UK-based independent children’s publisher Sweet Cherry has signed new deals with Toronto-based Boat Rocker Studios and the UK’s Aardman for various publishing rights.
For Boat Rocker, the new global deal covers nostalgia brand Rainbow, featuring characters from the children’s TV show in several formats, including hand puppet books, sound books, novelty books, board books and gift books. Aimed at babies and infants, the redrawn artwork and stories will draw from the ITV show that ran from 1972-19992 for 1,071 episodes. The first range, three hand puppet books, will launch at the London Book Fair this week and then be available at retail in October. All formats will hit shelves in 2020.
Boat Rocker’s reality-style teen drama The Next Step (pictured), will also be getting a range of books including annuals, journals, sticker activity books and junior novels released in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada. Those offerings will begin to reach shelves in October, with all formats rolling out in 2020. Now in its sixth season, The Next Step is produced by Radical Sheep Productions for Boat Rocker Studios, in association with Family Channel and Universal Kids.
The news comes shortly after Boat Rocker Media announced it was consolidating its content, distribution and brands teams under the Boat Rocker Studios banner, with an eye towards making more investment in kids and family content. The newly merged team is led by Jon Rutherford, as the managing director for Boat Rocker Studios.
Meanwhile, Sweet Cherry has acquired the publishing rights to Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep brand ahead of the animated film sequel Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon hitting theaters in late September. Later this year, the publisher will put out four new Shaun the Sheep titles, including a 2020 annual, a search-and-find book, junior novels and a non-fiction guide to space for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
The deal will expand next year to cover new sports-focused titles to celebrate the summer Olympics.