The acclaimed director, producer and author’s likeness and voice will be available to a new generation of fans as a Tonie figure and audio book
PALO ALTO, Calif. — This Fall, beloved actor, director, producer and author LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow, Star Trek and Jeopardy!) will have his voice and likeness immortalized as a Tonie!
LeVar Burton’s award-winning children’s book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, will get the full tonies treatment, including audio recorded by Burton himself! The heartwarming story is a tale to help children navigate difficult feelings, reminding them that even in bad times, there are always good people around who care. Burton and tonies also developed original content for his Tonie, which will include activities and lessons on emotional learning and literacy, storytelling and an “audio field trip” for imagination building.
“I am thrilled to collaborate with tonies, and to see myself made into a Tonie figure for young kids to read along with at home and at school,” said LeVar Burton. “My mother was a teacher and fostered a love for reading in me since I was a child. Because of my upbringing, I’m personally committed to promoting the power of storytime as a way to foster healthy childhood growth. I love working with tonies as a company with a common mission to make storytelling fun, fresh and a screen-free solution for a new generation.”
tonies is the original screen-free audio entertainment system developed especially for young children. Designed for small hands and independent play, the tonies audio system works with the combination of a Toniebox, a soft, shockproof, portable five-inch speaker cube with no screens, sharp corners or edges, complicated controls, etc., and Tonies, hand-painted figures containing stories, songs and more.
Tonies are essentially the toddler version of collectible, audible action figures that foster play, learning and imagination, and have developed a cult-like following among young families and early educators in the U.S. since making their debut last September. The collection includes family and classroom favorites like GoNoodle, Peppa Pig (Hasbro) and Peter Rabbit (Penguin Random House).
The special LeVar Burton “Rhino” Bundle will include a gray Toniebox and a LeVar Burton Tonie, retailing for $99.99. The LeVar Burton “Rhino” Tonie can also be purchased individually for $14.99. The waitlist for LeVar Burton’s “Rhino” Tonie is open now, and it officially goes on sale on September 9, 2021.
Additionally, as part of his personal mission to inspire and support childhood literacy, Burton and tonies have issued a fun, easy, and enriching #ReadToYourChild social media challenge and contest! With back to school season just beyond the horizon, parents looking to avoid the “summer slide” before the school year starts can help their kids by taking the time to read with them as often as possible. Parents are encouraged to to film a video of them reading their favorite childhood story to their child, posting to Instagram with #ReadToYourChild and tagging @tonies.us and @levar.burton. A grand prize for submissions will be a special, in-person visit from LeVar Burton to your child’s school. He will select his favorite entry to win storytime featuring The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. Burton will also make a school donation of 25 Tonieboxes. Full rules and details can be found here.
“We are huge fans of LeVar, having grown up watching him on television and now sharing his love of storytelling with children,” said Drew Vernon, Marketing Director at tonies USA. “We’re thrilled to share The Rhino Who Swallowed the Storm in a new way to homes and classrooms across the country.”
tonies are available for purchase online via tonies.com, Target.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, CAMP.com and FAO.com. In-store, tonies can be found at FAO Schwarz in New York, CAMP retail locations and independent toy retailers nationwide.
Visit tonies.com and follow on Instagram (@tonies.us), Facebook (@tonies.us) and Twitter (@ToniesUS) to keep up with all the latest news.
tonies® is the original screen-free audio entertainment system for young children. Launched in 2016 in Germany, co-founders Patric Faßbender and Marcus Stahl created tonies with one thing in mind: their children. This revolutionary system allows kids to experience storytelling in a digital age, in a way that stimulates their imagination without screens. The Toniebox was created for kids and parents who want to feel good about their entertainment at home and to bring back imagination in its purest form. Today, tonies is the fastest growing toy company in Europe and a rising star in the United States. Among its many achievements, tonies was named among Fast Company’s prestigious World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2021, top ranked in Education. For more information, visit tonies.com.
ABOUT LEVAR BURTON
LeVar is an actor, director, educator & cofounder of the award-winning Skybrary App; former host and executive producer of PBS’s “Reading Rainbow;” and a lifelong children’s literacy advocate. LeVar currently hosts his own podcast, ‘LeVar Burton Reads‘ now in Season 9, sharing the best short fiction and handpicked by the best voice in podcasting. LeVar starred as Kunta Kinte in the acclaimed television mini-series Roots. LeVar also starred as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: Next Generation television series which aired in syndication from 1987 to 1994 and also in feature films. LeVar recently teamed up with Fable and now has his first premium book club. LeVar joined other classmates in MasterClass and now has his own class which premiered in June 2021. LeVar was also invited to guest-host Jeopardy! in July 2021.
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.