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Beyond Webkinz

With Webkinz dominating the toy market  -- and the homes of kids everywhere  -- it's no surprise that a new breed of similar toys is hitting stores.

So we asked a group of Webkinz addicts and their moms to take home five new wannabes. Their verdict: Webkinz still rules the pound, thanks to its well-planned website, with the easiest-to-use interactive features (and the most of them). Plus, as one Mom Tester noted, "Webkinz has the advantage of being first. Who needs another stuffed animal?"

Still, if your kid's going through 'kinz fatigue, or you can't stand to buy her another one, here are the pros (and cons) of the two next best things:

MushABellies
Price: $8 to $20
Where to buy:Department stores nationwide
Best for: Kids who like stuffed animals as much as (or more than) going online
Moms and children (and Parenting staffers!) adored these squishy, pillowlike pets, especially the oversize ones. In fact, kids toted them everywhere, from the car to  -- warning!  -- their parents' beds. Downside: Moms had to download Flash Player before they could log on-  -- and once they did, the site wouldn't let their kids play online as the animals they actually owned.

Littlest Pet Shop VIPs
Price: $15
Where to buy: hasbrotoyshop.com
Best for: Younger kids who like playing games online, and Littlest Pet Shop fans
This new toy from the Hasbro line had the best-designed site of our test. Game instructions are spelled out in pictures as well as words for new readers; kids can visit any part of the site and do any activity at any time, without having to buy a special charm (you listening, Webkinz?). Downside: Kids can't play with their friends or monitor their pets' health online. Some moms also found the sad-eyed animals a little off-putting, but Littlest Pet Shop fans will no doubt want to adopt them right away.

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