The Ravensburger Group has acquired the Swedish toy company Brio AB, known for high-quality wooden train sets, from the Swedish investor Proventus. Within the Ravensburger group, Brio will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary based in Malmö under its existing management. The acquisition also includes the company Alga, the Swedish market leader in board games. [Read more...]
UK broadcaster CBeebies has commissioned a brand new preschool series, Twirlywoos, from Ragdoll Productions. The series, set to air next year, will revolve around the Twirlywoos: four small, bird-like characters who are inquisitive, enthusiastic, and constantly looking to learn something new about the world.
Twirlywoos will combine stop-frame animation and live action sequences set in the real world. It will be produced in association with DHX Media, which will handle global distribution, merchandising, brand management, and marketing. DHX Brands, the consumer products arm of DHX Media, has signed a global master toy deal with Golden Bear Toys, which will launch product in 2016, with a key focus on plush and plastics (play sets/figurines), bath toys and games, and activity products.
Saban Brands is partnering with the Center for Childhood Creativity for its animated preschool series, Julius Jr. The Center for Childhood Creativity has been working closely with Saban Brands to produce a series of “Inventing Time” activities designed for parents and caregivers to use at home, and for teachers to use in a preschool setting.
The Julius Jr. discussion guides encourage kids to take everyday objects they find around the house and turn them into extraordinary things, such as bridges, musical instruments, shadow puppets, and more. The activities come with a list of open-ended questions for adults to ask children while they are working on the various projects, enabling original thought and problem solving.
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.
Diono will introduce a new line of products stemming from a collaborative partnership with Little Tikes. The international license agreement will feature a broad range of juvenile products, including more than 50 new items spanning from car seats and strollers to travel accessories and gear.
The new line, available early next year at major retailers nationwide and in key international markets, will include:
- Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Accessories and Gear: The Little Tikes red and yellow Cozy Coupe toy car now has its own dedicated line of juvenile products, including booster seats, car organizers, and roller car shades.
- Little Tikes Booster Seats: Machine-washable and available in multiple colors.
- Little Tikes Strollers: The new Little Tikes Lightweight Stroller and Travel Stroller include a three- or five-point harness, extra-tall comfort grip handles, and cup holders and storage features. These are designed for kids up to 50 lbs and available in four different colors.
- Little Tikes Car and Travel Accessories: From car and on-the-go accessories like a travel bottle warmer or sit and play bouncer, the line includes 17 new products.
Reeves International Inc. has partnered with Wow Toys to become the exclusive distributor of the preschool toymaker’s line throughout the U.S. The brand features multi-piece play sets with ‘hero’ vehicle characters, such as Ernie Fire Engine, Dudley Dump Truck, and Pippa Princess Carriage with motorized mechanisms and functions that are battery free.
Carried in more than 50 countries, Wow Toys’ designs are extra safe as they use child-safe paint, contain no small parts, and are PVC-, cadmium-, phthalate-, and PAH-free. Children can play along with their favorite characters and moms can be assured their child is playing with a high-quality toy that’s not only safe, but also durable.
Three new licensees have signed on to the Tickety Toc brand to create new products this fall. BirthdayExpress.com has signed for branded products including plates, napkins, cups, invitations, thank you notes, table covers, placemats, centerpieces, and sticker sheets. Bakery Crafts has signed for branded cake and cupcake decorations, including cupcake rings and picks, and edible images for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, candles, and candle holders. Lastly, InCharacter Costumes has signed for branded costumes for toddlers and preschoolers. The deals were brokered by Established Brands on behalf of Zodiak Kids.
Saban Brands’ and Nick Jr. have announced that Julius Jr., the all-new animated preschool series, will debut September 29 at 11 a.m. (EST/PST) on Nick Jr. Inspired by the Paul Frank family of characters, the series will follow the adventures of a young version of Julius the monkey, Julius Jr., along with all of his playful friends. Through imagination and inventive spirit, each help one another overcome challenges both big and small, ultimately teaching children that the best inventions are the ones that help your friends.
For even more monkeying around with Julius Jr. visit nickjr.com/Julius-jr for music videos, coloring sheets, craft ideas, recipes, printable activities, and more.
The preschool television channel Sprout is launching a licensing and merchandising business. Starting this summer, new products will be available based on the network’s shows The Sunny Side Up Show and Noodle and Doodle.
In addition, Sprout is preparing for the debut of The Chica Show in November with a collection of merchandise featuring the series’ chicken, who rose to fame as the co-host of Sprout’s The Sunny Side Up Show, the only live program on television for preschoolers.
All of the products will be available at specialty retailers, as well as ShopSprout.com, which will launch in the fall. Chica merchandise will be available beginning this month with a 13-inch plush, soon followed by a 6-inch plush. Additional Chica products, including plush backpacks, will be available early next year. The Noodle and Doodle DVD is available now, with an additional release launching in October. Sprout is also exploring other categories such as e-books and apparel.
This post was originally written by Loren Moreno and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.