Several beloved book characters who have entertained multiple generations of young readers are marking noteworthy milestones this season.
Don Freeman's Corduroy turns 40, an occasion Viking is commemorating with Corduroy 40th Anniversary Edition, due in March with a 30,000-copy printing. Featuring a larger trim size than the original and an embossed cover, this edition includes handwritten letters from the late author, sketches and original drafts of his manuscript. A brand-new Corduroy plush created by Russ Berrie is the focal point of the “Corduroy's Lost Button” promotion, in which 200 independent accounts will receive a toy bear and a jar of buttons; the customer who comes closest to guessing the number of buttons in the jar will win the plush. Additionally, Puffin Storytime will release A Pocket for Corduroy book-and-CD package; and Grosset & Dunlap will offer Corduroy's Alphabet Hunt, a board book with flashcards, and Corduroy Visits the Farm!, a paperback with stickers.
Another bear of considerable renown is celebrating his 50th birthday. Introduced in 1958, Paddington Bear appears in his first new novel in 30 years: Paddington Here and Now by Michael Bond, illustrated by R.W. Alley. HarperCollins will promote this June title, as well as the original A Bear Called Paddington, with online and print advertising.
Kenneth Grahame's Toad, Mole, Water Rat and Badger were introduced 100 years ago, when The Wind in the Willows first appeared. These animal pals return in Willow Buds, a series of picture books by Mary Jane Begin, which Little, Brown will launch in April with The Tale of Toad and Badger. This same month, Palazzo Editions will release a new edition of The Wind in the Willows, showcasing 70 new color illustrations by Hans Christian Andersen Medalist Robert Ingpen.
Birthday salutations to one and all!