Q&A with John Gessert, President, American Plastic Toys

APT.John GessertThe Toy Book (TTB): Which toy categories do you expect to expand in 2015? Which do you expect to contract?

John Gessert (JG): We are starting to see more interest at the consumer level in toys that promote or support basic play patterns. We have received notes from consumers that complement our products not only for being made in the U.S., but also for providing a basis for good basic role playing that results in active play that promotes imagination. Another role-play area that seems to be increasing from initial line reviews for fall is in doll-related play. It appears that demand for doll accessories has increased for 2015.
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Wicked Cool Toys to Introduce Girl Scouts Cookie Oven

GirlScouts,WagonWicked Cool Toys introduces a delicious baking experience with the first Girl Scouts Cookie Oven, as well as a line of role-play products inspired by the girls’ leadership organization. The Girl Scouts Cookie Oven will feature mixes inspired by Girl Scout Cookies, such as Thin Mints and Trefoils, as well as the Girl Scouts On-the-Go Wagon and Cookie Stand. The Wicked Cool Toys Girl Scouts line is expected to hit mass market retailers nationwide this fall. [Read more...]

Jakks Pacific Renews Agreement with Black+Decker for New Line of Toy Power Tools

jakks_logoJakks Pacific Inc. has renewed a licensing agreement with Black+Decker for multiple role-play toy categories in the Black+Decker Junior line. The new agreement grants Jakks Pacific the rights to manufacture and distribute Black+Decker Junior toys in North America and Latin America. [Read more...]

VTech Extends Go! Go! Smart Wheels Line with Go! Go! Smart Animals

gogoanimalsVTech‘s Go! Go! Smart Animals, a new extension to the acclaimed Go! Go! Smart Wheels line, are now available online and at retailer nationwide. Go! Go! Smart Animals offers animal-themed play sets that let kids explore the natural wonders of a zoo, travel through a forest, and explore a tree house with colorful animal friends.

Similar to the Go! Go! Smart Wheels line, Go! Go! Smart Animals feature playsets with SmartPoint locations that can be recognized by every SmartPoint vehicle and animal in the line. As a vehicle or animal is rolled over a playset’s various SmartPoints, it will flash and play greetings, fun sounds, short tunes, and sing-along songs.

The playsets also feature colorful tracks that can be reconfigured or connected to other Go! Go! Smart Animals or Go! Go! Smart Wheels playsets, each sold separately.

Playmates Toys to Introduce New Toy Line Based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Summer Blockbuster

NickTMNTPlaymates Toys will introduce a new product line inspired by the upcoming summer blockbuster film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. The movie line of toys will include action figures, vehicles, and role-play gear.

The action figure collection will include basic action figures, 11-inch figures, and deluxe feature figures. They are detailed, fully articulated, and sculpted to reflect how the Turtles appear in the movie. Each figure will come with its own unique accessory. The vehicle, called the Turtle Assault Van, allows kids to drive the Turtles into their next battle and recreate scenes from the movie. It features a spring-powered Turtle torpedo, launching luge assault vehicle, pop top hatch, and side attack ramp. The control cabin is able to hold the basic action figures. With the new role-play gear, kids can transform themselves into one of their favorite heroes from the film. Each Ninja Combat Gear set includes the Turtles’ signature weapon and bandana.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will hit theatres August 8. Playmates Toys was also the force behind the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line over the past three decades.

Jakks Teams Up with Skechers for New miWorld, Cabbage Patch Kids Toys

JakksJakks Pacific Inc. has entered a long-term licensing agreement with Skechers USA Inc. to manufacture, distribute, and market a line of toys and products inspired by the Skechers and Twinkle Toes brands. The agreement encompasses multiple product categories, including collectibles, dress-up, and role play.

Jakks will launch a miWorld Skechers play set, allowing kids to build and design their very own Skechers mini replica store, and to play in ways that are authentic to the lifestyle footwear brand. The play set will be compatible with the miWorld Mall DreamPlay app, which brings the miWorld play sets to life on smartphone and tablet devices. [Read more...]

Julius Jr. Gets Second Season on Nick Jr., New Toy Line

Julius JrNick Jr. has picked up Julius Jr. for a second season in the U.S. The animated preschool series by Saban Brands, inspired by the character created by Paul Frank, debuted on the network last September.

Nick Jr. will premiere new episodes of Julius Jr. beginning this Saturday. The show’s themes will be brought to life with a new toy line from Fisher-Price Inc., the global master toy licensee for the brand, which will include play sets, plush assortments, and role-play items. The toys will arrive at Toys “R” Us starting in mid-June with a full rollout at key retailers this fall.

BioWare to Launch Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon AgeBioWare, a division of Electronic Arts Inc., will release Dragon Age: Inquisition in stores and for digital download on October 7 in North America and October 10 in Europe. Players will take on the role of the Inquisitor and lead a team of heroes to uncover clues about a potentially devastating event in this role-playing game.

Players can pre-order the game to unlock special bonus content. Dragon Age: Inquisition will be available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.

Paws Inc. Signs Wicked Cool Toys as Master Toy Licensee for Garfield

GarfieldWicked Cool Toys has been appointed master toy licensee for the Garfield brand in a deal brokered by Bulldog Licensing Inc., Garfield’s U.S. licensing representatives on behalf of Paws Inc. The agreement grants Wicked Cool Toys the worldwide rights to develop and market a line of figures, plush, vehicles, play sets, role play, and seasonal products based on Garfield. The Garfield product is expected to launch this holiday season.

Jazwares’ Gravity Falls Toys to Arrive This Fall

Jazwares.GravityFallsJazwares has created a new Gravity Falls toy line based on the popular Disney TV series. The line-up will include figures, plush, role-play, and play-set toys, and the first wave will see release this fall at retailers across the U.S.

The initial retail focus of the toy line will be in specialty stores nationwide. Currently, Gravity Falls is a top-rated show on Disney Channel among kids ages 2 to 11 and 6 to 11, and tweens ages 9 to 14. It follows the adventures of Dipper and Mabel Pines, twins spending the summer with their eccentric great-uncle Stan in the town of Gravity Falls, Oregon, where things are never as they seem.