China Toy Fair


Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy Comes to U.S. and Canada

HIT Entertainment has tapped AB Studio Licensing to license a nine-month Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy curriculum to dance studios across the U.S. and Canada.  The Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy will commence this fall.

The 34-week program is inspired by the CG-animated series airing on PBS and Sprout, Angelina Ballerina The Next Steps, and it will focus on one story book per month. Targeted at children ages 3 to 6 years old, the program teaches beginner ballet at two levels. The Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy curriculum was developed by dance education specialist Beverly Spell, master teacher and author of the Leap ‘N Learn program. Angelina Ballerina’s voice will guide aspiring dancers through their movement lessons, and the program incorporates music from Angelina Ballerina The Next Steps, and custom music developed by Spell and composer Scott Killian. Participating studios will also have access to Angelina Ballerina posters and signage, costume items such as tutus and mouse ears, and placement mats.

To date, more than 100 studios across North America have applied to become Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy partner studios. The program already exists in the UK and Ireland, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy partner studios will also be listed in the national directory of official studio partners linked from the Angelina Ballerina website.

To learn more about the program or to find participating studios,  visit www.angelinadanceclass.com.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski 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.

Sprout Launches Licensing and Merchandising Business

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.

Reports: Mattel Finalizing Deal to Buy Hit Entertainment

According to multiple news outlets, including the Financial Times, Mattel is in talks with Apax Partners to buy Hit Entertainment for £500 million. Two anonymous sources told the Financial Times that Mattel is in the final stages of negotiations to purchase the company that Apax bought in 2005 for £489 million. The sale of Hit will not include the group’s stake in children’s channel Sprout, but will include Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam, and Pingu.

Roary Toys Racing into Stores Next Month

Roary the Racing Car is zooming onto store shelves in the U.S. next month. Following the U.S. broadcast launch of the television series on Sprout, the new Roary line will hit Toys “R” Us stores and Toysrus.com in March.

As the U.S. master toy licensee for the brand, Bandai will offer a full line of Roary toys, including die-cast, push-along Racing Stars, Talking Turbo Vehicles, Roary R/C, Silver Hatch Racetrack play sets, and more. The die-cast vehicles, Talking Turbo Vehicles, and Roary R/C will be packaged with a special episode of Roary the Racing Car on DVD.

Following the Bandai toy launch, K’nex will release sets that will allow kids to recreate their favorite Roary characters and scenes.

The first Roary DVD, Roary The Racing Car, from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, will launch at mass retailers in June. The series was created by Chapman Entertainment and is represented by Hit Entertainment in North America.

Sprout Premieres Two New Nightly Shows

Preschool television network Sprout has premiered two new exclusive nightly shows, Nina’s Little Fables at 7:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. ET, and Chloe’s Closet 5:45 p.m. ET.

Nina’s Little Fables features 26 classic fables adapted for young audiences and illustrated with shadow puppetry animation. The series premiered on June 28. Chloe’s Closet follows the adventures of a little girl named Chloe who discovers new worlds while playing dress-up in her closet; the series premiered in the U.S. on July 12.

HIT Entertainment Celebrates 65 Years of Thomas & Friends

HIT Entertainment is celebrating the 65th anniversary of its preschool brand Thomas & Friends with partnerships with Minor League Baseball, Celebration Foods, Six Flags Entertainment, and Sprout.

Celebration Foods, the makers of Carvel ice cream cake, has been named the presenting sponsor of Thomas’ 65th anniversary. The company will serve as the exclusive Thomas partner for Thomas & Friends title nights, to take place at 22 Minor League Baseball teams’ games between May 15 and June 30. Celebration Foods will offer free Carvel ice cream cake samples and coupons to fans at the games, and will run free consumer offers at select regional grocery stores.

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Brandberry Appointed as The Wiggles’ Licensing Agent

Brandberry has been picked as The Wiggles’ new licensing agent in North America. Brandberry will handle all licensing categories for the children’s entertainment group.

The Wiggles are featured on Sprout, as well as on the virtual world Wiggletime.com, and the group’s website, TheWiggles.com. Each year, The Wiggles release two new DVDs and CDs, embark on two North American concert tours that visit more than 70 cities, and are featured in Six Flags Theme Parks with five Wiggles World theme areas.

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of The Wiggles.

K’NEX Signs On to Produce “Roary” Building Sets

K’NEX Brands has signed a licensing deal with Chapman Entertainment and HIT Entertainment to manufacture and market a line of construction toys based on the Sprout series, Roary the Racing Car.

K’NEX will produce Roary building sets, including builable figures and buildable vehicles. The sets will be available at mass retailers in the U.S. and Canada in fall 2011.

Last month, Bandai America announced that it was named the U.S. master toy licensee for the brand, and will manufacture a full line of Roary toys, available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores.