Puffin has picked up Welcome to the World, a “tender and lyrical picture book” from Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury.
Editorial director Anna Barnes Robinson bought world rights in Donaldson’s text from Caroline Sheldon at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency Ltd, with deputy art director Clare Doughty commissioning illustrations from Helen Oxenbury directly. Editorial director Andrea MacDonald will edit, for publication in hardback on 28th April 2022.
Introduced later today (19th April) to an audience of international publishers and scouts at the PRH Children’s virtual spring picture book showcase, Welcome to the World is a “joyful" poem that explores new senses, people, places and experiences that babies and young children are having for the very first time.
Puffin said: “Revisiting the very special picture book pairing first seen in The Giant Jumperee, comes a magical, lyrical celebration of babies’ first experiences. From the comfort of home to the adventure of the great outdoors, from family to first encounters with nature, Welcome to the World revels in the joy that comes with sharing this new world with children, and seeing it through their eyes. Throughout, readers are treated to Oxenbury’s beautiful illustrations, which perfectly capture babies’ first experiences. From joy to exasperation, to wonder and amazement, parents and guardians will be able to relate to each of these small moments; everyday moments that are given just as much importance as the more monumental milestones in a baby’s life. Coupled with Donaldson’s perfectly pitched text and trademark rhyme, this picture book from two beloved creators is the perfect read-aloud story, and is set to become a modern classic.”
Donaldson said: “I was signing books and wrote Welcome to the World as a message for an unborn child when the idea for this book took hold of me and would not let go. Immediately I thought of Helen, as I love her artwork and no one else can draw babies as well as she does—and not just babies, but mums and dads, grannies and grandpas, brothers and sisters, cats and dogs and all the other people, animals and things that I've written about in my poem. I am incredibly excited to see how she has interpreted my words and cannot wait to see the finished book."
Oxenbury added: “When I read Julia's wonderful uplifting poem, I was left in no doubt that this was exactly what the world needed now. A celebration of all the good and wonderful things we are surrounded by, especially the world of little children.”
Between them, the pair have published more than 300 books and won more than 30 awards. Millions of Julia Donaldson books have been sold worldwide, according to the publisher, and The Gruffalo (Macmillan Children's Books) has been translated into over 100 languages.
MacDonald said: "Welcome to the World is set to be a truly special book. Julia’s beautiful rhymes coupled with Helen’s emotive illustrations: this really is a match made in picture-book heaven, and a book filled with love and celebration of the joy of introducing a child to the world around them.”