Only the Best Earn the PET Seal of Approval from
The 15 Minutes Products Evaluation Team

Senior PET
Tim Boxer

Junior PET
Johnathan Boxer

Schoenhut Deluxe Piano StakXchange
Radio Flyer Red Wagon ThinkFun
Excalibur GrayMatter
ABC Toy Barrow King David Coffee
Mark Feldstein

Start ‘em Young

CHOENHUT is the reputed leader in the world of toy pianos since 1872 when German emigrant Albert Schoenhut founded the venerable company. The current catalog offers pianos, grand and spinets to suit children of all ages. Its new Schoenhut Traditional Deluxe Spinet, Model 6637MB, has a keyboard almost half the size of an adult model.

With 37 keys, it’s not a toy. Although designed for the 3 to 9 year old musicians, 18-month Johnathan was thrilled with this extremely fine musical instrument. Our Junior PET is applying himself with vigor.

According to the specs, this piano does not use conventional taut wires seen in full-size models. Rather, small hammers striking precision-ground German steel music rods produce the chime-like notes – producing beautiful sound.

Schoenhut’s patented Learning System Songbook is included with the piano. A removable color strip fits behind the keys to guide Johnathan’s small fingers from chord to chord, developing basic playing skills while reinforcing confidence.

The durable vintage toy piano is carefully crafted by hand of maple, birch and hardwood. It stands 24 inches high, 24¾ inches wide and 12 inches deep. The fine matching bench is 14 inches wide, 11 inches high and 8 inches deep.

Piano sells for approximately $250. See more models at


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Little Red Wagon
A Rite Of Passage

ADIO FLYER Big Red Classic ATW is a beauty. This All Terrain Wagon Model 1800, weighing in at 35.5 pounds, can hold up to 250 pounds capacity. Of course your young’un is far from capacity, as the wagon accommodates children ages 18 months and older.

The little red wagon, embraced by children for generations, features a deeper interior and higher sides to keep you child secure. Real air tires give a soft quiet ride.  The long handle folds under for storage.

Grandma Nina took Johnathan for his inaugural outing in the time-honored Big Red Wagon. This traditional wagon has long served as an American rite of passage for kids. Johnathan grunted with satisfaction, awarding the Big Red Classic his Junior PET Seal of Approval.

Radio Flyer Inc. has been churning out the legendary metal wagons in Chicago ever since the company was founded in 1917 by Italian immigrant Antonio Pasin. His grandsons, chief executive Robert Pasin and executive vice president Paul Pasin, continue the grand tradition to the delight of countless children.

In a cost cutting gesture, the manufacture of the metal wagons will be shifted to China. The tricycles are already made there. Plastic wagons are still being made in Wisconsin. Head office and distribution, however, remain in the Windy City.

Here’s another cost cutting move that’s entirely to your advantage. Listed at $134.99, this Big Red Classic No.1800 can be yours for the sale price of $96.99 at


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Great Games By Excalibur

ITH E-Solitaire you can play anywhere. This sleek electronic solitaire game fits smoothly in your pocket or briefcase. Play 1 or 3 cards in standard and Vegas style. Good size LCD display. Ideal for ages 7 and above. Requires two AAA batteries. Model 470 costs $19.95 at

THEY say just toss Excalibur’s SunScreen in the air and it lands ready to use in seconds. And they’re right. This self-opening sunscreen is great for anyone out in the sun—on the beach, in the park and at the pool. If you’re sensitive to the sun’s harsh rays, this is an ideal tool to get you outside and protected from UV.

It has a floor size of 6 feet in diameter, with a center height of 5 feet, and weighs under 5 pounds. It folds neatly so you can put it back into the car.

Suggested price $79.95.

STAY card sharp with the Deluxe LCD Bridge. Insert three AAA batteries and you’re ready to go up against the computer. You bid and play the hand, or call up expert tips. The electronic hand-held game uses American 5-card major bidding, no-trump, and allows slam bidding.

There are three levels of play. You can review bidding and cards played in the last trick. The memory saver allows you to finish your game later. Recommended for ages 14 and up.


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Deal ‘n Wheel

HE ABC Toy Barrow from ALEX Toys is loaded with fun. Johnathan is learning to keep neat by stashing his small playthings in this finely constructed toy box on wheels. Then he continues to enjoy his wheelbarrow as he pulls and pushes it around the house.

The toy box side panels are brightly colored making it an attractive addition to any child’s room. The rubberized wheels protect floors and carpets. Easy assembly.

Geared for kids ages 3 and up. Get it at


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New From Feldstein

ARK FELDSTEIN and Associates, based in Maumee, Ohio, distributes useful items, some of which I find endearing. One such item is the Elvis Alarm Clock. It requires three AA batteries. Set the alarm, and when it’s time doors open to reveal an image of Elvis Presley in a scene from the movie Jailhouse Rock. With flashing lights to dazzle your bleary eyes, an actual recording of Jailhouse Rock will get you out of bed. What better way to greet the dawn? All for $12.50 at

Another item I liked is the Illuminator Wind-Up Flashlight. There are no batteries or bulbs to burn out and replace. Spend a minute to wind it up and you’ll have an hour’s worth of light. You can choose two levels of brightness from its three LEDs. Great for emergencies; better still is to keep one in the car. Smart sleek design for $12.50.


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King Of The Market

OU too can play on Wall Street. Enter the trading world without spending a dime. Just get StakXchange. This commodities and futures trading game allows you to buy and sell commodities. Rise to the top of the game as the wealthiest player and dazzle your hapless opponents.

The board game consists of 2 dice, 6 tokens, 40 technical analysis cards, 40 fundamental analysis cards, 20 expiration cards, 260 contract cards, play money and instructions.

Deposits and price fluctuations mimic the trading activities in the American markets, so you feel like you’re standing on the trading floor making a killing.

Suitable for ages 8 and beyond, 3 to 6 players. More information at


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ThinkFun For Challenges

OR ages 8 and above, ThinkFun offers a couple of mind challenging games sure to entertain. Fifteen Puzzle encourages thinking, exploring, solving.  This stainless steel and enamel version of the original puzzle first introduced in 1933, will give you lots of joy – or frustration. Depends how good you are in solving the puzzle. You have to slide the 15 numbered tiles in the tray in numerical order. No mean feat, I can tell you. Priced at $10.

Amaze is a handheld maze that changes as you play. So you wind up with 16 easy-to-hard maze challenges. The instruction booklet also contains solutions. Priced at $10.

Mini Bingo is for 2 or more players ages 6 and above. This little item, which looks like a traditional cash register with three keys. You press the keys to get your numbers. Comes with a master checklist, 12 cards, 150 transparent markers and instructions. You can have family bingo nights everywhere you travel. Priced at $12. You may order any of these games, and see more, at


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Play And Learn

ERE’S a game to test your gray matter. GrayMatter generates entertainment and education for teens and adults, bridging the generations. In its first three months of operations, this knowledge-based board game, launched in Canada last fall, outdid Trivial Pursuit's initial first-quarter sales (October through December) in the Canadian market by a two-to-one ratio. “In other words,” says Simon Ashdown of Gray Games, “when you compare the sales performance of the first three months of both products, Gray comes out ahead of TOP by a two-to-one ratio.”

The game includes a board, playing pieces, die, and 1,000 questions and answers. If you don’t care about one category of questions, you can opt for a different category, so you’re always in the game. There are four categories to choose from.

The answer cards provide not only with the requisite one-word answer, but follow up with additional information. So you learn more about various things than you thought you knew.

Families can play the entire game in an hour. Priced at $34.95. See more at


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For A Superb Cup Of Coffee

OT all coffees are created equal. They come in different tastes and aromas, depending on such variables as the botanical strain of the plant, local growing conditions and cultivation techniques. Samuel Brest, president of King David Coffee Roasters, says only 6 percent of the coffee grown can qualify as specialty coffee. And that’s what he makes.

He obtains superior coffee from specific areas around the world. He roasts each type of coffee in small batches using a traditional gas-fired drum roaster in a century-old building on the Merrimack River in Nashua, New Hampshire.

The Brest technique is to roast coffee on the lighter side. The darker the roast, the more oil from the bean is present. Light roasted coffee doesn’t have much, if any, oil on the surface of the bean.

Specialty coffees are made to order at Choose coffee from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Sumatra, Papua New Guinea at $11.95 a pound.

The very best grade of Hawaiian Kona, one of the finest coffees available, is an outstanding treat at $24.95 a pound. Expensive but, you will agree, well worth it.

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