Macmillan Children’s Books has scooped a second Christmas "Winston" title from Alex T Smith and signed a deal for screen rights.
Editorial director Gaby Morgan bought world rights from Tamlyn Francis at Arena Illustration Ltd. The new story, How Winston Came Home for Christmas, will publish in autumn 2021.
It follows on from the success of 2018's How Winston Delivered Christmas (MCB) about a plucky, homeless young mouse.
In the new book, Winston sets off to find his family but discovers that home is not quite where he expects it to be. “With gorgeous illustrations throughout, daily craft ideas and with its message about small acts of kindness and looking after one another, this is another heart-warming story about the ‘real’ values of the festive season”, the publisher said.
MCB and independent production house Kelebek Media, founded by creative entrepreneur Deborah Thorpe, have also completed a deal for the rights to both Winston titles, to develop as specials and series. Michele Young, rights director at MCB negotiated the deal on behalf of the company and Smith.
Rob Minkoff is already on board as director and will also produce alongside Kelebek’s Thorpe. Minkoff directed the original and much loved Disney animated classic “The Lion King” as well as “Stuart Little”.
Smith said: “I am so delighted to be working with Kelebek Media on bringing How Winston Delivered Christmas to the screen. Winston and his kindness and bravery mean so much to me and I have been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to the book over the past few Christmases since it was published. I am thrilled by this new opportunity and can’t wait for readers to see Winston come to life in this beautifully animated adventure."
Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, publisher at MCB, added:“We are really excited about both these big pieces of news coming together. We are delighted to be working with Kelebek Media on these Alex T Smith projects. They are an amazing team and have such a great reputation in the industry—and this is already proven by Rob Minkoff signing up right at the start. When Alex started talking to us about Winston, we knew we had a classic in the making and to have a second Christmas title is wonderful news. Alex is a wonderful storyteller and his illustrations are second to none. We are very proud to publish him on the MCB list.”