HarperCollins heads back to the stone age
HarperCollins Children’s Books has tapped the comedic stylings of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner in its latest picture book, signing the worldwide publishing rights to The 2000-Year-Old-Man Goes to School. The book is based on a skit from Sid Caesar’s classic ’50s sketch comedy series Your Show of Shows in which Reiner plays an interviewer and Brooks an old-timer born in 40 B.C. In the picture book version for young school kids, the 2,000-year-old man makes for an unforgettable show-and-tell classroom exhibit. Peppered with questions from the kids, the relic shares his worldly wisdom on everything from what school lunches were like in the Stone Age (terrible – you had to catch your food before you could eat it), to how he got around (running like hell with a sabre tooth tiger closing in, for example).
New York Times artist James Bennett, who worked on Reiner’s recent bestseller Tell Me a Scary Story (Little, Brown), has been signed on as illustrator. Scheduled for publication in spring 2005, The 2000-Year-Old Man Goes to School will be packaged with a CD of classic bits from the Brooks and Reiner comedy archive.
Small World Kids tunes into Neurosmith’s musical learning toys
Small World Kids is playing itself into the musical toys category, having picked up a line of electronic learning products from toyco Neurosmith. The acquisition is part of a larger expansion strategy for the Culver City, California-based company, which hopes to tap into the increased level of interest parents have in starting their kids’ education at a younger age. The products will still be released under the Neurosmith banner, but Small World Kids hopes to use its own marketing clout to beef up awareness of the brand.
The Neurosmith line mixes technology with learning and music, and includes such items as the Musini Music Box (which has a sensor that tracks kids’ movements and translates them into sound) and Music Blocks (which let kids compose more than a million different tunes simply by switching around five blocks).