* Get Real-#1: Girl Reporter Blows Lid off Town! and #2: Girl Reporter Sinks School! (US$3.99 each), story books, by Linda Ellerbee. Set in the cut-throat world of middle-grade school journalism, the series’ heroine Casey tries to outscoop her arch nemesis, Megan O’Connor. The first two titles, penned by Nick News personality Ellerbee, will be available to retailers in 18-copy mixed floor displays. HC is also offering Get Real Teacher’s Guides and a Get Real Pad and Pencil pack. Target group: girls ages eight to 12; Release date: March.
* Sweet 16-#1: Julia and #2: Kari, story books. Crushes, acne and parents who just don’t get it. The new Sweet 16 series, written by various authors, charts the turbulent terrain of teen life. HC will bundle the first two titles with a CD featuring contemporary Atlantic Records artists. Sweet 16 titles will be available to stores in eight-copy mixed counter displays. Target group: girls ages 12 and up; Release date: February.
Old authors, new titles
* Does A Kangaroo Have a Mother Too? (US$16.95), picture book. By Eric Carle, the author of The Grouchy Ladybug, Kangaroo depicts mother-child relationships in the animal kingdom. Target group: readers ages three to six; Release date: April.
* Toby, What Are You? (US$14.95), picture book, by William Steig. Toby is the second installment in Steig’s series about a rodent family and its eccentric son. Target group: readers ages two to six; Release date: April.
* Ten Frogs (US$12.95), picture book, by Quentin Blake. A learning-to-count-with-the-animals title by the popular author and illustrator for Roald Dahl. Target group: all ages; Release date: April.
The imminently animated?
* Duck in the Truck (US$14.95), picture book, by Jez Alborough. Our winged protagonist hits some potholes on the road from here to there, but along the way receives help from a frog, a sheep and a goat in a boat. (Yes, this book is told in rhyme.) Target group: readers ages three to six; Release date: February.
* The Birthday Presents (US$12.95), picture book, by Paul Stewart. Tale of two pals-a rabbit and hedgehog-who have never celebrated a birthday and decide to mark the occasion for the first time together. Target group: readers ages three to seven; Release date: February.
Just in time for Black History Month
* Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly (US$15.95), picture book, by Walter Dean Myers. An illustrated bio of the `60s black Muslim leader charts his journey from impoverished child to leading fighter for black equality. Target group: readers ages five to eight; Release date: January. Other Black History Month titles HC is offering in January include Angel to Angel (US15.95), Brown Angels (US$9.95) and Glorious Angels (US$9.95).
Cinderellis and the Glass Hill (US$8.95), storybook, by Gail Carson Levine. Levine deconstructs the classic tale by switching the sex of Cinderella. In her reworking of the story, Cindrellis, a boy, must climb a glass mountain in order to win the hand of his Princess Charming, the alluring Princess Marigold. Target group: readers ages seven to 12; Release date: February.
The book that eats like a meal?
The Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Fun Book (US$5.99). Finally, a way for kids to get spiritual and nutritional sustenance while they read. Cut in the shape of a fishbowl, Pepperidge Farm is a rhyming yarn about fish that comes with crackers shaped like goldfish. Written by Barbara Barbieri McGrath, author of the M&M’s Counting Book. Target group: who’s hungry?; Release date: available now.