February 2009 Issue
Ohio's Jungle Girl
Move over, Barbie, there’s a new blonde on the block. Her name is Bindi, and you won’t catch her in frothy ball gowns or towering heels. This doll, with her hiking boots, binoculars and yellow motorbike, is all outback.
Since September 2008, Wild Republic, a division of K&M International toymakers in Twinsburg, has been producing dolls modeled after Bindi Irwin. The 10-year-old Australian rose to fame with her late father, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, and grew up working with the creatures in the Australia Zoo. Bindi now teaches other children about animals through her Emmy Award-winning Discovery Kids show, “Bindi the Jungle Girl.”
“We knew she was a dynamo,” says Kim Hammeren, director of special projects for Wild Republic. The brand that specializes in nature-related educational toys became interested in Bindi while designing her father’s Crocodile Hunter action figure, and found a perfect match in the spirited girl with a passion for wildlife.
Bindi and her mother, Terri, worked closely with Wild Republic and the Australia Zoo to create the 4-inch rubber “Bendy Bindi” doll and the 10-inch talking Bindi that chirps phrases like “Crikey! Let’s go help wildlife!”
The dolls, which come with a variety of animal friends and wilderness-ready accessories, help Bindi achieve her goal of educating people about wildlife conservation, as a portion of the proceeds go to funding wildlife-related causes at the Australia Zoo.
A doll with a relevant message and wholesome image? Crikey! That’s something both parents and kids can have fun with.