Candlewick is launching a new imprint in partnership with Nosy Crow, an independent U.K. publisher of illustrated children’s books and apps that debuted in 2010. To be edited by Candlewick’s Joan Powers, the imprint plans to co-publish many of Nosy Crow’s titles in the U.S. and Canada, starting with 10 in fall 2011. They will include the new Pip and Posy series by Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo.

Nosy Crow’s first titles—it published its first books in January 2011 and plans a total of 26 this year—are mostly for young readers up to about age 8, with formats that include novelty board books and picture books. “They complement our titles very well,” says Karen Lotz, Candlewick’s president and publisher. “We love the illustration style, the innovation and the formatting.”

Nosy Crow was launched by U.K. publishing veteran Kate Wilson, who was formerly managing director of both Macmillan Children’s Publishing U.K. and Scholastic U.K. “I’ve known her since I first started in publishing,” Lotz says. “I think she was one of the first people I was asked to call when I was an editorial assistant at Dutton. She was selling rights then and I set up a meeting for her and my boss in Bologna.”

While Candlewick has other strategic partnerships in place with publishers such as Templar, Toon Books, and Brilliance Audio, it wasn’t looking for a partnership with Nosy Crow initially. “We’ve been in that mindset, but we were not looking for that,” Lotz explains. Wilson approached Candlewick in the fall to sell North American rights to individual titles and the partnership grew from there. “We liked everything we saw and said, how about the whole list? It’s all come together very quickly and was quite a surprise to all of us.”

Nosy Crow also is creating original apps for the iPad, iPhone and iTouch, starting with The Three Little Pigs last month, and with four more planned for this year. Candlewick will not be involved with the apps, but there will be some marketing cross-pollination wherever possible, Lotz says, particularly in the case of any digital titles that are based on Nosy Crow book characters published by Candlewick.