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January 12-19, 2024


Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin' Friday! 

Wednesday was Kid Inventor Day, and Ahren Hoffman, our Young Inventor Challenge Director, and Shea Curran, inventor of Zombie Zania were featured on WGN TV… check it out! Our program is growing faster than a tweenager, and we will be sharing exciting news in the coming months. C’mon and get super involved with these superkids!.

I can't wait to see many of you at the London and Nuremberg Toy Fairs! And, speaking of toy fairs, do you catch the The Future of Toys Trade Shows Post COVID panel this week? Scroll to the end of this page. Love to hear what you think.

​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News FeedPlease support our work by advertising and/or setting up a POP profile.


  • "I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.

  • The BLOOM REPORT is fantastic and it allows me to stay on top of all the breaking news in the Toy industry! - Wai Or, Longshore Ltd.

  • “I seriously look forward to Friday to learn most every update + more in the Industry. Priceless info! Thank you” -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation

  • "TBR is required reading for: inventors, manufacturers, retailers, marketers, suppliers, absolutely everyone!" - Robert Fuhrer, Founder, NEXTOY

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Person of the Week - Qubits'  Mark Burginger 

My Journey Told Through AI ChatGPT

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From the bustling tech scene of Silicon Valley in the 80s to the tranquil studios of North Carolina, my journey has been a tapestry of creativity and innovation.

Today, my focus, alongside my wonderful wife Lisa, is in designing and manufacturing an educational toy called Qubits® Building Sets. Our company, , based in North Carolina, is a culmination of our shared passion for education and design.


Recently, my personal escapade into the realm of AI art has led to an exciting project: creating a GPT that efficiently generates toy packaging mock-ups. It's a delightful blend of my graphic design background and AI technology. 


You can use the graphics tool yourself by....

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Person of the Week - Bruce Lund

On Being Santa

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I was a toy inventor. Had been for years. I was Santa Claus in my 5th grade play.  I had for years thought about being Santa again, and providing toys and games as well, but where, how?  I was a toy inventor so it seemed just the right thing to do. But perhaps just a fanciful dream.    


Sitting in my office on Sunnyside one day, between the El tracks and the ‘IC line’, on one of the last brick streets in Chicago, I got a call asking me to buy some magazines to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicagoland.  I had no interest in buying magazine, but I suggested that I would like to be Santa and give away toys.   I suggested they ask someone about this offer. Not too much later I was called back and told that their Santa had quit, and the supporters who provided toys and games was no longer going to be of assistance to them.   No Santa, no Toys!   We are in!!  


So I bought the Santa suit, and elf suits as well for my team, we sent letters out to our toy companies asking for toys and games we could give the kids and we went to the Big Brothers Big Sisters' Chicagoland holiday party as Santa and his merry band of elves.  We gave away hundreds of toys, making every one who stood in line to get a gift sit on Santa’s lap. Over 25 years we gave away 10’s of thousands of toys and games.  


If you have never been Santa, and perhaps even if you have, you may never know the joy of being Santa. From getting dressed, padding oneself with pillows, gluing on the beard and mustache, putting on the heavy black belt I had made and my father-in-law's black leather lace up boots that must have been 50 years old...     Read More...

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Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile! 

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Cartoons of the Week: Thank you to Michael Kohner who sent this week's cartoon. 

Lexophile Lovers:  "I was walking in the jungle and saw a lizard on his hind legs telling jokes. I turned to a local tribal leader and said, "That lizard is really funny!" He replied, "That's not a lizard. He's a stand-up chameleon.". Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sharing with our readers! 

Memorable Quotes:

"Think of many things. Do one." -Portuguese proverb (Thank you, Nik Rokop for sending in!)

“If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” - Nora Roberts, Tears of the Moon

Toy Industry Word of Day: Co-opetition - submitted by Nancy Zwiers. If you can think of a toy/game industry word not in our POPDictionary, add it and we will connect it to you POP profile, feature it here in an upcoming week and on POP's homepage! 

Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me!  Mary

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Financial and Legal

Sony Group Corporation has ended its more than two-year attempt to merge its TV and streaming businesses in India with local giant Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL). In a statement, issued Monday, Sony Group said: “The merger did not close by the end date as, among other things, the closing conditions to the merger were not satisfied by then. [Sony Pictures Networks India] has been engaged in...


*** The above posted after January 19th ***


Goliath Acquires Funko Games, Prospero Hall. Goliath has bought Funko’s board game and puzzles assets along with its tabletop game design team Prospero Hall. Prospero Hall, a Seattle-based game design collective, has put out some well received designs in recent years, including Disney Villainous in 2018, Horrified in 2019 and Pan Am in 2020, as well as pop culture tie-in games including Jaws and Rear Window.


Smart Toys and Games acquires All Jigsaw Puzzles. Smart Toys and Games has announced the acquisition of All Jigsaw Puzzles, welcoming the team to the growing Smart family. All Jigsaw Puzzles is a puzzle manufacturer based in Devon, England with a mission to share the endless possibilities of puzzling. With a large customer base for white-label puzzles and a successful e-commerce division, the business...


Ohio, more states push for social media laws to limit kids’ access: Where they stand. Nearly 95% of teenagers between 13 and 17 report using social media, with more than a third of them saying they use the platforms "almost constantly," according to a U.S. Surgeon General advisory released last year. While the report found some benefits of social media among youth, it also found "ample indicators that...

When Superman and Batman Copyrights Expire in a Decade, Will It Be Kryptonite for DC? About a decade ago, Zack Snyder developed a storyline for the DC Extended Universe that involved Bruce Wayne impregnating Lois Lane. The subplot in which Batman cuckolds Superman was poised to unfold in “Justice League,” with Batman dying in the sequel and Lois raising their spawn with Superman. 

The triumph of inclusivity: gender-neutral toy aisles mark a bold step forward. On Jan. 1, California Assembly Bill No. 1084 came into effect. This legislation, endorsed by Gov. Newsom in 2021, aligns with the Unruh Civil Rights Act, akin to the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause but specific to the state of California.

Layoffs are coming again to Disney’s Pixar studio later this year, Kidscreen has confirmed, though the cuts will not be as deep as the 20% figure that some media outlets have reported. Pixar eliminated 75 positions last June in its first significant wave of layoffs this decade. The cuts were part of a broader plan to slash 7,000 jobs across Disney’s entire operation.

The BBC has selected 57 companies that will receive funding through its annual Small Indie Fund, and a few kids content producers  have made the list. Around US$1.8 million is being divvied up between the recipients, and a BBC commissioning editor will also mentor their leaders on planning growth and reaching a wider audience. The fund targets companies working in kids content, drama, entertainment...

Mastermind terminates 272 employees as toy company's sale to Unity closes. Mastermind Toys has terminated about 272 employees as the retailer is turned over to new ownership. In filings made with an Ontario court this month, a monitor representing the toy chain said termination notices have been provided to 232 employees who new owner Unity Acquisitions Inc. will not retain. 

Thunderful laying off 20 percent of staff as workers pay the price for "over-investments". Swedish conglomerate Thunderful Group is making around 20 percent of its workforce redundant after overspending in recent years. The company has published titles like Planet of Lana, Somerville, and Steamworld Build and owns multiple studios including Image & Form, Jumpship, and Guru Games.

Nexon-owned mobile studio Pixelberry is conducting layoffs. California-based mobile developer Pixelberry Studios has laid off an unknown number of employees. Multiple people affected by the cuts shared the news on Linkedin and indicated the layoffs will impact a variety of roles ranging from QA staff and producers to artists and programmers.

Toy manufacturers' shift from China is no child's playToy makers grappling with surging costs in China are finding no easy options when it comes to shifting production to cheaper centres elsewhere. Six years ago, monopoly maker Hasbro approached Indian durable goods and aerospace supplier Aequs to sub-contract. 

Sunshine Days developer Netspeak Games is making layoffs. Sunshine Days developer Netspeak Games is laying off around 25 employees. The UK studio said the job cuts will allow it to "navigate through the increasingly challenging landscape of the current gaming industry." Netspeak is currently iterating on its debut title, Sunshine Days, a village life sim that lets players use creator tools to carve out and customize...

Embracer conducting "sizeable" layoffs at Lost Boys Interactive. Embracer is cutting a "sizeable" number of jobs at Tiny Tina's Wonderlands co-developer Lost Boys Interactive. A number of current and former Lost Boys Interactive employees shared the news on Linkedin, including some who've been directly impacted by the layoffs. 

Mobile publisher Playtika is laying off up to 400 employees. Mobile publisher Playtika is cutting between 300 to 400 jobs, according to a report from CTech. The Israeli company is known for working on casual titles like Best Fiends, Pirate Kings, and Board Kings. CTech claims the company is preparing to reduce its headcount by 10 percent but indicated the layoffs won't impact workers based in Israel. 

Support studio PTW lays off 45 staff across global teams. PTW, the developer formerly known as Pole to Win, has laid off 45 employees. Workers at the support studio recently confirmed they were affected by its recent reductions. A spokesperson later told Kotaku the layoffs hit multiple unspecified departments across its teams in located in "several countries." 

Supreme Court rejects Epic and Apple's antitrust appeals. The Supreme Court shot down appeals from both Epic Games and Apple regarding their ongoing antitrust case. Per Reuters, it opted not to hear either companies' argument about Fortnite and the App Store. Epic originally started things by appealing the 2021 verdict requiring Apple to change how it handles third-party payments on the App Store. 

Discord is laying off 170 employees after getting too big. Discord's reductions come days after cuts were made at Unity and Twitch. As with those companies, its cuts are by the hundreds. In a memo, CEO Jason Citron said the reductions would get the company to "sharpen our focus...and bring more agility." The cuts also address the company's ballooning headcount. 



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Financial Reporting

UK toy market remains resilient despite challenging economic conditions


*** The above posted after January 19th ***


‘Wonka’ Hits Sweet Milestone As Musical Tops $500M WW; ‘Beekeeper’ Buzzes To $37M Global Bow, ‘Mean Girls’ Clicks With $35M – International Box Office






Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry

Customer Experience Predictions for 2024


*** The above posted after January 19th ***


Optimism is on the rise around the world, according to a recent global predictions report conducted by Ipsos. The survey found that 70% of people expect 2024 to be a better year than 2023.


Will Homeschooling Parents Save Edtech? More states are now giving money to families who pull their kids out of public school, creating a pot that can be spent on online learning and microschool programs.

SuperAwesome examines the toy purchasing funnel. SuperAwesome has delved into the connection of kid’s requests in relation to parental purchasing decisions.




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Stories, Comments, and Advice

Clumsy kittens, pigs in costumes and glittery unicorns: how the cult of cute took hold. From chubby puppies to loveable robots, ‘cuteness’ has us all melting in its sticky little hands. But why did it gain such global traction – and does it have a dark side? Every day I rise early, like a stock trader, to start the daily business of sending and receiving adorable videos. Pigs wearing pig costumes, alien creatures spanking each other’s...


Our Rodent Selfies, Ourselves. A photographer trained two rats to take photographs of themselves. They didn’t want to stop. To Mr. Lignier, the parallel is obvious. “Digital and social media companies use the same concept to keep the attention of the viewer as long as possible,” he said. Indeed, social media has been described as “a Skinner Box for the modern human,” doling out periodic, unpredictable rewards ...

Catching Chess Cheaters Is Tricky Work. While cheating at the game’s top level is rare, platforms and mathematicians alike work tirelessly to ensure the game’s integrity. The mechanics of how chess players might cheat increasingly occupies the minds of professional chess players, academics who build models to catch cheating and top chess platforms. Professional cyclists have doped their blood. A baseball...

What Rats Can Teach Us About the Importance of Play — And How to Incorporate More Into Your Life. Science has long shown that play is beneficial to humans: In children, the behavior aids in emotional and cognitive development, and in adults, playfulness has been linked to an increased ability to cope with stress. Now, a recent study has added to that body of research by investigating which neural circuits are involved...


Compact, shape-shifting robot by Transformers' inventors lands on Moon. Japanese toy manufacturer Takara Tomy developed the lunar rover, SORA-Q, in association with JAXA, Sony Group, and Doshisha University. The creation of SORA-Q drew upon insights in miniaturization and weight reduction derived from the firm's expertise in toy manufacturing.


High School Musical changed everything: An oral history of the Disney Channel Original Movie. Led by executives Gary Marsh and Michael Healy, DCOMs went from scrappy sports movies with a lot of heart to multibillion-dollar IP heavyweights. Original movie programming has existed on the Disney Channel since it first became a premium cable channel in 1983. But it wasn’t until 14 years later that the iconic Disney Channel...

*** The above posted after tBR started running on January 19th ***


John Baulch, Toy World - Countdown to London Toy Fair … it’s the Friday Blog! The week before Toy Fair is always a slightly strange one. There are inevitably last-minute things that need sorting out and preparation to pull together ahead of scheduled meetings. Yet you still spend most of the week thinking “I just wish we were there now.” Thankfully, there’s not long to wait now…


Unfinished Video Games Are Turning Into Hits. When players buy games in early access, they can give studios both valuable feedback and a crucial revenue stream. With the help of lightning rings, garlic and Bibles, players were outlasting waves of ghouls and beasts in Vampire Survivors long before the video game was released officially. Vampire Survivors became a word-of-mouth hit during its early access period...

The Indiana Pacers are hosting the NBA All-Star Game in February, so the Indianapolis International Airport added a full-length basketball court right in the middle of a terminal in honor of the occasion. No, really. There’s a basketball court in the airport, complete with stanchions, glass backboards with shot clocks and a hardwood-ready paint job on the floor. Imagine grabbing a meal before hopping on your flight and a full-length five-on-five game breaks out. That’s peak entertainment.

Gamers at risk of irreversible hearing loss and tinnitus, study suggests. People who play video games are at risk of damaging their hearing due to potentially unsafe sound levels, a study has found. The new review suggests that gamers play for long periods of time with the volume turned up, beyond safe limits. It says this could contribute to irreversible hearing loss or tinnitus, a constant ringing in the ears. 

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History and Nostalgia

Christian Braun here… your hobby expert from hobbyDB reporting about some very exciting news for car collectors everywhere!

Car Enthusiasts! hobbyDB just announced its 70th Official Archive, this time for M2 Machines, a leading diecast specialist with distribution in Hobby Lobby, Kroger, Meijer, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Walmart.


*** The above posted after January 19th ***


Turn On! from Kenner. In 1977, Kenner released Turn On!, a quirky dexterity game based on the human body’s ability to conduct electricity. The game board consisted of an electronic unit powered by 3 D-batteries that featured an integrated timer and two metal bars protruding from opposite sides. Players started a game by dividing themselves into multiple teams of two. 


Turnin’ Turbo Dashboard from Tomy. In 1983, Tomy released Turnin’ Turbo Dashboard, a child-sized replica of a sports car dashboard complete with working parts and a viewing screen. After sitting behind the wheel, junior drivers ages four and up were presented with a working steering wheel, gear shift, on/off key, speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauge. 


Not just Ted: the 10 best movies where toys come to life. Nearly a decade after Ted 2 hit the big screen, Seth MacFarlane’s uncouth teddy bear is finally back to raise all kinds of plushie hell in his very own television series. Now streaming exclusively on Peacock, the show serves as a prequel to the hit Universal films, shining a light on the misadventures of Ted and a teenage John Bennett (Max Burkholder) in the early ‘90s. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

From ‘Barbie’ to ‘Bob the Builder’: All about Mattel’s next big movie (and how Jlo is involved).  Mattel struck gold – or pink – with “Barbie,” which was the first major feature film to come from the toy company and made nearly $1.5 billion worldwide, becoming the biggest movie of 2023 and racking up eight Oscar nominations. Now, CNN has learned that Mattel hopes to maintain that momentum with a cinematic...


Marvel Studios is starting out 2024 on a sturdy footing as it begins to refocus and rebuild its TV shows. Coming off the strong opening of Echo, its crime series centered on Indigenous and deaf anti-heroine Maya Lopez, Marvel next turns its attention to Daredevil: Born Again, which restarts production Monday after a lengthy hiatus. Philip Silvera, who acted as stunt and fight coordinator on the Netflix version of Daredevil...


LA-based Cloudco Entertainment has partnered with lifestyle giant Sanrio to deliver a new co-branded range of consumer products featuring Care Bears and Hello Kitty. This crossover will kick off in the spring with three limited-edition worldwide retail exclusives. Target will stock a fashion collection and plush items, Hot Topic is doing home goods, accessories and Loungefly bags, and Claire’s has cornered... 

The Harry Potter television series is moving closer to fruition. In April, Warner Bros. Discovery revealed that a series, based on the classic wizarding world, would be coming to its streaming service Max. Deadline understands that things in Potterworld are now heating up with a marathon of pitches underway from writers vying for the right to adapt J.K. Rowling’s seven books.

European broadcasters gobble up Monster Loving Maniacs. The series has already made a splash on CBBC and Super RTL, and several new broadcast deals will expand its European footprint even further. Monster Loving Maniacs is a 2D-animated series (52 x 11 minutes) about three siblings training to become monster hunters who decide to save the creatures in their crosshairs instead of capturing them. 

WildBrain and pubcasters RTÉ (Ireland) and Ketnet (Belgium) have co-commissioned a new live-action series called Louise Lives Large.  This comedy-drama for kids ages nine to 13 is about a teen cancer survivor working her way through a bucket list of all the things she has always wanted to do. It was created by Irish writer Carol Walsh (Fia’s Fairies, X Marks the Spot), who was inspired by her own experience...

Falcon’s Beyond Global announced they intend to work with Tanseisha Co, Ltd. The two companies will explore collaborating to develop new themed entertainment experiences, to bring popular Japanese anime and manga intellectual property (IP) to life through location-based entertainment (LBE), games, movies and more.


Heading back to Waverly Place, Disney Branded Television has just ordered a pilot for a sequel to live-action comedy series Wizards of Waverly Place, which aired on Disney Channel from 2007 to 2012. Wizards was among the kidsnet’s top-performing sitcoms of its era, alongside tween shows like Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Its last episode even set a record at the time as the most-watched...

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on January 19th ***


Key licenses for the year ahead. With almost one-third of UK toy sales coming from licensed ranges, it’s important for licensees and retailers to choose wisely when it comes to which licences to work with. Publisher John Baulch writes that 2023 was a good year for sales of licensed toys. According to Circana, licensed toys outperformed the rest of the toy market last year, accounting for 32% of all toy sales.


Canadian pubcaster TVOKids is working on a new unscripted series called Trading Skills that shines a spotlight on the country’s skilled tradespeople. The channel greenlit this live-action show for six- to nine-year-olds from Toronto’s Riverbank Pictures (How Do You Feel?, When I Grow Up!), and producer Francis Mitchell says its goal is to explore trade professions in three categories: traditional (plumbers and electricians)...

Amuse moves its digital-first hits beyond YouTube. With billions of views in the bag, the studio's IPs are heading to linear television for the first time. Gran Canaria’s Amuse Animation, best known for creating popular YouTube shows for kids, has inked its first linear TV deals with four broadcasters.  Mexico’s TV Azteca has picked up free-TV, free-VOD and AVOD rights in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to Shark Academy...

Monty Python and the Holy Grail's official board game includes a working catapult. If you’re an older millennial reading this, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re both into board games and wore out more than one copy of 1975 comedy classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If so, you’re in luck - an official tabletop adaptation of the quotable film has hit Backerkit. Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

Hasbro launches new ‘Ghostbusters’ toys, action figures. The lineup includes two collections of action figures plus interactive toys. With only two months until Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire hits screens, Hasbro is launching new lines of Ghostbusters toys to get kids excited for the movie. There are two sets of action figures in this lineup. 


Xilam Animation locks new deals for Zig & Sharko and Karate Sheep. Academy Award-nominated French animation studio Xilam Animation has secured a wave of global broadcasters for its popular titles Zig & Sharko and Karate Sheep, including new partners and renewals for both of the slapstick comedy series. Xilam’s series have also seen strong performances on Netflix, with a cumulative total of 93.5 million hours...


Toys ‘R’ Us Asia, MGA Entertainment partner for Miniverse activation. Kids can make their own mini products in this activation. Toys “R” Us Asia’s newest campaign is “We Time, Play Time,” a program that inspires kids and families to enjoy play time in the moment with each other. The highlight of this campaign is the company’s collaboration with MGA Entertainment for the first-ever Miniverse activation in Asia.


Crafthub appoints Mix Licensing Group as its global licensing agent. Crafthub recently tapped Mix Licensing Group to help expand its wooden puzzle line. Mix Licensing Group will build global partnerships with studios, sports leagues, and brand owners looking for a new approach to puzzles. 


Met Opera Shop launches Hip Hop Hamilton Bear plush. This plush educates kids on American history. One of the latest additions to the Met Opera’s gift shop is the Hip Hop Hamilton Bear, an educational plush that teaches kids about one of America’s founding fathers. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the plush features a bear dressed in a colonial outfit complete with a ruffled collar, wild brown hair, and a blue jacket.


Holiday Hill Farm announces new consumer products partnership with Oriental Trading Company. Holiday Hill Farm has entered a three-year agreement with Oriental Trading Company, a Berkshire Hathaway company, to create, market and sell a broad assortment of products featuring its beloved holiday icon Spookley the Square Pumpkin and all his Holiday Hill Farm friends. 


Douglas Company introduces new bug themed Sshlumpies and Playtivity Rattles. Snug as a Bug has new meaning for Douglas Company. The soft toy maker and lifestyle gift creator is introducing four new bug themed Sshlumpies and Playtivity Rattles for babies. Sshlumpies are a long-time favorite at Douglas. They are the 18” under-stuffed blanket-like plush characters with full plush heads. 


Disney Branded Television acquires seasons 6 and 7 of ‘Miraculous — Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir’. ZAG, the independent animation studio, and Method Animation (Mediawan Kids & Family) recently revealed that Disney Branded Television Series has acquired seasons 6 and 7 of the animated series Miraculous — Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir, in addition to three original animated specials. 


Dynamite's 'Thundercats' has over 100k orders with more Warner Bros. on the way. Dynamite Entertainment has announced that orders for ThunderCats #1, by writer Declan Shalvey and artist Drew Moss, have topped 100,000 ahead of this weekend’s Final Order Cutoff. Publishers seldom release order numbers, so this is an important data point. 

Ooh La La — Playmates Toys unveils Miraculous Ladybug Paris Heroez Playset. One of the most buzzed-about products shown at Toy Fair in New York last fall is now a reality. Playmates Toys‘ ZAG Heroez Miraculous line expands this summer with the towering, four-foot-tall Miraculous Ladybug Paris Heroez Playset. Designed as a focal point for kids’ imaginative adventures in Ladybug’s hometown of Paris...


The LEGO Group reveals LEGO Ideas Red London Telephone Box. The LEGO Group is continuing to target the kidult market with a new set designed for builders ages 18 and up, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the K2 Telephone Box. The Red London Telephone Box is the latest of the LEGO Ideas sets. LEGO Ideas is a platform that invites fans to submit their own LEGO builds in hopes that they get turned...


BigMouth reveals NFL outdoor collection. The line includes several inflatables inspired by NFL teams for both warm and cold weather. Novelty gift brand BigMouth, known for various outdoor products, has revealed a new officially licensed National Football League (NFL) outdoor collection. The line will be released next year, but sample products will be on display at the Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show...

Get tipsy at the inn with new 'Dungeons & Dragons' cocktail book. Penguin Random House will release Puncheons & Flagons, a new D&D-licensed cocktail book, which will hit retail on August 27, 2024. This officially D&D-licensed cocktail book, written by Tom Wheeler, features recipes for 75 themed cocktails, mocktails, and bar bites that are sure to lighten up any encounter. 


Ultra PRO reveals Magic: The Gathering 30th Anniversary gaming accessories. Ultra PRO International, a California-based designer and manufacturer of tabletop gaming accessories for Magic: The Gathering, has partnered with Wizards of the Coast to reveal a top-of-the-line 30th Anniversary Magic: The Gathering Accessories collection of products, including a set of 105-count APEX Deck Protector premium sleeves...

Nelvana and Toikido confirm Piñata Smashlings animated series. Nelvana and Toikido have officially green-lit 2D animated children’s series Piñata Smashlings, based on the Roblox gaming IP. Nelvana, an international producer, distributor and licensor of children’s animated and live-action content, and Toikido have announced the highly anticipated green-light of Piñata Smashlings, a new 2D animated children’s series. 

Posh Paws International has announced a multi-property UK licensing partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products (WBDGCP). This new deal includes WBDGCP’s entire catalogue of DC, Wizarding World, Looney Tunes, Friends, Horror and many more.

Posh Paws will start the partnership by bringing to market a range of plush toys inspired by Warner Bros. 

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People of Play


Inside Mattel Headquarters With Graphic Designer, Mario Godoy. Hot Wheels Designer Mario Godoy shows TopSpeed that creating iconic toy cars is a labor of love. “California dreaming,” what does that mean to you? For me, it was a visit to Mattel Headquarters in El Segundo, California. Sure, Barbie was on hand, but I had come for the cars, specifically, Hot Wheels. 


Beatrix Potter, Author of ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’. She created one of the world’s best-known characters for children, and fought to have the book published, but she never sought celebrity status. Potter died of heart ailments and complications of bronchitis on Dec. 22, 1943, during World War II. She was 77. Though the death was not initially reported by The New York Times, for reasons lost to history, the newspaper referred...


Kartoon Studios hires its first SVP of development and production. Gregg Goldin will oversee a growing slate of IPs, leveraging more than two decades of experience at companies like DreamWorks and Cartoon Network. As SVP of development and production, Goldin will manage the company’s slate of original IPs from early-concept to delivery.

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on January 19th ***


Today is National Kid Inventors’ Day! Winner Of The Young Inventor Challenge Creates New Game “Zombie Zania”.  Every year there’s a Young Inventor Challenge where the most creative kids shine bright. Inventor and winner of the “Most Authentic” award — Shea Curran — is here, along with Ahren Hoffman from People of Play. 

From Parlor Games To Game Show Network: How Producer Laura Robinson Turned Childhood Fun Into Fortune. As a child, Ontario-born entrepreneur, Laura Robinson(no relation to me), loved playing parlor games. Harnessing her childhood passion, Robinson has forged an entrepreneurial career path inventing games and selling laughter for forty years. Not only has she turned fun into fortune but her work is...

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day… Steve Evans has announced his return to the Star Wars brand after five years, in a new role as Hasbro’s Design Director for Fan Product for Marvel & Star Wars"These franchises are essential to me, to our fan community, and to the wider pop culture. Radiating like two suns, they deliver stories & characters that ignite hope, belief, and creativity. I’m thrilled & thankful to reunite...

Relatable is bringing in a new Chief Revenue Officer, Karen Branson, following the company’s rebrand last summer. Branson has more than 15 years of experience in the industry, previously serving as Senior Vice President of IMC Toys North America and Director of Sales for Schleich USA. At IMC, Branson led the strategy to introduce Cry Babies to the U.S. market and brought IMC content to Netflix and other platforms.

The Jim Henson Company has hired puppeteer and show creator John Tartaglia as creative supervisor of Fraggle Rock to take the property to new heights. Tartaglia will map out and lead the charge on an expansion plan that includes consumer products and brand extensions such as podcasts, live shows and location-based experiences. He’ll also work with the studio to develop and produce new TV series...

Moose Toys announces promotion of Logan Stone. Moose Toys has announced that Logan Stone has been promoted to vice president of Marketing and Brand Strategy across the UK and Europe. The position follows Logan’s decade of dedication to the World’s Apart and Moose Toys businesses, during which she has been an instrumental part of the growth success of the Moose Europe hub. 


Plus-Plus USA welcomes toy industry veteran Tony White to corporate sales team. Plus-Plus, the pioneering Danish brand known for its open-ended, creative toys that set play free with one simple shape, has announced the addition of toy veteran Tony White as Vice President of Sales for Specialty Accounts. 


ToyMonster welcomes Michael Ciminera as president of North America. ToyMonster is ringing in the new year with a new President of North America (USA & Canada). Michael Ciminera is joining the ToyMonster team, bringing with him a bevy of prior experience in the worlds of retail and toys. He has worked previously as the lead of Activision Blizzard’s U.S. Sales team and as an executive at Bandai Namco.


Sambro appoints European managing director. Sambro International has announced the appointment of Michiel Das to the role of European managing director, as the toy supplier looks to drive forward pan-European growth this year. Das, who brings 20+ years of commercial and sales experience in the toy and licensing sector. Having worked previously for businesses, such as Melissa & Doug, Spin Master and Mattel...

John Lewis appoints Peter Ruis to run department store business. John Lewis Partnership has hired former Jigsaw CEO Peter Ruis to head up its department store operations. Peter will be joining as executive director and will lead the business through the next phase of its transformation. Previously the CEO of Canadian books and music retailer Indigo, Peter has also led Anthropologie and is an ex-buying...


Toynamics names new MD and sales hires. Toynamics has announced the appointment of Nikita Semenov as managing director alongside a new sales hire and internal moves to help boost the company’s UK operations. With over 16 years of experience in the global baby and children products sector, working on senior positions in children’s furniture and accessory companies, both in manufacturing and...


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Companies and Brands


Goliath Launches Expansive Toy Division. Goliath’s evolution continues as it begins a multi-year, cross-category rollout of new products throughout the toy department. Brian “B-Weezy” Weiss, who joined Goliath Group as its President of North America in 2022 is heading the effort as Global Head of Toys. The co. says it’s starting a multi-year global strategy to shake up the toy department with new, “differentiated offerings.”

Little Buddy Toys, a distributor, signs HQ warehouse lease in Anaheim. Santa is moving to Southern California — The Bradmore Group announced Monday that it secured a new industrial lease from a toy distribution company in Anaheim.  The Marina Del Rey-based firm signed Little Buddy Toys to a 95,178-square-foot distribution center at 270 East Palais Road. 

Casdon has announced the launch of a new Ooni pizza-making range made from recycled plastics. Known for creating miniature versions of well-known household items, Casdon is set to launch a brand new licence this year, partnering with leaders in the portable pizza making category, Ooni. The new range is made from recycled plastics.

The 46-year-old Los Angeles costume-maker DG Brands is proud to announce the launch of an all-new children’s costume division named Noah & Zoie. The annocement was made by Noah & Zoie’s principal Barry Revzen. Best known for its high-end portfolio of adult costumes and lingerie sold under the DreamGirl divisional brand worldwide, DG Brands has quietly been producing a broad range of...

Private Investment firm Jstar Capital has launched a new toyco called Wyncor that’s operating out of Miami, with a focus on manufacturing original and licensed toy lines worldwide. Wyncor is helmed by COO Helena Perheentupa, a 13-yr Mattel Germany veteran coming off a two-year stint running ZAG Play’s toy division. In her new role, Perheentupa will spearhead Wyncor’s operations and unveil the...


*** The above posted after tBR posted on January 19th ***


Mattel’s Fisher-Price Launches Planet Friends. The eco-friendly line is made from between 80-90% post-consumer recycled plastic. The All Ears Lovey sensory toy comes with a satin vest and huge ears, both designed to provide sensory play to babies. The variety of colors and textures are made to keep babies interested. The Spotting Fun Snow Leopard is full of activities for little ones. 


Pop Mart, the Asian toy and entertainment brand, is opening two new locations on the West Coast. Pop Mart opened its first permanent store in the U.S. last fall at the American Dream Mall in New Jersey, along with pop-up shops in New York and California. Now, two more permanent locations are coming to Santa Clara, California, and Bellevue, Washington.

Ravensburger announces exciting new developments for 2024. With the help of newly appointed UK and Ireland managing director Richard Collins, Ravensburger aims to make 2024 its best year yet. Toy World spoke with Richard Collins, who has spent pretty much his whole career in retail. His approach to the ‘Theatre of Retail’ – wowing consumers through storytelling, meeting them in different areas...

Netflix is testing a joint plan with the French supermarket Carrefour in a bid to win more subscribers for its entry level tier. Customers in Bordeaux and Rouen are being offered Netflix Basic with Ads for a monthly €5.99 as part of a package that also includes discounts of Carrefour-branded products and free delivery on orders over €60.

Brainstorm launches sustainable Arts & Craft range. Brainstorm will launch a raft of new products at this year’s trade shows, expanding the company’s portfolio which now includes an exclusive distribution deal, in the UK & Ireland, for Create N Colour; Magic Paint with water. The opening range includes six themed sets merchandised in three assorted CDUs. 


Playtime PR to handle PR for Connetix in the UK. Connetix, the award-winning educational toy company famed for its uniquely bevelled magnetic construction tiles, is handing its UK trade and consumer media relations remit to Playtime PR. After a phenomenally successful 12 months, during which Connetix Tiles scooped several awards and rose in popularity across the globe, together Connetix and Playtime will...


Click Distribution to supply Eolo Toys’ Cutie Pops. Eolo Toys has announced its partnership with Click Distribution as an official UK distributor for Cutie Pops. Following the success of the Biggies launch in 2023, Click Distribution is expanding its portfolio with the introduction of Cutie Pops to the UK market. 


Konami invites players to celebrate seven years of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links. Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. (Konami) has unveiled details of the seventh anniversary of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links and its celebratory campaign. The Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links 7th Anniversary Celebration Campaign began on 12th January, providing duelists with a host of gifts befitting the occasion. The bundles include iconic cards in Ultra Prismatic Foil Rarity, 20 card packs, special seventh anniversary accessories, tickets to trade in for Skills, cards and characters and 1,000 gems.


Zigazoo and iHeartMedia launch commercial partnership, highlighting the power of youth music and media. Zigazoo Kids has announced a strategic collaboration with iHeartMedia, America’s leading audio company. Under the new agreement, the two industry leaders will explore synergistic opportunities between iHeartMedia’s extensive portfolio of music and podcasting and Zigazoo’s content...

Hit the slopes with SnowCandy’s epic inflatables. With winter fully upon us, kids are dreaming of snow days that will be remembered for years to come. SnowCandy’s inflatables are the perfect toys to add to memories of running around outside in the snow. SnowCandy’s latest launches include a camouflage inflatable armchair that is perfect for kicking back in the yard, complete with a built-in cupholder...


New 'Final Fantasy TCG' set announced: 'Hidden Trials'. Square Enix announced Hidden Trials, a new Final Fantasy TCG booster set, which will hit stores on August 2, 2024. Hidden Trials includes cards that enhance the Limit Break mechanic, allowing players to update their decks to the next level. The set also features a very rare Special Card [23-037R] that has an original illustration of Final Fantasy XIII Lightning by Miki Yamashita.


English edition of new 'Dorfromantik' game heads to retail. 'The Duel' offers a one-on-one landscaping challenge. Pegasus Spiele will release Dorfromantik: The Duel, a new board game, into U.S. retail in February 2024. This game is for fans of the original Spiel des Jahres-winning Dorfromantik: The Board Game who are looking for more of a one-on-one challenge.


'Pokemon TCG' experiences 'Temporal Forces'. New booster set deets released. The Pokemon Company International released details on their next expansion for Pokemon TCG, Scarlet & Violet - Temporal Forces,  which will hit stores on March 22, 2024.This expansion was previously teased in 2023 during the 2023 Pokémon World Championships but few details were known about the set until now. 


Looney Labs announces 'JINXX', a new abstract strategy game. Looney Labs announced Jinxx, a new abstract strategy game, for release into retail on May 3, 2024. In Jinxx, players strategically place pyramid-shaped piece on a three by three grid to vie for control of the center area.  The pyramid pieces come in three different size and four colors, and are designed to be stacked.  

One For Fun prepares to unleash Dino Collecto at Toy Fair. One for Fun is preparing to unveil an exciting new distribution line at Toy Fair 2024 next week: Dino Collecto, a range of adorable plush dinosaurs available in different styles and sizes that children can collect and play with. Kids can create a gaggle of cute plush dinosaurs, add flowing hair for additional play, or enjoy an element of surprise with the Dino Collector line.


Brainstorm makes a splash at Toy Fair with new Water Art range. Brainstorm is establishing a new niche for itself with simple, fun and affordable craft kits. Water Art, from Toymonster, is new for 2024. The collection allows kids to unleash their creativity with three generic and three themed sets, all for under £10 at retail. 


'Empire Builder Series' returns: Mayfair Games reveals 2024 games lineup. Mayfair Games announced that they will release an Empire Builder Series game as part of their 2024 lineup. The Empire Builder Series, a popular line of railroad games designed by the late Darwin Bromley will be heading back to market. 


Asmodee, Office Dog launch Word Traveler cooperative game. Asmodee and Office Dog are teaming up to launch Word Traveler, a cooperative game that takes players to different places around the world. The game takes place in London, Paris, Tokyo, and New York as players aim to hit all of their bucket list items including food, locations, architecture, and more. 


'Roll for the Galaxy' returns: Dice game version of 'Race for the Galaxy'. Rio Grande Games will re-release Roll for the Galaxy, a dice game version of Race for the Galaxy, into retail in early 2024. Roll for the Galaxy was first released in 2013 and was designed by Tom Lehman and Wei-Hwa Huang. 


Construct 'Nunatak: Temple of Ice' in Antarctica. Thames & Kosmos will release Nunatak: Temple of Ice, a new board game, into U.S. retail in 2024. In Nunatak: Temple of Ice, players assume the roles of members of an ancient civilization attempting to build the biggest temple the world has even seen. The temple will be located in the ice and snow of the brutal Antarctic environment and will be made of ice blocks. 


Divine the mysteries of Theros with 'Magic: The Gathering Oracle Deck'. Penguin Random House will release the Magic: The Gathering Oracle Deck, a 52-card deck and guidebook, into retail on May 21, 2024. This officially-licensed oracle deck showcases the pantheon of gods and creatures from the plane of Theros.

Thames & Kosmos unveils 'Masters of Crime'. Thames & Kosmos unveiled Masters of Crime, a new line of sleuthing games, which will hit U.S. retail in 2024. This line features story-driven games that are a unique twist on murder-mystery games.  One to five players will delve in authentic-feeling evidence, unearth clues, and complete puzzles to solve or execute different crimes (depending on the title).  

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development


Mocked as ‘Pokémon With Guns,’ Palworld Becomes an Instant Hit. The survival game started as a meme and became a miracle for its developers, who have insisted they are not copying the popular Nintendo series. More than 300,000 players simultaneously logged on to the game, Palworld, when it was released in early access on Fri,, momentarily causing servers to crash and eject users from its cruel world of chickens and squirrels engaged in shootouts.


*** The above posted after January 19th ***


Street Fighter 6 has topped 3 million sales in six months. Street Fighter 6 has topped 3 million worldwide sales in around six months, according to developer Capcom. The Japanese studio said it managed to steadily grow sales by "leveraging eSports activities and additional content," and noted the title has featured in multiple eSports tournaments including the Capcom Pro Tour 2023 and Street Fighter League...


Console owners played more Fortnite than GTA V and Call Of Duty combined. New data shows players spent over 1.6 billion hours in Epic’s massively popular battle royale Fortnite has exploded in popularity—growing larger than ever—thanks in large part to the well-received OG Season and recent updates that added games like Lego Fortnite into Epic’s free-to-play shooter. 

First Prince of Persia game in 14 years voiced in Farsi. The first new version of cult video game Prince of Persia in 14 years has been released, called The Lost Crown, and it is the first edition in the series to be fully voiced in Farsi. The franchise draws heavily on Persian mythology and Iranian culture, but until now has always been in English. The developers say they want to "depict and respect Persia and Iran". 

Highlighted Press Releases

TURN A PLAYDATE INTO A PLAYPER® DAY WITH PRINCESS PETUNIA, FISH STICK & KING KETCHUP. Choose One Or Bundle All Four Planet-Friendly Playper Kits For Preschoolers To Pop, Build, Then Enter A Magical Curious Kingdom of Kooky Characters, Los Gatos, CA (January 24, 2024) –Did you know that the Cardboard Box is inducted in The Strong National Museum Of Play Toy Hall of Fame? It makes sense when you consider that with open-ended play, children are transported to a world of their own, where anything is possible. One toymaker just came up with something that’s even better – for the planet and for kids as it’s STEAM accredited!


*** The above posted after January 19th ***


KIDSTUFF PUBLIC RELATIONS CELEBRATES 30th ANNIVERSARY in 2024. Since 1994 KSPR Has Pivoted From Fax Machines, Car Phones & AOL To Zoom Meets And Influencers But Childhood & Toys Have Always Been Top Priority. Thousand Oaks, CA (January 9, 2024) – KidStuff PR is celebrating its 30th year in business in 2024. During its three decades of promoting playthings and services for families, the agency has seen the toy industry, the media world and parenting go through a lot of changes. The team at the agency couldn’t be more excited than to celebrate this major milestone and is both reflecting on things they’ve learned and survived over the years, as well as looking forward to things to come...


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Safety and Counterfeiting


Kelp maker urges players not to purchase counterfeit board games circulating onlineThe makers of Kelp are urging players not to purchase any copies of their charming, asymmetric board game currently floating around the internet. That’s because the shark vs. octopus game of hide-and-seek won’t actually be available until later this year, but scammers have listed counterfeit copies on Amazon, eBay and other ecommerce platforms. German publisher Wonderbow Games posted to their website urging backers to avoid the counterfeit Kelp copies.

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

Oscars: ‘Barbie’ Grabs Eight Noms, Including Supporting Roles and Two Original Songs. Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig were snubbed for best actress and director, respectively. The film’s nominations include best picture, America Ferrera for supporting actress, Ryan Gosling for supporting actor, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach for adapted screenplay, “I’m Just Ken” and “What Was I Made For?” for original song, as ... 


KIDZ BOP AND LIVE NATION ANNOUNCE ALL-NEW TOUR; KIDZ BOP LIVE 2024 TO HIT 40+ CITIES THIS SUMMER. On the heels of last year's successful 60+ date run, the ultimate pop concert for kids is returning by popular demand to Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, LA, NY and more this summer. KIDZ BOP LIVE 2024 is sponsored by Spin Master's new fantasy-adventure children's series, Unicorn Academy™, streaming now on...


The NY NOW 2024 Winter Market is gearing up for an iconic return to the Jacob Javits Center in New York, captivating global attendees from February 4 to 7, 2024. Renowned as the premier gift and home wholesale market show, this bi-annual event continues to serve as the ultimate hub for brands, buyers, and designers in the heart of New York City. 


***  The above posted after tBR posted January 19th ***


The 50th HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, 15th HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and 22nd Hong Kong International Stationery & School Supplies Fair have concluded successfully at the HK Convention and Exhibition Centre. According to the organiser, the 4-day physical fairs attracted some 83,000 buyers from 135 countries and regions, and saw international buyers return. The HKTDC has provided a breakdown...


The week of Jan. 22, 2024, twenty million children will unite and perform a billion acts of kindness thanks to the global non-profit organization Kids for Peace and its annual Great Kindness Challenge happily sponsored by OOLY, the whimsical and colorful arts, crafts and school supply brand. Created by Kids for Peace in 2012, the mission of The Great Kindness Challenge is to prevent bullying and foster ...

Netflix is leading this year’s Annie Awards race, with 28 nominations for its animated series and films. ASIFA-Hollywood, which runs the annual awards program, will announce 2024’s winners at a ceremony in LA on February 17. The five films nominated for Best Feature are Nimona (pictured, Annapurna Animation for Netflix), Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony Pictures Animation), ...

World of Toys program makes comeback in Hong Kong. Spielwarenmesse eG is celebrating a successful return to Hong Kong. After a three-year break, the Nuremberg-based trade fair organiser and marketing services provider was present once more with its World of Toys Pavilion at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair. Between 8th -11th January, eight exhibitors from six countries took advantage of the joint stand...


Exhibitors share favorite ranges for Spielwarenmesse. With Spielwarenmesse around the corner, Toy World has asked exhibitors to reveal the product ranges they’re most looking forward to showcasing at the event.The international Spielwarenmesse is where exhibitors can meet toy industry professionals face-to-face and present both new products and top-picks from existing ranges. 


Bids are open for the Toy Trust 2024 Media Auction. The annual Toy Trust Media Auction of valuable airtime, magazine and online spots is now open, and advance bids are welcome. The auction will continue throughout Toy Fair 2024 at Olympia London from 23rd – 25th January and will close at 3pm on Thursday 25th January, the last day of the event. 


Toy Fair turns 70. Toy World takes a look at what’s happening at the 2024 event before catching up with the BTHA’s Roland Earl to find out what makes the show so special. The toy trade is once more gearing up for Toy Fair 2024, which opens its doors from Tuesday 23rd to Thursday 25th January at Olympia London. This year’s sold out show is a very special one, marking the 70th anniversary of Toy Fair. 


Total Home & Gift Market reports buyer attendance up 17%. Exhibitors report strong attendance and positive energy. The 2024 Total Home & Gift Market, running from Jan. 10-16 at the Dallas Market Center, reported a strong opening with a 17% increase in attendance over the first two days of the event compared to last January. The increased attendance wasn’t missed by exhibitors.


Spielwarenmesse 2024 offers new opportunities for media. PressDay will now take place on the first day of the show. Spielwarenmesse eG is readying for its big 2024 show with a full slate of activities and presentations for the press. This year, the show will run from Jan. 30 – Feb. 3 in Nuremberg, Germany and will welcome members of the media specifically with several returning and new events...


Hong Kong Day 4: Homeward Bound. The 50th edition of the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair ended on a high note with enthusiasm expressed by many for the return of the full-scale show. Exhibitors noted that their appointments and walk-ins in many cases exceeded expectations, and it was exciting to once again see crowds gathered around hot booths.

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed

If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our readers. Archives can be found HERE

Merle R Lewis, Jr., age 80, of Erie, took his final breath on Thursday, January 11, 2024 at his daughter’s home in Wattsburg, Pa. He was born in Brookville, PA to the late Merle Ray Lewis and Florence (Wolfe) Lewis Thunberg.

Merle was a lifetime outdoorsman. He loved farming, hunting, horses, and gardening. Some of his best times were spent hunting with lifelong friends and his son, Jeff.

He was a masterful mechanic, with the ability to create the things his mind could conjure. He worked as a model maker and toy designer for Marx Toys right out of school and was proud that his name appears on the patent for the ‘Lectric Shot Shooting Gallery’. He followed his heart and changed careers in the 70’s by spending a summer at the Oklahoma Farrier’s College and learned the art of shoeing horses. He began to work on thoroughbred race horses, a livelihood that took him around the East Coast to racetracks in PA, WV, FL, NH, DE and Ohio.

Another dream took him to Alaska for a number of years, where he assembled his own on-site saw mill and built a home with trees he cut down himself in the Willow area.

He returned back to the Erie area in the late 90’s and spent his time tinkering in his garage, lending a hand to anyone he could help… and hunting. He was able to get a tree stand set this past fall, with the help of his grandson Trevor, but his health declined rapidly soon after.

He is survived by his sister, Debra Javens (William); his brother, Dale Lewis of Erie; his daughters, Lori Zaumseil (Troy) of Wattsburg, Jodi Gray (Scott), of Waterford his grandchildren, Halie and Trevor Lewis of Erie, Jace Wolz of Waterford and Cody Martinez of Boulder, CO, and his dearest friend, Charlotte Winkler.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia Lovett Lewis and his former wife, Lois Mary Banister Lewis; his brothers, William M. Lewis and James L. Lewis; his sisters, Karen D. Lewis, Paula Thunberg, and Karla Thunberg. His most profound loss was the death of his son, Jeffrey A. Lewis, just over a year ago.


Karen Tenenbaum, founder and owner of Tenenbaum Law, P.C. and active member of the New York Metro Chapter of Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment. She died suddenly of a cardiac event on December 23 at the age of 64. In addition to her success as a tax attorney for more than 35 years, Tenenbaum founded Money Masters, Inc., an organization that provides financial literacy information and tools...

Jennell Jaquays Tabletop designer and video game developer Jennell Jaquays, who created Dungeons & Dragons adventures for a leading publisher of its time, has passed away at the age of 67. Jaquays is best known for developing the early shape of the tabletop industry during the heyday of TSR and other D&D publishers. Her most successful adventures, Dark Tower and Caverns of Thracia, were published for Judges Guild and featured both her game design and artwork.

Jaquays would go on to illustrate covers for plenty of other sourcebooks and modules, including the Dragon Mountain adventure included in D&D’s 1993 deluxe boxed set. Along with Call of Cthulhu publisher Chaosium, she also worked for several video game developers throughout the 1980s and 90s - Jaquays would help convert popular arcade cabinet games such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong to their console versions. In the late 1990s, Jaquays worked as a level designer for American video game company id Software while it developed the original Quake.

Dark Tower was the only non-TSR published adventure cited in Dungeon magazine’s list of the thirty greatest D&D adventure of all time, and Jaquays’ adventures would accrue several nominations for the H.G. Wells award. She was inducted in the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame in 2017.

As creative director of Transgender Human Rights Institute, Jaquays helped outline and petition for the adoption of Leelah’s Law in the US - the response to this activist movement led to the federal banning of conversion therapy amongst minors, which adversely affected trans youth. She was a staunch advocate for trans rights.

In a remembrance post on the EN World tabletop RPG forums fans and players shared their favourite Jaquays creations, including her Savage Frontier book and Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide, the latter of which many folks claimed was one of the best resources for running the game they had ever read.

Pauline Kerrison - Toy World is sad to report that Pauline Kerrison, of Kerrison Toys, passed away peacefully on Christmas Day with her family at her side.

Described by those who knew her as ‘warm and welcoming’, ‘one of a kind’ and ‘one of the industry’s diamonds’, Pauline was much loved by many people in the toy trade. During the 50 or so years she was involved in the running of Kerrison Toys, she forged numerous friendships that lasted a lifetime.

Her son Steve Kerrison told Toy World: “She loved seeing people at trade shows and events and would always make a fuss of anyone who visited the shops over the many years. Myself, Graham and Liz, and our families, would like to thank all of those who have expressed their condolences over the past few days.”


Murray Jackson - Toy World is sad to report that Murray Jackson, who founded Edx Education and recently established Edx Education UK, has passed away.  The founder of Edx Education was a passionate advocate for providing education opportunities to all. Over the past 20 years, Edx Education has grown into a major supplier to the international education market, exporting to more than 90 countries, with sales & marketing offices in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia – including a dedicated trade website for the UK market.

The boom in home schooling following the pandemic kickstarted a trend for affordable toys that also offer educational value, and a real need for the company to extend its offering to consumers and toy retailers.

As well as establishing and running the successful company, Murray helped pioneer projects such as the opening of an after school center in Hualien, Taiwan, with the company sponsoring the renovations of a house and turning it into an after school centre for aboriginal children from the local primary school.

The Edx team contacted Toy World to inform us of the sad news of Murray’s passing and shared a letter that has been distributed to the Edx Education community. The letter reads...

Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

Added Friday Morning Chicago Time. Check Back for Complete Lists.


Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​​​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 


Toyworld (UK)

  1. Hong Kong takeaway… it’s the Friday (Hong Kong) Blog!

  2. Exclusive: Toy Fair turns 70

  3. Ravensburger offers first look at Disney Lorcana 2024 line-up

  4. Countdown to London Toy Fair … it’s the Friday Blog!

  5. Exclusive: Exhibitors reveal their top picks for Toy Fair

  6. Exclusive: Counting down to Spielwarenmesse

  7. Funko and Goliath team up on Funko Games

  8. Click Distribution to supply Eolo Toys’ Cutie Pops

  9. Nelvana and Toikido confirm Piñata Smashlings animated series

  10. Moose Toys announces promotion of Logan Stone Powered by Toyworld

  1. Ravensburger offers first look at Disney Lorcana 2024 line-up

  2. Nelvana and Toikido confirm Piñata Smashlings animated series

  3. Sambro reveals raft of new licences for 2024

  4. Rainbow Designs unveils new Wizarding World range

  5. Planet Earth III Minecraft World announced

  6. Story House Egmont announces two new Peppa Pig magazines

  7. Newly formed Renaissance Licensing unveils initial roster

  8. Posh Paws and Warner Bros. partner on multi-property licensing

  9. Moonbug announces CoComelon apparel collaboration with Uniqlo

  10. Natural History Museum bags collaboration with Roka London

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

Divine the Mysteries of Theros with 'Magic: The Gathering Oracle Deck'
Wizards of the Coast Reveals Special Guest 'Magic: The Gathering' Cards
Goliath Acquires Funko Games Assets
'Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Concealment' Heads to Retail
New 'Dungeons & Dragons' 'Little Golden Book' Heads to Retail
Rolling for Initiative -- Predictions for 2024
Get Tipsy at the Inn with New 'Dungeons & Dragons' Cocktail Book
Ravenburger Teases 'Disney Lorcana' 2024 Lineup
Protect Game Secrets with 'Dungeons & Dragons: Mimic Treasure Chest Notebook Set'
Paizo Reveals Details on Upcoming 'Pathfinder 2E' Rulebook

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)​​

The Bugg Report (Australia)


Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Cooperative Poker Game Announced, New Party Game from Asmodee
KOSMOS has announced a new cooperative game, Asmodee and Office Dog are coming out with a new party game, and Heat is set to receive an expansion.



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Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

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and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

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Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

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