December 17, 2020
Exclusive: Walmart Debuts My Life As Autism Advocate Doll

Walmart’s 18-inch private label doll brand is expanding to foster even more inclusion heading into the new year. The retailer introduced its My Life As Autism Advocate doll, “a perfect companion for the kids who want to help others learn how to be kind, patient, and supportive of everyone.” The Toy Book exclusively spoke with the team behind the My Life As brand for insight into its development. Read more…
November Retail Sales Signal Holiday Season Growth

Despite the challenges of forecasting a holiday season in a pandemic, retail sales numbers continue to show a rebound according to both the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the U.S. Census Bureau. New data released this week reflects November as having the sixth consecutive monthly year-over-year gains. The U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly retail survey indicates that November sales were softer than October, but still up 4.1% over the same period last year. NRF calculations, which use a different methodology, show an 8.8% increase. Read more…
Dungeons & Dragons Heads to the Big Screen

Paramount Pictures and eOne are getting ready to hand the Dungeon Master’s Guide to the duo behind Game Night. Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley have penned a new screenplay for Dungeons & Dragons, and the duo will also direct the film. Read more…
Jakks Pacific Levels up Deal for More Nintendo, Super Mario Toys

The world of Nintendo will continue to expand into toy aisles and playrooms around the world. Jakks Pacific inked an extension of its licensing deal with Nintendo of America to maintain global toy rights to design, produce, and market Nintendo- and Super Mario-inspired toy lines. Read more…
Less COVID-19, More Toys: A Toy Store Near You Season Two Arrives on Christmas

The Nacelle Co. — makers of Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us and The Movies That Made Us — will launch the second season of A Toy Store Near You on Christmas day. The docuseries was initially intended to showcase the plight of store owners as they struggled to adapt to business during the pandemic. Now, the series has been retooled to put an increased focus on toys. Read more…
Disney Reveals Subscription Numbers, Entertainment Updates, and More at Virtual Investor Event

The Walt Disney Co. hosted a 3.5-hour virtual Investor Day event, providing dozens of updates across its many studios and subsidiaries. Unlike previous investor events, this one was livestreamed for public access and branded as an update for investors and consumers alike. Following the Investor Day stream, Disney stock prices jumped to an all-time high. Read more…
Hasbro Unleashes New Star Wars: The Black Series Archive Collection, Mandalorian Collectibles

The second season of Star Wars: The Mandalorian is coming to a close this week, and with that, Lucasfilm’s Mando Mondays promotion is winding to an end. For the penultimate installment of the weekly series of new product reveals, Hasbro unleashed another full bounty of toys and collectibles inspired by the expanding adventures from a galaxy far, far away. Read more…
Moose Toys Introduces Kindi Kids Minis

Kindi Kids, the popular dolls from Moose Toys, are shrinking down a mini size. The Kindi Kids Minis are 4-inch bobblehead figures with glittery eyes and poseable bodies. The line first debuted last year with 10-inch bobblehead dolls and playsets, and was a huge hit with preschoolers for the holiday season. Read more…
Cepia’s Cats Vs. Pickles Get Supersized with Huggers, Jumbo Plushies

The world of Cats Vs. Pickles is expanding. Launched at Toy Fair New York this past February, the line of collectible plush inspired by viral memes became an instant hit with kids and collectors this year. Now, the line includes two new scales for kids to love: Jumbos and Huggers. Read more…
Far Out Toys, pocket.watch Partner for Love, Diana Collectible Dolls

Love, Diana — the pocket.watch brand based on popular YouTube channel Kids Diana Show — is expanding its toy offerings with its partnership with Far Out Toys. Far Out Toys’ Love, Diana collection will include a line of 2.5-inch mini-figures and accessories called Princess of Play, and a line of 3.5-inch dolls, accessories, playsets, and pets called Fashion Fabulous. Read more...
PMI Gets Into the Game with PikyKwiky’s Matchify

PMI Ltd. inked a deal with UK-based game maker PikyKwiky to launch the family card game series Matchify around the world. Big Picture Licensing brokered the deal. PMI will take the reins to bring Matchify to market globally while collaborating with PikyKwiky to develop new games. Read more…
UNO Artiste Series Features Unique, Contemporary Art

A new addition to the UNO Artiste series is the first to feature original artwork by a living artist.
The art in the deck, featured by the contemporary artist Nina Chanel Abneyin, was designed specifically for the card game and combines representation with abstraction. Read more…
Moonbug Taps Wow! Stuff for CoComelon Toy Extension

CoComelon continues to grow into a global sensation on-screen and in toy departments. Moonbug inked a deal with UK-based Wow! Stuff for an extension of the popular 3D animated series into new product categories. Under the agreement, Wow! Stuff will launch a CoComelon activity table alongside night lights, puzzle blocks, and more. The deal marks a significant step in Wow! Stuff’s expansion into preschool toys. Read more…
Spin Master’s Julien Sharp Talks Games on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Julien Sharp, director of business development for Spin Master. Sharp works constantly to find new ways to increase sales across Spin Master’s games global business unit while collaborating with inventor relations, licensing, production, global brand marketing, and retailers to make it happen. Listen here...

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Calico Critters Releases Short Film for 35th Anniversary

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of its Calico Critters brand, Epoch Everlasting Play has released a short film featuring the adorable woodland creatures. Forever Your Family follows a little girl as she grows up with life-sized Calico Critters by her side. As she grows up, however, she begins to forget about her favorite toy. Read more…
Bandai America Adds One Piece Figures to Anime Heroes Line

Bandai America is giving the people what they want. After fan requests for One Piece Anime Heroes figures poured in after the initial launch of the collectibles line, Bandai answered the call with new figures, including Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji. Read more…
Sunny Days Entertainment Builds a Barbie Dreamhouse

Christmas is approaching quickly, but that’s not stopping the new toys from hitting stores just in time for the festive season. Sunny Days Entertainment just released its own version of Barbie’s famed Malibu estate, which kids and parents can build in seconds. Read more…
KidStuff PR Tapped to Represent Hess Toy Truck in 2021

Following another successful holiday season for the iconic Hess Toy Truck, the Hess Corp. inked a deal with KidStuff Public Relations to represent the long-running brand for 2021. The Hess Toy Truck has been a holiday tradition since 1964 when Leon Hess first launched the annual series as an affordable, high-quality gift option for customers of his Hess gas stations. Read more…
EnigmaBot Game Building Kit Goes Live on Kickstarter

EnigmaBot is an interactive robotic gaming kit that kids can build themselves to create their dream games. Users can follow step-by-step 3D animation instructions to build EnigmaBot into three different modules: an arcade, a violin, and a mini-blaster. Read more…
Ring in the New Year with Bomberman, Contra Merch

Two of Konami’s iconic, classic video games — Bomberman and Contra — have big things planned as we approach a new year, including figures from Neamedia and apparel from Yetee. Read more…
Talkin’ Toys: LEGO Masters Casting Director Allison Kaz Dishes Details on Season 2

Earlier this year, LEGO Masters debuted on FOX and took the construction toy and its creative, avid fans to prime-time TV with a competition series. As the show prepares for a second season on FOX, it has started its search for a new round of master builders. The Toy Book chatted with the show’s casting director, Allison Kaz, about the process of finding the perfect contestants. Read more…
Insert Coin Please: GameStop Loses Credits as Sales Drop 30.2% in Q3

The Texas-based retailer of video games and lifestyle products reported third quarter earnings that missed the mark as overall net sales dropped 30.2% versus the same period last year. The drop comes in tandem with record growth for the video game industry as more players from all age groups have gotten into the game during the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Same-store comp sales fell 24.6% during the same period that the U.S. video game industry grew 24%, according to The NPD Group. Read more…
Adrienne Appell Named SVP, Marketing Communications, The Toy Association

In her new role, effective Jan. 1, Appell will be responsible for the development, implementation, and oversight of the Association’s communications strategies, active digital footprint, key messaging, and value of play and brand integrity programs. She most recently served as the Association’s director of strategic communications. Read more…
Spin Master Names Max Rangel Global President, Reveals Exec Shifts for Toys, Entertainment, and Digital Games

Spin Master Corp. is positioning itself for a new era of growth by focusing on three distinct “creative centers” for the company: Toys, Entertainment, and Digital Games. The company hired Max Rangel to serve as its global president beginning next month and will step into the role of global president and CEO in April. Read more…
 
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