We have a lot to cover this week after missing one, so here goes: a new series of children's picture books by Patrick McDonnell, creator of the Mutts comic strip, was won at auction by Amy Hsu at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The first of them is The Gift of Nothing, for next fall, a story about the nature of giving that is designed to appeal to all ages. It was a world rights deal brokered by Henry Dunow at Carlson & Dunow.... Susanna Porter at Random bought a new novel by Mary Doria Russell (The Sparrow) called Dreamers of the Day, a mix of fiction and history set around the end of WWI. Agent Jane Dystel made the world rights deal, just before publication of the author's latest, A Thread of Grace .... A dual portrait of Gandhi and Churchill and their often strained relationship over more than 50 years, by Arthur Herman author of To Rule the Waves, was bought for Bantam by John Flicker. It was a world rights deal with Glen Hartley at Writers Representatives.... At Berkley, Denise Silvestro bought Shut Up and Eat! by Tony Lip and Steven Prigge, about a group of Italian-American celebrities in Hollywood and their eating likes and dislikes. Some of those involved include Danny Aiello, Lorraine Bracco, James Gandolfini and Robert Loggia, and the world rights deal was signed with Ron Band and Mitch Ducksworth at Northeast Media Group, for publication in the fall.... The first deal signed by Walker's George Gibson since the company's acquisition by Bloomsbury was of The Phoenix, a book about the reconstruction of London after the Great Fire of 1666, starring a lustrous group including Christopher Wren, John Locke and Robert Evelyn. The book, by former Fourth Estate editor Leo Hollis, was bought for U.S. rights in a deal made by Emma Parry at Fletcher & Parry.... Kelley Ragland at St. Martin's/Minotaur paid six figures for three thrillers by Lori B. Andrews, an expert on law and genetics, starring a Washington-based geneticist. The North American and audio deal was signed with Katharine Cluverius at ICM.... A new three-book deal for the prolific M.J. Rose was signed by agent Loretta Barrett with Mira books for three paranormal thrillers; meanwhile, Rose's three Butterfield Institute books, about a sex therapist, made sales in Japan and Russia.