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Press & Media — 2008-2009

12/22/2009 - Poptropica®, Largest Virtual World for Young Kids, Unveils "Counterfeit Island" With Educational Games
06/30/2009 - Poptropica®, Educational Virtual World for Kids, Ranks in Top 300 Web Sites
05/06/2009 - Jeff Kinney, "Diary of Wimpy Kid" Creator & Family Education Network Designer, Named to "Time" 100
03/10/2009 - New Island Featuring Big Nate, Popular Comic, Debuts to Millions on Fastest Growing Virtual World for Kids
09/09/2008 - FableVision and Pearson Team Up to Develop Virtual Island on Poptropica® Kids Game Site
05/14/2008 - Growing Virtual World Offers Young Internet Users Free, Safe Environment for Fun and Learning

PRESS RELEASE

Poptropica, Largest Virtual World for Young Kids,
Unveils "Counterfeit Island" With Educational Games

Early Access to Island Exploring Art Theft and Forgery
Now Available

BOSTON - Dec. 22, 2009 - Kids can explore the world of art theft and forgery with today's early access launch of Counterfeit Island on Poptropica, the Web's largest virtual world for young kids. In the newest island on this safe, online environment for fun and learning, someone is out to steal the world's most famous artwork. Kids play online while learning about art forgery detection and how to spot a fake, and with their new skills retrieve the stolen art and save the day. Kids can use credits to get the Early Access Pass to Counterfeit Island in the Poptropica Store and be the first to explore this island before its release to the public in early January 2010.

"Poptropica's virtual islands give kids a wide range of opportunities for safe, online fun and discovery," said Jess M. Brallier, publisher of Poptropica. "On Counterfeit Island, they will be introduced to some of the world's most famous artwork and develop skills for detecting visual differences, while having a great time playing in a unique online world designed especially for kids."

In November 2009, nearly 7 million visitors explored Poptropica's virtual islands. The players of this virtual world for kids come from more than 70 different countries and have their Web browsers set to more than 90 different languages, ranging from Spanish and Sanskrit to Vietnamese and Croatian.

Upon arrival at Poptropica, kids are asked to select an age and gender to create the "Poptropican" character they will use to explore the online virtual islands for kids. They can choose from numerous hairstyles, eyes, lips and clothing in various colors to create their own unique character. Using scripted chat, Poptropicans easily interact with others in the islands. The absence of free type in chat ensures that kids never share any personally identifiable information, and the site never collects this type of information.

The Early Access Pass for Counterfeit Island is now available for 500 credits in the Poptropica Store, which also has costumes, special powers and features for Poptropicans. Parents can buy Poptropica Credits for their kids at the cost of $5 USD for 500 credits, and kids can earn a limited number of free credits when they complete islands and mini-quests on Poptropica. Poptropicans who solve Counterfeit Island during the Early Access period will earn 200 free credits.

About Poptropica (http://www.poptropica.com)

Poptropica is a virtual world in which kids explore and play in complete safety. Every month, tens of millions of kids from around the world are entertained and informed by Poptropica's engaging quests, stories and games.

Kids create a "Poptropican" character to travel the many islands of Poptropica and use gaming literacy to enjoy a narrative that is often rooted in factual history. Problem-solving skills are honed as kids discover and solve mysteries unique to each island.

There are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world where kids can collect objects, read digital books and comics, watch movies and compete in head-to-head competition. Parents can always trust that their children are playing - and learning - in a safe, online environment.

Poptropica is published by Family Education Network, a part of Pearson, the education, services and technology company. Pearson's other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

For more information, press only:

Rod Granger, Pearson, 800-745-8489, rod.granger@pearson.com

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PRESS RELEASE

Poptropica, Educational Virtual World for Kids,
Ranks in Top 300 Web Sites

Millions of Kids Find Educational Games and More
on Safe, Online Environment for Fun and Learning

BOSTON - June 30, 2009 - Poptropica, the Web's fastest growing virtual world for kids, has entered Quantcast.com's list of top 300 Web sites, based on monthly visitors. Less than two years old, the safe online environment for fun and learning recently secured the 274thslot on the online audience measurement firm's list. Poptropica users have created more than 120 million online characters that explore and learn on the site's nine virtual islands.

This news follows the remarkable launch of the site's new Astro-Knights Island on June 10, when 1.2 million users logged on to explore this online Medieval space adventure. Early access to this new island was made possible by Poptropica's recently launched virtual economy system for kids, through which parents or other adults can purchase credits for their children's accounts. Kids can then use these credits to purchase Early Access passes to play new islands before they are launched to the public, and can buy costumes, special powers and features for their online avatars. Kids also earn a limited number of free credits when they complete islands on Poptropica.

Parents and online pundits around the world have been singing the praises of this educational virtual world for children. "NetFamilyNews" sent an "undercover Mom" on to Poptropica, and she concluded, "Poptropica does indeed boast an admirable educational dimension. Kids travel back in time and meet historical figures like Leonardo daVinci and Thomas Edison. They traipse through Aztec Ruins and learn about the dorsal fins of Great White sharks. Children who want to learn more can click a button that links them directly to more information at FEN's FactMonster.com."

In her blog, "My Digital Summer," a parent and graduate student in library science said, "Due to its educational aspects, many kids are allowed, and even encouraged to play the game at school. I think it is a fantastic resource, and I am excited to share it with others."

Or, as "Wired" magazine's "Geek Dad" said in May 2009 when his daughter chose Poptropica over all of the other gaming options in the house, "All in all, this is a great site."

Poptropica is visited by nearly 7.5 million kids each month. The members of this virtual world for kids come from more than 70 different countries and have their Web browsers set to more than 90 different languages, ranging from Spanish and Sanskrit to Vietnamese and Croatian. Upon arrival at Poptropica, kids are asked to select their age, a user name and password. They then create an avatar that will explore the online virtual islands for kids. They can choose from numerous characters, hairstyles and colors, eyes, lips and clothing to create their own unique character. Using scripted chat, young Internet users on Poptropica safely and easily interact with others online, never sharing any personal or identifying information.

"Poptropica offers parents and kids the best possible online world. Kids can enjoy challenging stories and online games, while parents can trust that their children are playing - and learning - in a safe online environment. That's why the site's popularity has grown so quickly," said Jess M. Brallier, general manager, Family Education Network, publisher of Poptropica. "Poptropica's virtual economy adds another element for parents to enhance their kids' experience on the site if they wish. All Poptropica islands are - and will continue to be - free for all kids to play."

Later this summer, Poptropica will launch its 10th new island to challenge, entertain and educate the millions of kids around the world who visit the site every month.

About Poptropica (Poptropica.com)

Developed by Family Education Network, the makers of Funbrain, Poptropica is a virtual world where kids can travel, play games, collect objects and compete with other players in head-to-head competition. Players can also safely interact and communicate with other inhabitants of Poptropica. There are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world, and players can read digital books and comics and watch movies along the way.

Family Education Network is part of Pearson, the world's largest education and technology company. Pearson's other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

For more information, press only:

Lisa Wolfe, L. Wolfe Communications, 773-227-1049, lwolfe@lwolfe.com

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PRESS RELEASE

Jeff Kinney, "Diary of Wimpy Kid" Creator
& Family Education Network Designer, Named to "Time" 100

Designer of Popular Web Sites, Author of Bestselling Children's Book
Among World's Most Influential People

BOSTON - May 6, 2009 - Family Education Network's Jeff Kinney has gone from "Wimpy Kid" to one of "Time" magazine's 100 most influential people of 2009. Kinney, design director for the family of educational and informative Web sites and author of the global bestseller "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," joined world leaders and pop stars, actors and environmentalists on this annual list of the people who most affect our world.

The bestselling and soon-to-be a major motion picture, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," first debuted online five years ago on Family Education Network's Funbrain.com, the world's largest, most popular, site of educational games. The online edition of "Wimpy Kid" has been read by more than 80 million children, and the print version published by Amulet, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams Publishing, has held multiple positions on "The New York Times Book Review Children's Best Sellers List."

"Who should be on the list of the world's 100 most influential people? A cartoonist who writes about adolescent kids? The designer of Web sites that engage 1.5 million readers every 24 hours? The creative force behind Poptropica, the Internet's fastest growing virtual world for kids? Absolutely!" said Jess M. Brallier, publisher, Family Education Network. "The creativity and insight that Jeff has brought to the design of our sites as well as to his 'Wimpy Kid' series have not only played an important role in our popularity and success, but have also encouraged millions of kids from across the world to read. He is a really influential person."

In the May 4 issue of "Time," featuring the 100 most influential people of 2009, Forrest Simpson, "Time for Kids" reporter and sixth-grader at Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, N.Y., writes, "Even my friends who say they hate to read can be heard recalling hilarious scenes. Each book resembles a real diary, with text and cartoons that look hand-drawn by a sixth-grader. We love these books because of Kinney's ability to vividly describe the life and problems of an average middle-schooler, with pictures and language that capture our sense of humor and perspective."

Kinney designed Family Education Network's popular and influential parenting site, FamilyEducation.com, including the popular "finders" for quickly and easily searching the site for everything from parenting advice and baby and family name finders to recipes and activities. He also developed the popular Funbrain Math Arcade, where kids can play great games while building math skills.

Most recently, Kinney was the creative force behind Poptropica, the Web's fastest growing virtual world dedicated solely to publishing for kids. Launched less than two years ago, Poptropica now features eight interactive islands and is visited by more than 17 million kids each month.

About Family Education Network (FEN.com)

Family Education Network is the Web's leading source of educational content and resources for parents, teachers and kids. They are developers of several distinct properties including FamilyEducation, TeacherVision and Funbrain.

Family Education Network is part of Pearson, the world's largest integrated education company. Pearson's other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

For more information, press only:

Lisa Wolfe, L. Wolfe Communications, 773-227-1049, lwolfe@lwolfe.com

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PRESS RELEASE

New Island Featuring Big Nate, Popular Comic, Debuts
to Millions on Fastest Growing Virtual World for Kids

Digital and Print Publishing Worlds Combine to Engage Kids
 in Safe Online Environment for Fun and Learning

BOSTON and NEW YORK - March 10, 2009 - Two top publishers - one print and one digital - have joined forces to create Big Nate Island, a new online quest that will excite kids all over the world. Family Education Network, the publisher of Funbrain.com and Poptropica, and United Media, the syndicator of Big Nate, recently launched the island on the Web's fastest growing virtual world dedicated solely to publishing for kids.

In the week following its launch, Big Nate Island was visited by more than 2.2 million different kids, each of whom spent an average of 23 minutes each time they logged on. On its first day alone, the new interactive quest was explored by nearly one million users.

"The synergy created by combining one of the most popular comic strips and the fastest growing virtual world for kids resulted in an explosion of activity on Poptropica," said Jess M. Brallier, publisher, Family Education Network, developer of Poptropica.  "Today's kids make a seamless connection between print and digital, and Big Nate Island demonstrates how easily they move between those environments."

The Big Nate comic strip was launched in January 1991 and is published in more than 200 widely read newspapers around the country, including "The Washington Post." Created by cartoonist Lincoln Peirce, Big Nate is a wisecracking kid who holds the all-time record for detentions at his school. On Big Nate Island, kids will embark on a mission to find a long-lost time capsule, which, if found, will save the school from demolition. But the only way they can complete their quest is with help from Nate and his friends.

Big Nate has much in common with middle school student Greg Heffley of the bestselling, and soon-to-be movie, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, which was first introduced on Funbrain.com.

"Lincoln Peirce is one of my cartooning heroes, and Big Nate ranks as a comics classic. Year in and year out, Big Nate is among the best comics on the funny page," said Jeff Kinney, author of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and creator of Poptropica.

"Big Nate Island gives comics fans a great new opportunity to interact with a character they've come to love in print," said Lisa Klem Wilson, senior vice president and general manager of United Media's syndication division. "And, it's a very exciting way to introduce Big Nate to a whole new audience of kids on the Web."

Launched less than two years ago, Poptropica now features eight interactive islands and is visited by more than 13 million kids each month. The members of this virtual world for kids come from more than 70 different countries and have their Web browsers set to more than 90 different languages, ranging from Spanish and Sanskrit to Vietnamese and Croatian.

Upon arrival at Poptropica, kids are asked to select their age, a user name and password. They then create an avatar that will explore ten online virtual islands for kids. They can choose from numerous characters, hairstyles and colors, eyes, lips and clothing to create their own unique character. Using scripted chat, young Internet users on Poptropica safely and easily interact with others online, never sharing any personal or identifying information.

About United Media

United Feature Syndicate and Newspaper Enterprise Association are divisions of United Media, the worldwide syndication and licensing company that focuses on building brand equity around a wide range of creative content including Peanuts,Dilbert, Pearls Before Swine, Get Fuzzy, Cokie and Steven Roberts, Nat Hentoff, Precious Moments, Fancy Nancy andRaggedy Ann and Andy. United Media (www.comics.com) is a wholly owned subsidiary of The E.W. Scripps Company.

About Poptropica (Poptropica.com)

Developed by Family Education Network, the makers of Funbrain, Poptropica is a virtual world where kids can travel, play games, collect objects and compete with other players in head-to-head competition. Players can also safely interact and communicate with other inhabitants of Poptropica. There are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world, and players can read digital books and comics and watch movies along the way.

Family Education Network is part of Pearson, the world's largest integrated education company. Pearson's other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

For more information, press only:

Poptropica

Lisa Wolfe, L. Wolfe Communications, 773-227-1049, lwolfe@lwolfe.com

United Media

Mary Anne Grimes, United Media, 212-293-8626, magrimes@unitedmedia.com

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PRESS RELEASE

FableVision and Pearson Team Up to Develop Virtual Island
on Poptropica Kids Game Site

FableVision's Game Island Designed as "Safe Harbor" for Inspiring
and Nurturing Kids' Creativity

BOSTON - Sept. 9, 2008 - Boston-based educational media developer FableVision and Pearson, the world's largest integrated education company, announced today that they are collaborating to create a new "island" on Poptropica, an online environment with a rapidly expanding user base that already includes more than 20 million young Internet users. Developed by Family Education Network, a business of Pearson and the developer of Funbrain.com, Poptropica is a virtual world where kids can travel, play games, read digital books and comics, and compete with other players. Players can also safely interact and communicate with other inhabitants of Poptropica.

Creative development for FableVision's game island will be led by "New York Times" bestselling children's book author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, FableVision's founder and executive creative director, whose works include "Judy Moody," "Someday," "The Dot" and "Ish."

"The key to Poptropica's success is its ever-expanding content that has just the right mix of education and irresistible fun, and no one delivers that better than FableVision," says Jess M. Brallier, publisher, Family Education Network, developer of Poptropica.

Family Education Network is no stranger to developing games that are fun and educationally valid, much to the delight of parents, teachers and kids. "Poptropica and its sister site, Funbrain.com, ...are the titans of sneaky learning," says "The Gainesville Sun."

In Poptropica, kids can play games, undertake quests, develop computer skills, and learn much more about the world in which they live. When they encounter other characters, they can interact by using scripted chat, never sharing any personal or identifying information. The number of kids exploring the virtual world of Poptropica has exploded since its launch in September 2007. The current collection of five islands will grow to 10 by the end of 2008, providing even more territory for kids to explore.

The new FableVision island merges Poptropica's exploratory game play with a storyline that promotes creative expression. Under Reynolds' creative direction, the game's story features a virtual artist colony where a disgruntled inventor is removing all color and creativity from the island and kids come to the rescue to reverse the colorless chaos.

Reynolds shares, "My hope is to bring the sensibilities of great children's books to the kids' gaming world, where there seems to be a very big void. The industry is in its infancy at the moment and needs creative leadership to bring integrity and creative authorship to this platform."

FableVision's director of production and technology Gary Goldberger will help make that vision a reality. Goldberger also serves as New England regional leader for Games4Change, the nonprofit that promotes digital games for social change. He notes, "What makes FableVision's games special is our ability to weave a redeeming message into the story-based game play - using games to promote the value of creativity and invention."

The development of the Poptropica island represents the latest evolution of a long-standing FableVision/Pearson relationship, which has produced a string of digital publishing successes. FableVision previously collaborated with Pearson and Jess M. Brallier on " Tess's Tree," an online book written by Brallier and illustrated by FableVision's Reynolds. The popularity of "Tess's Tree" on Funbrain - garnering 50,000 to 100,000 reads a day - led to a print publishing deal with Harper Collins; the book will hit the market next year.

A second digital book written and illustrated by Reynolds, "Eyebrow Story," is also on Funbrain. "Eyebrow Story" has already received more than a million reads. Pearson and FableVision also collaborated to create Gallery Builder, a software program that lets students create and curate their own art galleries. The program is used throughout the United States in K-12 arts and language arts curricula.

FableVision's President Paul A. Reynolds shares, "We are honored to collaborate with such a trusted name in family-friendly education on an endeavor that is so near and dear to FableVision's own mission."

The island created by FableVision will launch on Poptropica in the fall of 2008.


About Poptropica

Developed by Family Education Network, the makers of Funbrain, Poptropica (www.Poptropica.com) is a virtual world where kids can travel, play games, collect objects and compete with other players in head-to-head competition. Players can also safely interact and communicate with other inhabitants of Poptropica. There are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world, and players can read digital books and comics and watch movies along the way.

Family Education Network is part of Pearson, the world's largest integrated education company. Pearson's other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

About FableVision

FableVision (www.fablevision.com) is on a mission to bring the world to a better place through the creation and distribution of positive media, storytelling and technology. Located at the Boston Children's Museum in Boston, and with offices in Dedham, MA, Portland, OR, and London, the FableVision team enjoys an international reputation for its unique brand of innovative, technology-delivered storytelling and learning. Among its K-12 software products are Animation-ish™, Stationery Studio® and Get A Clue®, designed to promote creativity, writing, reading, and essential 21st century skills. Developed for learners of all types, BrainCogs®, Essay Express™, and SmartMoves™, have been recognized as being particularly effective for students with learning differences. FableVision's K-12 software product offerings are distributed worldwide.

FableVision also creates media and interactives with key players on the education landscape, including PBS, Maryland Public Television, MIT Education Arcade, Sesame Workshop, Scholastic, KCET, Carnegie Hall, National Academy of Sciences, WGBH, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Pearson, Girl Scouts of the USA, SARRC, the Research Institute for Learning and Development, Boston University and The Jim Henson Company.

Contact:
FableVision - Leigh Hallisey, 617-956-5701, leigh@fablevision.com

Pearson - Lisa Wolfe, L. Wolfe Communications, 773-227-1049, lwolfe@lwolfe.com

PRESS RELEASE

Growing Virtual World Offers Young Internet Users
 Free, Safe Environment for Fun and Learning

More Than 14 Million Kids Learn and Explore on Poptropica,
 Virtual World From the Developers of Funbrain

BOSTON- May 14, 2008 - Where do parents turn when their young children want to have fun and connect with others online? Parents of more than 14 million have found the answer on Poptropica, a free, safe online environment packed with games and discovery. The number of kids exploring the virtual world of Poptropica - from the developers of Funbrain, the long trusted learning Web site for children - has exploded since its launch just last September. With today's debut of the new "Time Tangled Island," Poptropica offers even more opportunities for young children to learn, play, explore and safely connect with other children on the Web.

"Today, young children want a place online where they can play games, learn and socialize just like their parents and older siblings," said Jess M. Brallier, publisher, Family Education Network, developer of Poptropica. "We created Poptropica so young children would have a free, safe online environment where they could explore, build computer skills and have a good time."

Upon arrival at Poptropica, kids create an avatar, choosing from numerous hairstyles and colors, eyes, lips and clothing to create their own unique character. They use their avatar to explore Poptropica, a safe environment where visitors are never asked to provide or share any personal information.

Kids can play individual games that help them build computer skills, identify shapes and patterns or build mouse skills. When they see another character, they can click on it and choose to "Chat" or "Battle." If they select "Chat," they are presented with a list of questions, such as "Do you play a musical instrument?" and "Are you good at math?" The other visitors then respond from a similar list of chat options. This scripted chat allows young Internet users to interact with others online safely and easily, never sharing any personal or identifying information. If they decide to "Battle" with the other character, they can play a game of head-to-head Sudoku or participate in a competitive game of online "Hoops."

"Time Tangled Island" joins two other islands on thisvirtual world for kids: "Early Poptropica" and "Shark Tooth Island." All the islands offer a wealth of educational games for kids. When kids arrive on "Time Tangled Island," they will find that a malfunctioning time machine has messed up history. By powering up the island's Future Machine, they can help the inhabitants of "Time Tangled Island" get history back on track. Woven through the island's educational games and activities are historical facts and other information, provided by the skilled editors at Fact Monster, Family Education Network's tween destination for homework help and facts on thousands of subjects. To repair the history of "Time Tangled Island," kids engage with and learn about Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence, the ascent of Mt. Everest, the building of the Statue of Liberty, Aztec civilization (shortly before the Spanish Conquest), the future as it might be (with alternate energy sources, etc.), Ancient Greece, Thomas Edison and his laboratory, Viking explorers, the building of the Great Wall of China, Leonardo da Vinci and his workshop, Lewis and Clark, and Mayan civilization.

On "Early Poptropica," visitors help the island's first settlers recover their missing prized possessions. And when exploring " Shark Tooth Island," kids will discover that the citizens there are having big shark trouble and need help uncovering the secrets that will save their island.

Visitors to Poptropica will regularly discover new islands to explore. The next addition, "24 Carrot Island," is expected to launch in the next few months. The collection of islands will grow to 10 by the end of 2008, providing even more territory for kids to explore.

About Poptropica

Developed by Family Education Network, the makers of Funbrain, Poptropica is a virtual world where kids can travel, play games, collect objects and compete with other players in head-to-head competition. Players can also safely interact and communicate with other inhabitants of Poptropica. There are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world, and players can read digital books and comics and watch movies along the way.

Family Education Network is part of Pearson, the world's largest integrated education company. Pearson's other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

For more information, press only:

Lisa Wolfe, L. Wolfe Communications, 773-325-9935, lwolfe@lwolfe.com

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