Chronicle Books is expanding its publishing program for Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Steam Train, Dream Train, with a total of 11 new books and gifts planned for release from spring 2016 through fall 2018. Construction Site, written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, was first published in April 2011 and has been on bestseller lists for three and a half years. Steam Train followed in April 2013.
“It’s amazing that this book, which came from the slush pile and was the author’s first book, has become this juggernaut for us,” says Ginee Seo, children’s publishing director at Chronicle. “We definitely see this as a new Goodnight Moon. It has absolutely achieved modern classic status in that way.” The two books and their related products have sold 1.5 million units worldwide, according to Chronicle.
Publishing plans include a glow-in-the-dark edition of the Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site picture book in spring 2016, as well as a sequel, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site New Crew, in spring 2017. There will also be a raft of board books based on both titles, along with novelty products such as a mini-picture-book-and-plush package and a glow-in-the-dark growth chart, both tied to Construction Site.
On the merchandise side, Books to Bed has recently been signed as the brand’s pajama licensee and will launch products this year. “That’s a very important piece of the puzzle,” Seo says. “It’s a bedtime franchise and that’s where we’re putting our focus. We want to preserve the integrity of the brand and continue to appeal to parents who are putting their kids to bed.”
Licensed fabrics, bedding, and nightlights are among the other planned products. A matching game, lacing cards, a puzzle, and sound books from Chronicle are already on the market, as are Construction Site plush from Merrymakers (which will add a Steam Train giraffe this year), board games from University Games, and magnetic play sets from Mudpuppy. Dimensional Branding Group is assisting Chronicle on the licensing program.
Rinker and Lichtenheld will personally work on the publishing extensions. “This comes from an emotional place for Tom and Sherri, and they very much want to be intimately involved in creating the new publishing,” Seo says.