Scholastic UK will next year publish The Ugly Five, a new picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Donaldson was inspired to create the story after visiting South Africa, where she saw the ‘big five’ animals – lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalos. However, she was more interested in 'the ugly five’ - the wildebeest, warthog, hyena, lappet-faced vulture and marabou stork - and wrote a story about these animals ‘reclaiming’ their uniqueness.
Alison Green, publisher of Alison Green Books (a Scholastic UK imprint), acquired world rights from Donaldson’s agent, Caroline Sheldon at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency and directly from Scheffler.
Green said: “We are all so excited by Julia Donaldson’s wonderful text for The Ugly Five. It is a gloriously funny celebration of five of the most overlooked and unloved creatures on earth, and is a complete joy to read aloud. Axel Scheffler’s magnificent artwork brings the rhyme to life with so much wit and charm, and his stunning depictions of the landscapes and creatures of South Africa will captivate families all round the world.”
Julia Donaldson is currently the bestselling author in the UK. This year she has sold 1.8m books for £8.7m, across 302 titles, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Scheffler, who had unit sales of 1,680,669 and value sales of £6.5m in 2015, is the second-biggest selling illustrator in the country, coming second to only Tony Ross.
The Ugly Five will publish in hardback in September 2017.