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Every time I think that the micro-collectibles bubble is about to burst, something comes along that reinforces the fact that there's no sign of that happening. In fact, the market is evolving and kids can't get enough of these small little toys. Evolution brings us to the launch of Cake Pop Cuties, a new line from Basic Fun that checks the boxes on several current trends, combining the brightly-colored blind box appeal of toys like L.O.L. Surprise with the strange appeal of the slow-rise squishes movement into a tiny little package that's appropriately shaped like... a cake pop. Available soon at most major retailers (Amazon is taking pre-orders), Cake Pop Cuties is backed by a CGI-animated webseries and boasts over 36 different Cuties and Sweeties to collect in the first wave. Check out a preview below...

Early news from New York Toy Fair 2018. The Rock Father™ will be in attendance for the show, which runs February 17-20, 2018.

After being teased on social media last summer ahead of a launch in Atlanta, Dream Pets will return in 2018 as a reimagined collection of plush toys inspired by their vintage counterparts. Originally created by R. Dakin & Company in the mid 1950’s, Dream Pets were initially sawdust (!) filled plush that were used as packing materials designed to protect a shipment of toy trains. After becoming unexpectedly popular, the line expanded into proper plush with thousands of characters available. By the mid-2000s, Dream Pets had been swept up in the usual pattern of toy company mergers and acquisitions, eventually falling dormant... until now.

I was just browsing the toy department of my local Meijer store the other night when I came across Hasbro's new collection of BLACK PANTHER toys in the wild for the first time. As with most of their Marvel-based collections, this one has the usual action figures and vehicles paired with an assortment of cool role play items. What's interesting this time around is that the "Black Panther Vibranium Hero Gear" just received its own commercial, and aside from a few Star Wars items, we usually don't see too many proper commercials for the role play gear. Check the new spot out below via Hasbro's YouTube Channel, and look for these toys and more in stores everywhere!

I've generally stayed away from posting "leaks" of any kind here on The Rock Father™ Magazine, but as we approach the release of what will be the fourth Star Wars film of the new era, it's time to say something about how the merchandising is being handled for my favorite franchise. Starting with the 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star Wars merchandise has been unleashed during a promotional blitz that's been a street-dated affair. Force Friday was followed by Rogue Friday for the 2016 release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which was followed by Force Friday II ahead of 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Now, we're staring down the May 2018 release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, and all signs are pointing toward a spring launch event for the tie-in gear. Now comes the first problem with this strategy...

Paramount Pictures is currently in-production on AMUSEMENT PARK, a 3D computer animated adventure comedy film set to be released on March 15, 2019. Produced by Paramount Animation, Nickelodeon Movies and Ilion Animation Studios, there hasn't been a ton of information released about the project since it's original announcement a few years back, sans the casting of Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey Tambor, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, and John Oliver, all of whom will lend their voice talents to the film under the direction of Dylan Brown. Today comes news that Paramount is confident that AMUSEMENT PARK will be a big hit, with the announcement of a full line of toys to support both the film, and its already-in-production spinoff television series that's headed for Nickelodeon.

This morning I woke up to an email from Mattel with news that I knew would be just around the corner - the reveal of American Girl's 2018 Girl of the Year. What I didn't expect was that 2018's GOTY, Luciana Vega, would be perhaps the most perfect doll ever... at least in our house. As our girls often look to and reach for the stars, Luciana becomes a new example for them - the latest in American Girl's long line of inspiring characters that encourage girls to think about who they want to be and how they want to make their mark in the world—no matter the challenges they may face. Vega is described as "a creative, confident 11-year-old girl and aspiring astronaut who dreams of being the first person to go to Mars. And, while she has the skills and smarts to achieve her goals, she also learns that being a good leader and team player right here on Earth is the best first step." This sounds very, very familiar...

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