Sears New Children's Apparel Helps Kids Develop a Ferocious Appetite For Reading

Sears Partners with Between the Lions on Clothing Line and $100,000


- Million Book March to Benefit Local Children's Literacy Efforts Nationwide -

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- To launch Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) exclusive partnership with the award-winning PBS series Between the Lions, Sears will unveil children's clothes, accessories and portrait backgrounds featuring the show's recognizable characters starting in March.

The Between the Lions kids clothes, like the PBS hit television program, are designed to introduce basic literacy skills to beginning readers. Simple sentences, word families, prefixes, synonyms and other reading tools are woven throughout the apparel and accessories, which include kids clothes, sleepwear, backpacks, bedding and swimwear.

"We're thrilled to have Sears as a promotional partner for Between the Lions," said Christopher Cerf, Between the Lion's co-creator and creative producer. "The new clothes and accessories not only reinforce our message that learning to read can be fun -- they also provide mini-reading lessons to help kids improve their literacy skills."

"Our partnership with Between the Lions enables Sears to continue providing our customers with the latest in children's fashion and the quality parents have come to expect from Sears," said Mary Knowles, Sears divisional merchandising manager of Children's Apparel and Toys. "This interactive line of apparel and accessories will be showcased in our in-store shops and our Sears Portrait Studios that are fun for all to visit."

Reading Becomes Fashionable

Along with making learning to read fun and fashionable, the Between the Lions spring collection is noted for its vibrant colors and seasonal must-haves including Hawaiian shirts and playwear sets. The clothing line comes in toddler sizes, boys 4 to 7 and girls 4 to 6x. Prices range from $14.99 to $23.99.

Similar to the show, the new line of clothes successfully blurs the line of where fun ends and learning begins. One outfit features a novelty zipper pocket appliqued with the word "zip." It opens to read "unzipped." Another displays a colorful graphic of one of the lions enjoying a book under the phrase "Reading in the sun is fun." All the garments in the line carry a vowel tag on the collar, which reads "A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y."

Instant Game Creates Ferocious Appetite for Shopping

The Sears Between the Lions "Win Your Lion's Share of Prizes!" gives consumers a chance to win a $100,000 scholarship and the ultimate Between the Lions bedroom. The child's bedroom will be transformed into a Between the Lions Fantasy with Between the Lions merchandise -- furniture, books, bedding and more. Consumers can play an instant win game when they purchase $25 or more in kids or footwear merchandise, Between the Lions home fashions or Portrait Studio products for children at Sears. The instant win game will run from March 4-17.

With each qualifying purchase, a consumer receives a game card, and simply peels-off the keepsake character stickers to reveal a combination of letters -- spelling out and detailing the prize. JACK-POT means the customer has won the grand prize! Other consumers will win thousands of Between the Lions prizes instantly, including plush characters and accessories.

Sears Helps Kids and Moms March Against Illiteracy

To launch the new clothing, accessory and portrait background collection, Sears created the Sears Between the Lions Million Book March, a national book drive. By dropping off a new or nearly new children's book at Sears Portrait Studios nationwide, consumers contribute to the goal of collecting one million books to benefit local school libraries and other literacy efforts.

Consumers who donate a book will receive one of four free Between the Lions bookmark premiums, coupons for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more in kids apparel or footwear, and coupons for 40% off any color portrait sheet.

The Sears Between the Lions Million Book March culminates in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, March 29, a week prior to National Library Week, when local school children will march on Washington and unveil the number of books donated during the month.

Joining Sears in the national book drive are Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and First Book. All books donated during the Sears Between the Lions Million Book March will be donated to literacy efforts in local communities.

"Book"ing Across America

To bring the Sears Between the Lions Million Book March alive locally, the hit show's characters and co-creator will appear at malls in Phoenix, Chicago, Detroit, Orlando and Baltimore. In each market, celebrity readers will participate with Between the Lions puppets in free performances at the select mall. In addition, Sears will hold free Between the Lions character photo sessions near Sears Portrait Studios.


Between the Lions premiered nationwide in April 2000, based on an imaginary library run by Theo and Cleo, two of the show's popular characters. The Television Critics Association recently honored Between the Lions as the "Best Children's Program," and the National Education Association gave the program its prestigious endorsement. Also, the University of Kansas released a study in July concluding that young children improved their performance on standardized tests after viewing episodes of the program.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenue of more than $40 billion. The company serves families throughout the country through approximately 860 full-line department stores, more than 2,100 specialized retail locations, and a variety of online offerings accessible through the company's Web site, .

Between The Lions is produced for PBS by the award-winning team of WGBH Boston and Sirius Thinking, Ltd. WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer. More than one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup and companion Web content as well as many public radio favorites are produced by WGBH. The station also is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in access technologies for people with disabilities. For more information visit .

Sirius Thinking, Ltd. is an educational entertainment company. Cofounders of Sirius Thinking, Ltd. include John Sculley, former CEO of Apple Computer and PepsiCo; Christopher Cerf, founding director and former editor-in-chief of the Children's Television Workshop's Educational Books, Records, Games and Toys Division, as well as a Grammy and Emmy Award-winner for his musical contributions to Sesame Street and The Electric Company; Michael Frith, former executive vice-president and creative director for Jim Henson Productions and former editor of Dr. Seuss's Beginner Books at Random House; and Norman Stiles, eleven-time Emmy Award-winning former head writer of Sesame Street.

SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Contact: Tori Jenner of Edelman Worldwide for Sears, Roebuck and Co.,
312-297-7506, or Lee Antonio of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 847-286-5569



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