Walker Books UK has acquired the UK and Commonwealth publishing rights to middle grade fantasy The Wonderling by US author Mira Bartók in a pre-emptive two-book deal.
The Wonderling opens in an orphanage for young groundlings who are part creature, part human. The hero of the story, known as Number Thirteen, befriends a bird called Trinket and the pair escape the orphanage, going on a journey described as being “reminiscent of both classic Victorian odysseys and the best of contemporary children's steampunk and high fantasy series”.
Esmond Harmsworth of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth brokered the two-book deal with Jane Winterbotham, publishing director of Walker Books UK, who will publish simultaneously with Candlewick Press in the US in autumn 2017.
Film rights have been bought by Fox Studios, which has hired Stephen Daldry to direct the adaptation.
Winterbotham said: “The Wonderling is wonderful! I’m delighted to have acquired this compelling young series for Walker Books following Candlewick’s successful bid for it in North America. Mira Bartók has created a brave and memorable new literary hero: the Wonderling’s quest for his destiny, echoing the great traditions of children’s literature, is rendered fresh and original by Bartók’s rich and playful imagination and stunning illustrations.”
“This is a world that children will immerse themselves in, with vivid landscapes and settings, and unforgettable characters.”
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