Fat Brain infant toy takes top honor at international competition

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Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:00 am

An international prize. A crowded field of competitors. A jury of a dozen experts.

And the winner of the best toy in the "Baby to Infant" category? The milk-and-formula stained envelope please – Omaha's Fat Brain Toy Co. for Tobbles Neo!

Fat Brain won the Toy of the Year award Tuesday at the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair in Nurnberg, Germany. The annual event draws more than 2,700 manufacturers and toy traders from around the world.

Tobbles Neo is a brightly colored, stackable toy developed by the online toy seller.

Here's what the judges had to say: Tobbles fascinates with its "six beautifully styled colorful cups."

It sparks a small child's imagination, and as an added thrill, it leads kids to ponder – "How far can the tower tilt without falling over?"

"We just learned we won," company spokesman Matt Hansen said breathlessly Tuesday afternoon. "We're the first American toy company to win since 2011."

The event's ToyAward is an internationally recognized prize presented annually by an expert jury, whose criteria is simple but tough: fun, creativity, safety, material and comprehensibility.

About 45 of the 7,000 toys and games the Fat Brain offers are its own creations or those of independent toy inventors it has partnered with; since 2008, Fat Brain Toy Co., the development arm of Fat Brain Toys, has introduced about 10 original toys each year. Fat Brain Toys was founded by Mark and Karen Carson in 2002 .

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