SOURCE: Genius Brands International, Inc.

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June 01, 2015 08:00 ET

Genius Brands International Appoints Kids Preferred, LLC to Introduce a New Toy Line Based on Bestselling Children's Book Franchise Llama Llama

BEVERLY HILLS, CA--(Marketwired - June 01, 2015) - Genius Brands International, Inc., GBI (OTCQB: GNUS), a global brand management company dedicated to providing entertaining and enriching 'content with a purpose' for toddlers to tweens, has named Kids Preferred, LLC as the toy licensing partner for the bestselling and multiple award-winning children's book franchise Llama Llama, by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Kids Preferred, LLC will develop a line of plush toys, puppets, and jack-in-the-boxes bringing to life the adorable characters featured in the books. The announcement was made today by Stone Newman, President of Global Consumer Products for Genius Brands International.

"Kids Preferred has a stellar reputation for developing age appropriate toys and games based on respected intellectual properties and brands, and we are thrilled to introduce the much beloved Llama Llama characters in a new toy line to debut at retail next year that reflects the quality and creativity of the highly successful book franchise," said Newman.

GBI recently announced its partnership with Llama Llama author Anna Dewdney and publisher Penguin Young Readers to develop animated content based on the bestselling books. A comprehensive line of Llama Llama licensed products, including toys, games, apparel, accessories, bedding, and healthy snacks and meals are planned to be available at retail in 2016.

"Given the global popularity of the Llama Llama characters and success of the books, we look forward to working with Genius Brands, Anna Dewdney and Penguin to deliver a program at retail that expands Llama Llama's engagement with its fans," said Louis Premselaar, CEO, Kids Preferred, LLC. "Our plush toys, puppets, and other Llama Llama branded products will offer young children and their caregivers additional means for interacting with the lovable characters and fully experiencing the world of Llama Llama."

With 9.4 million units in print, Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama books have all been New York Times bestsellers with several titles claiming the #1 spot. Her work has been translated into eight languages. Praised as a "geographer extraordinaire of the emotional terrain of preschoolers and their mothers" (Chicago Tribune), Dewdney's soothing tales are synonymous with calming early childhood anxiety. Llama Llama Red Pajama was chosen as Jumpstart's Read for the Record book in 2011, setting the world record for the most reads of a particular book on one day. Dewdney is an outspoken advocate for literacy and many states and non-profits use her books for literacy campaigns and programs, including the Library of Congress.

Recognized for its emotive content, the award-winning Llama Llama series signature characters, family relationships, and content attuned to the issues of young children includes Llama Llama Red Pajama, Llama Lama and the Bully Goat, Llama Lama Time to Share, Llama Llama Misses Mama, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, and Llama Llama Mad at Mama.

About Genius Brands International
Headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, Genius Brands International "GBI" (OTCQB: GNUS) is a publicly traded global brand management company that creates and licenses multimedia content for toddlers to tweens. Led by award-winning creators and producers CEO Andy Heyward and President Amy Moynihan Heyward, GBI creates "content with a purpose," meaning content that is as entertaining as it is enriching. GBI's growing library of content includes the award-winning Baby Genius, Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club, Thomas Edison's Secret Lab, Llama Llama, from the NY Times bestselling children's book franchise, and Stan Lee's Mighty 7, the first project from Stan Lee Comics, a joint venture with legend Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment.

A Squared Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Genius Brands International, is a brand management and licensing company that represents third-party properties across a broad range of categories in territories around the world. The company currently represents Psycho Bunny, a luxury apparel line, From Frank, a humor greeting card and product line, and Celessence Technologies, the world's leading microencapsulation company.

For additional information please visit www.gnusbrands.com.

About Kids Preferred, LLC
Kids Preferred, LLC is an award-winning division of Kids Preferred, Inc., which was founded in 1983 and is one of the largest plush toy manufacturers in the U.S. Known for its superior quality and unique designs, Kids Preferred, LLC serves the specialty, juvenile, gift, and better department store trade by distributing soft toys and gifts under its own brand, private label and licensed brands including amazing baby™, asthma & allergy friendly -- Healthy Baby™, Baby Abuelita™, Blessed Friends™, Biscuit™, Build A Bear, Buildex Systems, Carter's®, Classic Pooh®, Disney Baby, Elmer, The World of Eric Carle™, Goodnight Moon, The Gruffalo®, Guess How Much I Love You™, Harley-Davidson®, Little Me, pat the bunny®, Puff the Magic Dragon, Room on the Broom, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Splat the Cat, Spot, and The Snowman.

The company is headquartered in East Windsor, NJ and has offices in New York City, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Under the guidance of Louis Premselaar, Larry Allberg and Laura Perks, the Company distributes its top quality products throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, contact Kids Preferred at 1-866-SOFT TOY (763-8869) or visit their website at www.kidspreferred.com.

About Penguin Young Readers
Penguin Young Readers is a division of Penguin Random House, the world's most global trade book publisher. It was formed on July 1, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Bertelsmann and Pearson to merge their respective trade publishing companies, Random House and Penguin, with the parent companies owning 53% and 47%, respectively. Penguin Random House comprises the adult and children's fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa, and Penguin's trade publishing activity in Asia and Brazil; DK worldwide; and Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial's Spanish-language companies in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile. Penguin Random House employs more than 10,000 people globally across some 250 editorially and creatively independent imprints and publishing houses that collectively publish more than 15,000 new titles annually. Its publishing lists include more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world's most widely read authors.

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