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Baby Furbies under attack from gogos

FORGET the yo-yo, the gogo is set to hit primary schools in the new year.

The tiny plastic figures have taken Germany by storm, selling 17 million since being test-launched in September.

German children aged four to nine are feverishly collecting the gogo monsters and invent games with them, similar to jacks, marbles and tiddly-winks.

The gogo manufacturer claims they are based on games once played by the ancient Romans, who collected knobbly animal bones and threw them in the air, scoring according to how they landed.

In Britain Furbies were the biggest-selling toys of 1998, according to the British Association of Toy Retailers, and their latest incarnations, Furby Babies, are back at number one this year and likely to be top of Santa's shopping list.

Furby Babies have 25 per cent more vocabulary than the original model but headteachers who spoke to The TES are more worried about Pokemon (derived from "pocket monster"), the Japanese phenomenon which is joint number one.

It started as a video game which developed into a cartoon series based on a collection of characters prone to fighting.

The most popular Pokemon products this year are the cards. There will be plenty of swapping of cards received as Christmas presents, leading to disputes in the playground.

In the top ten of popular toys, notable entrants are WWF Wrestler figures, which include one model which "sweats" all over when you pour water into its head.

Out go Talking Teletubbies, which have vanished from the top ten after being at number six last year, despite their continued appearance every morning on BBC TV.

The Barbie doll continues to make her steady comeback. Cool Colours Barbie was number 10 in the 1998 charts and comes out at number nine this year in the guise of Sleeping Beauty Barbie.

Much more frightening though are Alien Eggs. The newcomer, at number five, is a piece of slime containing the embryos of aliens.

Tony Butterick, head of Holy Trinity primary, near Woking, Surrey, said: "I am happy to encourage traditional games but I am concerned about the peer pressure of the consumer society affecting children when they should be concentrating on their education."

Tim Strugnell, head of Heathersett middle school, in Hethersett, Norfolk, said:

"The Pokemon cards are the real problem because they can be swapped or sold and that causes problems."

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