By CG News Desk

Pen pal mail

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Television programs that teach kids how to read are terrific, but the best way for a child to learn to read and write is to receive and send their own mail. But how many kids ages 1-5 have friends who can write back? The characters at Calicat Productions' Cartoon Pen Pal service can. Created by 28-year-old New Yorker Ben Kaplan, the service consists of five exciting characters — Calicat, Slither, Alison Adventure, Ego Tripp and Bundeeni — whose original stories are sent monthly to youngsters by regular mail. "It's always exhilarating to see a child's face light up when he or she gets a letter," Kaplan says. A former writer/editor with Simon and Schuster and Small World Media, Kaplan's goals of entertaining, teaching, and expanding the horizons of children have found an outlet through his new company, whose five characters he developed. (Calicat is a tiger-striped cat; Slither an iguana; Alison, an 8th grader who runs a detective agency; Ego Tripp, a superhero; and Bundeeni, a magical female bunny.) The personalized letters, sent once a month, cost $19.95 a year. For more information, call (212) 744-0993 or go to www.calicatproductions.com.

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