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2008 Holiday Gift Guide - Hottest toys
Question of the Day
The Techno Source’s Disney Clickables Fairy Game (ages 7 and older, $19.99) combines a software download, a “members only” Web site, and a set of stand-alone toys that easily connect to a Vista/2000 PC. Beyond the technology, what your little fairy has is an interactive Pixie Hollow universe of games and rewards contained in a hand-held unit.
At the core of the play is the Clickables Fairy Charms Starter Set (ages 7 and older, $29.99). This set includes the magic jewelry box, a charm necklace and three special collectible charms, all featuring a Pixie Hollow fairy and all sprinkled with Clickables Technology Pixie Dust.
The back of each charm has a pattern of silver dots that matches the raised metal pegs on the jewelry box and the hand-held video-game player. Both the hand-held game and the jewelry box connect to the computer via an enclosed USB cord. As the charms are matched to the pegs, they unlock fairy gifts, including clothing, jewelry and decorative items for that charm’s matching online fairy.
* The Island of Sodor has gotten just a bit bigger with the Learning Curve Thomas and Friends Talking Railway Series. The Great Discovery Set (ages 3 and older, $149.95) features new engine-recognition technology.
Thomas has taken a high-tech turn with the Talking Railway Series, giving voice to Sir Topham Hatt and the engines. When engines drive past the Morgan’s Mine and Great Waterton Station buildings, Sir Topham Hatt greets them by name, giving them a compliment or a task to do. There are more than 130 phrases.
The Great Discovery Set contains two Talking Railway trains - Thomas and Stanley - 29 pieces of track, a bridge and walkway, conductor figure and tree. The pieces will combine with other Thomas wooden railway sets.
* Connect the VTech Kidi Art Studio (ages 4 to 7, $79.99) to a television and watch your children’s creativity grow. This art studio combines photography, clip art and your children’s drawn or painted pieces, displaying them on the television or PC screen.
This art table has an arm-mounted digital camera that can be positioned to photograph your child’s art creation or removed to take snapshots. Using the Kidi Art Studio editing tools, those pictures then can be transformed into a variety of projects - posters, cards, photo puzzles, stop-motion animation and more - leading to hours of creative play.
* Go into battle with Bakugan by Spin Master Ltd. (ages 6 and older, $11.99 and up) and become the supreme battle brawler. This highly collectible game is already the rage around the world and promises to be among the hard-to-find toys of the season.
Bakugan, which means “exploding ball,” are large marble-size balls that transform into fantasylike creatures when tossed onto magnetic cards. Two players, each with three Bakugan Brawlers of various strengths and skills, battle each other across the battle arena, hoping to land on a gate card, opening a Bakugan Brawler.
There are plenty of accessories, such as the Battle Arena ($29.99) and Launcher ($15.99), which will be on many children’s lists. A must-have for any Bakugan Brawler collection is the BakuRack ($19.99), a portable carrying and storage bin for all those marblelike creatures.
About the Author
A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 17 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.
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