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This summer, I found myself in a room full of Avengers (Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan) and a few Guardians of the Galaxy (Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff), too. At Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim, I was one of the lucky few (thousand) that got to see a first-look trailer for Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War. Like many things shown at the event, it was kept under wraps and not seen again outside of that room... until now. Unlike Comic-Con, where grainy Hall H footage tends to leak almost instantly, Marvel somehow kept the Avengers contained until today's release of the long-awaited official trailer for the film. From my own recollection, what you're about to see is very similar to what I witnessed this summer, with a few tweaks. 

Tuesday, November 28 2017 09:25

Holiday Wish Guide - Hamsters in a House: Food Frenzy

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Zuru's Hamsters in a House first hit the scene a couple of years ago - tiny, electronic, scurrying hamsters that roam around customizable plastic track. Now, the Hamsters are back with a second series, and it's following a popular trend: food. Hamsters in a House: Food Frenzy has launched at Target and Toys "R" Us for holiday 2017, allowing kids to expand the world of Hamtasia with a new collection of hamsters, playsets, track pieces and accessories!

Since 1964, the Hess Toy Truck has been an annual tradition of collectible holiday toys. For years, families on the east coast would look forward to the reveal of the annual Hess Toy Truck - which hasn't always been "a truck," but a high-quality vehicle offered at a great price and wrapped-up in signature green giftwrap, ready to roll for the holidays. Because it was an east coast thing, we'd missed out on it since we didn't have Hess Express gas stations here in the Midwest, but we really started getting into these around five years ago - ironically, just a year or so before Hess sold-off their gas stations. While the stores may be gone, the tradition of the truck lives on, and every year on November 1, a new Hess Toy Truck becomes available exclusively on HessToyTruck.com. We recently got our hands on the 2017 Hess Dump Truck and Loader (sent to us for review), and after seeing the girls eagerly crack it open, it's easy to see why it's a top pick in my annual Holiday Wish Guide™!

We've been fans of Playmonster's My Fairy Garden collection since we first discovered them a year or so ago. Having placed a fairy garden outside as part of our landscape every year, The Rock Daughters™ always have a habit of playing with the statues out there, and they're not really made for that since they're not toys. My Fairy Garden solves that problem by providing a real garden environment that kids can play with inside. Each kit comes with everything you need to build and grown the perfect spot for your fairy figures, and there's always room to expand, with a wide array of accessories and additional fairies available. Our original garden, the Magical Cottage, is still going strong, and this fall we added a new one to the mix - the Bean Blossom.

There is no question that in this house, our oldest daughter knows exactly what she wants to be when she grows up: a doctor. Addie is eight right now, and ever since she started watching Doc McStuffins a few years back, she's been obsessed with the medical profession - something that I hope sticks with her until adulthood. It's not often that young kids grow up to be exactly what they intended, but Addie seems destined for that path, and we watch her care for her dolls and toys each and every day. For other kids with a similar mindset, Little Medical School offers a selection of Play Medical Kits and accessories, all with the intention of "inspiring tomorrow's healthcare providers today." We recently received the Little Pediatrician Kit for review, and the reaction was immediate...

As the micro collectibles movement continues to grow, one recent entrant owes a lot to the past. Back in the early 80s, a decade or so before Micro Machines did plastic miniature figures, Kenner toys released the Star Wars Micro Collection - small, diecast figures and playsets. The figures weren't articulated, and the line never caught on, but there were other diecast figures out there, and they became more appealing to collectors as time went on. This year, Jada Toys expanded their METALS Diecast series by shrinking it down. Nano MetalFigs are tiny diecast figurines from a variety of pop culture licensees. There's Harry Potter, DC Comics (perfect for Justice League), Disney/Pixar, Marvel, WWE and more - and the individual figures start at just 99 cents, making them a perfect stocking stuffer!

Wednesday, November 22 2017 00:12

Stocking Stuffers: The Original Whiffer Sniffers

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It was in the fall of 2016 that Whiffer Sniffers first hit my radar - scented, collectible backpack clips in fun character shapes. Taking their design cues from the scratch-n-sniff craze of the 1980s (they even released some stickers to go along with that), Whiffer Sniffers are still going strong and their fanbase is growing. With their Series 5 in stores now for holiday 2017, families can be on the hunt for a fresh assortment of awesome characters that make perfect stocking stuffers!

I first highlighted World's Smallest as a Holiday Wish Guide™ pick last year, and after seeing them continue using their mysterious shrink ray to zap other classic toys into miniature size, I'm also calling them out for 2017. After tackling more "simple" items like Mattel's Hot Wheels, the Fisher-Price Little People School Bus, Polaroid Camera and Hasbro's legendary G.I. Joe, now they're cranking up the shrink ray for a more difficult project... electronic games. If you recall the old Mattel Electronics handheld games of the late 1970's, you're on the right track. While their full-size counterparts were reproduced by The Bridge Direct not long ago, now the classic Electronic Football, Electronic Baseball and Electronic Basketball have been brought down to palm-size by Super Impulse under their "World's Coolest" moniker.

The holiday season is all about spending time with family, and what better way to do that than watching a movie together? From Illumination, the studio that brought you Sing, The Secret Life of Pets and the Despicable Me franchise, continues the adventures of Gru and his family in Despicable Me 3 - which is coming home for the holidays! Own it today on Digital HD, and look for it on Blu-ray & DVD on December 5! In celebration of the in-home release, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and The Rock Father™ have teamed-up to give you a shot at winning it on Digital HD - redeemable at Vudu!

Capitol Records’ celebration of its 75th anniversary continues with the release of A Capitol Christmas Volume 2, a collection of 24 timeless holiday and seasonal classics sung by the label’s unmatched list of legends. Featured in The Rock Father™ Magazine's 2017 Ultimate Guide to New & Reissue Holiday Music, the album is now now digitally and on 2CD, and December 1 as a double LP in gatefold cover, the album brings together some of pop music’s most iconic holiday songs with extremely rare recordings originally issued in very limited release. Volume 2’s list of singers includes Glen Campbell, The Beach Boys, Wayne Newton, Lena Horne, Dinah Shore, Nancy Wilson, Johnny Mercer, The Louvin Brothers and many more, with each contribution lovingly chronicled in liner notes provided by compilation producer Jay Landers.

This holiday season, (RED) and Amazon are teaming-up for (SHOPATHON)RED – a special shopping experience offering people a selection of exclusive (RED) products that raise money for the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. From now through the end of December, shoppers can choose from more than 150 (RED) products including fashion, cosmetics, kitchen goods, tech and more at Amazon.com/RED or via the Amazon App. On December 1st, World AIDS Day, Amazon will highlight (RED), the Global Fund, and (RED) products to bring awareness to the fight, and throughout the campaign special video content from (RED) celebrity supporters will encourage people to shop (RED) and save lives this holiday season.

Anthony Vincent of Ten Second Songs is back with a new video, and this time he's putting a metallic spin on ten pop songs. "10 Songs in the Style of METALLICA" pairs Vincent with guitarist EROCK for a quick blast of what some famous tunes would've sounded like, had they been penned by James Hetfield and Co. So who gets the 'Tallica treatment? Taylor Swift, Outkast, Alanis Morissette, Abba, Toni Braxton, Britney Spears, Nickelback, Seal, Juvenile and Darude are on-deck. Check this out...

This Holiday Wish Guide™ Giveaway is brought to you by GameStop & ThinkGeek in collaboration with The Rock Father™.

With the holiday season in full-swing, kids and families are making their wish lists, and crossing their fingers in hopes of snagging the perfect gift. For Pokémon fans, 2017 has been a big year, with plenty of new games like Pokkén Tournament DX for Nintendo Switch and this month's Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon for the 3DS family of systems. Beyond the games, there's always some cool Poké-merch to be had, and like the saying goes, fans just "gotta catch 'em all," and now there's a new place to do that. Pokémon Center has opened at GameStop and ThinkGeek, and it's the perfect place to find an awesome gift for the Pokémon fan on your list! Pokémon Center products come direct from The Pokémon Company, lovingly-designed in Japan and brought to the U.S. for the very first time, exclusively at GameStop and ThinkGeek. Your local store has a new Pokémon Center section—fully stocked with everything a budding Pokémon trainer could want! To celebrate the opening of Pokémon Center, GameStop and The Rock Father™ have teamed-up to give you a shot at winning a Pokémon Center Trainer Pack that features a few brand-new items!

Sunday, November 19 2017 19:06

THE TOY BOX Crowns a Second Season Winner...

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The second season of THE TOY BOX has come to a close on ABC, and now we know which new toy the judges have crowned champion. For the past eight weeks, the kid judges have come face-to-face with hopeful toy inventors, each competing for a shot at having their creation mass-produced by Mattel and made available for sale exclusively at Toys "R" Us. The winner this time around? Hydroshield aka Water Dodger! But that's not all, as Toys "R" Us chose Eardorables as a runner-up, and host Eric Stonestreet's personal favorite,  Wobb-Ball (seen as Flexxball) s a reality as well. See the winning toys below...

In doing what I do, I've been fortunate to see a lot of great toys cross my path over the past few years. For 2017, there's certainly been some highlights, but one of the best new toys was a late entry, and one that had escaped me until its makers hit me up earlier this fall and sent over one for review. When it comes to playsets, I grew up in an era that had a bunch of them - iconic sets from Star Wars, G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe, to name a few. While there's no doubt that kids want the biggest and best, the grownup mentality is that there's a real problem with those awesome playsets... storage. Our girls have some incredible sets here, ranging from the Barbie Dream House to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer Lair. They're massively fun, but also massive in size... big, bulky plastic sets that aren't easy to store in-between adventures. Now, the makers of ReadySetz have emerged with their first playset - one that both provides a fun environment for imaginative play and solves the space problem. It's one of 2017's coolest new toys, and one you've likely never heard of.

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