- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Some highlights and trends at the American International Toy Fair culled from a reporter’s notebook:

• Dinosaurs are expected to be big this year as both Mattel Inc. — as well as its subsidiary, Fisher-Price — and Hasbro Inc. release interactive animatronic prehistoric creatures.

Mattel’s D-Rex ($150 this fall) will walk around, make up to 100 different roaring noises and wag his tail when petted. He even responds to voices and light, meaning he can make noise when he notices that his owner’s bedroom door opens, making it particularly attractive to 8-year-old boys.

For the younger (3- to 6-year-old) crowd, Fisher Price is releasing Spike the Ultra Dinosaur ($139.99 in June). The remote-controlled toy will walk around, stand on his hind legs, growl and throw a boulder.

Hasbro’s Playskool plans to release Kota the Triceratops ($300 this fall), a 40-inch baby dinosaur that will react to touch by moving his head, tail and horns and roaring. Youngsters can ride on the back of the toy, too.

• H2GO: Corgi International is releasing the first fuel-cell-powered car. The sleek vehicle doesn’t require disposable batteries and can be operated by remote control for up to 6 minutes on one load of hydrogen.

Not only is the product sleek and environmentally friendly, it also “demystifies something very mysterious” — splitting water, said Trevor Hayes, vice president of global design and development at Corgi.

The $129 package comes with a solar-powered panel that splits a small tank of water into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is released and the hydrogen is stored in a pump as car fuel.

• Elmo Live: It’s been 12 years since Elmo prompted fights in shopping centers for the surprise-hit ticklish doll. This year, the latest version of the doll has the potential to prompt a repeat.

Fisher Price Inc., a subsidiary of Mattel Inc., is developing Elmo Live, the most animated Elmo yet. The doll looks as if it’s being controlled by puppeteers. Elmo’s mouth moves as he tells stories and jokes, sings songs or asks for a hug. He also sits, stands and crosses his legs.

Elmo Live, which will sell for $59.99, is scheduled to be in stores in October.

• Beanie Babies 2.0: Ty Inc. also will release an updated version of their 1990s hit with Beanie Babies 2.0. The latest version of the plush dolls comes with a code to access beaniebabies20.com to play with the avatar of the plush doll.

The new Beanie Babies will sell for $6.99 to $7.99.

• Movie and television-show tie-ins: Hannah Montana, High School Musical and Speed Racer were ubiquitous products at the international fair this year.

Mattel plans to release a series of Hot Wheels tracks that correspond with scenes from the movie “Speed Racer,” a family racing film based on an animated series and from the creators of “The Matrix.” It also plans to release helmets to wear and steering wheels to control. To go with “Batman: The Dark Knight” movie, it plans to release a series of corresponding toys, including a pair of bat wings to wear.

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