Oxford University Press Children’s Books has inked two deals on the eve of the fair, signing up a new young fiction series from author Gill Lewis and two “Lord of the Rings meets Richard Scarry” picture books from newcomer Matty Long.
Vet-turned-author Lewis’ new series is for ages 5+ about a group of puppies who are learning to become working dogs at the Puppy Academy. Illustrated by Sarah Horne, the first in the four-book deal, Scout and the Sausage Thief, will be published in the UK in July 2015.
Liz Cross, head of publishing at OUP Children’s Books, acquired world rights from Victoria Birkett of the Miles Stott Children’s Literary Agency. Cross said: “Gill’s expert knowledge and love of animals combined with her warmth, humour and story-telling ability will make these books incredibly appealing to children.”
Meanwhile, OUP picture book commissioning editor Peter Marley snapped up world rights to Super Happy Magic Forest, Long’s “Tolkien for toddlers” tale of Herbert the gnome, Hoofius the faun and Trevor the mushroom, embarking on an epic quest to save the titular forest from evil.
Marley said: “Long’s combination of unforgettable characters, detailed artwork, and irreverent take on classic adventures… will appeal to the whole family.”