On Tuesday, Publishing Trends visited Toy Fair 2008, held from February 17-28 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Though Toy Fair reported a 30% increase in buyers since last year and three times as many reporters on opening day, we thought the halls seemed pretty empty.
Not surprisingly, most of the buzz centered around tech-y toys like Hasbro Playskool's $300 Kota the Triceratops Dinosaur ("comes complete with leafy greens that the dinosaur will 'munch' when 'fed'") and Fisher-Price's Kid Tough Digital Camera, or revamped versions of old faves, including Ty's Beanie Babies 2.0 and Fisher-Price's Elmo Live. But in the old-fashioned world of books, we noticed a few new things:
- Dangerous Book for Boys-branded "Illusions," "Card Tricks," "Sleight of Hand," and "Magic Kit" sets, packaged in retro metal tins, from University Games. (Sorry for the blurry picture--a University Games rep chased us away from the company's booth when she saw our digital camera; the games aren't being released until Christmas.)
- Also from University Games: New additions to their line of Eric Carle games for 3- to 8-year olds.
- From Harcourt Children's Books, recently acquired by Houghton-Mifflin: More of their popular 9 x 10.5" "lap-sized" board books, priced at $10.95 and aimed at preschool teachers and destructive three-year-olds.
- Not for kids but prominently displayed at Playmore Inc.'s booth: The never-dying Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise (now including, um, pet food) expands with a new line of word search puzzle books. The books below are dummies, but the rep told us that the hidden words in the finished books will be based on the true stories in the books and "very inspirational."
- Finally, the obligatory shot of adult reps self-consciously riding children's toy cars, at the PlasmaCar booth.