Sweet Suite 2016

Scholastic Extends Publishing Agreement with Lego Through 2019

Scholastic has extended and expanded its publishing relationship with Lego through 2019, which will now include World all language rights, as well as several new publishing programs, line extensions, and acquisitions. Scholastic U.S. will manage world English rights, and Scholastic UK will manage foreign translation rights. [Read more...]

Legoland Hotel at Legoland Florida Resort Opens

Lego Pirate Themed RoomLegoland Hotel at Legoland Florida Resort opened on Friday, marking the expansion of the resort to become an immersive, multi-day experience for families. The grand opening was honored with thousands of colorful Lego minifigures blasting out of cannons atop the hotel, and a child discovering a key for opening the hotel built for kids.

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COMMENTARY: Toys Meet Theme Parks and Resorts, or, How You’ll Be Spending Your Summer Vacations

Legoland Florida Resort

Last week, one of the big news stories around the toy industry was Nintendo entering a deal with Universal Studios to create rides and other attractions for the latter’s theme parks. As reported on The Toy Book Blog, Nintendo’s most famous video game characters and worlds would serve as the inspiration for these soon-to-be immersive experiences. Imagine the possibilities: Kids, and adults, may soon interact with environments straight out of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda, or any of the video game maker’s other hit franchises.

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Lego Friends to be Final Room Theme at Legoland Hotel at Florida Resort

LEGOLAND Florida ResortA Lego Friends suite was unveiled as the last of the four highly themed room designs for the new Legoland Hotel at Legoland Florida Resort. The life-size replica of the children’s sleeping area of the room includes a bunk bed with a trundle bed, TV, Lego models, and a treasure chest. SGA Production Services created the replica, closely following the plans for the actual hotel rooms.

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The Lego Group’s Strong 2014 Led by Global Growth

legoworldmapLast year, the Lego Group enjoyed revenue growth of 15 percent year over year on a local currency basis, excluding foreign exchange impacts. Revenue increased by 13 percent to DKK 28.6 billion (USD $4,349,545,486) compared to DKK 25.3 billion (USD $3,847,850,941) in the previous year, while the year’s operating profit increased to DKK 9.7 billion (USD $1,475,318,881) compared to DKK 8.3 billion (USD $1,262,184,735) in the previous year, an increase of 16 percent. Net profit was DKK 7.0 billion (USD $1,064,493,150) compared to DKK 6.1 billion USD $927,777,853) in the prior year, an increase of 15 percent. [Read more...]

Lego Builds Tenth Consecutive Year of U.S. Toy Market Growth

Lego LogoLego Systems Inc. achieved U.S. consumer sales growth for the tenth consecutive year in 2014. The company increased its overall U.S. toy market share to end 2014 in its strongest position ever in U.S. toys. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Dolls for Boys Are a Sign of the Times

Fritzi, from Haba

For the most recent issue of The Toy Book, I had a chance to research trends in the doll industry, and one that stuck out is an increase in dolls with potential appeal for boys. Arklu, the creator of Lottie Dolls, is planning to introduce its first boy doll, Kite Flyer, this fall. Meanwhile, Haba will be introducing Fritzi, a doll that has no assigned gender—Fritzi can be a boy doll for boys, or a girl doll for girls. There’s also Grandmas2Share, which is marketing grandmother-themed dolls as playthings for children of both genders. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Lego Friends Video Game Appeals to Boys and Girls

Lego Friends box art.jpgRight in time for the holidays, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released Lego Friends, a video game based on the construction toy line of the same name. While the game is all-ages-friendly, the target demographic appears to be young girls in particular: The box art features many of the characters that appear in the game—fresh-faced ladies of various hair colors, skin tones, and hobbies.

I first heard of Lego Friends, developed by TT Games and Hellbent Games for Nintendo 3DS and DS, months before, and even then I was interested in how it might differ from titles intended for more of a boys’ audience. Eventually, I got to demo it alongside Lego Marvel Super Heroes, a game that if not specifically for boys, is certainly a more testosterone-heavy affair. The art direction and color palette for Lego Friends are cuter and brighter, respectively. But do those factors alone—and that the main avatar and supporting characters are all female—qualify calling it a video game for girls? Could it still conceivably appeal to other audiences? [Read more...]

Survey Shows Children Want Game Systems, iPads for Holidays

Non-traditional items are finding their way onto children’s wish lists this year, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. For the first time, iPads are among the most popular gifts for both girls and boys, with slightly higher demand among the former.

Among the other results from NRF’s 2013 Top Toys survey: 44.3 percent of holiday consumers plan to buy toys as gifts this holiday season; children are still asking for timeless items such as Barbie and dolls (No. 1 and 2 among girls, respectively) or Lego and toy cars (No. 1 and 3 among boys, respectively). And the younger generation is clearly technologically savvy, asking this year for tablets/iPads, smartphones (girls’ No. 11), and game consoles like Xbox One (boys’ No. 5) and PlayStation 4 (girls’ No. 10, boys’ No. 6).

Other popular toys for girls include Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, and American Girl. The hot new item for boys this year is Skylanders, a hugely popular interactive video game that allows kids to play with a toy action figure at the same time. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: It’s Not Easy Being Pink

Recently, we wrote about a petition from mom Melissa Wardy for Lego to release a set of female scientist figures. After seeing that only 16 percent (11 percent if you don’t count the Lego Friends line) of Lego minifigures are females, Wardy knew something had to be done. She learned that one of the entries in one of Lego’s public contests to design new building sets featured a female minifigure series that included a paleontologist, a robotics engineer, a geologist, an astronomer, a chemist, a judge, and a fire fighter. This entry raised the amount of votes necessary to be considered for production, so Wardy started a petition to have these females in the STEM fields available on shelves, available for all kids to play with.

With positive role models—for girls and boys—being incredibly important, especially in a time where bullying is a very present topic in the media, I think that the toy industry is beginning to shape a new generation of women by not overlooking the importance of construction sets for girls that inspire them to be more than just “pink.” Here are a few examples (including Lego Friends) of construction sets that present introduce girls to bigger opportunities.

One of the main issues many folks have with girls’ construction sets, such as the Lego Friends line, is that they are very “pink-washed.” Just because the set is designed for girls, does everything have to have a splash of pink across it? The Lego Friends line’s newest product breaks down those gender barriers and creates a play set in its girls’ line that isn’t so pink—and even includes a boy minifigure.

heartlakehighStephanie and Matthew attend Heartlake High, where they study plants under microscopes, experiment with chemical reactions, and look through an astronomy telescope in science and biology classes. Heartlake High provides a well-rounded cirriculum, with an art class and a music class as well. After school Stephanie and Matthew can play basketball with the hoop outside or go for a bike ride. The Heartlake High set includes Stephanie, Matthew, and Ms. Stevens mini-doll figures. [Read more...]