Toys & Collectibles

Who Was That Masked Fan? Toy Insider’s Gift Guide Event Returns In-Person

It’s Toy Tuesday!

The Toy Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide will help relieve toy shopping uncertainties.

Fall arrived with joy filled promise thanks to the folks at The Toy Insider, who held their first in-person post-lockdown Holiday of Play event this week. Led by Chief Toy Officer Laurie Schacht, these play mavens have admirably virtualized their last few events, but there’s nothing like making a personal connection, even if it’s with a socially distanced wave or an elbow bump.

JustPlay offered a variety of safety mask designs for kids

The annual soirée highlights the Toy Insider Holiday Gift Guide lists for best toys of the coming season. They focus on three categories: The Hot 20, The S.T.E.M. 10 and 12 under $20. The guide affords gift givers a head’s up about what are likely to be the most wished for holiday presents. A print edition of will be available in Parents magazine on sale October 4th.

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Young tastemakers took the opportunity to explore the toy industry’s newest batch of playthings at Toy Insider’s Holiday of Play event.

Here’s how the Toy Insider’s 2021 choices stack up.

0-2 years 
• Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot (LeapFrog)
• Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot (Mattel)
• Flybar Bumper Cars (Flybar)
• Little Tikes Learn & Play 2-in-1 Activity Tunnel (MGA Entertainment)

3-4 years 
• Batman Bat-Tech Transforming Batcave (Spin Master)
• Blues Clues & You! Cook-Along Play Kitchen Set (Just Play)
• CoComelon Deluxe Interactive JJ Doll (Jazwares)
• Disney Princess Ultimate Celebration Castle (Hasbro)
• Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse (Spin Master)
• Ryan’s World Lost City Adventures – Mega Adventure Chest (Bonkers Toys)

5-7 years 
• Akedo Ultimate Battle Arena (Moose Toys)
• Got2Glow Fairy Finder (WowWee)
• KidiZoom PrintCam (VTech)
• LOL Surprise OMG House of Surprises (MGA Entertainment) 
• Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron (Moose Toys)
• Pokémon Trading Card Game: Celebrations Elite Trainer Box (The Pokémon Co. International)
• Chuckle & Roar Pop It XL (Buffalo Games)
• Squishmallows Food Squad (Jazwares)

8+ years
• Beyblade Burst Burst Speedstorm Motor Strike Battle Set (Hasbro)
• Tamagotchi Pix (Bandai America)

• Ada Twist, Scientist On-the-Go Lab Set (Just Play)
• Artie Max (Educational Insights)
• Candy Claw Machine (Thames & Kosmos)
• Coding Critters MagiCoders (Learning Resources)
• Game Builder Garage (Nintendo)
• HEXMODS Pro Series Elite Raceway (HEXBUG)
• National Geographic 100-Piece Makeway Magnetic Marble Run (Blue Marble)
• Osmo Math Wizard and The Amazing Airships and Osmo Math Wizard and the Enchanted World Games (Osmo)
• Paper Butterflies Science Kit (Crayola)
• The Young Scientists Club Future Veterinarian (Horizon Group USA)

• 5 Surprise Mini Brands Series 3 (ZURU)
• Care Bears Cutetitos (Basic Fun!)
• Cats vs. Pickles Bean-Filled Jumbos (Cepia)
• Compound Kings 5 Stack Donut (WeCool Toys)
• Crystalina (Skyrocket Toys)
• Dimpl Pops (Fat Brain Toys)
• Koosh Mondo (PlayMonster)
• My Squishy Little Dumplings (WowWee)
• Needoh (Schylling)
• Nickelodeon Cra-Z Sand Bucket (Cra-Z-Art)
• Pom Pops (Sunny Days Entertainment)
• Treasure X Monster Coffin (Moose Toys)

SkeletonPete Says…

Knowing one’s buying options in advance will be especially crucial this year as the pandemic has made supply chains unpredictable around the world.

Andy and I will be pointing out several of our favorites in the coming weeks.

Junior reporters get the lowdown on Pixicade’s Mobile Game Maker Kit.

Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

A Grander Grand Moff: Gentle Giant’s Cushing Kenner Counterpart

It’s Sci-Fi Friday !

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Peter Cushing’s Star Wars character gets a belated but super-sized facsimile.
(All images courtesy of Diamond Select Toys/Gentle Giant Ltd.)
Art Books & Graphic Novels

Surfside Six: A Half Dozen Questions for Author and Artist Kim Dwinell

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Artist Kim Dwinell splits her time between the drawing board and the surfboard.

Return of Surfin’ Sunday: Interview Special

We recently had the pleasure of sharing our reasons for loving Top Shelf Productions’ latest publication The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean which hits shelves this Tuesday, September 28th, 2021.

Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

Heaps of Creeps: New Diamond Select “Nightmare Before Christmas” Figures Emerge from their Halloween Hiding Places

A Return of “Spooky SundayInstallment…

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Halloween Town Denizens. DST Select NBX Series 10 and Previews Exclusive
action figures.
(All photos courtesy of Diamond Select Toys)

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (NBX) is the gift that keeps on giving for enthusiasts and collectors of all things All Hallows Eve. It’s spooky spin on holiday television staples like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and How The Grinch Stole Christmas seemed pretty quirky upon its release on October 29, 1993, but ultimately it has gained classic status among the classics it set out to spoof.

Though it never generated an on-going sequel franchise, the film continues to ooze oodles of cool collectibles based on the 230 puppets built to fill every corner of its miniature stop motion animation sets.

I could feign astonishment but it’s not too surprising when those characters were fired in the creative cauldron of Tim Burton’s brain. Though he did not direct the film (that was Henry Selick) his eerie but playful visual imprint is unmistakably present from spindly spooks to corpulent corpses. 

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DST Select NBX Series 10: Mr. Hyde and Corpse Dad.

DST Select NBX Action Figures Series 10…
Keeping in step with the abundance of possibilities Diamond Select Toys (DST) has just released a new batch of Nightmare Before Christmas Select Action figures featuring inhabitants of both Halloween and Christmas lands.

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DST NBX Series 10 Corpse Mom is ready to roll
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Series 10 NBX Diamond Select Mrs. Claus, with choir elf and lounging penguin

This tenth series treats collectors to Mr. Hyde with Corpse Dad, Corpse Mom with Duck Gift, and Mrs. Claus with a Choir Elf and hilarious penguin pie. The figures sport multiple points of articulation and were designed by Eamon O’Donoghue with sculpts by Cortes Studios. They are boxed, along with their fun accessories, in Select action figure packaging featuring side panel artwork to facilitate shelf storage. SRP is $29.99 each. 

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The Creature Under the Stairs and Cyclops action figures debut as a
Previews Exclusive package from Diamond Select Toys.

Dynamic Duo…
An even deeper dive into the film’s recesses brings forth the Cyclops and Creature From Under the Stairs in Select Previews Exclusive (PX) format. I think this 2 pack will be a real crowd pleaser. It finally makes these two sort after Halloween Town denizens available to die-hard fans of the film. They’re also designed by O’Donoghue with Cortes Studio sculpts. $29.99 will get you these blokes to adorn your display shelves.

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Sally and Jack 3 inch PVC figures from DST’s D-Formz Mystery Box format

D-Formz Blind Box Figures…
DST has also announced an assortment of Nightmare Before Christmas D-Formz. These are 3 inch PVC figures, which will come as blind boxed collectibles. Characters Jack Skellington, Sally and Oogie Boogie are presented in standard and glow-in-the dark versions. Dr. Finkelstein and Santa Claus figures are the rare chase figures, turning up only once per case.

These pieces come packaged 12 to a counter display. They were designed by Barry Bradfield and sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. You can grab ‘em for $7.99 each.

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Dr. Finkelstein, Santa Claus, and glow-in-the-dark Oogie Boogie are chase figures in the Diamond Select Toys D-Formz blind box series.
Books & Graphic Novels

It’s A Sine of the Tides: Kim Dwinell’s “The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean”

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Top Shelf Productions to release new Kim Dwinell Surfside Girls graphic novel.

A Spooky Sunday Surfin’ Sunday Review

The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean
Author/Artist: Kim Dwinell
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Release Date: September 28, 2021

Format: Paperback (6″x9″)
Pages: 112, full color
Reading Age: 9-12 years (grades 4-7)
ISBN-10: 1603094946
ISBN-13: 978-1603094948

SkeletonPete is a Hodad….