Simon & Schuster Children’s will publish a new middle grade series written by Steven Butler, with illustrations by Steven Lenton, about a Brighton hotel for magical creatures.
Jane Griffiths, editorial director for children’s fiction at S&S UK, bought world rights for two books by Butler from Rosemary Sandberg at Rosemary Sandberg Ltd. Lenton is represented by Sallyanne Sweeney at MMB Creative.
The first book, The Nothing To See Here Hotel, will publish in paperback in February 2018 and the second in the series is scheduled for autumn 2018.
Originating from a short story that Butler wrote for Holiday Ha Ha Ha! - a middle-grade anthology of humorous fiction published by S&S in 2016 - The Nothing To See Here Hotel follows the adventures of Frankie Bannister whose parents own the UK’s foremost holiday destination for magical creatures on the Brighton seafront.
An S&S spokesperson said: “Packed to the rafters with geriatric mermaids, werepoodles, tooth fairies with terrible dental hygiene, ogres, banshees, a narcoleptic Venus flytrap and ghosts who can’t control their ectoplasmic secretions, it’s up to Frankie and his family to keep the hotel under control.”
Illustration from The Nothing To See Here Hotel © Steven Lenton
Butler said he felt compelled to return to the original short story. He said: “I knew I wasn’t finished with The Nothing To See Here Hotel almost immediately after handing in the short story for Holiday Ha Ha Ha! I felt a real urge to return to it and expand the world and characters into a fully-fleshed series, so I was thrilled when S&S agreed and we got the chaotic ball rolling.”
He added: “It’s rare to get the chance to go creatively wild over a commissioned book but my editor, Jane Griffiths, let me do just that.”
Griffiths said: “The world that Steven created around The Nothing to See Here Hotel was just too good to confine to a short story, so I’m thrilled that we’re now publishing a whole series featuring the wonderful Frankie and all the weird and wonderful clientele of the hotel.” She also described Lenton’s illustrations as the “perfect match” for Butler’s “fun and anarchic writing”.
Butler is the author of the bestselling The Diary Of Dennis The Menace and The Wrong Pong fiction series (both published by Puffin) and hosted the nationwide events for World Book Day’s The Biggest Book Show on Earth.
Lenton is an animator and illustrator best known for his work on Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam series (written by Tracey Corderoy and published by Nosy Crow).