One of my favorites: Sheep in a Jeep

Sheep in a Jeep

Just received a board book edition of Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw and illustrated by Margot Apple. If there is a toddler in your life, this is must have for your own library. The story and illustrations are a treat!   First published in 1986, it has been followed by many other sheep stories (my other favorite, Sheep Out to Eat).  Both books are at Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Classics.  You can also visit Nancy Shaw’s site and read more about Margot Apple at her publisher’s site.

Say it 3X fast: Criss Cross Crash Track

Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash Track

Hot Wheels are always fun.  This year the big track of the season is the relaunch of a classic…the Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash Track (Mattel).  This closed, clover leaf track is an opportunity to crash your favorite Hot Wheels. Watch our video from Toy Fair.  Now if you’re really old school, you’ll remember that the fun of Hot Wheels was making your track as long as possible…down the staircase was always the best.  There were a few loops – but making your own system was the point.  Closed tracks are a novelty – since there isn’t much to do besides watch the cars go.  This track is a little better in this department since you are always feeding the system with new cars.  Stay tuned.  We’ll have a complete review at www.toyportfolio.com once we receive a set

Toy Trucks will go head to head: Tonka's Rumblin' Chuck versus Mattel's Stinky Garbage Truck

Hasbro's Tonka Rumblin' Chuck

Last year we’d have to say that Mattel’s Matchbox Rocky pretty much ran over Hasbro’s Tonka’s Talkin’ Chuck.  Rocky just did so much more. (Watch the video of these two head to head.)  This year we’ll have to see how the new Tonka Rumblin’ Chuck- who promises to do many more tricks (including moving side to side as if he’s ready to line dance)…will compare to the farting Stinky Garbage Truck from Mattel. We’ll be interested to test both of these interactive trucks when they arrive..for now you can check out their prototypes from Toy Fair.  Click here to watch Rumblin’ Chuck.

Here’s Stinky…to watch him in action, click here to view our video.

Mattel's Stinky Garbage Truck

Toy Fair 2010: Paper thin music from WowWee

Paper Jamz from WowWee

Imagine a piece of paper that you can play like a guitar, a drum set…sounds pretty cool. WowWee, always on the cutting edge of fun tech toys, is bringing out a new line call Paper Jamz.  The line will include paper thin instruments (six guitars, six drums and an amplifier) that uses what they call Active Graphic Technology.  We didn’t get to play with the prototypes at toy fair, but we hope to have samples to try by early Spring. The products will retail from $14.99 for the amp and $24.99 for the drums and guitars.

What some parents may really love..there is volume control AND you can plug in earphones so that your rock-musician-in-training can rock out without driving you crazy!

Nature at Toy Fair courtesy of Safari Ltd.

In the middle of Toy Fair...a gentle bear.

If you’ve ever been at a big trade show, you know that after a day or two–you start craving real air, real food, real anything.  Something about concrete floors (badly covered with carpeting), horrible concession food and the din of the crowds that makes you want to find a tree and hug it.  So I was happy to have a little nature (albeit plastic) retreat in the miniature at Safari Ltd. - they are the masters of making really small animals. Wilderness in the miniature

We visited briefly with Safari’s President, Ramona Pariente- who was very gracious even though we were in the final hours of the show and by our own admission a little slap happy to be approaching the finish line.

You’ve probably seen their line in museum, gift and specialty stores. I’m not sure why but this collection of super small animals makes me so happy.  What is it about miniature things that seem so fun?

Of course these small animals are just right as props for dramatic play whether it’s in combination with blocks or just on their own. The line is so extensive, that you’re bound to be able to find the animals, fish, bugs or birds that capture your child’s interest. Designed for kids 3 & up, these are wonderful to collect and play with!

Nature (really tiny) from Safari Ltd.

Flamingos at Toy Fair…

Playmobil's Flamingos

We had a neighbor when I was growing up who was most proud of her plastic flamingos.  Of course, some people (who shall remain nameless) had great fun  moving those flamingos from time to time throughout the neighborhood.  Hey, it’s more humane than tipping cows.

As a result, I’ve always had a fondness for the plastic flamingo. This pair is from Playmobil.