Entertainment One Family (eOne) has signed its first U.S. publishing deals, with Scholastic and Candlewick, for Peppa Pig, an animated TV series for preschoolers. In the U.K., where the show has been on the air for seven years, merchandise sales from 63 licensees—including Penguin U.K. and its Ladybird imprint—exceed £200 million ($310 million) per year at retail. The TV series launched on Nick Jr. in the U.S. in February 2011.
Scholastic will launch a 9x9 paper-over-board storybook with a glitter cover, The Story of Peppa Pig, in fall 2012, and the following summer, a paperback 8x8, Class Trip, and a sticker-storybook, Peppa Pig: Fun with Friends. “I’ve been tracking Peppa for a long time,” says Debra Dorfman, Scholastic’s v-p and publisher, paperbacks, nonfiction, and licensed publishing. “We had to wait until there was a broadcast partner in the U.S. I think the characters will be recognized by the time the books come out. But this is so cute, I think it could stand alone even without the broadcast.”
Meanwhile, Candlewick holds rights to hardcover jacketed picture books and premium novelty books. It will start with Peppa Pig and the Lost Christmas List in fall 2012, followed by Peppa Pig and the Muddy Puddles and Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School in spring 2013. “It’s verypicture-booky,” says Joan Powers, Candlewick’s editor-at-large, of the property. “[Peppa] looked like she stepped out of a picture book.” In addition, the variety of settings, from school to countryside, and of characters, from friends to grandparents to a little brother who loves dinosaurs, was appealing, as was the track record of the property in Britain. “If we do half the volume they’ve done in the U.K., we’ll be happy,” she adds.
The books are likely to attract both boy and girl readers. “She’s a pig and she’s pink, but she’s adventurous and she’s not a girly-girl,” Powers says.
Dorfman agrees, noting that it’s unusual for a TV property to have that boy-girl crossover. “I think it will have longevity,” she adds. “It’s very sweet, and it’s one of those properties where there’s an opportunity for it to become an evergreen.”
The initial book titles will be introduced concurrently with the first toys from Fisher-Price and DVDs from eOne, which will launch exclusively at Toys R Us.