Not just a pretty face
Barbie publishing expands
April 29, 1999
(CNN) -- To Mattel Inc., Barbie is about more than her Corvette, the beach, and the dream house. As a woman of the '90s, albeit a plastic one, she's broadening her horizons to become a storybook heroine and educational role model.
To that end, Mattel, maker of Barbie, has announced a deal with five children's book publishers to launch a reading program with Barbie in the starring role. The message? Barbie stands for reading.
"We believe strongly in the early introduction of reading skills, and want to encourage every little girl who has embraced the Barbie doll to explore her world between the pages of the finest children's books available," says Carole Levine, vice president of Barbie licensing.
The companies planning to publish the Barbie books are: Golden Books Publishing Co.; Grolier Books; Reader's Digest Children's Books; Modern Publishing; and Publications International.
The campaign is directed at girls from pre-school age to pre-teen. There are to be a direct-mail chapter book series for 5- to 8-year-olds; skill-building workbooks for preschoolers; and novelty craft books for 7- to 12-year-olds.
According to the publishers, the Barbie books are designed to teach young children early learning concepts like shapes, colors and numbers. The books for older girls should explore issues like teamwork, careers, emotions and relationships.
The popular fashion doll is to appear as everything from an astronaut to a reporter in her newest books. But she hasn't shed her fashion sense. Books on hairstyles and mix-and-match fashions are planned.
Grolier Books kicked off the "Barbie & Friends Book Club" in January. The books focus on four themes: career, mystery, fantasy and everyday adventures. Golden Books plans to launch its "Generation Girl Chapter Book Series" in May.
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