aNb Media News, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to all! The next news alert will go out on Tuesday, November 30.

Great News This Thanksgiving

Kathy Hawk and son Justin Hawk

We reported right after the Fall Toy Preview that Funrise’s Kathy Hawk was waiting for her son to return home from the war in Afghanistan. We are thrilled to report that Kathy sent us an update. Her son, Cpl. Justin Hawk USMC, (how’s that for an action figure name!) returned home safely on Wednesday night, November 10—just in time for Veterans Day.

Justin’s family and friends were anxiously waiting at Camp Pendleton for his return. Kathy says that even his case manager, Yolanda from Scripps Rehabilitation Center, was there to welcome him home. Justin had suffered a near life-ending brain injury, made a complete recovery, and was redeployed to Afghanistan.

Please keep all the troops and veterans in your thoughts this Thanksgiving.

TOTY Nominees Announced

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced its nominees for the 2011 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards during a media event in New York City yesterday. Along with the announcement, the TIA launched a new website,, that allows kids of all ages to vote for their favorite toys. Now through January 14, 2011, families can vote, download a Holiday Gift Guide, and register to win prizes.

The finalists were selected by Nomination Committees from a record 500-plus toys, games, and properties submitted for consideration across 11 categories. The committees—one for each category—were comprised of journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers, and toy retailers.

In addition to the consumer vote, ballots were launched for retailers, media, and members of the toy industry. Each will be weighted and used to determine the TOTY 2011 winners, including the overall “Toy of the Year” award. Winners will be announced during the TOTY Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 12, 2011, as the kick-off to Toy Fair.

Also announced were the next inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Al Verrecchia, chairman of the board of directors for Hasbro, and the late Donald Duncan, founder of Duncan Toy Company, will be recognized for their outstanding contributions and service to the toy industry during the TOTY Awards ceremony in February.

Here are the nominees for the 2011 TOTY Awards:

Activity Toy of the Year: Crayola Color Wonder Sound Studio (Crayola); LEGO Atlantis Neptune Carrier (LEGO); LEGO Toy Story Western Train Chase (LEGO); Paper Jamz Guitar (WowWee); Play-Doh Mega Fun Factory (Hasbro); Real Construction Deluxe Workshop (Jakks Pacific)

Boy Toy of the Year: Air Hogs Hawk Eye (Spin Master); Hot Wheels RC Stealth Rides (Mattel); Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS Blaster (Hasbro); Real Construction Deluxe Workshop (Jakks Pacific); Spy Net Video Watch (Jakks Pacific); Toy Story 3 Blast Off Buzz Lightyear (Thinkway); Tron: Legacy Zero Gravity Light Cycle (Spin Master)

Educational Toy of the Year: Alphie (Playskool); Furnished School Building (Playmobil); iXL Learning System (Fisher-Price); Leapster Explorer Learning Experience (LeapFrog); Math Dice Jr. Kid’s First Mental Math Game (ThinkFun); MobiGo (VTech); V.Reader (VTech)

Game of the Year: 5 Second Rule (Patch Products); LEGO Games Creationary (LEGO); LEGO Games Minotaurus (LEGO); Loopz (Radica); Rory’s Story Cubes (Gamewright); Scrabble Flash (Hasbro/Parker Bros.); Spot It! (Blue Orange Games)

Girl Toy of the Year: Barbie Video Girl (Mattel); Furreal Friends GoGo, My Walkin’ Pup (Hasbro); Justin Bieber Music Video Collection Singing Figures (The Bridge Direct); Monster High Doll Assortment (Mattel); Princess & Me 18-inch Dolls (Jakks Pacific); Squinkies Cupcake Surprize! Bake Shop (Blip Toys); Zoobles (Spin Master Ltd.)

Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year (up to 36 months): Explore ’n Grow Musical Gear Center (Playskool); Laugh & Learn Learn & Move Music Station (Fisher-Price); LEGO Duplo Play with Numbers (LEGO); Lil’ Zoomers Spinnin’ Sounds Speedway (Fisher-Price); Mega Bloks Pull-Along Musical Pirate Ship (MEGA Brands); My First Disney Princess Baby Dolls (Tollytots, a division of Jakks); My Own Leaptop (LeapFrog)

Innovative Toy of the Year: iXL Learning System (Fisher-Price); LEGO Games Minotaurus (LEGO); Paper Jamz Guitar (WowWee); Scrabble Flash (Hasbro/Parker Bros.); Spy Net Video Watch (Jakks Pacific); The Sing-a-ma-jigs! (Mattel); V.Reader (VTech)

Outdoor Toy of the Year: Flickin’ Chicken (Haywire Group); Makin’ Mudpies (Little Tikes); Nerf Super Soaker Shot Blast (Hasbro); Razor Siege Caster Scooter (Razor); Sky Ball and Bat (Maui Toys); Whiplash (Street Surfing); Ybike (National Sporting Goods)

Preschool Toy of the Year (ages 3–5): Dance Star Mickey (Fisher-Price); iXL Learning System (Fisher-Price); My Take Along Puppet Theater (Playmobil); The Sing-a-ma-jigs! (Mattel); Tonka Chuck & Friends Chuck’s Stunt Park (Hasbro); V.Reader (VTech)

Property of the Year: Ben 10 Ultimate Alien (Cartoon Network Enterprises); Chuggington (Ludorum); Dinosaur Train (The Jim Henson Company); Monster High (Mattel); Thomas & Friends (HIT Entertainment); Toy Story 3 (Disney Consumer Products)

Specialty Toy of the Year: Furnished School Building (Playmobil); Hexbug Nano Habitat Set (Innovation First Labs); My Take Along Puppet Theater (Playmobil); Shrinky Dinks Deluxe (Creativity for Kids/Faber-Castell); Solitaire Chess (ThinkFun); Uppy Uglydoll (Pretty Ugly LLC)