Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (giveaway ends 5/30/15)


A Year on the Farm-cover

Most young children are fascinated by vehicles. It’s not just a “boy thing.” Growing up I was really into trucks and cards. I LOVED my Tonka trucks back in the day when they were made out of metal.

I still remember when my kids were little. They were fascinated by things like firetrucks, Police cars, tractor trailers and farm equipment.

There is a new book available that many little boys (and girls!) might find interesting and fun. It’s called Big Tractors with Casey & Friends. It’s new from Octane Press. In fact, there are several Casey & Friends books worth noting. They offer readers a glimpse into farm life as well as machines used in modern agriculture.

Octane Press produces high-quality narrative and illustrated books for discerning enthusiast audiences. Some of the company’s best-known titles include Red Tractors 1958–2013: The Authoritative Guide to IH and Case IH Tractors and Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500. Octane Press has won several book awards, including IBPA Benjamin Franklin awards (Red Tractors 1958–2013, Forward, Adventurous Motorcyclist’s Guide to Alaska) and Independent Publisher Awards (In the Red, Red Tractors 1958–2013).

Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (ages 4-8) teaches readers about the various pieces of farm equipment and how they work, including interesting farming facts and so much more. Readers will also learn about the iconic red CASE IH tractor.

I’m an adult and I found the book interesting. I even learned a few things and I grew up around farms.

Casey & Friends is written by a “seasoned” educator and national curriculum writer Holly Dufek. Together with Cars artist Paul Nunn they are teaching children (and their parents) about the various types of farm equipment that is used to bring food to the table.

Most people don’t know just how much work is involved to harvest the foods that we eat on a daily basis. There is a lot of labor involved including heavy machinery.

casey fall

Here is some more information about the books series.

Meet “Casey & Friends.”
Written by Holly Dufek, Illustrated by Paul E. Nunn | Published by Octane Press
Ages 4-8 | 32 pages | 9×9-inch hardcover | $14.99 each

Follow Casey the farmer, Tillus the worm, Big Red the tractor, and a whole cast of cartoon equipment characters who teach important life lessons gleaned from the farm, like thinking ahead and working as a team. Each title is licensed by CASE IH and highlights a different aspect of farm equipment and technology with educational sidebars, picture glossaries and fun farming facts for added learning possibilities.

A Year on the Farm with Casey & Friends (Jan. 2015) introduces children to the world of modern farming by teaching them about the different jobs a farmer does each season. Casey and her team show how tractors, combines and other equipment: plant and harvest crops, work in the farmyard, and care for animals. Learn how farming involves planning for the year, reacting to the weather, and working as a team.

Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (Apr. 2015) shows how the biggest, most powerful tractors handle the demanding jobs of pulling and powering on the farm. Find out how Big Red and Sammy – the biggest tractors on the farm – use their powerful muscles to work in the field with the rest of the team. Learn about the science of farming and discover how advanced technology makes Big Red and Sammy special.

big red left facing

Combineswith Casey & Friends (June 2015) explains the step-by-step processes used to harvest crops by the most complex machines on the farm. Follow Cody and Kellie—the combines of Happy Skies Farm—as they do the work of three machines: gathering, separating, and unloading grain and corn.

Planters & Cultivators with Casey & Friends (Sept. 2015) features the specialized farm equipment used to cultivate, plant and spray crops. Learn how Tammi the Tiller, Evan the Early Riser Planter and Peter the Patriot Sprayer work together to make this year’s crop bigger than ever. Explore the science of soil and discover how Casey’s team keeps it healthy.

“Know a kid or two who thinks corn comes from the grocery’s freezer section? Put ‘em on track with A Year on the Farm with Casey & Friends….Plenty of detail combined with lots of color photos and illustrations makes this an engaging read for kids ages 4-8. A fun (and educational) read for kids and their grandparents!”

—Leslie McManus, Farm Collector Magazine

We have the book Big Tractors with Casey & Friends. I have since donated it to our classroom for other children to enjoy.

Look for these books where ever books are sold.

For more information about Octane Press visit OctanePress.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.


CASEIH Tractor Toy

I have a copy of this book, as well as CASE IH Magnum 370 CVT Tractor Toy (1:64 scale – MSRP $8.50 – ages 3+) to give to a lucky reader. 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on May 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator. The winner will be notified via email. The winner has three days to respond or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you MUST complete the initial entry requirement or the extra entries won’t qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received a free sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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New products from Kohl’s Cares



Are you familiar with Kohl’s Cares? Kohl’s Cares is a special charity from the retail giant that helps to support children’s health and educational programs across the country. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Kohl’s Cares products goes towards these programs. Since the year 2000, Kohl’s Cares has raised a whopping $257 million dollars. That is amazing.

Kohl’s Cares offers wonderful products for both children and adults. Every Kohl’s Cares products sells for $5.00. And let me tell you from personal experience, the products are worth much more than that. Some people might assume the products are cheaply made for such a low selling point. That is not the case at all. Take their plush animals for example. They are just as well made as the $25+ plush you find in specialty stores. Unlike those plush 100% of the sale of the Kohl’s Cares plush goes towards children’s charities.

I personally enjoy the products offered through Kohl’s Cares. They do offer “grown up” things like cookbooks (which I love), but mostly it’s books and plush animals. Often the plush and the books match up. For example, last time around Kohl’s Cares offered a plush “Dough/Dug” (don’t remember how it’s spelled) from the film Up. In addition they also offered an Up book.


I’m a bit kid at heart so I often purchase the books and matching plush – I can’t have one without the other. LOL! Some I keep for myself. I display them on my bookcases and I rotate them a few times per year. Others I hold on to as a set to give as a gift. It’s always a great idea to have gifts on hand and I like offering the little kids in my life the plush/book combo. It makes a wonderful and appreciated gift plus it only costs you $10 ($5 each). How often can you find a quality gift at that price point?

I also donate some of the plush and books to my place of employment. The kids love them and it makes me smile when I see them enjoying them.

Kohl’s Cares offers new products for a limited time (until supply lasts) every few months. I make sure to bookmark their site and check in every few weeks to see if they have new products available. I don’t want to miss out on anything.

Kohl’s Cares is currently offering some of these delightful products. REMEMBER each product is $5 – they do not come as a set.

Bear Elephant Turtle Whale

Kohl’s Cares was kind enough to send me the Bear and book set, as well as the Turtle and book set. I love the plush and books so much that I went out and purchased the Elephant and Whale plush, as well as their matching books.

These are not mini-plush animals. They are full size (regular plush size) – ideal for hugging and snuggling up with at night.

I love the books! Not only are the stories delightful (perfect for bed time), the illustrations are beautiful too. They are quick reads with only a few words or a single sentence on most pages. These books would be great for early readers too.

If any of these interest you I would recommend you visit your local Kohl’s soon, or shop online. Once they are sold out there will be no more.

Kohls Cares Spring 2015

Make sure to check Kohl’s often, or visit their online site, to see what new Kohl’s Cares products are available. They change throughout the year.

Look for the Kohl’s Cares products near the check out lanes. They are usually on prominent display. Remember, 100% of the proceeds goes towards children’s health and educational charities.

To find a location near you (or order online) visit Kohls.com. To find the Kohl’s Cares products do a product search for Kohl’s Cares. You can also find Kohl’s on all the social media channels (links are found at the bottom of their website).

Have you ever purchased, or received, any Kohl’s Cares products? Would you consider buying them as a gift for someone special? Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I received some free product samples. I also purchased some one my own. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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The Little Red Wagon…

Pal and Bridget

Think back to when you were a little child. Was there a toy that was very special to you? For me it was my Fisher Price Little People (back when they were made out of wood) and my stuffed animals. In fact I still have the first two stuffed animals I was ever given – Pal and Bridget. Pal is in bad condition. In fact, he doesn’t even have a piece of hair left on him. I THINK he was dog at one point because he used to have long ears.

I loved my toys. I loved them a lot. I was fortunate that my mom and dad provided me with a lot of great toys over the years.

One of my favorite outdoor toys was my my Radio Flyer tricycle. I wrote that bike all over – the front yard, the driveway and up and down our road. Once I put a great big teddy bear that I had on my Radio Flyer tricycle and took it to a hilly part of our road and let him ride down. My poor bear ended up with dirt and tar all over his feet which I was never able to clean off. None the less I had a great time doing it.

You can even make out my Radio Flyer tricycle in the background of this picture of me. I have another photo of me riding the tricycle but off hand I don’t recall where that photo is.


One thing I always wanted as a child, but never did get, was a Radio Flyer red wagon. I’m sure many people know exactly what wagon I am talking about. It’s the classic red wagon that is seen in many books and old photos from years go by. The wagon looked like this;


I wanted the Radio Flyer red wagon because there was a book I loved to read called Kittens for Kim where Kim (a boy), had a wagon he used to carry around some kittens and other fun things. I also used to love to read my father’s Dick and Jane books and Dick and Jane had a little red wagon.


I thought it would be fun to have a little red wagon of my own. I would use it to carry around my plush friends and take them on adventures with me. I also secretly wanted to sit in it and ride it down the hill on our road, which is probably why mom and dad never got me one. LOL.

I’m an adult now and in the back of my mind I’ve always longed for that elusive little red wagon that I always wanted as a child. I know I would be able to play with it like a child would, but I still think it would be fun to use it as a decoration. I have seen people display potted flowers on a red wagon. I love that idea, except we don’t have a yard or any place to display it.

As odd as it sounds owning a little red wagon was on my “Bucket List.” It was just something from my childhood that I always wanted and I someday wanted to finally get one.

That day is now.

Radio Flyer sent me a little red wagon, but there is a “twist” to this – it’s a miniature version of the little red wagon. It’s the very same Radio Flyer little red wagon that I always wanted, except it’s itty bitty. It’s just the right size for a toddler to pull around or to use as a decoration.

As luck would have it the little red wagon arrived the day before my husband and I went on a quest to find him a new water jug. We checked out a few stores. In one store there was a toy section. My husband and I love checking out the toys (we are big kids). As we were looking around I came across a plush tiger. Right away the tiger looked like one of my favorite comic book characters – Hobbes from the Calvin & Hobbes comic series. I love Calvin & Hobbes so much that I am planning on getting them tattooed on my ankle as soon as I have the money for it.

Incidentally Calvin and Hobbes rode around in a little red wagon. Maybe its kismet with me and the little red wagon?

I had the perfect place for my new plush friend – in my Radio Flyer little red wagon which I am now proudly displaying on my bookcase.

Radio Flyer and Hobbes

@ Bill Watterson

@ Bill Watterson

Now my childhood wish for a Radio Flyer little red wagon has come true. And on top of that I found a way to pay homage to one of my all time favorite comic book characters.

I’m a very happy person right now.

Radio Flyer wagons have come a long way since I was a child. They still carry the classic little red wagon, but in addition they carry some really cool wagons that are ideal for toting along your children whether it’s around town or on vacation.

3900_IMG_Hero_Empty - Copy

Check out the Radio Flyer EZ Fold Wagon. It’s the only folding wagon for kids to ride in. It’s big enough for two children to ride around in comfortably. It even sports 4 cup holders, seat belts (which is important) and a removable canopy to protect little ones from the elements.

My kids would have LOVED to be driven around in this wagon. I wish this was available when my kids were younger.

When my kids were younger we had to push them around in the stroller. It was not very comfortable for them, especially when they got older. Plus my kids felt confined and there were not able to move around as freely as they could in a super cool wagon like this.

There were so many times a wagon like this would have come in handy like parades, strolls around the lake, the county fair and even just taking a walk around town.

It looks like it might be hard to fold up but you can fold it up with just one hand.


I haven’t seen this wagon in person but it looks like folded up it should easily slip into a standard size truck for easy transportation.

If you have ever traveled with a toddler you know how easily they tire out. Having a wagon like this is not only fun for the children, but it is also less stressful for the parents. Parents won’t have to listen to little one whine and complain about being tired or their feet hurting, and they won’t have to carry their child around on their person.

Check out this brief video about the Radio Flyer EZ Fold Wagon.


The Radio Flyer EZ Fold Wagon is for children ages 1 1/2 and up. It retails for $199. That might seem a bit pricey but this is a product you will find many uses for (you can even us it to haul other things aside from little ones) so it’s more of an investment rather than an expense.

If I was little I think I might have wanted to have this wagon in addition to my little red wagon.

If you would like more information about the Radio Flyer EZ Folder Wagon or other Radio Flyer products please visit www.RadioFlyer.com. The brand is also found on the social media sites. All the links are found at the top left of their home page.

Do you currently own, or have you ever owned, a Radio Flyer product? Do you have a favorite product? Do you have any fond memories involved Radio Flyer products? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.



*I received a mini little red wagon in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Have “Olaf of Fun” with these cute toys from Disney’s Frozen and Jakks

I received an Olaf-A-Lot and Frozen Olaf Snow Cone Maker for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

Enjoying a car rid with Olaf.

Enjoying a car rid with Olaf.

I am amazed that Disney’s hit film, Frozen, is just as popular today as it was when the film was first released. I work with little children and almost every day I have a child come in talking about Frozen and/or the characters from the film.

Elsa and Anna are very popular but I think everyone’s favorite Disney’s Frozen character has to be Olaf. Even I’m a huge fan of the funny snowman. So much so that I have plush Olafs including one on my desk (tiny – along with my little Sven) as well as my HUGE Olaf that sits on my couch (I’m just a bit kid at heart).

Olaf enjoying a cup of coffee.

Olaf enjoying a cup of coffee.

The kids I work with love Olaf too. That is why I was happy to receive a couple of fun Olaf products to review, thanks to Mom Spark Media and Jakks Pacific. If you are not familiar with Jakks, they sell a lot of really cool toys featuring popular characters including Star Wars, Nintendo, Power Rangers, Disney Fairies, Sophia the First, The Smurfs and more. You can check out all their cool toys at Jakks.com.

I received to review the following toys.

Olaf Snow Cone Maker

Olaf Snow Cone Maker: Make a Frozen treat with Olaf! Designed to look just like Olaf from Frozen, this snow cone maker transforms ice cubes into delicious icy treats. Making snow cones has never been so fun or easy! Simply add the flavor powder and water to the flavor bottle to make delicious sugar-free syrups! Add ice cubes to the snow cone maker and crank the handle to make “snow.” Then, add as much flavor as you like to create your very own snow cone! The Olaf Snow Cone Maker is perfect for making delicious Frozen treats “In Summer,” and all year round! Includes snow cone maker, 1 molded cup, 1 flavor bottle, and 2 sugar-free flavor packets (Strawberry and Blue Raspberry!). Your family will love the Olaf Snow Cone Maker and experiencing the magic of Frozen! It’s a toy worth melting for! (SRP $24.99, Ages 4+).

I love snow cones. They are my favorite treat at the county fair and at the local street fairs. I have often thought about getting an ice shaver to make them at home.

The Olaf Snow Cone Maker comes with all you need to make child size snow cones. You’ll need to supply the ice (not included).

The product is easy enough to use, but it does require a bit of “muscle.”

Olaf Snow Cone Maker

After you wash and dry the pieces and put everything together (assembly is easy) it’s time to get started. Simply drop an ice cube into the chute on top of Olaf’s head and place the “pusher piece” (for lack of a better description) on top. Then carefully crank the handle clockwise a few times and you should see the shaved ice start to appear at the bottom where the opening is.

You’ll have to start applying pressure on the pusher piece while still cranking the handle to shave the entire piece of ice. For this reason I would say this is a two person operation. One person pushes down on the push piece while the other person holds the unit and cranks.

You can fill the included cup up with shaved ice with 1-3 ice cubes depending on the size of the ice cubes (I wouldn’t recommend ones that are too big).

Olaf Snow Cone Maker Shaved Ice

Once you have enough ice you can spray in some of the flavoring that comes with the product. My kids didn’t want to use the included flavors. They opted for orange juice instead. I think it’s because I had been talking about Orange Julius (remember those drinks?) earlier and they had orange juice on the brain. So we filled the little bottle (included) with OJ and they squeezed that into the cups.

This is a child’s “toy,” so the snow cones you make with it are itty bitty. You’d have to crank out a lot of ice cubes to make an adult size version of the snow cone.

For little kids I think this would be a lot of fun (with help from an adult). I like that the shaved ice comes out looking exactly like snow, which you know is Olaf’s favorite thing next to warm hugs. I could see kids wanting to play with the “snow” too and make tiny snowballs.

I also received a cute interactive Olaf toy.


Olaf-A-Lot: Prepare to “Olaf-A-Lot” with Arendelle’s funniest snowman! When you push his nose, his eyes cross and Olaf will start to tell you a joke, push his nose in again to hear the hysterical punch line. For even more fun, remove his head and flip it upside down and place his head back on his body to hear even more hilarious sounds and phrases from your favorite movie moments. Olaf says 50+ sounds and phrases; and he can sit or stand. Batteries Included. (SRP 24.99, Ages 3+).

This toy is super cute. I like that you can pose him in different ways. His arms move up and down, his head moves side to side and you can make him stand or site.

I made video of Olaf-A-Lot in action. I also have a much better video from Jakks. Both are worth checking out.



This toy is a lot of fun and kids will have a blast interacting with Olaf-A-Lot.

He tells a lot of corny jokes, but kids will “laugh-a-lot” at them for sure.

I like that this toy is well made and a decent size. When he’s not being enjoyed he makes a fun decoration for a Disney’s Frozen themed room or a fun decoration for any room.

Even my teens kept playing with him to see what he would say next.

Olaf Toy

I plan on bringing Olaf-A-Lot to my job so that the kids can play with him. I cannot wait to see the expression on their faces when Olaf comes alive right before their eyes.

Both Olaf toys would be a lot of fun to have around this summer. Summer is a great time for snow cones and the Olaf-A-Lot would be ideal for long car rides and while on vacation.

Both toys are available at mass retailers  such asTarget, TRU, Walmart, Kmart and Amazon, to name a few.

Be sure to check out what other fun goodies Jakks offers. You can find them on the social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Is anyone in your home a fan of Disney’s Frozen and Olaf? Do either of these toys look like something your child/grandchild would enjoy?



*I received free product samples from Mom Spark Media and Jakks Pacific. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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GeoFlux – Amazing Mesmerizing Interactive Spring Toy



Are you looking for something fun your child can do on a rainy day (or even on non-rainy days) that is inexpensive, thought provoking, small, portable and really cool? If so, let me introduce you to GeoFlux.

GeoFlux is made out of several stainless steel rings. When it’s lying flat it looks like just that – metal rings. Nothing to interesting or fun about that. BUT… as soon as you slip the rings over your wrist they spiral up resembling something like an “atom.”

I had taken a video of GeoFlux in action (my hubby used it as I video taped it) but for the life of me I can’t locate the video. I would take another one but I donated the toy to my job and I am unable to take photos/videos there for security reasons.

I did find this video on YouTube by the brand showing GeoFlux in action.


GeoFlux can be played with by yourself, or hand hands with others and see if you can get the GeoFlux to roll from one person’s arm to another.

Here is some additional information about GeoFlux.

  • Made of a single continuous strand of stainless steel, coiled up as many rings
  • Folds flat and pops open, surprising everyone
  • Put your hand through the coils, then spiral up & down your arm
  • Play solo or with a friend: Roll the Geo ToroFlux from one arm to the other, or Pass from your arm to a friend’s
  • Transport securely in included travel/storage pouch

I have played with GeoFlux both at home and at work when there is some downtime. I actually find GeoFlux to be soothing and relaxing to use. The rings effortlessly roll back and forth on your arm, or from one arm to another. It’s mesmerizing to watch too.

I think this could be seen as a physical activity too because you need me move your arms up and down to help GeoFlux roll up and down your arm.  You cannot be motionless or the toy won’t do anything.

GeoFlux Colage

The GeoFlux is recommended for ages 6 and up. I would whole heartedly agree with that. Younger children would most likely try to pull the rings apart or bend the toy. Once that happens it most likely won’t work properly anymore. For this reason I will only take this toy out at work if we have older children who can follow directions so as not to bend or break it.

I also like that it lies flat and has it’s own carrying bag to keep it safe and to tote is around. It’s also small and doesn’t take up any room at all.

If you would like to learn more about GeoFlux please visit www.GeoSpacePlay.com. The brand carries a lot of other cool toys. In addition you can find the brand on social media (all the links are found at the top right of their website).

I think this would make a fun toy/game to travel with during the summer. It doesn’t require batteries or charging. It’s something the whole family can enjoy. It would also make a great gift.



*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Super Cool Hot Wheels Hyper Racer from Toy State


Me playing with some of my favorite toys as a child.

Me playing with some of my favorite toys as a child.

I miss the days when my kids were little and played with toys. My son still does, to some degree. He just won’t admit it.

Toys have come a long way over the past decade. There are toys available on the market these days that I know my kids would have gone crazy for if they were younger.

Toys these days are so high tech. I couldn’t imagine having these toys when I was little. Back in the day many of my toys were made out of wood and I had to use my imagination to make them do things such as make sounds (“rooooom roooooom” for cars…).

Not long ago I was sent to review the coolest car I have ever seen by the company Toy State. Toy State sent me a Hot Wheels Hyper Racer.

Hot Wheels Hyper Racer

The Hot Wheels Hyper Racer is a slick looking race car that not only makes race car sounds it also plays music, moves on it’s own lights up. When it lights up it actually changes the color of the entire car.

There are three buttons on the top (the orange ones you see to the right of the car). One button makes the car noises, another button plays music. The big orange button makes the car reve up and go. And when I say go I mean GO! This car literally shoots across the entire room a great distance. I have never seen a toy car go that far before. I should have let it go in a parking lot just to see how far it can go.

The car is currently at my job (I donated it to my classroom). It can go from one end of the room to another – but it usually bumps into something along the way like the small step that goes into the bathroom (the car hits it and stops – even though the wheels are still spinning).

In addition to racing across the room the car changes color from blue to a light up neon green color.

I took a video (sorry about the quality) to show you how it lights up. You can see it light up and change color in regular light too – I just filmed it in the dark to give you a better view of it.


The kids I work with LOVE this car.

I keep the car away from little fingers because I worry about them hitting the tires as they start to spin (I wouldn’t want anyone to get an “ouchie”).

Both boys and girls seem to gravitate to this car just on looks alone. When they find out it moves, plays music, makes sounds and changes color they are even more excited to play with it.

This car is pretty hearty too. It has been “crashed” into the walls and furniture numerous times and I have yet to see a mark or dent on it. It reminds me of that saying “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” This car can handle normal “wear and tear” and a few extra crashes along the way.

The car does require 3 AA batteries, which are included. This car is played with a lot at work and so far I haven’t had a need to replace the batteries so you can get a lot of use out of this car before you need to replace the batteries.

This particular Hyper Racer is available in blue (as pictured) and yellow. You can purchase the one I have on Amazon where it currently sells for $16.10.

Hyper Racer


Toy State sells a lot of cars similar to this one. In fact they sell a lot of pretty cool looking toys, many of which are Hot Wheels brand.

Toy States main site is www.ToyState.com. Toys carried by Toy State are available at retailers such as Walmart, Kmart, Toys R Us and Target. In addition you can find Toy State toys on Amazon.

Toy State can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I would recommend following the brand so that you learn about new toys as they become available.

Have you ever purchased any Toy State toys? What do you think about the Hyper Racer?

Toy State Logo


*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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