University Games Acquires Briarpatch Inc.

UniversityGameslogoUniversity Games will acquire the assets of Briarpatch Inc., a manufacturer of preschool specialty games and puzzles based on popular literary properties such as I Spy and Fancy Nancy.

The merger will increase University Games’ domestic revenue by approximately 20 percent. Additionally, the Briarpatch licenses will augment University Games’ Colorforms business. University Games will begin shipping Briarpatch products this month.

John Donofrio and Martine Redman founded Briarpatch in 1991, and Donofrio will join University Games in a consulting role.

Amtrak and The Jim Henson Co. Partner for Pajanimals Sweepstakes

Pajanimals_3Amtrak and The Jim Henson Co. have joined for the Pajanimals Pack Your Pajamas Sweepstakes. The new promotion and the company’s ongoing partnership with Amtrak were announced by Melissa Segal, executive vice president of global consumer products for The Jim Henson Co.

Families can enter the Pajanimals Pack Your Pajamas Sweepstakes now through July 31 by logging onto www.henson.com/PJsweepstakes and following the sweepstakes entry directions. The sweepstakes will award one grand prize of four round-trip coach tickets on Amtrak, a Flip video camera, and a four-piece large plush set of Pajanimals from Tomy. Five first prize winners will receive HeysUSA Amtrak luggage and a Pajanimals Adventure Game, from Briarpatch. Ten second prize winners will receive an Amtrak-branded hoodie and the Pajanimals Playdate DVD from NCircle Entertainment.

Amtrak will promote the Pajanimals Pack Your Pajamas Sweepstakes and entry details through counter cards and seatbacks in more than 100 Amtrak stations nationwide. Amtrak will also distribute free Pajanimals-themed activity booklets to young travelers and Pajanimals will be featured on placemats for use in Amtrak’s dining cars.

I Spy Celebrates 20 Years

New York City students helped Scholastic celebrate the 20th Anniversary of its I Spy brand Wednesday in Times Square during the event, “I Spy A Celebration: 20 Years; 20 Kids; 20 Riddles.”  For finding 20 hidden objects around a 12-foot-high birthday cake, the students’ school will receive 500 books.  In addition to its new book, I Spy Spectacular, the anniversary year will see new I Spy releases from Briarpatch and Scholastic Interactive.

Photo: A. Walker

Scholastic Celebrates 20th Anniversary of I Spy

Scholastic Media is kicking off its 20th anniversary celebration of the I Spy franchise with the publication of I Spy Spectacular: A Book of Picture Riddles, due to be out next month. The books features riddles by Jean Marzollo and photographs by Walter Wick.  The year-long campaign will include a slate of new I Spy releases, including the I Spy Challenger for Leapster Explorer (releasing this summer), I Spy Castle for the Nintendo DS (releasing this fall), and five new titles from Briarpatch, Scholastic’s exclusive licensee for board games, puzzles, and card games.

Beginning April 11, the new products will be supported by the “I Spy a Celebration” campaign that invites audiences to participate in the largest game of I Spy online, My I Spy. Scholastic will also host a live I Spy event, “I Spy a Celebration! 20 Years; 20 Kids; 20 Riddles,” in Times Square on April 12, and Jean Marzollo will host at an event on April 9 in New York City featuring an I Spy scavenger hunt, raffle, and product demonstrations.

Voting Begins For 2011 Toy Industry Hall of Fame

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is accepting votes for the 2011 Toy Industry Hall of Fame, to take place in conjunction with the Toy of the Year Awards during Toy Fair Week in New York City. Voting started yesterday and will run until August 27, with the winners awarded on February 12.

Living nominees include:
•Fashion Institute of Technology Toy Design Department Chair Judith Ellis
•Former Radica Games, Ltd. CEO Patrick Feely
•Funrise Toys, Ltd. Founder and CEO Arnie Rubin
•Director Steven Spielberg
•Hasbro, Inc., Chairman Alfred Verrecchia

Posthumous nominees include:
•Russ Berrie, Inc., Founder Russell Berrie
•Duncan Yo-Yo Founder Donald Duncan
•Briarpatch, Inc., Co-founder Martine Redman

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