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2000 Award
Construction Helmet
(Small World Toys $8 Score:) Dress up clothes are always a favorite. Some can come from the closet. More specific ones can be made or bought. Testers liked this yellow hard hat that comes with a built-in light.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2000.

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2001 Award
Very Busy Cook & Baker Sets
(Alex $30 Score:) Young chefs will love these realistic child-sized baking pans, metal pots, colander, ladle, wooden spoon, and chef's hat! Unlike some metal utensils these are beautifully finished with rolled edges. Will appeal to both boys and girls. Unfortunately, there is only a girl on the box. 4 & up. New for 2002, a smaller Compleater Cook Set($20) wiih eight pieces.

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

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1995 Awards
Push Cart
(Galt $89.95 Score:)

This updated classic wooden cart is pricier than any of its plastic counterparts but can be passed down to younger siblings! Very stable push along for early walkers and a perfect first wagon for carting treasures.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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1995 Awards
Cozy Coupe
(Little Tikes $49.99 Score:)

The ultimate classic ride-in toy comes with a fun "ignition switch". We love that the front wheels really turn so that kids can steer in any direction. Many wheel toys have surprisingly lost that feature. Happily it's also done in gender free colors so that it can be enjoyed by everyone. More recently the company produced a pink vehicle for those that need their vehicle genderized. We [refer the yellow and red vehicle that can be passed along from brothers to sisters and between cousins of both genders.  

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2000 Award
Push & Ride Racer
(Little Tikes $20 Score:)

The Push & Ride line no longer comes with steering ability, which had always set them apart. That said, it's still a good choice, but have your child test-drive it for size. Testers with shorter legs found it hard to get on and off. 1 & up. The Load & Ride Dump Truck ($35) has a working steering wheel and dump action for pretend construction play. 18 mos. & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2000. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Mozart's Magic Cube
(em-bry-on-ics $34.99 Score:) Too bad they forgot the volume control on this musical block. Babies are supposed to press the sides of the block to hear a French horn, flute, violin, piano or the whole orchestra. This is cheaper than Neurosmith's Platinum Award winning Musical Blocks but the latter are far more versatile, playing many kinds of music and have sound quality that is worth the price. These are a pale imitation.

Age: Infants. Award Year: .

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2001 Award
Franklin In the Dark
(USA Home Entertainment $12.95 Score:) If you're dealing with nighttime "monsters", Franklin In the Dark may help. In this little story Franklin is afraid of dark places. Mother Turtle has a story that assures Franklin he is not alone. On the other hand, if you aren't dealing with monsters-don't bring any home.

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

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Music & Lights Sit 'n Spin
(Playskool $19.99 Score:) They added lights and sounds to this classic toy and these electronic extras are anything but a plus. It's loud and totally annoying. But according to one tester the sounds and lights didn't hold up anyway. Another example of less was more. Nor do we think 18 months an ideal age for this kind of toy.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: .

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1995 Awards
The Runaway Bunny
(by Margaret Wise Brown/illus. by Clement Hurd, HarperCollins $12 Score:) A little bunny declares his independence and his mother assures him that she'll still be there for him wherever he goes. For older kids this would be smothering- for preschoolers it's a comforting backup! 3-5.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 1995.

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1995 Awards
A Snowy Day
(by Ezra Jack Keats, Viking $14 Score:)

Peter's snowball may melt away, but the strength of this beautiful book reflects a child's wonderment with snow and all its sensory magic. Keat's collage illustrations are still right on target in this ageless picture book. Also available in Spanish. 3 & up.

 

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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