Well, we made it. You've lived vicariously through us, and we've felt important through you. Like a mosquito and a bare forearm, we joined together to become something more than we were before. And now we're leaving and you've got malaria. But at least you'll know what we consider to be the very best of Toy Fair 2011.
After the jump, Scott makes his first picks. Join him, won't you?
Best Toy House
With segments that can work alone or be stacked (as per the first photo up at the top there) Tree Blocks offers your toys a sweet base of operations. Put this thing with some Flash Gordon figures and you've got yourself an adventure!
Best Portable Foliage
My Pet Plant from Fascinations arrives as soil, sapling and bullet-shaped case. Put them all together, add a little water and time, and you've got a living thing for a necklace. If you're too successful, you can even repot it when it gets big and start all over from scratch.
Best Business Card Holder
This honor goes to Taiwanese puzzle maker Lonpos for their easy-to-read card dispenser. No more awkward moments for exhausted buyers as they scramble to remember who's who! Now just grab and glance and seal the deal politely. It's good design, and I gotta say, the puzzles were also well made.
Best Give-Away Tie In
Lots of booths had free candy, but only the Monkeying Around booth kept things topical. Monkeying Around's offering was the largely forgotten art of dot-to-dot books, so that jar of candy Dots fit in very nicely. Also, their dot-to-dot books range from the simple to the complex, so they're good for any age of line lover.
Best Way To Label Your Work Mug
Jumpin Banana's Toxic set looks dangerous, but that green stuff is actually safely between layers of plastic. When chilled, the scary nuclear bits help keep your drink at the right temperature, and it looks pretty cool besides. Who doesn't want to do a Gamma shot?
Hape impresses me every year with something wonderfully crafted, and this year is no exception. This wooden rocket has plenty of astronaut room, a hand-cranked elevator, some space debris for surface mining fun, plus a robot and an alien. Why can't the real space program still be this cool?
Best Light Show
Laser Pegs is sort of a cross between Tinkertoys and Lite Brite. Each piece is a colorful light (and some even flash) that connects to another colorful light. Long pegs, round pegs, big circles, u-shaped joints, they all interlock and fit on the base, which can run on plug or batteries. What you end up with is some future-city that can be the world's coolest nightlite. Michelangelo's David is great and all, but did anyone ever see it glow?
ToyFair 2011 is almost complete… but not just yet! So keep an eye out for the second half of our Best Of awards later today. We gotta build suspense.