Toy news, reviews, and gift guides to help you find the perfect playthings for the kids in your life. 

The Toy Insider is your go-to source for information about children’s toys, tech, and entertainment. Our trusted team of toy experts have more than 100 years of combined experience in the toy industry, so trust us when we say: We know play.

Thetoyinsider.com is home to news and information about all the latest toy and kids’ entertainment products and services. Plus, you can find new toy reviews, videos, and product listings 365 days a year. Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for a child in your life, or you want to see what toy companies are up to, we have you covered.

We also publish two annual gift guides: one for the coolest toys of the summer and one for the hottest toys of the holiday season. While both gift guides are available online at thetoyinsider.com, you can also find our holiday gift guide in the pages of Parents magazine.

Plus, we love to share! We have weekly, daily, and monthly giveaways all year round! With so many amazing toys right at our fingertips, who better to share them with than all of you?

You’ll also find the Toy Insider experts on your favorite local and national news outlets, reporting on all the hottest toy trends of the year. Follow us for more adventures in the toy world on TwitterInstagramYouTube, and Facebook.

The Toy Insider is published by Adventure Media & Events, publisher of The Pop Insider, a daily pop culture news and review site that fuels fandoms, as well as leading trade publication The Toy Book.

THE TOY INSIDER TEAM

Laurie Schacht | Chief Toy Officer

Laurie Schacht is President and Chief Toy Officer of the Toy Insider and the Toy Book, and the publisher of the Pop Insider. Laurie has more than 30 years of experience in the toy industry, reporting on and overseeing changes and trends in the business. She has been quoted in major broadcast and print media outlets, such as The Today ShowThe Wendy Williams ShowABC World News NowFox & FriendsUSA TodayThe Wall Street JournalThe Hollywood Reporter, Bloomberg News, Excite, and Yahoo! Finance.

Laurie provides toy advice to parents and bloggers and is a contributing editor at Parents magazine, where she serves as the resident toy expert.

When she’s not baking up sweet treats for her family, you can find her watching alligators and sunsets in her Florida home, traveling the world with her husband, or of course, testing the hottest new toys.

You can follow her on Twitter @ToyInsiderMom and like her on Facebook.


Jackie Breyer | Group Publisher

jackie@toyinsider.com

Jackie Breyer is the publisher of the Toy Book, the Toy Insider, and the Pop Insider. She began her career in 2002 as the assistant editor of the Toy Book, and has been reporting on retail and toy industry trends for 18 years. She has been featured on CNBC’s Power Lunch, NBC Nightly News, CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo Finance, Cheddar, Fox & Friends, and the first season of the Netflix series, The Toys That Made Us. Jackie is the 2012 recipient of the Wonder Woman in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Award in the field of Journalism & Social Media.

A true ’80s kid, Jackie is a fan of Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Super Mario, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, Jem, and My Little Pony. She still has her charm necklace and her Garbage Pail Kid card collection is bigger than yours. Jackie can be found training her kids Lena and Henry to be experts at Super Mario Kart

You can follow her on Twitter @jackiebreyer.


Marissa DiBartolo | Co-Editor-in-Chief

marissa@toyinsider.com

Marissa DiBartolo, AKA That Toy Girl, is a co-editor-in-chief at The Toy Insider and the Pop Insider. With nearly a decade of experience in the toy industry, Marissa is a trusted toy expert, providing parents, gift-givers, retailers, manufacturers, and licensors with information on the latest in toy news. She consistently reports on hot toys and trends, as well as the latest in geek culture and entertainment.

A board game pro and puzzle queen, Marissa spends most of her free time shopping for superhero T-shirts, dominating at Mario Kart, and anxiously awaiting her Hogwarts acceptance letter. 

Marissa has been featured on the TODAY Show, Tamron Hall Show, Access Hollywood, Fox and Friends, ABC World News Now, MSNBC, CBS, NY1, WPIX, and more.

You can follow her on Instagram @thattoygirl, and read all of her reviews and commentaries here.


Ali Mierzejewski | Co-Editor-in-chief

ali@toyinsider.com

Ali Mierzejewski is a co-editor-in-chief at the Toy Insider and the Pop Insider. With nearly a decade of industry experience, Ali is a trusted source for parents, gift-givers, manufacturers, retailers, and more on the latest trends and hottest products. Whether you’re shopping for the best toys for kids — or looking for the latest in geek culture and entertainment for yourself — Ali’s expertise has you covered. 

When she’s not building LEGO sets or unwinding with a puzzle, Ali is obsessing over the latest season of The Bachelor, scrolling through Gritty’s Twitter, or rewatching her favorite sitcoms over and over (for the 100th time). She is also a comedian and a true crime enthusiast, which makes her super fun to talk to at parties.  

Ali has been featured on TODAY, HLN, The Weather Channel, ABC World News Now, ABC7, and CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox affiliates nationwide. You can follow her on Instagram @hashtagtrendy or on Twtter @ohsotrendy.


Jackie Cucco | Senior Editor

jc@toyinsider.com

Jackie Cucco is the senior editor of the Toy Insider, the Toy Book, and the Pop Insider.

She covers toy trends and entertainment news, manages social media, and home-schools her 25 Tamagotchis.

A scream queen at heart, Jackie spends her time watching horror movies and working her way through every Stephen King novel out there. She also plays paparazzi for her pet bunny Peepers, who you can visit @thebigpeep on Instagram.

Jackie has been featured on multiple national and regional outlets throughout Canada, Connecticut, New York, Boston, and more.

Read her reviews, news and commentaries here.


Maddie Michalik | Senior Editor

maddie@toyinsider.com

Maddie Michalik is the editor-in-chief of the Toy Book and a senior editor at the Toy Insider and the Pop Insider. As a trusted industry expert, she reports on hot products and trending topics in the toy and pop culture spaces to keep consumers, retailers, manufacturers, and licensors up to date with the latest news.

Her love for consuming media is surpassed only by her love of creating it (especially when she gets to talk about her favorite things). You can often find her with her nose stuck in a book — probably rereading the Harry Potter series — with a cup of coffee in her hand and patiently waiting for more Marvel movies to come out.

Maddie has been featured on national and regional outlets coast to coast across the U.S. and Canada, such as Your Morning, The Social, Cheddar, Fox and Friends, NY1, and ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates. See more of her on Twitter and Instagram @MaddieMichalik.


James Zahn | Senior Editor

james@toyinsider.com

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is a senior editor at the Toy Insider, the Toy Book, and the Pop Insider, and editor of the Toy Report, the Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. A father of two girls, James is surrounded by toys on a daily basis and can often be found sharing his thoughts on the latest toys and games in print, online, and in TV segments across the country. As a pop culture and toy expert, James has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) and Wizard World Chicago.

James has nearly 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, CO— by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and more. James has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, The CW, and more.

James joined the Toy Insider family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. 

He’s a big fan of toy history, loves Hot Wheels, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Masters of the Universe, and still wonders why we haven’t seen a proper reboot of Knight Rider yet.

You can follow James @therockfather on Twitter and Instagram, or catch up with him on LinkedIn. Find all his articles here.


Madeleine Buckley | Associate Editor

mbuckley@toyinsider.com

Madeleine Buckley is an associate editor at the Toy Insider, the Pop Insider, and the Toy Book. She covers all things toys and fandom, and has appeared on Cheddar and a variety of regional news networks to talk about the latest trends in both categories.

She is a self-proclaimed movie score enthusiast, mediocre knitter, MCU fangirl, and true-crime podcast binger.

Normally, you can find her at the movies at least once a week, and you can find her thoughts about them on Twitter @buckley_maddie.

Read her articles here.

 


Nicole Savas | Editorial Assistant

nicole@toyinsider.com

Nicole Savas is the editorial assistant at the Toy Insider, the Pop Insider, and Toy Book. Nicole contributes news, feature articles, product roundups, and trend pieces for all three publications. 

She’s still learning about the evolving world of pop culture and the toy industry but is excited to work somewhere where she can put her endless knowledge of The Office and love of unicorns to good use.

When she’s not working, she’s probably getting crafty (read: getting paint everywhere) or watching Dr. Who episodes on repeat.

 

 

 

 


Charlene DeLoach | Event Director, Contributing Editor

charlene@toyinsider.com

Charlene is a lawyer who turned her passion for writing statutes and regulations into her love of writing about play. She has her own blog chronicling her adventures at MetrowestMamas.com and CharleneChronicles.com, where she has been voted as a top blogger in Massachusetts.

Charlene has been a Toy Insider Parent and Event Director for more than eight years, and is also a contributing editor for the Toy Insider. Her specialty is advising parents about educational toys and toys for children on the Autism Spectrum.

She has been featured on NECN, The Rhode Show, Western MA News, Fox25 Morning News, CBS Boston, Good Morning Philadelphia, NBC Boston, Good Day LA, NBC Las Vegas, Parents.com, and more.

As a former collegiate synchronized swimmer, triathlete, and seven-time marathon runner, she tries to get her two kids up and moving, and teach them about all things Disney. When she is not writing or being a Mom, she cuddles her canine crew of four.


Bill Reese | Production Director

bill@toyinsider.com

As production director at The Toy Insider, The Toy Book, and The Pop Insider since 2014, Bill wears many hats for the company. A former editor at Playbill and graduate of SUNY–Purchase, he spends his weekends playing with his little boy Jonah and rooting for the New York Red Bulls pro soccer team.


Joe Ibraham | Art Director

joe@toyinsider.com

Joe Ibraham is the art director at the Toy Insider, the Toy Book, and the Pop Insider. He creates all graphic content for the Toy Insider, the Pop Insider, and the Toy Book social channels, including promos and stagnant graphics, as well as all signage, programming, and media graphics for various networking events.

Joe shoots, edits, and manages all YouTube content for the Toy Insider and Pop Insider brand, including Play by Play videos, event videos, and other promotional videos.

When he’s not in the office, you can find Joe in the gym or hanging with his friends and family. He loves music, basketball, and art in a variety of forms. He STILL wonders why Drake and Josh is not available on Netflix. Keep up with Joe on his website.


James Devin | Director of Sales and Marketing

jd@toyinsider.com

James, or JD, is the director of sales marketing for the Toy Insider, the Toy Book, and the Pop Insider.  James loves sports, movies, music, and stuffed animals.

A graduate of Marist College, James has been fortunate to work in the movie and toy industries for his entire career.

A father of 3, he spends his time outside of work making movies with his kids, playing with the toys he buys at work, and driving his kids to all of their activities.  So many activities! He works here to support his toy habit.


Stephanie Infantino | Sales Executive

stephanie@toyinsider.com

Stephanie is the sales executive for the Toy Insider, the Toy Book, and the Pop Insider. She went to fashion school and ended up working in the toy industry for the last five years. She has traveled to more than 15 countries including Egypt, Iceland, Costa Rica, Portugal, and Italy. Stephanie loves skiing, hiking, and hanging out on the beaches of Long Island. Her pride and joy is her 9-year-old Siberian Husky named Rambo. After work, you can find her workin’ on her fitness at HIIT classes.


Elena Sorce | Intern

elena@toyinsider.com

Elena is a social media and graphic design intern at the Toy Insider and the Pop Insider who may be new to the toy industry but is no stranger to buying a ton of them for herself! As she learns the ins and outs of the industry, she is able to incorporate her artistic abilities and endless knowledge of pop culture references! She’s a huge Star Wars fan, loves listening to true-crime podcasts, and dabbles in the world of cosplay in her free time! 


Julia Fields | Intern

julia@toyinsider.com

Julia is an Editorial Intern at the Toy Insider, the Toy Book and the Pop Insider and is excited to start immersing herself in the toy industry through a journalistic background. Familiar with fandoms since her Tumblr days, Julia can constantly be found wistfully thinking about celebrity gossip, the Chrises of the MCU, outlandish conspiracy theories, and really good coffee.


FUN FAQS

What makes you the experts?
Our editorial team members test and review toys every single day. Toys are our only job and our main priority. Together, we have more than 80 years of combined experience in the toy industry. We attend all major toy trade shows, we have meaningful relationships with hundreds of toy manufacturers, and we chat with toy retailers and industry analysts on a regular basis. Because we are so immersed in the toy industry, we understand what makes toys engaging and valuable. At the Toy Insider, we know play.

How do you evaluate the toys?
We know what makes a great toy, and we evaluate toys based on a five-point criterion: play value, originality, skill building, product integrity, and fun factor. We look to make sure that the price tag matches how much fun the toy is, we evaluate the educational and social benefits of each toy, and we spend time playing to understand how kids would respond to toys. No toy is ever reviewed without being fully tested. Click here to learn more about our review criteria!

Do you sell toys?
The Toy Insider is not a retailer, and we do not sell any toys. However, all of our reviews and gift guide picks feature a “Buy It Now” button that you can use to purchase the toy at a retailer like Amazon, Walmart, or Toys “R” Us.

I’m a toy manufacturer, can you review my product?
Absolutely! We review new toys 365 days a year. Click here to learn more!

You can also currently submit for our Spring & Summer Gift Guide. Submissions are open through March 13. Click here to learn more!

I’m a YouTuber, can you send me toys for my videos?
Unfortunately, the Toy Insider is not looking to partner with any additional YouTube channels for unboxing videos at this time, but we would still love to hear from you! Please email us if you have proposals on how to work together.

I’m a blogger and I’d like to become a parent panelist. How can I do that?
Unfortunately, the Toy Insider is not looking for any additional parent panelists at this time. But, please send us an email and express your interest! We will be happy to keep you in mind if a spot opens up.

I bought a toy based on a review from thetoyinsider.com and now it’s broken! What do I do?
Unfortunately, the Toy Insider does not directly manufacturer or sell any toys, so you would have to contact the retailer at which you purchased the toy, or the toy manufacturer for help!

I’m looking for a toy expert to help me with a TV segment or holiday gift guide feature!
Awesome! We’d love to help! Please contact our PR firm with more details about what you need from us.