- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The holidays are a time filled with warmth, good cheer and blah, blah, blah. Let’s get down to the serious portion of the show - gifts for those good little girls and boys. No, not socks, not that annoying light-up sweater vest or sacks of roasted chestnuts. Let’s talk toys.

* Hasbro’s My Little Pony Sweet Sundae Amusement Park (ages 4 and older, $42.99) is a play set filled with amusement-park fun. My Little Pony miniature figures can ride the spinning Ferris wheel and roller coaster before heading over to an ice-cream parlor filled with sweet treats made especially for them. Play accessories include the roller-coaster car, soda can, popcorn, French fries, ice-cream cones, hot dog and tray, sunscreen bottle, giraffe and teddy-bear carnival-game prizes.

* A baby doll to cherish from Goldberger, Mommy’s Baby Belinda Iris (ages 2 and older, $24.99), interacts in several ways - she laughs, cries, blinks, gently snores, calls mama and papa, and eats using the enclosed plate, spoon, fork and bottle. Best of all, she is a soft-body doll dressed in baby-blanket-soft romper and headband.

* My Life from Playmates Toys (ages 8 and older, $59.99) is a virtual-world video game children control. Purse-sized and portable, it enables girls to customize their virtual lives by creating their own avatars, pets and lifestyles. With pets come responsibilities, and with fashion comes shopping, which requires money. On-screen tasks include pet care, games, the ability to earn money and spend it shopping, and a calendar to keep the child’s real life organized. My Life owners can exchange text messages, send and receive virtual gifts and share fashion finds. Sharing technology is based on an infrared connection and requires another My Life user to work.

* Radica Games Ltd.’s Girl Tech Stylin’ Studio (ages 8 and older, $60) is a fun application that has children and adults performing virtual makeovers. A built-in webcam takes a steady hand, but the photos, once downloaded to the computer, can be given the makeover treatment, including a variety of hairstyles, clothing, makeup and accessories. This editing tool promises to have new downloads available through its Web site.

* Fisher-Price’s Dora Saves the Snow Princess Prance and Fly Pegasus (ages 3 and older, $39.99) has little girls reliving this popular Dora the Explorer tale. Pegasus features a saddle designed to securely hold the 10-inch doll when she’s walking or flying. Press a button on Pegasus’ neck to hear Dora sing and for Pegasus to walk on his own. Press another button, and Pegasus spreads his wings, allowing the horse, doll and little one’s imagination to take flight.

* Adopt a new family member with WowWee Alive’s Lion Cub (ages 3 and older, $49.99). The cub is one in a series of superrealistic robotic animal companions from the company. This fantastic feline has an assortment of features, including realistic fur color, texture and pattern; blinking eyes; and a sound-synced animated mouth. Not only does the lower jaw on the mouth open, but the face also is realistically animated.

* The Playmobil Fairy World (ages 4 and older, $7.99 to $35.99) creates a whole universe perfect for magical fun. The universe’s centerpiece is the Fairy Garden ($35.99), which features a throne for the Fairy Queen and a pier for the Water Lily Fairy. Other play features include a treasure chest with a hiding place and leafy trees. It comes with Fairy Queen, Water Fairy and Garden Fairy dolls. Other play sets add on to the Fairy Garden, including the Tree Stump ($7.99), Carriage with Unicorn ($18.99), Flower Wheel Barrel ($6.99), Water Lily ($6.99) and Rickshaw ($9.99). Each set comes with a different collectible fairy.

* A Disney Store exclusive, the Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Doll and Wardrobe Play Set (ages 3 and older, $39.50) features an 11-inch Princess Aurora doll with four exquisitely trimmed dresses, shoes and jeweled tiaras packaged in a storybook box that will serve as a neat storage case once opened. Sets also are available for Belle, Cinderella and Ariel.

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