All-new Hi-5 for the U.K.’s Cartoonito

Hi-5 fever is hardly limited to their native Australia and—after a while—here in the United States. Nope, Hi-5 has been a hot commodity in 118 different countries, with both Australian and American casts and legions of fans for both.

So the news that a U.K.-based version of Hi-5 has been commission by the Turner Network should come as a surprise to no one:

Set to air on Turner’s preschool channel Cartoonito, Hi-5 will be produced by BAFTA award-winning production company Darrall Macqueen.

Forty half-hour episodes of the U.K. local version will be produced, with casting to commence next month. Also partnering on the U.K. series is free-to-air broadcaster GMTV who will begin showing the series in 2009 following Cartoonito’s premier in 2008.

Cecilia Persson, Vice President of Programming, Acquisitions and Presentation, Turner Kids Channels said, “Hi-5 has enjoyed world renowned success and we’re delighted to commission a U.K.-produced version. Each week the series will focus on some of HI-5′s most notable themes such as music, friends, animals, family and outdoors. Underpinned with an ethos of exercise and dance, it also has positive messaging of encouraging kids to get active.

Cartoonito has already put up their dedicated Hi-5 site. I’ll confess that the cast looks odd to me—perhaps because I’m used to the “regulars” from the American cast—but I’m sure the U.K. gang will be great in their own right, too.

And don’t forget the added benefit for Hi-5 fans on this side of the pond: While these episodes are slated for Cartoonito, with Turner at the helm you have to figure that eventually they’ll make their way over here, as well. And that means even more Hi-5 goodness for us to enjoy, even though the American version of the series is no longer in production. (It’s still airing on TLC weekdays at 7:00 a.m., and of course the Ty’s Toy Box Hi-5 Store still has you covered with all the Hi-5 stuff your kids want, but this is forty brand-new episodes we’re talking about. Excellent!)

Trish from Memphis — Hi-5′s biggest fan! (Part 2)

Did you enjoy part 1 of my interview with Trish, yesterday? Trish’s enthusiasm for Hi-5 is infectious, and I hope you had as much fun reading about how much she loves them as I had talking to her about it.

Today we’ll take a look at what sets Trish apart when it comes to fandom. Many fans are content to admire from afar or maybe start a little local club or something. Most fans never have any sort of impact on the person or group they admire. Trish has not only followed Hi-5 through the years but has actually developed relationships with its members (and perhaps influenced their performances!), and her Hi-5 MySpace is considered the go-to location for United States Hi-5 news.

Clearly Trish is in the mob. Oh, wait. That’s not it. Clearly Trish has gone the extra mile to both network with other fans and make connections with the group itself, and I’d like to point out that I doubt it’s a coincidence that a busy mom was able to make such a mark. You go, Trish!

Still think that Hi-5 has a modest fan base? Read on…. Continue reading

Trish from Memphis — Hi-5′s biggest fan! (Part 1)

Picture me, your humble Toy Box Mommy, hanging my head in shame. Last week when I wrote a post about children’s show fan MySpace pages, I somehow completely overlooked the awesome Hi-5 fan page maintained by one Trish from Memphis. Trish was kind enough to point out my error (actually, I think she said “My myspace is better than the Backyardigans!!!” which, well, good to know you’re not competitive about it or anything, Trish), and was generally a good sport about it.

In fact, she was such a good sport, I decided to take advantage of her.

“Hey Trish,” I said (because now we are old friends, and I can call her just Trish and she can call me just… Toy… umm… anyway…), “How would you like to do an interview for the Ty’s blog?” And Trish agreed, because she is one cool lady. And possibly because she felt sorry for me, because so many rabid Hi-5 fans came to yell at me for leaving her out of the original post, she probably feared for my safety if we didn’t make up publicly.

So buckle up, because this is your chance to learn all about both the dirt on Hi-5 and how to be The World’s Biggest Fan. Continue reading

New Hi-5 news!

Yes, this is new Hi-5 news, as opposed to old Hi-5 news. Which would be, um, olds?

Anyway.

I’ve got a few things to share about the group’s latest retail accoutrements, which will be of interest if you happen to have a kid who’s a fan of the perky fivesome. (And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go check them out. I’ll wait.)

First of all, in case you haven’t noticed, there’s tons of new Hi-5 merchandise available at the Ty’s Hi-5 store right now. The new new clothing is adorable, though I am partial to the blue cape, I think.

Next, you may have noticed that Ty’s currently has three different Hi-5 DVDs in stock. That’s great news if you and your children are just discovering Hi-5; but what if you already own all three DVDs? What if you appreciate the learning that Hi-5 offers your preschooler but you think that if you have to watch one of those DVDs even one more time that you may just have to blind yourself with the spout of the nearest sippy cup?

Don’t fret! Help is on the way:

Well Go USA has announced two volumes of Hi-5 for release on December 5. Both volumes are single discs, and run for 50 mins. The first volume, “Action Heroes,” includes these songs:

  • Action Heroes
  • T-E-A-M
  • Underwater Discovery

While the second volume, “Move Your Body,” includes these songs:

  • Five Senses
  • Move Your Body
  • North, South, East and West

Both sets will include:

  • New DVD Carrying Case
  • Never Before Seen Hi-5 Fun
  • Karaoke Special Features
  • Hi-5 Stickers

Suggested retail price is $19.99 each.

This news may come as a great relief to you, and just in time for the holidays, to boot. Heck, my kids sing the “North, South, East and West” song all the time, and they’re not even preschoolers. It’s possible they just do it to see my eyelid twitch. But that’s a different entry altogether.

Never underestimate the power of the backpack

Your kids have been nattering on about backpacks for the new school year for weeks, most likely. I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that The New York Daily News shares their concerns about which pack is the hippest.

Naturally, the Daily News turned to the experts; and that included one of Ty’s Toy Box‘s very own:

“Kids care about who or what is on their backpacks,” says George Stolpe, vice president of marketing for Ty’s Toy Box. “It’s a statement of who they are, what they’re interested in. It’s very personal.”

Hey, I can dig it. I certainly don’t want to carry a purse that someone else picked out for me; I can understand that my kids want to pick their own bags. They’re going to be toting them around for a minimum of 180 days, so it just stands to reason that they’re going to want something they love.

The Daily News goes on to quote Poshmom.com for some tips on how to choose the right bag, and I was okay with their suggestions right up until the last bullet:

Make sure there’s a place for everything: The backpack should have ample pockets and compartments to store everything your kid might need to carry (crayons, pencils, Game Boy, cell phone, etc.). The more places to store things, the better organized your child will be.

I’m sorry… if your kid is small enough to be carrying crayons, why in the world would he be carrying a Gameboy and a cell phone? Why, when I was a child, I had to walk uphill both ways four miles through snow— Oh. Sorry. Bit of a curmudgeon moment, there. I apologize. Ahem.

Back to the bags: The Daily News highlights the demand for character gear, deeming that Hi-5, Lazytown, and Doodlebops backpacks all warrant the “Totally Tubular” moniker. (My favorite bag at Ty’s right now is this adorable Miss Spider “Best Bug Buddies” one, but as the article points out, I don’t really get to pick anymore. I suppose my kids are a bit too old for it, but darnitall, it’s cute.)

Whichever bags your tots end up toting, make sure they can manage them comfortably. And if the kids are being particularly mouthy, might I just suggest removing the Gameboy and the cell phone and replacing them with a few rocks?

[image courtesy of Kids Care Clubs]