There were big deals on both sides of the Atlantic for children's books last week—neither of them for fantasy series, the usual large sellers in the field. Alix Reid, editorial director at HarperCollins Children's Books, made a big pre-empt for a six-book historical series by British novelist Michelle Paver, making her debut as a writer for kids. The series is called Chronicles of Ancient Darkness and might be described as a prehistorical, set in 4000 B.C. and starring a 12-year-old boy and his companion wolf. U.S. rights were bought from Fiona Kennedy at Orion in London, who has world rights and will be selling them at Frankfurt. The first volume, Wolf Brother, will appear in spring 2005.

Also in London, agent Darley Anderson, who normally handles only adult books (Lee Child is one of his authors), took on a book that came in over the transom by Scottish teacher Cathy Cassidy and quickly whipped up an auction among enthusiastic children's publishers there. In the end the book, Dizzy, about a girl with a runaway mother, was won for a mid-six-figure bid for British and Commonwealth rights to two books by Puffin fiction publisher Rebecca McNally. The book will be a paperback original next summer, with the second book, Indigo Blue, to follow.