- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 15, 2016

Here’s a selection of top gift ideas for young hero fans in the family.

Big-Figs Batman (Jakks Pacific, $99.99, 3 AA batteries included, for ages 3 and older) – Pint-sized crime fighters can now stand toe-to-toe with their favorite superhero in this 4-foot-tall version of the DC Comics famed Dark Knight — that’s right, 48 inches tall.

This imposing figure celebrates his noir comic book and cartoon roots wearing a black-and-grey costume with bright-yellow utility belt and a black cloth cape. Bruce Wayne’s alter ego can twist his head, raise his arms and also has an illuminating trick to appreciate.

Specially, the bat logo on his chest lights up to offer two levels of brightness for a daytime action mode and night-light mode.

Especially cool is turning him on in dark rooms and the bat signal actually projects on a wall.

I can’t think of a better way to watch a young Batman fan’s eyes light up than seeing this version of the Caped Crusader hiding out around the Christmas tree.

Talk-to-Me Mikey (Playmates, $39.99, 3 AAA batteries included, for ages 4 and older) – One of the popular “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” gives young fans an interactive thrill through a hard-plastic, 6.5-inch-tall figure.

Specifically, Michelangelo’s pint-sized doppelganger offers 100 phrases and a dozen sound effects, responds to movement, will sing three songs and even answers 10 questions posed by the owner. Yes, cowabunga indeed.

Ask him to sing a song, and he kicks in a rap in his child-like voice. Ask him, “How are your ninja skills?” He says, “Totally awesome.” Do you like being a turtle? He responds, “If you knew how great it was, you’d be green with jealousy.” He’ll even predict the future while answering yes-or-no questions.

Equally impressive, shake him up and down to get a belch or a noise sure to make at least every male in the family giggle. Spin him on his shell, and he exclaims “check it out, I’m break dancing.”

Suffice to report, a child will be mesmerized by his new Ninja Turtle pal that makes for one of the cooler toy choices this holiday season.

Mega Maui (Jakks Pacific, $59.99, 2 AAA batteries included, for ages 3 and older) – At 16 inches tall and 14 inches wide, this detailed and softer plastic version of the Polynesian demigod co-starring in Disney’s animated hit “Moana” will impress younger owners.

The stout Maui features fantastic detail of all of his iconic tattoos on his bare chest, back and arms, wears a rubbery leaf skirt and can hold the included magical fishhook.

When a child presses his bone necklace, he will hear the doll say (spoken by the actor vocalizing him in the film, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, no less), a dozen of his movie phrases, such as “of course, where are my manners? Maui always has time for his fans” or “You got it bad, the fever. Maui fever.”

He will also sing a compacted chorus of his signature song “You’re Welcome” that will impress parents (I never knew The Rock could sing?) as well as children.

Glitterific Guy Diamond (Hasbro, $29.99, for ages 4 and older) – From DreamWorks’ wacky animated film “Trolls,” based on Thomas Dam’s famous dolls, comes this 13-inch-tall homage to one of cartoon’s perpetually naked and too-hip stars.

The small-hands friendly, plastic doll features a sparkly, robin’s egg blue body (and butt cheeks), big ears, green nose, bright eyes and five points of articulation. And, as standard to all trolls, he also has a Don King-sized soft hair-do sprinkled with silver strands and it’s managed with the included comb.

Mr. Diamond also comes with a pair of hip shades and furry sideburns to match his outrageous hairstyle.

Speak to Me Bubbles (Spin Master, $19.99, 3 1.5 volt LR44 button cell batteries included, for ages 3 and older) – The Powerpuff Girls, Cartoon Network’s female superhero, continues to find new fans with options to view their exploits through televised reruns as well as streaming services.

That translates into more fun toys for young girls including this 12-inch-tall, plush, cuddly and interactive Bubbles.

Considered the cute and sensitive “sugar” ingredient of the team, she features short blonde hair in two pigtails, light blue eyes and a light blue dress but also has an occasional temper when protecting Townsville USA from villains and monsters.

The doll will actually mimic what an owner says to it after following a series of steps. First, press Bubbles’ belly, wait for the beep, and speak any phrase near it while the button is pressed. Next, press its midsection again to hear the recorded phrase in the character’s high-pitched voice.

Of course, the “Speak to Me” series also offers her sisters Blossom and Buttercup, sold separately, with the same vocal interactivity for plenty of imaginative play.

XPV RC Skateboarding Mikey (Jakks Pacific, $59.99, 6 C batteries required, for ages 4 and older) – Fans can now control “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” Michelangelo using a very kid-friendly, radio-controlled vehicle and figure combination that delivers some high-speed and dazzling action.

Children get a 12-inch-tall version of Michelangelo based on his current cartoon form perched on one foot while standing atop a 15-inch-long skateboard.

With use of a two-button toggle remote controller (2AA batteries included), shaped like a pair of nunchuks surrounding a sewer cover, owners can propel him forward or make him spin. That leads to showing off some of Mikey’s slick, skateboarding prowess that includes wheelies, 360-degree spins and 720-degree spins, as well as spins on one foot.

The skateboard runs best on large areas with flat surfaces, and if Mikey does fall over, simply hit the spin button again to see him quickly get back up.

The controller also has a built-in speaker to offer 20 sound effect and iconic phrases from the famed Ninja Turtle.

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