If you have a puzzle-obsessed five-year-old, check out Castle Logix. With only seven pieces, it's maddeningly simple, yet the booklet has 48 challenges. The wood pieces are satisfying to build with, too.
I often see it at Target, and it's also available online from the usual suspects.
No -- at least I hope it isn't! Instead of buying whatever lead-tainted, plastic stuff that's available at TRU or Target, I'm advocating a more thoughtful use of your toy dollar. I try to find things that are a little more open-ended; a little off the beaten path.
For the record, we do have plastic, battery-operated character toys in our house. I've even bought a few myself. So I'm not judging. I just want to share my fabulous finds!