Next time you wish upon a star . . . let it be your very own shining star! Russ Berrie U.S. Gift, Inc. (NYSE: RUS) has partnered with the International Star Registry® and AGE® Inc. in an innovative and interactive new Shining Stars® program.

With every RUSS Shining Stars friend comes the opportunity to register and name your star with the International Star Registry. Each plush piece is crafted using only the finest of materials and identifiable by the star icon and embroidered Shining Stars logo on its paw pad.

?RUSS is focused on delivering innovative lifestyle products,? said Andy Gatto, RUSS's president and chief operating officer. ?Kids are spending more and more time on the web and the toy industry is responding with products that bring the two together. Shining Stars is an excellent example in terms of how we can bring to market highly innovative, entertaining product that combines an interactive virtual experience with dimensional product.?

?The first shipment of Shining Stars went into specialty stores nationwide three weeks ago and sold out immediately. Because of its universal appeal we feel this product will continue to sell strongly. Shining stars is the perfect gift to celebrate any occasion or accomplishment,? Gatto concluded.

You can choose from a galaxy of Shining Stars friends ? the premier collection includes 24 adorable collectible plush characters including Honey Bear, Beagle, Penquin and Dragon, among others. So, once you've chosen your Shining Star ? or given it to your own shining star for a birthday, great report card or just to say ?I love you,' simply log onto the Shining Stars website ( and use the secret code found inside the sealed hangtag that comes with each Shining Stars friend.

This exclusive code allows you to name and register your star with the International Star Registry. You even get to choose your star's constellation. The website will show you an image and the coordinates of your star which can then be printed on a certificate that verifies its exact location in the cosmos.

But there's more . . . for children of all ages, the Shining Stars website is a virtual universe where kids can send e-cards, play customized games designed for different age groups and find a galaxy of fun activities which will continuously be updated. This virtual solar system lets you personalize your own Shining Stars friend by giving it a birthday dedication and choosing up to five different personality traits. So, just like you, your Shining Stars can be funny, artistic, sporty, brainy, friendly or sassy. You get to decide.

For each Shining Stars friend you name you will receive Glow Points. As you earn more Glow Points, more secrets and hidden pages will be revealed in this easy-to-maneuver online universe. Earn more Glow Points every time you share the fun and visit your Shining Stars friend online, play games or send a wish. The Shining Stars website also lets you donate your Glow Points and make real contributions to a charity, because a sharing friend is a true superstar.

Young or old, anyone who receives a Shining Stars friend will have a cherished keepsake to treasure forever, as well as their own personally named star to shine brightly throughout eternity. So, reach for the Shining Stars and get ready to embark on a magical virtual journey where everyone can? WISH . . . SHARE . . . SHINE!

Shining Stars are available in stores now nationwide for an approximate retail value of $15.00 each. Visit the Shining Stars website for retail locations near you.

Russ Berrie and Company, Inc., a leader in the infant and juvenile and gift industries, and its wholly-owned subsidiaries design, develop, and distribute a variety of innovative gift, infant and juvenile products to specialty and mass market retailers worldwide. Known for its teddy bears and other plush animals, the Company's gift and infant and juvenile lines are comprised of a diverse range of everyday, seasonal, and occasion-themed products that help people celebrate the milestones in their lives. The Company operates offices, showrooms, and distribution centers all over the world and trades on the NYSE under the symbol RUS.

SHINING STARS is a registered trademark owned by and used under license from AGE, Inc.

ISR trademarks are owned by and used under license from International Star Registry of Illinois, Ltd.