Best and Worst Children's Christmas Toys – 2006

Avant News Special Report

Coshocton, OH November 28, 2006 -- We at Avant News are pleased to announce our list of what our experts deem to be the 10 best and 10 worst Christmas gifts for 2006. As usually occurs, the toy industry tends to mirror social trends and this year was no exception.

The continued failings of the Bush Administration stewarded in a plethora of political games and toys not seen since Watergate. Additionally, many celebrities and popular TV shows took a chance to cash in on their names. Also, the lurking dangers present in American society have encouraged the toy companies to satisfy their appetite for fear with a selection ranging from bird flu and terrorism to obesity and home safety.

Without further ado, we proudly present our lists:

Top 10 Best Children’s Christmas Toys – 2006

1 – Paris Hilton Video Game
2 – 'Victory in Iraq' Board Game
3 – Little 'Big Brother' Reality Video Set
4 – Pamela Anderson Enhancement Set
5 – 'American Idol' No Hit Wonders CD, Volume 12
6 – 'Lost' Survival Gear
7 – Republican Dominoes/House of Cards Set
8 – Children's Poker Set
9 – Lego's Duplo Checks and Balances
10 – 'Obese Niece' Doll

and those that should be avoided at all cost:

Bottom 10 Worst Children's Christmas Toys – 2006

1 – Christian Coalition Internet Experience Package
2 – Rock'Em Sock'Em Hillary –vs- Condoleeza Robots
3 – Political Action Figures
4 – 'Little Baby Bird Flu' Squirting Doll
5 – Mike Brown's Kids Home Emergency Preparedness Kit
6 – Terrorist Tom/Terrorist Tina Exploding Figurines
7 – Jack Abramoff's 'Little Swindler Resource Guide'
8 – Tom and Jerry Action Bonkers
9 – Diebold's Youth Voting Machines
10 – Jessica Simpson on the Meaning of Life

Top 10 Best Children's Christmas Toys – 2006

Paris Hilton Video Game

Company: It's Hot Productions
Manufacturer's Description: Guide Paris through the ups and downs of global jet-setting as you work her way up the socialite ladder. Experience the life of being an uninteresting, rich and partially decent-looking heiress as you find romance, videotape it, become a household name and then cash in on it through lame television shows and bad smelling perfumes.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Overall, it was a fun but predictable game.
Pros: The best part, of course, was making the video and acting upset about it making you famous.
Cons: The choices you are allowed to make in the game are not thoughtful and severely limited while your goals for winning are very shallow and self-serving.

'Victory in Iraq' Board Game

Company: Nuke 'em All Corporation
Manufacturer's Description: It's September 12, 2001 and it's your mission to assist the Bush administration by convincing the American people that somehow Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Use subterfuge and false intelligence reports to convince others that invading Iraq is in everybody else's best interest. Once the invasion is over and occupation is firmly underway you must assist the administration with not only the attacks from the insurgents, but also from the American public.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: This is a must play board game for those who love complicated games. The deeper one gets into this game of lies and deflection, however, one begins to question why one would undertake such a game.
Pros: Insightful fake intelligence reports and aluminum canisters are included. Additionally, there is a very substantial collection of 'Blame the Democrats' and 'Support the Troops' cards that you can use to add some spice to the game.
Cons: I was taken aback at how low the intelligence level of the American people was given in this game. The instructions do not provide any information on how you actually win the game. Occupying Iraq while everyone gets more upset at you and the Bush administration seems to be the only way this game ends.

Little 'Big Brother' Reality Video Set

Company: Somebody's Watching Me, Inc.
Manufacturer's Description: Do you think your family life is worth letting others see? Now, thanks to the Little 'Big Brother' Reality Video Set, you can be the director/producer of your own live Internet reality show.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Very interesting use of new technologies for live remote Internet broadcasting.
Pros: Potential exists for kids to get some prime footage of their attractive parents in the shower and maybe even doing it.
Cons: Potential exists for kids to get some gross footage of their unattractive parents in the shower and maybe even doing it.

Pamela Anderson Enhancement Set

Company: Busty Bouncy Bosoms
Manufacturer's Description: Be the girl that all the boys want to be with and the girl who all the other girls want to be. Wear this strap-on bosom enhancer and be just that. Adjust cup size with the included inflation device.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Parents are advised that stretchable material should be worn by their daughters at all times while playing. Also, while the company recommends the age for this product to be for 5 years and up, I would suggest that these not be purchased for girls under the age of 13 as boobs on a six-year-old is not only wrong – it's weird!
Pros: They are surprisingly fun to caress and look relatively real.
Cons: Further reduces the self-image of girls. Boobs can pop, too, if they are over-inflated, punctured or too near a source of heat.

'American Idol' No Hit Wonders CD, Volume 12

Company: Sleepy Songs Label
Manufacturer's Description: Can't get enough of those 'American Idol' contestants? Why settle for less when you can have it with this collection of remarkably mediocre artists performing marginally decent songs.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Are they serious? Who listens to this stuff?
Pros: Not really that bad (as a beverage coaster).
Cons: Not really that good (as a music cd).

'Lost' Survival Gear

Company: Wherethehellarewe Corp.
Manufacturer's Description: Mysteriously unknown adventures await you and your friends. Perhaps it's a coincidence that you have this Lost Survival Gear. Perhaps it was destined to be that at this moment in time you have this where you are right now. Makes you think. Doesn't it? Or does it? Perhaps you are just reacting. Hmmm?!

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Much like the TV show 'Lost', this collection of random junk has no explanation for its use and why you need it. I'll still take it with me next time I take a flight because, well, you just never know.
Pros: Items are mysterious and somewhat engaging.
Cons: The instructions, also like the TV show, provide more questions than answers, such as: "What would happen if you didn't have this clothespin? Would you know where to put the springy thing if your life and the lives of the rest of the survivors depended on it? How could you use this clothespin to deter a polar bear and why? Can polar bears really be allergic to clothespins and what does this have to do with the number 52?"

Republican Dominoes/House of Cards Set

Company: Grand Ol' Playthings
Manufacturer's Description: Have hours of conservative fun building a house of cards and setting up dominoes to fall over.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: It's quite fun to set up the dominoes relating to the various Republican scandals and watch how they fall by relationship to one another. Very educational.
Pros: Flattering police mug shots of Frist, DeLay, Libby and Rove (amongst many others) on both the cards and dominoes.
Cons: The Republican House of Cards keeps toppling and the Republican Dominoes keep falling like… well… dominoes.

Children's Poker Set

Company: Ceasar's Kids Co.
Manufacturer's Description: Have your child take their poker face to daycare and watch them come home with a smile that comes only from beating the diapers off their buddies.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: I owe my seven-year-old around 350 big ones. Enough said.
Pros: Good for preparing a child for future social situations.
Cons: Gambling can be addictive and may not be something you want to instill in your children at an early age.

Lego's Duplo Checks and Balances

Company: Lego
Manufacturer's Description: Build your own Republic block by block. Create Congress, the Supreme Court and the White House as you think it should be.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: We got halfway through building the Supreme Court when we noticed Justice Scalia's head would look perfect on the body of a dragon assembled out of remnants of Congress and the White House.
Pros: Good intentions.
Cons: Bad results.

'Obese Niece' Doll

Company: Chubbies
Manufacturer’s Description: Don't forget to take your Obese Niece with you when you go out to eat at a fast food establishment of your preference. She likes the super-size! Eat with her and be confident that your body fat percentage will never be as bad as that of your Obese Niece. She obviously doesn't count calories… why should you?

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: This a rather disturbing doll, but it does make you feel better when you eat a Hardee's Monster Thickburger with two 1/3-pound charbroiled patties topped with bacon, three slices of American cheese and mayonnaise between buttered buns and containing 1,417 calories and 107 grams of fat. Mmmm!
Pros: You always feel better when you know that there is someone out there worse off than you, and that that they're not doing anything about it, either.
Cons: The gastric bypass option on the doll is a bit of a downer.

Bottom 10 Worst Children’s Christmas Toys – 2006

Christian Coalition Internet Experience Package

Company: Christian Coalition Funtime Games
Manufacturer's Description: Tired of all the evil lurking on the Internet? Fear not, the Christian Coalition is here to provide you with an Internet experience of biblical proportions.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: I found this package to be very, VERY limited. Additionally, some of the sites they do allow are a bit out there with gross pictures of aborted fetuses and videos of ministers frothing at the mouth as they preach about intelligent design.
Pros: No porn and no bad words on any of the sites.
Cons: There are only 18 websites that can be accessed via this Internet package as the filter stops the other 50 billion or so websites for whatever Godly reason. Also, no porn and no bad words.

Rock'Em Sock'Em Hillary –vs- Condoleeza Robots

Company: Catfight Entertainment
Manufacturer's Description: Let your hair down, ladies, and get ready to rumble as these two 2008 presidential hopefuls rock and sock.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: I tried this with a friend and we noticed that we could neither move Hillary nor Condoleeza to the right or the left. They only wanted to fight it out in the middle. If this is any indication of 2008, ladies, you both had better decide who you represent and what you stand for because you can't both claim the middle.
Pros: Very anatomically correct likenesses of both ladies.
Cons: Hillary's fist keeps getting caught in the gap of Condi's front teeth and it's tough to see around Hillary's hips.

Political Action Figures

Company: Polibots Corp.
Manufacturer's Description: Want to control power and money? Well, rule the world with these political action figures.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: They really aren't that fun to play with as the set consists mostly of old white males in dark blue suits with red ties. The Senator Barack Obama action figure is the only one that fits into a Superman suit.
Pros: They are a lot cooler than the 'American People' action figures.
Cons: Of course, the political action figures cannot hold their ground in coolness when compared to the power of the lobbyist, oil executive and pharmaceutical executive action figures. Those really rock the action figure world!

'Little Baby Bird Flu' Squirting Doll

Company: Tammyflu Inc.
Manufacturer's Description: Shock your friends, family and teachers when you squirt them with your Little Baby Bird Flu Doll. Watch as they blister up and ooze pus before your eyes. The ultimate gag gift!!!

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: This is probably the most disturbing toy that has come out in years. It resembles a little bird with ruffled feathers and all. You are instructed to "carry the bird around as though you had just it found on the ground and ask your friend, family member or teacher if they think it is dead. When this person leans in to look, squeeze the squirt bulb which releases a milky, caustic liquid from the rectum of the bird that immediately burns the friend, family member or teacher resulting in laughter as their skin burns and blisters, leading to a pus-filled sore." Well, I 'laughed' all the way to the hospital as I confused the rectum with the head and got a toxic burst right in the face.
Pros: Can squirt the 'milky, caustic liquid' up 4 times to 10 feet before needing to be refilled.
Cons: Difficult to discern the rectum from the head. Also, tends to really freak people out and hurt them more than play a prank on them.

Mike Brown's Kids Home Emergency Preparedness Kit

Company: Brownie's Back Worldwide
Manufacturer's Description: Let Mike Brown, former Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), help your kids be prepared for emergencies in and around the house.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: I certainly learned a lot about how to oversee horse judges and stewards.
Pros: Wonderful photos of Arabian horses scattered throughout the kit.
Cons: It doesn't provide any actual tips for emergency preparedness and deals primarily with how to be a commissioner of horse judges and stewards.

Terrorist Tom/Terrorist Tina Exploding Figurines

Company: Lin Baden Holdings, Ltd.
Manufacturer's Description: Kill all bloody infidels! Desert runs red with the blood of evil satan America!

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Not much to say about this toy other than it really packs a punch and seems to be intended to hurt/maim American (infidel) children as they randomly explode and spread shrapnel around the room
Pros: Fun to read some of the poorly written English on the package.
Cons: These little suckers could really hurt someone.

Jack Abramoff's 'Little Swindler Resource Guide'

Company: Abram Offshore
Manufacturer's Description: Learn to run with the big dogs and how to piss on all the weak puppies as you take them for everything they are worth.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Whoa! This is a step-by-step guide on how to be a crook. I bet the author of the book is not a very nice fella.
Pros: Some possible get rich schemes here.
Cons: Methods described are highly illegal, unethical and downright mean.

Tom and Jerry Action Bonkers

Company: Ouchy Enterprises
Manufacturer's Description: That crazy cat and mouse team bring you hours of fun and laughter in the comfort of your own home.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Who ever thought that whacking each other with a hammer was actually fun? I don't know, either. My son and I tried this out. I ruined our tiled floor and hospitalized him when I dropped the anvil on his foot and I'm still seeing stars from when he caught me square in the temple with a shovel. Additionally, my wife blew a huge hole in the wall of our family room when she threw a stick of dynamite at our daughter (luckily she's a bad throw).
Pros: Wooden mallet and iron skillet are both made of high-quality material.
Cons: Can cause serious injury and should only be purchased for animated children.

Diebold's Youth Voting Machines

Company: Diebold, Inc.
Manufacturer's Description: Want a club election to turn out the way you expect? Ever wanted to know who everybody thinks is the coolest or best looking? We guarantee this Youth Voting Machine will return the results you expect. It will liven up any party and place you at the top.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Highly advanced gadget for the kid who has everything and wants to continue on his road to world domination. In this world we live in, I guess it's never too late to learn how to rig a vote.
Pros: Really snazzy-looking and provides you with the opportunity to pre-program results.
Cons: No paper trail and no way to verify the legitimacy of the vote. (Actually, this could be a pro as it depends on how you fared in the vote.)

Jessica Simpson on the Meaning of Life

Company: Dum n' Dummer Publishing
Manufacturer's Description: Pretty girls do want to know things, but sometimes it's just hard to find someone to ask. That's why you need 'Jessica Simpson on the Meaning of Life' on your bookshelf.

Avant News Toy Reviewer Comments: Good Lord!! She has an entire chapter explaining that Chicken of the Sea is actually tuna. Huh? What did I miss that made people think that there were sea chickens?
Pros: It's only 17 pages long, so it's not that painful.
Cons: She split with Nick Lachey before this was written and, thus, nobody took the effort to make any sense of what the heck she is talking about.

By Raoul Thibodeaux, Avant News Staff Writer

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