Macmillan Children’s Books has bagged a new book in the What the Ladybird Heard series from Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks.
World rights and audio were acquired by Hannah Ray, editorial director for picture books, for Donaldson from Caroline Sheldon at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency, and, for Monks, from Hilary Delamere at The Agency. The fourth instalment in the series, What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside, will be published on 2nd April 2020.
In total, including spin-offs like sticker books, the series has sold 1.58 million copies in the UK through Nielsen, for £7.2m. The original What the Ladybird Heard has sold 661,687 copies since 2010. Macmillan says the first three books have sold 2.5 million copies worldwide and are available in 15 territories, including by Macmillan in the US.
The publisher explained: “In this new, funny rhyming adventure our clever little ladybird is off on a trip to the seaside, but those familiar two bad men, Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len, are also back and they're up to their wicked ways again. This time they're planning to steal the mermaid's luscious long hair. Luckily, the crime-busting ladybird has another cunning plan to stop the thieves! This new book has plenty to look out for with an illustration of Lydia driving through the countryside, while Julia Donaldson and her husband, Malcolm, perform a children’s show on the beach.”
It will be promoted with an extensive consumer-facing marketing campaign including targeted magazine, online and outdoor advertising, and an immersive seaside installation. There will also be activities and events with the Story Museum over the Easter holidays and a performance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside is Donaldson and Monks' 11th picture book together. Their partnership began 16 years ago when they first worked together on Princess Mirror-Belle (Macmillan) in 2003, Donaldson’s fiction series for younger readers.