girls, Suicide Squad, Ghostbusters, and Star Trek. Since there is a tremendous amount of characters to choose from, we predict Halloween 2016 to be extremely strong. How does the fashion industry impact your business? How closely does Rubie’s follow current trends when creating new products? Rubie’s has extensive product development resources with studios in New York, San Diego, and Phoenix. All of the studios follow the latest fashion trends very closely and incorporate them into every design. This is to ensure that when consumers are shopping for their Halloween costumes, they see familiar fabrics, trims, and design elements that they see when shopping for everyday apparel. What’s in store for Rubie’s this year and beyond? For continued growth of Rubie’s and its loyal retailers, we are dedicated to offering our customers the hottest licenses and generic products in the industry. As we celebrate our 65th anniversary, Rubie’s continually offers innovative products and a variety of styles for the whole family to enjoy to remain true to our founder’s vision. Moving forward, it’s our goal to make sure every consumer’s Halloween need is satisfied. With the third generation playing such an important role in our future, we’re confident Halloween at Rubie’s will continue to flourish for years to come. » Left to right Adult Kylo Ren and Batwoman by Delicious costumes, Wonder Woman pet costume

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FEATURE

PRODUCT PREVIEW:

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1. The Armored Batman costume from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice includes a padded jumpsuit with a pair of 3-D gauntlets, 3-D boot tops, a belt, a cape, and a mask. 2. Catwoman from Delicious of NY includes a corset, a skirt, an eyemask, and a pair of matching gloves. 3. Also from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Adult Superman costume includes a padded jumpsuit with 3-D boot tops and a cape. 4. From Rubie’s Pet Shop Boutique, the Teddy costume includes a jumpsuit with a hood and a bow tie. 5. Also from Rubie’s Pet Shop Boutique is the Puppy Latte costume, which includes a shirt and a matching hat.

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FEATURE

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1. From Paw Patrol, the Rubble costume includes a jumpsuit, a headpiece, and a pup pack. 2. The Female Minion Costume is a printed hooded dress. 3. The T-Rex from Jurassic World by Rubie’s includes an inflatable costume with a built-in fan. 4. Finn, from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens collection, includes a foam-padded jacket with an attached top and pants with attached boot tops. 5. Also from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens collection is the Rey costume, which includes a top with attached wraps, a pair of pants, a belt, a cuff, and arm warmers. Also shown, but sold separately, is the Rey eyemask with hood. 6. The Super Deluxe Flametrooper from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens collection includes a foampadded jumpsuit with attached boot tops, a belt, and a two-piece mask. 7. The Wonder Woman costume includes a dress, a tiara, a pair of gauntlets, boot tops, an armband, and a belt. 8. Marvel’s Ant-Man costume includes a jumpsuit with attached boot tops, a belt, and a mask.

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FEATURE

IMAGINE BY RUBIE’S GETS

DRESSED UP Executive Vice President Howard Beige talks about Rubie’s Costume Co.’s new Imagine by Rubie’s dress-up line. Rubie’s is best known for its Halloween costumes. Tell me about the Imagine division. What kinds of products do you offer and how does it differ from your Halloween products? Imagine is a division of Rubie’s Costume Co. solely dedicated to dress-up fun. Products are specially designed for everyday use and are constructed with that in mind. For instance, many of our best-sellers are muscle chest tops, capes, and accessories, which allow kids to wear some of their own apparel, assuring them to be comfortable in their own styles. Another wildly popular product is our dual character licensed capes. With this unique product the child can transform into Batman one day and Superman the next. Imagine’s goal is to encourage kids to dream, believe, and achieve through the art of imagination. Most Imagine products are packaged for gift-giving. What trends are you noticing in the dress-up category? The dress-up category continues to flourish year after year because it appeals to a child’s imagination. Star Wars and superheroes are a growing trend for both boys and girls. For boys, we anticipate Star Wars, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to dominate the category. As for girls, we expect characters such as Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and new DC Super Hero Girls to be on trend with the phenomenon of “girl power.” Do you see a growing demand for everyday dress-up and role-play products? How are you addressing this? We are absolutely seeing a growing demand for everyday dressup. Each Imagine product is a great gift idea all year long while particularly peaking during the fourth quarter. We are adding more than 100 products to the 2016 Imagine Collection to address the demand for everyday dress up. Do you have any tips for toy retailers who carry dress-up and roleplay for kids? Regarding tips for toy retailers, Imagine gives different suggestions for the various channels of distribution. For the mass and mid-tier retailers that have limited footage in their toy department, we suggest featuring the most important categories, including the top licenses mentioned above. For boys, that would be the muscle chest tops, various capes, and cape/mask combos, including the reversible cape. For girls, the strongest licenses such as Wonder Woman from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the DC Super Hero Girls

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should be on display. Generic characters such as fairies and princesses should also be predominantly displayed, as well as mid-priced dressup sets and accessories such as wigs and masks. How do you balance your Halloween divisions versus your Imagine everyday dress-up lines? As with all divisions of Rubie’s, Imagine is a free-standing division that has its own creative team, sales team, and warehouse with extensive product development on both the east and west coast. We also design Imagine products with fabrics and trims that are of apparel standards to differentiate ourselves from other costume companies. Like Teenage Mutant the other divisions under the Ninja Turtles Ninja Rubie’s group, they have all of Combat Box Set the top licenses and strongly benefit from the leadership and expertise of David Beige and Renne Fink. How will the box office success of Star Wars affect Rubie’s lineup for Halloween costumes and for everyday dress up? The recent Star Wars: The Force Awakens film has broken all box office records and as of today has the No. 1 box office revenue in the U.S. of all time. With the astonishing success of this film, it will have a profound effect on what products consumers will demand this year and beyond. »


FEATURE

PRODUCT PREVIEW:

IMAGINE BY RUBIE'S 4.

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1. From the DC Comics Collection, the Superman set includes a fiber-filled muscle chest shirt with an attached cape. 2. From Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Rey set includes a shirt with attached scarf straps, an eye mask, a belt with an attached pouch, a wristband, and a pair of glovelets. 3. Also from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Stormtrooper comes with a muscle chest shirt and a mask. 4. The Captain America set includes a fiber-filled muscle chest shirt and a matching mask. 5. The Wonder Woman set includes a tutu dress, a cape, a tiara, and a pair of arm gauntlets.

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July 13 • NYC • Majesty Yacht

Get your brand in front of the most influential consumers! The seventh annual Sweet Suite event will welcome more than 400 bloggers, 150 members of traditional media, and more than 60 toy companies to meet and mingle in an exciting party atmosphere. Get your top toys and newest products in front of the most influential consumers in advance of the holiday shopping season.

Sponsorship packages available! Contact Laurie Schacht at:

theteam@bloggerbash.com


Talkin'

Toys BANANAGRAMS CELEBRATES 10 YEARS

The Toy Book chats with Rena Nathanson, president and “top banana” at Bananagrams Inc. Tell us a bit about Bananagrams’ history. How has the company evolved? Bananagrams grew from our family’s passion for games. We are all huge word game fans in particular, but hankered for something that was a bit faster, more fluid, and equally competitive that we could play together regardless of our ages: 7 to 75, at the time. So, with my late father Abe Nathanson leading the charge—and some luck, love, and hard work—Bananagrams was born. Ten years later and more than 7 million units sold, I’m proud to say that Bananagrams Inc. has ripened into an international game company with innovative offerings that are fun and portable, bringing people of all ages together for witty wordplay and downright silly gameplay.

does Bananagrams support education? Banangrams came to light, in major part, through a desire to help kids play with words, which ultimately enhances their appreciation of language and their grasp of spelling and literacy. We hear from our fans constantly— especially teachers, parents, and caregivers—about how our game helps enrich kids’ learning. This April, I am over the moon that we will host our first in-school Banangrams

Bananagrams is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, congrats! How will you mark this tremendous milestone? We are so excited for Bananagrams’ 10th “bananaversary,” as we fondly call it. We are supporting several events and creating new products throughout the year to mark the occasion, including the introduction of a special Bananagrams Party edition. Arriving this fall as a Target exclusive, our party version includes chaos-inducing new tiles that bring a bevy of devilish interactive elements to the original game. We’ll kick-off our bananaversary festivities by displaying some BIG banana fun on wheels at North American International Toy Fair.

Challenge in the U.S. We launched the tournament in the UK last year to great success and saw more than 15,000 school children playing the game in classrooms. We hope to replicate and exceed that goal in the U.S., with the Banangrams Challenge becoming an annual fixture on both sides of the pond. On the product front, we’re very proud to introduce MyFirst Banangrams. Packaged in a slightly greener, un-ripened banana pouch, MyFirst is intended for the younger gamer in order to further our (and their!) passion for wordplay. We’re showcasing the game at Toy Fair in our new booth location in the education aisle.

What is Bananagrams’ mission, and how

How do you incorporate consumer feed-

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back into your product lines? MyFirst is a prime example of how we integrate fan feedback into our games. In addition to a collection of mini-games that cater to a range of abilities, the tiles will feature lowercase letters, as well as common letter pairs, which—we learned from listening to countless educators and consumers—are truly difficult to find and are sought-after elements for games targeted at pre-readers and early readers. What else is new for this year? Last year we joined forces with UK-based game company Big Potato to distribute Linkee in the U.S. and Canada, which is a tremendously important new venture for us. We look forward to growing the Linkee brand this year, as well as exploring the expansion of our “Picked by Bananagrams” distribution portfolio. What does the future hold? Our bunch is thrilled with our games’ continued success and our growing family of dedicated fans. We will continue striving to ensure that Banangrams is a staple in everyone’s game collection, as well as expanding our portfolio both internally and with partners. I also plan to further our education mission by growing the Bananagrams Challenge, an event that teachers and students around the world look forward to, prepare for, and celebrate annually. It’s something that my late father and I talked about endlessly from the first day and it is so close to my heart. »


Puzzles &

Games MINDWARE

MindWare’s Crazy Letters is a fast-paced word game that will leave everyone wondering which way is up. After one player rolls the die to determine a category and draws and displays a corresponding card, all players race to decode the letters. The first player to shout out the correct word wins the card and the first person to collect 20 cards wins the game. Qwirkle celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a deluxe version. Qwirkle Deluxe Edition includes four wooden tile racks, a Qwirkle pencil, and a score pad. Like in the original, players create rows and columns of tiles that share a common shape or color. To score, players place tiles that touch other tiles with matching attributes, or score a 12-point “Qwirkle” by creating a line of all six colors or shapes. Color recognition and motor skills get a workout with Thumpin’ Thingdoodles. Players spread out the ThingDoodles, spin to see which color is the target, and then thump away at it. ThingDoodles wrap themselves around the mallet when thumped. The first player to collect 20 ThingDoodles is the winner. Pattern Play Revolution puts a spin on block play with five double-sided nesting rings that must be spun into the correct puzzle-solving position. The double-sided pattern cards are numbered in order of difficulty, ranging from beginner to expert.

BLUE ORANGE GAMES

In Dr. Eureka, from Blue Orange Games, players pick a challenge card, three test tubes, and six colorful balls to solve scientific formulas by moving materials from tube to tube without dropping them and positioning the balls as illustrated on the challenge card. This game is designed for kids ages 8 and up and can be played in a group or alone. In Fast Flip, created for kids ages 7 and up, the triangular cards have two sides: one with a collection of fruit and the other with a number or fruit by itself. Players race to find the match between the back of the stack and the front of the card they flip. Every Fast Flip game piece packs into a small tin. Top That is suitable for kids ages 6 and up. When one player flips the challenge card, players race to stack their props in a single stack following three simple rules: Objects printed in color must be visible on the stack, objects printed in gray must be hidden inside the stack, and objects not pictured must be kept inhand. The first player to correctly stack his or her objects wins. In Brix, designed for kids ages 7 and up, players place their pieces on top of each other to build a wall of bricks. The first player to align four in a row of their symbol or color is the winner. Each brick contains both the player’s symbol or color and those of his or her opponent. Each time a player adds a new piece, he or she risks helping opponents win the game. In Gigamons, players combine tiny Elemons together into their more powerful forms to summon the powerful Gigamon creatures, which are monsters that control the basic elemental materials of the universe. The game is suitable for kids ages 6 and up. In Rooster Run, made for kids ages 7 and up, players slide on rooster rings and start clucking like a chicken as they race to pick up earthworms. After players find their worms, they call out “Cock-a-doodle-doo” to end the round and score points for correct matches. In Vroom Vroom, designed for kids ages 4 and up, players roll wooden snails around the track and watch the rotating line on the shell to count steps. The first snails to inch across the finish line earn a place on the winners’ podium. The order of who rolls and the amount of dice thrown changes with each turn.

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Puzzles &

Games R&R GAMES

In Pickletter, from R&R Games, players compete to match the most letters before their opponents find their matches. In this game, designed for kids ages 7 and up, players can prove their opponents wrong if their letters don’t match up. Swipe Out, suitable for kids ages 7 and up, is a game in which players race to swipe chips off the board to match a pattern on the Swipe Out card. If a player wins the card, he or she wins the round. Players must collect five Swipe Out cards in order to win the game. Showdown, designed for kids ages 10 and up, pits famous people and characters against each other in a battle. A possible round can include the Easter Bunny versus Ben Franklin for “best babysitter.” Players must try to get their picks to win the title. Time’s Up Title Recall Expansion Packs, for kids ages 10 and up, add new titles in TV shows, songs, movies, books, and more to the party game. During three rounds, teams try to guess as many famous titles in the Deck of Fame as possible. In round one, players can say or do anything. During round two, players can use just one word. In round three, players only use gestures and no words are allowed.

EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS

Wave of the Wand—A Cinderella Game, from Educational Insights, is a color-matching game designed for two to four players ages 3 and up. Each player receives a castle card and takes turns rolling the three colored dice in the Magical Wand Shaker. Players pick up tokens that match the objects and colors on the dice and place them on the designated areas of their castles. The first one to fill his or her castle with tokens wins the game and earns the glass slipper gamepiece. The game reinforces strategic thinking and color recognition skills.

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THE HAYWIRE GROUP

The Haywire Group brings back the card game Jukem Football and expands the line to include Basketball and Soccer. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, each game will offer a unique play experience that utilizes the plays and actions of each of the three sports. With Action Princesses, a cooperative game designed for kids ages 5 and up, kids can perform fun and silly actions in order to make their way down the stone path to the castle. Kids may find themselves quacking like a duck or kicking like a ninja to defeat the dragon.


Puzzles &

Games WINNING MOVES GAMES

Brynk, from Winning Moves Games, requires kids to place pieces on a teeter-tottering base without sending the tower crashing down. Designed for kids ages 7 and up, Brynk comes with 42 plastic Brynk playing pieces and a game unit that doubles as a storage container. Brainspin is an ice-breaker and creativity game that forces players to open their minds and write down everything they see based on the card in play. Kids then have to convince their opponents that what they see is actually there. In Pass the Pigs Big Pigs, kids roll oversized foam pigs like dice in an effort to earn points. This game is designed for two or more players ages 7 and up. With snap-in letter tiles, Scrabble to Go is a twist on the classic game that allows players ages 8 and up to pack up their board without disturbing the words already in play. Winning Moves Games brings the 1980s back with Upwords Classic, a word game for kids ages 10 and up. An 8- by 8-inch game board grid and 64 letter tiles challenge players to think in this improved version of a classic. The Velveteen Rabbit Game captures the spirit of the cherished story as players’ rabbits venture around the board, collecting cards along the way, in a quest to become real. The game is designed for up to four players ages 4 and up.

GEORGE & CO.

A new twist on the original LCR Left Center Right dice game, George & Co.'s LCR Wild 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 players ages 8 and up.

FOXMIND GAMES

FoxMind’s Maze Racers challenges players to not only build mazes, but also to make their way out of one. Each team uses the enclosed magnetic walls to build the most complicated maze and leave opponents scrambling to find their way out. Once the maze is built, Maze Racers becomes a race against time as each side swaps boards and attempts to steer a ball through the maze. Kids can play Maze Racers in rounds so that the fastest in two out of three rounds can claim victory. The game is designed for kids ages 8 and up.

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Puzzles &

Games PLAYMONSTER

PlayMonster, formerly known as Patch Products, introduces a smaller line of Perplexus brainteaser puzzles called Perplexus Micro. The new collectible line debuts with two different themes, including Q-Bot, a 3.5- by 4-inch cube with an inner robot that makes up the maze, and Drakko’s, a 4.5- by 4-inch egg that contains a slithery dragon as its maze. Both games are designed for kids ages 8 and up. In Prove It, players bet who can do a task best. There are four categories: Mad Skills, Know-How, Fingers Crossed, and Buddy System. For example, a card may read, “Bet how far you can launch a card, flicking it finger-football style!” The two competitors bet back and forth until one person says, “Prove it!” to end the bet, prompting the other player to perform the task and earn the point. Prove It is designed for three to eight players ages 6 and up. Popalotsy challenges two to six players ages 8 and up to put colorful dice in the popper and let them fly. Then, it’s a race to match the color or number of ring cards to the dice and place the cards around the dice. The first player to get rid of their ring cards wins the game. Qubosity is a think-fast party game. Designed for two to six players ages 14 and up, players roll the big cubes to get nine categories, such as “reasons you call in sick” or “buffet foods,” and then press the timer to get a letter. Then, players take turns naming things in a category that start with that letter. Qubosity features 54 categories and 24 letters.

SPIN MASTER

Spin Master introduces The Wave, a hands-free interactive game experience. Players wave their hands over the game to control the colored lights to master five game modes. In Spot Five, each player flips over a fruit card from their deck. When five of the same fruit are face-up on the table, the player who rings the bell first wins the cards, and whoever has all the cards wins the game. Hedbanz Electronic is the electronic version of Hedbanz, the game of “What Am I?” The game unit will determine which game mode to play that round, direct the game, track time, and keep score. Hedbanz No Limits is an adults-only version of the game and includes dryerase cards for players to create their own clues. Spin Master will launch multiple licensed games this year, including Zootopia Race ’n Chase, the fast-paced game of catching criminals. Players race to find the criminals before they strike, and the player who stops the Angry Birds Pig Island Smashdown most bad guys from reaching the Zootopians wins. Kids can join Dory and her ocean friends in a game of hide and seek with the Finding Dory Magic Picture Search. Each player gets a dive mask that reveals hidden pictures on the game board, and when a character card is turned over, everyone must find the hidden character. Secret Life of Pets Home Before Dinner is a two-player tile game in which one player plays as Max and tries to build a path back to his apartment, while the other player plays as Snowball and tries to block Max’s way home. In the Disney Moana Race to Tafiti Game, players must work together to get tokens and make it to the island of Tafiti. Waves can knock players over and cause them to lose a token, but everyone wins if one player makes it to the end with a token. Angry Birds Pig Island Smashdown features a 30-inch game board with three games for kids to play. Kids can set up obstacles 24 ways and then roll Red to knock them down, or play Pig Bowling or Shuffleboard.

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Puzzles &

Games ZING

Kids can take their chances with Wet Head, Zing's new water roulette game. Kids can fill the Wet Head with water, strap themselves in, and spin the spinner. Players can either use the included spinner or download the free Wet Head Challenge mobile app, which offers challenging trivia questions and a recording feature that allows players to capture the game’s most memorable moments.

CARDINAL INDUSTRIES

CSE GAMES

Fantasy Fantasy Baseball, from CSE Games, is a roster-building card game where players battle through a season of fantasy baseball with a roster of fantasy creatures. Instead of the typical fantasy baseball experience taking months to play, the entire Fantasy Fantasy Baseball experience is boiled down to 10 minutes per player. In Junk In My Trunk, the circus grounds are a mess after a great show. Clean up duties fall to the elephants who must remove the junk with their trunks. In this casual card game based on the classic Swedish game Vändtia, players try to get rid of all their cards as quickly as possible. 10 Down is a new card game composed of sequencing and set collecting. Players draw and discard on each turn to create a run of 1 to 10, call “10 down,” and earn a point. Players can earn bonus points by making color runs of three or more with the same 10 cards. All of these games are designed for kids ages 8 and up.

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Cardinal will add new licensed games and puzzles to its lineup this year featuring characters from Shopkins, Pokémon, Star Wars, Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon, Paw Patrol, Dreamworks Animation, Miraculous Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., and more. The company will also launch a game based on the TV show Shark Tank, in which players must decide if a business idea is brilliant or a bust, and if they are in or out. Cardinal will launch new takes on classic games, including HedBanz, Toss Across, and Giant Uno. New puzzle offerings include Pixel Puzzles, which combine character pixel art with a puzzle built of plastic bits and pieces. Plus, the company will continue to offer the Top Trumps line of games, featuring brands such as The Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War, Tsum Tsums, Star Wars: Rogue One, and more.


TOY FAIR 2016

MASTERPIECES PUZZLE CO.

EEBOO

Cats at Work, from eeBoo, is a 1,008-piece puzzle illustrated by Monika Forsberg. It features images that build from the edges toward the center so kids can piece it together from all sides. Each cat features a unique style and personality, giving kids new elements to explore every time they look at the puzzle.

Ty Beanie Boos Garden Buddies 48-piece Fuzzy Puzzle, from MasterPieces Puzzle Co., is covered in flocking, resulting in a touchable, plush texture. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, the 21- by 15-inch puzzle features two Beanie Boo buddies. The Ty Beanie Boos 36-piece Fun at the Park Floor Puzzle features special die-cut Tyshaped pieces. The puzzle measures 3 by 2 feet when complete, features seven Beanie Boos friends, and is designed for kids ages 3 and up.

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Puzzles &

Games BANANAGRAMS

Bananagrams celebrates its 10th anniversary with Bananagrams Party, a twist on the original game. Bananagrams Party features Party Power tiles, which challenge players while they race to complete their word grids. From racing around the table to destroying an opponent’s word grid or tampering with their letters, the Party Power tiles add a new dimension to the original game. My First Bananagrams is a new edition of Bananagrams for younger players. The green Bananagrams pouch contains colorful lowercase letter tiles and a collection of games for kids with a wide range of reading skills and abilities. There are 10 curriculum-based mini games for early learners and word game challenges that grow in difficulty as the child’s skill level advances. The game also includes new double tiles of vowel teams, word families, and digraphs. Bananagrams is the North American distributor for Linkee, a tabletop trivia game for families. Players answer four questions and try to spot the link between the answers faster than the other teams. If they get it right, they win a letter. Collect enough letters to spell Linkee to win the game. More than one-third of the cards are user-generated, with contributors getting their name on their card and a free game in the mail.

THINKFUN

Kids can ignite their logic and sequential reasoning skills with ThinkFun’s Circuit Maze. The game challenges kids ages 8 and up to arrange the tokens and create a circuit that lights up the different colored beacons. The game features 60 challenges ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert. In Yoga Spinner, designed for kids ages 5 and up, players give the spinner a whirl and perform the pose on the corresponding yoga pose card. If the player can hold the pose for 10 seconds, he or she keeps the card. The first player to collect a card of each color is the winner. Balance Beans is a logic game and math game all in one. Players set up the Red Beans according to the challenge card, and then carefully place the beans on the seesaw to keep it from teetering. Balancing the seesaw is actually balancing an equation. As the challenges get harder, players will rely less on trial and error and more on math and reasoning skills. This beanfilled logic game helps introduce kids ages 5 and up to elementary algebra.


TOY FAIR 2016

SMART TOYS AND GAMES

Following its Three Little Pigs games launched last year, Smart Toys and Games introduces its new preschool puzzle game based on the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. Kids can now help Little Red Riding Hood find the right path to Grandma’s house, but they must stay on the lookout for the wolf. This game comes with a picture book featuring the original story and 48 puzzle challenges designed for kids ages 3 and up. SmartCar 5x5 is a new variation of the classic SmartCar, featuring five wooden blocks and easier rules. SmartCar 5x5 features 24 challenges for kids ages Dinosaurs—Triple Trouble 3 to 7 and 24 challenges for kids ages 6 to 9. The car is made of sturdy plastic and features spinning rubber wheels, so kids can play with or without the puzzle board. Dinosaurs—Triple Trouble challenges kids ages 6 and up to separate the plant-eating dinosaurs from the carnivores in this shape-matching game. Players compose the green islands on the blue surface, but must be careful that the three friendly dinos are separated from the three Tyrannosaurus Rexes. North Pole Expedition features 80 challenges and two play modes: an Eskimo kayaking in the water and an Eskimo spear fishing on the ice. Kids ages 6 and up can play the same challenge twice and discover a completely different solution. Smart Toys and Games will also add to its travel game lineup this year. Magnetic Travel: Deducktion challenges players ages 5 and up to place the three duck families so that all of the ducklings follow their mother. Parking Puzzler is a game of deduction that challenges kids ages 7 and up to find every car the right spot in the lot. In Penguin Pool Party, players ages 5 and up must place the penguins on the board and then place the pieces with ice around them. The game features 60 challenges for hours of on-the-go fun. New to the line of IQ logic puzzles, IQ XOXO involves filling the grid with the right X and O pieces. Players ages 7 and up use the 10 double-sided pentomino pieces to solve 120 challenges. IQ Puzzler Pro offers 120 2-D and 3-D challenges in three playing modes. Players can use the inside orthogonal grid, 3-D pyramids, or use the outside for a diagonal grid.

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Puzzles &

Games GRIDDLY GAMES

Griddly Games introduces Rocket Lander, a family game designed for players ages 7 and up. Rocket Lander is a STEM-based dice game that challenges players to strategically plot a graph and a 3-D axis. The game takes players on an adventure through space and around the world as they escort their ships, search and overtake opponents, and defend the home turf. The game requires both strategy and luck to determine who will be the undisputed Rocket Lander.

SET ENTERPRISES

Set Enterprises Inc. is ready for gaming on the go with 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. The Mini Rounds are designed for easy travel and each take 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 roundshaped 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.

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TOY FAIR 2016

RAVENSBURGER

Buggaloop, from Ravensburger, is a follow-up to Bugs in the Kitchen. Buggaloop features a Hexbug nano V2, which hides in the hidden places of the 3-D game board, popping out unexpectedly to interrupt game play. In Hundreds of Horses, players must use their imaginations to match 100 horse tiles with eloquent stories, phrases, and awards. Players secretly vote to earn tokens when they agree with other players on the same horse. The game is designed for kids ages 6 and up. Monkey Beach is an adventure game of pirates and treasure-seeking designed for preschoolers ages 3 and up. Players must feel for the hidden treasures and move them to the correct opening in the fabric island. On each turn, players select two cards to see which treasure to find and which opening to use. Players race to collect their treasures before the volcano erupts and the game ends. In Broom Service, players must gather roots, herbs, and fruit to brew their concoctions, and Drizzelda will help charm away the cloudy weather. Play the right card at the right moment, and win the game. Designed for players ages 10 and up, this game is the relaunch of Witch’s Brew, an Alea strategy game. Thomas the Tank Engine Counting Train is a 21-piece shaped puzzle that features Thomas carrying all kinds of cargo. The puzzle is designed for kids ages 3 and up.

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Dolls &

Plush JAKKS PACIFIC

With Magical Wand Cinderella, from Jakks Pacific, kids can wave the Fairy Godmother’s magical wand to transform Cinderella’s look. Kids can wave the wand longer and create a colorful light show on Cinderella’s dress, and have her sing “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” or “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” The doll also says more than 20 phrases and is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Make it Pop is a new high school musical comedy for kids ages 6 to 11 that follows three girls—Corki, Jodi, and Sun Hi—as they come together to form a band. Jakks will launch a full doll line featuring the three girls in multiple styles, including Street Couture, Performance “Prom Perfect,” and Performance “XO-IQ, the Deluxe Experience.” Each doll stands 10.5 inches tall and inMake It Pop Street Couture cludes two accessories. Girls can play out the astronomical adventures of Disney Star Darlings with Star Darlings Starland fashion dolls. Sage, Leona, Libby, Scarlet, and Vega are fully poseable dolls with shimmer skin and sparkly Royal Reflection eyes. Each doll comes with a musical instrument. Jakks will also release the Disney Star Darlings Star-Rock Musical Stage, which includes a Sage doll. The set also features five doll stands to create a full band and plays three Star Darlings songs.

ADORA

Adora’s new dolls and accessories encourage imagination and role play. The Enchanted doll has brown hair, dark eyes, and an empire waist dress with touches of pink. Curls of Love has brown eyes and playful curls. She wears a pink polka-dotted dress with tulle on the bottom, matching pigtail bows, and ballerina style shoes. Honey Bunch has honey brown eyes and dark chocolate hair that enhance her classic look. Cutie Patootie is ready for the summertime with her bright pink matching sandals and pigtail bows. She has dark black hair and bright blue eyes. BathTime Baby-Kitty is a new Adora BathTime baby accessory. Kids can play with this 13-inch doll in the PlayTime Floral bath or the pool. Each BathTime baby comes with its own washcloth and removable animal-themed bathrobe, Romper and has a swimsuit-printed QuikDri body. They are designed for kids ages 1 and up. The PlayTime Floral Romper is designed for the Adora PlayTime babies, which weigh approximately 12 ounces and are 13 inches long. Each handmade doll is lightly baby powder-scented and made of Gentle Touch Vinyl. Adora PlayTime babies also have a cuddly silky-smooth body and a beanbag weighted bottom, which gives them a lifelike feel. They are designed for kids ages 1 and up. The GiggleTime Boy and Girl come with a baby carrier for kids on the go. The babies have a removable giggle mechanism so they giggle when kids give them a hug. GiggleTime babies are also made with baby powder-scented vinyl to give a real baby feel and are 100-percent machine washable. They are suitable for ages 2 and up. BabyTime Rainbow Dolls are swaddled in a newborn embroidered onesie and have weighted bodies. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, each doll comes with a soft blankie and feeding bottle. The floral-printed 4 in 1 Play Set can be used as a high chair, swing, carrier, or seat. It’s designed for kids ages 2 and up. The Baby Doll Bed comes with a soft, pink blanket and a matching floral pillow so kids can put all of their dolls to bed. It is intended for kids ages 2 and up. Adora by the Shore is this year’s Adora’s Designed by Kids for Kids program winner. The newest “Young Designer” helped design a beach-themed outfit for Adora 18-inch dolls.

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Dolls &

Plush GUND

Gund’s Sleepy Seas line is available in three designs: green turtle, blue whale, and pink octopus. When kids press the tail, ambient music plays for 30 minutes and shuts off again at the push of a button. Sounds include ocean waves, bubbling water, and spa-like music. A touch-and-close fastener loop allows for attachment to car seats and strollers. Safe for kids of all ages, Gund’s Flappy the Elephant Animated Plush allows kids to enjoy two different play modes. They can press the left foot to play an interactive game of peek-a-boo, and the right to hear the song “Do Your Ears Hang Low.” Its ears move and flap during play. Lolo Teddy Bear is a 12-inch seated polar bear plush designed for kids of all ages. Marley Monkey is a gorilla plush that features distinctive tipped plush material for added softness, and surface-washable fabric that allows for easy cleaning. Flappy the Elephant Animated Plush

MADAME ALEXANDER

Madame Alexander’s Madamoiselle Pussycat and Mon Cherie Pussycat dolls feature taffeta and organza dresses and headbands. The company introduces a line of DC Comics 8-inch collectible dolls. The DC Comics Harley Quinn doll is a bubbly and psychotic super villain that loves causing joke-themed trouble. The DC Comics Supergirl hails from Krypton and is the most powerful teenager on the planet, and DC Comics Wonderwoman is the full package of beauty, brains, and brawn. Madame Alexander’s Wendy Loves Minnie rocks the polka-dot fashion trend. Madame Alexander unveils a Disney-inspired line of 18-inch dolls, including Disney Ariel, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Belle. Disney Ariel will go from under the sea to little ones’ hearts, while Disney Cinderella will put a smile on their faces. Kids can let their hair down alongside Disney Rapunzel for creativity and a life full of adventure. The Dorothy and Toto doll reminds kids there’s no place like home. This 18-inch Dorothy doll with ruby slippers and Toto in hand is great for Wizard of Oz fans. Kids can speed into fun and hit the raceway with the Madame Alexander sponsored NASCAR dolls. The 18-inch Danica Patrick doll, decked out in a Nature’s Bakery fire suit, will also race into kids’ hearts. 18-inch Disneyinspired dolls

HANSA

Nordic Deer

Hansa’s Nordic Deer features “true to life” realism and custom-designed fabric and accessories. The new Chihuahua includes a coat, a leash, a posable frame, and soft fabrics. The Snow Leopard raises awareness of the need to protect this endangered species. Hansa introduces its new Luxury Home Décor Collection, which allows animal lovers of all ages to take a “walk on the wild side” with unique, custom-designed accents.

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Dolls &

Plush BLIP TOYS

Blip Toys will distribute Russ plush this year. For more than 50 years, Russ has hand-crafted traditional plush bears, classic plush, and collectible plush. Russ plush are designed for kids of all ages and can be used for play, collecting, and gift-giving.

Lolli

CUDDLE BARN HASBRO

Kids can feed Hasbro’s Furreal Friends Pax, My Poopin’ Pup his treats one at a time. When they pull back on the leash to make him sit, and then release the leash, they’ll see Pax has left something behind. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, Pax comes with a detachable two-part leash, nine treats, and a clean-up bag. Kids can nurse their Baby Alive Better Now Bailey Doll back to good health with extra love and care. When it’s time for baby’s check-up, kids can pretend to check her temperature with the thermometer and look into her ears with the scope. Put the stethoscope up to her chest and pretend to listen to her heart as it shows how Better Now Bailey feels with a happy, sad, or sleepy face. Feed the doll her bottle and she wets her diaper. She wears a removable outfit and comes with a bottle, a stethoscope, a thermometer, a scope, and a diaper. The doll is availFurreal Friends able in three ethnicities and Pax, My is designed for kids ages 3 Poopin’ Pup and up.

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Big Brother and Big Sister Bears, from Cuddle Barn, have cute sayings to help ease kids’ anxiety about the arrival of a new baby. Designed for kids ages 18 months and up, this year-round item is perfect for hospitals, gift shops, boutiques, and drug stores. Designed for kids ages 2 and up, Bingo is a puppy with a red bandana that claps his hands and flaps his ears to the classic song “Bingo Was His Name-O.” Mary’s Little Lamb is wearing a floral patterned dress and sways her head to the classic preschool song “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Designed for kids ages 2 and up, she holds a shepherd’s crook and wears a pink bow. Brightly dressed in her blue checkered dress and yellow head bow, Lolli is a bear with an old-fashioned style as she licks her swirl lollipop and bops to the song “Lollipop.” Sporting a bright blue cap and striped shirt, Scoops is an adorable bear that loves to lick ice cream and bops to the classic song “How Sweet It Is.” Lolli and Scoops are both designed for kids ages 2 and up.


Dolls &

Plush PILLOW PETS

The Pillow Pets Dream Lites line, from CJ Products, now includes characters from Paw Patrol. The adventurous rescue pups, Chase and Marshall, act as a night-light that turns kids’ rooms into a starry sky with the press of a button. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the licensed Dream Lites will project Chase or Marshall’s paw print alongside the stars and feature four light options. Pillow Pets folding plush and Dream Lites will also feature characters from DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming comedy, Trolls. Pillow Pets Folding Plush will incorporate Poppy’s hot pink up-do and signature flower, Branch’s mop of hair and Guy Diamond’s luminescent poof of gray. The Dream Lites turn the folding plush into a night-light, illuminating the Trolls’ playful icons and star patterns onto the ceiling. Alternating hues of amber, blue, and green light set the scene for a peaceful night’s slumber. Pillow Pets Dream Lites

AURORA WORLD

Aurora World will add sound to its Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls. Kids can hug their hearts to hear them say, “I love you.” Both dolls are dressed in blue gingham outfits with grosgrain ribbon and ric rac. Aurora’s My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic line has four new characters in new color combinations with each one sporting their own unique cutie mark. The new Hush Puppy line features 5-, 10-, and 18-inch plush with droopy ears. There is also a clip-on version available so kids can take their puppy on the go. No two designs in Aurora’s Miyoni line are exactly alike. The Red Panda is modeled after the endangered species, which is a cat-size cousin to the black and white giant that shares its Hush Puppies name. It features a big, bushy ringed tail that is used as a wraparound blanket in the cold. Aurora’s Gnomes collection features five styles that come in three sizes. Gnomes are made with super soft fabrics, a large fluffy beard, and beady eyes.

FOLKMANIS

Folkmanis Puppets expands its line with the Black Dragon puppet, designed for kids ages 3 and up. The puppet features unique drawstring animation and comes to life with movement in the mouth, forked tongue, and arms. The Folkmanis French Bulldog puppet features bat-like ears and a wrinkly face. Kids can fool their friends with their new lifelike lapdog. The Monarch Life Cycle puppet teaches children about metamorphosis as it changes from a caterpillar to a chrysalis to an adult monarch butterfly. New full-size hand puppets also include a playful African Lion Cub, a classic Brown Bear Cub, a Guinea Pig, a Loon, a Slow Loris, a soft Sniffing Rabbit, and a Raccoon. Plus, the Giant Clam with a pearl inside and the retro, twohanded Yellow Beaked Crow will join the line. Folkmanis will also offer new Mini Duckling and Mini Opossum finger puppets for easy, on-the-go fun.

Black Dragon puppet

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Dolls &

Plush THE BRIDGE DIRECT

WILD REPUBLIC Part of Wild Republic’s Cuddlekins brand, Colorkins are 12-inch plush featuring multi-colored, textured fabrics with special touches on their paws, ears, and eyes. Animal options include a bear, a dolphin, an elephant, a giraffe, a harbor seal, a hippo, a lion cub, a penguin, a sea turtle, and a wolf. The Cuddlekins brand also expands this year with 5-inch plush pals. Little Biggies are 30-inch realistic plush animals that are over-stuffed and sit in an upright pose. Wild Republic’s Sweet & Sassy plush line goes big this year with a new jumbo 30-inch size.

The Bridge Direct expands its line of Strawberry Shortcake dolls with Strawberry Shortcake Fashion Dolls with Pets. Each sweet-scented, 6-inch doll comes dressed in her iconic fashion and includes a pet and a styling comb. Two new characters have joined the collection: Raspberry Torte with her pet Chiffon, and Plum Pudding with her pet Pitterpatch. The dolls and pets are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

Raspberry Torte and Chiffon

MGA ENTERTAINMENT

Giraffe Colorkins

Project Mc² Doll with Experiment—Adrienne’s Perfume, from MGA Entertainment, lets kids perform an experiment at home with Adrienne Attoms, Project Mc2’s culinary chemist, to make their own perfume using only household ingredients such as rose petals and vanilla. The articulated Adrienne doll is dressed in her undercover spy outfit and includes sunglasses, spy disguise glasses, a purse, and a beaker-shaped comb. With McKeyla’s Invisible Ink Pen, kids can perform a new experiment at home with Project Mc2’s team leader, McKeyla McAlister. Kids can make their own invisible ink pen using household ingredients such as baking soda and water. Bryden’s Light Up Bracelet lets kids make their own light-up bracelet with Bryden Bandweth, the tech genius. The experiment teaches kids how to complete circuits to make the bracelet’s hidden wires light up. Kids make their own wind-up pet robot using common household ingredients such as a strawberry or marshmallow with Camryn’s Wind-Up Pet Robot. The Project Mc² line is designed for kids ages 6 and up. The Lalaloopsy Hair Dough Doll lets kids fill the Lalaloopsy doll with dough, insert one of sevMcKeyla’s Invisible eral styling caps into her head, and watch her hair grow. Then kids can trim the doll’s hair or style Ink Pen it in silly ways. The doll comes with three different hair colors and hair clips. Kids can hold the cuteness of Lalaloopsy in the palm of their hand with the Mini Lalaloopsy Style ‘n Swap dolls. Minis have removable wigs, clothes, and shoes. Lalaloopsy Minis Style ‘n Swap Deluxe Packs come with two dolls and more than 20 accessories. Kids can swap out clothing, wigs, and shoes. They are available in princess and mermaid themes. Lalaloopsy Minis Style ‘n Swap Playsets let kids display wigs and outfits in salons and boutiques. Kids can store all of their Lalaloopsy Minis in the Lalaloopsy Minis Style ‘n Swap Carry Along Playhouse. The playhouse has five different areas, holds up to 16 Mini Lalaloopsy Dolls, and comes with an exclusive doll, Cinder Slippers. The Lalaloopsy line is designed for kids ages 4 and up.

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Dolls &

Plush ARKLU

The Special Edition Gold Collection Stargazer Lottie doll, designed by 6-year-old Abigail as a part of the Gold STEM Collection, is a collaboration with the European Space Agency. It comes with a telescope, a tripod, solar system collector cards, and an additional sheet featuring notable women in astronomy. The doll features a dark blue velvet bomber jacket over dungarees, a long sleeve T-shirt, sturdy brown boots, a hat, and a scarf. The Special Edition Gold Collection Fossil Hunter Lottie doll is a collaboration with TrowelBlazers, an international team of women archaeologists, paleontologists, and geologists. Fossil Hunter Lottie includes Lottie’s magnifying glass, a trowel, a geology hammer, ammonite fossils, a set of special collector cards about the British female fossil hunter Mary Anning, and an additional sheet featuring other women in paleontology. She wears a vest, cargo shorts, a polo shirt with ammonite design, a baseball cap, and boots. A rucksack holds Lottie’s ammonite fossils and tools. The Fossil Hunter and Stargazer Lottie dolls are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

Special Edition Gold Collection Stargazer Lottie

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Storytime Huxley

CLOUD B

Cloud b’s My Buddie Bernie is the first Cloud b plush to feature interactive, voice-activated, talk-back engagement to help kids transition from playtime to sleep time. In playtime mode, Bernie replies when kids talk to him. At bedtime, Bernie changes to sleepy phrases for about five minutes until he says “Goodnight,” sings a lullaby, and snores. My Buddie Bernie is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Beebop uses Bluetooth technology to play songs from personal playlists, lighting up along with the beat. Storytime Huxley is a bow-tie-attired bear that tells five different classic bedtime stories. Kids can press his paw to pick and play any story as many times as they’d like. Huxley comes with an illustrated storybook and has interactive questions to help keep parents and kids engaged, and also features an auto-shut-off timer and volume controls. Iggy Monster projects multicolored lights that change from red to green and blue. As Iggy casts a show on the ceiling, his belly lights up with a soothing warm glow. Iggy Monster comes in a knit-like textured plush and features a 45-minute shut-off timer. Cloud b and Rainbow Loom partnered to make SuperMax the Turtle even more special. Kids can now create a Rainbow Loom cape for their little superhero. The new gift set includes the star-projecting SuperMax and all the materials kids need in this special-edition Rainbow Loom kit. SuperMax projects a starry gaze onto the ceiling while cycling from blue to green and red. An included booklet features the story of SuperMax the Turtle. It’s recommended for kids ages 8 and up. Inspired by Sleep Sheep, Peaceful Panda is a soft gray and white and features eight soothing sounds to help children drift off to sleep. Peaceful Panda comes with a storybook and an adoption certificate. The removable sound box enables parents to set it to automatically turn off the peaceful sounds after 23 or 45 minutes. This plush panda has a Velcro strap to attach to a crib, a bed, or a diaper bag. Sweet Dreamz On the Go is an all-in-one baby soother. Each cat character features eight soothing sounds and melodies and their faces will light up with an amber glow. A built-in sensor works to reactivate the soothing sound if baby wakes.


Dolls &

Plush GENESIS

My Friend Cayla Party Time, from Genesis, is a new twist on the My Friend Cayla doll. Like the original, Cayla is an 18-inch fashion doll that talks with and understands kids, plays games, reads stories, and shares photos from her photo album, but now, she can recognize and talk about her accessories. Kids can place Cayla’s accessories in her hand and she will discuss and describe each item. In addition to her Party Time accessories, Cayla also has kitchen, hair salon, and beauty accessory packs that she can talk about. My Friend Cayla is designed for kids ages 4 and up.

JUST PLAY

Just Play’s new Mermaid Magic Princess Sofia, based on the Disney Junior series Sofia the First, turns bathtime into a royal underwater adventure. Kids can press Sofia’s amulet for music and lights. Mermaid Magic Princess Sofia sings, lights up, and sparkles, and her tail flutters through the water. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, she also comes with a removable seashell tiara and a hairbrush for hair play. The Glow-A-Lot Care Bears glow in the dark. Kids hold the Care Bears up to a light to activate the feature, then turn off the lights and watch the Care Bears glow. No batteries are needed, as the magic is in the fabric. Kids can collect all the Glow-A-Lot Care Bears: Love-a-lot, Bedtime Bear, Wish Bear, and Sweet Dreams Bear, all designed for kids ages 2 and up.

DREAM FRENZ

Dream Frenz combine the play experience of a doll with the comfort of a plush. With an oversized, soft head and a tiny body that tucks inside, Dream Frenz is a cuddly plush pillow, toy, and companion. The characters are multi-cultural and designed to appeal to both boys and girls. Dream Frenz come in 10 different characters and are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

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Dolls &

Plush BEVERLY HILLS TEDDY BEAR

Surprizamals, from Beverly Hills Teddy Bear, are collectible pop-out play friends that hide in Surprizaballs. With more than 60 to collect in the first wave, Surprizamals are made of soft plush and come in three styles: Wacky, Cuties, and Mini. The first wave also includes must-have chasers and ultra-rare Surprizamals pets. Surprizamals are designed for kids ages 3 and up. Kids can create mess-free glowing works of art with the Glow Crazy Doodle Dome. This convenient pop-up tent is easy to set up and features a built-in Glow Canvas that lets kids doodle with glow light for glow-in-the-dark fun. They can close the flap and create exciting designs with the Wide Beam Glow Wand, use stencils to trace fun shapes, or put on a light show. The Glow Crazy Doodle Dome is available in single- and dual-person sizes and multiple colors. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, each includes a built-in Glow Canvas, a Wide Beam Glow Wand, four stencil sheets, and a Doodle Dome carry bag.

Surprizamals


TOY FAIR 2016

IMPORTS DRAGON

Imports Dragon’s Shopkins plush toys are a great way for kids to cuddle with their favorite Shopkins characters. Made with super soft material, they come in multiple sizes and varieties. The 3.5-inch Plush Hangers are soft characters attached to a small, plastic clip. They come in a blind bag. The 4.5-inch Key Chain Plush are great for attaching to backpacks and purses. The 8- and 12inch plush are the largest sizes and great to snuggle up with. Each plush is designed for kids ages 5 and up. 12-inch plush

LOVEE DOLL

Little Singing Chef, from Lovee Doll, is a toddler doll designed for kids ages 3 and up. The doll sings five different rhymes, plays educational and motivational music, and has five activation points. The doll aims to inspire kids to understand the importance of healthy food. An English-speaking doll, a bilingual doll that speaks English and Spanish, and an African American doll are available for purchase.


Vehicles &

Action Figures CARRERA

Nintendo Mario-Copter

PLAYMATES TOYS

Carrera’s Nintendo Mario-Copter features Mario flying on a gyro-stabilized quadrocopter that’s nearly 12 inches across and features protected rotors. The 2.4 GHz flight control system allows for precise control over the quadrocopter and has a flight time of about 7 minutes with a 60-minute recharge time. Designed for kids ages 12 and up, this quadrocopter is ready to fly right out of the box. Carrera’s GO line will introduce the Disney•Pixar Cars Carbon Racers slot car set. The new set features specially designed decorations of the Lightning McQueen and Francesco Bernoulli cars, and has everything kids need to start racing. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the set comes with a pair of cars, controllers, accessories, and more than 14 feet of slot car track.

Playmates Toys introduces its T-Sprints line, a new figure and wheels play pattern. The motorized mini T-Sprints can quickly take off using a unique flywheel—just rev up the figure, drop it into the vehicle, and watch it go. The T-Sprints line features the T-Sprints Single Pack Figure and Vehicle Assortment—including Lickety Split Leo with Shellraiser, Mad Motion Mikey with Party Van, Rapid Assault Raph with Stealth Bike, Dasher Donnie with Patrol Buggy, and more—and the Dino-themed 2.5-inch Figure 2 Pack T-Sprints 2-Pack Figure and Vehicle Assortment, featuring LickAssortment, Leo & Triceratops ety Split Leo with Shellraiser and Supersonic Shredder with Shreddermobile, Mad Motion Mikey with Party Van and Rapid Assault Raph with Stealth Bike, and more. The T-Sprints line also includes the T-Sprints Sewer Dual Playset, which features an exclusive Leo T-Sprint and a Shellraiser vehicle shell. Kids can rev up T-Sprints Leo and send him sprinting through the sewer, racing past mutant Shredder, dropping down in the escape tunnel, and escaping in the Shellraiser. The play set is compatible with all T-Sprints figures and vehicles. Playmates Toys will also add to its Mutations line with new products that let kids change their articulated action figures into the vehicles from the TV show in just a few steps. The new Ninja Turtle Figure to Vehicle Assortment includes Leonardo to AT-3, Raphael to Stealth Bike, and Michelangelo to Patrol Buggy. Playmates Toys’ Half Shell Heroes line, designed with bright colors and friendly expressions to engage preschoolers, expands with the Dino-themed 2.5-inch Figure 2 Pack Assortments. Each pack includes a 2.5-inch Turtle dressed in a caveman style and a fully poseable dinosaur. The collection includes Leo & Triceratops, Donnie & T-Rex, Mikey & Brachiosaurus, Raph & Pteranodon, and more. The Dino-themed Vehicle with Figures Assortment features a 2.5-inch Turtle action figure dressed in a caveman style and a fully posable dinosaur. The collection includes Battle Action Stegosaurus with Michelangelo, Battle Robo Raptor with Triceraton, and Wing Attack Pterodactyl with Raphael. With the T-Rex Vehicle with Donatello, young Turtles fans can send Donnie on wild adventures. The T. rex dinosaur is fully poseable with a fierce chomping attack and also features a saddle so that Donnie can ride him. The set includes a 2.5-inch Donatello action figure dressed in a caveman style. The new Half Shell Heroes toys are inspired by the Nickelodeon TV special Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past, which takes the Half Shell Heroes back in time to a prehistoric era for a wild adventure.

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Vehicles &

Action Figures IAMELEMENTAL

IAmElemental reveals its second series of female action figures: the Wisdom series. Suitable for kids ages 4 and up, the series includes seven 4-inch articulated action figures based on the Elements of Power—powers that already exist within kids. The figures include Creativity, Ingenuity, Curiosity, Logic, Exploration, Mastery, and Oblivion. The design of Series 2/Wisdom draws inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman warriors, as well as modern superheroes such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and Emily Blunt’s fictional character Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow.

LITTLE KIDS

Little Kids introduces six new Moji characters to its lineup. Feelin’ Happy Go Lucky is always joyous. He loves to cook and sing, and has a strong paternal instinct. Feelin’ Bold & Bratty is full of attitude, but kids will love her anyway. She’s sweet, but watch out for that sour. Feelin’ Pretty & Pouty is ditzy, pretty, and loveable. Feelin’ Abuzz with Excitement is part alien, part bug, and part adorable. He chitters, chatters, clicks, and ticks. Feelin’ Rock ‘n Roll is the king of rock and roll. He’s always loud, upbeat, and ready to party. Feelin’ Double Dog Daring is small, but tough. He is daring, bold, and talks a big game.

TOY STATE

Dino Hauler T-Rex, from Toy State, lets kids bring prehistoric dinosaur adventure to the living room floor. Suitable for kids ages 3 and up, this truck hauls a ferocious dino who is trying to escape, and kids can get in on the action with light effects, sounds, music, and motorized drive. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party Van R/C is designed for kids ages 6 and up. Featuring full-function steering and an easy-to-use controller, kids can show the enemies who’s boss with this Turtle-power packed R/C. Kids can take Barbie on a roadtrip with the Barbie Convertible R/C, designed for kids ages 3 and up. This simple-function R/C convertible can seat two Barbie dolls and has a wheel-shaped controller. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, VelociTrax is a full-function R/C featuring fast and futuristic styling. It can perform 360-degree spins and has ultra-maneuverability, allowing kids to race through any terrain and over obstacles. Barbie Convertible R/C

204  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM


Vehicles &

Action Figures Batman v Superman Twin Pack Metals 4-inch Figures

LIONEL

JADA TOYS

Jada Toys’ Batman, Armored Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Twin Pack Metals 4-inch Figures are collectible, stylized pop-culture figures based on the upcoming film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Each figure is more than 50 percent die-cast, weighing more than half a pound, with quality paint and craftsmanship. Additionally, the Batman Metals 6-inch Figures feature light-up eyes and extra die-cast armor. The Batmobile Model Kit is a prepainted die-cast model kit that features opening doors and a detailed interior. This collectible car takes styling cues directly from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Lionel Mega Tracks is a rail system from Lionel that allows kids to design and build their own race courses. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the line introduces TwisTrack, which allows kids to twist the track to create their own stunts and layouts, and a new clamp and construction system for kids to build anywhere, including on the floor, or attach to furniture. Once the layout and stunts are built, kids can use the handheld remote control to send the rail racer vehicle into high-speed action. The Mega Tracks Corkscrew Chaos Pack includes 20 feet of track and 55 construction pieces, while the Mega Tracks Stunt Packs include 12 feet of additional track and more than 20 construction pieces to build additional stunts. The Stunt Packs are available in Twisted Tower and Tornado Mountain assortments. Lionel’s ready-to-play sets feature some of kids’ favorite brands. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, the battery-powered sets feature 24 curved and eight straight plastic track pieces for various layout options and an R/C remote that allows the train to go forward and reverse, sound a whistle, and ring a bell. The Mickey Mouse Express Ready-to-Play Set lets kids help with Mickey’s special delivery and spread Christmas cheer. It features Mickey driving a general-style locomotive, a present-filled tender with Donald Duck, a boxcar, a center-cupola caboose, and Disney-specific train announcements. The Polar Express Ready-to-Play Set showcases children’s shadows as they sit in the passenger cars drinking hot chocolate. The set features a steam locomotive and tender, a passenger coach, and an observation car. The train plays “All Aboard the Polar Express” when kids press a button. With the John Deere Freight Ready-to-Play Set, little farmers can transport the equipment that helps the land grow. The set includes a general-style locomotive and tender, a boxcar, and a center-cupola caboose. Designed for kids ages 14 and up, Lionel’s O-Gauge ready-to-run train sets come equipped with a LionChief remote control that allows users to adjust the train speed, sounds, and direction from up to 60 feet away. The “Mickey’s Holiday to Remember” Disney Christmas Set includes a 4-4-0 general-style locomotive with wood tender, a boxcar, an animated gondola, a square-window caboose, and a combination of track pieces. When the car is in motion, Mickey and Minnie figures circle the gondola. The Hogwarts Express LionChief Set includes a 4-6-0 locomotive, two passenger coaches, a combination Hogwarts Express LionChief Set car, and a combination of track sections. Both the “Mickey’s Holiday to Remember” Disney Christmas and Hogwarts Express sets feature puffing smoke, operating headlights, and sound effects.

206  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM


Vehicles &

Action Figures MAISTO

The Maisto Tech Cyklone360 is a radio-controlled motorcycle with spinning action, including 360-degree turns. The rear wheels twist and turn and the LED light changes color while driving. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the Maisto Tech Cyklone360 is approximately 8 inches long and comes with a pistol-grip controller. Each of the Maisto Tech 1:10 Desert Rebels R/Cs is a rugged off-roader with realistic details and weathered decoration. The pistol-grip controller provides full-function radio control. A lightweight—but tough—vac-formed body has extra details for realism. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the vehicle has blocky-treaded offroad tires that provide lots of grip. The MaistoTech Ford GT NAIAS R/C is a replica of the Ford GT exotic car that Maisto Tech Cyklone360 debuted at the North American International Auto Show. Offered in 1:14 and 1:24 scales and designed for kids ages 8 and up, each has full-function radio control and an easy-to-use pistol-grip controller. The Maisto 1:24 Off-Road Kings die-cast are true 1:24-scale custom trucks with off-road accessories and off-road tires, featuring custom wheels and paint. Styles include the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, and the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Each has opening doors and an operating hood or tailgate. The Maisto 1:64 Harley-Davidson die-cast have authentic Harley-Davidson decorations and come in assorted styles including Chevrolet, Ford, and Volkswagen classics. Customized details include aftermarket wheels and tires in addition to the Harley-Davidson graphics.

SPIN MASTER

Spin Master adds to its Air Hogs line of R/C, free-flying, and air-powered toy drones, airplanes, helicopters, rockets, and cars. The Razor Race Heli, made for kids ages 8 and up, speeds across the ground or soars through the air. The built-in gyro provides stability and precise control as kids speed across the ground or fly over obstacles. Mission Alpha uses a crane to lift and move objects, and has a three-channel control and gyro stabilization to fly in the air or drive across the floor in ground mode. The Helix Race Drone has a racing-inspired design to maximize speed. Designed for kids ages 10 and up, this quadcopter can switch between beginner mode and advanced mode and has a durable exoframe to protect rotors from bumps and crashes. The Helix Sentinel Drone can stream live video straight to a smart device for kids to see from the drone’s point of view. The Air Hogs goggles give an immersive first-person view and lets kids fly the quadcopter even when it’s out of site. It also features height lock sensors to automatically maintain altitude while avoidance sensors steer the drone away from incoming obstacles. The Air Hogs Thunder Trax is an all-terrain vehicle that can go through snow, sludge, and mud. With the push of a button, it transforms from a tank to a high-speed boat. The Air Hogs Star Wars line now includes the Death Star Battle RC, which comes with an X-Wing quadcopter and a flying Death Star that hovers autonomously ahead. Kids must avoid the Death Star’s attacks and fire back with the X-Wing’s blasters. The 74-Z Speeder Bike Drone features a built-in sonic height lock system that holds its altitude. The sensors also automatically adjust the height to avoid any oncoming obstacles, and kids can release the height lock with the push of a button. The RC Tie Advanced X1 features ducted twin motors tucked inside the body to provide a streamlined authentic look and flight lift. The XL Millennium Falcon Quad is equipped with front and rear lights, authentic sounds, a detailed cockpit scene including Han Solo and Chewbacca. Both vehicles have a 200-foot range. The Air Hogs Star Trek Enterprise NCC-1701-A has an integrated light system, more than 10 authentic sounds, and advanced quadcopter technology. It also includes a 50th anniversary collector’s display stand. The Air Hogs Remote Control Batwing has a range of up to 250 feet. It is built with landing gear and includes LED thruster Air Hogs XL Millennium lights for an authentic look. Falcon Quad

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Vehicles &

Action Figures ODYSSEY TOYS

The Starblade is a high-tech quadcopter with 40 LED lights, so kids fly during the day or at night. The Starblade is 2 feet long and features gyro technology for indoor and outdoor flying. Odyssey Toys’ Turbo Runner NX is a miniature version of the Sky Runner NX. Transitioning from flight to running mode, the Turbo Runner NX can dart across walls and run down staircases. Kids can learn the various trimming controls to perform stunts. Starblade

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BANDAI

Bandai America showcases its toy line for the new animated series Miraculous. Bandai is the master toy partner for this CGI-animated TV series, from Zag Heroez, about a young girl who taps into her superhero powers and optimism to save Paris from the evil Hawk Moth. A complete line of toys includes an action figure, role-play items, plush pets, and fashion dolls and is set to launch this fall.

Miraculous Ladybug action figure


TOY FAIR 2016

NKOK

With the upcoming Ghostbusters film in theaters this year, NKOK will launch three new Ghostbusters vehicles. The next generation Ecto 1 will be available as both a full-function R/C, and fully interactive battery-operated ghost catcher. Both vehicles feature Slimer on the roof—which lights up on the R/C version—as well as original sound effects and music. In addition to the next generation of animated Ecto-1s, NKOK will also introduce the classic 14-inch L Classic Ecto-1 R/C with working lights and sounds. Two types of R/C vehicles will soon get a high-definition Realtree camouflage treatment: the 1:8 scale Extreme Machine amphibious monster truck and the 13-inch high-performance Rock Crawler. The 1:8-scale Realtree Extreme Terrain vehicles will be available in three body styles: new Ford F-150, F-150 SVT Raptor, and 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. These super monster trucks are powered by dual high-torque motors and can perform on almost any terrain: grass, mud, rocks, sand, and even snow. Massive EVA tires allow these trucks to drive in and out of water. They can go down stairs, up curbs, and over almost any obstacle. Realtree Rock Crawler The innovative suspension system on the 13-inch long R/C Realtree Rock Crawler allows for new Jeep Wrangler rock-crawling abilities. With the rugged body of a 2015 Jeep Wrangler or 1970 Ford Bronco, these Realtree Rock Crawlers have powerful motors, grip tires, and a classic, stylish body. NKOK also developed a line of R/C vehicles designed for kids ages 3 and up. The company will introduce three one-of-a-kind full-function vehicles: Ford Mustang GT, Ford F150, and Jeep Wrangler. Each vehicle features real working lights, sounds, and forward and backward motion.

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Vehicles &

Action Figures BORGFELDT CANADA The LiteHawk Click, from Borgfeldt Canada, is a 1.5-inch micro drone. The 2.4 GHz R/C system lets kids fly without the fear of losing signal. Kids can fly multiple drones with their friends at the same time. Each drone comes completely assembled and includes batteries and a USB charge cord. The LiteHawk Click is designed for ages 10 and up.

TREE HOUSE KIDS

Tree House Kids expands its Imagination Adventure series with the 2017 Ford Raptor. The vehicle features a working tow winch, opening doors, and a tailgate. The toys in this series are built in 1:18 scale.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Big-Fig

JAKKS PACIFIC

Jakks Pacific will expand its Big-Figs Colossal line of oversized action figures with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Leonardo 48.5-inch figure. The figure features five points of articulation, a weapons belt, and two removable ninja swords. Straight out of Halo 5 comes the Big-Figs Massive 31-inch Master Chief action figure. Master Chief has seven points of articulation in his neck, shoulders, wrists, and waist, and a special bicep articulation point that allows him to be displayed in his iconic, two-handed, rifle-wielding pose. Jakks will also have an assortment of Big-Figs based on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, including Batman, Superman, Mech Suit Batman, and Wonder Woman. The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Big-Figs Assortment will include 20-inch Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, Poe, Storm Trooper, and Captain Phasma figures, as well as a 31-inch Kylo Ren and 31- and 48-inch Stormtroopers. All of the Big-Figs are designed for kids ages 3 and up. The Max and Friends Cliff Climber uses “reaction traction” to climb over a variety of obstacles. When there’s an object in the way, the truck’s back wheels will open up to give it the traction it needs to climb up and over. Just like the original Max Tow, Cliff can push and pull up to 120 pounds. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, Cliff also features a variety of phrases and sound effects. Jakks Pacific will also release a line of toys based on the upcoming film Warcraft, from Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures, based on Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft video game. The line includes multiple scales of collectible figures representing both the Horde and the Alliance, including 2.5-, 6-, and 18-inch figures, Jakks’ Big-Figs large-scale figures, and role-play toys. New figures will join Jakks’ World of Nintendo toy line, including 2.5-inch limited articulation figures from Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Pikmin, Splatoon, Donkey Kong, and Animal Crossing. New 4-inch figures feature up to 13 points of articulation and include characters from Star Fox and more. Jakks’ XPV line of Xtreme Performace Vehicles feature R/C vehicles with a variety of different styling and functions. The XPV Marvel RC Bumper Car Bashers let kids drive the bumper cars and see who can give out the most bumps, Spider-Man or the Hulk.

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TOY FAIR 2016

SILVERLIT

Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Silverlit's Nano Falcon Team Mission includes a Nano Falcon and an R/C truck. Kids can open the tailgate and watch the landing pad slide out. They can launch or land their helicopter, and with the press of a button, they can close the tailgate and drive on. The three-channel Nano Falcon is designed to be easy to fly. The truck is full-function with an IR remote.

BACHMANN

Bachmann’s Blue Lightning HO-scale locomotive combines classic train sets with smart device technology. Kids can control the train using the free E-Z App, which allows users to alter the speed, direction, lighting, and sound from an iOS device. The train set includes an E-Z App-equipped FT diesel locomotive, three cars, snapfit E-Z Track, and a power pack. Designed for kids ages 14 and up, users can operate the locomotive from up to 100 feet away thanks to Bluetooth technology, which also allows sound from the train to come through the iOS device itself.

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

as seen in

November issue of Woman’s Day magazine, read by nearly 21 million* consumers (*MRI Spring 2015)

• Extensive Online Presence A comprehensive companion website, toyinsider.com, features product reviews, demo videos, direct-to-retail links, and guest blogger contributions. • Widespread Media Coverage Laurie Schacht, the Toy Insider Mom and the Toy Insider Team, appeared in more than 250+ National and Major Market TV segments, along with hundreds of print, radio and online features. • Social Media Coverage Social media brand promotions on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. toyinsider @thetoyinsider @thetoyinsider

To participate in the 11th Annual The Toy Insider™ contact: Jonathan Samet —(212) 575-4510 x 2321, jsamet@adventurepub.com Laurie Schacht — (212) 575-4510 x 2320, thetoyinsidermom@gmail.com www.toyinsider.com


TOY FA TOY FAIR

TOY FAIR OY FAIRTOY FAIR 2 0 1 6


SPECIALTY TOYS & GIFTS |ASTRA’S INSIGHTS

HOW TO GET VISITORS TO YOUR EXHIBIT BOOTH Suggestions from Specialty Retailers

by KIMBERLY MOSLEY, president, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association ALMOST 1,200 EXHIBITORS, HUNDREDS of thousands of toys, games, and children’s play materials, and nearly 425,000 square feet of exhibit space. That’s what thousands of toy store owners and buyers in comfortable shoes have ahead of them when they walk into the Javits Convention Center to start their annual four-day sojourn at North American International Toy Fair. Those same retailers will have two days in June—prime time for specialty toy stores’ buying cycle—to check out 400 exhibitors on the show floor at the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) Marketplace & Academy. How can manufacturers break through all the competition to get buyers to visit their booths? Recently, ASTRA retailers were asked what toy makers and sales representatives should and should not do to get their attention. Here is their collective advice for Toy Fair exhibitors:

• Please don’t call: Retailers say the volume of vendor calls they receive prior to the show can be overwhelming. Such calls are often disruptive and almost always ineffective. Busy as they are, store staff does not retain

anything about booth numbers or products. Email is a better choice, but only if it gives the store owner a reason to read it—for example, include links to an up-to-date website with a featured product or a special discount and an easy-to-access sell sheet. • Respect our time: Toy Fair and the ASTRA Marketplace are hectic for retailers who are trying to see acres of products. Many have their own system for working the show: a quick scan on the first day—no interest in long conversations—then return visits to booths with products of interest on subsequent days. Conversations that get to the point (save the story of your company’s history for after hours at ASTRA) are appreciated. Don’t expect buyers to make many appointments or stand in line. • Make it easy to do business: Store owners are anxious to work their plan for the show. What can you do to help the retailer focus on your product, and then keep moving? Your customers suggest you make it easy to see the cost of each product without waiting in line to talk to a salesperson just to get that information. Is a price list and business card available to easily grab in your booth? Are your specials posted in your profile on ASTRA’s website? • Show the flag for ASTRA: If your company is an ASTRA member, ASTRA retailers say they want to be able to see that when they walk by your booth. It will make them more likely to drop in and say hello and check out what you’ve got. Store owners point out that ASTRA manufacturers tend to be easier to work with because they understand the specialty toy industry and the challenges brick-and-mortar stores face. ASTRA provides manufacturer members with a packet of materials at Toy Fair—including a “Proud ASTRA Member” sign, so put it to good use.

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• Promote by word of mouth: Retailers want to find hot new products to refresh their stores. Highlight your newest and most interesting products in your pre-show email and merchandise your booth so those products cannot be missed by retailers walking by your booth. Encourage visitors to your booth to talk about those products to their fellow ASTRA retailers and suggest they nominate them for ASTRA’s Share the Fair list of not-tobe-missed products. • Make an offer: A great way to entice buyers to visit your booth is to offer some show specials. Enough said. Post them on the ASTRA website and in ASTRA’s Passport to Savings booklet for retailers. • Feed us: For retailers on their feet (remember the comfortable shoes) for hours, a complimentary cup or bottle of water is a welcome refreshment and a good reason to come into your booth to talk with you about your products. Toward the end of the day, when they are hungry and tired of the lines in the food court for overpriced snacks, a snack available in your booth may start a mutually beneficial business relationship. Manufacturers: don’t miss conversations between ASTRA retailers, sales representatives, and manufacturers on important topics like this. Join ASTRA and participate in the online community ASTRA Connect, which includes an all-members’ ongoing discussion board. Visit www.astratoy.org to learn more. » Kimberly Mosley, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, is an experienced, award-winning, results-oriented association executive with a long track record of success in managing association operations, developing innovative programs, and growing revenue.


Specialty SCHLEICH

Sophia's Medical Kit

SOPHIA’S

Sophia’s Medical Kit for Dolls & Plush is sized for kids to check the vital signs of their favorite doll or stuffed animal. The 10-piece set includes a stethoscope, an otoscope, a thermometer, a syringe, a blood pressure cuff, an elastic bandage, a medical record chart, a clipboard, and a pencil. The stethoscope, otoscope, and thermometer all light up, and the entire set fits neatly into a medical bag for on-the-go play. Sophia’s Sports Equipment Set turns any 18-inch doll into a three-sport athlete. This six-piece set comes with a field hockey stick and ball, a lacrosse stick and ball, a set of shin guards, and a basketball. The Sports Equipment Set helps introduce the concept of team athletics and provides hours of interactive and interpretive roleplay. The set couples with Sophia’s 3-Piece Sports Uniform Set, which consists of a tank-top uniform, matching shorts, and an argyle-patterned skort.

Kids can have an epic dinosaur adventure with the Giant Volcano, from Schleich. This volcano has numerous play functions and features, such as breaking through the stones on the side of the volcano with the exclusively painted T. rex. The Pick Up Truck and Trailer is a vehicle for Schleich Horse Club horses. Kids can transport anything a horse rider needs—animals, food, transport boxes, and more in the truck’s large bed. The set includes a truck, a trailer, a driver, a horse carer, a horse, hay, feed, a saddle, and a blanket. After kids transport their horses with the pickup truck and trailer, they can have the riders practice their jumps or groom the horses at the Horse Club Riding Center. The riding center can also transform into an open riding arena just by moving a few parts. It comes with hay racks, drinking troughs, and a tack holder. Kids can also tend to their horses with the Schleich Horse Stable. Stables are where horses can be groomed, currycombed, and fed. The Horse Stable includes everything necessary to care for horses, including food, hayracks, and drinking troughs. Schleich’s Big Red Barn has room for all of kids’ favorite Schleich farm animals. With all the features of a life-size barn, this is the perfect place for cats, cows, horses, pigs, and more. It features a working crane to lift hay to the upper level of the barn. Kids can use the farmer to transport hay or climb up the ladder to stack hay in the upper level. The Big Adventure at the Watering Hole gives kids a glimpse into the life that flourishes at the watering holes of the savannah. From big cats to crocodiles to giraffes, all different kinds of animals come to the watering hole. The Schleich watering hole includes a waterfall, a river, and African animals, and it can be rearranged in numerous ways. All of these products are designed for kids ages 3 to 12.

Giant Volcano

On the Cover: Creativity, from IAmElemental’s Series 2/Wisdom line of action figures. Learn more on page 204.

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Specialty SCHYLLING TOYS

Schylling Toys is now the exclusive U.S. distributor for nanoblocks and Paper nano, by Kawata Ltd. Japan. Nanoblocks are the original micro-sized building blocks for the builder looking for increased challenge and detail in their creative building. With 3-D detail, the nanoblock line has more than 100 products, with 25 products new to the U.S. market, including mini collectibles, Sights to See architectural landmarks, and an Advanced Hobby series. The line is offered at lower price points and in smaller case packs to improve merchandising flexibility. Paper nano is a unique, small-scale, highly detailed paper crafting and construction line. Paper nano lets builders build models of famous landmarks with laser-cut precise pieces. Schylling also introduces Steel Works, a construction line with real steel parts, wheels, nuts, and bolts, as well as all the tools builders need to create. Detailed instructions will guide kids through the creation of cars, trucks, hot rods, and dramatic buildings. Wheels, gears, and relays help them build intricate mechanical movements. Scentos are scented markers, pens, and pencils with wacky collectible characters in different colors and scents. They all come with durable tips and are easy to hold and control. The line includes Scentos Sugar Rush, candy-scented stationery pens and erasers, and Scentos Dough, a modeling compound in different colors and scents. Twistios are activity kits that let kids create 3-D creatures with just a few simple twists. The brightly colored chenille pieces are easy to twist, mold, and shape into an array of creatures.

DOUGLAS CO.

nanoblocks

Douglas Co.’s Douglas Baby line will see the debut of five new Baby Gift ensembles. The Baby Gray Elephant Set includes a Plumpie, a Lil’ Snuggler, a Sshlumpie, a Musical Plush Toy, and Douglas’ newest fabric Bedtime Book, Little Elephant’s Blankie. The coordinating pieces of the Baby Elephant group are gray with yellow accents. Douglas’ New Blue Dog has the same five coordinating ensemble pieces in the set. He is powder blue with dark navy blue accents and a micro striped belly with a belly button. He comes with a Fun with Little Puppy book. The new additions for the Tan Dog are the Plumpie, the Lil’ Snuggler, and the Sshlumpie. The new additions for the Pink and Blue Bear are a Plumpie and a Schlumpie. The Pink and Blue Bear also share the book Goodnight Little Bears. Color Stripe Collection is Douglas’ latest collection of plush. Frog is lime green with a purple on lavender striped middle and paw pads. Cat is purple with gray accents and a purple and berry geometric patterned midsection. Dog is blue with navy accents and a multi-colored striped middle. Monkey is caramel brown with a yellow and gray tummy, paw pads, and ear lining. Elephant is all gray with a black and white striped belly and paw pads, and neon green ear lining. Lion is gray with a multi-colored striped belly and paw pads. His hair is long and slicked back. Each of these characters has embroidered facial features and sparkling eyes, and stands 20 inches or 11 inches when sitting. Douglas Co.’s Christine Clarke will design a collection of fashion accessories for older girls up to age 9. The Boho Collection features hues of purple, pink, turquoise, yellow-orange, and blue. The crossbody bag is trimmed in natural fringe, and the Sak Pak has the same fringe features. The wristlet has a similar natural rick rack trim on the bag’s edge. All three bags have a natural carry handle. The Glitz Garden Collection features a floral pattern of orange, pink, green, turquoise, and gold. The bags are corded in turquoise and have an orange pom-pom trim. The Pop Fruit Collection features a light turquoise design with tiny fruit print featuring pineapples, bananas, strawberries, and cherries in bright shades. Each bag features hot pink cording and large pom-pom trim. The Seaside Sparkle Collection features nautical navy and white designs. Each bag has a pink and silver embroidered starfish and is trimmed in pink and white striped fabric. Color Stripe

Collection Elephant

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Specialty LEARNING RESOURCES

Learning Resources will add New Sprouts Puppy Play to its New Sprouts line. This set features a plush puppy with a collar, a doggy bed, a bowl, a bone, a brush, and a can of dog food. Designed for kids ages 2 and up, Puppy Play reinforces letter recognition, everyday vocabulary, and creative role play. With the Robot Mouse STEM Activity Set, kids can program their mouse to find the cheese. By customizing the maze with the 16 board pieces and 25 wall tiles, kids get an introduction to the concepts of coding, programming, and logic. The Primary Science Shining Stars Projector beams images of space onto any surface for a close-up view of stars, planets, and more. The projector comes with three discs featuring eight images each. The Mental Blox P.O.V. game challenges players to complete 3-D puzzles from different visual perspectives. Designed for players ages 5 and up, the set includes 15 colorful shapes and 40 puzzle cards. In this game, players use spatial, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The colorful, realistic groceries in the A to Z Alphabet Groceries Set introduce early language skills, letters, and imaginative play. Each of the 26 groceries is labeled with a letter, a word, and a colorful picture.

EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS

New Sprouts Puppy Play

A new telescope and circuits and science sets, from Educational Insights, introduce new ways to combine learning and play. The IllumiCraft set, designed for kids ages 7 and up, helps explain the fundamentals of electricity and circuits. With six new sets, electronic components, a guide, a designyour-own journal, and decorative materials, kids can create simple circuits and customize them with light-up crafts. The GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope offers an up-close exploration of the moon for kids ages 4 and up. The telescope has a built-in finder scope that makes it easy for kids to find the moon, and a 6x magnification that provides a clear view. Chunky focus knobs help with grip for little hands and comfortable goggles keep the child’s eyes focused on the right spot. The telescope also features a glow-in-the-dark illustration of the phases of the moon, a fully adjustable tripod, and folding legs for tabletop viewing. The GeoSafari Wearable Adventure Tool Wrist Band, designed for kids ages 6 and up, offers science-fueled fun for outdoor adventures. The wrist band features a hinged dome for collection and display, a rotating bezel with an analog counter to track findings, an LED light, a 5x removable magnifier, a compass, and a signaling mirror. The band is comfortable to wear and ideal for camping trips, hikes, bird watching, and even backyard exploration. GeoSafari Jr. Educational Insights expands its Dino Construction Company line of Jurassic vehicles with Turbo My First Telescope the Triceps Police SUV, Cyclone the Pteranodon Helicopter, and Blaze the Plesiosaurus Fireboat. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the trio will allow kids to engage in imaginative play indoors or outdoors. Cyclone the Pteranodon Helicopter features rotating chopper blades, moveable wings, jaws that open and shut, a tail that pivots up and down, and a Dino-man action figure. The Hot Dots Jr. Ultimate Science Set features three illustrated non-fiction books—Dinosaurs, Sharks, and Space—written for kids ages 3 to 6. The books offer science trivia with 11 learning activities to help kids prepare for success in school. The Talking Hot Dots Pen lights up and features 17 speech and sound effects.

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Specialty

Build Your Own Robot

THE ORIGINAL TOY CO.

With Build Your Own Robot, from The Original Toy Co., kids can construct two wooden robots for imaginative outer space play. The robots snap together for an easy build. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, this kit includes 12 pieces in total. The Hamburger Shack is a collection of six hamburgers constructed out of solid wood featuring a realistic hamburger bun, a burger, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. These burgers provide imaginative play for young chefs. Wooden Numbers are brightly colored, stand-up numbers that teach kids color and number recognition, while the wooden Ice Cream Sundae Stacker provides kids with imaginative ice cream play. La Newborn

JC TOYS

JC Toys will introduce the updated 9.5-inch Mini La Newborn, featuring delicate knitted outfits and new face sculpts. Designed for kids ages 2 and up, the Mini La Newborn is designed for small hands. The 15.5-inch La Newborn Soft Body doll line will also get new updated designs this year, including new accessories. Two new colors—white and blue—will join the line of soft body dolls and blankets. JC Toys’ original 15-inch vinyl La Newborns are sculpted with lifelike detail. The company will add three new dolls with soft outfits to this line. The 17-inch La Newborn doll is life size and features realistic details in both the hands and feet.

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HIPFITS

HipFits will offer 21 different choices of minidress-styled charms that are tethered to a heartshaped clip. The 4-inch dress charms are soft to the touch, gel-filled, and fun to squeeze. They can be clipped to different styles of bags, including backpacks, purses, totes, and more. The collection encourages sharing, trading, and collecting. The company supports the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and has designed three special pink dress styles: Cotton Candy, Sweetheart, and Taffy. These dress charms are not only fun and unique, but they also provide budding and experienced fashionistas a way to stylishly show support for a great cause.


TOY FAIR 2016

ADORA

The new Adora Baby Fairies are made to fit on any stroller or car seat. Made of ultra-soft microfiber plush, each has a rattle inside that will keep infants entertained. The crinkle material on their feet, bodies, and wings will create fun sounds for infants to enjoy as well. These Baby Fairies are available in two colors, are machine-washable, and are designed for infants of all ages. Adora’s new Fab Fairies are made of ultra-soft microfiber plush with shaped fairy faces. Now available in three colors and accented with a flower applique, these Adora Fairies are designed for infants of all ages. My 1st Adora Baby Boy has an ultra-soft squeezable body for hugging and toting. Designed for kids ages 1 and up, his removable clothes and magnetic pacifier encourage kids to nurture and role play. Adora’s Mixxie Pony enhances motor skills and learning. Its 11 pieces include interchangeable legs, a pony body, decorative leg bands, a tutu, a unicorn headband, and other pony accessories. Mixxie Pony is intended for kids ages 4 and up.

Mixxie Pony

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Specialty EASTCOLIGHT

The Galaxy Tracker 525 Smart Telescope, from Eastcolight, is an intelligent star-tracking system for real-time motion tracking and constellation finding. The smartphone adaptor allows users to capture photos and video. The telescope features 20mm, 10mm, and 4mm eyepieces for 105x, 210x, and 525x magnification. The 66-Piece Deluxe Microscope Set with Metal Die Cast Body lets kids experiment with a microscope with a magnification of 200x, 600x, and 1,200x. The die-cast body increases viewing stability. The microscope comes with a pair of tweezers, two prepared slides, 10 blank slides, and other accessories. The Sugar, Salt, Soda, and Food Colour Combo Set provides kids with experiments using sugar, salt, soda, and food coloring to explore the fun of science with materials found in their own kitchens.

REEVES INTERNATIONAL

Galaxy Tracker 525 Smart Telescope

Reeves International’s Stablemates Deluxe Stable Set is a seven-stall natural wood stable with a special tack room for Breyer’s Stablemates horses. It includes a grey Peruvian Paso Fino, a red Roan pony, 12 pieces of fencing, a feed bag, a water trough, a hay bale, and a 5- by 7-inch sheet of stickers to personalize the stable. The roof lifts back for easy access inside. It’s designed for kids ages 4 and up. American Pharoah is a 1:12-scale replica of the horse that won the Triple Crown, becoming only the 12th horse to do so in 120 years. This horse comes with a saddle blanket and measures approximately 9 inches long and 6 inches high. American Pharoah is for kids ages 4 and up. Stablemates Deluxe Stable Set The Scribbles Color and Wash Pony Set includes everything a child needs to color and decorate Scribbles, including two double-sided markers. Soft and huggable, Scribbles is machine-washable, dryer-friendly, and designed for kids ages 3 and up. Pocket Box Dogs are realistic, handpainted, micro-mini dogs. They represent 24 different breeds and each blind bag contains a dog, a puppy, a sticker, and a dog bowl packed in their own mini-home. Each set includes 48 assorted pieces in a convenient counter display. The Pocket Box Dogs are for kids ages 4 and up. The Carltonlima Emma Royal Fell Pony is modeled after Carltonlima Emma, the trusted mount of Queen Elizabeth II. The Fell Pony is one of Britain’s most loved native breeds and is part of Breyer’s new British Breeds Collection. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of each model will be donated to the Fell Pony Society and Girlguiding. This toy is for kids ages 8 and up. Valegro Reigning Olympic, World, European, and World Cup Champion was designed in honor of Valegro and rider Charlotte Dujardin, the only pair in history to hold concurrent championship titles at the Olympics, World Games, European Championships, and World Cup. Breyer’s Valegro is shown performing an elegant pirouette, and comes with a small base. Valegro is meant for kids ages 8 and up. All of the above mentioned products are part of the Breyer Animal Creations line. Marvin’s iMagic Interactive Box of Tricks contains magical props that combine with the unique Marvin’s iMagic app to unveil smart magic effects. It shows augmented reality magic tricks, uses interactive props, and is designed for kids ages 8 and up.

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Specialty INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS

The Calico Critters Seaside Ice Cream Shop, from International Playthings, comes with Sandra Sandy Cat, a spinning ice cream scoops hideaway, a counter with ice cream in a variety of flavors, and more. The Calico Critters Hot Dog Van includes waffle fries, pretzels, and more. The tires and steering wheel rotate and the van features a grill and counter. Game Zone Crazy Café challenges players to pull a tablecloth without letting the dishes fall. Players spin and add dishes to the table, and when the spinner lands on “pull,” the player must pull the tablecloth off the table as quickly as possible. The first player who removes the tablecloth without any dishes falling wins the game. With the Aquabeads Ultimate Design Studio, kids can use beads to create a dolphin, a teddy bear, or a unicorn. They select a design template, place the layout tray over the template, and use the bead pen to create a design. Then, they spray it with water and the beads will stick together. All of the supplies can be stored in the portable design station. This set contains more than 1,200 beads, the portable design station, a deluxe bead pen, and more. Aquabeads Beginners Studio has more than 800 jewel and classic beads and lets kids play and create with different design templates. Quercetti Mona Lisa Pixel Art lets kids create the next great masterpiece. The set includes 10,800 pixels in six colors, a frame, and more. This art kit is designed for kids ages 9 and up. SmartLab Bing Bang Bounce Action Reaction Challenge helps kids learn about trajectories, angles, force, and momentum. They can transform five launchers and targets into an obstacle course. This set is for ages 8 and up. The SmartLab Crash Test Lab turns crashing into a science lesson. The dummy’s electronic sensors respond to impact. Kids can create different crash scenarios and test the results. This set is intended for kids ages 8 and up. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, Imaginetics Fun at the Stables is a magnetic play set that lets kids take care of horses with the included play board and magnet sheet. Imaginetics My Train Station is a magnetic play set that allows kids to play with the magnetic trains in the trainyard with the included play board and magnet sheet. It is intended for kids ages 3 and up.

AEROMAX

Kids can slip into Aeromax’s Robotic Engineer Shirt and design something great. The lightweight top is easy for kids to put on by themselves, and features a hook and loop closure. Parents can print out the child’s name and place it in the clear pocket for a personalized touch. The shirt has graphics on the front, back, and sleeves. It fits most kids ages 3 to 6. The Robot Helmet is a great pairing for the Robotic Engineer Shirt. It has a moving visor and features an exposed gear graphic on the back. It fits most kids ages 1 to 10. The Rocket Scientist Lab Coat is ready for lift off and will help future scientists look the part. This NASA-inspired white lab coat is made of a highquality polyester/cotton blend. “Rocket Scientist” is embroidered in all caps above the pocket on the left side, and a colorful NASA patch is stitched on the right side. It comes in sizes 4 to 6, 6 to 8, and 8 to 10. Aeromax’s STEM Lab Coat is perfect for budding scientists in every area of expertise. It’s a threequarter-length lab coat with two roomy pockets and comes in both child and adult sizes. The Flight Jacket is lightweight and has sewn patches, pencil pockets, and a zipper. It is available in youth sizes small and large, and adult sizes small through XXL. The Tangle Free Toy Parachute is now available in a flashing, light-up version. It has no strings to tangle and doesn’t require assembly. It comes in red, blue, and green, and is suitable for kids ages 3 and up. Sky Scrapers Silver Streak Edition is able to leap a 10-story building with the pull of a string. It soars more than 100 feet without batteries. Kids simply pull the string and watch it fly through the sky. Each packet includes a launcher and three flying discs.

Robotic Engineer Shirt

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TOY FAIR 2016

THAMES & KOSMOS

Happy Atoms, from Thames & Kosmos, is a physical and digital kit that lets kids discover the world of molecules in an intuitive, hands-on way. Using a set of 52 atom models representing 16 different elements, kids can stick the atoms together with magnets and the rubbery arms to assemble their own molecular models. They can then snap a picture with the included iPad app, which uses image-recognition technology to identify the molecule, then shares detailed information about more than 120 of the most important molecules, such as the usage, properties, hazards, formula, and structure. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Happy Atoms will officially launch with an Indiegogo campaign this year. Code Gamer is a kit that gives kids a step-by-step introduction to programming. Using the gamepad and the four interchangeable sensor modules, kids can play through a video game app on their tablets. In each level of the game, they learn a piece of Arduino programming language, use it to solve puzzles and challenges, and progress in the game. The Geckobot is a wall-climbing robot that has a motorized air suction system that enables it to walk vertically up and down perfectly smooth surfaces, such as glass, plastic, whiteboards, and glossy laminates. The battery-powered motor drives an innovative gear system that produces a rotating motion making the legs move back and forth and up and down, mimicking a real gecko—two of the feet are touching the wall while the other two feet are lifted off of the wall, in an alternating motion. When the Geckobot’s tongue hits an object in front of it, it triggers the motor to go in reverse, thus causing the model to walk back down the wall. Kids can build six other models and conduct experiments with suction to learn about air pressure and the mechanical physics of this unique device. They can also build models of an industrial robotic arm with vacuum suction cup grippers, a car with suction cup wheels, an octopus with suction cup arms, a crawling insect, a window cleaning robot, and a vacuum holder device.

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Specialty SMARTLAB TOYS

SmartLab Toys will launch new science kits, games, and gadgets to make science interactive and fun for kids. The Ultimate Secret Formula Lab is designed for kids ages 8 and up and includes a 32-page lab book with instructions for conducting more than 40 experiments that teach chemistry, fluid dynamics, and pressure. Kids can learn about crystal critters or a CO2 detector using the lab. The Sew Science: Cuddly Critters & GloBots is a do-it-yourself electronics kit designed for kids ages 8 and up. The kit contains LED lights, batteries, and conductive thread to construct a light-up felt plushies circuit. Kids can choose to create a family of robots or forest friends that light up when they hold hands. The Smart Circuits Games & Gadgets Lab, designed for kids ages 8 and up, lets kids explore unlimited electronic projects. Kids can use 10 smart modules and a 48-page lab book to learn about electronics, light, and sound, and create working games.

HABA

In Haba’s Karuba, the treasure hunters have reached the island of Karuba and can go on the hunt for hidden treasures. Players try to lead their expedition team along the smartest route through the jungle trails. They must pay attention to the other players and keep an eye out for gold and crystals along the way. This puzzle game is designed for two to four players ages 8 and up. Cubes Puzzle Garden Animals are little printed cubes that combine into the frame to form one of six cute animals: a beetle, a frog, a bird, a fish, a hedgehog, and a mouse. The Cubes Puzzle is meant for children ages 2 and up. The Pegging Game Bobble Caterpillar is a puzzle that fosters color recognition and fine motor skills. The shape and length of the caterpillar change depending on how the nine pieces are put together. This puzzle is designed for kids ages 2 and up. In Tambuzi, in the oppressive heat of the savanna, animals are performing a rain dance for the weather god Tambuzi. Suddenly, a thunderstorm starts gathering and players must take cover, but not everyone can find a spot. When the sound stops with a sizzling lightning bolt, the animal without a hut is eliminated. The goal is to avoid being struck by a lightning bolt and have the most points at the end. This lightning fast game is intended for two to four players ages 6 and up. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Ball Track Bathing Bliss Water Course makes bathtime fun. The water ball with rattling integrated balls zips around the spiral curve, plops into the seesaw bucket, and tumbles out on the other side. Children can determine the ball‘s course themselves, as the water track elements can be rearranged. The Sand Monster Mold Set lets children create sand monsters with individual, detailed molds. This toy is intended for kids ages 3 and up.


TOY FAIR 2016

GREEN TOYS

Kids can whip up a batch of pretend sweet treats with the Green Toys Cupcake Set. Little bakers can practice colors and counting, develop fine motor skills, and host make-believe parties for their stuffed animals and friends. This 16-piece mixand-match set meets FDA food contact standards and includes frosting, cakes, and cupcake liners for five complete cupcakes, plus a cake stand display. Fun and learning fit together with Green Toys Puzzles. The colorful Dump Truck, Garden, and Tea Time puzzles are designed for toddlers developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. These durable, four-piece sets feature easy-to-hold, 3-D pieces that encourage imagination and pretend play. Children can easily identify the shapes of the pieces, building cooperative play and communication skills as they ask for a wheel, a cupRescue Boat & Helicopter cake, or a flower to complete their masterpiece. The Green Toys Rescue Boat & Helicopter is a two-in-one toy kids can play with on land or in water, with a bright yellow helicopter nestled on the back deck of the red and white rescue boat. The set also includes two characters—Captain Duck and Pilot Bear. The Green Toys Character Pack features a yellow Captain Duck, orange Pilot Bear, green Construction Dog, and blue Conductor Bear that fit with any Green Toys vehicles that include a character. All of these Green Toys products will be available this spring, and are made in the U.S. from 100-percent recycled plastic with no BPA, phthalates, or PVC. They are dishwasher-safe and packaged with recycled and recyclable materials printed with soy inks.

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LIFE’S A

PITCH TIPS FOR PITCHING A NEW PRODUCT

by RICHARD C. LEVY, president, Richard C. Levy & Associates, LLC LIFE’S A PITCH, AND nowhere does a pitch need more energy than when presenting new product opportunities. The pitch not only has to be powerful, but it also needs Post-Pitch Propulsion: the ability to survive after you have departed. The pitch must be honest, though a little BS is OK—after all, it takes fertilizer to make a garden grow. People in this industry understand showmanship, embellishment, and passion, but seasoned executives have BS meters, and they will let you know if you start to pin the needle. Remember: This is a business, and a lot rides on decisions, so tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Integrity only has one level. If you think you are avoiding a problem that might be a deal-breaker by hiding or fudging a flaw or quirk in your concept’s origin, ownership, technology, or performance, you are wrong. If you’re not honest up front, you’re asking for trouble down the line when the hidden issue arises, which it surely will. Presenting new playthings in the current atmosphere of economic despondency, risk-averse manufacturers, and a fragmented retail marketplace takes more than creative talent and innovation. When pitching, you should command the attention of everyone within your cry and gaze. If you do, distractions and interruptions will be ignored, and your audience’s eyes will not glaze over with ennui. How do you accomplish this? Here are some pointers:

1 Try for face-to-face presentation. Products are best demonstrated in person by 232  THE TOY BOOK | February 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

their inventors, rather than by agents. This way, you can quickly answer questions and avoid any potential de-railings. 2 Pitch to senior executives, if possible. Lots of people can say “no,” but only a few can say “yes.” 3 If you do not have a relationship with the executives, begin with a short brief on your most recent and significant accomplishments and any other personal morsels that help establish your credibility. 4 Include objective information about your concept. For example, show off results of a patent search, focus group testing, and/or competitive product data. 5 Demonstrate a “looks like, works like” prototype. Do not assume people can imagine anything, because most of the time, they can’t. Prove your product’s value by showing it off firsthand. Keep in mind, perception is product. 6 Take nothing for granted. The worst thing that can happen is an executive’s inability to use and/or explain your product after you depart. Leave behind written and/or visual instructions. You need a well-informed internal champion if the item stands a chance of surviving exposure to multiple committees. 7 Be specific, and detail your item’s unique features and advantages over existing products. Don’t forget to also define its appeal and its target consumer. 8 Suggest trademarks and share any patent search results. Intellectual property is important. 9 Pitching isn’t enough, so pitch in, too. With personnel cutbacks and increased workloads, the more you can offer to support the development of your concept, the better. Plus, if there is an issue, you can hopefully

resolve it before things get out of control. It is better to be proactive than reactive. 10 Always have a call to action at the end of a presentation. Make sure everyone knows what happens next, who is to do what, and when things need to happen. It’s also important to know when to wrap things up. Many inventors suffer from “sellitus” and do not know when to get off the stage. If you have more than one prototype, consider a “multiple submission,” as in pitching your product to more than one licensee at the same time. There are no set rules for this practice, and the decision is made easier if you have intellectual property protection. However, if you do opt for a multiple presentation, don’t keep it a secret. If you are asked to hold off further presentations until a company has a chance to review your item in more detail, set guidelines. In all fairness, some products require more time to be fully vetted than others. If the company asks for an unreasonable amount of time, seek an option payment. Time and earnest money are negotiable. Lastly, always remember that new ideas are fragile. As ad man Charlie Brower puts it, “A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right person’s brow.” » Richard C. Levy specializes in collaborative invention, product development, and licensing. A 38year industry veteran, his licensed products include one of the bestknown and successful toys of all time, Furby (Hasbro). Along with Ron Weingartner, Levy co-authored Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook.


Infant &

Preschool JAKKS PACIFIC

The Black + Decker Power Tool Workshop, from Jakks Pacific, is an all-in-one workbench that includes a battery-operated drill press, a miter saw, and a bendable flashlight. Kids can use the 75 included tools and accessories to build their own tool caddy. The set is designed for kids ages 3 and up. From the PBS show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood comes the Deluxe Electronic Trolley. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the trolley is motorized, has Black + Decker Power Tool Workshop lights and sounds, and features two songs from the series and 12 character phrases. It also includes two figures, accessories, storage space, and a handle for on-the-go fun. The Disney Princess Belle Musical Tea Party Cart features a tea cart kids can push along as it plays “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast. The car includes a teapot with a lid, two tea cups, two spoons, and invitations for a magical tea party.

AULDEY TOYS

Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Super Wings World Airport Playset is a 35-inch scale play set with electronic sounds and lights that allow kids to recreate their favorite Super Wings scenes with mini-transforming characters Jett and Donnie. Kids can attach them to the fly-around balance Super Wings World Airport Playset bar and spin them to circle the World Airport before landing, and load Jett into the elevator and lift him up to the Control Tower. Kids can also flip open the base compartments to reveal a rotating luggage carousel and a cargo scale, and press buttons to hear commands from the Control Tower. The Super Wings Pack ‘n Go Playset is a full-featured New York-themed play set with ramps, lifts, and turnstiles. Kids can take the mini transforming Jerome figure to explore the sights, including the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. Jerome transforms from plane to bot-mode in three steps and the play set folds into a take-along package with a carrying handle.

DEMDACO

DEMDACO will introduce an exclusive collection of gift products inspired by The New York Times bestseller On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman, which imagines the world standing still to take note of a baby’s birth. The line features baby room décor and toys that capture the book’s spirit and the “You are loved!” message. The collection features plush toys, a soft storybook, and keepsakes, including frames, figurines, a growth chart, and a musical water globe. Posh & Precious features a fashion-trending houndstooth pattern and upscale, modern styling in plush gift sets. The modern design combined with classic pinks and blues is targeted toward young, contemporary audiences. The Light Up Musical Turtle lights up and projects colored lights while playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Braham’s Lullaby.” Press the dome to turn it on, off, and switch between songs. It also features an auto shut-off. On the Night You Were Born

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Infant &

Preschool THE BRIDGE DIRECT

The Bridge Direct brings back The Fisher-Price Classics Village Playset, which offers kid-powered play based on familiar destinations around town, such as the fire station, post office, and café. Features include sliding doors, a ringing siren, a rolling fire truck, and multiple figures. The Fisher-Price Classic Tap ’n Turn Workbench engages kids as they learn about colors and shapes while practicing their hand-eye coordination. Kids can use the included hammer to pound down the six colorful pegs, then flip the workbench over and hammer them down again from the other side. Both Fisher-Price Classics items are designed for kids ages 2 and up.

PLAYMONSTER

The OK to Wake! Owl, from PlayMonster (formerly Patch), is a huggable sleep buddy. The owl acts as a nightlight and emits a soft glow that changes color to let kids know when it’s time to get out of bed. The 6-inch owl also speaks to children and plays soothing lullabies. Mirari Glow to Sleep helps babies establish a circadian rhythm and sleep routine. The music and sounds are meant to help a baby adapt to a 24-hour cycle, and it can be customized with songs, stories, and messages using a Bluetooth compatible device or SD card. The gentle LED lights help soothe babies, but can also be turned off to create a dark room.

Fisher-Price Tap ‘n Turn Workbench

INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS

The Earlyears Baby Bowler gives kids ages 6 months to 2 years an introduction to bowling. It includes three reversible pins and a ball made of colorful, machine-washable fabric. The fronts of the pins are brightly colored frogs, chicks, and bunnies, while the backs feature pandas, penguins, and puppies. The Earlyears Pop Up Puppy Ball Pit includes colorful balls that makes a cozy, fun place for babies to play and explore. The puppy pops out of a nylon travel bag and is fast and easy to set up. Adults can insert four foam posts into the side pockets and place the 10 balls into the pit for playtime. The ball pit is designed for kids ages 1 month to 2 years. Quercetti Migoga Junior is a child’s first marble run. The large, chunky marbles are easy to set up and kids can play with a marble track made especially for them. The marbles are 1.5 inches in diameter and some make a rattling noise. The Shape Sorter Truck set is designed for kids ages 18 to 21 months. The Viking Toys Cement Truck measures 10 inches and includes one figure. The Cement Truck is designed for kids ages 1 and up. The Shape Sorter Truck has a shape sorter so kids can match four different shapes into the correct spaces. It’s designed for kids ages 1 and up. The Kidoozie Counting Pogo Jumper counts every jump digitally while making fun squeaking noises. The Pogo Jumper supports up to 250 pounds and its stretchy bungee fits any height. This pogo is designed for kids ages 3 and up. The Kidoozie King Size Medieval Castle includes a carry case and assembly instructions.

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TOY FAIR 2016

LEGO

Better Builders Grippies

GUIDECRAFT

Better Builders Grippies, from Guidecraft, combines tactile exploration, magnetic play, and an introduction to the basic principles of engineering and geometry. Grippies’ magnetic rod and ball configuration provide a secure, easy set of construction options. The 20-piece set features four soft matte textures in bright colors, and is suggested for kids ages 18 months and older.

New to Lego’s Duplo line of building toys for toddlers is the 28-piece Tow Truck, designed for kids ages 2 and up. Kids can hook up broken down cars to the tow truck, take them to the garage, and help repair them. Kids can place the car on the turntable and use the wrench, fuel, and other accessories to get it in tip-top shape. Designed for kids ages 18 months and up, My First Caterpillar features 19 colorful Duplo bricks and building cards that let kids change the caterpillar into a butterfly. Kids can use the special decorated bricks to count an apple, two carrots, and three flowers, enhancing their counting skills as they play. Kids can make their way through the Lost Temple to recover the Sword of Fire with My First Caterpillar Lloyd in the Lego Juniors Ninjago Lost Temple set, designed for kids ages 4 and up. This 172-piece set features lava, saw blades, and a swinging axe.

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Infant &

Preschool REEVES INTERNATIONAL

Tolo Baby is a part of Tolo’s new nursery and gift collection for infants from Reeves. Shake Rattle and Roll uses sound, movement, and color to provide visual and auditory stimulation for babies. It squeaks, and shaking sends candy-colored beads cascading through. Shake Rattle and Roll is designed for babies 3 months and up. The Twist and Turn Rattle is a lightweight, easy-grip rattle that is textured and intended for teething. The rattle is for ages 3 months and up. Stacking Activity Shapes is a stacker that is four toys in one. The large cube has a spinning color wheel inside, the hexagon contains a ball, the triangle has colored beads and safety mirrors, and the ball on top is a squeaker. Each can be enjoyed separately or stacked to create a tower. Reeves’ Tolo line also introduces Spin and Sway Teddy. This bear in a boat provides baby with rolling, spinning, rocking fun. Pop Up Chickens are chicken characters with squeaky feet. Babies can push down on the body and the head pops up, or they can Spin & Sway Teddy push down on the tail and a chick pops out. My First Scales includes six colored shapes all combining different rattle sounds. The eyes close when the scales are off balance. It features mirrored surfaces and encourages an understanding of balance and weight. Reeves’ Wow line includes Fireboat Felix, a fire rescue boat suitable for play in the bathtub. Babies can squeeze the turtle button to squirt water from the four jets on the side. It includes a fire rescue boat and a firefighter figure. Mary’s Day Out is a push-along horse and cart that makes a clippety-clop sound. The horse detaches from the cart and the figure can ride it. It includes a horse, a cart, a farm girl figure, and a lamb. Richie Race Car is a friction-powered race car with realistic engine sounds. It includes a racing car, a driver figure, and a racing barrier with a go/stop sign. The Tonka Die-Cast Hitch ‘Em Up Assortment lets kids tow and haul like a pro. These free-wheeling 4x4 vehicles feature a tow-behind trailer to carry another vehicle. Vehicles are 1:55 in scale. Choose from eight styles: Pickup and Horse Trailer, Pickup and Motorcycles, Pickup and ATV, Pickup and Boat, 4x4 and Horse Trailer, 4x4 and Motorcycles, 4x4 and ATV, and 4x4 and Boat.

TOMY

TOMY’s Lamaze infant toys promote together-time with parents and offer activities that encourage babies to learn and explore on their own. New to the Lamaze line this year is the Mix & Match Caterpillar, featuring eight different stuffed plush segments. Kids can match the Velcro colors to arrange it in the correct order or rearrange it in any order. Designed for kids ages 6 months and up, the segments feature a chime ball, a squeaker, a rattle, and crinkles. Kids can help Flip Flap find his fire in this soft discovery book in Lamaze’s Flip Flap Dragon Soft Book. Colors, textures, and crinkle awaken baby’s senses. The Monster Treads 2X Scoop Tractor joins TOMY’s line of John Deere toys. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the monster-sized tractor features oversized tires and suspension, as well as a heavy-duty lever that controls the front and rear loaders. The John Deere Battery Operated 6V Gator is equipped with two removable water bazookas, lights, sounds, and an MP3 player. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, this off-road Gator is ready for any adventure. The John Deere 7-inch Plush Johnny Tractor & Friends assortment includes plush versions of Johnny Tractor, Correy Combine, and Callie Gator. Designed for kids ages 18 months and up, the plush feature lenticular eyes plus detailed stitching and graphics. The pieces connect together for pull-along play. TOMY’s Gear Force Horsepower is a line of stylized vehicles that take preschool vehicle play to a new level with figures, lights, sounds, and accessory play. The Police Mustang is ready to stop crime with its engine mods, rear spoiler, and fugitive gripple claw. Complete with lights, sounds, and firing missiles, this Mustang includes a police hero figure and his trusty companion. The Camaro SS features tons of removable racing accessories, including a drag bar, a spoiler, and a modified engine. It features lights and sounds. The Horsepower Ford Raptor features tons of accessories that can be recognized once attached. Other features include lights, sounds, and a working winch and tow arm. This vehicle includes a Mix & Match Caterpillar hero and a buddy.

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TOY FAIR 2016

RUBBA DUCKS

Building on its core line of themed Rubba Ducks collectibles, the Get Lucky Blind Bag Program, from Rubba Ducks, gives kids the opportunity to test their luck. Each small bag or foil box contains a 2-inch Rubba Duck key chain inside, and kids won’t know which one they have until they open the package. If a bonus Lucky Duck is in the bag, the winner can go to the Rubba Ducks website to enter a code and win a prize.

HEXBUG

Hexbug’s new Nano Junior line allows kids as young as 18 months to play with robotic bugs. The line features a macro-sized version of the Hexbug Nano designed with toddlers in mind. Featuring 12 legs and a soft body style, this robotic creature will get toddlers up and crawling as it scurries around using Hexbug’s vibration technology. The Hexbug Cuddlebot Honey Bee and Fire Fly are soft, round playmates that scurry around using Hexbug’s vibration technology. Hexbug Cuddlebot Honey Bee

SPIN MASTER

Spin Master expands its Paw Patrol line with a jungle-themed play set. The Jungle Headquarters Playset transforms from a Monkey Temple into a Jungle Headquarters for Ryder and the pups as they travel through the jungle. It features lights, sounds, trap doors, control panels, slides, an elevator, and more. The play set comes with the new pup Tracker and his jungle cruiser. The Air Rescue Pups figures sport their new Air Rescue flight packs and uniforms. Each pup comes with a new pack with flying gear and kids can transform their backpacks to flight packs with a press of their badges. Kids can take their missions outside with the Air Patroller, the mobile headquarters for the Air Rescue pups. It transforms from helicopter mode with rotating engines to jet mode to launch the pups to their next destination. The Ionix Jr. Paw Patroller lets kids build the Paw Patrol headquarters-on-wheels with 38 bricks, a cab with storage, a trailer, and a Robo Dog. Farmer Al’s Roll Patrol Starter Set comes with an exclusive Farmer Al Rescue Racer, a barn with a transformation feature, a Rocky mini figure, and a track. The Roll Patrol Rescue Train Set is an exclusive motorized Train Rescue Racer that transports Rescue Racers around the track. This train set also comes with a station platform to board the train, a tunnel that transforms, a Rubble mini figure, and the track. The Roll Patrol Deluxe Lookout Tower Playset comes with a Lookout Tower that spins and launches exclusive Rubble and Ryder Rescue Racers into action. The Lookout Tower Playset also includes Chase and Marshall mini figures, and the tracks link together with Farmer Al’s Starter Set and the Train Ionix Jr. Paw Patroller Rescue Set to create the world of Roll Patrol. The Charmhouse Playset includes a 3-inch figure, four rooms with a fliptop cauldron, a working swing, and a swivel staircase. The figure can also fly around the Charmhouse on her magic cloud.

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THEY ARE WOMEN, HEAR THEM ROAR

Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment Celebrates Growth, Success, and 25 Years by GENNA ROSENBERG, vice chair, WIT Executive Committee, principal at GennComm TWO WOMEN IN THE TOY INDUSTRY walk into a restaurant... What may seem like the start of a joke is anything but. It’s the beginning to how one of the most popular, influential, and successful women’s organizations in the toy industry was created. Years ago, groups of women would get together for dinner and networking. While there were women in the toy business in various positions in the industry, there weren’t many opportunities to network, exchange ideas, and learn from each other. After years of informal dinners and chats, Susan Matsumoto and her “founder in crime” Anne Pitrone decided to formalize the get-togethers, and in 1991 Women in Toys (WIT) was born. Much like rearing a young child, those early days were exciting and exhausting, but well worth it. “In the beginning, there was such a feeling of camaraderie and power, when all these women from different segments of the business and country got together,” explains Matsumoto. “The more we met, the more we wanted to meet again, and women started bringing others. It was really an exciting time.” As WIT continued to grow, the proverbial

village took over. Women from all over the country got involved and created national chapters and committees, addressing issues affecting women in the industry ranging from empowerment to corporate development, research, scholarships, and much more. Over time, the group expanded even further, adding international chapters and giving women from all corners of the world the opportunity to achieve professional success. If you’re a parent, you know the old saying: “You turn your back one day and your child is all grown up.” As Women in Toys hits the quarter century mark, it is clear just how much this group has grown. Companies of all sizes and all aspects of the industry have taken notice. Membership is as high as it has ever been. Each year, companies such as Mattel, Hasbro, Disney, Nickelodeon, Bandai, Wicked Cool Toys, and many others pledge their support in numerous and various ways. The Women in Toys Wonder Woman Awards—the prestigious awards gala that recognizes leaders, pioneers, innovators, and shining stars in the industry—has become a must-attend event during North American International Toy Fair in New York City. With an eye on the future, the women

WIT's board members toast at the 2015 Wonder Women Awards Gala

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WIT Founders Anne Pitrone and Susan Matsumoto

guiding the WIT ship have a clear course for success. WIT recently announced the hiring of Mary Kay Russell as executive director. With WIT’s tremendous growth over the past 25 years, the position was created to help WIT achieve its mission, manage day-to-day operations of its committees and volunteers, and provide guidance on infrastructure growth for WIT’s future. There’s also a new executive committee on board, which includes some of the industry’s most accomplished leaders: Chair Ashley Mady, president at Brandberry; Vice-Chair Genna Rosenberg, principal at GennComm; Second Vice Chair Nancy Zwiers, CMO at Spin Master; Secretary Deb de Sherbinin, founder/CEO at KidSmart; and Treasurer Shannon Gray, global director of operations and logistics at WABA Fun. “Each year, we’re surpassing goals, and I’m beyond proud of everything this group has been able to do together,” says Ashley Mady, WIT president since 2014. “Our growth is really a testament to the commitment of these women over the past few decades.” It’s not over-reaching to express just how influential Women in Toys has become. As Matsumoto explains, “One of my proudest accomplishments was working with Anne Pitrone in founding Women in Toys. The talent and efforts of all the women who have expanded this organization have been remarkable, and I’m grateful that they took that kernel of an idea and grew it to be the outstanding organization it is now.” »


OUTSIDE THE BOX

FROM THE INSIGHT OUT: PACKAGE DESIGN LIKE NO OTHER by TED MININNI, president and director, Design Force Inc. DESIGN ADDS SUBSTANTIAL VALUE AND equity to consumer products brands. While that’s true, I’m the first to admit that it all depends on how well-conceived and realized the design solution is for each brand. Not every one is a resounding success at retail, likely because the product or package design is not optimal, rendering it invisible to consumers, or the brand is not well-marketed. Yet, many smaller brands have limited marketing budgets and still do well at retail, which brings us back to the importance of product and package design.

As a result of fast-changing market conditions and restless consumers who are always eager for something new and exciting, design experts and brand marketers are endlessly looking at the manner in which they conduct research and tap into every new technological tool. Many are talking about their proprietary methodologies in approaching the design process. These ideas may have some merit, but the bottom line is that the most effective design solutions aren’t uniquely focused on the new and exciting, but rather on delivering emotionally satisfying experiences. We can only achieve that if we truly understand consumers.

NO SHORT CUTS

A true understanding of consumers comes from years of learning in the trenches, experience, and intuition. There’s no substitute for these assets. It also comes from honing in on specific industries and design disciplines in a deep and meaningful manner. All this directly leads to an understanding of how to research and discern what matters most in the divulged information. This level of expertise leads to insights that change the way we look at things because we begin to see things as the consumer does, leading to flashes of invaluable insights. These are the assets that, when taken together, lead to design solutions that add tremendous value for brands.

DESIGNING FROM THE INSIGHT OUT

Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” The consumer for whom a product and package is designed is the most important consideration. Not only do we need to

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see what they see, but we also need to feel what they’re feeling and respond to the most human of elements that drives them as people. Knowing the brand and its audience— and how to align the attributes of the former with the desires and emotional needs of the latter—translates to being able to deliver optimal design solutions. This deeper understanding enables design teams to create a visual expression of the brand that speaks to the consumers’ core desires and satisfies their emotional needs. While product design matters a great deal, the first thing consumers see is packaging. In essence, the package is the product when consumers approach the retail shelf. When brand owners put substantial effort and financial resources into the design of their products, but then rush the package design process or underfund it before going to market, they dramatically short-change the odds of being successful. If packaging doesn’t set the stage for a meaningful experience between the consumer and the brand, the brand itself utterly fails. The most important contribution of package design is strengthening the consumer’s ties to the brand, because it offers emotional benefits that competing product brands do not. Packaging that becomes a part of the product is desirable, not only because of its increased functionality, but also because it continues to leverage consumers’ emotional satisfaction with the brand with each interaction. It is also the utmost expression of sustainability. Toy packaging is a great example. When it is used over and over again to store toys, we have achieved the ultimate in functionality, as product and packaging become one. The Fisher-Price Imaginext brand does a masterful job in this regard. The Imaginext Ultra T-Rex was one of the top 15 holiday


OUTSIDE THE BOX toys at Toys “R” Us. A product image is on the package, superimposed over a primordial landscape, clearly appealing to the dino-loving demographic, ranging from toddlers to early tweens. Verbal brand communication matters to the product’s success, with claims that the T. rex “walks and stomps” and “stands and roars.” Kids are invited to lift the fifth panel so that they can see T. rex stand at its full height of 2.5 feet. With LED-lit eyes, spikes, and a chest that shoots boulders as projectiles, this T. rex has all the special effects that delight kids. The packaging is highly functional because it suggests that it should be retained and used to store the Ultra T-Rex and its small parts. But the ultimate value of this packaging lies in the depiction of the toy and its “special effects,” which feed the story in children’s minds and suggest new possibilities each time kids take the toy out to play.

goal was to create a single, common look for all OYO Sports packaging—one that would accommodate each league and its teams while also emphasizing OYO Sports in a consistent manner. It was important to create a new package design system to reflect OYO Sports’ brand values as well as selective visual and verbal cues that meant the most to sports fans. We knew that would establish incredible value and equity for OYO Sports as the brand began to consolidate its power in the marketplace. The company recently released its redesigned NHL packaging

LICENSE, BUT DON’T LOSE THE BRAND IN THE PROCESS

Licensing a brand is not a small undertaking and it demands a great deal of expertise. While many property owners dream about licensing, many licensed brands minimize their chances of being successful without putting style guides for its licensing program and package design system in place. If these assets don’t exist, or if they are not expertly designed, licensed products have a high likelihood of failure. Even if they don’t fail, they will never maximize their potential because the core brand isn’t fully leveraged at retail. OYO Sports has been successfully licensing highly authentic products for the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) since 2011. But because each league, and each team within these leagues, has its own packaging requirements, the licensed brand had no visual cohesiveness or consistent representation at retail. When we began to refresh their licensed product packaging program, our primary

kids in hockey games. There was a “thumbs up” from everyone who built the rinks and participated. There’s nothing more gratifying than leveraging the licensed brand on packaging by hitting the sweet spot with sports fans. It comes from knowing and understanding each sport intimately, and years of working with licensed consumer products for sports brands. It comes from being fans ourselves: what thrills us thrills the audience for each sport. As OYO Sports rolls out products for its other licensed sports brands in the new package design system, it will give full expression to the values of each league and its teams, as well as those of OYO Sports. By leveraging emotive visual brand communication that fans of various sports leagues and teams respond to, and by using selective verbal communication, we are confident that the refreshed licensed product packaging program hits the mark. More importantly, it gives the OYO Sports brand a competitive advantage, making an impact that will ensure the creation of legions of dedicated, loyal fans.

THE BEST PART OF INSIGHT OUT PACKAGE DESIGN

via its new hockey rink sets to acclaim from kids and hockey players alike. The authentic and realistic details of the new rink sets presented in new packaging for the 30 NHL franchises resonate with fans. They capture the excitement of the sport and the genuine appeal of its great star players. New York Islanders winger Kyle Okposo made an appearance at the NHL store in Manhattan in mid-November when the products launched, signing autographs and engaging

Teams of designers have the power to create meaningful, enduring relationships that have a lasting impact between brands and consumers. We can shape the experiences that bind them together in satisfying, emotive interactions because we share in these experiences. We are people designing for other people, and our deepest joy comes from successfully establishing a connection between consumers and brands. When we have a deep understanding and respect for both, we can make magic happen. » As president and creative director of Design Force Inc., Ted Mininni sets the standard for research and design development for the consultancy, while guiding his team to achieve their clients’ goals through expert creative strategies.

TOYBOOK.COM | FEBRUARY 2016 | THE TOY BOOK  241


Talking seo

NO-FAIL TIPS

TO BOOST SEO by JEREMY POUND, co-founder, CEO, Juicy Results SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) is the process of improving the likelihood that your web pages will display in a search engine’s “natural” results. When a consumer searches for a term or phrase that is related to your business, you want your website to be found on the first page of Google. The person searching finds the answers or products they want, and you get the chance to gain a new customer. Here are some tips that will help any website increase its rankings:

CONSISTENTLY PUBLISH FOCUSED CONTENT

Creating compelling content on a regular basis is the most valuable SEO activity, but you need to have a plan in place to keep the content focused on the keywords for which you hope to rank. For example, if your product line features many bath toys, consider these topics: How should parents use your toys to make bathtime fun? What is it about this cleansing ritual that drives so many children crazy? Are there other helpful tips for making bathtime fun that don’t require your toys? You could answer each of these questions with a quick blog post, or create a series of articles around each of these topics. Search engines want to connect users with the best answers to their problems. When they see that your website consistently publishes new content over a long period of time about a specific topic, they will begin to consider your website an authority on that topic and ultimately rank the site’s pages for queries related to that topic. Make sure to work some of your target keywords into the titles of the new pages or blog posts to get the full SEO effect.

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EXPAND TO VIDEO

Does tip No. 1 sound like more writing than you care to commit to? Well, then this second tip might just be music to your ears. Video content can be just as effective as written content in expanding your website’s search engine visibility. When you add video to your text content, you’ve really got a potent cocktail for ranking! For many search queries, Google will show videos above the web pages that return on the first page of search results. This is especially true for queries that start with “How to…” Don’t avoid this tip just because you have no previous experience with video production. The search engines can’t really tell the difference between a smartphone video and a full-blown Hollywood production. The important attributes that will cause you to rank are the file name, the title, and how you describe the video when you upload it to your website, YouTube, or both. More than 100 million people watch videos online every day. Surely some of them are hungry for your toys and games!

CREATE SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ

Social media websites can connect your products with new customers all on their own. In addition to their built-in audience, some of these social media channels seem to boost your rankings and authority with search engines. Platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook can also expand your search visibility, as can Google’s own social network, Google+. Search engines use popularity as one of many factors in determining which pages to rank. Sites that have a lot of “buzz” tend

to climb in rankings. The thinking from the search engine’s point of view is that if people are liking, sharing, pinning, tweeting—or whatever-ing—your pages on social media, then your content (and by association your products and brand) are worth indexing and serving up in search results. Have some fun with creating your new web pages and videos, especially since you’re in the toy business. People love to share fun and clever things on social media with their networks. This increased exposure cannot only lead to direct sales, but can also boost your search engine visibility.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

These three tips can be assembled into a complementary process that makes each activity even more effective. The time-tested way to build a search engine presence is to create unique and compelling content around your products that are aimed at helping your ideal customers solve their problems. Publish this type of content on your website regularly and share it on social media channels. Doing this over time will build credibility with the search engines and improve your position in the rankings. Success may not come overnight, but following this process over time will result in new customers discovering your products via search engines and social media. » Jeremy Pound is the co-founder and CEO of Juicy Results, the Internet marketing agency for the Fortune Five Million. He is also the author of The Bootstrapper’s Guide to SEO.


RAISING THE BAR

THE BATMOBILE THREATENED: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS TO THE RESCUE

by HOWARD N. ARONSON, managing director, Lackenbach Siegel LLC SOMEONE STOLE THE BATMOBILE! Well, tried to anyway—until a U.S. Court of Appeals banged the gavel and ruled that DC Comics owns the copyright to the Batmobile. The court found that Mark Towle, a maker and seller of Batmobile replicas, infringed DC Comics’ copyright by creating unauthorized replicas of the car as it appeared in the 1966 TV series and the 1989 movie.

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Though amusing to some, the case is a heads-up to toy companies that Copyright law protects their intellectual property (IP) as well as the intellectual property of others from unauthorized use. This protection extends to inanimate objects as well—such as the Batmobile, which is the IP of DC Comics. “As Batman so sagely told Robin,” (in Batman: The Penguin Goes Straight, March 23, 1966 broadcast) the court said, “in our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential.”

IT’S NO JOKE

The not-so-comic result for the replica maker could have been heavy damages and attorney fees, since the copyright statute allows the court to award such fees, but a settlement between the parties resolved the issue of damages. Another take-away for toy companies is that copyright issues are never as simple as they might appear, and an IP counsel should be consulted before undertaking any product or service launch that could be viewed as copying another work.

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THE BACKSTORY

DC Comics is the publisher and copyright owner of the Batman comics, which tell the story of the famous superhero Batman, “the Caped Crusader,” who from his first appearance in 1939 protects Gotham City from villains with assistance from boy wonder Robin. The Batmobile may appear as just a car to the non-legal eye—but it’s actually a character, just like Mickey Mouse. And it doesn’t matter that, unlike

Towle’s replica of the Batmobile from the 1989 motion picture Batman

Mickey Mouse, the Batmobile has changed in appearance throughout the years. It’s still protected by copyright laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that the Batmobile—even though not a person or an animal of any kind—is still a character that can be protected by copyright, just as much as Batman and Robin. So, replicas of the famous car infringe the DC Comics copyright of the Batmobile character because they are unauthorized derivative works of the car. The legal issues were a bit tricky to settle, but now that one appeals court has resolved them, be on guard—be-

cause you’ll be expected to know that unauthorized replicas likely infringe comic book characters. (Unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise—Towle has petitioned the Court for review of the decision.)

THE LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS

The Batmobile is entitled to copyright protection, which extends not only to an original work as a whole—such as the Batman TV series or movies—but also to sufficiently distinctive elements, such as characters contained within the work. However, not all comic book, TV, or movie characters are entitled to copyright protection. There is a three-part test that a character must meet in order to be protected by copyright laws: 1. The character must generally have “physical as well as conceptual qualities.” 2. The character must be “sufficiently delineated” to be recognizable as the same character whenever it appears i.e. the character has to display consistent, identifiable character traits and attributes (but not necessarily the identical appearance). 3. The character must be “especially distinctive” and “contain some unique elements of expression.” Stock characters (the court gave the example of a magician in a standard magician garb) wouldn’t pass this part of the test. So, a character can be an object, not a person or an animal, and protected by copyright if it can pass the three-part test. When the court applied the test to the Batmobile— the car was established as a character.


RAISING THE BAR “IT’S NOT WHO I AM UNDERNEATH, BUT WHAT I DO THAT DEFINES ME.”

The court explained that the Batmobile has “physical as well as conceptual qualities,” because it was graphically depicted in comic books, the TV series, and movies. So, the Batmobile is not “a mere literary character.” The Batmobile is also recognizable as the same character every time it appears. In other words, since its first appearance in 1941, whether in a comic book, on TV, or in a movie, the Batmobile kept “distinct physical and conceptual qualities” intact. The Batmobile has been consistently “bat-like in appearance, with a bat-themed front end, bat wings extending from the top or back of the car, exaggerated fenders, a curved windshield, and bat emblems on the vehicle.”

BATMOBILE CHARACTERISTICS

In addition, the court explained that when the Batmobile appears, it displays the same character traits and attributes: 1. A crime-fighting car with powerful and sleek characteristics that allows Batman to maneuver quickly while he fights villains. 2. It waits like an impatient steed straining at the reins, shivering as its super-charged motor throbs with energy, before it tears after the fleeing hoodlums. 3. Sometimes it leaps away and tears up the street like a cyclone. 4.Twin jets ignite and flash out with thunderclap force, and the miracle car of the dynamic duo literally flies through the air. 5. It has jet engines and flame-shooting tubes that undoubtedly give the Batmobile far more power than an ordinary car. 6. It has the ability to maneuver, which far exceeds that of an ordinary car (like using its reverse thrust rockets to perform an emergency bat turn). 7. It can enter Batmissile mode—shedding all material outside [the] central fuselage, with wheels and axles that can fit through the narrowest openings. 8. It has up-to-date weapons and technology, a dashboard phone with a hotline that connects to the police commissioner’s office, an alarm that keeps the Joker from stealing the Batmobile, a mobile crime lab inside the Batmobile, a Batscope with a screen, a Batray, machine guns, and bombs. These qualities proved to the court that

the Batmobile displays consistent, identifiable character traits and attributes, and fulfilled the second requirement for character status. The court said that the Batmobile is “especially distinctive,” possesses “unique elements of expression,” and is not a stock character. The Batmobile’s name and role as Batman’s loyal steed fulfilled this last item on the court’s checklist, entitling the car to copyright protection as a character.

Batmobile depicted in the 1996 TV series The Batman

THE FINAL VERDICT

The court shot down Towle’s argument that the Batmobile has been shown without “bat-like” features. For example, in a comic book, the Batmobile appeared as an armored tank, and in a movie the Batmobile became a Batmissile. The court said that changes like these are similar to costume changes and don’t alter the Batmobile’s innate characteristics. In fact, they emphasize the Batmobile’s ability to adapt in order to fight crime. Once the court decided that the Batmobile is a character, Towle’s only argument was that DC Comics didn’t own the copyright, because it had assigned some of its rights in its Batman works. The court found that transferring rights to produce derivative works, as DC has done over the years, didn’t transfer its underlying rights to the Batmobile character, because a copyright in a derivative work “must not in any way affect the scope of any copyright protection in that preexisting material.” When Towle copied a derivative work without authorization, the car maker infringed the copyright of DC Comics, the original copyright owner in the underlying work (the original Batmobile character), by assuming that the replica also copied the original work, which the court established that it did. Finally, although the parties stipulated that each side would bear its own costs and attorney fees, they agreed upon damages of $70,000 to settle the matter. The result could have been much worse for the replica maker, because the copyright statute allows for awarding the attorney fees. »

Howard N. Aronson has provided legal counsel to toy companies for the past 30 years. He is the managing partner of Lackenbach Siegel LLP, an intellectual property law firm recognized for its nine decades of handling toy companies.

Towle’s replica of the Batmobile depicted above

WHAT QUALIFIES AS A DERIVATIVE WORK? Under the Copyright Act, a ’derivative work’ is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. For example, a work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a derivative work according to the Copyright Office. In order to be copyrightable, a derivative work must incorporate some or all of a preexisting “work” and add new original copyrightable authorship to that work. For example: • A motion picture based on a play or a novel • A translation of a novel • A revision of a published book • A sculpture based on a drawing, a drawing based on a photograph, or a lithograph based on a painting • A drama about John Doe based on the letters and journal entries of John Doe • A musical arrangement of a preexisting musical work • A new version of an existing computer program • An adaptation of a dramatic work • A revision of a website

TOYBOOK.COM | FEBRUARY 2016 | THE TOY BOOK  245


continued from page 118

continued from page 136

difference that makes it special, and that’s what we found with our most recent acquisition of Roominate.

In the past, Kurio partnered with major players in the app world. Are you open to working with new licensing partners going forward? On the Kurio side in the U.S., we’ve partnered with everyone from Angry Birds to Fruit Ninja, and from Disney to YouTube Kids. In Europe, KD Group has a strong portfolio of premiere licenses and is the preferred electronic toy licensee for major brands including Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Disney, Barbie, and Monster High. We recognize the importance of licenses and are very interested in growing our licensed product portfolio in the U.S.

What inspired the acquisition of roominate? How will this acquisition impact PlayMonster? With the acquisition of Roominate, a line of toys designed to open up possibilities for kids by showing them that creativity and engineering are fun, PlayMonster expands into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) category. STEM is one of the fastest-growing categories in the toy industry today. What makes Roominate different is that not only do parents like it because it delivers on the principles of STEM, but kids love it because it’s so much fun they want to play with it over and over again. The founders of Roominate did a fantastic job of designing this line with the help of kids so that the fun is new every time. What good is a STEM toy if it’s not fun and kids don’t want to use it, right? In an age where kids are spending more time with technology at younger ages, how are you helping kids and families spend more time playing together? We make fun games and toys that promote interaction and quality time by playing with friends and family. We are champions of play because play brings people together with laugh-out-loud fun, and that’s important in today’s high-pressure world. We offer a fun way to escape stress and “screen time”and consumers clearly seem to be responding to that, as evidenced by not only by our increasing sales, but also by all of the awards and accolades our products have received recently. In the last six years alone we have had eight TOTY (Toy Industry Toy of the Year) award finalists across multiple categories—that’s a huge accomplishment for us, as well as a great honor. What are your future plans and expectations? We expect to continue to achieve high growth as PlayMonster by continuing our momentum and building on what’s been successful for us, and so far that’s two very essential things: The first is providing great play for all ages, not just for kids or adults or infants, but for everyone. The second is providing high-quality play that stands the test of time and offers a remarkable play experience, not games or toys that will only hold interest for a few days. These two ingredients, plus scaling up our marketing and advertising on digital media and TV, will be our key to continued growth. Last year we promoted one item, Chrono Bomb, on TV, and this year we plan to promote several more, including our popular kids’ game Yeti in My Spaghetti. So we’re definitely Yeti—oops, I mean ready—for an exciting new year! »

246  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

What is your focus for this year? What can we expect to see from KD Group in the future? We see a great opportunity for market share gain with Kurio this year, given the troubles our main competitors have seen. We will continue to stay on trend and align with what is driving the business. For example, we are the first company to offer Windows two-in-one options for kids. We are also very focused on the importance of offering a strong value to consumers. Additionally, we’re excited to expand our Kurio range to include Kurio Watch, a real-working Bluetooth smartwatch designed especially for kids. It combines all the basic watch functions (alarm, calendar, calculator, etc.) with music and video players, a front-facing camera for taking selfies and videos, messaging capabilities, an activity tracker, and mini games using motion sensors. On the toy side, we’re eager to further expand the reach of our KD line of successful European-designed educational toys in the U.S. Developed in conjunction with childhood learning professionals, the toys offer kids ages 6 months and up stimulation through different shapes and learning themes. Many of the KD toys are bilingual and also double as role-play items. Ranges include: iLOL, a “my first” series of toys for infants; Toddly Fun interactive toys; Silly Sam & Friends toys featuring silly characters in the form of everyday household items, such as a flashlight and a coffee maker; Cheeky Tunes musical instruments; and My Bath Time waterproof-guaranteed tub toys. Under our Tech-Too brand, we have a new range of realistic, pretend, touch-sensitive toys that look just like mom and dad’s electronic devices, featuring a smart TV, remote controls, a smartphone, a two-in-one tablet, a notebook, and a camera. We’re also introducing a new range of nightlights for infants and small children with a cute ghostlike character called Tinyboo, who helps comfort kids who may be afraid of the dark. The nightlights utilize LED technology and come in different forms and functions, from a basic Mini Light that makes the perfect bedside companion; to a Baby Light that doubles as a rattle; to a Lantern that brightens to guide young children throughout the home; to a Huggy Plush toy that has a special cuddle sensor built in. »


INDUSTRY MARKETPLACE

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 and TJ Maxx, • 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, Party City, National Wholesale, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Steven’s Intl., TRU Express and NY area Supermarket Chains. • MID-LANTIC…Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Western Ohio. Accounts…Rite Aid Drug, Group Sales, Boscov’s, Omni Global, 5 Below, Dollar Tree, Variety Wholesale and Big Lots. • K mart USA // JC Penney Catalog // Universal Studios Orlando // Gordman’s // Target and Walmart • CANADA…Walmart, Toys R Us, Canadian Tire and Costco We employ a staff of 5 toy sales specialists. Our contact information is listed on our above shown letterhead. We welcome your inquiries.

®

248  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

To place a classified ad, please contact Bill Reese 212-575-4510 x2322 breese@adventurepub.com


Advertiser Index Adora.........................................................191

Gund..........................................................200

PlayMonster ..............................................175

Aeromax ...................................................219

HANSA Creation.......................................217

Play Visions............................................ 42–43

AG Entertainment......................................107

Hasbro....................................................... 1–2

Playmobil USA...........................................145

ALEX Toys.............................................. 10–11

Haywire Group..........................141, 171, 189

Redwood Ventures......................................95

American Plastic Toys..................................99

HEXBUG......................................................21

Reeves International..................................149

Amloid.......................................................143

HipFits.......................................................123

Regal Logistics...........................................113

ASTRA.......................................................227

IAmElemental............................................213

Rubie’s Costume Company.............. 157–159,

Auldey.......................................................203

Iconix/Peanuts Worldwide..................... 50–51

161, 164–165, 167

Aurora World ............................................199

Imperial Toy...........................................81, 83

Rubik’s Brand.............................................184

Bachmann Trains................................ 210–211

Imports Dragon.....................................85, 87

Sakar International.......................................71

Bananagrams.............................................173

International Playthings.............................147

Schleich USA.............................................109

BERG USA.................................................231

Intrepid Investment Bankers......................169

Set Enterprises..........................................182

Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. ....................127

Jada Toys............................................... 48–49

Silverlit.......................................................207

Blue Orange Games..................................177

Jazwares......................................................89

Smart Toys and Games......................155, 181

The Bridge Direct...................................... 4–5

JC Toys Group...........................................195

Sony Pictures Entertainment.....................105

Carrera of America................................ 28–29

Kahootz Toys.............................................151

Sophia’s.....................................................197

ChizComm............................................. 44–45

KD Interactive............................................131

Spin Master........................................... 16–17

ClickBlock..................................................150

Kids Wish Network....................................247

Sunrights....................................................125

Coyne PR...................................................135

Laser Pegs.................................................139

Super Impulse............................................119

Cuddle Barn..............................................193

Little Kids ..................................................103

Tangle Creations..........................................93

D Now ......................................................129

Madame Alexander Doll Company...........187

Tech 4 Kids..................................................91

DEMDACO................................................252

Magformers...............................................153

Thames & Kosmos................................. 22–23

DGL Group............................................ 26–27

Maisto/Bburago......................................... 8–9

TOMY........................................................ 6–7

Diggin Active ............................................121

Mindware...................................................183

Toy Industry Association............................239

Douglas Company.....................................225

Moose Toys.................................................19

Toy State................................................ 12–13

Duncan Toys Company..............................137

NKOK.................................................... 24–25

Turner Media Group/CNE.........................115

Dynacraft BSC................................. 30–31, 33

NPD...........................................................243

UCC Distributing .................................. 36–41

Eastcolight............................................. 46–47

The Orb Factory Ltd..................................154

VTech...........................................................59

Elf Magic....................................................223

Odyssey Toys.............................................205

Wicked Cool Toys........................................35

Entertainment One Family........................111

Office Oxygen...........................................128

WinFun USA..............................................235

Folkmanis.............................................. 14–15

The Original Toy Company........................221

WTHRA......................................................229

Foxmind Games........................................179

Pacific Play Tents.......................................117

Zing Brand Toys...........................................65

George & Co. ...........................................185

Party Animal..............................................209

Zuru.............................................................97

Geospace International.............................230

Percyvites...................................................133

Glitek...........................................................67

Pillow Pets.................................................201

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.

TOYBOOK.COM | FEBRUARY 2016 | THE TOY BOOK  249


FLASHBAC FLASHBACK

1

FEBRUARY 1996

Tyco Preschool has revitalized the successful Sesame Street plush category with a new assortment of characters. Tyco Preschool’s new line » of Sesame Street plush includes Tickle Me Elmo for children ages 18 months and up. Every time kids tickle him, Elmo laughs harder and harder until his whole body is shaking with laughter. A Sports Talk Plush assortment, Musical Babies assortment, and a Spanish/English Ernie also highlight the collection.

TRENDMASTERS LAUNCHES GUMBY TOY LINE

Gumby, the 40-year-old clay boy, is back in a line of toys from Trendmasters. The line includes three play sets, large Gumby bendables, talking and non-talking figures with movable arms and legs, “colorme” plush toys, fun straws, key rings, and miniature superflexibles of Gumby, Pokey, Prickle, Goo, Minga, and the Blockheads.

SCHOLASTIC FOCUSES ON TWO PROPERTIES FOR TOY FAIR 1996

With the Goosebumps TV series on the Fox Network, Scholastic has entered into an agreement with Fox Family Films for a feature film release. For The Magic School Bus, Scholastic has assembled a line of licensed product that includes a toy line from the Hasbro Toy Group featuring play sets, dolls, and plush products; CD-ROMs from Microsoft; and home videos from WarnerVision.

250  THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2016 | TOYBOOK.COM

»

2

Flash Gordon—The Animated Series has secured two licensees for its fall rollout. The master toy license has been awarded to Playmates Toys by Hearst Entertainment, while the home video worldwide rights have gone to Live Entertainment. In addition to the new animated series and fully integrated worldwide marketing campaign, Hearst Entertainment is developing a live-action Flash Gordon theatrical motion picture for Mandalay Entertainment, planned for a summer 1997 release.

Tyco heats up the science category with Kodak for Kids, a new collection of cameras and microscopes designed for children ages 8 and up. Kodak for Kids Special Effects Camera allows children to create visual effects with this two-in-one camera. Just snap on the special effects wheel and choose from four different effects: multi-image, triple image, softening, and starbursts. The wheel detaches easily, so kids can use the camera as a stand-alone 110-speed unit.

3

»


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HOLIDAY OF PLAY

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Fall 2016


February 2016  

Welcome to the February Toy Fair issue of The Toy Book! I hope North American International Toy Fair was a successful, productive show for...

February 2016  

Welcome to the February Toy Fair issue of The Toy Book! I hope North American International Toy Fair was a successful, productive show for...