China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Musical Toys

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of watching a live jazz band play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The musicians seemed to thoroughly enjoy the set, and everyone in the audience was having a blast. Remembering my own days in the school band and piano recitals, I thought about how kids can be influenced early on by musical toys and instruments. Here are some of my favorites:

The Recorder

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Stripe Recorder, from Sassafras

A classic. I can almost hear “Hot Cross Buns” just by looking at one. Recorders, while often a symbol of fourth-grade music class, can actually be a gateway into other instruments for kids. While the standard plastic, beige soprano recorder reigns supreme among young players, there are alternatives, such as Melissa and Doug’s Makin’ Music wooden recorder, Sassafras’ Stripe Recorder, or colorful recorders from 1stNote. Alfred Music Publishing offers songbooks featuring tunes from The Wizard of Oz, Looney Tunes, and others.

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30 Key Fancy Baby Grand, from Schoenhut

The Piano

FirstAct offers a Dora the Explorer electronic keyboard for kids to explore music and try out different sound effects. Kids that want a more classical experience can enjoy Schoenhut’s 30 Key Fancy Baby Grand toy piano. For the youngest pianists, Hasbro offers the Sesame Street Let’s Rock Cookie Monster keyboard, featuring one octave of wide, easy-to-press keys.

The Drums

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Learn To Play Electronic Keyboard, from Discovery Kids

Kids that are more rhythmically inclined will enjoy Discovery Kids’ Learn To Play Electronic Drumpad. The battery-operated drumpad features drum sticks and adjustable tempo. Kids can follow the light patterns to play any of eight different rhythms. Union’s Toy Drum set features a bass drum, crash cymbal, and snare drum for little drummers to rock and roll. For a more laid-back beat, Remo’s Kids Bongo lets kids bang it out in colorful style, and are pitched high and low.

What are your kids’ favorite instruments? Let us know in the comment section!

For more commentary from Christine, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

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Warner Bros. Consumer Products has announced its roster of licensees set to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz next year. Master toy partner Jazwares, as well as USAopoly and Mattel, are among the partners. [Read more...]

Spooky Cool Labs, Warner Bros. Announce New Facebook Game

Spooky Cool Labs and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have announced The Wizard of Oz game for Facebook. The game is based on the film and includes music from the original soundtrack. It also features video clips from the film and resemblance of characters , including Judy Garland and Margaret Hamilton.

Players will have the opportunity to build their own Munchkintown by constructing buildings, interacting with locals, and building the Yellow Brick Road to help lead Dorothy and her friends to Emerald City. As players travel through the Land of Oz, they will run into other characters and will have a chance to defend the townspeople from the Wicked Witch of the West and her Winged Monkeys. Player can visit other Munchkinlands and help with quests.

Visit http://apps.facebook.com/wozgame to collect items that The Wicked Witch of the East left behind, as well as the Ruby Slippers, for a limited time.

Costume Changes Continue for Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and Rubie’s Costume Co. (RCC) have announced that they have renewed their global licensing contract. The agreement gives RCC the right to continue producing costumes based on Warner Bros. products, which it’s held since 1999.

RCC’s contract with WBCP includes the North American, Oceanic, Middle Eastern, Asian, and various other markets, with products ranging from franchises such as DC Comics super heroes and Harry Potter, to The Lord of the Rings and The Wizard of Oz.