The Chicken House to land on U.S. turf
Plucky U.K.-based kids pubco The Chicken House has inked an agreement with Scholastic that will see it market and distribute its titles in the U.S. Under the terms of the deal, Scholastic will primarily handle the packaging of the books for the North American market, though there are plans to collaborate with The Chicken House on future as-yet- unnamed projects, says Jean Feiwel, editor-in-chief at Scholastic.
The Chicken House was founded last spring by veteran kidlit publisher Barry Cunningham, whose most notable achievement to date is the discovery of J.K. Rowling while working as a publisher at Bloomsbury. The Chicken House publishes a range of fiction and nonfiction titles for readers ages eight to 12.
‘Chicken House’s list has the eclectic lack of balance that we like. It ranges from serious fiction, to novelty books, to arts-and-crafts titles-it’s all over the place, as are we,’ says Feiwel.
Scholastic will launch with 10 Chicken House titles next fall, including Katherine Roberts’ fantasy novel Spellfall, which recently won the Branford Boase Award for Best New Children’s Author.
New Potter books en route
On March 13, Scholastic will publish two Harry Potter companion books, Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. J.K. Rowling penned both titles, based on the two books that Harry is required to read at Hogwarts School, under the pseudonyms Kennillworthy Whisp (Quidditch) and Newt Scamander (Fantastic). Quidditch will include all the info Potter diehards want about the game Harry and the other wee wizards play, and Fantastic will feature summaries on beasts from the series. Rowling is donating the net proceeds from the sales of the books (US$3.99 each) to Comic Relief U.K., a British charity that will use the money to provide aid to children in developing countries. Scholastic is supporting the books at retail with a range of POS materials, including free Harry Potter buttons, which stores can give to kids who purchase either of the books.
Scholastic lets the dogs out
Kids pubco Scholastic has signed a three-year nonexclusive deal with L.A.-based toyco Manley Toy Quest to develop a companion book to its hit robotic toy Tekno. Entitled Taking care of Tekno the Robotic Puppy: The Official Guide to Tricks and Training (US$4.99), the book will expand on the repertoire contained in the toy’s instruction manual. The guide will also feature suggestions for activities like building a doghouse and holding puppy party events, enhancing the robodog-owning experience for kids. Tekno is the latest in a number of toy tie-in books Scholastic has published recently, including titles based on virtual pets, Pokémon card collecting and Hasbro’s Candyland game. This month, the pubco will release a guidebook on scooter maintenance.
‘Kids are interested in this stuff. They like to go beyond the information on a toy that is initially presented to them,’ says Fiona Simpson, media editor at Scholastic. Targeted to readers ages seven and up, Tekno will be available at stores this month.