The Berenstain Bears Turn 50!

As everyone's favorite bear family celebrates a big milestone, Nelvana Enterprises is speaking to potential retail and licensing partners to create more Berenstain Bears' products. The first book, The Big Honey Hunt, was published in 1962 and since then more than 300 books based on the characters have been written, as well as a 40 episode television series. Random House plans on re-issuing an anniversary edition of The Big Honey Hunt this year as well as a binded book featuring six titles. HarperCollins, who also publishes books on the Berenstain Bears, will release 19 new books.

Pippi Longstocking Moves on to CopCorp

Plus Licens & Design has hired CopCorp Licensing as the U.S. and Canada agent for Pippi Longstocking Live-Action. The company has already made several deals in creating products that feature the beloved, pig-tailed character, including posters, postcards, greeting cards throughout Europe and apparel in Zara stores worldwide, and is currently working on deals for puzzles, games and bedding. Pippi Longstocking first made her mark in books in the year 1945, and then entered the television and film scene beginning in 1969 starring Inger Nilsson.

Babar the Elephant Celebrates 80th Anniversary with New Toy Line

New York-based Yottoy Productions came to an agreement with Nelvana Enterprises and The Clifford Ross Company to sign as a new licensing partner for Babar the Elephant. The company will create several soft toys based off of the much-loved elephant, first appearing in books in 1931, which will launch beginning this fall and into next year.

Gymboree Plans 105 New Stores in 2012

San Francisco-based childrens retailer Gymboree has announced plans to open 105 locations in 2012, 80 of which will be offshoots of its Crazy 8 chain. The news comes as the company reported a net income of $4.2 million for the quarter ended April 28, compared with a loss of $10.4 million in the same period last year. Sales rose 10.2 percent to $297.8 million and same-store sales edged up 1 percent.

Claire’s Appoints New CEO

Tween accessories chain Claire's is set for international expansion after appointing James D. Fielding, former president of Disney Stores Worldwide, as chief executive officer. Fielding handled all global operations for Disney Stores and served as architect of the company's brand and merchandising strategy, new store expansion and expansion of Disney's e-commerce business, among other enterprises.

Ladybug Girl Products in Development

The beloved children's book character will have her own line of dolls, plushes, puzzles, back-to-school products, apparel, footwear, accessories and more thanks to a new partnership with SMC Entertainment Group. The products will be geared towards girls from preschool age to 6 years old. The character first came into children's lives through a best-selling book in 2009 and a new picture book, Ladybug Girl and Bingo, was released last month. Senior Vice President of Licensing at SMC Lisa Streff believes Ladybug Girl is a positive influence on young girls.

ASICS To Produce Children’s Wear

The active company ASICS has announced a partnership with Cayre Group. Cayre Group is the brand's exclusive children's apparel licensee. They plan on producing activewear, outerwear and swimwear in sizes 4 to 20 for newborn, infant and toddler aged children. Vice President of Apparel and Accessories for ASICS David Chandler is excited at the growth of their relationship with Cayre Group and the opportunity to expand their line.

Imaginarium Toy Sold Exclusively at Toys “R” Us Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in cooperation with Toys "R" Us has announced a voluntary recall of the Imaginarium 5-Sided Activity Center sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us stores nationwide and online between August 2009 and September 2010. No injuries have been reported but the small wooden knobs attaching the xylophone keys to the end of the toy can detach, causing a choking hazard to young children. About 24,000 units are affected by the recall.

Child Safety Locks Recalled by Dorel Juvenile Group

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in cooperation with Columbus, OH-based Dorel Juvenile Group (DJG) Inc. is recalling 183,000 Safety 1st Sure Fit Toilet Locks and 685,000 Safety 1st Cabinet Slide Locks because children can unexpectedly disengage the locks, posing a risk of injury. Major retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target and Home Depot, sold the toilet locks from January 2005 through April 2010 and the cabinet locks from January 2000 through March 2009. DJG is offering free replacement locks to consumers who call (877) 416-8105.

Skylanders Team Up with Mega Brands

Mega Brands and Activision's Skylanders are partnering together to develop Mega Bloks and Mega Puzzles toys for multiple years. Chief Innovation Officer of Mega Brands, Vic Bergrand, says the company is excited about their new partnership, which he calls the "hottest property in the kids' space." "We look forward to bringing the endless creative play possibilities of Mega Bloks together with our innovative line of Mega Puzzles to the world of Skylanders Giants," he says.