New York, New York - Penguin Young Readers Group President Doug Whiteman announced today that he has signed a multi-year deal with Nicholas Callaway, CEO of Callaway Arts & Entertainment, for a new publishing program based on its best-selling Miss SpiderTM character created by David Kirk.
The publishing program will have two components:
- In the trade market, Callaway Arts & Entertainment will publish a new series of illustrated storybooks based on the Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends television series scheduled to debut in August 2004 on Nick, Jr. These books will be distributed by Penguin in North America and published by Puffin in the United Kingdom and world English language markets. The first titles are slated to launch in fall 2004. The Miss Spider backlist, with over 4 million copies sold to date, will continue to be published by Scholastic, Inc.
- In the mass market, Callaway Arts & Entertainment has licensed English-language rights throughout the world to the Penguin Group (Grosset & Dunlap in the United States, and Ladybird in the United Kingdom), which will publish a variety of novelty and mass-market formats based on Miss Spider.
The Miss Spider's Tea Party book launched the Miss Spider phenomenon nearly a decade ago, leading to a dozen books and an hour-long animated TV special that first aired on Nickelodeon in March of 2003. Now Nick, Jr. will include Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends in its regular programming starting in August of 2004 with a daily half hour computer animated television series and three hour-long computer animated specials.
Doug Whiteman, president, Penguin Young Readers Group, states, "David Kirk and Nicholas Callaway have created a powerful children's brand in Miss Spider, and we are tremendously excited to be taking part in its future. Our Grosset & Dunlap imprint will publish the mass-market formats that are part of this deal, and this dramatically extends their character-based licensing program."
Sally Floyer, managing director, Ladybird and Frederick Warne, adds, "We are delighted to be launching these unique picture books in the U.K. market and to have the opportunity for Ladybird to introduce Miss Spider to a new generation of children through a brand new program of novelty, story, and activity books based on the television series."
Nicholas Callaway, CEO of Callaway Arts & Entertainment, comments, "Miss Spider has become one of the most beloved and successful contemporary classic children's properties. As Miss Spider is about to make her debut in a computer animated television series on Nick, Jr., we are pleased to grow the publishing program with Penguin Group as our partner."
Penguin Group (USA) publishes many lauded names in children's literature, such as Jan Brett, Brian Jacques, Judy Blume, Eric Carle, Tomie dePaola, Roald Dahl, Eric Hill, Don Freeman, Hardie Gramatky, Robert McCloskey, A.A. Milne, Richard Peck, Patricia Polacco, and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Group (USA) Young Readers perennial favorites include The Little Engine That Could and the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series.
Ladybird is the U.K.'s best-known children's publisher, with a market reach from the book trade to the mass market. It specializes in publishing high-quality books for every stage of a child's development, from birth to eight years old, providing books that have a sound basis in the early years curriculum, but that are, above all, fun for both parents and children. Ladybird is the publishing partner for Disney, Boohbah, and a number of other important licenses, and with its sister imprint, Warne, which manages classic properties such as Eric Hill's Spot and Peter RabbitTM , offers an ideal home for the top publishing licenses. Ladybird and Warne are part of the Penguin Group (UK).
The Penguin Group is part of international media company Pearson plc.
Callaway Arts & Entertainment, founded by Nicholas Callaway in 1980, specializes in family entertainment across all media-illustrated book publishing, animation for film and television, and product design-and creates and produces original characters and stories. Callaway's most recent titles have been The English Roses and Mr. Peabody's Apples, the first two titles in Madonna's series of books for children of all ages, published in fall 2003. Madonna's third children's book, Lotsa de Casha, will be released by Callaway in June 2004.
Katrina Weidknecht, 212.414.3561 for Penguin Young Readers Group
Joanna Prior, 001 44 020 7010 3250 for Penguin Group (UK)