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Category: Books


Name: The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen
Company: RANDOM HOUSE INC.
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This hardcover book follows Tiger Rose, an elderly cat, on her last day.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
Anyone who has lost a pet will be moved by this heartbreaking, yet heartwarming, tale. Tiger Rose spends her last day saying goodbye to her family, enjoying the beautiful outdoors, and finally closing her eyes for the last time. The story is very simple but rings true. The last pages of the book, with Tiger Rose looking down from the sky, and the family dog standing outside the house no doubt wondering where his friend went, brought tears to my eyes. But where this book truly shines is in its ability to make a book about loss a celebration of all that makes life worth living.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Not your average bedtime story, this book would be ideal for customers with children who are experiencing grief, either at the loss of a pet or someone special to them. It´s simple yet honest way of describing death could be helpful as a child struggles to deal with the loss.

— Booklist Starred Review
— As of 09/29/2011 this book had 5 out of 5 stars from 4 reviews on Amazon.com.
— As of 09/29/2011 this product had 4.12 out of 5 stars from 32 ratings on Goodreads.com.

— Justina Huddleston

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Name: Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell
Company: DAWN PUBLICATIONS
Age: All Ages
Price: $8.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This rhyming book follows Jenny as she plays outside and watches wild turkeys through the four seasons. Jenny´s Journal, at the end, shares facts about wild turkeys.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
Though simple, the rhyming text is catchy. Kids will enjoy watching Jenny and the turkeys as the seasons progress. The illustrations are rich and textural. The coloring of each turkey is very detailed, and one may notice unique touches, like a tree in the forest that is a stamp of a real leaf, if they look closely enough. As a born and bred New Englander, turkeys were everywhere in the area surrounding my house when I grew up, so I was surprised to learn in the "Jenny´s Journal" segment in the back of the book that turkeys were once in danger of becoming extinct! Between the colorful and engaging pictures, the rhyming text, and the informative journal in back, this book offered more than your average picture book.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT

This would be a great book for stores that carry nature-themed or eco-friendly books and toys. It also would be a perfect offering in the fall and Thanksgiving seasons, so kids can learn more about the bird that has become practically synonymous with autumn. Educators will like the informative yet casual "Jenny´s Journal" in the back of the book, which also offers arts & crafts and other nature-inspired activity ideas.

— Justina Huddleston

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Name: Ricky is Brave by Guido Van Genechten
Company: CLAVIS PUBLISHING
Age: 4 and up
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This picture book follows Ricky on his first outdoor sleeping adventure. The summer has been unusually hot, so Ricky asks his parents if he can sleep in a tent outside. He has fun with his newfound independence, and the ultimate message is that no matter what obstacles a child may face while trying new things, their caregivers will always be there for support.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
Enchanting illustrations and a thought-provoking story make this reassuring book an ideal read for preschoolers. The pictures in the book evoke a truly hot summer day, from Ricky eating a sweet carrot ice cream cone while dangling his feet in the water where his friends are swimming, to Dad lounging in the hammock with some light reading. The illustrations are rich and painted with lots of texture. The story itself is full of charming details. For instance, Ricky sneaks a treat of sweet carrots into his tent to eat before he goes to sleep...which he later uses to plug his ears against the unfamiliar noises coming from outside of his tent. The ending of the book is really charming, with Ricky´s mom and dad joining him in the tent so they can all sleep more soundly. The book sends a positive message that even when a child sets off to do something "alone" for the first time, they can always count on their parents to be there if something goes awry.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
The rich illustrations and relatable main character, Ricky, would make this a great addition to any child´s bookshelf. For ages 4 and up, the story is reassuring to kids who are feeling ready to try new things, but nervous at the same time.

Justina Huddleston


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Name: My Daddy by Guido Van Genechten
Company: CLAVIS PUBLISHING
Age: 2 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This story follows John and his Daddy in their bedtime routine. They play with toys, John gets a piggy back ride, and eventually Daddy reads him a story and puts him to bed. The book is for ages 2 and up, and is a larger size than many board books for the same age group.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

With it´s evocative illustrations and story of parental love, this book deserves a spot on any child´s bookshelf. Though simple, the story was very sweetly done. The rosy cheeked father and son team stand out in their brightly colored clothing against the soft olive and gold-toned background drawings. Details in the illustrations, such as the scribbly portrait by John hanging on the wall, the teddy bear that is with John and his Daddy on every page, and the rocking horse that looks askance at John riding on his Daddy´s back make the story come alive. The book is a translation from Dutch, but the wording flows smoothly and seems appropriate for its intended age group.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT

This would be a great book for any Dad to read to his child. It also could do well as a seasonal item for Father´s Day. The cover illustration is bright and stands out against the softly colored background. This book would be ideal to read to toddlers before bed, to help them settle down and get into the mindset that it´s time to wrap up the day, as John does with his Daddy.

Justina Huddleston


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Name: Title: The BIG Baby Book by Guido Van Genechten
Company: CLAVIS PUBLISHING
Age: 2 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
Josh´s mom is going to have a baby, which makes him ask if he was once a baby in his mom´s tummy too. His mom says yes, and tells him about babies throughout the animal kingdom, from rats, to sheep and horses. In the end, the new baby arrives, and Josh is a big brother.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
High-quality illustrations and a strong story line make this book a must-read. The illustrations in the book are done by painting over newspaper, giving each picture a unique depth and richness. The book is for ages two and up, and it deals with the arrival of a baby in an informative, age appropriate manner. The story has a nice narrative arc, in that at the end of the book we actually get to see Josh become a big brother.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
This book would be an ideal read for children who are expecting a new sibling and have questions about babies. The many illustrations of baby animals and their mothers will also intrigue any child who is interested in animals. It´s a board book, so it is sturdy enough to stand up to a toddler, and is less expensive than a regular hardcover storybook.

Justina Huddleston


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Name: Bathing by Liesbet Slegers
Company: CLAVIS PUBLISHING
Age: 1 and up
Price: $5.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
This board book follows baby through all the familiar steps of bath time. Brightly colored pictures against a white background are easy for baby to focus on, and the simple sentences feature bolded key words such as "bathtub" "clothes" and "shampoo," to help young ones familiarize themselves with new words.

WHAT WE THOUGHT
This simple yet spirited board book is a great gift item for new parents, and would be a welcome addition to any child´s library. Unlike many board books for babies that focus on everyday tasks, this one has personality. The list-like reporting of bath time is broken up by baby´s voice, which exclaims, "Oh, my shampoo is so sweet!" and "It is fun to sail my boat in the bath." The illustrations are very sweet and stand out nicely against the stark white background. The overall style is reminiscent of Leslie Patricelli, though less whimsical.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Books like this are great for people looking for a gift for an expectant parent, or the baby in their life. The illustrations and the extra personality conveyed by the narrator set this book above the standard fare, in addition to helping baby learn new vocabulary.

Justina Huddleston


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Name: This Girl Is Different by JJ Johnson
Company: PEACHTREE PUBLISHERS
Age: 12-16
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

WHAT IT IS
JJ Johnson´s debut novel tells the story of Evensong Sparkling Morningdew- Evie for short- and her foray into public school. Homeschooled by her hippie mother her whole life, Evie decides that she wants to spend her Senior year at an actual high school, as a social experiment. Evie makes a friend and a (almost) boyfriend right away, but the realities of attending public school are much grimmer than she had thought. Frustrated by the boundaries placed on students by the administration, as well as the blatant sexism, sizeism, and ageism that Evie feels dominate the learning environment, she starts an online blog where she and her friends can address these grievances. But Evie takes things too far when she targets a specific teacher, and students begin to use Evie´s blog against her.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

This compelling story is worth a read, thanks to its strong and unique main character. Evie is strong-willed, smart, and self-aware. The beginning of the novel describes Evie on a nature walk, sketching a snake; she later brings her new friends to her "Dome Home," a geodesic dome built by Evie and her mom where they raise a cow and chickens, bake their own bread, and drink yerba mate instead of coffee. The overt characterization of Evie and her mother as "hippies" in the opening of the book seems a little heavy-handed, but after the slightly clumsy first chapter Evie comes alive on the page. She is a unique character that can be not only a friend to readers, but a role model as well. Sure, she has academic aspirations that are admirable, but the thing that really makes Evie a great character is her willingness to admit she was wrong. She is at first reluctant to befriend bubbly cheerleader Jacinda, only to realize that her preconceived notion of the "typical cheerleaders" was wrong. And, though she never compromises her morals, Evie´s self-doubt when dealing with issues such as teenage sex, inappropriate student-teacher relationships, and gossip rings true. The book manages to stress the importance of being true to oneself without ever taking itself too seriously, coupling introspection from Evie with slightly flippant lines such as "If a tree falls in a forest and no one updates its status on Facebook, does it make a sound?" Such elements keep the story feeling fresh and relevant to teenagers, while Evie´s romantic relationship- ultimately a healthy, equal partnership- will fulfill readers´ love of drama.

WHY THEY´LL WANT IT
Parents who want their tween and teen girls to read a novel with substance should pick up this book. It has a wide appeal to teen readers- focusing on the ins and outs of high school, romance, gossip, and betrayal- but the decisions the characters make and the issues they focus their attention on set it above standard teen pulp fiction. From an aesthetic standpoint, the book jacket is made of thick, textured paper, with a modern color scheme of blues, grays, and a contrasting dash of vibrant orange. The back cover screams "Evensong Sparkling Morningdew is a Hypocrite! Hypocrite! Hypocrite!" in an edgy, scribbly text, sure to pique the interest of a prospective reader.

— As of 05/26/2011 this book has 4.2 out of 5 stars from 10 reviews on Amazon.com
— As of 05/26/2011 this book has 3.56 out of 5 stars from 100 ratings on Goodreads.com


Justina Huddleston


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Name: The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow
Company: LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY
Age: 8-12
Price: $14.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.


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Name: Driving My Tractor
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 1-6
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Perfectly Arugula
Company: STERLING PUBLISHING CO.
Age: 3-7
Price: $14.99
Category: Books

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Name: The Best Family in the World
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.
 

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Name: The Pirate and the Penguin
Company: SIMON AND SCHUSTER CHILDREN'S PUBLISHING DIVISION
Age: 3-7
Price: $15.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.


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Name: My Father Knows the Names of Things
Company: SIMON AND SCHUSTER CHILDREN'S PUBLISHING DIVISION
Age: 3-7
Price: $15.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: My Think-A-Ma-Jink
Company: OWLKIDS
Age: 4-8
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: The Delicious Bug
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 3-7
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Dinosaur Park
Company: MACMILLAN
Age: 6-10
Price: $17.99
Category: Books

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Name: I LEGO N.Y.
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: All Ages
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s summary of online toy reviews of this product.

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Name: WJ FANTASY - Shadow Books
Company: BABALU INC.
Age: 3 and up
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s summary of online toy reviews of this product.

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Name: Dinotrux
Company: LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

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Name: The Dr. Hippo Series
Company: THE HIPPOCRATIC PRESS
Age: 4-8
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s summary of online toy reviews of this product.

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Name: Norman PhartEphant Volume 1
Company: FIERCE FUN TOYS LLC
Age: All Ages
Price: $9.95
Category: Books

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Name: Hook
Company: ROARING BROOK PRESS (HOLTZBRINCK PUBLISHERS)
Age: 2-6
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Lulu´s Pajamas
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 2-6
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: A Practical Guide to Vampires
Company: MIRRORSTONE
Age: All Ages
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: The Seeing Stick
Company: RUNNING PRESS BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: All Ages
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Stinky Little Scroungy
Company: FIVE STAR PUBLICATIONS INC.
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: By the Sword
Company: BOYDS MILLS PRESS
Age: 10 and up
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Bones, Brains and DNA.
Company: BUNKER HILL PUBLISHING
Age: 8-12
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Favor Johnson
Company: BUNKER HILL PUBLISHING
Age: 6-12
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Big Bear Hug
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Have You Ever Seen a Duck in a Raincoat?
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 4-7
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Caillou Boxed Set
Company: CHOUETTE PUBLISHING INC.
Age: 3 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

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Name: There’s a Babirusa in My Bathtub: Fact and Fancy About Curious Creatures
Company: DAWN PUBLICATIONS
Age: 7-12
Price: $8.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Origami Fun: Paper Folding for Beginners
Company: BARRON'S EDUCATIONAL SERIES
Age: 9 and up
Price: $11.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Follow That Map!: A First Book of Mapping Skills
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 5-10
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: In the Trees, Honey Bees
Company: DAWN PUBLICATIONS
Age: 3-12
Price: $8.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: A Practical Guide to Faeries
Company: MIRRORSTONE
Age: 8 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Shopping with Dad
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 3-7
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: You Are Weird: Your Body’s Peculiar Parts and Funny Functions
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 9-14
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Painting the Town
Company: CRYSTAL PRODUCTIONS
Age: 3-7
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: green start™: one tree
Company: INNOVATIVEKIDS
Age: 3-6
Price: $6.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Benny and Penny in The Big No-No!
Company: RAW JUNIOR LLC
Age: 6-10
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Mama’s Kiss
Company: CHRONICLE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Age: 3-6
Price: $14.99
Category: Books

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Name: The Imaginary Garden
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 3-7
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: A Pirate’s Quest: For His Family Heirloom Peg Leg
Company: CARL R. SAMS II PHOTOGRAPHY INC. (STRANGER IN THE WOODS)
Age: 3-11
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Poingo
Company: PUBLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL LTD.
Age: 3-7
Price: $34.99
Category: Books

What It Is
Poingo is a system designed to make reading books an interactive experience for children.  When the Poingo pen is touched to select text and pictures on the pages of Poingo books,  it responds with sound, music or words — even questions to get kids more involved in the story or complementary activities on the pages. Book titles include “Finding Nemo,” “Cars” and other licensed stories from Disney.

What We Thought
Poingo definitely has a “wow” factor that catches children’s attention. After all, how many books talk back to you? A 4-year-old girl who tried out Poingo really enjoyed the interactive pen and soundbooks, and especially liked the side games and voices used. She had a little trouble with the directions on her own, but was able to get more out of it with an adult there to explain. Her older sister, 7, most appreciated the feature that allows you to click on the highlighted words and hear a definition. At her age, however, she found the constant repetition (e.g., “How many splashes do you hear?” in a game in the “Nemo” book) annoying and would prefer more grown-up stories.

Why They’ll Want It
While Poingo isn’t likely to replace old-fashioned reading, it does provide a novel alternative that offers a short-term activity allowing kids to explore stories in a whole new way.  — TDmonthly Staff 11/14/08

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Name: Bitty Fish
Company: KANE PRESS INC.
Age: 3-7
Price: $5.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Think Green!
Company: KIDS THINK BIG LLC
Age: 4-10
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

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Name: Johnny Appleseed
Company: HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS
Age: 6-9
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

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Name: The Three Little Pigs’ Christmas
Company: PC Treasures, Inc.
Age: 3-8
Price: $6.95
Category: Books

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Name: Visiting My Grandmother
Company: BOYS TOWN PRESS
Age: 2-8
Price: $13.95
Category: Books

What It Is
This interactive book is written to be a collaborative project between a child and grandmother, or completed after a visit to grandma’s house. It allows the child to write, draw and include photos of his or her time with grandmother, providing a unique way for the two to spend quality time while also preserving memories.

Why You Should Carry It
This book is one to pass down through generations as an information piece and, most of all, a part of heartfelt memories. “Visiting My Grandmother” is only one in a series of interactive books by K.A. Bye. Other titles include “My Trip to the Zoo,” “I Like Holidays!” and “I Like Birthdays!” I love the concept of the series but feel it is more appropriate for ages 4 to 8. Although the illustrations are cute, the book as a whole lacks the strength to meet the needs of the audience that would be most likely to make it into a project. As is, the series might be more easily marketed to parents, as they are more likely to complete each project.

What Kids Think
Although written for beginning readers, ages 2 to 8, those who experienced the book (2- to 4-year-olds) were more interested in looking at the pictures and didn’t show much interest in committing to it long term. On average, most children aged 2 to 8 will only spend 30 minutes working on it. — Sheri Williams, 11/1/08

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Name: Imaginary Menagerie
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 6-9
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: Because You Are My Baby
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 2-7
Price: $18.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Roonie B. Moonie – Lost and Alone
Company: ILLUMINATION ARTS
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: Sir Reginald’s Logbook
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 5-9
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

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Name: Skippyjon Jones and the Treasure Hunt
Company: PENGUIN GROUP USA
Age: 3-6
Price: $9.99
Category: Books

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Name: Dropping in on Andy Warhol
Company: CRYSTAL PRODUCTIONS
Age: 6-10
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 5-9
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Little Shepherd Girl
Company: DAVID C. COOK
Age: 3-10
Price: $14.99
Category: Books

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Name: Claire and the Bakery Thief
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 7-10
Price: $7.95
Category: Books

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Name: One City, Two Brothers
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 8 and up
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

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Name: MVP
Company: BOYDS MILLS PRESS
Age: 8 and up
Price: $9.95
Category: Books

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Name: Who Will Save Our Planet?
Company: ALL 4 KIDZ ENTERPRISES
Age: 7-12
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

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Name: Abraham Lincoln and the Forest of Little Pigeon Creek
Company: AMERITALES ENTERTAINMENT LLC
Age: 8 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Witch's Child
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 7-11
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Rosie and Buttercup
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 4-8
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

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Name: Adventures of Cow, Too
Company: TRICYCLE PRESS
Age: 3-6
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

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Name: How Soccer Works
Company: MAPLE TREE PRESS
Age: 8-12
Price: $10.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Gremlins
Company: DARK HORSE COMICS, INC.
Age: 12 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Tear Thief
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 6-10
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

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Name: The Red Dragon Codex
Company: MIRRORSTONE
Age: 8-12
Price: $9.95
Category: Books

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Name: Looking Closely Through the Forest
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 4-7
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: Making Me: The Pregnancy Activity Book for My Big Brother or Sister
Company: MOTHERLY WAY ENTERPRISES INC.
Age: 5-10
Price: $24.95
Category: Books

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Name: Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 8-13
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: NASCAR Team Activity Book & CD
Company: PC Treasures, Inc.
Age: All Ages
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Two Tuba Switch
Company: TOYS 'N TAYLS
Age: 4-9
Price: $24.99
Category: Books

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Name: The Rogues
Company: PENGUIN GROUP USA
Age: 10 and up
Price: $18.99
Category: Books

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Name: Stellaluna
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 2-5
Price: $7.95
Category: Books

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Name: My Very Own Fairy Tale
Company: I SEE ME! INC.
Age: 1-12
Price: $35
Category: Books

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Name: Will It Blow? Become a Volcano Detective at Mount St. Helens
Company: SASQUATCH BOOKS
Age: 8 and up
Price: $13.95
Category: Books

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Name: Playing by the Rules: A Story about Autism
Company: WOODBINE HOUSE
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: My Two Homes
Company: FAMILYSTORIES
Age: 6 and up
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Mighty Pigeon Club
Company: TRICYCLE PRESS
Age: 6-10
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Man in the Iron Mask
Company: BARRON'S EDUCATIONAL SERIES
Age: 8 and up
Price: $8.99
Category: Books

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Name: Where the Giant Sleeps
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3-7
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: When Mama Mirabelle Comes Home
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 4-7
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Renoir and the Boy with the Long Hair
Company: BARRON'S EDUCATIONAL SERIES
Age: 8 and up
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: John Denver’s Grandma’s Feather Bed
Company: DAWN PUBLICATIONS
Age: 4 and up
Price: $8.95
Category: Books

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Name: Smart-opedia: The Amazing Book about Everything
Company: MAPLE TREE PRESS
Age: 8 and up
Price: $22.95
Category: Books

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Name: A Practical Guide to Monsters
Company: MIRRORSTONE
Age: 10 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

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Name: Pssst!
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 16 and up
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: Let’s Go! The Story of Getting from There to Here
Company: MAPLE TREE PRESS
Age: 6 and up
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Trailblazing Life of Daniel Boone
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 8 and up
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Little Toot
Company: PENGUIN GROUP USA
Age: 4-8
Price: $17.99
Category: Books

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Name: Gold Medal for Weird
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 8-12
Price: $6.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
Company: LAUGHING ELEPHANT
Age: 4-8
Price: $9.95
Category: Books

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Name: If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 10 and up
Price: $17
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 8 and up
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

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Name: Preschool Fun
Company: TEACHER CREATED RESOURCES INC
Age: 3-5
Price: $2.99
Category: Books

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Name: A Child's Guide to Common Household Monsters
Company: BOYDS MILLS PRESS
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: The Discovery of Dragons
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 10 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

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Name: Jango
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 12 and up
Price: $17
Category: Books

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Name: Peek-a-Boo Zoo
Company: TRANSGLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS GROUP INC.
Age: 3-6
Price: $8.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: I Love My Pirate Papa
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 4-7
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: "Iggy Peck, Architect"
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 6-10
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Emma's Turtle
Company: BOYDS MILLS PRESS
Age: 3-6
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: Mrs. Marlowe´s Mice
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

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Name: When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 8-12
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Gymboree Bubble Play Activity Kit
Company: KEY PORTER BOOKS
Age: All Ages
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Ziba Came on a Boat
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 7-12
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Rabbit´s Gift
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 4 and up
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: Mother Goose Numbers on the Loose
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3 and up
Price: $17
Category: Books

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Name: Could You? Would You? A Book to Tickle Your Imagination
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 7-12
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 7 and up
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Sophie´s Big Bed
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 2-5
Price: $4.99
Category: Books

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Name: Let´s Play!
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 3-6
Price: $4.99
Category: Books

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Name: Little Rabbit's Christmas
Company: PEACHTREE PUBLISHERS
Age: 3-7
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: Santa's Eleven Months Off
Company: PEACHTREE PUBLISHERS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Christmas Princess
Company: PICTURE ME PRESS
Age: 2-6
Price: $4.99
Category: Books

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Name: Color, Paint, and Draw Dinosaurs
Company: CROCODILE CREEK
Age: 5-8
Price: $4.99
Category: Books

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Name: Night of the Black Bear
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 8-12
Price: $4.99
Category: Books

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Name: Star Sisterz: Maya Made Over
Company: MIRRORSTONE
Age: 9-13
Price: $4.99
Category: Books

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Name: We´re Sailing Down the Nile: A Journey Through Egypt
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 4 and up
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Shrinking Sam
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

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Name: The Student from Zombie Island: Conquering the Rumor Monster
Company: FIVE STAR PUBLICATIONS INC.
Age: 6-10
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Making Healthy Choices
Company: STARBOUND BOOKS
Age: 5-7
Price: $11.95
Category: Books

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Name: Dolly Goes to the Supermarket
Company: DHM
Age: 3 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Small Sister
Company: CLARION BOOKS
Age: 3-5
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: Your Very Own Robot, Choose Your Own Adventure
Company: CHOOSECO LLC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $5.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Where, Oh Where, Is Santa Claus?
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3-7
Price: $16
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Wake Up Engines
Company: CLARION BOOKS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: City Lullaby
Company: CLARION BOOKS
Age: 3-5
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: Jazz Baby
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3-7
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: Hello Rousseau
Company: BIRDCAGE PRESS
Age: 7 and up
Price: $9.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Play Scene: Happy Camper
Company: MUDPUPPY PRESS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $11
Category: Books

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Name: "Dreams Can Come True": An Early-Start Career Guide for Girls and Boys
Company: ALL 4 KIDZ ENTERPRISES
Age: 8-12
Price: $10.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Wag a Tail
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3-7
Price: $16
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Handstand Kids Italian Cookbook and Chef’s Hat in a Pizza Box
Company: HANDSTAND KIDS
Age: 6 and up
Price: $28
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Evil Genius
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 12 and up
Price: $17
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Time Spies: Magician in the Trunk
Company: MIRRORSTONE
Age: 6-10
Price: $4.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Listen in Addition
Company: JANDIE JAMS MUSIC LLC
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Just Imagine
Company: ILLUMINATION ARTS
Age: 4 and up
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: One Well: The Story of Water on Earth
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Noom & Raj Start a Business: The ABCs of Money
Company: MOONJAR
Age: 6 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Anne Frank: The Young Writer Who Told the World Her Story
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 8-12
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: SENSEsational Alphabet
Company: SENSESATIONAL ALPHABET
Age: 1-7
Price: $29.95
Category: Books

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Name: Goodnight, Sweet Pig
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 2-5
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
In this adorable story, Pig No. 1 is desperately trying to get to sleep, but her mission is interrupted over and over again with one pig visit after another. Rhymes relay the spirited entrance and, eventually, exit of each numbered character, bringing Little Pig full circle toward a good night’s rest.

What We Thought

This is one of the cutest looking books I’ve ever read — and it’s well written, too. The little pig’s bedroom is decked out in appealing green, gold and red tones, and pleasing colors echo throughout the communicative illustrations. The characters are interactive and expressive in their scenes — from Pig No. 8’s Spanish dancing to sweet little pig’s clutching a pillow, huddled on the floor amidst the pandemonium. Details such as the “Porkeo & Juliet” book on the floor and outdoor scenes through the bedroom window give the story extra flair.

Why They’ll Like It
Kids will love “Goodnight, Sweet Pig,” not only for the rhyming verse, but also for the bright and fresh, yet still traditional, color scheme. Readers will identify with Pig No. 1’s frustration and with the remorse the other pigs eventually feel for disturbing her. Their kindness (as they make the little pig’s bed, read her a story, sing lullabies and turn the lights out) is heartwarming, as is their characterization and individuality. The story is fun, moving and perhaps the perfect story to help a little one get to sleep. — Julie L. Jones, 5/2/07

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Name: Bella and the Bunny
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 2-5
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
This book tells the story of a little girl, Bella, who loves the classroom rabbit at her school and the special sweater her “Nonna” knit for her — both of which are “soft, furry and white.” When Bella loses the sweater at school and the rabbit goes missing, she and the other children search until they find them both…cozily cuddled up together.

What We Thought

“Bella and the Bunny” is filled with charming pastel drawings and a rabbit theme that make it nice read-aloud to a group of preschoolers, who can relate to the search for something lost and the school setting illustrated on many of the pages.

Why They’ll Want It
Little kids will cherish the idea of a “favorite” something, as well as the love of a “Nonna” who’s kind enough to knit a sweater even for a bunny, as the end of the story reveals. The familiar classroom surroundings — story time chairs, bookcase, craft table — will draw in readers. And they will delight in the bunny’s house hutch, complete with curtains and pictures printed on the wall. — Julie L. Jones, 5/2/07

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Name: Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep
Company: HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $15.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Forest Bright, Forest Night
Company: DAWN PUBLICATIONS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $7.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Pirates Don’t Change Diapers
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3-7
Price: $16
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Rebecca’s Realm, A Collection of Goth Toons
Company: BLEEDING EDGE
Age: 8 and up
Price: $12.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: l8r, g8r
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 13 and up
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 9-12
Price: $12
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Sing & Read With Greg & Steve – Rhyme Time
Company: CREATIVE TEACHING PRESS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $50.87
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Can You Hear It?
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 4-8
Price: $18.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Cupid: A Tale of Love and Desire
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 12 and up
Price: $17
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: New Clothes for New Year´s Day
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Who´s Hiding?
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 2-6
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Dinosaur Alphabet
Company: NORTH ATLANTIC BOOKS & FROG, LTD.
Age: 4 and up
Price: $18.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Learning Calendar 2007
Company: FAT BRAIN TOY CO.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $11.95
Category: Books

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Name: Flora Segunda
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 12 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: Celebrate Ramadan & Eid Al-Fitr With Praying, Fasting and Charity
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 10 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Star Seeker: A Journey to Outer Space
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 1-7
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: A Dragon on the Doorstep
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 1-7
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: Tic Talk: Living With Tourette Syndrome
Company: FIVE STAR PUBLICATIONS INC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Maisy´s Book Tower
Company: CANDLEWICK PRESS
Age: 2-5
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 5 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: The Adventures of Odysseus
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 5 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: Be Careful and Stay Safe
Company: FREE SPIRIT PUBLISHING
Age: All Ages
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Company: FIVE STAR PUBLICATIONS INC.
Age: 9 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: We Can Make It Happen!
Company: KIDZPOETZ PUBLISHING
Age: 5 and up
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

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Name: Holidays Around the World: Celebrating Thanksgiving
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: Once Upon a Banana
Company: SIMON AND SCHUSTER CHILDREN'S PUBLISHING DIVISION
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: 30-Minute-a-Day Learning System: Preschool
Company: BRIGHTER MINDS MEDIA
Age: 2-5
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: Hello, Hello
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 2-5
Price: $4.95
Category: Books

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Name: Chinese Fables Remembered
Company: HEIAN INTERNATIONAL INC.
Age: All Ages
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Holidays Around the World: Celebrating Diwali With Sweets, Lights and Fireworks
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Becoming Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha
Company: HEIAN INTERNATIONAL INC.
Age: 8-10
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Charlotte in Paris
Company: BEACON STREET GIRLS
Age: 8-13
Price: $7.99
Category: Books

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Name: Life As We Knew It
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 12 and up
Price: $17
Category: Books

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Name: Saint Iggy
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 14 and up
Price: $17
Category: Books

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Name: The Prince´s Bedtime
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 4-10
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

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Name: Cleo´s Color Book
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 2-5
Price: $15.99
Category: Books

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Name: Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah With Light, Latkes and Dreidels
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: All Ages
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Augustine
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Buckamoo Girls
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 3-8
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: Voices
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 12 and up
Price: $17
Category: Books

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Name: The American Story: 100 True Tales From American History
Company: RANDOM HOUSE INC.
Age: 9-12
Price: $34.95
Category: Books

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Name: Uno´s Garden
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 4-8
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

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Name: Sock Monkey Dreams
Company: PENGUIN GROUP USA
Age: 17 and up
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

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Name: Wilky the White House Cockroach
Company: G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

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Name: Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 9-12
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: This Jazz Man
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3-7
Price: $16
Category: Books

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Name: Twisted Tales, Phonics Comics
Company: INNOVATIVEKIDS
Age: 6 and up
Price: $3.99
Category: Books

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Name: Each Little Bird That Sings
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 8-12
Price: $7.95
Category: Books

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Name: Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 3-7
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: Christmas Eve Magic
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 5-8
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Lift Off: A Photobiography of John Glenn
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 10-12
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: What Elephant?
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 3-7
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: Benny
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 3-5
Price: $7.95
Category: Books

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Name: Marco Polo: The Boy Who Traveled the Medieval World
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 4-8
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

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Name: How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends?
Company: SCHOLASTIC
Age: 2-5
Price: $6.99
Category: Books

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Name: Jurassic Poop: What Dinosaurs (and Others) Left Behind
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 8-12
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Storytime: First Tales for Sharing
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 1-7
Price: $19.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
This book retells seven of the world’s best-known folk tales, including “The Three Little Pigs” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” in a fashion ideal for reading aloud so that parents and young children can enjoy the adventurous stories together.

What We Thought
“Storytime” provides a solid introduction to stories that children are likely to hear time and again, familiarizing them with the world of folk tales. For this reason, it carries lasting quality in any home library and can be passed down through generations. Some kids may lose interest because it’s rather text heavy, but that gives parents a chance to return to the stories often.

Why They’ll Want It
Seven stories makes for a great value and give children a whole week’s worth of bedtime reading. Kids will love the colorful, playful illustrations, and can learn lessons along with the characters while laughing at the dilemmas that entangle them. — Julie L. Jones, 11/27/06

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Name: The Farmyard Jamboree
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 1-7
Price: $15.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
In this book inspired by a Chilean folktale and illustrated with an Andean setting, each verse of the story introduces another animal. A male narrator leads readers through an upbeat song on the included singalong CD.

What We Thought
The story provides a great way for young children to learn about animals, their babies, and families, as each animal is given to the little boy narrator by a different member of his family. Bob King’s music and sound effects bring an extra dose of life to the bright pages. By the time there were 12 or 14 animals on the scene, I even found myself boppin’ and singing along with the music. Each verse renames the previously mentioned pets, reinforcing their identities for attentive children.

Why They’ll Want It
Kids will go crazy over the animals sounds ¾ everything from “cluck” to “oink” ¾ and will certainly appreciate the audible sampling. This is one book where an accompanying track really makes a difference. They will learn to love the farmyard pets as much as the narrator does, and will want to dance with the entire crew at the conclusion of the story. — Julie L. Jones, 11/27/06

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Name: Magic Train Ride
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 1-7
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
On this train ride, the locomotive stops in all sorts of “wild and wonderful places,” taking readers on a magical journey that will pique young imaginations. A singalong CD accompanies the book.

What We Thought
Just when you think the journey’s over, the train whistle blows again and it’s off to another destination. The stations are fun and unpredictable, and the train boasts a mix of eclectic characters. How often does an octopus ride with a fairy, after all? The music complements the story, but children will probably want more time to explore the pages on their own.

Why They’ll Want It

Excitement ensues at the beginning of the CD, as the train starts chug-a-chugging along and the whistle blows. The sound effects bring readers closer to the action, drawing them into the inviting illustrations, and the “faster, faster we go, then suddenly we’re slow” sections give children a fun pace to recreate on their own. Whether they like outer space or forests or cakes, they’re sure to enjoy the ride! — Julie L. Jones, 11/27/06

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Name: Happy Birthday CoCo
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 4-8
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: The Strictest School in the World
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 9-12
Price: $6.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: All Hallow's Eve: 13 Stories
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 12 and up
Price: $17
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Crispin: At the Edge of the World
Company: HYPERION BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Age: 10-14
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: The Cremation of Sam McGee
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: All Ages
Price: $17.95
Category: Books

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Name: Boris and Bella
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 4-7
Price: $6
Category: Books

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Name: The Rainbow Web
Company: BLOCK PUBLISHING
Age: All Ages
Price: $24.95
Category: Books

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Name: Zodiac: Celestial Circle of Sun
Company: FRANCES LINCOLN LTD.
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Parade Day, Reader´s Choice Level 2
Company: BARRON'S EDUCATIONAL SERIES
Age: 2-6
Price: $3.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Kali and the Rat Snake
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 4-8
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

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Name: Fairy Tale Feasts
Company: INTERLINK BOOKS
Age: 10 and up
Price: $24.95
Category: Books

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Name: A Kid's Guide to Giving
Company: INNOVATIVEKIDS
Age: 12 and up
Price: $9.99
Category: Books

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Name: One White Wishing Stone: A Beach Counting Book
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 4-8
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Casey at the Bat
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 10 and up
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

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Name: Once Around the Sun
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 5-10
Price: $16
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Off We Go to Mexico! An Adventure in the Sun
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 1-7
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
In this brightly illustrated hardcover book, readers accompany a family of five on a vacation to Mexico, exploring the country´s land, culture, history and language. Every other page features a lesson in Spanish vocabulary.

What We Thought
The book reads quickly and easily due to the rhyming phrases, and couldn´t be more filled with vibrant color. Eyes travel across the pages, then back again, because there´s so much to absorb. The pictures alone could triple the reading time, and are captivating even without the words. The educational quality of this book is outstanding! In addition to the four or five Spanish words and phrases that accompany each story section, the back of the book contains a map of Mexico, facts about the country, information about the three most popular festivals, historical explanations and a section on "First Spanish Phrases."

Why They'll Want It

Children are welcomed into a colorful and rhythmic journey in this book. The repetition is not only in the sentences, but also in the artwork. Kids will delight in the festive illustrations of people, houses, plants, instruments and animals. Can they count the dozens of butterflies across one spread? Boys and girls don´t have to pay attention to the Spanish words, but will probably want to after a read or two. And as they get older, they can discover all the educational insights at the story´s conclusion. Before long, they´ll be asking to take their own trip to Mexico! — Julie L. Jones, 11/22/06

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Name: I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur
Company: BAREFOOT BOOKS
Age: 1-7
Price: $6.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
This delightful board book follows one little kid´s dream of becoming a dinosaur in a land filled with all sorts of creatures. It takes children back in time, introducing them to various dinosaur species by name, through a simple story and attractive illustrations.

What We Thought
From the cover to the conclusion, unique illustrations that accompany simple sentences make this book an eye-catching treat. The backgrounds and characters are laid out like an art project in felt, enhanced with beads, sequins, yarn, and embroidered material. The dinosaur names will likely prep preschoolers for a school science lesson later on, but pronunciation-conscious parents might want to do a pre-read to make sure they get them right!

Why They'll Want It
The book´s 3-D quality - from the sequined dragonflies to the stitched dinosaur smiles - invites readers to "reach out and touch." And once children have enjoyed the story a few times, they can take up the challenge of finding the purple snail hidden on every page. None of the featured dinosaurs are "scary," with the exception of Rex the Wrecker. So at most, kids might release a few giggles when the other dinosaurs are running from him. In the end, the young dreamer is tucked safely in his bed holding a stuffed dinosaur, leaving readers with the fascination of his journey. Perhaps his story will encourage kids to share their own dreams. — Julie L. Jones, 11/22/06

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Name: Toothbrush, Jammies, Man In The Moon ... Why Is It Bedtime So Soon?
Company: MODERN PUBLISHING
Age: 3-8
Price: $14.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
Who wants to sleep when there are so many fun things to do? But Dad says, “Bedtime’s as fun as playtime,” and then he and Mom show their little kids how. This hardcover illustrated book by Nicole Tocco takes kids through nightly rituals, such as bath time and reading time, to make the transition to sleep that much easier.

What We Thought
The little kids in the book are just as resistant to leaving their toys at night as their real-life counterparts. But Tocco reminds them how important sleep is, and how much fun getting ready for and snuggling into bed can be. From bubble baths to a last sip of water, Tocco reinforces the routines that every child engages in at bedtime.

Why They’ll Want It
“Toothbrush, Jammies, Man in the Moon … Why Is It Bedtime So Soon?” is a great book for parents to read at bedtime. Kids can shout along with the little protagonist when she protests, “I don’t understand. It’s just not fair! WHY can’t I stay up all night?” They’ll identify, too, with the rituals of bathing, brushing teeth, getting their plush friend into his nighties and hearing a lovely story before drifting off. “Toothbrush, Jammies, Man in the Moon … Why Is It Bedtime So Soon” will make kids feel like they have allies in the I-don’t-wanna world, and give parents a helping hand getting their kids out of the playroom and into the bed. — Alison Marek, 9/6/06


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Name: Dimity Duck
Company: PHILOMEL BOOKS
Age: 2 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

Please click here to read this TDmonthly's Toy Expert review.

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Name: My Little Pony: Sing & Play Piano Songbook
Company: BRIGHTER MINDS MEDIA
Age: 3 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

Please click here to read this TDmonthly's Toy Expert review.

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Name: Scaredy Squirrel
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 4-8
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

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Name: Peekaboo Polar Bear
Company: BRIGHTER MINDS MEDIA
Age: 3 and up
Price: $9.99
Category: Books

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Name: Our World: A Child's First Picture Atlas
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 3-6
Price: Not Specified
Category: Books

Please click here to read this TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: Diary of a Worm & Friends Finger Puppets Playset
Company: MERRYMAKERS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $15
Category: Books

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Name: This Little Piggy and Other Rhymes to Sing and Play
Company: CANDLEWICK PRESS
Age: 1-5
Price: $19.99
Category: Books

Please click here to read this TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review.

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Name: Ladies First
Company: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Age: 10 and up
Price: $18.95
Category: Books

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Name: In-Jean-Uity
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 10 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

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Name: The Super Duper Art & Craft Activity Book
Company: CHRONICLE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Age: 4 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: My Mei Mei
Company: PENGUIN GROUP USA
Age: 4 and up
Price: $16.99
Category: Books

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Name: Margaret
Company: ACTION PUBLISHING
Age: 3-12
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

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Name: Miss O & Friends Trouble With a Capital O
Company: MISS O & FRIENDS™
Age: 8-12
Price: $5.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
Miss O & Friends are a group of characters (originally started on the web site, Miss O & Friends) first thought up by then 10-year-old Juliette Brindak. Over five years, Juliette, her younger sister Olivia (the real Miss O), some friends and their art director/artist mom Hermine, evolved an organic, authentic tween world based on the very girls who thought it up. This is their first foray into novel form. The book takes up and expands where the Web site leaves off, giving a prose view of the life of Miss O (into soccer and baking), while cousin Harlie is funky and urban and waaay into gymnastics, and Juliette, Justine and Isabella (sister and friends) are into all the things they’re into being into.
 
What We Thought
Very cool. I may not be a tween girl (and never was), but these books are a fun, easy read, which are both age-appropriate and not patronizing in any way, shape or form. I ran them by my niece (age 11), and she thought they were great (though, to be honest, she already is on the Web site). She liked the fact the girls sounded and acted like her friends. She wanted to see more books, and when I told her that one of the new books were written by girls her age (Miss O & Friends Write On!: The Miss O & Friends Collection of Rockin’ Fiction), she thought that was great.
 
Why They’ll Want It
Face it: it’s By Girls, For Girls, and there’s nothing out there so integrated to that age group. It’s fun, it’s sassy, and it’s heartfelt. The illustrations are hip, and there’s no “talking down”. This is about tweens, and it works. Much as Nancy Drew spoke to generations of girls in its time and place, Miss O speaks to the tween generation of girls today … and tomorrow.
— TDmonthly Staff, 5/11/06


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Name: What Should We Name the Twins?
Company: WEE GALLERY
Age: All Ages
Price: $6.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
A board book with simple black-and-white illustrations enhanced by swaths of muted colors, “What Should We Call the Twins?” is designed to stimulate tiny brains and introduce them to the concept of twindom. Artist Surya Sajnani was inspired to create such a book shortly after becoming a mother. She used high-contrast drawing to stimulate her own baby’s brain, then jumped into authordom.
 
What We Thought
I don’t know how babies’ll respond, but adults will like the humor and sketchy drawings. What should we call the twins? How about “Cal” and “Identi-Cal”? Since it’s a board book, it’ll take some wear and tear. It’s a nice way to introduce babies to the idea of books without worrying whether they’ll understand the words or not.
 
Why They’ll Want It
Any parent who’s interested in giving his or her kids a developmental head start will grab this book. Babies will like looking at the nearly identical twin drawings and, as they grow older, will appreciate the humor in the name play, too.
— Alison Marek, 5/5/06


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Name: Moo, Moo Who Are You?
Company: BRIGHTER MINDS MEDIA
Age: 2 and up
Price: $6.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
In “Moo, Moo Where Are You?” kids visit a farm. Jango is excited about making friends with all of the animals. Spike is a little nervous. But luckily, all of the animals in this illustrated book are friendly. Each one introduces herself or himself and gives the kids a little pertinent info, such as “I love to east grass. How do you do? I give lots of milk and I say MOO!” Readers unfold the flap and reveal a photograph of a real cow.
 
What We Thought
The illustrations are adorable, and real photos help kids remember that the animals exist outside the cartoon world, too. Since the book is a joint venture with PBS Kids, the back has plenty of tips for parents and caregivers so they can encourage the kids to make sounds of the animals, fill in the missing blanks of the rhymes in the story and quiz them on colors.
 
Why’ll They Want It
This is a great book for caretakers to read aloud with their favorite kids. There’s plenty of room for Mooing — and learning, too. Kids will especially like being able to open the flap to reveal the real animal. It makes peek-a-boo just a touch more edifying.
— Alison Marek, 5/5/06


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Name: Noah’s Ark – Baby’s First Pop-Up
Company: BRIGHTER MINDS MEDIA
Age: All Ages
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
A soft, colorful cloth book relating the tale of Noah’s Ark’s is filled with pop-up surprises for young “readers.” All of the pop-up animals come in appropriate sets of two and have nice detailers such as trunks, horns, tails and fins.
 
What We Thought
This is a cute book for any kid who likes animals, which means, I guess, any kid. The pop-up animals will withstand substantial tugging and stand up nicely as soon as the page is opened. Kids will learn about animal names and will be introduced to the concept of animals pairing off. For kids who “read” at naptime, the book’s soft enough for a sleepy head.
 
Why’ll They Want It
Parents and other gifters will like giving a baby his or her first book. Adults will also appreciate that the book can get dunked in the tub, left in the rain or dragged through the mud without dire results. A quick wash in the sink and spin in the dryer will bring the book back to normal. Kids will be excited by the little “toys” in the book, and also by the myriad of cute animals that decorate its pages.
-- Alison Marek, 5/5/06


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Name: Kids Cook!
Company: IDEALS PUBLICATIONS
Age: 8-12
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: Meet the Letters Lift the Flap Book
Company: PRESCHOOL PREP COMPANY
Age: 1-5
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: A Fire in My Hands
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 12 and up
Price: $16
Category: Books

What Is It?
Exploring the everyday moments of life, author and poet Gary Soto uses words of wonder inspired by his youth in California´s Central Valley to create rich poems. They move with direct and vivid prose that brims with emotions. This critically acclaimed collection revisits favorite poems and introduces new ones — some humorous, some heartfelt, all memorable.
 
What We Thought
I loved this book. The poems don’t rhyme and only provide a brief snapshot of who Soto was as a young man. Each poem spans a mere one to two pages and includes a short introduction from Soto. For instance, he presents his poem “All the Luck” with “In high school I nursed my loneliness by the school fountain where others like me sat with nothing to do. I was seventeen.” His poems are stark and yet lyrical at the same time, all either slightly tragic or somewhat uplifting. In “All the Luck,” for example, he talks of his being in love with the homecoming queen who was in love with “some muscle in a letterman’s jacket” while he “wore a hairnet and served chili beans.” He studies cells in his biology class and then goes to his fountain to find trash floating in it while the homecoming queen sails by on a float. He sheds a tear, one would conclude, because he feels more connected to the trash on the water than the beautiful girl on the float, though they are both comprised of the same organic matter. Yet, rather than overtly state this, Soto just presents the details, gives hints to his emotions, and lets the reader feel each scene on his or her own.
 
Why They’ll Want It
Because these poems read like brief narratives, they are easy for everyone from children to adults to embrace. Soto’s sparing use of imagery and his discussion of familiar topics makes the poetry universally easy to understand. Yet, as readers grow and revisit the poems over the years, they will invariably find new meanings in the words. It’s the kind of book that won’t gather too much dust sitting on a family’s shelf.
— Vanessa VanderZanden, 4/05/06


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Name: 1001 Stories
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 4 and up
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: I'm a Pill Bug
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $7.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
A book about a pill bug … plain and simple, written by Yukihisa Tokuda and illustrated by Kiyoshi Takahashi. It’s kind of a day-in-the-life of a pill bug: what they eat, what they do, why they curl up into little balls. The pictures are stylized and beautiful. The words are a little beyond the very beginning readers, but not much.

What We Thought
My 6-year-old son likes pill bugs. This book made him want to go get a bunch of pill bugs and bring them inside. Fortunately, the book itself suggests this very thing, so we collected the bugs, put them in a jar, then read the book to them.

Why They’ll Want It
Any child interested in insects will want to read this book, and it’s a very beautiful primer for parents who like a little education with their picture books.
--TDmonthly Staff, 1/5/06


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Name: Farting Fred & The Dog Show
Company: RUNNING PRESS BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
There’s a loudly farting furry whoopee cushion built into this book. And if that isn’t enough, the inside tale is “ripe” with enough bathroom humor to make any little boy pee his pants. The story is about Fred the dog who wants to impress the judges at the dog show. Unfortunately, right before he heads out, Grandma gives him a big treat: all of his favorite things to eat. Will Fred make it through the show without ... uh ... blowing the judges away?

What We Thought
My 6-year-old son thinks farts are the funniest things in the world; so, when he got hold of Farting Fred and pressed the furry whoopee cushion for the first time, he lost it. The story was hilarious (he kept making his own fart noises along with the book’s). Poor Fred: haven’t we all been somewhere important and had to let rip? Of course, once the tale was told, the book became the “butt” of many a practical joke. The dog (our real one) was very confused. Anyone sitting down anywhere got a “brrft” for their trouble. A good, scent-free, time was had by all.

Why They’ll Want It
It farts. A boy, a furry whoopee cushion, the story of a gaseous dog. It doesn’t get better than that.
--TDmonthly Staff, 1/5/06


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Name: Best Friends Journal
Company: BEACON STREET GIRLS
Age: 9-13
Price: $12
Category: Books

What Is It?
This hardcover journal with a dial on the front that lets girls zip through faces of the Beacon Street Girl characters and settle on a favorite, this is a diary meant for sharing. No lock needed here, since girls can fill out these pages together. The book begins with the story of the Beacon Girls’ friendships, then encourages the reader to write down the story of how they met her own best friends. Girls can paste in photos of their friends, write down the Fun Stuff We Do Together and Stuff We Wish We Could Do. There are pages for drawing or writing about Sleepovers they’ve had, and trivia quizzes about the Beacon Street Girls, too.

What We Thought
The book is designed with tween girls and all their riotous emotions in mind. With pages for Secrets, Distractions, Dreams and Crushes, girls will find plenty of space to share whatever’s on their minds. It’s a nice way, too, for girls to think of their lives being story material. They can identify with the Beacon Street Girls, but find their own little gang and identity, too.

Why They’ll Want It
Girls will love filling this out with their best friends and making a scrapbook of their lives and times together. It’ll be a great memento when they’re older too, though there might be a few scraps over who gets to keep the diary! The simple pink design on the cover and the friendship dial make this an elegant journal for older tweens who are ready to share some of their thoughts with the world.
-- Alison Marek, 12/2/05


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Name: Happy Lucky Thingy Journal
Company: BEACON STREET GIRLS
Age: 8 and up
Price: $12
Category: Books

What Is It?
This hardcover journal is faced with the “happy lucky thingy” character, who changes mood and position depending on the angle of the book. Inside are pages that encourage girls to write down their “mad nasty thingy thoughts” as well as their “happy lucky thingy thoughts.” There are plenty of blank pages, too, for free expression. 

What We Thought
The unique cover will catch many a tween girls’ eyes. The colors are vivid and fun, just like girls want to be. The doodle pages interspersed throughout will give girls with writer’s block a nice way to express their Thoughts of the Day.

Why They’ll Want It
Since there’s no lock, this is definitely a diary for girls with little brothers who understand boundaries. Girls will love the animated character on the cover and may find “it” so mesmerizing that they’ll forget what they were so mad about they just had to go write in their journal that minute, anyway. Girls who have other happy lucky thingy products will especially want this journal. Girls who just have the journal, might find it necessary to add more happy lucky thingies to their Tween Existence, just to make their lives thematically complete.
-- Alison Marek, 12/2/05


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Name: Me: Uncut and Uncensored
Company: AVALANCHE PUBLISHING
Age: All Ages
Price: $12.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
A double hardcover diary that closes with a lock, this is book lets girls express their good thoughts and bad without running them all together. Side one, “Uncut and Uncensored on Stuff I Love” is bright yellow and cheery, illustrated with a happy tween girl in a rollercoaster car, painting a rainbow. Side two, flipped over, is “Uncut and Uncensored on Stuff That Bugs, with the same Tweenie on the rollercoaster, but this time she’s going down, she’s mad, the cover’s red, the wind blows and lightning strikes. Both books are secured by one heart-shaped lock that has two keys. Stuff That Bugs pages are blue and stormy; Stuff I Love’s are yellow and splattered with flowers.

What We Thought
“Uncut and Uncensored” is a great way for tween girls to deal with conflicting feelings without guilt. They can rant away when they feel like it, and rave on a day when that seems fine, too. Journaling is a wonderful way for tweens to deal with the frustrations and joys of everyday life and this double book gives them two ways to do it.

Why They’ll Want It
If they’re a tween, they’re gonna want this book, because “it’s just so me!” The cartoon cover character is cute and fashionable, the drawings are bright and amusing, and the double diary means double the secrets, hence double the fun. Girls will especially appreciate the double-book design, because it’s different than any other book out there … and what tween doesn’t want to be unique?
-- Alison Marek, 12/2/05


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Name: Picture Me Jolly Christmas
Company: PICTURE ME PRESS
Age: All Ages
Price: $5.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
A die-cut board book/ornament, this is a simple arts and crafts kit that brings baby onto the Christmas tree in a big way. By cutting and pasting a photo of a favorite infant (or, kitten or Granpa, for that matter) into the back of the book, the little one’s face peeks through a hole in the books pages, instantly transforming her or him into a variety of Holiday icons, including a snowman and a reindeer.

What We Thought

Picture Me Jolly Christmas is a simple way to make a keepsake ornament of Baby that can hang on the tree for generations to come. The little story lets little ones know what each of the pictures depicts. Photos of other babies dressed in the same costumes are also included for extra giggles.

Why They’ll Want It

Grandma and Granpa will want one of these for every grandchild they have – even if it means weighing down the tree with Jolly ornaments. Kids will get a kick out of seeing their own faces in the various costumes – particularly as they grow and can look back at how cute they were when they were babies.
-- Alison Marek, 12/2/05


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Name: Secrets of Dripping Fang, Book One: The Onts
Company: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Age: 8-12
Price: $11.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
Orphans, giant ants, stinky feet and snot abound in this first of a series of “Dripping Fang” books by Dan Greenburg, illustrated by Scott M. Fischer. Book One is a hardcover with a full-color illustration on the cover, pen-and-ink illustrations within. Twin orphans Wally and Cheynne Shlufmuffin think they’ve scored a real family when they’re adopted by a pair of large, strange looking sisters who smell faintly of copper. But after their new “Onts” bring them home to a spooky house in the middle of a spookier forest, the siblings’ time at Jolly Days Orphanage begins to seem like heaven! When Wally finds a ghastly secret in the basement, the orphans have to make a run for it … through a forest filled with creepy things that like to munch on orphans’ feet. Will they find a real home after all, or meet a grisly end in Dripping Fang Forest?

What We Thought
Greenberg’s mixture of gross humor, creepy giant bugs and orphans makes this a fun book for kids to read with or without their parents. Wally and Cheyenne each have strong personalities and peculiar afflictions (see stinky feet and snot) that kids can easily latch on to and have fun with. Fischer’s illustrations add to the gleeful ickiness. It’s a real page-turner and kids will want to know what happens to the orphans in Part II.

Why They’ll Want It
Kids will like reading about someone else’s stinky feet and snotty nose. They’ll enjoy the scary dilemmas in which the orphans find themselves, and will have fun trying to guess how they’re going to get out of each of their scrapes. “Secret of Dripping Fang” is the kind of book that kids’ll want their folks to read again and again, just so they can relive the grossest parts.
-- Alison Marek, 12/2/05


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Name: Rip Squeak and His Friends Discover the Treasure
Company: RIP SQUEAK INC.
Age: All Ages
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
Rip Squeak the mouse and his sister Jesse have just made friends with Abby – a kitten who luckily doesn’t eat mice – and Euripedes the frog, whom they consider to be a fine actor. One day, Euripides finds a treasure map hidden inside a book of pirate stories. The four friends decide to dress as pirates and find the treasure. In the course of this 32-page hardcover book written by Susan Yost-Filgate and lavishly illustrated by Leonard Filage, the little gang befriends a number of other animals -- all of whom have a different conception of what a treasure is.

What We Thought
The warm and lovely paintings in the book make Rip and his friends nearly walk off the page. Big-eared and bright-eyed, the little mouse brother and sister are perfect surrogate selves for small children who like to be adventurous, but still want to stay safe, and surrounded by friends and family. Parents will have a great opportunity to create real and funny characters as they enact the hammy frog Euripides, the cautious kitty Abby, ebullient little Rip and sentimental Jesse, along with their new friends.

Why They’ll Want It
Kids will probably wish that Rip Squeak were real, so they could cuddle up with him in bed as Mom and Dad read about his adventures. The paintings are fully of lovely details to keep kids engaged and bring them into Rip’s make-believe world. Children will appreciate how well the friends get along, and that the treasure they find is something that can send the gang onto new adventures. They’ll especially appreciate the moral of the story, which is that the best treasure of all is wonderful friends.
-- Alison Marek, 10/24/05



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Name: The 13 Pet Geists
Company: ROSEKNOWS INC.
Age: 4-12
Price: $15.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
It’s a book about ghosts (well, actually, Geists, which are animal ghosts that live on the Geist Reserve, their enchanted afterlife home). This is the companion piece to Geist Junior, and has … count ‘em, 13 Geists in it, each with a little rhyming story written by Rose Anderson. There’s Sami the Geist crocodile, Twinga the Geist giraffe, a cat, a lion, all the way to a zebra. With very slick illustrations by Jean-Baptiste Tournay that almost jump out of the page.

What We Thought
Have to say, we didn’t know the book was a companion to anything when we got it, so my 6 year old and I simply took it at face value (but now that we know there’s a game, we’re gonna try that, too). First, to quote my kid: “The pictures are cool!” It’s very “rendered” looking, with a touch of later Berkeley Breathed, mixed with some basically good solid illustration for the Geists. We laughed at lines such as, “Fingers like Popo’s would be pretty neat. If yours were that long, they’d go down to your feet” for Popo, the Geist bat, and one from Kiboko the Geist Hippo (who’s a singer, though not a very good one), “She sings every night and still waits for the cheers, While the Pet Geists all run as they cover their ears.”

Why They’ll Want It
This is just a great book with great pictures and fun stories/rhymes. Ghost animals could be really scary, but Anderson plays these for laughs and fun, and gets a lot of both. My son and I are looking forward to trying the game. If it’s half as good as the book, it’s a winner.
--TDmonthly Staff, 10/18/05


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Name: Extreme 3-D Scary Bugs!
Company: SILVER DOLPHIN BOOKS
Age: 8-12
Price: $19.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
This is a cool book on the world of the ultra-tiny, full of electron microscope pictures of bees and ants and bugs of all sorts. They look monstrous at these magnifications and are very cool. But the real bonus is the pair of 3-D glasses that come with the book which add to these pictures, dare we say it, a whole extra dimension! Written by Shar Levine and Elaine Humphre, and illustrated (what illustrations there are) by Leslie Johnson.

What We Thought
My six-year-old can’t put it down, and neither can his two friends. They’re playing tug-of-war with the 3-D glasses as I write. The coolest picture for these guys was the millipede – it looked like the scariest dragon ever to romp through mythology, but it’s real! We all talked about the bugs, then went outside to find a few live ones. The kids took the glasses… you can never be 3-D enough.

Why They’ll Want It
What can we say? It’s gross, fun, has 3-D glasses, and it’s educational. What’s not to like about it? Losing the glasses could put a crimp in the book in the future, but there must be ways to get an extra pair or two. Two 3-D thumbs up.
--TDmonthly Staff, 10/18/05


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Name: Omega Boy Vs. Dr. Diabetes
Company: OMEGA7 INC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $5
Category: Books

What Is It?
Created by the two young sons of respected comic book author and publisher Alonzo Washington, Omega Boy is a superhero who helps educate kids about diabetes. “Omega Boy Vs. Dr. Diabetes” is the first in the series. These comic books are short, but would be very useful in helping a young person to understand the disease. The goal is admirable, as the letter of support signed by President Bush at the end of issue No. 2 would attest.

What We Thought
The first comic in the Omega Boy series is not only educational but has funky graphics and an action-filled plot as well. The background designs in each of the panels are a trip, and lines such as, “Diabetes is not contagious, but my fist is,” from Omega Boy keep the dialog clever despite the informative overtone.

Why They’ll Want It
For coming from a small, independent publisher, the second title in this series, “Enter the Blaze!” comic has already managed to line up ads from Hershey’s, General Mills, Wendy’s and Osco Drug, to name just a few. In the reprinted copy of a letter from George W. Bush, the young author, Kamaal Washington, is encouraged to “study hard, make the right choices, and help others in need.” If any comic can inspire young kids to reach out to their surrounding communities and help make a difference, this just might be it.
-- Vanessa VanderZanden, 9/26/05


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Name: The Sisters Grimm
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 8-12
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
Sabrina and Daphne Griimm, two orphans, are dropped off at their grandmother’s house 18 months after the disappearance and suspected murder of their parents. Street smart Sabrina isn’t buying sweet old Relda Grimm’s story that she and her sister come from a long line of fairy tale detectives; that Ferryport Landing — their new home — is the enchanted settlement of Everafters (old fairy tale heroes and villains); or that Relda Grimm is anything more than a senile old bat who has mistaken her and her sister for blood relations. Yet, before she has a chance to escape with Daphne, the two find themselves caught in the center of a supernatural mystery.

What We Thought
At times funny, harrowing and touching, this adventurous tale takes readers on a surreal romp through magic forests and pristine balls. As witnessed through the disbelieving eyes of Sabrina and Daphne, all the mad ins and outs of Ferryport Landing spring to life in this easy to read, 304-page book. Rather than sugarcoat events, the story explores issues of death and abandonment between walloping readers with an amusedly mocking Mirror (“as in mirror, mirror, on the wall”) and hoards of stinky, blood-thirsty giants.

Why They’ll Want It
Prince Charming as a corrupt mayor, the Big Bad Wolf as a tormented, modern-day werewolf, Jack the beanstalk climber as an egomaniacal ne’er-do-well — what’s not to love? Author Michael Buckley reinvents favorite fairy tale characters with wit and compassion, creating a unique world that readers will be eager to revisit in his second book, “The Unusual Suspects.” The two young heroines are intelligent, bold and human — solid role models for both boys and girls of all ages.
-- Vanessa VanderZanden, 8/29/05


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Name: Dinosaurs
Company: KANE/MILLER BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: All Ages
Price: $11.95
Category: Books

What Is It?
It’s a book about dinosaurs… with a hole in it. That’s right, a hole. A hole to put a face in (either a kid’s or an adult’s). Inside there are dinosaurs who (in one easy to read—except the names—line) tell what they like to eat. From the fern-loving Diplodocus to the dino-loving T-Rex, each page gives the name and eating habits of another animal. The hole? That’s right where the dinosaur’s face is, so you look pretty silly and have a lot of fun.

What We Thought
Sometimes dinosaurs frighten the very smallest children, so having their faces look out from the book, or better yet, having an adult’s is very un-frightening. With my nephew, it worked like a charm. I read the line, did the sound effects of eating, and even ran after him as if I were a Tyrannosaurus. He laughed so hard he got the hiccups. Then he tried it for the rest of the day, running after his older sister, his mom and his dad. Granted, he and I are both hams, so we took to it like a Plesiosaurus to water (one dino that isn’t in the book). Still, it’s a hoot, and lots of fun. My only comment: I’m a dinosaur fan, so I knew the pronunciation of all the names, but a handy-dandy phonetic guide might be a good addition, though it’s a minor point.

Why They’ll Want It
Hey, it’s dinosaurs—which are timeless (or at least 65 million years old—the end of the Cretaceous era). Also, it’s got a hole in the book, a novelty right there. It’s fun to play with, and a unique way of demystifying a potentially frightening subject. All in all: two thumbs up.
-- TDmonthly Staff, 8/19/05


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Name: Feet Are Not for Kicking
Company: FREE SPIRIT PUBLISHING
Age: 2-5
Price: $7.95
Category: Books

What is it?
A 6” x 6” glossy board book by Elizabeth Verdick and illustrated by Marieka Heinlen, “Feet Are Not for Kicking” is all about toes and where they “goes” – or shouldn’t. The bright, cheery illustrations show kids doing fun things with their feet, such as standing, walking, running and climbing. But the “kicker” is that – though they may kick balls – people are not for kicking.

What We Thought
All the characters in this book look very happy, including the cat… except when someone kicks them! Kids will like reading about other kids and learning what they can and cannot do in a gentle, amusing way. They’ll love exploring their own precious feet while Mom or Dad reads to them. The book is sturdy and the glossy finish means that even if a Tippy Cup ends up tipping after all, the story can be wiped clean and kept fresh.


Why They’ll Want It
Kids will respond to the cheery illustrations and the simple story. They’ll like thinking about what feet can do and will probably want to talk to Mom and Dad about the things they have or have not kicked. This is a great way for parents to teach a little lesson in a very painless way. Kids will be able to turn the pages themselves, too, which will make them feel more a part of the story.

Free Spirit Publishing´s ToyDirectory Listing
-- Alison Marek, 8/9/05



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Name: My Vacation: A Picture, Play & Tote Book
Company: PICTURE ME PRESS
Age: 3-7
Price: $6.99
Category: Books

What is It?
My Vacation is a 10-page cardboard book with a handle for little hands and 6 built-in frames in which children can insert vacation pictures. The book is colorful and includes a poem that tells a story about the accompanying pictures. Each insert contains a suggestion about what kind of picture to include so as to create viable narrative flow.  

What We Thought
This product is simple yet creative and practical. It allows children to document family vacations in a unique and colorful way, which will help children (and parents, for that matter) preserve priceless vacation snapshots.

Why They’ll Want It
Kids love pictures – they love taking them, being in them, looking at them, and looking at them again. This book is small, lightweight, cute and manageable. It makes the perfect novelty or impulse buy and is a cherished keepsake for youngsters.

--Andrew Robinton, 4/15/05


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Name: Forest Bright, Forest Night
Company: DAWN PUBLICATIONS
Age: 3-8
Price: $8.95
Category: Books

What is It?
In this title from acclaimed children’s author Jennifer Ward and illustrator Jamichael Henterly, the world of the forest comes alive. Someone is always awake in the forest – and someone else is always asleep! Some animals are alert in daytime and sleep at night. Others are alert at night, and are sleepyheads during the day. You can flip this book to flip from day to night – and back again! And when you do, be sure to count the animals you see.

What We Thought
Besides the obvious – that the book is beautifully illustrated and simply told – what is marvelous and unique about this work is its recognition of two different forestall existences and its manifestation of these differences through illustration. There is no correct way to look at the book – upside down is right-side up – as readers perusing the book’s ‘By day’ section must flip the book to view the ‘At night’ section

Why They’ll Want It
The forest world springs to life with Henterly’s vivid illustrations and Ward’s playful language. The perfect after-school snack (figuratively, at least), post-dinner dessert or pre-bed read, ‘Forest Bright, Forest Night’ is, in a single word, alive – and that’s why kid’s will love it.

The only item that would make this book even more pleasurable would be an accompanying soundtrack of animal sounds. But until Dawn Publications throws that into the mix, use your imagination as you read this beauty.

--Andrew Robinton, 4/15/05


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Name: Farm Friends
Company: BARRON'S EDUCATIONAL SERIES
Age: 1 and up
Price: $9.95
Category: Books

What is It?

Barron’s Farm Friends is a colorful cloth book for babies to touch and feel, and enjoy. Each book features eight animal faces: A cow, dog, rooster, rabbit, mouse, duck, lamb, and horse. There is also a Jungle Friends cloth book.

What We Thought

This is one of those first toys that one’s baby will appreciate. The fabric on the animals is cuddly soft. Additionally, the mouse’s nose squeaks when it is squeezed. The book is lightweight, colorful, and of high quality.

Why They’ll Want It

Because even if they don’t yet understand just what it is that they’re playing with, babies will come to love the colors, sounds and feel of this toy’s fabric.



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Name: America Votes
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $9.95
Category: Books

What Is It?

An illustrated book discussing the processes by which the American President is elected. The book also explains what the job of American President entails as well as the various political parties, the “language of campaigning,” and much more.

What We Thought

This book is as entertaining as it is informative. The illustrations are vivid and the content is explained in an easy to understand and engaging manner. An excellent choice!

Why They’ll Want It

Because the complexity of the subject matter is offset with wonderful illustrations and entertaining trivia. Educational children’s books are rarely this fun to read.



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Name: SEE-THROUGH PIRATES
Company: RUNNING PRESS BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: All Ages
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

What is It?

SEE-THROUGH PIRATES is a large, comprehensive and highly illustrated book about pirates. The book is rich in historical facts and includes special, partially transparent pages with vivid pictures of pirates and their ships, equipment, etc.

What We Thought This is quite possibly the best children’s pirate book ever written. The pictures are highly vivid and captivating. Within them, readers will quickly learn what the hull of a pirate ship looks like, what weapons pirates used, how they entertained themselves while at sea, punished prisoners, and much more! It comes as little surprise that the Parent’s Choice Foundation has recommended this book for children.

Why They’ll Want It

Because those dreaded sea predators, pirates, have never ceased to appeal to kids, and this book provides remarkable, vivid images and interesting and highly-detailed facts.


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Name: Harry & Hannah---The American Adventure Book & Teddy Bear Set
Company: HERRINGTON TEDDY BEAR COMPANY
Age: 3 and up
Price: $22
Category: Books

What is It?

The American Adventure Book & Teddy Bear Set is a remarkable book about brother /sister twin teddy bears that embark on an educational journey.  The set includes 4.5 inch plush versions of both teddy bears.

 

What We Thought   

Not only does the book present a fun adventure through Harry and Hannah Herrington’s journey across the United States, it also teaches kids about historical landmarks.  The story is engaging and the images are superb.  There’s even a nicely drawn map of the United States which makes the book highly educational.  The teddy bears are high quality and cute.

 

Why They’ll Want It 

Because in one box, kids will get a fun, colorful book, two teddy bears, and a fabulous lesson in geography.



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Name: Babar Goes to School
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: 4 and up
Price: $9.95
Category: Books

0

What is It?

Remember elementary school? Trying to impress your classmates? Those difficult science experiments? Well, apparently Babar forgot how hard it is to be a kid when he berates his children for being too loud and dismisses their woes of youth. Being a good father, though, Babar decides to go to school with his children and attempt to remember what it is like . After a disaster of a day where he breaks his pencils and sits in gum, Babar ultimately decides that being a grown-up is a much easier job than student life.

What We Thought

This a fun story that young and old can enjoy. Children will be delighted to have a sympathizer on their side.

Why They´ll Want It

Babar is a classic figure in children´s literature that has appealed to youngsters for many generations. Children will enjoy Babar´s ineptitude in the classroom and wonder how such a silly elephant got to wear that crown.

--Nancy Tan



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Name: The Adventures of Harry & Hannah: The American Adventure Book & Teddy Bear Set
Company: HERRINGTON TEDDY BEAR COMPANY
Age: 3 and up
Price: $22
Category: Books

What is It?

Harry and Hannah are visiting their grandparents in the country when they find a map of the U.S. with a clue for a treasure hunt. Grandpa tells the cubs that they have the ability to magically transport themselves to different places just by closing their eyes, which the cubs do to follow the different clues and by doing so, travel to important landmarks around the country. Along the way, they encounter many creatures, including Trusty Tortoise, Monarch Fish, and Manny, the pigeon who is afraid of heights. This fun, 66-page storybook also comes with two miniature plush versions of Harry and Hannah for kids to reenact the cubs´ adventures.

What We Thought

The Adventures of Harry & Hannah is a great way to infuse imaginary storytelling with geography. Additionally, upcoming stories in the series include travels to Australia, Britain, Japan, Africa, and South America, which will allow children to become acquainted with different cultures and learn a global geography.

Why They´ll Want It

Adventures can occur without leaving the confines of a comfortable chair, and a book is typically the way to do it. Children will enjoy the experience of vicariously living the fantastic voyage Harry and Hannah take across the U.S.

                                                                            --Nancy Tan



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Name: Baby Mood Swings
Company: PENGUIN GROUP USA
Age: 9-12
Price: $7.99
Category: Books

What Is It?
Just published in November 2003, Baby Mood Swings is a desktop display book capturing babies’ faces in their myriad emotions. The book’s jacket can be opened into a free-standing base for easy display.

What We Thought
If this book can make a misanthrope like me laugh, it must have something good going for it. The photos of wee ones’ facial expressions—with headings such as “I’m feeling grossed-out” or “I’m feeling naughty”—are so adult-like (without being posed), they can’t help but make you laugh in recognition that, even at the diaper stage, children possess very developed personalities.

Why They’ll Want It
Like I said, Baby Mood Swings will make even the cynics smile. Any new parent will want this book for their desk or kitchen counter.

--Tim Connolly

 



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Name: Sandman: King of Dreams
Company: CHRONICLE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Age: All Ages
Price: $35
Category: Books

What Is It?
These days, graphic novels are a hot category for retailers, and no name is better loved among fans than the Sandman by Chronicle Books for Children (ToyDirectory), the mystical deity who escorted readers through 75 issues of supernatural wonder and mayhem in the early- to mid-1990s. In Sandman: King of Dreams, author Alisa Kwitney chronicles the comic´s popularity via behind-the-scenes stories, new illustrations and interviews with Sandman creator Neil Gaiman.

What We Thought
The classy hardcover book is a boon for Sandman readers, offering a treasure trove of new illustrations and marginalia likely to delight the dedicated fan.

Why They’ll Want It
The book will make a great companion to the Sandman issues but will also intrigue those new to the series and its characters.

--Jeremy Loudenback



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Name: Owl Babies Book and Gift Set
Company: CANDLEWICK PRESS
Age: 3-8
Price: $12.99
Category: Books

What is It?
Owl babies Sarah, Percy and Bill wake up one night to find their mother has flown the coop. The book is accompanied by a small, plush baby owl to help young audiences feel like they’re part of the story.

What We Thought
This picture book tells a story any child will respond to: the anxiety that comes when Mom is away. The added plush owl will help young children feel they’re part of the story, and the pages are sturdy enough for small hands to grasp.

Why They’ll Want It
With most of today’s moms working full-time, kids need reassurance that mom will, as Owl mom does, return to the nest.

--Tim Connolly



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Name: The Thread of Life
Company: RUNNING PRESS BOOK PUBLISHERS
Age: All Ages
Price: $15.95
Category: Books

What is It?

Domenico Vittorini retells 12 Italian tales of shepherds, sultans, cats and snakes in The Thread of Life. This illustrated book is much like Aesop´s Fables, imparting traditional values of wisdom, justice and honesty.

What We Thought
Vittorini does a wonderful job of presenting these classic tales for future generations to enjoy and learn from. Mary GrandPré, famous for her work on the Harry Potter series, has created stunning illustrations that bring each story’s characters to life.

Why They´ll Want It
The stories contain a wealth of timeless insights that children won’t get from watching SpongeBob SquarePants.

--Nancy Tan



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Name: Learning with Animals
Company: KIDS CAN PRESS
Age: All Ages
Price: $16.95
Category: Books

What is It?
Learning with Animals is a set of five books that use animals to teach children the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors and opposites. Kids can travel from the farm to the tropics to deep under the sea as they explore the fun ways that Melanie Watt incorporates learning into her illustrations.

What We Thought
The pictures are highly detailed and expressive, and the set is conveniently packaged so that young ones can carry all five books in one "big book," just like a grown-up.

Why They´ll Want It
Colorful animals frolicking in their natural habitat makes Learning with Animals a visually stimulating and educational experience.

--Nancy Tan



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Name: The Twelve Days of Kindergarten
Company: ABRAMS BOOKS
Age: All Ages
Price: $14.95
Category: Books

What is It?
After the Christmas season has passed, carolers can still belt out The Twelve Days of Kindergarten. Deborah Lee Rose has re-made the classic song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" to apply to the hectic days in the classroom where young minds learn counting, building, stringing, sorting and the alphabet.

What We Thought
Carey Armstrong-Ellis does a fabulous job of illustrating this book. There is a wealth of detail in each picture, showing what occurs when you put a teacher alone in a class full of rowdy five-year-old children.

Why They´ll Want It
Children will love to sing along to this book and will be enthralled by the pictures. Parents and kids can spend some quality time together pointing out the idiosyncrasies of each child, helping kids learn that all of us are unique.

--Nancy Tan



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Name: Hands-On Grossology
Company: PENGUIN GROUP USA
Age: All Ages
Price: $5.99
Category: Books

What is It?
Ever wanted to know the amount of urine you produce each day? Or did you ever want to create realistic flesh wounds to scare your friends? Or even mix up a batch of fake poop? If you´ve ever desired to do any of these, ummm, scientific experiments, then Hands-On Grossology is for you. This handy book gives readers different ways to fake grossness, perform personal gross experiments or have a communal grossness study.

What We Thought
This is a fun book that is sure to please any gross-out-loving child. Sylvia Branzei uses scientific jargon in a non-intimidating format, allowing children to learn complex terms such as "sebaceous glands" and "salivary amylase" while exploring some unsavory subjects.

Why They´ll Want It
Children are always thrilled to learn and share the information they acquire for themselves.

--Nancy Tan



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Name: Teeth are Not for Biting
Company: FREE SPIRIT PUBLISHING
Age: 2-5
Price: $7.95
Category: Books

What is It?
Teeth are Not for Biting
by Free Spirit Publishing (ToyDirectory) is a great guide for youngsters who use biting to relieve frustration, crankiness, or mouth pain from teething. The book also provides a list of tips for parents who are dealing with a child who is teething or biting.

What We Thought
The book gets the point across directly and simply that teeth are for chewing food, not biting people or gnawing on objects. Using onomatopoeia, the authors make this message very easy to remember: strong teeth go "Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!" but "Ouch!" biting hurts so don´t do it because a hug from a grown-up will make everything "Mmmmm…" better.

Why They´ll Want It
This colorful book lets children learn some facts about their teeth and that it’s normal to feel the need to bite sometimes—but the important thing is that they don´t!

--Nancy Tan



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Name: Farm Animal Jigsaw Book
Company: USBORNE PUBLISHING
Age: 4 and up
Price: $8.95
Category: Books

What is It?
The Farm Animal Jigsaw Book does a wonderful job of combining the art of storytelling and the activity of a jigsaw puzzle. The book comes with four detailed puzzles that illustrate the text on the opposing page.

What We Thought
This cute book recounts the activities of Poppy and Sam, as they help Mrs. Boot feed the animals on Apple Tree Farm. From a visit to the chicken coop to the apple-shed fiasco, children can learn about barnyard animals as well as practice their hand-eye coordination by putting the puzzle pieces together.

Why They´ll Want It
Farm Animal Jigsaw Book gives a reader more than just a story; it gives them an activity that can be done over and over again. The illustrations will delight even the youngest eyes.

--Nancy Tan



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In the Mailbox...
Send us your toys! The Playzak Magazine editorial staff receives hundreds of toys to be considered for a free Review each year. After a careful evaluation process, a select few are chosen for Editorial Review or are scrutinized by Playzak Magazine's Expert reviewers. Please feel free to call us at 310-979-4330.

Manufacturers who wish to guarantee that their toys will be evaluated in the Review section should send a payment of $150.00 per toy along with the toy itself to:

Product Review Dept.
ToyDirectory.com, Inc.
12340 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 237
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Please make checks payable to ToyDirectory.com, Inc.

The majority of toys considered for review are donated to children's services organizations in the Los Angeles area such as Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

 


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