HarperCollins Children's Books has won a three-publisher auction for Einstein the Penguin, the first in a new family fiction series from debut author Iona Rangeley with award-winning illustrator David Tazzyman.
World rights in three books were acquired by Nick Lake, fiction publisher at HarperCollins, from Eve White at the Eve White Literacy Agency, for Rangeley. Jodie Hodges at United Agents represented Tazzyman.
The first book, Einstein the Penguin, will publish in November 2021 in hardback and will be illustrated throughout with Tazzyman’s “inimitable brio and comedy”. It will also get a simultaneous e-book and audio release.
The synopsis explains: “When the Stewarts spend a sunny, frosty December day at London Zoo, they’re enchanted by one small penguin. To the delight of young Imogen and Arthur, Mrs Stewart insists the penguin 'must come and stay with them whenever he likes'. But not one Stewart expects the penguin to turn up at their door that evening. He can’t stay forever, can he…? Perfect for all readers from seven to 70, Einstein the Penguin is a brilliant debut for all the family to enjoy, with pitch-perfect writing, laugh-out-loud humour, and a simply unforgettable new character at its heart.”
Rangeley, who has just finished studying English at Oxford, said: “I’m so happy that Einstein has found his home in HarperCollins Children’s Books. The book was so much fun to write and I’m really excited to be doing three of them! I was an enormous fan of Mr Gum as a child, so when Nick Lake told me that David Tazzyman would be illustrating my books too, I was completely knocked out – a dream come true for my inner eight-year-old."
Tazzyman added: "When I read Iona’s story my imagination was immediately captured by Einstein. The chance to draw a book full of penguins was too good to pass up!"
Lake commented: “In Einstein the Penguin, an unforgettable new character is born. Iona’s pitch-perfect comic writing brings Einstein to life with charm, wit, and warmth – which combines with David Tazzyman’s unique visual flair to create the biggest character launch in young fiction for years. We are so proud to welcome Einstein into our home at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where he follows in the footsteps of many classic characters – and I know he will be treasured in homes all around the world for decades to come.”