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1999 Awards
Fairy Tale
(Paramount $19.95 Score:) During World War I when so many lost loved ones, sťances and a belief in spiritualism was not at all unusual. In fact, famous people such as Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were well known for their beliefs in the supernatural. Set against that time and place, two girls, who have also suffered losses, discover real fairies in the garden. Their photos cause quite a stir among both believers and others. Not for small children. A beauty! 8-80s.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1999.

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2001 Awards
Cheerios Play Book Bingo Game
(Briarpatch $19.99 Score:)

An eye-appealing matching lotto-style game with bright easy to "know-and-name" objects. Builds visual discrimination and language. Players get to take the Cheerios from the playing board when they make a match. This game has been discontinued.

SNAP INFO: This lotto style matching game reinforces language as well as matching skills. Clear illustrations of familiar items make this easy for kids to use with an edible reward for matches. Before you play establish that kids know the names of the playing pieces. Like all games from this maker there are suggestions for great variations you can play.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Scratch-Art Magic Packs
(Scratch-Art Co. $4.99 Score:)

Remember making scratch art with crayon scribbles covered with black paint that you scratched away? Now Scratch-Art Dazzle paper is ready made and has glittering foil effects that appear when you scratch the black away. A package with 4 sheets, a stylus, stencil, and instructions makes an inexpensive but special treat. Or look for a Combo pack with Dazzle, Stained Glass and Rainbow, Black & White sheets. 5 & up.

SNAP INFO: Remember making scratch art with crayon scribbles covered with black paint that you scratch away? Now Scratch & Sparkle has glittering holographic foil effects that appear. The Combo 4-Pack is fun with Holographic, Stained Glass, Rainbow, and Black and White sheets. An inexpensive but special treat! A good way to motivate kids to use those fine motor skills needed for writing. ADAPTION: Holding this skinny paper in place can be a problem, especially if kids are using stencils. We suggest taping the paper down so it won't slip.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Awards
Dino Adventure
(Lauri $14.99 Score:) Dinoholics' hands and imaginations will have plenty of action with this traveling case of take along dinos. There are two large dinos to lace or trace, a play setting with a palm tree and volcano, and lots of little dinos to string, sort by color, or move about for dramatic play. Develops fine motor skills along with language and dramatic play. 4-7.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Color Wonder Paper and Markers
(Crayola $7.99 Score:)

This innovative art material is great for travel as well as home because the chunky markers are colorless and won't stain anything. Best of all, they have a magic quality-they turn color as kids draw on the special paper. This comes with coloring books that keep color inside the lines, but we prefer the open-ended paper that kids can use any way they like. 2 & up.

SNAP INFO: There's something magical about these markers with colorless tips that turn to true colors when used on special paper. A great choice for encouraging kids to develop the eye hand skills they need for writing. Activity: Use a crayon or regular marker to make dots kids can connect with the special markers. Draw dots to form letters, numbers, or pictures.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Award
Tolo Activity Play Triangle
(Reeves International $10 Score:)

Happy to see this Platinum Award winner back in the market! Little hands can easily activate the spinners on this rattling activity toy that's ideal for two-handed investigations. There's a ratchet dial on one side, a reflection bead chamber on the other side, and in the center there's a small spinning mirror, big egg-shaped beads, and a barrel for developing the use of individual fingers and as a colorful rolling toy for small social games. We have not received safety verification for this product and we have not tested it in an independent lab.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
The Inventors' Specials
(Devine Entertainment $19.95 Score:) An excellent series about famous scientists introduces young viewers to the past with an artful blend of fact and fiction. Each film pairs a well-known scientist with a young person-and both learn much from each other. Marie Curie (OPPENHEIM TOY PORTFOLIO PLATINUM AWARD 2001) is an exciting tale of two sisters whose lives cross paths with Madame Curie during World War I. The girls believe that the Nobel scientist is a spy, and the story allows us to follow Madame Curie's fight to use her revolutionary x-ray machine to save lives. In the end it is Curie's invention that saves the girls' father. Edison (OPPENHEIM TOY PORTFOLIO PLATINUM AWARD 2001 ) opens with a chase scene as a runaway orphan boy literally runs into the scientist's lab where he becomes an apprentice. A wonderful period piece! 9 & up. Also top rated: Galileo, in which a young prince comes to study with the scientist; Leonardo and his dream of being able to fly; Einstein: Light to the Power of 2 portrays a bigoted teacher, a young black girl in the '50s, and the world-famous scientist who befriends her. 9 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Arthur's Famous Friends
(Sony $12.95 Score:) This is the best Arthur video we've seen in ages! Each of the three stories features a guest visitor whose voice is used with animated images. In the first segment, Mr. Rogers comes to visit, but Arthur thinks Mr. Rogers is for babies and is surprised to discover his friends want to meet their old friend. In the second story, poet Jack Prelutsky comes to the local library for a poetry contest and recites some of his own verse. There's some gratuitous gross-out verse in this segment that we could have done without, but kids will find it funny. The third episode, with Yo Yo Ma, centers on a debate about jazz vs. classical music. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Behind the Scenes with Robert Gil de Montes
(First Run Features $14.95 Score:) With lots of amusing help from the comedy team of Penn & Teller, playfully introduces viewers to the "tricks of the trade" of color and perspective that artists use on canvas or computer. Watching de Montes' painting evolve may inspire young artists or at least help them to better understand the creative process at work. Like others in this outstanding series, this is a keeper! 8 & up. Also new and top rated: Behind the Scenes with Allen Toussant and Joann Falletta. Previous OPPENHEIM TOY PORTFOLIO PLATINUM AWARD 2000 winners: Behind the Scenes with Max Roach, David Hockey, and Carrie Mae Weems. 8 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
The Artists Special: Mary Cassatt: American Impressionist
(Devine Entertainment $19.95 Score:) Rather than doing biographies of an artist's whole lifetime, these new made-for-TV Artists Series zoom in on a short but significant period in an artist's life. They weave fact and fiction in a relationship between an artist and a young person with very human and universal problems. For example, in Mary Cassatt: American Impressionist, the artist fears her visiting family from America will intrude upon her work in Paris. Instead the children provide inspiration plus a meeting with Edgar Degas. Amy Brenneman (of "Judging Amy") stars as Mary Cassatt. 8 & up. Also top-rated, In Degas and the Dancer, struggling with debt and his own self-doubt, Edgar Degas inspires a young dancer to believe in herself and her talent. In helping her, he helps himself. For those who love Degas, the ballet, or both-this is not to be missed! Also top-rated: Rembrandt: Fathers & Sons and Monet: Shadow & Light. 8 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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