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Back in February, I had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at some of Playmates Toys' Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles offerings at the 115th North American International Toy Fair. In a special presentation alongside members of the TMNT cast and crew, we were shown some radically-different takes on some familiar characters - and while the reimagined series had yet to be seen, one thing was certain: the toys were cool! Set for release on October 1, the toys are now available for pre-order via Amazon, Walmart and Target (all affiliates of this site). In addition to the basic action figures, the Turtles' ride has always been a must-have, and at the pinnacle of the collection has been the sewer lair - now presented in an all-new form. The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Epic Sewer Lair Playset will be the envy of the neighborhood - bigger, sturdier, and packed with more features than ever!

The business of play is a fascinating subject, with the real-life stories behind some of our favorite toys sometimes rivaling the fictional worlds that they spawned. The Netflix Original Series The Toys That Made Us feeds that interest, and for those awaiting more episodes (season 3 is being filmed right now) there's a new documentary that's an absolute must-watch. Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is now streaming on Netflix, and as the title implies - it's an in-depth look at Mattel's iconic franchise from its origins in the early 80s through nearly four decades of highs and lows. Check out the trailer below...

It wasn't long ago that The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Genius Brands had raised $4.5M to help give Rainbow Rangers a proper push ahead of the series' November 5 launch on Nick Jr. Now comes word that Genius has secured KIDdesigns to work on the development of a youth electronics line for the property, and Basic Fun!, who will develop a novelty toy line based on the colorful superheroes geared toward pre-schoolers. They join more than 20 licensees for the property, including master toy licensee Mattel, bicycle manufacturer Dynacraft, Jay Franco (bedding and bath), Disguise & Spirit Halloween (costumes) and more.

I'm actually a little surprised that it took this long, but there's a live-action Miraculous - Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir on the way. Whether that means a feature film, a television series or both is yet to be determined, but the folks at Skydance Media in partnership with ZAG have announced that it they've secured the rightsUnder the deal, Skydance plans to develop and produce the first-ever live-action adaptations based on the hit property with an anticipated release in 2020. The critically acclaimed, award-winning animated television series developed and produced by Jeremy Zag follows two heroes—Ladybug and Cat Noir—as they protect the city of Paris from super villains. 

I've told the story before, but I still have my original Cabbage Patch Kid. His name is Ollie, and he's still wearing his 1983 Chicago White Sox uniform - a well-played-with reminder of simpler times, and one that my daughters now enjoy playing with today. 2018 marks the 35th Birthday of the Cabbage Patch Kids, and this weekend there's a party taking place at Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia.  Wicked Cool Toys and Original Appalachian Artworks will be throwing the party, and as always, admission to Babyland General is free! Kids and families can enjoy free cupcakes and ice cream (while supplies last) and there will be prizes awarded to lucky visitors all day long. The Grand Prize is truly special - a one-of-a-kind soft sculpture Little Person (the dolls that inspired Cabbage Patch Kids) signed by the creator, Xavier Roberts. Check out a video tour of Babyland General Hospital below, along with all the details on the CPK 35th Birthday celebration...

It was two years ago that I first told you about Robozuna - a then-in-development series from ITV that had been added to the Netflix slate of original kids and family programming. While the premiere date has still not been announced (Netflix still lists it as "New: 2018"), we know that there's a full range of toys coming, and they'll be arriving in the U.S. via Basic Fun! The initial wave arrives in spring/summer 2019, with more consumer products in the pipeline for fall/winter. 

Wednesday, September 05 2018 08:05

JCPenney Unwraps their "Top 20 Toys" for Holiday 2018...

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The holiday season continues to loom large on the horizon, and as the toy wars of 2018 continue, another player has entered the octagon - JCPenney! As the retailer continues their evolution and gets back into categories like baby products, this fall marks the one-year anniversary of their successful toy shops. Like many of my generation, the JCPenney Christmas Catalog was a must-read while growing up, and now a hint of that spirit is coming back as they unwrap their Top 20 Toys list, "inviting shoppers to discover the most popular toys sure to top kid’s wish lists this Christmas." The JCPenney Top 20 Toys will be featured prominently within a dedicated toys book, which will be delivered to customers’ homes in time for the holiday season and will include a sticker sheet enabling kids to mark the items they want from Santa.

At San Diego Comic-Con this summer, I had the honor of speaking on a panel - Living in a Post-Toys "R" Us World: Navigating the Future of Toy Retail. In that panel and the subsequent recap that I published at The Toy Book, I pointed out that one of the most exciting developments in the toy world is what the folks at Target have been gearing-up for... an expanded assortment of toys in fantastic new toy departments as part of their beautifully-redesigned stores. As the holiday season is about to unfold, you'll see what I was talking about as Target (an affiliate) has unveiled Bullseye's Top Toys of 2018 - this year's guide to the most-coveted toys includes something for every age and budget – from an even bigger L.O.L. Surprise! and a plush take on the Fingerling craze to the latest tech gear and more. Will a few items from Bullseye's list also appear on The Rock Father™'s Annual Holiday Wish Guide™ as well? Perhaps, but in the meantime, check it out below!

Our love for online shopping seems to know no bounds. With just a couple of clicks, you'll feel like it's always Christmas morning. That warm and fuzzy feeling you get might be enough to convince you to treat yourself on a random Tuesday afternoon -- and for a child, the temptation might be irresistible. At least, it was for six-year-old Katelyn Lunt, who took it upon herself to go on an Amazon shopping spree via her mom's credit card.

There's a scene in Disney's Christopher Robin in which Christopher and Winnie the Pooh are racing through a train station and the little bear just has to have a red balloon. After making it to the train just as the doors are closing, the balloon gets caught and Pooh is disappointed. He asks Christopher something to the effect of, "but don't balloons make you happy?" to which Christopher quickly shrugs off with "not really." That is me. Ask my children and they will tell you that "daddy doesn't like balloons" - and that's fairly accurate. But balloons really do make little ones happy, and with that comes International Balloon Month (remember, everything has a month now) and some new tips from the folks at The Balloon Council, who stress that releasing the inflatable allergy terrorizers balloons is a bad idea. They wish to share smiles and smart balloon practices together.

I do believe that the toy wars have begun... and that's a great thing for kids, parents and everyone who loves play! Following the sudden and spectacular collapse of Toys "R" Us earlier this year, a huge void was left and that means that other retailers have been ramping up to serve their customers while capturing a part of that business (fact: TRU still sold $11 billion in toys in 2016). Walmart (an affiliate) is one of the first out of the gate, rebranding their toy departments as "America's Best Toy Shop," promising an expanded assortment that includes 30 percent new toys in stores and 40 percent more toys online. That means new brands that kids may not have seen before, and they're adding some fun new experiences and special in-store events to get families excited. Along with this news comes the unveiling of Walmart's annual hot toy list, their 2018 "Top Rated By Kids" - 40 must-have items for this holiday season - and layaway is back! Check it out...

The X-Files has now been around for 25 years, and when it was at its peak, I was a massive fan. I was that back in 1998, I was that guy that had to have The X-Files Movie on "letterbox" VHS to preserve the widescreen cinematic format in the time before DVD and flat screen TVs. At that same time, I distinctly recall purchasing a set of X-Files Barbie dolls by Mattel - Ken and Barbie as Mulder and Scully. Fast-forward two decades and I believe our set is long gone (sold at some point along the way, or stashed in a box somewhere), but now it's happening again... but this time it's not Ken and Barbie doing cosplay, but new X-Files Barbie dolls crafted to resemble Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). The duo are available to order right now.

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