Simon & Schuster Children’s Books is to launch of a new picture book series from author and illustrator team Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet.
I Spy Island is the first in a new series featuring characters Glove, Bottle, Bird, Banana and a different mystery guest who washes up on the island to trigger each new adventure. Helen Mackenzie Smith, newly appointed picture books publisher, acquired world rights in the series directly from the authors. The book will be released on 8th July.
This year is set to be the duo's biggest yet, with five books slated for publication, including two new Supertato standalone stories, a new sticker book, and a 10th anniversary edition of Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell, in addition to the new series.
Mackenzie Smith said of the project: "Getting to work with Sue and Paul is a complete dream, so getting to develop a brand-new picture book series with them is a properly ‘pinch-me’ moment. I cannot wait for young readers to meet Island and pals in this pure shot of sunshine in picture book form!"
Hendra and Linnet’s total sales stand at over two million copies, with their sales in 2020 increasing 57% year on year, according to the publisher. It was also the year that their World Book Day title, Supertato: Books are Rubbish, soared to the top of the overall UK charts on publication. They have sold 1.9 million books for £7.6m altogether, with Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell their bestseller on 203,242 copies sold, through Nielsen BookScan Total Consumer Market.
The duo said: "We had been working hard making books, when one day Paul said: ‘We should go on holiday!’. I thought: 'What a marvellous idea! But wouldn’t it be great if everyone could come with us?’. So, if you fancy a break, to sit in the sun and be with friends, then come to I Spy Island and get the sand between your toes. We hope you enjoy our new tale of fun, friendship and sunshine — we certainly enjoyed making it!"