Cartoon Network has licensed Penguin Young Readers Group for books tied to its series Adventure Time, starring Finn the Human and Jake the Dog. The show is in its fourth season and is the #1 television program on Mondays for children 6-11.
“It’s so smart and wild and fun, and it pushes the limits in all the right ways,” says Francesco Sedita, president and publisher of Penguin’s Grosset & Dunlap imprint. “It lets tweens think outside the box.”
Penguin holds rights to all book formats for the youth market, including activity, novelty, and storybooks. The first four titles, to debut in July, include Adventure Time Mad Libs; two sticker/activity titles (It’s a Slamacowtastic Story Mix-Up and Righteous Rules for Being Awesome); and a 112-page Dude-It-Yourself Adventure Journal. Sedita says future publishing plans are likely to include two to four titles per season, and that all books will have a novelty bent, such as unusual trim sizes and shapes. “It’s such a joy to work on this property. It feels like our creativity could be limitless.”
“One thing that’s been so interesting about this brand is the diversity of the characters,” says Pete Yoder, Cartoon Network’s v-p of consumer products, North America. “There’s only so much on-air content you can do, and the publishing has allowed us to expand the world of the show with new characters and more character development. It’s helped us open up the Land of Ooh and create a more robust entertainment experience for the consumer.”
Yoder notes that Penguin’s editors’ familiarity with the property shortened the learning curve that usually takes place in a licensed publishing deal. “A lot of times in licensed publishing, your publishers become engaged with the brand and fans of the brand through working on it. When Penguin pitched the brand, they were already fans and they understood the unique humor from the get-go.”
The property appeals to the core 6-11 Cartoon Network viewer as well as teens and young adults. Boom LLC’s KaBOOM! all-ages imprint holds the comic book license, and has issued four titles since February of this year, with multiple covers to appeal to collectors of different ages. “They’ve been able to capture the humor so it’s relatable and funny to kids and older fans alike,” Yoder says. “They truly get the audience of Adventure Time.”
Cartoon Network is in final negotiations with a publisher for novelty books appealing to the young adult market, including a real version of The Enchiridion, a book that appears within the show, as well as calendars. Other consumer products encompass toys from Jazwares and interactive games from D3 Publisher, as well as apparel and accessories.