Penguin Random House Children's is to launch a programme of commemorative publishing next year, in celebration of the 120th anniversary of Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
PRH imprint Frederick Warne & Co was Potter's original publisher and released The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902. As part of a huge campaign, the original tale will be released in March 2022 as a picture book, featuring Potter's original text and illustrations. The book will be backed by a marketing and publicity campaign, including a "Welcome to the World" initiative that will gift 120 copies of the picture book to new families across the UK.
The Owned Brands team at Penguin Random House Children’s will be paying tribute to Potter's legacy, in addition to honing in on Peter Rabbit’s "trademark mischievousness". In his role as children’s ambassador for the Queen’s Green Canopy, a tree planting initiative launched for the monarch's platinum jubilee, the campaign will be supporting tree planting schemes throughout the year, while celebratory picnics for Peter will take place during the summer, supported by key partners and at locations throughout the UK.
“With an incredible legacy that has endured since 1902, we wanted to use this milestone for the brand to celebrate Peter Rabbit’s continued relevance and resonance with today’s families," said Izzy Richardson, global Owned Brands director at PRH Children’s.
"Our ambitious, year-long series of birthday celebrations will enable us to connect parents, young children and fans with The World of Peter Rabbit, helping to continue Beatrix Potter’s legacy for a new generation. Through new immersive experiences, digital and social content, consumer products and publishing, everyone is invited to celebrate with Peter in 2022.”
Penguin Ventures, the licensing team at PRH Children's, will be growing a number of existing product ranges throughout 2022 in the UK, including new apparel collections with expanded retail placement from Dennicci, as well as new gardening lines from Jardinopia.
In addition, homeware brand DNC will launch picnicware and online retailer My First Years is signed for personalised infant products. A number of special commemorative ranges will also launch.
Penguin Ventures has also confirmed a programme of experiences in the UK, offering families immersive events throughout the year. A Peter Rabbit Story Time Trail will launch in March, and tour libraries and gallery spaces across the country, with venues booked up until July 2023.
Meanwhile, the first Peter Rabbit-themed entertainment parties will launch in 2022, in a new deal with children’s party entertainers Captain Fantastic, combining party games, magic and plenty of Peter Rabbit’s trademark mischief.
"Happy Birthday Peter Rabbit", a new stage production, will be launching at the World of Beatrix Potter attraction in the Lake District next summer. The show encompasses music, puppetry and live action experiences.
Susan Bolsover, global licensing and consumer products director at Penguin Ventures, said: “The birthday moment presents a fantastic opportunity for both our existing licensees as well as new partners in the UK and other key international territories. We have been delighted with the way in which licensees, promotional partners and retailers are supporting this milestone moment helping create memories for existing and new Peter Rabbit fans alike be that through products, experiences or events and there is much more to look out for in 2022."
Outside the UK, celebrations will include a major touring exhibition of Potter’s original Peter Rabbit artwork in Japan with exhibition partner Toei, marking the first time the collection will have left the UK. The exhibition will tour three major cities from March through to November and is expected to attract more than 160,000 visitors, supported by a national media campaign.
Additionally, a new permanent Peter Rabbit English Garden will open at Fuji Motosuko Resort in a deal brokered by Sony Creative Products with Fujikyuko Co Ltd. The attraction will include a café, shop and museum. A new Japanese publishing partner, Hayakawa, has also been confirmed.
In Australia, a collectable 120th anniversary stamp pack will be produced by Australia Post and consist of 12 commemorative stamps. The pack will be available in roughly 1,000 Australia Post stores across the country. In addition, Jasnor will be launching a range of a special edition Peter Rabbit plush products to commemorate the anniversary.