S&S’s Turbo-Charged Summer

Simon & Schuster is publishing three movie tie-in programs this summer. They include Turbo, part of the publisher’s ongoing partnership with DreamWorks, as well as two sequels from Sony, follow-ups to The Smurfs and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

For Turbo, which will be released in theaters July 17, S&S is offering board books; a junior novelization; two 8x8s (one with stickers, one without); a guide format that includes fun facts, trivia, and a story; and a Ready to Read title in both paperback and hardcover, all on-sale now. “We like to cover all the bases with a variety of formats,” said Valerie Garfield, v-p and publisher for novelty and licensed publishing. “We think Turbo will have wide appeal in terms of attracting a family audience.”

The number of titles is in line with a major DreamWorks release, although there are some new formats, including the guide and the hardcover edition of the reader. “In schools and libraries, especially, we’ve gotten some traction on hardcover movie novelizations,” Garfield said.

The lineups for the sequels are similar to the publishing programs for the two originals. Formats for The Smurfs, which go on sale July 9, include a movie novelization, an 8x8 with stickers, a Ready to Read, and a 7x9, 32-page guide called What It Takes to Be a Smurf; the movie is out July 31. (Books based on classic Smurfs, which debuted before the first movie, are still on the market.) Tie-ins for Cloudy 2, with an on-sale date of August 27, formats will include a regular 8x8 and one with stickers, a Ready to Read, and the movie novelization, which was the bestselling format the first time around. The movie will be in theaters a month later.

Penguin, Other Partners Are Sweet on Strawberry Shortcake

American Greetings Properties has renewed its Strawberry Shortcake publishing deal with Penguin, its master trade publisher for more than a decade, as well as its deals with Dalmatian for coloring and activity books and with Bendon for educational and puzzle formats. It also has an ongoing agreement with Phidal for proprietary novelty formats and with Redan for a Strawberry Shortcake magazine, and is adding sound books and paper dolls with Publications International.

For the first time, Penguin will publish e-books based on its print titles – Cupcake Digital has rights for enhanced e-books – as well as an illustrated picture book. “Strawberry has always been a cornerstone of our overall portfolio,” said Lori Burke, Penguin’s director of licensing. “We’re really excited about the level of distribution we have for her. All of our accounts love her, and everyone’s excited to see Strawberry in a picture book format.”

The publisher will continue to add leveled reader, 8x8, and board book titles, including some with seasonal themes. It is also experimenting with new gift book formats, such as a box set containing three books, punch-out cards, a banner to color, and a strawberry-scented marker. “We know lots of retailers are looking to merchandise books in a new way,” Burke said. “This is an example of that. It’s deluxe, but also a great value.”

“Penguin touches readers anywhere from age two to eight and is building out the program across that range,” explained Lindsay Martinez, AGP’s director of licensing and business development. “That helps keep kids into the brand for quite a while.” She reported that publishing is one of property’s four largest categories (along with toys, apparel, and health and beauty).

Burke credits the property’s longevity in part to its cross-generational appeal. “Moms are excited to share Strawberry with their daughters, and publishing is a natural way for them to do that,” she said, adding, “American Greetings manages the brand in a very effective way that helps all of the licensees to be successful in their categories. And they’re rock stars at facilitating that cross-promotional conversation with all of their licensees.”

Wonder-Shirts Joins World of Eric Carle

Wonder-Shirts, a 20-year-old marketer of t-shirts and totes featuring children’s book illustrations, has acquired the rights to The World of Eric Carle, through agent The Joester Loria Group.

“It was a strategic decision,” said co-owner Matthew Mohr of the new license. “It has a very high profile, and we think we can get it into Nordstrom and Macy’s, and bring our other illustrators along for the ride.” Other artists whose images the company licenses include Mo Willems (Pigeon), Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty), Judy Schachner (Skippyjon Jones), and Edward Gorey, among many others. Products are currently sold primarily through gift shops, small bookstores, and catalogs such as Signals and Acorn.

Wonder-Shirts has recently diversified its roster of properties, taking on the Downton Abbey license last year. “The success of that license allowed us to get Eric Carle,” explained Mohr. He, along with his licensing consultant, Betty Lyke of Lyke Licensing Consulting, will be at Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas this month to assess the potential of additional properties. “We might find another lighting-strikes property like Downton Abbey that fits our demographic,” Mohr says. “But reading is our theme and driving force.”

Target Features DC’s New 52

DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products have partnered with Target for a summer collection of Justice League merchandise inspired by the redesigned artwork from DC’s relaunch of its 52 No. 1 issues under the “DC Comics – The New 52” umbrella. The publishing venture began in 2011 and features new characters, storylines, and costumes.

Fifty exclusive summer items, ranging from stationery and home goods to sporting goods and lawn and garden items, will sport contemporary and vintage looks inspired by The New 52. Products such as an apron that transforms the cook into Batman, toys that allow sand sculptors to recreate Gotham City at the beach, and beach towels that double as capes are available in all U.S. Target stores and on Target.com. The retailer will also carry traditional and non-exclusive Justice League products in 20 categories.

Separately, WBCP is planning a yearlong celebration of the 75th anniversary of Superman, which began with the release of The Man of Steel feature film June 13. The initiative will include a new logo and a range of anniversary products.

In Brief

Knockout Licensing is now representing Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty for licensing globally.... King Features has assumed licensing responsibilities for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Products based on the property, including a line of foods introduced last year by Daymon Worldwide, generated $200 million at retail in 2012... Hodder Children’s Books debuted four titles in the U.K. tied to the design brand My Cat Pip, licensed by Over the Moon and its agent JELC.... Where’s Waldo?, licensed by DreamWorks Classic, has become the official family ambassador of New York City, through a deal with NYC & Company.... Parragon has signed with Outfit 7 and Beanstalk to publish an annual in the U.K. tied to the mobile app Talking Friends.... Nelvana has started production on a 3D-animated TV series for preschool boys based on Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown books, published by Simon & Schuster. The series been sold to Canada’s Treehouse channel.... DC Thomson comic properties The Dandy and The Beano, which include characters such as Dennis the Menace (British version), Lord Snooty, and Minnie the Minx, and are classics in the U.K., will be featured on a line of nightwear from Poetic Gem.... P’kolino has launched its latest Color Like An Artist title under the Romero Britto license, which includes coloring and activity books as well as art supplies and floor puzzles.... Lawless Entertainment has licensed Skyreader Media and Premier Digital Publishing for global print and digital titles tied to the animation property The Wompkees, starting with four e-books this August.... Joester-Loria Group has signed Jaxxwear for infant apparel and accessories and Creative Baby for infant and toddler furniture based on The World of Eric Carle.... Carlton Books is creating augmented reality books for tablets and smartphones based on Thomas & Friends, under license from Mattel division Hit Entertainment.