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Category Archives: Toys

Holiday Giveaways # 14 – Bananagrams

I’m not much of a banana person. I don’t like bananas au natural. I don’t like banana bread – not even when my friend Dustin makes it, though it is reportedly amazing. I don’t like banana in my smoothies. I don’t like slices of banana in my cereal. Elvis’s preferred combination of peanut butter and bananas is particularly unappetizing, since ... Read More »

Holiday Giveaways # 13 – Annabel Karmel Kitchen

Four days ago, a British woman named Annabel Karmel won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the prestigious Mother & Baby Awards in the UK. For any mom who has already been introduced to Annabel Karmel, this will not come as a surprise. She is the most prolific and progressive author of cookbooks for parents and children in the world. She ... Read More »

Holiday Giveaways # 12 – Knitted Donuts 5-Pack

I have been ogling these knitted donuts at trade shows for several years. Until very recently, the company did not offer any retail packaging, and our stores are not exactly look-but-don’t-touch sorts of places. Beautiful handmade toys sitting unprotected on a shelf is not usually a recipe for success. I was thrilled when I heard that these donuts were now ... Read More »

Is it a boy-toy or a girl-toy?

I wish there were less gender discrimination in toys. Toy manufacturers have little choice but to gear their packaging designs and marketing towards specific genders when the product warrants it, but that means it’s up to parents to keep an open mind. My son is only 16 months old, but he’s already far more obsessed with trucks than either of ... Read More »

Holiday Giveaways # 11 – Bruder Trucks

I hadn’t heard of Bruder trucks until we were opening Magic Beans. At Toy Fair that first year, I was introduced to the brand and learned that these were THE trucks to sell. I still remember watching in awe as they demonstrated the Fire Truck, with its working water hose. The attention to detail is just amazing. On the Bruder ... Read More »

Holiday Giveaways # 10 – 100pc Magna Tiles

The first time I wrote about Magna-Tiles in 2007, I called them one of “the best kept secrets in the world of toys.” These days, the word is out and we can hardly keep these in stock. But the clear Magna-Tiles are always much more popular than the solid ones. I was on that bandwagon too – at first. The ... Read More »

Holiday Giveaways # 8 – Woodstock Folk Guitar & Case

We’ve already covered my lack of innate talent for piano, but we haven’t even talked about the guitar. My musical mother (who you may recall plays the piano) is also a gifted guitarist. Early memories abound of singing “Blowin’ in the Wind” as she played beside me. In college, I decided it was high time to learn how to play. ... Read More »

Holiday Giveaways # 7 – Follow Me Fred

It’s my job to look at a product and know whether or not it will sell. But the truth is, I’m not an oracle. Most of the time, I have a strong inclination one way or another, but it’s rare that I see something and know unquestionably that it will be a success. Follow Me Fred was one of those ... Read More »

Holiday Giveaways # 6 – Corolle Calin Doll

The Corolle booth at Toy Fair is my husband’s favorite stop each year. Not because he likes to play with dolls, but because he likes French champagne (and really, who doesn’t?). It’s become an annual tradition for him to lounge at a table, happily sipping champagne while I (usually either pregnant or breastfeeding) circulate through the product displays choosing dolls, ... Read More »

Holiday Giveaways # 4 – Alex Art Spinner & Cuckoo Clock

2009 will go down in history as the year the toy industry (and everyone else in the world) discovered social media. More and more of our vendors have jumped on the bandwagon and are successfully using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to promote their products. Technology has been particularly slow to grasp many toy companies, but I was particularly impressed with ... Read More »

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