Oxford University Press has signed husband-and-wife team Naomi and James Jones' debut picture book in a five-figure deal.
Commissioning editor Pete Marley bought world rights to The Perfect Fit from Anwen Hooson at Bird Literary Agency. The Perfect Fit will be published in the UK in the summer of 2020.
Described by Marley as "irresistibly charming", The Perfect Fit follows the story of a triangle trying to find its place in the world.
Marley said: “Clever, stylish and fun, our whole team fell in love with The Perfect Fit as soon as they saw it. It’s irresistibly charming, and young children just beginning to recognise and enjoy playing with shapes will be instantly intrigued by the story. Furthermore, it also contains such an important message about diversity and integrating with people from different backgrounds.”
Naomi Jones (née Cartwright) worked in children’s publishing for seven years – at Puffin, Orion, and most recently as rights manager at Hachette Children’s Group. As well as now being a full-time mum to her and James’ two young boys, she is as a freelance industry editor, and is also the children’s books reviewer for the popular blog Mini Travellers. The couple met whilst working at Orion.
She said: "We’re both thrilled to launch our debut with OUP, who’ve been brilliant to work with. It's always been my dream to have a picture book published, and it’s the icing on the cake that it’s been such a family affair, with James bringing my characters to life, and the idea itself stemming from watching our eldest son trying to make friends at nursery.”
James Jones, named a Bookseller Rising Star in 2014, is an award-winning designer who freelances for publishers all over the world. As well as working at Orion, he was part of the Vintage design team, was art director at Oneworld, and is currently art director for non-fiction at Head of Zeus.
He added: “I really enjoyed working on my first picture book and I’m already planning the illustrations for our second title, The Odd Fish, in which a band of sea creatures try and reunite a plastic bottle with its ‘family’. We’re lucky to have a constant source of inspiration in the boys – from thinking about the challenges they face, to watching them play. Sometimes they even have requests – they’ve just asked us to do something about daredevil toys, so the cogs are already turning on Stunt Teddies!”