Windsor Star

TEST DRIVING 2011 TOYS

New twist on old favourite is top pick.

- TOBI COHEN

OTTAWA That’s a big Christmas season 10-4, good buddy for walkie-talkies.

The toy for talkative tykes was given top honours by the Canadian Toy Testing Council, which on Friday released its 2011 list of can’t miss gifts for parents looking for safe and reliable play things to put under the tree.

The top award — given to the best battery-operated toy — was VTech’s Text and Chat Walkie-Talkies, a new twist on an old favourite, according to company president Gordon Chow.

“We added a lot of features to the toy. We’re now able to send little text messages between the two walkie-talkies. Games (were) built into the walkietalk­ies as well,” he said, noting the toy has a standard range of one kilometre and retails for about $44.99.

“It just added those extra play values for the kids to have really a lot more fun than just talking to each other.”

Of the 525 toys test-driven by about 1,000 Canadian children this year, 35 received top honours during the Hot Toys for 2011 awards Friday at Ottawa’s Brookstree­t Hotel. Prizes were also awarded to 10 “Great Books” for children ages 0-12.

“Best Bets” for 2011 include the Fisher Price Musical Croc Block Wagon, which allows babies to feed colourful blocks into the mouth of a crocodiles­haped push toy, and the Playmobil Great Dragon Castle.

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