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'Babar' Series to Hit Retail

Nelvana Enterprises and The Clifford Ross Company announced a partnership agreement with New York-based toy design company YOTTOY Productions to develop soft toys inspired by the Babar literary character.

Press release from Nelvana and The Clifford Ross Company:

Toronto, Canada –

Nelvana Enterprises and The Clifford Ross Company announced a partnership agreement with New York-based toy design company YOTTOY Productions to develop soft toys inspired by the Babar literary character.

The initial launch will feature vintage plush designs of King Babar and his wife, Celeste. Product is set to launch in the U.S. in Fall 2012, with roll-out into 2013. A second phase launch will include a line based on the CGI-animated TV series, Babar and the Adventures of Badou, featuring Babar’s grandson Badou. Babar and the Adventures of Badou is a Canada-France co-production from the Nelvana Studio and TeamTO, in association with The Clifford Ross Company and TF1.

As Babar celebrates his 80th anniversary this year, vintage Babar will also be the focus for Holiday 2012 with a major luxury U.S. retailer including the YOTTOY plush (some five-feet tall!) in-store and online, a Holiday window presence and special in-store activities. More details on this exciting initiative will be announced in the coming months.

 “We look forward to YOTTOY bringing its innovative sensibility and high-quality products together with the timeless and iconic design of our beloved elephant, Babar,” said Andrew Kerr, Head of Consumer Products for The Americas and Australasia, Nelvana Enterprises. “It’s a perfect fit and an ideal way to complement Babar’s 80th anniversary celebrations this year.”

“We are thrilled to introduce Babar and Celeste plush designs into our collection, as they are beloved classic characters that parents and grandparents embrace. Our collaboration with Nelvana and Clifford Ross has resulted in soft toys with charming accents and high quality-fabrics to delight all ages. We hope that children will cherish them and continue to value the important day-to-day lessons presented in the Babar stories for years to come,” said Kate Karcher Clark, founder of YOTTOY Productions.

For over 16 years, YOTTOY Productions has introduced high quality toys that encourage interaction and imagination with custom-made designs. Kate Karcher Clark, YOTTOY Productions founder, began the venture in 1995 to create toys with “chic style” and “superior quality” that were missing in the current toy market. All YOTTOY products feature hand-embroidery, hand-sewing, and fine fabrics to create some of the highest quality toys on the market. With creative director Peter Doodeheefver, YOTTOY launched the concept of a book-toy product combination in order to encourage a special interaction between children and literature. YOTTOY’s book-toy collections include award winning author and illustrator Mo Willems’ Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny, H.A. Rey's Curious George and Friends, and timeless characters such as Paddington Bear, Maisy, Madeline, Harry the Dog, Corduroy Bear, and The Velveteen Rabbit.

The legend of Babar, known for his famous green suit and red tie, began when Cécile de Brunhoff invented a bedtime story for her sons: a tale of a little elephant living in the jungle whose mother was killed by a hunter. Her husband, Jean de Brunhoff, saw how enraptured their sons were by the story, and decided to create an illustrated book about it and name the elephant "Babar." Their son, Laurent, began illustrating the books after Jean’s passing. The first Babar book was published in 1931 by Editions du Jardin des Modes. Hachette Jeunesse added Babar to its catalogue in 1936, and, to date, over 75 books have been published in 27 different languages with more than 13 million copies sold worldwide.