Penguin and filmmaker Lance Weiler have joined forces to launch a plush toy designed to encourage children to read.
Lyka is a soft robot scientist, not only battling to save her home planet, but also entice Australian kids away from their consoles and towards bookshelves.
The plush character is a vessel for an iPhone or iPod which can be slipped in to the figure’s front pocket, reports SMH.
The character then works with an app that lets children read an eight book series following the adventures of the alien explorer and her planet Ahmee.
An Australian publishing first for Penguin, Lyka is the result of Weiler’s (the man behind 1998 horror movie The Last Broadcast) interest in education.
As a child, Weiler suffered from dyslexia, an experience that led him to explore ways in which children aged five to 10 could benefit from reading tools.
He has recently toured Australia with his creation, Lyka, visiting primary schools to inspire children to think about the world and how they can shape their own future.
Lyka is now touring classrooms across the globe before ending in North America where the character will head to space in a NASA rocket.
Weiler’s start-up company, Connected Sparks is now crowdfunding on IndieGoGo to help develop the product further with a second book about the Barrier Reef set for release this September.