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New Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder TeleStory Interactive Books Arrive

JAKKS Pacific Inc. announced a worldwide licensing agreement with HIT Ent. to market and distribute JAKKS Pacific's new TeleStory interactive books based on HIT's popular THOMAS & FRIENDS, BARNEY, THE WIGGLES and BOB THE BUILDER properties. The TeleStory system connects directly into a standard TV using Plug & Read technology and serves as a fun, introductory reading guide for preschool-aged children.

The TeleStory product creates an engaging, interactive reading and learning experience that will help in the fundamental reading development of young children, while showing them how much fun reading can be. TeleStory interactive books take what children love the TV and use it to introduce children to the world of reading. The TeleStory system is book-shaped, plugs directly into the A/V jacks of any standard TV, and no DVD players are needed.

Individual "mini-book" cartridges based on popular children's books are inserted into the TeleStory system, so that children can build their own TeleStory libraries and collect their favorite books as they grow and master reading. By pressing the large, colored buttons on each TeleStory unit, kids can interact with the story and make the characters come alive on their TV screen, while also giving them the option to read at their own pace or with assistance.

"The core concept of TeleStory interactive books is simple," explains Jennifer Richmond, svp of licensing and media, JAKKS Pacific Inc. "The unit plugs directly into any standard TV. Just pop in batteries and turn it on to initiate an interactive reading experience through the use of various action buttons. We know that THOMAS THE TANK, BARNEY, BOB THE BUILDER and THE WIGGLES will help provide hours of entertainment for children. The TeleStory system teaches them the fundamentals of reading, helps build vocabulary, encourages their reading confidence and nurtures a life-long appreciation of reading."

JAKKS plans to launch the TeleStory product line based on the HIT properties starting in Summer 2006 with the Thomas the Tank TeleStory title at mass and specialty retailers nationwide. The suggested retail price for the TeleStory unit will be approximately $35, with each two-pack of 'mini-book' cartridges retailing for under $15.

HIT Ent., owned by private equity investment group Apax Partners, is one of the world's leading independent children's entertainment producers and rights-owners. Launched in 1989, HIT's lines of business span television and video production (including studios in the U.S. and the U.K.), publishing, consumer products licensing and live events. With a catalog of more than 1,000 hours of young children's programming, HIT sells its shows to more than 200 territories globally and has operations in the U.K., U.S., Japan and Canada. In 2005, the company joined Comcast Corp., PBS and Sesame Workshop to launch PBS KIDS Sprout, a 24-hour digital cable channel and VOD service for preschoolers. For more information, visit www.hitentertainment.com.

JAKKS Pacific Inc. is a multi-brand company that designs and markets a broad range of toys and consumer products. For further information, visit www.jakkspacific.com.

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