In all areas of media, there are certain companies that operate just on the fringe of good taste, principle... and intellectual property laws. Much like those companies that put out similarly-titled and plotted films that land on DVD racks just to confuse good-hearted grandparents (I'm looking at people like Engine 15 Media, with their dubious CARS & TOY STORY knock-offs; and whoever the makers of CHOP-KICK PANDA are), there's long-been some occasional similarities in the toy department from major and minor players alike. Such is the case with "The Toon Studio of Beverly Hills" (aka United Trademark Holdings) and their "Junior Elf Fairy PRINCESS" line, which I'm sure is meant to look nothing like the famous DISNEY PRINCESS collection. Nor is their "Original Cars" line supposed to evoke images of Disney-Pixar's CARS... their "Original Monsters" supposed to resemble UNIVERSAL MONSTERS... or the "Original Fairies" supposed to be anything remotely similar to Disney FAIRIES. So what of this new FAIRY TALE HIGH collection of dolls that showed up at Walmart and Toys "R" Us this past month? Nah, they're not similar to anything else out there right now.
Recommended for Ages 8+, I'm filing The TETRIS LIGHT under my "For Grownups" section of the 2013 Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father. This captivating discussion piece looks great here in my office, bringing Alexey Pajitnov's famously-addictive puzzle game into the real world. It's electrically-operated, so it's not for the little ones, but that probably won't stop them from wanting to give it a go. Just keep it out-of-reach, and enjoy the colorful glow of the Tetriminos by night!
Recommended for Ages 6+, the NERF N-Strike Blazin' Bow Blaster will appeal to boys and girls of all ages (yes, grownups, too) for safe archery-style fun inside and out. I first got to play with this at the #HasbroHotToys lunch in Chicago, and we've since been rockin' one here at Rock Father HQ. While Mommy isn't a fan of seeing it used indoors, the NERF N-Strike Blazin' Bow Blaster really hit's the target - especially with kids already enthralled with characters like Merida from BRAVE, or THE HUNGER GAMES series.
Jim Henson's PAJANIMALS have been a beloved part of our bedtime routine here at Rock Father HQ ever since we first started seeing them on Sprout. Now, with Saturday morning appearances on NBC Kids, the Pajanimals crew are becoming increasingly familiar to a growing audience of kids and their grownups. One of the new items from TOMY's Pajanimals line is the APOLLO GOODNIGHT PROJECTOR, a perfect gift idea for ages Birth+, and an entry into my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father.
From Toy State's Road Rippers collection comes the new "Rock & Roller" line, a pair of classically-styled hot rods with lights, sound, and motion. The "Rat Rod" edition recently arrived here at Rock Father HQ for evaluation in our State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house and neighborhood), immediately scoring points with both of my girls as a vehicle that's pretty appropriate.
I mean, it's a ROCK and Roller...
I first mentioned the KRE-O CityVille Invasion line of building sets here on The Rock Father back in August, and as part of my 31 Days of Halloween, it's time to show off one of the most seasonally-appropriate of the bunch: The Haunted Hideaway. Given to me by Hasbro during a recent Holiday Toys lunch here in Chicago, this 317-piece building set was irresistible to my four year-old, despite being advertised for ages 7+. Straight-away, she wanted to build "the haunted house," and that secured it a spot here as Day 16.