Hot toys getting scarce on U.S. retailers' shelves

If parents haven't gotten their hands on some of this season's hot holiday toys by now, they may have to give their children gift cards under the tree.

With both &to=' target=_blank>Christmas and Hanukkah about a week and a half away, the United States' toy sellers are running short on a number of items beyond just the Xbox 360, the latest new game console from Microsoft Corp. The toys in demand include Amazing Amanda, an interactive doll; Dora's Talking Kitchen, a make-believe kitchen set that allows kids to play along with cartoon character Dora in Spanish and English; I-Dog, an electronic dog that hooks up to digital music player; ChatNow, a two-way radio communicator; and Shell Shocker, a radio-controlled vehicle.

"It's frustrating. I'm going to keep waiting and then go to plan B: gift cards," said Dan Green, 34, of Round Lake Beach, Illinois. He has been scouring the malls and the Internet for not only Xbox 360 for his 9-year-old son but also for two toys for his 9-year-old goddaughter _ a board game called Mall Madness from Hasbro Inc. and a styling head related to Mattel Inc.'s DVD and video "Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus."

Toy makers Hasbro, which produced ChatNow and I-Dog, and Playmates Inc., the maker of Amazing Amanda, say they ramped up production back in October based on early demand, but they can't guarantee that everyone who wants the toys will get them in time for the holidays.

"We're shipping every piece we can make," said Wayne Charness, a spokesman at Hasbro.

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