Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing has secured the rights from Mercis b.v. in the Netherlands to publish Miffy books in the U.S. and Canada, marking the first time a U.S. publisher is overseeing a comprehensive publishing program based on Dick Bruna’s classic character in this market.

First up in spring 2017 will be four tie-ins to a brand-new CGI TV series, Miffy’s Adventures Big and Small, launching on Nick Jr. this fall. “The TV show was what really sparked our interest,” says Valerie Garfield, S&S’s v-p, publisher of novelty and licensed publishing. “We think it will be a platform for Miffy to reach a wider audience. The animation, with its vibrant primary colors, is extremely appealing and really brings the characters to life. It’s a very modern and fresh reinvention of this sweet, classic character. And it’s definitely for preschoolers and not just for a nostalgic market.”

Meanwhile, new books inspired by the 60-year-old classic 2D book character, which will launch within the year, will be true to the original Dick Bruna artwork and stories. As with the TV tie-ins, core formats will be 8x8s, board books, novelty formats, and some very early readers. The classic program may also offer some opportunities for gift books that appeal to older consumers.

“Preschool has become sort of a sweet spot for us,” Garfield says. “There’s a real need for solid, safe characters that appeal to a modern kid, and Miffy fits that trend. They’re just sweet stories about discovering new things in your own back yard.”

Miffy has appeared in 124 books globally, with cumulative worldwide sales of more than 85 million in 50 languages. Some of the books have been imported into the U.S. over the years, and a few specialty titles have been published in this market as well. About 30 books are currently available in English, mostly published by Simon & Schuster U.K.