Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Go watch a radio show

We love the First State Children's Theater Company. I've blogged about them before, but wanted to let everyone know of their current tour of the State of Delaware doing "The Maltese Falcon" as part of Delaware's "The Big Read" initiative. Find a location near you and check it out. They do a great job!

Here's the e-mail they sent us

What is “The Big Read”: The Big Read is an initiative of the Delaware Division of Libraries and the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. This is the first year Delaware has participated in this celebrated national program.. The 2009 Big Read for the state of Delaware is Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Through the energies of Patty Langley (from the Delaware Division of Libraries), the Delaware Center for the Book and their partners, Delaware libraries have spent 2009 hosting book discussions, theatrical readings, film series, and scholar-led presentations and discussions. In addition, many public libraries have been offering other locally planned, supplementary programming to enhance and expand the reading experience.

What is our tour: This touring production of The Maltese Falcon is staged in the spirit of a radio play and involves 4 actors with live foley (sound effects). The original script is adapted is directly and faithfully from the book – and uses only dialogue and narration by Dashiell Hammett; so that the audience discovers this crime story through his unique/signature writing style, phrasing, vocabulary, and slang.

When is our tour: We are touring this performance April 21 – May 5.

How long is the performance: This performance runs I hour, 20 minutes.

Who is the target audience: Anyone who would read and enjoy Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon.

How much are tickets: This performance is free to the public. It is free to attend.

Who are the actors/PTTP alumni:

  • Michael Boudewyns - (UD/PTTP grad 1992)
  • Lynn Berg - (UD/PTTP grad 2003)
  • Luis Galindo - (UD/PTTP grad 2007)
  • Sara Valentine - (UD/PTTP grad 2007)

***Final “late night” performance ***
  • When: Tuesday May 5, 2009
  • Time: 10:00pm
  • Where: Hartshorn Theatre – in the “Pool Room” on first floor
(on the corner of Academy St. and E. Park Place, UD campus, Newark)
  • Who: Best enjoyed by ages 12 and up
  • Program length: 1 hour and 20 minutes

2009 Big Read Maltese Falcon touring schedule (14 performances in 12 days)

Tues. Apr 21
Milton Public Library - 6:30pm
121 Union Street
Milton, DE 19968

Wed. Apr 22
Down’s Cultural Center - 2:00pm
(located in the Ingleside Retirement Center)
1005 N Franklin St
Wilmington, DE 19806

Thurs. Apr 23
Selbyville Public Library - 6:30pm
11 Main & McCabe Streets
Selbyville, DE 19975

Sat. Apr 25
Seaford Public Library - 2:00pm
402 North Porter Street
Seaford, DE 1997

Mon. Apr 27
New Castle Senior Center – 1:30pm
400 South Street
New Castle, DE 19720

Woodlawn Public Library – 7:00pm
2020 West Ninth Street
Wilmington, DE 19805

Tues. Apr 28
Rehoboth Beach Public Library - 6:30pm
226 Rehoboth Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Wed. Apr 29
Laurel Public Library - 7:00pm
101 East 4th Street
Laurel, DE 19956

Thurs. Apr 30
Lewes Public Library - 7:00pm
111 Adams Avenue
Lewes, DE 19958

Fri. May 1
Brandywine Hundred Library – 7:00pm
1300 Foulk Road
Wilmington, DE 19803

Sat. May 2
Kent County Library - 2:00pm
2319 South DuPont Highway
Dover, DE 19901

Sun. May 3
Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library - 2:00pm
115 High Street
Odessa, DE 19730

Tues. May 5
Elsmere Public Library - 6:30pm
30 Spruce Avenue
Elsmere, DE 19805

Hartshorn Theatre – 10:00pm
(in the “Pool Room” on the first floor )
On the corner of Academy St. and E. Park Place
UD campus
Newark, DE 19711

Monday, April 27, 2009

Soon and only at YoYo Joe's

As you may have noticed, we're big on yo-yos at YoYo Joe's. People come in all the time and our selection and are shocked (shocked!) that we have yo-yos priced as high as $150 (we also have them as low as $5.99). Well, we're about to nearly double the upper end of our price scale.
YoYo Joe's is proud to be the sole retailer of the brand new signature yo-yo of our friend Jonathan Robinson (JonRob) - an elite level yoyoer from Wilmington. JonRob's initial release of his signature yo-yo - the Pure - will be an extremely limited release - less than 25 are available to purchase and only 30 were made of the XO edition. YoYo Joe's will have all of them. They were retail for $284.99 and I've gone from stressing out that we placed such a huge order to stressing that we will not be able to get enough to satisfy the demand. I'm sure these will sell out in a matter of minutes.
It's a hand-painted, hand crafted yo-yo that is the best of the best. Not intended for everyone, the Pure is for someone who appreciates the best quality available.
For those of you who are interested in the Pure, stay tuned. We have not received them yet, but expect them any day. Once they're in stock, our new website will go live and we will accept orders through it.

YoYo Joe's loves baseball

I love baseball. I played little league baseball from the age of 8 through 18, then dabbled in a couple of adult leagues through the years.
I have coached teams of all ages for over 1o years.
I followed my beloved Phillies from as young as I can remember (it was awesome to see them win the World Series last year, but I only got to see one or two games of the postseason since we were getting the store set up!)
One of the things that we put in our business plan was our intent to sponsor little league teams in both neighboring little leagues - Naamans Little League (their complex is right behind our store!) and my alma-mater Brandywine Little League. On Friday night, two players from YoYo Joe's in the Brandywine team stopped in. Gabriel and Christopher Forwood not only came in, they were sporting their nifty team uniform!

Thanks for coming in guys, have a great season!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Story Time

Special thanks to Christina Wirtz from DNREC for coming and doing an Earth reading of Dr. Seuss' classic, The Lorax today at YoYo Joe's. Thanks also to those who came!

If you missed it, we have another reading scheduled for Saturday with Captain Lauren Morgens of The Kalmar Nyckel. She'll read "How I Became a Pirate." 

Super Underpants Boys Unite!

Jimmy Kimmel did a segment on his show where he tests, er, subjects children to 'new' toy 'inventions.' Hilarity ensues. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ty is shameless

As you may remember in previous posts, I'm not the biggest fan of Ty - the 90's era wunderkind who keep trying to be relevant. Actually, I'd probably place them near the bottom of the list of toy companies I like. Why?
They refuse to miss a moment to exploit someone for money. Remeber the Sasha and Malia dolls they rolled out just before the Inauguration which, according to a Ty spokeperson Tania Lundeen, "There's nothing on the dolls that refers to the Obama girls." Instead they chose the names because "they are beautiful names." Then, weeks later, the pulled them and renamed them.
Now, forgoing any pretense with the naming of their latest offering, they've introduced "Bo, the First Dog," proving you don't even have to be human to be exploited by Ty. Oh, and "Bo" is part of the new Webkinz, um I mean "Ty 2.0" line - which means there's a code on the toy that lets you play online, which is odd because I remember back when Ty had original ideas, they went after people who tried to copy their success. I guess once the fad's passed, you just try to attach yourselves to something that's popular, whether it's a competing toy company or who's in the news this week.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The 3/50 project

What a wonderfully simple idea.

The main thrust behind the 3/50 project is that you pick your three favorite locally owned brick and mortar stores and spend $50 a month among them. Maybe that means heading off to YoYo Joe's to buy a birthday present instead of Target. Maybe that means getting your ice cream at Sweet Lucy's instead of the Dairy Queen. Maybe that means grabbing the latest CD at Rainbow Books & Music instead of downloading it from itunes. Maybe that means shopping for books at Ninth Street Book Shop instead of Borders. How about picking up your daily coffee at Brewhaha instead of Starbucks?

Why? According to Cinda Baxter, the mind behind the movement, if half the employed population did this, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.

Why should you care about local brick & mortars? She also says the for every $100 you spend at a locally owned independent store, $68 of that money stays local. For chain stores, that number drops to $43. For online stores, that number drops to $0 - so it's far better for everyone in the long run to keep your money local.

The project launched in mid-March and has taken off. I've gotten three e-mails about it from three entirely different sources - fellow toy retailers, a local record store and from a toy group.

Check out the 3/50 Project website and shop a local today.

Six months? What, are you kidding me?

Just now, checking my watch, I noticed it's April 20th. We opened (unofficially) on October 20th. That makes it six months since we opened. That's half a year. We're only 54 1/2 years behind Mitchell's. Happy half-year anniversary to us!

Top Five things that should NOT go down the slide off the pirate ship

In the six months we've been open, we've seen all sorts of things descend the slide off the pirate ship at YoYo Joe's. Most of the time, happily, it's just people. Mostly kids, with an occasional 'grown-up' reliving their youth.

We've also seen all sorts of things that probably should not be going down the slide at YoYo Joe's. Bear in mind that no one should be sending anything down the slide on the pirate ship other than their own fannies.

5 - Lunastix. Lunastix are juggling sticks that are planted right next to the slides, so it's an easy grab-n-go thing. Actually, I only saw one little girl take the Lunastix down the slide, but she cradled it lovingly in her arms, which struck me as weird as we have dolls for the whole 'cradled lovingly' thing.

4- Corolle dolls. A while back, a little girl stood at the top of the slide and launched a Corolle doll down the slide. And when I say 'down the slide,' what I really mean is tossed above the slide. I don't think it actually even hit the slide, now to think of it. So, I guess this was just more or less a man (or doll) overboard situation. Either way, the Corolle doll wasn't the best flyer, so she landed a perfect faceplant beyond the slide. Luckily, these are some darn durable dolls, so she escaped the flight with nary a mark.

3 - Pirate rubber duckies. These guys are pretty innocent - not much chance of damage or injury here. We've seen lots of pirate rubber duckies descend the slide. Sometimes in bunches, sometimes alone. Sometimes with a kid, sometimes before a kid, sometimes trailing after a kid. They're stocked right next to the slides, so I guess it's a natural reaction to send them down to test the waters before plunging in yourself.

2 - Shopping baskets. We have these wicked cool rolling shopping baskets. They holds lots of stuff and can be either carried or rolled on the ground. We had one group come in and use the shopping basket to roll around their doll in. Then they sent it careening down the slide.

1 - Plasmacars. I've seen three of these go down the slide and each time, I just count mentally to ten before approaching the offender. Sure, it might seem it's a good thing, the Plasmacars have wheels, fit down the slide and look like they'd be fun. After the first couple, I tried it myself late at night and was surprised at how quickly the car goes down the slide. And since it isn't exactly made for speed, it didn't handle the slide too well. It seemed like it would be very easy for the car to capsize or slam into the side of the store, which would be bad for all around. Luckily, most offenders get chastised by their parents before I can reach them, but one of these days "To the moon, Alice!"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Illustrator Brian Biggs at YoYo Joe's today from 1-2

Brian Biggs, who is a wonderful illustrator of childrens books & toys, will be hanging out at YoYo Joe's today from 1-2. He'll sign the books he's illustrated, plus read from one of his books! According to Brian, hanging out in toy stores is his sixth favorite thing to do, come find out what his numbers 1-5 are! Check out his funky illustrations at his website -

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Free Library Festival - Philly

Coming up on April 18th & 19th, it's the annual Free Library of Philadelphia Festival. Lots of awesome authors will be in attendance, as well as plenty of other entertainment. Check out the schedule for the Children's Stage - it looks great - legendary childrens musicians Trout Fishing in America, The Jimmies (who are a pretty rocking band for a kids act) and lots of other stuff - including a 'unprecedented inter-city StorySlam spectacular' pitting five Chicagoans (??) vs five Philadelphians in a battle of which city is more storied.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Like Bananagrams? On Facebook? Bananagrams Happy Hour tonight!

Since we're cool (obviously), we keep up on all the trendy cyber accessories out there. That means, we have a blog (duh, you're here), a Facebook page (be a fan!) and we update our 'followers' on Twitter.
I just found out today that one of our favorite games, Bananagrams, is available to play online through Facebook. They host a weekly 'Happy Hour,' in which lots of people show up to play online. Sure, there's no beer or wine, but they have yet to master delivering that over the internet. Their Happy Hour is tonight from 5:30 - 7:30 pm (now!) - I'll be hanging around...I think they do it every week, but I'm kinda new at here to check it out.

Update - Yes, I played Banagrams online last night. I've revised my opinion on this game. I hate it. It has NOTHING to do with the fact that I was creamed every game I played. Really....nothing....sniff...sniff...
OK, so I really don't hate the game, the game rocks. I thought I was pretty good at it, I've learned my lesson. Don't be surprised if you play this online that you start thinking in terms of how you can rearrange your words you write so you can fit in an odd 'Z' here and there. It's kinda like Tetris like that.

8 Best toys that YoYo Joe's got at/since Toy far - #1!

So, if you've been following along, this is the number one item we've gotten since Toy Fair. And, it should be little surprise to those who've been following the blog - it's the EcoAquarium with the uber-cool little African Dwarf Frogs. These guys are so cool (how cool are they?) - they're so cool, we put ice in their tanks to warm them up! (Groan).
The kit comes with two African Dwarf Frogs, a live bamboo plant, a snail to clean up the, a scenic rock (good for hiding behind), scenic gravel and 'living' gravel. The living gravel acts as a filter, the bamboo helps oxygenate the water - it's a real little ecosystem!
Really, these are awesome, and they sell awesome as well. They were our #1 best selling item of March! And, we enjoy staring at them all day - see our previous post on them for details of their 'vogueing' habits.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Best selling March items.

Top 10 selling items at YoYo Joe's in March:

10 - Live Butterfly Garden (we have one on display, awesome to watch!)
9 - Journey Yo-Yo from YoYo Jam
8 - Maraca Shakers from Woodstock
7 - Kickside Yo-Yo from YoYo Jam
6 - Kids watches
5 - Teeny Tiny Babies from Safari (see them being eaten here)
4 - Dripstik
3 - Yo-Yo Strings
2 - Gamma Brain Wing Yo-Yo from Yomega
1 - EcoAquarium

8 Best toys that YoYo Joe's got at/since Toy far - #2

No, I didn't forget about this list. Well....actually, I did. But, it's back! In all it's glory, just in time for #2 - Mic-o-Mic Construction toys/Models.

These little plastic toys come in a bunch of parts - you put them together and then you can play with them. They come in different sizes and price points. Plus, the models themselves are pretty cool looking - there's an old fashioned roadster car, a panel truck, a helicopter, a motorcyle with sidecar and others.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Forbes Magazine names 'Toys' as one of '10 Things To Buy Before the Economy Improves'

Forbes Magazine has named toys as number 4 on the list of '10 Things To Buy Before the Economy Improves.' Toys are sandwiched between 'Vacations' and 'High-Dividend Stocks" as things that are much less expensive now than before the economy tanked.

Where the Wild Things Are trailer now available

The trailer for the upcoming live-action movie of one of the most beloved children's books of all time has hit the web.
I was never a big fan of the book, but the trailer looks awesome. I will be looking forward to this movie.

Joe's blog entry for Toy Directory website

A couple weeks ago, I got a call from the Toy Directory - a toy industry publication and website. They came across my blog here and decided to ask me to write for their new Toy Blog section of their website. I recently submitted my first article to them - it's about trends that I expect to see through the rest of 2009. I'm no Jim Cramer (although I would totally take down Jon Stewart if I was on 'The Daily Show'), but I made some predictions. Check out the article here.

Lego is cool again

I found this article online today in the UK newspaper (remember newspapers?) The Guardian. I found it really interesting. Lego was near ruin just four years ago, and last year reported a record increase in sales. What fueled it? Where are they going next? Read the article and find out!