Only The Best Earn
PET Seal of Approval

Reviews by Tim Boxer

Sunshine Symphony
Jumbo Music Block
Music Blocks Maestro
Folkmanis Puppets
Feelin’ Good
Talking Picture Frame
Loaded Questions

Centennial of American Toy Fair

HE vast array of toys and games at the Toy Center on Fifth Avenue and at the Javits Center was stupendous. This being the centennial of the great American International Toy Fair, the new offerings on display for buyers and merchants from around the globe were truly spectacular.

Outstanding were new products from Peg-Perego (especially their wonderful electric cars for kids), neurosmith, Mattell, Fisher Price. We found several items especially attractive and sent them to members of our 15Minutes Product Evaluation Team (PET) for testing.

Eva has more fun with
Sunshine Symphony than
Johnathan does.

Sunshine Symphony from neurosmith, a company that makes “smart toys for developing minds,” was judged delightful by Johnathan, our paramount PET technician. This was Johnathan’s first musical experience (aside from grandpa, with my limited repertoire of lullabies).

With this cuddly open-ended plush toy, infants from birth and up can learn to touch and create sound – and have fun. This touch activation process teaches cause and effect.

Sunshine Symphony puts classical music at Johnathan’s fingertips. With touching or pinching, this smart toy breaks out in snippets of four classical compositions including Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C Major, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Handel’s Water Music and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.

The corresponding light show is an added bonus for baby’s attention. Buy it for $39.99 at


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Johnathan learns geometric design
with Jumbo Music Block.

Jumbo Music Block will inspire and delight infants and toddlers from six months to three years, as Johnathan will happily attest. Each side of this giant cube features a different geometric flap.

Flip the flap and you set off the music. The different shapes play various sing-along songs. Nice way to inspire and delight infants about geometric shapes. The toe-tapping music will get the kid dancing and turning, thus developing gross motor skills.

With zippers, snaps, buttons, secret pockets and surprise activities, the child will explore, learn and have fun.

The Jumbo Music Block, which requires four C batteries, is available at toy stores for $59.99 and at Additional music cartridges cost from $9.99 to $19.99.


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Music Blocks Maestro helps the toddler and pre-school child, two years and up, make music while playing with blocks. Mix and match five brightly colored blocks, giving you a million possible compositions.

Comes with a Mozart cartridge. Four C batteries required. Additional music cartridges are available from $9.99 to $19.99. Priced at $59.99 at


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Devora loves the watering can
as much as her nephew.

Rabbit in Watering Can Puppet is one of the numerous creations from Folkmanis, the world’s leading puppet maker.  Folkmanis brought imagination to life with the debut of 22 amazing new items at the Toy Fair. This is a new line of playful enchanting figures for children of all ages.

Three adorable baby products new to the market are the Huggable Sleepy Kitty and Sleepy Frog as travel companions for little ones, and My First 1-2-3 Puppets Book.

Johnathan got the Rabbit in Watering Can to try out. All he could do was watch as his aunt, Devora, manipulated the rabbit for her own amusement. A good time was had by both.

The rabbit is priced at $24. You can see all the puppets at


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KidzMouse is a computer mouse fashioned especially for little hands. This baby clicks for kids. It is a half-sized computer mouse, which features a squeezable head for easier clicking by young children.

New child-friendly mice were introduced at Toy Fair, modeled after Sesame Street (Elmo and Cookie Monster) and Nickelodeon characters.

KidzMouse works the way a child’s hand works. The child clicks with a squeeze rather than a tap. You don’t need special software. Just plug the mouse into the PC and the kid is ready to compute.

KidzMouse comes in a variety of different styles. See them all at Priced from $23 to $29.


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Feelin’ Good is the first release in a series of family-oriented entertainment from Laughing Pizza Productions. This integrated package includes a 12-song CD, a 30-minute video and an interactive DVD. The combine entertainment with inspirational messages. On the video, each song is introduced by interviews of kids talking about things that interest them. Suitable for children from 4 to 9, that underserved gap between Barney and Britney, according to the singing/songwriting husband/wife team of Billy Schlosser and Lisa Michaelis.

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See Yourself Talk

Talking Picture Frame from RadioShack does just that: it displays two 3”x5” or two 4”x6” photos that talk! Your snapshots really come to life with this photo frame. All you do is add a personal message of 10 seconds on a computer chip.

You can hear the message again and again at the touch of a button. It makes a great gift to your loved ones. Perfect for any birthday and Mother’s Day.

Available at $24.99 at RadioShack stores and online at


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Loaded Questions, an exciting board game for 3-6 players, aged teen to adult, will test them on how well they know each other. Play with your boyfriend or girlfriend and you’ll have fun discovering their true feelings. Box contains game board, die, answer pad, question cards, 6 pencils and 6 game pieces. A separate Re-Loaded Questions Booster Pack offers updated questions reflecting new events and issues. Among the reasons to buy it, according to entrepreneur Eric Poses, is that it will revolutionize your social calendar, it’s odor free, the blue box goes well with any outfit, and it’s the perfect answer to “What should we do now?”

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