A special family of lions, with a ferocious appetite for books, will bring their love of reading and a colorful cast of characters to BOOK IT! Beginners, the Pizza Hut read-aloud program for preschoolers.

The family of feline librarians, Theo and Cleo, and their two cubs, Lionel and Leona, run a magical library where characters pop off the pages of ooks, vowels sing, and words take on a life of their own in the award-winning PBS series “Between the Lions.” The show helps children learn to read in a fun- filled, variety-show format that delights both kids and grown-ups.

Pizza Hut says it created the BOOK IT! Beginners Program to encourage teachers to read to their preschool students so they’ll develop a love of books and reading at an early age. Enrollment in the program, which begins its fifth year in March 2002, is now underway. Thirty-two thousand licensed childcare facilities, with approximately 1.8 million preschool and pre-kindergarten children, are expected to participate.

Children in the BOOK IT! Beginners Program can “graduate” into another program sponsored by Pizza Hut called the BOOK IT! National Reading Incentive Program. This award-winning program, which Pizza Hut created in 1985, is used in 830,000 classrooms nationwide by nearly 21 million children in 50,000 elementary schools.

Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc., has more than 8,000 units in the United States and more than 4,000 units in 88 other countries.

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