Candlewick Trots into Teen Market with ‘Ride’

Candlewick Entertainment, an imprint of Candlewick Press, has acquired world rights to three novels tied to Ride, a daily live-action TV series that debuted on Nickelodeon in the U.S. on January 30. Candlewick acquired the license from Breakthrough Entertainment, the production company behind the show.

The series is about an American teen, Kit Bridges, who moves to England after her father takes a job teaching at an exclusive British equestrian school, the Covington Academy. “This is a departure for us, since it’s our first foray into teenage material,” says Joan Powers, group editorial director for Candlewick Entertainment and Walker Entertainment.

Candlewick’s editorial team was drawn to the exotic location and multicultural cast, as well as fun and funny stories that are infused with real-life issues. “It has all the classic elements—mean girls, cute boys, relationship drama—but it also deals with serious themes like the recent death of Kit’s mother and moving to a foreign country,” Powers says.

The first novel, Ride: Kit Meets Covington, will launch in September 2017, with two more titles set for March and May 2018. Three are planned annually going forward under the multi-year agreement. All of the books, authored by tie-in veteran Bobbi JG Weiss, will be derived from the television scripts; the inaugural book covers the first five episodes. Kit Meets Covington will also include a bonus eight-page full-color insert featuring stills from the series.

Ride has been a hit in Canada, where it premiered on YTV on September 5 of last year, and the U.K., where it launched on November 7 on Nickelodeon.

Random House Expands Trolls for 2017

Last season Random House launched 13 titles tied to DreamWorks Animation’s movie Trolls, which premiered in November. “That’s a good size for a movie program,” says Chris Angelilli, v-p and editor-in-chief, executive director, licensed publishing, Random House/Golden Books Young Readers Group. The launch list included a prequel middle-grade chapter book starring Harper, a character that appears briefly in the movie, as well as formats tying into the colorful look and feel of the film. The latter include an activity journal with bright-hued hair sprouting out of the cover and an activity book packaged with a rainbow pencil.

Among the additional tie-ins planned for 2017 is an original early chapter book series, with each novel featuring a different main or secondary character.

Angelilli says that Trolls appealed to Random House as a familiar classic property with a modern spin. “They created a whole new mythology around it,” he says. “As DreamWorks’ publishing partner, we’re delighted to help expand that mythology.” DreamWorks’ plan for turning Trolls into an ongoing franchise was also attractive, as was a good experience working with DreamWorks in the past on Mr. Peabody & Sherman. “And Trolls are cute, and they have great hair,” Angelilli adds.

More American Girl Nonfiction from DK

In September, DK launched the first two titles under its new North American license with Mattel and the toy maker’s American Girl division for a series of nonfiction books. The American Girl Ultimate Visual Guide and The American Girl Ultimate Sticker Collection marry two of DK’s core formats with the characters and historical content of American Girl.

Julie Ferris, publisher of DK Licensing, says the company had been thinking about the brand for some time. When her team approached American Girl via Mattel, the timing was good because American Girl was newly open to working with other publishers through licensing deals, rather than maintaining its publishing program in-house. (In July 2016, American Girl licensed Scholastic for a full program of print and digital fiction formats—which debuted this month—marking the first time it licensed rights to an outside company for books based on its brand.)

Three more DK titles are planned for 2017, including a dress-up sticker book and The Story of America. The latter “uses the historic dolls to provide a glimpse into key moments of American history and what it would have been like to grow up in each period,” Ferris explains. An American Girl Character Encyclopedia will follow in July, offering facts about every doll along with pets, pastimes, hobbies, vehicles, and more. Future publishing will focus both on more books in DK’s classic formats, as well as new nonfiction formats.

Joe Books Signs with Hachette Book Group for Trade Distribution

Joe Books launched into kids’ publishing in 2014 with a Disney-licensed Frozen Cinestory Comic Book and has never looked back. In July, Hachette will take over trade distribution for the company, with Diamond continuing as its distributor into the comic book direct market.

Joe Books was founded by executives from the film and music industries and had published some entertainment-related e-books before the opportunity arose to publish Disney comics in North America. “That dramatically changed things,” says Steve Osgoode, president of Joe Books. “It catapulted Joe Books to a very different place.”

Cinestory Comic Books, which are comic book-style stories built around high-definition movie stills, remain the company’s best-known format. Joe Books publishes comic books and graphic novel bind-ups, as well as Cinestory books, for a variety of Disney properties (including The Descendants, its bestseller), and produces tie-ins for Marvel and DreamWorks Animation. A new series of books with Lucasfilm, based on the Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels, launches this quarter.

Fuller Brush Adds Licensee Publications International

Publications International has signed a deal with the Fuller Brush Co. for three books that feature household tips for housekeeping, kitchen and bath, and laundry, respectively. The books will release on June 1 and will be sold through Fuller Brush’s direct sales and e-commerce channels, as well as through traditional trade book channels.

Fuller’s licensing agent Alex Meisel, president of Alex Meisel & Co., notes that the books will help support the company’s branding and licensing efforts, as well as assisting it in expanding its customer base. “Fuller Brush has 85% brand recognition among boomers and up, and we’re reaching out to that demographic,” he says. “But the books will help us reach out to younger consumers as well.”

Fuller Brush launched in 1906 and became a leader in door-to-door sales of household products. New ownership came on board in 2013 and has been rejuvenating the brand. A licensing program launched three years ago, with a focus on categories that complement the company’s marketing tagline, “Live Fuller.” In addition to Publications International, licensees have been signed for vacuums, floor sweepers, bath and kitchen accessories, step stools, greenhouses, and debit cards, with future plans ranging from air and water filtration systems and dietary supplements to cooking products and personal care items.

In Brief

Publishers included on Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ list of licensees for The Lego Batman Movie include DK, Scholastic, Ameet, and Blue Ocean. Together they will release 21 titles.... Phoenix International launched its first books under the Encyclopaedia Britannica Kids brand, focused on preschoolers. The first seven titles include a listen-and-learn board book, a look-and-find title, and a boxed book-and-plush set, among others.... Insight Editions published Adventure Time: The Official Cookbook, which features in-world elements; the title is distributed by Simon & Schuster and produced under license from Cartoon Network.... Skyhorse Publishing debuted two trade paperback tie-in novels to History’s military drama Six, licensed by A+E Networks.... JLK Brand is the new licensing agent for author-illustrator Sandra Magsamen’s lifestyle brand. Her publishers include Scholastic for novelty books and Sourcebooks for picture and personalized books.... Valiant Entertainment licensed Big Viking Games to create mobile games based on its 2,000 characters, in a five-year deal.... Dark Horse is publishing a digital comic book tied to Conan Exiles, a digital game, under license from Funcom, and a digital comic tied to another game, Galaxy on Fire 3 – Manticore, under license from Deep Silver Fishlabs.