San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe

Best Toy Store, June 2007

Older kids will find plenty to put on their wish lists at the sprawling neighborhood fixture San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe. The girls tend to gravitate to the collectible Madame Alexander dolls, the Corolle Dolls that you can feed, bathe, and diaper, and box after box of Calico Critters with all their requisite accessories. Rough-and-tumble boys can be found ogling the Bungee Jumpers or checking out the bug vacuums. (Not that William can’t have a doll, to borrow from Marlo Thomas, or vice versa.) Up front is a display featuring several dozen inexpensive party favor ideas—or post-dentist pick-me-ups—including kazoos, kaleidoscopes, spinning tops, and Silly Putty. Some toy emporiums give short shrift to baby toys, but not this one: There’s a ton of colorful stuff from the likes of Lamaze and IQ Baby.