Oxford University Press will rebrand Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul’s venerable Winnie the Witch series as Winnie and Wilbur, beginning this autumn.
OUP said the move reflects “the love and affection that both adults and children have for Wilbur”, Winnie’s long-suffering feline sidekick.
Thirty-five titles across the range will be rebranded with new livery and artwork by Paul and released in September, while the first new book in the series, Winnie and Wilbur Meet Santa, will be issued in October. The move pre-empts the launch of a new animated TV series based on the books, which will air on Channel 5’s daily Milkshake block of programming, which is aimed at pre-school children. The TV series will also be branded “Winnie and Wilbur”.
Liz Cross, OUP Children’s Books head of publishing, said: “[Paul] has captured the wonderful relationship between Winnie and Wilbur in stunning, original cover designs in this new look. Both Winnie and Wilbur are firmly established as favourite characters in homes and schools across the world and these new covers are instantly recognisable with Korky’s energetic artwork—yet they have fresh appeal too.”
First published in 1987, the Winnie the Witch series has been one of OUP’s bestselling children’s properties to date, shifting almost 900,000 units, for a value of £4.7m, through the TCM since Nielsen BookScan records began in 1998.