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Publishers Weekly Children's Features

Children's Bookbag
-- 5/25/98
Pippi Sailes Onto HBO
Pippi Longstocking, the rambunctious nine-year-old heroine of the classic books by Astrid Lindgren, will star in a new 26-part animated series on Home Box Office beginning July 4. The spunky girl known for her bravery, super-human strength and bright red pigtails keeps things lively in her Swedish town, where she often finds herself in such adventures as capturing crooks or taking a hot-air balloon flight. The program is aimed at seven-to-12-year-olds and is produced by Nelvana Limited (also producers of HBO's animated Babar series, among other kids' programs) in partnership with three companies. The 30-minute episodes are scheduled to air on Saturdays and Sundays at 7 a.m. ET/PT.
Scholastic to Release Special Megamorphs Edition
Next month, Scholastic will release Megamorphs #2: In the Time Of the Dinosaurs with six different cover images. Each version of the book's cover will be printed a different color and feature a different character inside. Explaining the decision to do multiple covers, publisher Jean Feiwel said, "There's no doubt that a driving force behind the success of Animorphs is because kids identify with the characters. The cover [of last summer's Megamorphs #1] had all the characters' faces in half-morph. The response was terrific, and for this summer's Megamorphs, associate art director Karen Hudson came up with the idea of featuring each of the six different characters."

Feiwel also reported that the multiple covers will be for the first printing only. "The second printing will have a cover that combines all the faces," she said. The company produced a display center designed to resemble a school locker, with a 3-D header, which will hold 48 copies of the book (six of each edition) and will ship with a free giant-sized poster.

What's in a Name?
When the recently merged Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers Group moved into its new digs in lower Manhattan last month, employees were greeted by more than a beautiful view. The children's division was also happy to discover that each of its six conference rooms (on various floors) had been named for a beloved children's author published by the company. "In the old building everything was known by number and it was difficult to remember which room was which," said Viking Children's Books president and publisher Regina Hayes. "This is much easier, and much more pleasing."

According to Hayes, children's group president Doug Whiteman simplified things by not opening the decision to a vote, but by selecting the room names himself based on these criteria: the author must be deceased, and each of the children's imprints -- Viking, Dial, Putnam, Dutton, Frederick Warne and Grosset &Dunlap -- must be represented. The new conference rooms are: the (Beatrix) Potter Room, the (Washington) Irving Room, the (Ludwig) Bemelmans Room, the (James) Marshall Room, the (A.A.) Milne Room and the (Watty) Piper Room.

Jellybeans from Random House
This July Random House Children's Publishing will launch a line of inexpensive hardcover books -- priced at $1.99 -- under the Jellybean Books imprint. Kicking off the program are 12 titles featuring familiar characters from other Random House formats, such as the Sesame Street gang, the Berenstain Bears and Thomas the Tank Engine. Among the first titles are Babe: Looking for Dash, Breakfast Time for Thomas, The Snowman's Song and Richard Scarry's Little Counting Book.
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