China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Why I Love Elmo

by Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom

bighugsI’ve loved Elmo for as long as I can remember … and I’m not alone! He spans generations of boys, girls, kids, and adults. And while one might be able to argue that Mickey Mouse has the same appeal (and in many ways he does), every year there’s a brand new Elmo for a brand new group of kids to bring home and to love. But be warned, not all Elmo’s are alike.

When my kids were toddlers Elmo came in the form of a simple stuffed animal. He was cherished by all my girls, but especially my oldest, now 23. Today, she still adores him. I’ve actually had my ups and downs with Elmo (though my true love for him never really falters) as he has engaged in the world of technology.

Every holiday season I’m asked, “What’s the new Tickle Me Elmo this year?” and I think to myself, “I hope there isn’t one.”  Yes, Tickle Me Elmo, from Fisher-Price, was a retailer’s and a manufacturer’s dream toy—a toy retailers couldn’t keep in stock because demand was so high, and at the time, no one had ever seen such innovation in plush. Add the Elmo factor and it was a solid hit (followed by a few more, such as the extreme version). But while it was sold out everywhere, sold for huge markups by individuals, and fought over in stores—and as cool as the innovation was—this was not my favorite Elmo. I could never watch Elmo laugh or roll over on the floor, pounding the floor and laughing, without full out laughing myself. The problem was that I was just watching. [Read more...]

Hot Holiday Toys Announced!

Elmo and Harry Potter Toys Headline the List of Top Picks in Sixth Annual Holiday Toy Guide

The Toy Insider (www.thetoyinsider.com), an annual holiday toy guide, announced today its HOT 20 TOYS for the 2011 holiday season, including Scene It? Harry Potter: The Complete Cinematic Journey, Let’s Rock Elmo, Redakai Championship Tin and LeapPad. The HOT 20 is the kick-off section of the Toy Insider, which will run in full in the November 17, 2011 issue of Woman’s Day magazine, on newsstands November 1, 2011.

Now in its sixth year, the Toy Insider features expert toy and gift recommendations at all price points, making it easy for all gift givers to find the perfect holiday gift for every kid on their lists. All of the toys in the guide have been selected by a panel of toy trend experts, led by industry veterans Jonathan Samet, Publisher of The Toy Book, and Laurie Schacht, TOY INSIDER MOM and Contributing Toy Editor to Woman’s Day.  Laurie is also the leading spokesperson to consumers on toys and gifts, making regular appearances on the TODAY SHOW, ABC NEWS, GOOD DAY NEW YORK and many others. The panel also includes Jackie Breyer, Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, the leading trade publication in the toy industry, and Reyne Rice, a leading toy trend expert. The Toy Insider team spent the past year reviewing and evaluating all of the latest toys to identify the most compelling and hottest new products to help gift givers get an early start on their holiday shopping.

This year’s edition is the biggest one ever, filled with 110 toy recommendations from more than 80 different manufacturers.  The Toy Insider is an excellent resource and user-friendly guide for gift giving. It includes gift ideas for all ages and both genders, broken out by age group (0-2 years old, 3-5 years old, 6-8 years old and 9+ years old).  Each section features an in-depth description of the developmental needs and interests for that specific age group to assist any holiday shopper in finding the perfect gift.  A unique toy skill key, located on the HOT 20 page, provides a list of icons that are matched to each toy, offering even greater convenience with age-appropriate gift giving.

[Read more...]