Puffin will publish Ambrose Follows His Nose, a new title from Dick King-Smith which was discovered as a partial manuscript by the author's family and completed by his great-granddaughter Josie Rogers.
Aimed at readers aged five plus, Ambrose Follows His Nose is the story of the friendship between Biddy, a young girl, and Ambrose, a rabbit with a super sense of smell. It will be published on 3rd March 2022 ahead of the centenary of King-Smith's birth on 27th March and will be illustrated by Steph Laberis.
Kelly Hurst, editorial director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for the title from Millie Hoskins and Caradoc King at United Agents. World rights for Laberis' illustrations were acquired by senior designer Alice Todd from Robyn Newton at the Bright Agency.
Hurst said: "Puffin are proud to publish many of Dick King-Smith’s best-loved books and we are so delighted to be adding this wonderful undiscovered story to the collection. Ambrose Follows His Nose is an instant classic – full of Dick’s trademark animals, warmth and humour – and it has been brilliantly concluded by Josie Rogers, who clearly has Dick’s storytelling genes! We know the book will appeal to his many fans while also captivating the hearts of a new generation of readers and we are so thrilled to be publishing it to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Dick King-Smith’s birth."
Rogers, (who is pictured, right, as a child with King-Smith, his grandson Tom Fisher and King Smith's daughter Liz Rose), commented: "Working on Ambrose Follows His Nose has been an amazing experience – although Grampa Dick always encouraged me to write I never thought I’d get the chance to collaborate with him! The prospect was somewhat daunting but being able to finish the story he started so long ago has been a true joy. I can’t wait to share it with readers all over the world and I know he'd be proud to see me following in his footsteps. I don’t think it’s exactly what Grampa Dick would have written but I think he’d like it. More importantly I think it would make him laugh."
Laberis added: "As an animal lover I jumped at the chance to work on a Dick King-Smith book. Creating the animals and countryside that are so intrinsic to Ambrose Follows His Nose was a real joy. It’s an honour to get to work on this title with Josie and to be part of the centenary celebrations."
King-Smith wrote around 130 children's books including The Sheep-Pig (Gollancz), which was adapted into 1995 film "Babe", as well as The Queen's Nose (Gollancz), which was adapted into a BBC series of the same name in 1995. In 2010 he was awarded an OBE for services to children's literature and he died the following year at the age of 88.