Winnie the Pooh at 75
On October 14, kidlit’s favorite bear will hit the 75-year mark, and pubco Penguin Putnam is planning to release a bevy of new Pooh titles to commemorate the event. Shipping to booksellers in October, Penguin will bow with a 33-copy display featuring an anniversary edition of The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh, as well as all new format versions of Piglet’s Rescue, Pooh Goes Visiting, Eyeore Has a Birthday, Winnie the Pooh and Some Bees and The House at Pooh Corner.
Putnam will also release the hardbound bear-bio Three Cheers for Pooh, in which author Brian Sibley recounts just how a stuffed bear bought at Harrods spawned a literary phenomenon, selling over 50 million books worldwide.
All of PP’s books will carry a special gold medallion highlighting Pooh’s 75th year in publishing. For retailers, starting next month, Penguin Putnam will mail out kits featuring a Pooh poster, balloons and buttons, as well as tips on how stores can hold their own 75th anniversary Pooh parties. Additionally, Penguin Putnam will be helping to coordinate a number of related events in October, including tie-ins with a literary festival to be held at The Mall of America in Minneapolis, as well as a special Pooh reading in New York that will be hosted by CBS News Sunday Morning anchor Charles Osgood.
Abby & Tess pet-sitting on a gold mine
Things appear to be heating up for Lobster Press’s Abby & Tess Pet-Sitters. The Canadian pubco’s tween-skewing series, which focuses on the mishaps of a pet-sitting business run by two oft-feuding sisters (one of whom thinks she is a dog), was recently optioned by Toronto, Canada-based prodco Cambium Entertainment.
Penned by Canadian author Trina Wiebe, the series’ humor is what sold Cambium’s manager of development Kate Horton on the books, which she describes as a cross between the Home Alone movies and the Babysitter’s Club book series. Many of the story lines see Abby and Tess looking after exotic animals that escape and must be retrieved. ‘It’s really a fun combination of weird animals and strong female characters that deals with themes of responsibility and independence,’ says Horton.
Horton envisions producing the show in live action to take full advantage of using real animals. The world, though, will have to wait at least two years to see the TV version of Abby & Tess. Horton projects it will take that long for Cambium-which also snared all licensing and merch rights to the property-to deliver a pilot to broadcasters. In the meantime, Lobster is moving ahead with the publishing program, and next month will release the fifth book in the series, Ants Don’t Catch Flying Saucers, which has Abby and Tess taking care of an ant farm.
Lobster will promote the new title, as well as a box set containing the first four books of the series, on abbyandtess.com and through direct mail-outs to libraries, booksellers and schools. In addition to Canada and the U.S., the A&B books are also currently available in Australia, Britain and Asia.