COMMENTARY: The Best of Both Worlds

My fondest childhood memories always involve some sort of book. Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, and the Baby-Sitters Club series played a huge role in my adolescence, and I still feel the pang of sweet nostalgia when I see these titles today. Part of my job is to round up toys, mobile apps, games, music, and books to feature in Toy Insider, but in recent months I find myself frantically searching for books to include while games, toys, and especially apps appear in abundance. I am a bit resistant to change, as I still prefer to hold a book in my hand to a Kindle or Nook, so the decline of printed books had me bogged down a bit. As I began searching for books to feature, I realized that reading is reading, and anything that brings a child to find his or her inner bibliophile is A-OK with me. There are so many new platforms for reading that don’t leave out books but take them to a new level, and we have to keep up!

8341295_0_9999_med_v1_m56577569853114439I am fascinated by the LeapReader Read & Write System by LeapFrog. This company is known for its kid-friendly tablets, but this new product has the coolest gadgets and gizmos that should make any child excited about story time. Starting with the very basics, the LeapReader Read & Write books will help your child learn to read and write by sounding out words and guiding letter strokes interactively. The set includes the LeapReader Reading and Writing System, an activity sampler book, one learning paper writing sheet, and free downloads of one audio book bundle, one music album, and one trivia fun pack. I think the coolest part is that interactive handwriting guidance helps children learn to write stroke-by-stroke on mess-free, no ink LeapFrog learning paper—which is also ecofriendly! There are more than 150 books and audiobooks available to add to the set, of which my personal favorite is Learn to Write Letters with Mr. Pencil. [Read more...]

Monsters University Roars Into Retail

Spin Master's My Scare Pal Sulley

Spin Master’s My Scare Pal Sulley

Disney Consumer Products is rolling out a product collection inspired by Disney·Pixar’s newest film, Monsters University, starring Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan, “Sulley,” (voiced by John Goodman). The licensing program consists of more than 1,000 products from 125 licensees that celebrate the fun of Monsters University, which releases in theaters June 21. The product collection includes action figures, playsets, plush figures, apparel, accessories, home décor, publishing products, and more. An exclusive collection from Disney Store and DisneyStore.com is also available.

Products include role-play toys from Spin Master, playsets from Imaginext, T-shirts from Threadless, children’s footwear from etnies, a comforter set from Jay Franco, crib bedding from Kids Line, furniture from Delta Children, and themed Blue Raspberry Flavorz from Crunch Pak.

The line from the Disney Store and DisneyStore.com includes plush and pin collections, action figures, rolling luggage, books, and journals.