Macmillan Children’s Books has signed illustrator David Tazzyman to its list for his début middle grade fiction series and a new picture book.
All projects were bought with world rights from Jodie Hodges at United Agents. At MCB, the illustrated fiction deal was negotiated by Lucy Pearse, senior commissioning editor for fiction, and art director Rachel Vale. The picture book agreement was made by Veronique Watt, senior editor for picture books.
The Orphans of St Halibut’s, launching in October 2020, is a fiction series written by Sophie Wills and tells the story of a group of hapless orphans who suddenly find themselves without any adults to keep them under control. The publisher explained: “As they are pulled into a gothic mystery, a series of increasingly hilarious mishaps ensue."
Wills was a winner of the 2012 Mumsnet Bedtime Story Prize, judged by Michael Rosen, and this is her first novel. Pearse bought world rights in two novels, including e-book and audio, from Kate Shaw at the Shaw Agency.
The Pet: Cautionary Tales for Parents and Children follows in spring 2021, written by Catherine Emmett. It is her second picture book and follows the "extremely spoilt" Digby David and his long-suffering father on a hunt for the perfect pet. The bigger the pets become, the more dangerous they are, and eventually Digby David meets his match.
Two picture book texts by were bought from Alice Sutherland-Hawes at Madeleine Milburn. MCB has world rights and will be presenting the book at the Frankfurt Book Fair this autumn.
Tazzyman is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning illustrator. He illustrated Andy Stanton’s Mr Gum series (Egmont), which went on to win numerous awards, including the first Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and he has illustrated many children’s picture books, including You Can’t Take an Elephant on a Bus (Bloomsbury).
He said: “I’m really excited to be joining Macmillan’s fiction and picture book lists, and even more so to be working with these two exciting new authors. The Orphans of St Halibut’s is a wonderful story full of gothic humour, which appeals to me hugely, and The Pet: Cautionary Tales for Parents and Children simply had me laughing out loud. I can’t wait to get started!”
Sam Smith, publisher for fiction, non-fiction and picture books at MCB, said: “David was our number one choice for both of these projects. We couldn’t be more delighted that he has agreed to work on them and are proud to welcome him to Macmillan Children’s Books. Sophie and Catherine’s stories are both as funny, irreverent and gothic as David’s artwork. We know they will be the perfect match, with story and illustration working together to draw readers into a naughty world where children gently poke fun at the adults around them.”