All play evolves from a sense of story. The most successful licenses
draw upon characters that kids identify with strongly enough to connect
them to their daily play activities. As an extension of television and
licensed toys, media-based books create synergy by encouraging kids to
Take HIT Entertainment’s BOB THE BUILDER (ToyShow).
Over 11 million copies of Bob the Builder books have been sold since a
release in July 2001. Not bad for a blue-collar guy. Soon to be published
from Random House, Simon & Schuster and Publications, Intl. are early
readers, lift-the-flap books, coloring activity books and electronic sound
books. Their first direct-to-video feature, THE KNIGHTS OF FIX-A-LOT,
and three other video titles, including BOB THE BUILDER’S CHRISTMAS
MEMORIES, will only help build sales. Also under construction
is BOB THE BUILDER LIVE!, a traveling musical show.
BIONICLE by Lego (ToyShow)
is soon to be represented by Scholastic with chapter books, collector’s
sticker rolls and official guides, as well as a tie-in book for an upcoming
direct-to-video feature film. Also from Scholastic is a new animated series
focusing on literacy themes based on their beloved red dog, CLIFFORD’S
The AMERICAN GIRLS series of books from Pleasant
have always done brisk business, both in stores and through catalog sales.
Expect their titles to take off with the release of their first television
venture, a made-for-TV movie based on the Samantha character to air on
the WB Network in 2004.
Penguin Young Reader’s Group has acquired MGA Entertainment’s
best-selling fashion line BRATZ for 2 paperback and 4
activity books, as well as 6 new titles due this fall. Modern
promotes Nelvana’s BEYBLADE with coloring
and activity books. Dalmation Press takes on book titles based on VEGGIE
TALES (Big Idea), STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE (DIC)
and JUSTICE LEAGUE (DC Comics, Warner Bros.), just in
time for back to school.
Random House and BETTY SPAGHETTY (ToyShow)
are a tasty team-up, with five titles released this summer, while Little
Brown’s already astronomical Todd Parr series (1 million copies of 22
titles are already in print.) is sure to skyrocket to further success
with TODDWORLD, a television show launched last February
on TLC’S Ready-to-Learn block.
Writer's Bio: Karen Mendez Smith has been
involved in children's media for over twenty years as a literary agent,
writer, and creator of animated television and film. Co-founder of Satori
Organics and M/Path Press, she is a parent to eight children and five
incredible grandchildren (and counting).