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The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards

The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio was founded in 1989 as the only independent consumer review of children's media by child development experts Joanne Oppenheim and her daughter Stephanie Oppenheim. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio awards have become a benchmark of excellence with consumers, toy makers and the media.

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2013 Almanac for Kids

Everyone in the family will enjoy dipping into this compendium of interesting facts about the tallest, deepest, most, least and other such trivia. As always the colorful pages of this annual are crammed full of stats and facts that will inform and entertain. 8 & up.

3D Cityscape Puzzle

A colorful map-like cityscape floor puzzle. The 3-D part comes in with three tall buildings that can be assembled and attached to the giant 20 by 30 puzzle. Kids can use their toy cars to travel over the roadways and use this as a mat for dramatic play after they assemble all the pieces. Marked 3 & up. We think 3 year olds are going to need help the first few times they do this.

4M Bubble Science

A great way to explore the science of bubbles! Includes a tray, a pyramid framed wand, a cube frames wand, other shaped wands, yarn, straws, wand sticks, a mouthpiece to form a cone shaped blower, a small container of bubble solution and best of all an experiment booklet for making all sort of bubble magic happen. You will need to add more dish washing detergent. Younger kids will need your help with reading the directions and your participation in making some of the experiments work. That said, this is an interesting kit that our tester really loved. Making a bubble within a bubble took some try-try-again efforts, but in the end there was triumph! 5 & up with parent's help. 8 & up independently.

A Big Guy Took My Ball! (An Elephant And Piggie Book)

PartNumber: 9781423174912
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

In A Big Guy Took My Ball! Piggie is devastated when a big guy takes her ball! Gerald is big, too...but is he big enough to help his best friend?

A Passion for Victory

I know if you were there in the stadium, you wouldnt be able to stop applauding. Those words are from a second-century account of the Olympics. From the footraces of ancient Greece to the present, this well researched book chronicles the Olympic Games through history. Using direct quotes, photographs, etchings, sculpture, and anecdotes of previous games, this slim volume brings the history to life. 9-12.

A Walk in the Woods: Into the Field Guide

PartNumber: 9781935703266
A totally unique field guide to cool yet common critters, trees and flowers, this portable companion is guaranteed to get kids excited about exploring nature.

This portable, durable guide is a unique, hands-on introduction to cool, common critters, trees, flowers, and rocks found in the woods all over North America. The book only includes flora and fauna that children are most likely to encounter on a walk in the woods--from chipmunks to chicadees to maple trees (which they would learn to recognize from the shape of the leaves). Section introductions teach kids how to be good observers and explorers. And throughout the book are suggestions for engaging kids in their outdoor adventures--a guide to edible berries; charts of animal tracks, homes, and droppings; how-to projects such as pressing flowers, rubbing leaves, and even climbing trees!

A Walk on the Beach: Into the Field Guide

Tuck this into your beach bag for your next day at the shore. A reader friendly guide to the names of birds, shells, and other sights of the seashore. Illustrated with photos, clear labels and clear factoids about thee many things want to know about at the seashore. Also available in the series, A Walk in the Woods. 5 & up

A Wrinkle In Time

This is the Fiftieth Anniversary of the beloved classic, A Wrinkle In Time. A story of a stranger who leads Meg, her brother and their buddy Calvin on a frightening but thrilling adventure. The book won the Newbery Medal and is the first of series of science fiction time travel books about the Murry family. Though the books are decades old, they are not dated. The subject of bullies, going along, and fears of nuclear attacks are just as real in 2012 as they were in 1962 when the book was published, It's been recorded before, but this is an all new recording by the gifted Hope Davis, winner of the NY Film Critics Best Actress Award. Bring home the book and or the sequels. This is a good way to introduce the family to an author who wrote more than 60 books and who reads an introduction to her most famous work on this CD set.

About Habitats: Oceans

A very fundamental book about the nature of oceans and the life in them. It's part of a nature series for the very young. It does not have the joyous color of Wow! Ocean! But it has small factoids and a very clear overall message about the diverse creatures and nature of the great salt water bodies that we call, Oceans. 3 & up.

Albert's Insomnia

Model: 1163
PartNumber: 32004
Add some fun to your family meals with this collection of 51 dinner games to play while you eat!; From the Manufacturer; Add some fun to your family meals with this collection of unique games to play while you eat. The 51 quick and easy-to-play games, like Fruity Feeling, Rainbow Dinner and Magic Spoon, break up dinnertime routine and add fun to family meals! No game board or game pieces required - just food and family. Kids learn creative thinking, social skills and more.

Alex Forever Bracelets

Make 30 bracelets with the goodies in this handsome package. There are six colored twines and embroidery floss, rope and elastic cords, one tassle, feathers, clasps, beads, metal charms and bangles to wrap. Our tester loved the suction cup hook that she used on the table to hold the work in progress. She thought that was a great innovation! A craft kit that calls for dexterity, reading and following directions, staying with a task that requires patience and colorful choices. The payoff is in finished products kids love to wear and share. Although only one person can use the suction cup hook at a time, there are enough supplies here for a play date or even an overnight party. A wow of a gift for 8's & up.

Alex Round the Farm

An update of a 2008 Platinum Award winner, this soft fabric ball has new faces, textures and sounds. There are four different animal faces, each with its own set of ears that protrude from the ball and have a sound effect appropriate for the related animal. (The frog ribbits, the cat meows, the cow moos, and the dog woofs.) There is also a small finger hole that baby testers thought was great fun. However, the toy was $24.99 in 2008. Hard to know why it is now almost twice the price. 6 months & up.

Alex Scanimagic

You may have seen the book called Gallop with its moving images. This wonderful toy allows children to create their own moving images. The case and markers come with premade art that young kids color. Then they close the case and turn the dials to see their colorful creation come to life. The kit comes loaded with a roller in place and a spare roller with more images that can replace the original. We usually steer clear of coloring toys that are not open-ended. But this goes beyond simple coloring. It's a little magic, science and illusion. Younger kids will need help with setting it up and adding the second roller.

Alex So Many Headbands

Our tester could hardly wait to try her hand at making the many headbands in this kit. It comes with 8 satin headbands in a variety of colors plus 2 stretchy headbands all waiting for the creative hands to turn them into unique hairgear. There are ribbons, fabric flowers, slide on as well as sticky gems, pieces of tulle to form into poufs and loops of felt and ribbon for attaching bows, felt shapes and more. A fully loaded kit with idea sheets for inspiration or techniques for making some of the attachments. Big enough for sharing for a party or play date. A great birthday or holiday present that kids can make and wear!

All About Grandmas

Told in lyrical verse, this ode to grandmas takes a look at the diversity of grandmas in the world. Far from the old stereotypes, the artist and author remind us that they not only dont all look alike, they all do different things, though they all have one thing in common--the love they have for their grandchildren. A keeper! 3 & up

All Season Doll House

Our testers really loved this multi-leveled home with a balcony and solar panels. We recommend buying it with furnished (includes bed, living room furniture, kitchen appliances, a toliet, bath and shower and even a flat screen tv!). The design of the house is very open (including from the sides of the structure) making it easily accessible to younger kids. While we had some trouble putting this together, our testing family (more adept with a screwdriver) had no complaints in getting it all level. It has a more modern feel to it than many traditional dollhouses.

Amelia, A Girl For All Time Doll

From our friends across the pond, comes a new collection of girl dolls that will give our well-loved historic American Girl Dolls a run for the money. The dolls, each from a different time period, are executed with the kind of finesse of a Masterpiece Theater production. Amelia, a Victorian girl, is about to turn 13. Her wardrobe, a pink Victorian party dress, her velvet opera cloak, and a gauzy blue stage costume are all part of the fare. She comes dressed in a charming school girl's blue cotton dress, a straw hat, and two toned button shoes. Her jointed arms and legs make her playable, although she looks in every way like a worthy collectible - the kind you were supposed to keep on a shelf. Each additional outfit is pricey, but a stunning time piece that older girls (and even collectors) will appreciate. Her two-piece pink party dress has a lace-trimmed bodice with tiny buttons, a skirt with bows, a lace hat with a puff of white feathers, and pink silk slippers. The A Girl for All Time collection actually begins with a sterner looking doll, Matilda, a Tudor girl of 13, who becomes a lady in waiting in the court of Henry VIII. She also has a marvelous set of clothing and an interesting back-story. Each of the dolls has a novel (we have not read them yet) that will introduce older girls of 8 & up to a chapter of English history. These are seriously designed for older girls, for that last beautiful doll that is often remembered or even treasured as a lasting gift of childhood. Our review of the books will come later. 8 & up. These are only available at this time online.

American Girl Bitty Twins Multicultural Collection

One of best collections of multicultural dolls ever. We are also thrilled that there are boy dolls (often very hard to find) included in this updated collection of twin dolls that include Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Asian sets of twins. The attention to detail for these contemporary twins is nothing less than you would expect from American Girl. You can select your own twins on line- also very clever. New for this season, new clothes for the dolls and matching clothes for kids.

American Girl Caroline Abbott, War of 1812

Newest addition in the historical doll and book collection, Caroline Abbott lived during the time of the second American War of Independence, the War of 1812. Caroline, a lovely blonde 18" doll has blue eyes and comes dressed in a long pink dress, pantaloons, and pink shoes. She is the daughter of a shipbuilder and lives in Sackets Harbor, New York. When her father is captured by the British, Caroline has to try to live up to a promise she gave her father to prove her steadiness and courage. Her dream is to captain her own ship one day. Kathleen Ernst has authored six books about this brave young girl. Meet Caroline is the first and comes with the doll. No doubt there will be a sailing boat, craft kits, historically accurate clothes, and other accessories. We know a lot of little ones can't wait for this kind of doll, but the story part and the details are really most appropriate for the school years girl.

American Girl Fun Fabric Bag

Our 9-year old tester loved adding the precut felt flowers to the green fabric shoulder bag. This involves learning how to sew on a button as well as the flower and making choices about where to place the colorful flowers. It comes with plenty of embroidery floss, needle, flowers, and a project booklet. Best of all the finished bag is totally wearable. 8 & up.

American Girl McKenna, 2012 Girl of the Year Doll & Book

Dressed for gymnastics practice, 18-inch McKenna is determined to master the challenges of the balance beam and more. She arrives with her long caramel-colored hair is tied up for her active life style. In this Summer Olympic season, you can be sure, the young athletes, in London, will inspire girls all over the world, as they go through their routines. McKenna is not an Olympian; though one day she may be one! American Girl has created a whole line of accessories for McKenna. There is an accessory bag ($26) with mini water bottle, trail mix, school papers, exercise booklet and more. We love her team gear with jacket, trousers, medal, and slippers($28.) There is also a beam and bar set ($85) for McKenna to practice on, two outfits in a practice wardrobe ($35) and just in case, a cast and crutches ($30) should she stumble when she does a daring double backflip!

American Girl Super Scrapbook Kit

When you think of a scrapbook for school-aged girls, this oversized beauty looks as it should! There is a photo pocket on the front cover so she can change her picture from time to time. It's a good sized book (12 1/2 X 13 1/2 ) with 20 acetate covered pages to protect the photos, souvenirs, and work girls will do in designing their pages. It comes loaded with stencils, cut out shapes, journaling stickers, bubble stickers, gems and foam frames. Each of the pages has color and patterns, providing colorful backgrounds for the personal items girls will add around their photos, programs, clippings, tickets stubs and other treasures. 8 & up.

An Awesome Book of Love

Too bad we missed this one before Valentine's Day. But, it is never the wrong time to say how much you love someone. Written in verse, this is a delightful collection of reasons for loving the ones you love. Read it to your child, your spouse, your parent, your best friendwhoever and whenever. It's funny, touching, and even thought provoking. All ages.

An Awesome Book!

PartNumber: FBA-|272820

Based on the simple concept of dreaming big, An Awesome Book! is the inspiring debut work of Los Angeles writer/artist Dallas Clayton. Written in the vein of classic imaginative tales, it is a sure hit for all generations, young and old.

Angelina Ballerina Dance with Me Game

Model: 1061
PartNumber: 01061
Share the spotlight with everybodys favorite dancing mouse in this on-your-feet dancing game! Learn dance moves, practice your dance routine, then turn on the music and step on stage it's your turn to shine! Come along with Angelina, the feisty little mouse with big dreams, for big twirls and great fun!

On-your-toes fun!

On-your-toes fun!
Enjoy music CD

Enjoy music CD
Active play, packed with preschool learning!
Slip on your ballet shoes, its time to plie, pirouette, and jete! Prepare to take the stage and help Angelina Ballerina get ready for the big recital! Gather your friends and practice Angelinas moves step by step, then turn on the music (audio CD included) and take center stage! Every time you play, it's a new ballet routine. This charming game encourages physical play, creativity, memory skills and counting! Dont be surprised if your little dancer wants to play again and again.

How to play, snapshot!
After setting up the grand stage, mix up all of the star cards and Dance move cards and place them in two separate piles next to the game board. On your turn, spin the spinner and move Angelina (every player gets to be Angelina). Follow the instructions on the space you land on. If you land on the New Move space, take the Dance move card and place it on the stage and try out the dance move. If you land on the Practice space stand up and practice all the dance moves on stage, and collect a star card for each move you perform correctly. If you land on any other space, take the number of star cards shown on the space. When each player has performed, look at your star cards. The player with the most trophies of the same color is the winner.

Wonder Forge has won over 120 prestigious awards by creating good-for-you games that encourage, teamwork, healthy competition, and get-up-and-go active play! Angelina Ballerina Dance with Me Game is a winner of the 2011 Oppenheim Platinum Award, 2011 Play on Words (PAL) Award, 2011 The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, 2011 Creative Child Game of the Year Award, and 2011 Savvy Auntie Coolest Toy Awards.

What's In The Box?
1 Game board, 20 Dance Move Cards, 42 Star Cards, 1 Mover, 1 Spinner, 1 CD, 1 Game Rules Manual. This game is intended for 2 or more players ages 3 and up.

Perform with Angelina!

Perform with Angelina!

Animal Opposites, a Pop-up Book

With flaps to lift and animals that pop-up, this is a visually lively way to introduce or reinforce concepts of opposites, although some examples are less concrete than others and children may have other words to describe opposites. A book of few words that stretches knowing and naming skills with a meerkat, sloth, cheetah, and words that describe their sounds, actions, size, or appearance. The paper engineering is dynamic! 3-6

Animals in Art

One of the Art from the Start boardbooks for the very young that uses fine art painting of animals as a novel way to introduce naming and knowing familiar images. Written in simple rhymes this little volume includes paintings by Degas, Rousseau, Manet and many others. A charming way to introduce art and language. Marked for 3 & up. We think even younger lap-sitting tots will like these images and listening to you talking about them. Also in the series a collection called Mama, Baby & Other First Words.


Packed in a red canvas zippered bag, shaped like an apple, this new game from the makers of Banangrams, is easy to throw into a travel bag for on-the-go fun. The objective here is to be the first to use up all your letters by attaching your new word to the first or last letter of the words on the table. It's different than Scrabble since you cannot add letters crossword style, only at the end of the long worm-like grid you are building. Using the same letter tiles, that fit small hands, you can play sevearal other variations. The letters have no number values written on them, but there are suggestions for scoring based on the length of the words or making palindromes (words that read the same way backwards and forward). Introduced several years ago, the instructions have been updated and simplified with suggestions for playing cooperative games. Designed to build spelling skills as well as gamesmanship in turn-taking, strategy, and playing cooperatively.

Argh! Pirates Game!

Spread the treasure cards on the table to create a Plunder Island. On your turn draw any card from the pile. You keep drawing as long as you like--but watch out! Don't be too greedy or you may run into a pirate, yo ho ho! If you draw a pirate card before you stop drawing, you get no treasures to score! You have to get three of a kind to make a score of three points. Winner is the first to get to 10 points. There are a number of other rules that make for a fun game for 2-6 players ages 6 & up.

Around the Yard Push Mower

Our testers loved the clicky-clack sound of this old-fashioned handsomely crafted wooden push toy. This is intended for steady on their feet walkers who will enjoy their new found mobility. The three wooden balls are safely enclosed in the open slated drum. Can be used both indoors and out. Marked 12 months & up, but only if your one year old is completely steady on his feet. It goes way to fast for children that are still wobbly.


Players use the 12-sided cards to lay off as many cards in their hand as possible on their turn. To play a card you must connect like colors until you can make no further connections. Now it is the next player's turn. The game also includes some slam and splatter cards that can add cards and points to your hand or to your opponent's. There are 70 Array cards and 12 Action cards. Beautiful colors of the cards will appeal to the eye, especially of the artists in your midst. This company also made an interesting game of Spectrix that involves building color sequences. We liked the game, but found the directions lacked clarity. Both games are for 8 & up.

Automoblox S9 Police Car

Much bigger than the original Automoblox, this one has an extended center block and has bold police graphics. The roof holds a light bar that appears to be illuminated. Take it apart and rebuild it, this is part puzzle/construction toy, part vehicle for pretend play. The wooden parts are smooth and beautifully finished and the wheels have rubbery treads. Combine parts with other automoblox for creative designers. 3 & up

Automoblox T900 Rescue Truck

Much bigger than the original Automoblox, this has an extended center block and bold graphics. The roof holds a light bar that appears to be illuminated. Take it apart and rebuild it, this is part puzzle/construction toy, part vehicle for pretend play. The wooden parts are smooth and beautifully finished and the wheels have rubbery treads. Combine parts with other automoblox for creative designers. 3 & up
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