Award-Winning WeeBeeTunes Travel Adventures Uses Animated Characters to Take Primary School Students to Seven Continents, 29 Destinations

SKOKIE, Ill. - Oct. 1, 2004 - Rand McNally, North America's largest commercial mapmaker and a leading supplier of supplemental geography materials to schools, today announced the addition to its education product line of WeeBeeTunes Travel Adventures, the award-winning audiovisual series that introduces primary school students to the world's physical geography, peoples, cultures, customs, history and ecosystems.

Rand McNally holds exclusive distribution rights for selling the WeeBeeTunes Travel Adventures Class Pack to schools. The program includes two animated music videos, available in DVD and VHS formats, music CD's and a range of multimedia learning aids.

The two 40-45 minute videos - titled Get Your Passport! and The Journey Continues! - were created by Girdwood Partners, LLC, Chicago-based creator of educational entertainment programs. The program, which features animated characters from the seven continents, was created after extensive consultation with elementary school teachers.

Each video makes stops on the seven continents - 29 destinations in total. A narrator announces each new destination on an animated map. Animated illustrations of recognizable landmarks and landscapes support continent-specific theme songs.

Rand McNally Enhances Program With Learning Aids In addition to music and video elements, the Class Pack features a Teacher's Guide, Passports for students and a new Rand McNally/WeeBeeTunes Poster Map of the World.

The Teacher's Guide provides activities including writing assignments, map exercises, vocabulary words and visual arts projects. The WeeBeeTunes Passport highlights the seven continents and has space for students to enter personal information. The 32-inch by 21-inch colorful world Poster Map, for display on classroom walls or bulletin boards, introduces the seven continents, each with a representative WeeBeeTunes character, such as a scholarly salamander (Europe) and a sleepy wombat (Australia)

The Class Pack also includes compact discs of each video’s soundtracks, for play during classroom activities. The songs incorporate local accents and sounds, representative music styles and indigenous instruments.

"We believe it is critical that children today have a better understanding of the world we live in," said Girdwood cofounder, Howard Soriano. "With its rich tradition and commitment to maps and other geography products, Rand McNally offers the perfect partner for making a difference in the education of our youth with the WeeBeeTunes program."

Series Wins Geographic Education, Parents' Choice Awards WeeBeeTunes Travel Adventures won the 2003 GEM (Geography Excellence in Media) Award presented by the National Council for Geographic Education. The content of the individual travel episodes, such as the mix of locations (ecosystems, cultural festivals and historic sites), correlates to the 18 National Geography Standards.

The Parents' Choice Foundation presented a 2003 Silver Honor Award to The Journey Continues! DVD and a 2003 Recommended Award to the Get Your Passport! audio CD. The foundation recognizes media projects for excellent production quality and human values.

"The program has received enthusiastic response from educators across numerous educational environments: public, private, urban, suburban and parochial schools," said Robert Apatoff, president and chief executive officer of Rand McNally. "Teachers tell us it has filled a gap in effective resources aimed at primary grades. As one educator put it, 'By the time kids get to middle school it is too late and we have to go backwards to catch up.'

"Another appeal of the series is its cross-curricular approach, which easily ties into other disciplines (history, music and arts) and after-school programs," Apatoff said. "The animated episodes can serve as a jumping-off point to wall maps, globes and atlases, as well as encyclopedias and books, for further exploration of any topic."

About Rand McNally

Rand McNally & Company, founded in 1856, is America's indispensable travel guide, providing mapping, routing and trip-planning tools for the consumer, business, education and commercial transportation markets. The company produces print and electronic products featuring national and local maps for the United States and Canada, including the Rand McNally Road Atlas and The Thomas Guide books. Rand McNally offers trip planning on randmcnally.com. For more information, call (800)333-0136 or visit www.randmcnally.com.

About Girdwood Partners

Founded in 2000, Girdwood Partners, LLC is a Chicago-based children's media venture. The company is dedicated to creating innovative and entertaining educational programs of the highest quality and integrity. Girdwood is the producer of WeeBeeTunes Travel Adventures, the award-winning series of animated music videos that teach kids about the world. For more information, call 1-888-293-3233 or visit www.weebeetunes.com.

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