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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: toys, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. This Is My Dollhouse

This is My Dollhouse. Giselle Potter. 2016. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: This is my dollhouse. It used to be just a cardboard box. But then I painted bricks on the outside and divided the inside into rooms and made wallpaper with my markers and it became almost like a real little house.

Premise/plot: Readers meet an imaginative young girl who loves, loves, loves to play with a dollhouse she created by herself. Readers also meet her friend, Sophie, who has a store bought dollhouse. The two do work out how to play together despite their differences.

My thoughts: I could relate to this one! For me and my sister, it was Barbie doll houses. (She had one. I didn't. She had a *real* refrigerator, mine was out of blocks. She had a *real* bed, mine was an egg carton.) I loved the celebration of imagination AND friendship. I loved the focus on PLAY. Part of me does wonder if kids are allowed enough PLAY time and encouraged to PLAY creatively. I think there is a huge difference between PLAYING and playing on. (I want to play ON the computer. I want to play ON the ipad.)

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on This Is My Dollhouse as of 12/29/2016 2:13:00 PM
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2. USAopoly Introduces New Harry Potter Board Game!

USAopoly recently revived fan-favorite Harry Potter board games, Trivia Pursuit’s World of Harry Potter and Harry Potter CLUE. With multiple editions of well-loved Harry Potter games, it has been years since we’ve seen a brand new Harry Potter board game. With the resurgence of the Harry Potter franchise with the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (both the opening of the play for preview and the script book reaching fans this weekend!!!) and the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films, USAopoly is releasing a new Harry Potter deck building game!


Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle–A Cooperative Deck-Building Game is a new interactive board game that allow players to take on Voldemort as one of their favorite member Dumbledore’s Army (choosing between Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville). Each player must complete seven tasks, each one more challenging, to protect Hogwarts from Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Each player starts with cards specific to their character, and then collects more cards–spells, skills, abilities and more. USAopoly describes the game:


The forces of evil are threatening to overrun HOGWARTS™ castle in this new cooperative game! It’s up to four students to ensure the safety of the school by defeating villains and consolidating their defenses. Players take on the role of a HOGWARTS student: Harry, Ron, Hermione or Neville, each with his or her own personal deck of cards. To secure the castle from the forces of evil the students must work together to build more powerful decks using iconic Wizarding World characters, spells, and items.  Defeat all the villains including He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and win the game!


  • Play together as your favorite heroes! Harry, Ron, Hermione or Neville
  • Relive the excitement of the Wizarding World as you battle evil forces to defend HOGWARTS™
  • Become a more powerful wizard as you learn new spells and acquire more allies and items
  • Unlock new secrets and challenges with each successive game adventure

Fans can preview and play the game for the first time at GenCon in Indianapolis, August 4-7, 2016. A limited number of copies will be available for sale and fans will receive exclusive extra cards with purchase.


The game will be featured and available for purchase at GenCon (with exclusive extra cards!) August 4-7 , and is available for preorder on the Harry Potter Shop website. The game will be shipped out to customers September 15, 2016.


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The Harry Potter Shop describes the game:

“Can you stop the forces of Evil from overtaking Hogwarts Castle? Take on the role of a HOGWARTS student; Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville to defeat the villains and ensure the safety of the school with this Hogwarts Battle Deck Building Game. Each character has his or her own personal deck of cards which is used to acquire resources. Add more cards to the deck to form iconic characters, spells, and magical items. But be weary of villains and the Dark Arts. Other cards allow you to regain health or to fight against villains, keeping them from gaining power. Only by working together will players be able to defeat all of the villains, securing the castle from the forces of evil. Includes game board, chip pieces, markers, health tracker boards, 245 cards, dice, card boxes, rules booklet, and sorting cards. Ages: 11+. 2-4 Players.”

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3. “Fantastic Beasts” Wands Coming to Noble Collection!

Fantastic Beasts has been taking San Diego’s Comic Con (SDCC) by storm! Introducing a new trailer, hosting live Q&A with fansites (Leaky, too!) and panels, the Fantastic Beasts cast and crew has been revealing a lot of new movie magic. Also, keep an eye on the new Wizarding World snapchat for more inside looks at SDCC 2016.

One of the snaps on the new snapchat, and also added to Twitter, revealed Eddie Redmayne showcasing Newt Scamander’s wand for Noble Collection at SDCC 2016.


Noble Collection is one of the greatest distributers of official Harry Potter merchandise and movie replicas. Fans have been wishing and hoping for Fantastic Beasts movie merchandise, and that indeed will eventually be the case. Even better, it seems that Fantastic Beasts merchandise and movie replicas will be added to the Noble Collection!

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4. A First Look at “Fantastic Beasts” LEGOs and T-Shirt!

With the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie due to roll into theaters this November, first looks at film merchandise are beginning to surface.

LEGO website, Bricks Fans recently released images of the packaging of Fantastic Beasts LEGO sets. The new LEGO sets were advertised in the Argos catalogue in the U.K. The images show Newt Scamander, a LEGO Niffler, and MACUSA. The pictures can be seen below. Bricks Fans reports:

“The [LEGO Dimensions Story Pack based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them] will be available in November and will feature a Magical Congress of the United States of America-themed Gateway to add to the LEGO Toy Pad along with a Newt Scamander Minifigure and Niffler gadget. The book also reveals that [the] Story Packs will retail for £39.99 and will feature a 6 level story campaign to enjoyed based on their relevant movies.”


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Warner Bros. recently released the first official Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them t-shirt. This is the first official piece of film merchandise added to the Harry Potter franchise. It is a simple black t-shirt sporting the official Fantastic Beasts logo fans have seen in the Fantastic Beasts trailers. Warner Bros. described the tshirt, saying:

“This is our very first printing of our very first official shirt for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the upcoming film based on J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World! Orders placed by Friday, July 22nd will ship on Friday, July 29th. After this, the next batch will ship in mid-August.”


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This t-shirt can be preordered here.

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5. Newt Scamander Funko Pop! Figure Coming Soon!

According to Pottermore, Newt Scamander will be coming to San Diego Comic-Con this month – in Funko Pop! style!


The new figure will make his debut at the convention, and will be on sale to the general public following the event. Being a magizoologist, it’s only fitting that Newt be sold along with a three-pack of a Cornish pixie, Mandrake and Grindylow – these ‘fantastic beasts’ will be exclusive to Comic-Con, and we’re super jealous!


The convention will run from 20th – 24th July. Find out more here!

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6. Funko Pop! Announce Hogwarts Express and Harry Potter Mystery Minis

Funko Pop! Rides will soon be releasing their newest addition: The Hogwarts Express!

The train comes in three separate sets: the front engine (which comes with a Harry Potter figure) and two carriages, which come with Ron and Hermione. The complete train measures 45cm in length.

Get your hands on the Funko Pop! Hogwarts Express this June!

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Harry Potter figures will also be released as Mystery Minis in July, starting at 6cm tall. When ordering a Mystery Mini, Funko will send you a random mini figure from a set of your choosing. As part of the Harry Potter set, you could receive a mini of one of the newer releases, including Hedwig, Dumbledore, Fawkes, Voldemort, Nagini, Malfoy, Dobby, Hagrid, Crookshanks and more. Read more here.


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7. Funko unveils Preacher figures … but where’s Tulip?

Funko, home of the most adorable and collectible figures has unveiled a (not final) Pop! Television line for Preacher, the new AMC TV series based on the classic comic. We get TV versions of Jesse, Cassidy and Arseface, but….no Tulip? I guess even cute figurine collectors don’t like girls. Seriously, Preacher is about Jesse, Tulip […]

1 Comments on Funko unveils Preacher figures … but where’s Tulip?, last added: 5/23/2016
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8. What is a Tsum Tsum? Marvel has the answer

marvel_tsumtsum_lrgAs an adult who has no room in her Stately Manor for books, let alone cute fuzzy toys from Japan, I missed out on the Tsum Tsum craze. But Disney hasn't. And where Disney goes, sometimes Marvel follows so we'll have all these Tsum Tsum variant covers in August. And their own Marvel one shot, called MARVEL TSUM TSUM. Because these oblong plushies that you can stack up can have fun and exciting adventures just like the rest of us.

1 Comments on What is a Tsum Tsum? Marvel has the answer, last added: 5/18/2016
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9. Cartoon Network Vinyl Mini-Figures From Titan

Pre-order the new Cartoon Network mini-figures from Titan.

The post Cartoon Network Vinyl Mini-Figures From Titan appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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10. Need To Recover From BvS’ Sturm Und Drang? Watch This Video!

Almost every other post on my Facebook feed recently is about Batman vs Superman. That’s okay… I get it… It’s a Major Motion Picture, a tent-pole movie, the foundation of a franchise. But man…  someone added too much carbon to the Man of Steel… He’s PG-13, and soon to be Rated R. You can’t really […]

3 Comments on Need To Recover From BvS’ Sturm Und Drang? Watch This Video!, last added: 3/30/2016
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11. Marvel and Disney roll out major licensing push for Black Panther

At last month’s Toy Fair, I told you that all the Black Panther merchandise and toys looked super hot. He’ll be this year’s Groot/Rocket based on what I saw. And apparently, Marvel agrees, as they’ve just announced a big merchandising program for the character, tying in not only with his movie debut in Captain America […]

2 Comments on Marvel and Disney roll out major licensing push for Black Panther, last added: 3/16/2016
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12. The Beat’s Weekly Toy Review & Preview!

CoverBy: Nicholas Eskey Welcome back to another exciting episode of “The Beat’s Weekly Toy Review & Preview! We have a humdinger of an episode today kids, as a lot of collectible figures have been announced recently. Since I couldn’t narrow my favorites down to a short list, be prepared for a longer than usual post. […]

1 Comments on The Beat’s Weekly Toy Review & Preview!, last added: 3/15/2016
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13. #833 – How to Keep Your Helicopter by Ben Greene & CC Pearce

How to Keep Your Helicopter Written and Illustrated by Ben Greene Altanimus, LLC     May 15, 2015 978-0-692-42287-8 40 pages     Ages 4—8 “Benjamin is tired of sharing. His little sister Sandy is ALWAYS asking to play with his favorite toys. But when Sandy wants to p lay with Benjamin’s absolute favorite toy of …

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14. Waiting

Waiting. Kevin Henkes. 2015. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: There were five of them. And they were waiting....

Premise/plot: A collection of toys sit on a window sill and wait. Most toys are waiting for something specific, but, not all. Some just like looking out the window at anything and everything. There is some sense of companionship among the toys, but, I wouldn't necessarily call this one friendship-themed.

My thoughts: Unique, yes, I think it is. Simple too. But at times, I found it charming and sweet. This is sometimes conveyed by the text of the story. One of my favorite lines is, "When it finally snowed, the puppy was happy. He'd waited a very long time." But I'd say that most of the charm is conveyed by the illustrations. (Both text and illustrations are by Kevin Henkes.) One of my favorite scenes is when the toys are all shown "sleeping" on the sill. And in another scene, the toys are shown huddled together--afraid--because of the storm outside. It is more expressive than you might at first think.

I'd recommend it easily to anyone who enjoys Henkes' work. Is it my personal favorite by him? I'd say no. It is not an action-packed, make-you-laugh-out-loud book to share with children. It is a quieter, subtler read instead. Nice doesn't have to be a bad thing in terms of describing a book.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. The Beat’s Weekly Toy Review!

POP! RhaegalBy: Nicholas Eskey Every week, companies announce new, nerdy toys that threaten to drain our bank accounts and fill every spare inch on our shelves. To help you decide what is buy-worthy, we have decided to dedicate ourselves to highlighting the best of the best. Welcome to the new weekly toy preview! Without further stalling, […]

0 Comments on The Beat’s Weekly Toy Review! as of 2/21/2016 1:03:00 AM
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16. MAXx FX, The Greatest Action Figure that Never Was

Last week I had the privilege to visit my friend Mel Birnkrant, who showed me his original prototypes for MAXx FX, an action figure who dons movie-monster prosthetics to become the Werewolf, Mummy, Jason, Freddy, Swamp Creature, and Caveman. Link to my new YouTube video

Read the story of MAXx FX on Mel's website
(Link to 12-minute YouTube video)

0 Comments on MAXx FX, The Greatest Action Figure that Never Was as of 2/15/2016 11:08:00 AM
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17. Toy Fair 2016: Lego Star Wars, Marvel Civil War and Ghostbusters sets revealed

IMG_7571.jpgAh Toy Fair, a riot of plastic, wood, metal, resin and MAGIC! As usual, The Beat pounded the halls of the JAvits Center and beyodnd to bring you only the FRESHEST toys and playthings. The day started at 7 am with the Lego event. As that time of day there isn’t much to remember but […]

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18. Celluloid Mickey

Yesterday I painted this study of a celluloid Mickey Mouse toy from the 1930s. This toy was manufactured in Japan and distributed in Europe. It is made from celluloid, a lightweight, fragile, and flammable material that has also been used for ping pong balls, animation "cells," and for film stock itself. 

When the cellulose is unpainted (as with the green bucket above), there's a lot of subsurface scattering. But most of this Mickey is painted, which makes the light bounce off the surface.

Celluloid Mickey, gouache, 5x5 inches
As I was painting this, I was thinking about the variety of whites in this scene. I reserved the brightest white for the highlights. The lit sides of the nose and the shorts are just a little darker and warmer. The white surface that Mickey is standing on gradates back to a midrange cool gray in the top of the composition due to fall-off.

Getting all those soft edges and gradations is the challenge in gouache (it would be easy in oil). But the advantage of gouache over transparent watercolor is that you can get very precise control of value and chroma.
Video tutorial: Gouache in the Wild
Previously on GJ: Subsurface scattering and Fall-off

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19. DC, WB, Mattel and Target going big on DC Super Hero Girls

Everyone is teaming up for DC Super Hero Girls, the multi-company, multi-platform push for girls' versions of DC's lady characters. Target will have an exclusive line of apparel and toys; Boomerang will air a 44-minute special and the digital shorts. The line also claims some firsts: "the first-ever 6-inch action figure designed for girls; first 12-inch collection of action dolls featuring strong, athletic bodies that stand on their own in heroic poses; and first-ever action role-play toys for girls." Toys that stand on their own -- kinda a nice metaphor there.

1 Comments on DC, WB, Mattel and Target going big on DC Super Hero Girls, last added: 2/9/2016
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20. Designing the Wild Things Plushes

Toy designer Mel Birnkrant designed the only toy tie-ins based on "Where the Wild Things Are" that Maurice Sendak liked.

 In a new set of pages on his website, he tells the story of how he developed the prototypes, and how his 30-year friendship with Maurice Sendak grew out of that working relationship.
Creating the Wild Things Toys with Maurice Sendak, by Mel Birnkrant
Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)

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21. NEW Harry Potter POP! Vinyl Figures announced!

Funko announced the newest Pop! Vinyl characters in their wave 2 exclusive Harry Potter collection yesterday, and Matthew Lewis is already showing his off!

The first is a Barnes & Noble Exclusive Pre-Release – an absolutely adorable Neville Longbottom (with Trevor, too!), which Matthew Lewis posed with in his recent post (his moustache will be making its latest appearance in Happy Valley):


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The next is equally as adorable – Sorting Hat Harry Potter:


Qudditch Draco Malfoy‘s Pop! Vinyl is pretty suave, we think: 6881_HP_Quidditch_Draco_hires_large


And the new Trizward Cedric Diggory is what all the Hufflepuffs have been waiting for!


Neville and Harry are Barnes and Noble exclusives, whilst Cedric and Draco are exclusive to Hot Topic.

These characters will be released in March, and we can’t wait! Let us know what you think via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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22. Barbie’s got a brand new bod – actually three of them

In a massive COVER story on Time Magazine, Mattel has unveiled a bunch of new shapes and sizes for Barbie, the long reigning ectomorphic queen of the toy aisle. The fashion icon will now come in tall, petite and curvy versions, just like ladies jeans at Target. The toys go on sale online today, and […]

1 Comments on Barbie’s got a brand new bod – actually three of them, last added: 1/28/2016
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23. Report: toy companies explicitly told to exclude Rey from Force Awakens products

A site called “Sweatpants and Coffee” has just posted an anonymous insider whistleblower report on the Where’s Rey? controversy that has seen the main character of the world’s most popular movie left out of the toys for that movie: in January 2015, a number of toy and merchandise vendors descended on Lucasfilm’s Letterman Center in […]

10 Comments on Report: toy companies explicitly told to exclude Rey from Force Awakens products, last added: 1/20/2016
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24. Confirmed: New Harry Potter POP! Vinyls are Here!

Last November, we reported that a POP! Vinyls blog had posted the concept art for new Harry Potter POP! figures. The site has now posted that the new POP! figures now have a release date.

The website revealed the new line of POP! figures is based off of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) characters from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Harry and the Gryffindor sword has already been released, but these new figures includes Dobby, Draco Malfory, a Dementor, Sirius Black, Ron in Yule Ball dress robes, and Hermione in her Yule Ball gown. (Click all photos to enlarge.)

draco hermoine ron dementor sirius-black dobby

The blog had originally posted artwork for more figures, including a Dumbledore in more Gambon purple attire than Richard Harris-based figure from the first POP! series, a Tri-Wizard Tournament Harry, Luna Lovegood, and Neville Longbottom. The concept art for these was brilliant, and we hope POP! Vinyls also releases them soon.

harry-potter-pop-vinyls-1 harry-potter-2-pop-vinyls-copy


Until then Dobby, Draco, the Dementor, Sirius, Yule Ball Ron and Hermione are set to be released March 15, 2016. They will be sold by Warner Bros; there is no official confirmation as to which venues will be selling them. Keep an eye out on the POP! Vinyl Amazon page.

The blog also revealed that POP! has released three Harry Potter key chains. These key chains of Harry, Hermione, and Voldemort were released in November. They can be purchased through popvinyl.net.

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25. Soon you can play with Rey in Monopoly

.@CarrieMGoldman @JillPantozzi @Epbot pic.twitter.com/IQ5TNbOygW — Hasbro (@HasbroNews) January 6, 2016 The people have spoken. And Hasbro listened. Two for diversity in two days! After all the hue and cry about there not being a Rey figure in the new Star Wars Monopoly and Hasbro’s weak sauce explanation that it would have been a spoiler, they […]

1 Comments on Soon you can play with Rey in Monopoly, last added: 1/7/2016
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