Lately Lily Travels to Chronicle
Chronicle Books is licensing children’s book and sidelines rights for author-illustrator Micah Player’s girls’ T-shirt and accessories brand, Lately Lily, which launched in 2012. Player’s previous projects with Chronicle have included puzzles, a matching game, and a picture book, Chloe, Instead. “We had been wanting to do more with Micah and were keeping tabs on everything he was doing,” says Ginee Seo, Chronicle children’s publishing director. “This just seemed to call for a publishing component.”
The apparel brand is built around a girl who travels with her parents to a different country each season, with visits to Peru and Iceland so far, and Paris coming up. Chronicle’s program will launch in spring 2014 with A-B-C flash cards that teach about travel concepts; an activity kit packaged in a yellow suitcase, containing a travel journal, stickers, and activity cards; and a picture book. “We think of Lily as a new franchise character for us,” Seo says. Noting that Player’s work applies to many of Chronicle’s non-book formats, such as flash cards, she notes, “We think Micah has a bright future in children’s books, and not just in a traditional way. We’re excited to work with a talent who’s so versatile.”
A Lately Lily mobile app is launching later in 2013. Other products planned for the property, represented by memBrain Licensing, include apparel, accessories, stationery, and room decor for girls ages 2-10. Player, a former creative director of Paul Frank Industries, founded Lately Lily with apparel designer Erin Nichols.
Beatrix Potter’s Bunny Featured at BabyGap
BabyGap is launching a limited-edition Peter Rabbit collection of apparel and accessories for girls and boys aged 0-2, through a partnership with Frederick Warne, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. The collection debuted today and features interpretations of imagery from The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Products range from a take on Peter Rabbit’s blue sweater to jackets, cardigans, dresses, denim, and onesies.
To promote the clothing and accessories, 30 BabyGap stores will host readings of Penguin’s latest Peter Rabbit book, Emma Thompson’s The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit, on January 26. Local mommy bloggers will host the events, which will include book drives to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs, organized though children’s literary organization Milk + Bookies.
BabyGap officially debuted the collection at an event at The Grove in Los Angeles last Saturday. A number of celebrities attended, including Elizabeth Banks, who read The Further Tale.
Dalmatian and Phidal Head to Care-a-Lot
Dalmatian Press and Phidal Publishing are joining the roster of Care Bears licensees, which already includes Bendon Publishing and Running Press. Dalmatian will sell mass market formats at higher price points ($3 and up), including 8x8 storybooks, coloring and activity titles, and board books, while Phidal will market value-added novelty titles such as sticker book treasuries and “busy books.” Bendon publishes value-priced coloring and activity books and educational formats; Running Press offers mini gift and novelty books.
“Adding Dalmatian Press and Phidal really rounds out our children’s publishing program,” says Lindsay Martinez, director of licensing and business development for licensor American Greetings Properties. “It affords us the opportunity to get into new formats and to offer a range of price points for our core demographic of 2-7.”
A CGI-TV series, Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot, launched on The Hub last June—introducing a new character, Wonderheart Bear—and Hasbro is rolling out a new toy line this month. “What’s going on with the TV show and the new toy line brings a lot of awareness to the property,” says Beth Peters, Dalmatian’s director of licensing. “It justifies a higher retail presence.”
Apparel, accessories, and stationery, along with publishing, will be introduced by the 2013 back-to-school season, complementing the toys and a new series of four DVDs. “Once our publishers have enough titles on the market, we’ll bring them into end caps and tentpole marketing events led by the toys,” Martinez says, adding that American Greetings plans to expand into digital publishing categories as well.
Animal Planet Signs Cupcake Digital for Enhanced E-book Apps
Discovery Communications, in concert with the Joester-Loria Group. has licensed Cupcake Digital to produce a series of enhanced e-book apps for children ages 4-7 under the Animal Planet brand. The first title, to be introduced this spring, is Animal Planet Hide and Seek Pets. “The demand for apps in the kids’ space is growing exponentially,” says JP Stoops, Discovery’s director of licensing. “As a forward-looking media company, we want to be aggressive in this space. Animal Planet tends to be age-agnostic and gender-agnostic, and that wide audience is one reason it works well in the apps space, with entire families.”
The first title is structured in a storybook format where the user swipes from page to page, with each featuring an interactive element such as a game, puzzle, drawing, or dictation. Although the primary goal of the app is entertainment and not education, all the activities are tied to the Common Core State Standards being introduced in K-12 classrooms in 2013-2014.
In today’s media-driven world, “parents feel guilty about all the screen time,” says Susan Miller, co-founder and president of Cupcake Digital, which officially launched in August 2012 and has produced apps for the Nick Jr. show Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! “They feel a little less guilty with mobile, because they feel their children need to be versed in technology to succeed. But we want them to feel good about picking up the mobile device. This is like spinach in brownies. [The educational component] is in there, but you don’t know it, and it’s good for you.”
Other digital projects for Animal Planet include Animal Planet Wildlands, a trading-card-and-app product from Nukotoys, the Animal Planet Trivia Challenge app from Zed Worldwide, an internally developed Animal Planet network app, and e-books based on two network series, River Monsters and Pit Boss.
Elmer Crosses the Pond
Knockout Licensing is launching a North American licensing program for Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, by U.K. author-illustrator David McKee, under a deal with master publisher Andersen Press in the U.K. Tamra Knepfer, Knockout’s co-president, has been interested in Elmer since seeing merchandise in British stores years ago. “I was seeing Elmer pop up in licensed product displays,” she says. “It was Peter Rabbit, Eric Carle, and Elmer.”
The plan is to seek out retail partners, including bookstores and specialty retailers, and develop programs that bring together the books and other merchandise such as toys and games, apparel, stationery, and home goods. (Andersen Press previously signed Kids Preferred, which markets a line of plush, wooden pull toys, and puzzles.) “We think the products belong next to the books,” Knepfer says, noting that Knockout plans to work with Elmer’s U.S. publishers, Lerner and HarperCollins, on cross-merchandising and co-packaging opportunities.
All told, there are 40 Elmer books, which collectively have sold five million copies in 50 languages since 1989, although a relatively small portion of those sales have been in the United States. Knepfer points out that beautiful artwork and a breadth of content, including seasonal themes, is a bonus. “There’s a lot to work with, content-wise, from a licensing perspective,” she says.
The National Wildlife Federation is launching a storybook app series, Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures, developed with Moonbot Studios, along with Ranger Rick Jr., a spinoff of Ranger Rick magazine.... Penguin has acquired full ownership of publishing, film, TV, digital, and merchandise rights for Raymond Briggs’s The Snowman, with the acquisition of Snowman Enterprises.... British licensing agency DRi has signed several licensees for Roald Dahl, including the Green Board Game Company for board games and Ashley Wilde for home furnishings, both featuring Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and The Enormous Crocodile.... Dr. Seuss Enterprises is introducing The Cat’s Hat, Sam I Am, and Truffula collectible dolls with Tonner Doll Company.... Lawless Entertainment has signed Montrichard Limited for children’s watches based on The Little Prince, for North America.... Alligator Books has released a Lalaloopsy app in partnership with AT New Media and Fairplay Media.... Atlantyca signs QMI for Geronimo Stilton and The Little Prince debit cards under the Mypostepay brand.... Paws Inc. has signed Bare Tree Media for a Garfield Snaps photo app for iOS devices and soon for Android.... Peanuts Worldwide partners with Graphicly to distribute more than 60 Peanuts e-books through the major e-book marketplaces.... Nelvana and Sea World have partnered for a Franklin promotion featuring in-park character appearances for a year, TV specials, and books and merchandise sold in the parks.... Callaway Digital Arts is publishing a Mr. Potato Head app for iOS devices, under license from Hasbro.... Penguin U.K.’s Puffin imprint is marking Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary with a year-long series of 11 short stories in e-book form, each written by a different children’s author. Penguin has published Doctor Who children’s books for eight years.... Universal Partnerships & Licensing will represent Uglydoll for expansion into all digital platforms, from apps and interactive games to virtual goods.... Wanderful Interactive Storybooks has published an e-book app, Arthur’s Birthday by Marc Brown, for the iOS platform. The title originally was published by Living Books.