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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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Chronicle Around the World Puzzle

Highly stylized images of multicultural children from around the world fit together, hand in hand, on this big 16-piece floor puzzle. The playing pieces are two-sided, so there are 32 images that can be joined. Each figure is wearing the native costume of his or her country and the name of the country is printed on the side. Marked for 3 & up, but the concepts are well beyond that age group.

Chronicle Books Baby Face Nesting Blocks

Ten sturdy cardboard blocks to stack or nest in size order. They are illustrated with baby faces, each with a distinctive expression. There is a space to slip in a photo of your baby, as well. Our eight-month old tester loved examining the babies and their adorable faces. She also liked knocking down the stacks we built for her and peek a boo games we played by nesting one block over another. 8 months & up.

Chronicle Sports! Matching Game

A set of 72 colorful matching cards for the classic game of concentration with unusual illustrations featuring kids playing all sorts of sports. A good opportunity for developing knowing and naming language to match the images as well as visual perception is seeing matches. This is one of a series of matching games with different themes. Kids who are crazy about dinosaurs will like this Dinosaurs! Matching Game and for expanding language skills look for their Animals! Matching Game. The sets come packaged in sturdy boxes that have magnetic closures. All three sets are handsomely illustrated by artist Micah Player. These are marked 3 & up, though we think slightly older kids will enjoy them more.

Cinderelephant

PartNumber: colour illustrations
A classic tale with a gigantic twist!

"Cinderelephant, make my breakfast!"
"Cinderelephant, mop the floor!"

Poor Cinderelephant! The Warty Sisters never say please or thank you (how rude!), and when she asks to go to the grand ball, they just laugh. "Whoever would want to dance with YOU?"

Little do they know, Cinderelephant has a Furry Godmouse on her side! And with a little help... and the right pair of shoes... anything is possible.

Cinderella Deluxe Doll Gift Set

A wowee of a doll set with six--count them- -all six of the main characters done up in a splendid carrying case package. There is a 12-inch Cinderella, of course, in a ball gown, but her cinder dress, an extra gown, plus a dress form. Ready for playing out the story (or new ones) is the rest of the cast all dressed in their satiny gowns. Her wicked looking stepmother, two very ugly sisters, the prince, and her sear fairy godmother. The dolls can be posed with jointed legs and arms, though their little feet will not let them stand on their own. All together this is

Cinderella Happily Ever After Carriage

We believe this comes under the heading of biggest piece of fantasy plastic of the season. That said, we know a lot of girls are going to love it. Cinderella's coach actually has a pumpkin shell that turns to reveal a royal style coach to take her to the ball and her wedding. She wears a white satin gown and looks every inch a princess! Marked 3 & up, we think this is more like a big box gift item for older 4 and 5 year olds.

Cinderella Swirling Lights

Push the blue gem on Cinderella's necklace and her dress lights up as fairy dust sounds tinkle. In her blue ball gown Cinderella is ready to go to the ball and her glass slippers are ready for dancing! Marked for 3 and up, but we think it will be enjoyed more by slightly older girls.

Cirplexed

Our game day testers loved this game that requires a careful eye for detail. Each player starts with a certain number of tiles that each have a different color on each corner. As players pull more tiles from the bag the goal is to make circles where all four quarters are of the same color. The player with the most matches at the end of the round is the winner. You can play individually or if you have younger kids we'd recommend playing in teams. The pace of this game is lovely since you're working on your own board (or team's board) rather than competiting on one board against other players.

CitiBlocs Glow in the Dark Blocks

70 Glow in the dark and 30 natural blocks come in this new set of blocks. If you expose them to light for 10 minutes they will glow for over 40 minutes. These are fun to use separately or as additions to other building sets. We can report that they do work and add a new kind of sensory dimension to building fun. Build before bedtime and there is a nightlight when the overhead light is turned off. Also new this season, a set of Neon color Citiblocs.

Clementine, A Girl for all Time

Clementine, is a 1940's English girl, with an instantly lovable wistful look, auburn hair, green eyes, and clothes from the WWII era. Her sheer green floral print dress has slightly puffy sleeves, a dainty buckled belt and a brown satin Peter Pan collar. She wears wonderful brown sandal-like shoes with mesh white knee socks that can be folded down. Her brownish red be-ribboned felt hat has a rolled brim and is a perfect foil for her lovely bobbed hair. As extras: we love her fitted pink coat with matching beret and she should be heading to Covent Garden or some such place in her lilac party dress that is topped off with a feather boa and party shoes to match. Clementine's story actually begins during the evacuation in 1939 wartime London. Newest of the Girl for All Time collection, she is 14-inches tall and totally jointed at the knees, elbows, and hips, making her easier to pose than comparable dolls. Like previous Girl for All Time winners, Matilda, a Tudor girl and Amelia, a Victorian girl, Clementine's details are noteworthy. Designed for play, she and others in the collection will likely become treasured collectibles for the lucky few. http://www.agirlforalltime.us/

Clifford the Big Red Dog Bubble Science Kit

One of a series of science kits for younger children. This explores making all sorts of bubbles by making wands and using them to make prints, sculptures, colored bubbles, gliding boats, jumping pepper and more. It comes with a supply of pipecleaners, wandsm bubble solution, funnel and best of all, an excellent step-by-step experiment book that will walk you through all these together activities. In the past, most of these experiments were more typically done with kindegarten,1st and 2nd graders. That said, there is nothing in this kit that preschoolers will not enjoy trying. Clearly, this is not a solo toy, but rather a chance to explore together. They have also done a Kitchen Science Kit and Rainbow Science. These are available at PBS Kids site and the Scholastic site. As of this writing they were not elsewhere. Marked for 3+, we think they make more sense with 5+.

Clifford the Big Red Dog Kitchen Science

One of a series of science kits for preschoolers. This one uses things found in the kitchen to make a volcano explosion, slime, crystals, fungus and more. The items in the kit include plastic test tubes, mini-volcano form, a small tank for making slime and other props. Best of all there is a wonderful step-by-step experiment book that will walk you through all these together activities. In the past, most of these experiments were more typically done with kindegarten, 1st and 2nd graders. That said, there is nothing in this kit that preschoolers will not enjoy trying. Clearly, this is not a solo toy, but rather a chance to explore together. They have also done a Bubble Science Kit and Rainbow Science. These are available at PBS Kids site and the Scholastic site. As of this writing they were not elsewhere. Marked for 3+, we think they make more sense with 5+.

Color Changing Flower Lights

A really satisifying kit for adding some light and sparkle to any room. Comes with three battery powered (batteries included) round clear plastic globe bulbs that have faceted surfaces. The set comes with plastic leaves, shimmering fabrics, beads, self-adhesive rhinestones, thread, double-sided sticky foam, a bead threader and an instruction book with ideas. Comes with green satin cords to hang the lights up with. Very pretty and our testers liked that the bulbs have three different settings for varying patterns.

Colorfall

Dominoes move over! Colorfall is a set of wooden playing pieces that look like dominoes without the dots. Matching is done by color, if matching is what you want to do. However, there is so much more to do with these handsome playing pieces. Have kids create their own patterns or play a pattern game of what comes next. Then, for real challenges, use the cards to build colorful "pictures" of creatures. The cards tell how many dominoes of each color are needed to make the picture. So there is counting and sorting. But arranging them calls for problem solving and spatial visual skills. There are designs that will fall with a tap if the pieces are put close enough to fall on each other as they drop. All the pieces can be stored in the big canvas drawstring bag it comes in. A good cooperative or solo game that invites planning, dexterity, and patience. 8 & up

Coral Reefs

Newest in Seymour Simon's excellent collection of young science books. His clear prose and the full color photos give readers a close-up look at the colorful world that thrives just off tropical sunny shores. Simon never talks down to his readers, but helps them stretch as he opens new views of living things in the sea. Read it aloud to your 6-7 or bring it home for 8's and up to read on their own.

Corolle Babe Elf Grenadine Heart Doll

A super pink and lavender update of the 2011 Platinum Award Winner, this new take on the Babicorolle Elf doll now has a super vivid pink hat (rather than the original orange). She still comes with a quiet little jingle inside. Elf Grenadine is just nine and half inches and dressed in non-removable velour-like and knit fabrics. Her face is vinyl with painted on features. If you prefer more pastel tones, look for Elf Apricot with a light pink body, hot pink hat and apricot arms and trim. Either of these makes a cozy choice for baby to explore and for you to use for lap time games.

Corolle Babicorolle Babipouce Pink Cotton Flower Doll

Model: Y3945
PartNumber: Y3945
Dressed in her cutest nighttime outfit, the Corolle Barbicorolle Babipouce Pink Cotton Flower 11 in. Doll is sweet-smelling and ready for bed. This doll is incredibly soft and designed to be baby's first dolly. It's lightweight with a plush body with sewn-on cotton flower and pink outfit with cap. She has soft vinyl hands that are naturally curled and a sweet expression. This doll is machine-washable, has a soft vanilla scent, and is perfectly cuddly for your newborn. About Corolle Corolle is a premier doll brand designed in the storybook region of Frances Loire Valley. Since 1979, Corolle has been creating highly detailed dolls designed to be cherished by children everywhere. Every Corolle doll will inspire magical childhood memories that will last for a lifetime. Corolle dolls look and feel as real as possible. Theyre created of soft, supple vinyl, have natural-looking hair, and wear on-trend fashions. Corolle dolls are designed durable enough to withstand years of hugs and love. Perfect heirloom treasures! Doll play encourages children to explore different roles from caring for and sharing hopes and dreams to finding an understanding playmate and friend for life. Corolle designs dolls for children of all ages. There is a range of Corolle dolls designed for specific ages. Babi Corolle is a soft-body doll perfect for newborn babies and older. Its machine-washable, feather-light, and made to be loved. Mon Premier Corolle is designed for babies 18 months and older. This line includes a range of baby dolls, clothing, and accessories. The dolls are lightweight and soft. The clothing has Velcro closures so its easy to put on and take off. Mon Classique Corolle is a classic baby doll designed for toddlers to love and nurture. This line has a complete assortment of larger baby dolls, clothing, and nursery accessories. Some even have hair that can be brushed and styled. Others coo, giggle, drink, and go potty.

Corolle Babicorolle Lili Cherry

With all fabric features (including her eyes) and soft plush body, the Babicorolle makes an ideal first huggable. We loved the bright, cheerful colors of Cherry's outfit. As you would expect from a little French doll, she is very stylish. For older babies and toddlers, this vanilla-scented armful will be a favorite.

Corolle Babicorolle Miss Grenadine's Heart Doll

Model: Y3933
PartNumber: Y3933
Delightfully cuddly and made just for newborns, the Corolle Barbicorolle Miss Grenadines Heart 9.5 in. Doll is sweet-smelling and huggably soft. This little dolly features a lightweight, plush body and wears a sewn-on raspberry velour outfit with sewn-on hood and lavender collar. Her premium vinyl face has a sweet expression. This doll is machine-washable, has a soft vanilla scent, and is sure to be baby's favorite. She even won a Platinum Seal Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio! About Corolle Corolle is a premier doll brand designed in the storybook region of Frances Loire Valley. Since 1979, Corolle has been creating highly detailed dolls designed to be cherished by children everywhere. Every Corolle doll will inspire magical childhood memories that will last for a lifetime. Corolle dolls look and feel as real as possible. Theyre created of soft, supple vinyl, have natural-looking hair, and wear on-trend fashions. Corolle dolls are designed durable enough to withstand years of hugs and love. Perfect heirloom treasures! Doll play encourages children to explore different roles from caring for and sharing hopes and dreams to finding an understanding playmate and friend for life. Corolle designs dolls for children of all ages. There is a range of Corolle dolls designed for specific ages. Babi Corolle is a soft-body doll perfect for newborn babies and older. Its machine-washable, feather-light, and made to be loved. Mon Premier Corolle is designed for babies 18 months and older. This line includes a range of baby dolls, clothing, and accessories. The dolls are lightweight and soft. The clothing has Velcro closures so its easy to put on and take off. Mon Classique Corolle is a classic baby doll designed for toddlers to love and nurture. This line has a complete assortment of larger baby dolls, clothing, and nursery accessories. Some even have hair that can be brushed and styled. Others coo, giggle, drink, and go potty.

Corolle Babicorolle Miss Pink Cotton Flower Doll

Model: Y3932
PartNumber: 20.Y3932
From her light pink velour cap to her ribboned shoes, the Corolle Barbicorolle Miss Pink Cotton Flower 9.5 in. Doll is a cutie. She's sweet-smelling, huggably soft, and designed specifically for newborns. This dolly is made feather-light and has a super-soft plush body with sewn-on light pink velour outfit and darker pink accents. Her face has a sweet expression and is made of premium vinyl. This doll is conveniently machine-washable, has a delicate vanilla scent, and won a Platinum Seal Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. About Corolle Corolle is a premier doll brand designed in the storybook region of Frances Loire Valley. Since 1979, Corolle has been creating highly detailed dolls designed to be cherished by children everywhere. Every Corolle doll will inspire magical childhood memories that will last for a lifetime. Corolle dolls look and feel as real as possible. Theyre created of soft, supple vinyl, have natural-looking hair, and wear on-trend fashions. Corolle dolls are designed durable enough to withstand years of hugs and love. Perfect heirloom treasures! Doll play encourages children to explore different roles from caring for and sharing hopes and dreams to finding an understanding playmate and friend for life. Corolle designs dolls for children of all ages. There is a range of Corolle dolls designed for specific ages. Babi Corolle is a soft-body doll perfect for newborn babies and older. Its machine-washable, feather-light, and made to be loved. Mon Premier Corolle is designed for babies 18 months and older. This line includes a range of baby dolls, clothing, and accessories. The dolls are lightweight and soft. The clothing has Velcro closures so its easy to put on and take off. Mon Classique Corolle is a classic baby doll designed for toddlers to love and nurture. This line has a complete assortment of larger baby dolls, clothing, and nursery accessories. Some even have hair that can be brushed and styled.

Corolle Large Rag Doll (Pink or Grenadine)

Ready for hugging - these lovable 13" dolls are dressed in velour and have long arms and legs for easy grabbing. Safe stitched features make this a good choice for a first doll. Choose from the red and hot pink version (called Grenadine) with melon colored scarf and shoes or the pink one. Either is a winner. Their striped skirts and textured bodies add to their sensory appeal. These blue eyed rag dolls are big enough to give toddlers an armful of delight while remaining light enough for them to handle with ease. Clothes are sewn on for safe keeping and the doll is machine washable. One and up.


Corolle Les Cheries Camille Ballerina Doll

If you have an aspiring ballerina in your midst, this is a very special 13" doll to bring home. Camille's all vinyl body is dressed in a beautiful tutu, tights and ballet slippers. Her long hair is drawn back with a head band. She has posable arms and legs -- and has the signature Corolle vanilla scent. For 2013, she also comes in a super cute outfit for going to university,Camille a l'Universite.

Corolle Les Cheries Cecile A La Tour Eiffel

We want to be Cecile when we grow up - down to her two-toned Chanel-inspired ballet slippers. Ready to tour all the sights in Paris, Cecile is the latest addition to this Platinum Award winning line of 13" dolls that celebrate girls (not girls dressed up as women). There are additional dolls and clothes in this collection (happily, they can all share the same wardrobe). Each comes with an all vinyl body and the signature scent of vanilla. Tre joile!

Corolle Les Cheries Chloe Au Palais Royal

Chloe is totally on trend with faux fur wrap (on top of her pink party dress) and leopard print ballet flats and purse! What we love about this collection of 13" fashion dolls is that they celebrate girls. The clothes give a nod to trends but in completely age appropriate styles. Girls will also love her long hair, sweet (vinyl) face and vanilla scent. Chloe is also available in a ballerina outfit.

Corolle Miss Corolle Classic 14" Coquette Dolls

Scrumptous is the word that comes to mind when you see any one of the dolls in the collection that first won a Platinum Award in 2011. Each 14" tall with a full head of hair (there is a brunette, blond and red head in the collection). What we love about these dolls is that they look like girls and are dressed appropriately (but extremely fashionable as you would expect from a French dollmaker!). Each doll sports an outfit you'll want!

Corolle Mon Premier Calin Charming Pastel

For older toddlers, Corolle's 12-inch Calin dolls have long been our favorites. Hand washable they have soft vinyl heads, legs and arms and beautiful clothes. Their bald heads are a safe choice for toddlers who are still mouthing toys. Their bean-bag bodies allow them to sit in many poses and their sleeping eyes open and close. Best of all they are light and cuddly for early pretend play.

Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg

PartNumber: 9780547239934
Cowpoke Clydes house was completely cleanhed even shooed off the horseflies: Then right behind his cookin pot, / he spied one thing hed plumb forgot: / ol Dawg, his faithful, snorin friend, / all caked with mud from end to end. Needless to say, Dawg wakes up and runs. The chase that followswith page-turn surprisesmakes for a hilarious shaggy-dog story involving fleas, a hog, bribery, cats, deception, and a mule. The rhyming stanzas are pitch-perfect, Texas-style, and plumb near cry out to be read aloud. Austins expressive acrylic and colored-pencil caricatures of Cowpoke Clyde and his menagerie are priceless. A storytime shoo-in!

Crankee Doodle

Yankee Doodle went to town / a-riding on a pony / stuck a feather in his hat / and called it macaroni. Many know the song Yankee Doodle Dandy, but few understand it. This unapologetically silly picture book reveals that the legendary ride to town (and the whole macaroni thing) was all suggested by Mr. Doodles overeager pony. This just makes Mr. Doodle cranky: I do not want macaroni. I do not want a feather. I do not want any other clothing, any other pasta, or any other parts of a bird. I do not want anything that they have in town! A historical note ends this colorful, comical take on a nonsensical old song.

Crayola Digital Light Designer

Forget about paper, now kids can draw on a "Spinning Light Canvas" that is really a light dome. It is activated with a stylus that is used to draw anywhere on the round surface that lights up as they draw. Kids can make drawings, animations, and messages. They can keep favorite creations and there are eight game and activity apps to add to the fun. This does come with a warning about this being an inappropriate toy for those who are photosensitive and have seizures from flashing lights and patterns. 6 & up.

Crayola Dual-Sided DryErase Board Set

Eight vibrant colored crayons come with a built-in sharpener on the package and a reversible black or white board and cloth that erases crayon markings with ease. These special crayons are sturdier and slightly thicker than most, so they are easier to grasp. They also wash from hands and clothing, though not if they met in if they end up in a pocket in the clothes dryer. These are less smelly than markers for the erase board and no worry over lost caps, markers drying out, or the sometimes unpleasant odor of marker ink. They are also easier to handle than chalk that snaps under pressure. Kids are often more willing to work on writing and math when the writing surface allows for playfulness. It is less confining than paper and mistakes are easier to wipe away and start again. Marked for 3 & up, but we believe this is not babyish looking and will appeal to much older kids as well.

Crayola Marker Maker

Imagine being able to make your own markers and even blend the colors to make your own unique choices! That's what this innovative toy can do. It comes with a good supply of ink, marker barrels, plugs, tips, and cores. The process is relatively simple. You put the filler core ito a holder and pour ink into the holder. When the core absorbs the ink you use the giant tweezers to place the core into a barrel. Then the "machine" lever puts the plug in place with two snaps. Next, the tip goes in place and you let the marker continue to absorb ink up to the tip. There is a color chart that shows how kids can combine colors to get custom blends that make their markers better than any they could just go out and buy ready made. There are refill kits available. A word of caution: these are not washable inks, so protect clothing and work surfaces. The kit is marked not for children under 3, but we think this is a more appropriate choice for kids over 5 with adult supervision.

Crayola Melt 'n Mold Crayon Factory

We've had crayon molds before, but this new and improved model with see through lid made a huge hit with our testers. It comes with molds that will make ring shaped crayons as well as the usual shape. The kit comes with 24 crayons ready to melt and/or you can use old broken crayons as well. Designed for safety, the lid locks down while the crayons melt. Once they turn to liquid you push the button to spill the wax into the mold. Again, all of this is done while the see through lid is locked down. The lid will not lift until a timer releases it and the wax has cooled. Extra molds for making cars, spiders, spinners, and wiggly shaped crayons are available separately. A great way to recycle old crayons and, as always, kids love using the unique end products they make. This is marked for 8 & up and since it has to be plugged in, it is a toy that should be used with adult supervision.
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