Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown is beginning a new fiction series aimed at readers aged 7+ and set in the Stone Age for Bonnier Books' Piccadilly Press.
Felicity Alexander, senior commissioning editor for Piccadilly Press, acquired world rights for two books in the new two-colour series from Caroline Walsh at David Higham Associates.
Nell and the Cave Bear will be the first in the series, featuring a Stone Age girl, Nell, and her pet Cave Bear. When Nell learns that her clan are planning to give her beloved Cave Bear away to the visiting Sea Clan, she sets out on a journey to save him. It is pitched as having "the classic appeal of Winnie-the-Pooh" while being full of the author's "inimitable humour" as a "wise and entertaining tale" for chapter-book readers.
Brown will write and illustrate the books, with the first slated for July 2021. A second book in the series will be published in 2022.
Alexander said: "I was absolutely captivated by Martin’s storytelling. Nell and the Cave Bear is a wonderful blend of wisdom, humour and adventure – with a richly drawn prehistoric setting and a characterful trio of girl, bear and kitten that you can’t help but root for. It’s timeless, gripping and full of heart."
Brown added: "I’m thrilled to be working with Felicity and Bonnier Books UK. This fiction thing is a bit new for me so it’s good to know I’ll be in the safest of hands. Actually, Nell and the Cave Bear began as an idea for a non-fiction book – ages ago – but the narrative line running through it took over. Nell’s adventure morphed into a picture book and then into a chapter book. That’s the thing with stories, sometimes they won't let go. Over the years I’ve learned that horrible history has great tales to tell – I hope the same goes for pre-history."