Umansky's Pongwiffy blasts back with S&S

Umansky's Pongwiffy blasts back with S&S

Simon & Schuster Children’s Books will reissue the Pongwiffy series by Kaye Umansky 30 years after it was originally published, as well as a new Umansky series, Witch for a Week. 

S&S Children’s has acquired the eight Pongwiffy books originally published by Puffin, and will publish them with illustrations by Katy Riddell, daughter of Children's Laureate Chris Riddell. The first two will be published as a bind-up in August. New series Witch for a Week will be illustrated by Ashley King, and will launch in October.

Jane Griffiths, editorial director for children’s fiction at S&S, acquired world rights in both the Pongwiffy series and Witch for a Week, in two separate deals via Caroline Sheldon of Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency. Riddell is represented by Philippa Milnes-Smith at LAW and Ashley King by Hannah Whittey at Plum Pudding.

Griffiths said: "Kaye was one of my favourite authors growing up, so I couldn’t be more delighted to be publishing her on the S&S list and sharing her writing magic with new generation – whether that’s because they discover the reissues of Pongwiffy or Kaye’s new series that begins with Witch for a Week."

She added: "Ashley King and Katy Riddell are both incredible new talents so we’re thrilled to have paired them with Kaye and see her writing brought to life through their wonderful illustrations.”

Umansky said:“I am so excited to be working with the dynamic team at Simon and Schuster Children’s Books to bring Pongwiffy in a new guise to a new generation of children and to launch my new young fiction series Witch for a Week.”

The Pongwiffy series, about a disorganised witch, has sold in 12 territories worldwide and has sold more than 1.5 million copies since first launching in 1987, according to S&S Children’s.

The new series, Witch for a Week, follows “clever, unflappable” Elsie who agrees to house-sit in the mysterious home of local witch, Magenta Sharp, with chaos ensuing. It is aimed at children aged from six to nine.