Children's books are increasingly figuring in significant rights deals these days, and the past week brought two exceptional ones: a first book for children (and maybe adults, too) from Elmore Leonard, and a major publisher's buy of a fantasy trilogy by a self-published author, Christopher Paolini, who has just turned 19 years old. It was Leonard's regular editor for Morrow, Harper's Marjorie Braman, along with Morrow publisher Michael Morrison, who bought Leonard's A Coyote's in the House, which Braman said they will publish as a crossover designed to appeal to both kids and their parents.

The book is set in Hollywood and features the author's trademark "sly humor," she added. The U.S. rights deal was made with Jeff Posternak at the Wylie Agency. The book has already sold to Puffin in the U.K.

Meanwhile, Knopf Books for Young Readers took over world rights to Inheritance, a fantasy trilogy begun by Paolini when he was 15, and which started to appear earlier this year in a self-published version financed by his folks. When the first volume, Eragon, began to attract a lot of attention (it has scored dozens of enthusiastic reviews at, for instance), Paolini found an agent, Simon Lipskar at Writers House, who concluded the Knopf deal with Random Children's head Chip Gibson. The first volume will appear next September, edited by Michelle Frey, and the young author is already at work on the second.