Silver Dolphin Books, an imprint of Printers Row Publishing Group, is bringing its bestselling You’re My Little series, written by Nicola Edwards and illustrated by Natalie Marshall, into new formats for the first time. Since You’re My Little Cuddle Bug was released in 2018, the now 10-title series of chunky board books with die-cuts and raised elements has sold more than 3.5 million copies. The rhyming stories are about parents’ love for their children.
You’re My Little Cuddle Bug is responsible for more than 1.5 million of the copies sold. “Right out of the gate it did really well, and still does so,” said Debra Mostow Zakarin, publisher and senior director, PRPG Children’s Publishing. “It has the sweet art and the wonderful text, and there’s the simple interaction of the die-cuts. It creates a shareable moment between the parent or caregiver and the child.”
The title continues to appear on bestseller lists in 2023. For the full year 2022, You’re My Little Cuddle Bug was #8 on PW’s hardcover backlist chart with 424,903 copies sold; the third title in the series, You’re My Little Honey Bunny (January 2019) and the second, You’re My Little Pumpkin Pie (July 2018)—the second bestselling title in the series overall—also appeared on the list, ranking #93 and #105, respectively. “We thought, we’ve got something here,” Zakarin said. “Where could we expand?”
You’re My Little Cuddle Bug is the focus of the initial brand extensions. You’re My Little Cuddle Bug: Big Sticker Activity Book comes out in September. This preschool title will have a four-color interior and simple activities like dot-to-dots, as well as extras like stand-up characters, a birthday card, and a doorhanger. I Love You, My Cuddle Bug: A Cuddle Bug Picture Book is a paper-over-board title set for a December release, bringing the character to a slightly older audience. Like the original board book, I Love You, My Cuddle Bug will especially resonate on Valentine’s Day, Zakarin believes.
Cuddle Bug will also star in a new core board book title for September, Night Night, My Little Cuddle Bug, marking the first time the series has featured a second title based on one of the existing characters. Meanwhile, new characters continue to be added to the series, including You’re My Little Baby Boo (July) and You’re My Little Cutie Pie (September).
To illustrate how the program has grown since its inception, the first printing of You’re My Little Cuddle Bug in 2018 was 60,000 copies, while the upcoming 19th printing is up to 325,000 and the first printing of the new You’re My Little Baby Boo is 160,000. The series is sold into both trade and mass channels, with upsized versions created for the club stores, and all distribution tiers do well with it, according to Zakarin.
The remaining books in the series, mostly tied to specific holidays or seasons, include You’re My Little Christmas Wish, published in 2019 and revised in 2021 as You’re My Little Christmas Cookie; You’re My Little Snuggle Bear, released in 2020; You’re My Little Lucky Charm, You’re My Little Firecracker, You’re My Little Bookworm, and You’re My Little Latke, all published in 2021; and You’re My Little Sunshine, released in 2022.
Plans are in the works to expand the You’re My Little franchise into more formats in the future, as well as to bring it into consumer product licensing, with an as-yet-unannounced major pop culture licensee expected to launch merchandise in 2024. But the company plans to take things slowly. “We’re cautious but optimistic,” Zakarin said.