Happy Fox, a new children’s imprint from Fox Chapel Publishing, was unveiled at last month’s North American International Toy Fair. The East Petersburg, Pa.-based publishing house Fox Chapel, best known for its craft titles, saw an opportunity to expand its publications and appeal to a younger readership.
“In our history, we have always been a publisher of titles that work in the kids’ market, especially in craft categories,” explained v-p of content Christopher Reggio, adding that some of the publisher’s artists are a natural fit for the children’s book market. Reggio is working with Fox Chapel president Alan Giagnocavo, along with a team of editors, to bring the imprint’s books to market.
Having signed on as the books and bound products licensee for the BigFoot series of search-and-find titles at the end of 2017, the company decided to create an imprint for children whose flagship titles reflect this brand. The BigFoot property was developed and licensed by D.L. Miller, a Pennsylvanian artist who, as a child, spent much of his time tracking creatures across the woods and mountains.
The first two releases are BigFoot Visits the Big Cities and BigFoot Goes on Vacation, two seek-and-find books available now that contain 500 characters, fun facts and other educational information about BigFoot’s travels. Two additional titles, BigFoot Goes Back in Time and BigFoot Spotted at World Famous Landmarks, will roll out in the fall. A BigFoot mascot was front and center at Toy Fair, kicking off the show by marching in the annual Toy Fair parade.
In addition to the BigFoot series, Fox Chapel will release three illustrated picture books in July that highlight endangered species and the impact of climate change, along with two animal storybooks featuring color photography. “These stories focus on learning through adventure,” noted Reggio.
To leverage the publisher’s crafting expertise, two hands-on activity books are due this summer. “We have credibility in the crafting space and a reputation for thorough instruction,” Reggio said. Vacation Crafting contains more than 60 projects designed for children ages 5–12, while Once Upon a Paperdoll includes classic fairytale-inspired cardstock dolls that can be dressed in more than 30 different outfits.
The publisher is currently working with Baker & Taylor to market its line and establish a presence with independent booksellers, libraries, and schools. Looking ahead, stores can expect to see a board book release next year and a greater expansion as the imprint adds to its line. “We’re excited to see Happy Fox take off as we continue to grow the brand,” said Reggio.
“Happy Fox books are for children and all of those who enjoy beautifully illustrated books,” said Giagnocavo. “As the name Happy Fox suggests, our books will be fun and created with the purpose of bringing happiness to our readers. The books will educate, excite, and help children understand the world around them.”