Princess & the Frog: Princess Tiana Just One Kiss Doll

Disney's Princess Tiana

Last week I talked about this doll as one of the top five hottest toys in toyland on the TODAY Show.  But because I only had two minutes to discuss five toys, I didn’t have time to demonstrate why this particular Princess Doll is so much fun.  Watch our video and you’ll see the interactive/light up features of this talking doll.

Right after my segment, I got an email from Disney–reminding me that there were less expensive Princess Tiana dolls…so true.  You can get your Princess fix for under $16.  The Just One Kiss doll retails for $24.99–and I already see lots of price gauging. There are plainer Princess Dolls–but we have not personally seen or tested them–I do see some complaints on line about the quality of the least expensive version–but we can’t confirm. We’re thrilled that Disney is featuring the first African-American Princess.  If you’d also like a book, we’d recommend Princess and the Royal Ball by Natasha A. Tarpley/illustrated by James Finch)–a full review is on our site.


Heavily Promoted: Fisher-Price's Trio Building Set

I got to catch a lot of tv this holiday weekend–and started to see the waves of toy tv commercials. Some reminded me of toys that did not win awards from us…and that we needed to post more reviews!!

When we first saw TRIO at toy fair we were all excited.  We love open-ended building sets and really get psyched when a large toy company gets behind a new system–making the access to it more affordable.  Unfortunately TRIO did not fare well with our testers.  The product is marked for kids 3 and up – so we enlisted one of our hard core DUPLO builders–thinking this would be the most likely audience.  He had the same trouble we did manipulating the pieces. Unlike DUPLO, it’s hard to pull the pieces apart.  We then tried them with a four year old builder–and had the same reaction.  We hope the folks at Fisher-Price work on the “pull” factor.  The pieces are pleasing–but too frustrating for the intended audience. Our recommendation is to stick with a basic DUPLO bucket at this age.

Uptick in sale of real Hamsters?

How many parents will opt for the real thing when they can find the fake Zhu Zhu Hamsters?

Remember if you bring them home…Hamsters are known for eating their young.  One parent had to explain to their kids why there were 14 little hamsters when they went to sleep and only four when they woke up!

Benjamin Bratt Contributes to Nelson Mandela's Award Winning recording of African Folktales

Benjamin Bratt let his on-line fans know  on his website, that the Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Audio Award.  The wonderful collection of tales is told by an all star cast including Mr. Bratt, Whoopi Goldberg, and Hugh Jackman. Click here to read our review.


Sweet Potato Pie

I made an extra one this year so that I wouldn’t be anxious about having enough leftovers.  Yes I love having all of our family for Thanksgiving…but there is something so sweet as enjoying leftovers the next day.

But here’s the thing…I made too much.  Today is the last day I’ve given myself to enjoy all the treats of the holiday.  So tomorrow no matter what–the sweet potato pie (with the ample dose of marshmallows on top) has to leave this house!  It’s back on the assorting exercise equipment! I hear the delicious orange and white side dish calling my name…for just one more taste!

Today at the TODAY Show

Alex and Mr. Robot in the Today Show Green Room

My wonderful toy tester Alex and I arrived just as Susan Boyle was arriving.  We hurried in — ahead of her entourage.  I heard her — what a distinct voice!  We then went to the Green Room which was pretty crowded today.  Senator Chuck Schumer was there as was “That Girl” Marlo Thomas.  (Or as other people know her- Rachel Green’s mother on Friends.)   As I was getting hair and make-up done (the best folks on the planet!) , Susan Boyle was rehearsing.  Every time she sings, people just stop talking and listen.  It’s pretty incredible. I kept thinking where she was two years ago–and now all of this fame around the world.  She joked with the audience that was already there–she seems to be in the moment and enjoying herself.

My segment today was part of a whip–where they have several experts talk on the same subject.  One of the toys we had was the Mindflex Game which Alex demo’ed on air–no small feat when you have a room full of cameras, stage managers and oh yes, millions of people watching at home–but he did it!!  I was really so proud of him.  As we were leaving –Susan Boyle was about to sing.  I asked if he wanted to stay and listen—but he’s 11 — and he had no interest.  Not really her demographic!

Alex outside at the Today Show as Susan Boyle is getting ready to sing.