Getting ready for the Today Show

It hasn’t been lost on us here that dollars, much less toy dollars, are tight.  As I’m working on my segment for Thursday morning on Recession Proof toys and activities…my mother just noted that one of the dolls that we really love is $40.  As reviewers we had just gotten back into the swing of reviewing products after all the lead controversy of the last two years. Now–we’re struggling with price.  Most companies have, out of necessity, become much more price aware–a very good thing.  We were expecting toy prices to go up due to all the added costs of safety testing…but there is such pressure at retail to be competitive that the majority of toys coming in for review are under $25.  I have a sense that people will not be filling the “cart” –but be more selective in the products they bring home.

I hope it doesn’t rain on Thursday…I love being outside with the kids and the crowd. There’s a lot of energy that just makes doing the segment more fun!


…did not win the race with our testers.  i-Turtle is the latest from Hasbro’s interactive line of iPod speaker/toys. Our 8 year old tester was really excited to test i-Turtle and at first really liked the Apple-inspired all white design. One of our 8 year old also felt the toy was not “babyish”….ok, let’s all take a collective sigh.  While the varying moods of i-Turtle interested our tester, she was disappointed with all of the blinking lights and “neediness” of the toy.  They also reported that the noise the turtle makes when it’s shifting gears interfered with their ability to listen to the music.  It has now been relegated to take its position as the “iStatue”–a silent statue at that! Another tester, really wanted i-Turtle to just play the music without moving so much.  He suggested that there should be a no-motion/lights button.

I loved that it tapped it’s foot to the music and the light show to be reminiscent of Close Encounters…but ultimately the sound of the mechanism moving does take away from your listening pleasure  and we thought the quality of the toy as a speaker was not very good.

Always Lots of Henies at the Zoo….really?

51kjmpprqxl_sl160_aa115_Keeping with our cultural obsession with bodily functions/parts…a new book about all the different types of rear ends at the zoo….with such verse as “There’s a rear for every deer”…”A caboose for every moose”…   Really?  Is  this really the view of the zoo that you want your kids to focus on?

Tea Time….Alex's New Heart Tin Tea Set

Alex Toys Heart Tin Tea Set is just right for tea parties with your dolls.  Most tea sets are marked 8 & up due to safety issues (porcelain sets if they break can be dangerous)…but the truth is most 8 years…especially these days are way passed pretend tea time.  So this tin set is a better choice for  younger kids. Comes with a tea pot, four tea cups, saucers and plates.  The box is also very special.  My grandmother used to leave out a set of teeny tiny Mexican tea cups…they were left where I could get them. I just ran into one of the tea cups the other day and the whole experience came back to me.  It became part of our play time together—that a mean game of domnioes…of course she always let me win!

I Can Be…Barbie Pet Vet

31heojufbdl_sl500_aa280_1The new Barbie Pet Vet has arrived.  The set comes with a pony (with a splinted leg), a kitten, one fish (pink of course), carrots (for the horse I assume), a laptop, a scale, a pink vet’s bag…and what’s that…oh yes, a really oversized hairbrush in the corner…just in case. All pinkness aside, I actually like this set–she looks ready for work in her no-nonsense yet fashionable brown boots.