Two book franchises for young children are the focus of new licensing efforts. Bookstores are expected to be a key distribution channel for some of these tie-in products, with co-packaging, cross-merchandising and bookstore-related promotions possible.

Guess How Much I Love You, Candlewick's 12-million-copy—selling picture and board book, written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, first published in 1994, is about to extend into apparel, bedding and toys, as well as linking with nonprofit groups for charity tie-ins, according to Rob Mejia of RJM Licensing, the property's licensing agent. Candlewick already produces a full gift line; licensees on board include Peaceable Kingdom (cards), Crocodile Creek (plush), The Art Group (prints), Candemar Designs (craft kits) and Portal (posters).

Tyndale House's inspirational property Little Blessings, targeted to girls ages three to six, is also poised for licensing, with the majority of merchandise expected to be sold through bookstores and the Christian market, said Kimberly Sullivan of licensing agency Z Strategies. The book series, written by Kathleen Long Bostrum and illustrated by Elena Kucharik (of Care Bears fame), launched in 1995 and has 18 titles so far, with 1.3 million copies in print, and more on the way. Tyndale will include a mini-catalogue for Little Blessings books and merchandise in its general catalogue, sent to 25,000 stores.