Hachette will publish a children's book by Dermot O’Leary about a Ninja Cat called Toto.
The title will be the X Factor presenter’s first work for children and will be published by the Hodder Children’s Books imprint.
World rights excluding US and Canada for a two book-deal were acquired by Sarah Lambert, fiction editorial director, Hodder Children’s Books from Jonny Wilkinson at John Noel Management.
Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape will be published on 21st September. It features Toto the cat and her brother Silver, who live in a town house in London. Toto is almost totally blind, and learned to trust her senses from a ninja cat master back in Italy where they were born. By day, Toto and Silver are ordinary cats, but by night, they find themselves having all kinds of adventures.The book will be illustrated by Nick East.
Lambert said: “We are thrilled to welcome such a prestigious and well-loved talent to the Hachette Children’s Group. Dermot’s warm and winning personality shines through in his debut children’s book, which he wrote after being inspired by his real-life rescue cat. Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape is a funny, adventure-filled story, purrrfect for young readers. With gentle themes of friendship, inclusivity and winning in the face of adversity, this is a hilarious must-read for all animal-loving seven to nine year-olds. The book will be illustrated throughout with beautiful black and white line drawings from Nick East.”
O’Leary said: “The idea for Toto first came to me when my wife and I rescued two stray cats from an olive grove in Italy. One of them, Toto, has been blind from birth, but we quickly realised she had ninja like reactions.Like a lot of cat owners (or cat servants), we like to imagine our pets having secret lives when we're out or asleep. So before I knew it I was writing about Toto and her brother, Silver's nocturnal adventures around London. I'm from a big reading family and children’s books were a massive part of my upbringing. I wanted to write a book that my niece Josette, who is addicted to reading, would love. I really hope that Josette, and all children who pick it up, enjoy reading the adventures of a little Italian underdog (cat). I'm thrilled that Nick has agreed to illustrate the book and I can't wait for Toto, Silver and the rest of the characters come to life in print, in London Town."
East said: "I am hugely proud and excited to be illustrating Dermot’s new Toto the Ninja Cat series. His text is so vivid and humorously imagined - I cannot wait to get stuck in.”
Hodder & Stoughton published O' Leary's memoir in 2014.