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Audible presents Richard Armitage (“The Hobbit”) reading a spellbinding novel version of the world’s most famous tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet, adapted by David Hewson. Armitage says, “I think Romeo and Juliet is the greatest, most tragic love story ever told. What David Hewson did with this script is so exciting to me. I really love the fact that he followed avenues that Shakespeare suggested but didn’t necessarily detail in depth. If you want to immerse yourself in a warm bath of Garganega and the heat of Verona and hear a brilliant story about a young woman who is challenging the restraints of her time, listen to this audiobook, which has romance, poetry, politics, and humor to spare.”

CCFC has announced the results of its annual TOADY award for the worst toy of the year:

The votes are in for the 2016 TOADY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young children) Award, and Pink Fizz’s skin-irritating, endocrine-disrupting makeup set — marketed to girls as young as age three as the “the ultimate glam makeup collection in a box” — took the title handily with 33% of the vote.

The Game of Life: Empire was runner-up (17%), followed by the View-Master Batman: The Animated Series Virtual Reality Pack (16%), Shopkins Tall Mall Playset (16%), Pokemon GO (15%), and Play-Doh Hulk and Iron Man (2%).

Thanks so much to this year’s TOADY partners: EPIC Privacy (which nominated Pokemon GO), Families Managing Media (View-Master Batman Virtual Reality Pack), New Moon Girls (Lulu’s Makeup Set), Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert program (Game of Life: Empire), The Story of Stuff (Shopkins Tall Mall Playset), and TRUCE (Play-Doh Hulk and Iron Man). If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll take a minute to read their great nominating blog posts.

And thanks to all who voted! Many of you left great comments which captured the essence of exactly how “oppressive and destructive” these toys are.

Kaylan Crowther of San Antonio, TX, commented on our award winner so tartly, we may ask her to be a guest writer for next year’s campaign materials! Crowther said: “Pink Fizz Lulu’s Makeup Set deserves the 2016 TOADY. Ages 3 – 20? Hey, you know what your beautiful toddler face needs? MAKEUP. Start having insecurities about your looks already! Need to sexualize your preschooler? Look no further! But wait, there’s more! Because this makeup set doesn’t just contain subtle misogyny, it also has flammable and carcinogenic ingredients!”

Frank Rogers of Washington, DC, said the runner-up, Game of Life: Empire, was “Shameless corporate advertising to kids. There’s more to ‘Life’ than mindlessly giving all of your money to corporations.”

Pokemon GO, the fad of the summer of 2016, earned the vote of Thomas Mason of Scotts Valley, CA. “Children need more time outside, but not looking at a smart phone,” Mason said. “What happened to catch, or playing in a mound of dirt? We have stifled their imaginations.”

Craig Hinch of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, voted for the Shopkins Tall Mall Playset. “I believe this is the worst, and the series in general, as it encourages a child to consume and shop,” Hinch said. “It encourages the notion that shopping and spending money is a goal to achieve, all while disguised as cute characters. It’s using stereotypes, marketing it as something for girls alone (despite boys liking it too) because girls ‘should be’ all about shopping and materialism.”

Mary Ann Jacob, M.D., of Anchorage, AK, voted for the View-Master Batman Virtual Reality Pack. “As a pediatrician, I had a difficult time just picking one of the candidates for the 2016 TOADY,” Dr. Jacob said. “In the end, two things made me choose the View-Master Batman: the fact that ‘virtual’ reality keeps young children from experiencing the real world, and the concern that with this ‘toy,’ children could access developmentally inappropriate images and stories.”

Vicki Bartolini of Franklin, MA, lamented the 2016 version of Play-Doh. “Originally Play-Doh encouraged children to really use their imaginations—to come up with all kinds of scenarios from the simple to the complex,” Vicki notes. “There was no push in any direction—especially towards any kind of violence. The ‘power’ was in the creativity. Let’s keep Play-Doh open-ended to stimulate children’s expressiveness!”

But Lulu’s Makeup Set was clearly the worst of the worst—exploiting the aspirations of very young girls, with chemicals that can hurt them!

Thanks to everyone who voted and helped spread the word. Together, we’re shining a light on the toy industry’s most troubling trends—because children’s play is too important to surrender to marketers.

Doesn’t this look totally awesome?

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