Rainbow Designs to launch new We’re Going on a Bear Hunt toys in Walker Books deal

Rainbow Designs is encouraging children to undertake their own Bear Hunt adventures this year as it launches its new We’re Going on a Bear Hunt collection of soft and wooden toys to the market.

Based on Walker Books’ classic storybook of the same title, the toys take inspiration from the adventurous tale that has been entertaining children for over 30 years.

The new range of toys will include a super soft Bear toy and Wooden Shape Puzzle featuring the Bear, Rufus the dog, and will be illustrated with paw prints and the Bear Hunt sayings, such as Splash, Splosh and squelch, squerch. New additions to the range will follow later in the year.

Anthony Temple, managing director of Rainbow Designs, said: “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is the perfect fit with our portfolio of prestigious and nurtured children’s brands and it is exciting to be kicking off Rainbow’s milestone 50th Anniversary year with the launch of such a joyful and iconic character range.”

Pindy O’Brien, licensing and retail development director (UK & Europe) for Walker Books, added: “We are thrilled to have Rainbow Designs launching toys for our classic “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”.

“The softness of their plush product and high quality delivers everything we’d want from our toy range. We are excited to have them on board as our EMEA partner.”

Hachette Children’s brings Enid Blyton to the Fonetti app in digital first for the children’s author

Hachette Children’s Group – the revered children’s publishers and publishers of author Enid Blyton, as well as owner of Enid Blyton Entertanment – ha teamed with the Department for Education’s approved reading practise app, Fonetti.

The deal will see a selection of Blyton’s stories uploaded to the Fonetti library, a resource that allows children to practise their reading skills and improve their literacy by listening to them reading aloud and checking their accuracy.

This is the first time ever that Enid Blyton has been part of a digital literacy platform.

Blyton is one of the world’s best-selling children’s authors with sales of her books in excess of 500 million copies, translated into over 40 languages. In the UK she sells more than one book a minute and many of her books have been adapted into films and TV series.

As well as being regularly voted the UK’s best-loved author, according to UNESCO, Enid Blyton is the most translated children’s author in the world.

Children will now be able to access the Blyton stories, which are grouped into three categories: summertime stories, animal stories and magic and mischief stories, using the Fonetti App (fonetti.com), with each bundle of stories costing £7.99.

Fonetti’s Kim Antoniou, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer our Fonetti readers these stories, from one of the best loved children’s authors of all time.  

“Literacy is the cornerstone of every child’s life.  Without it, children (and adults) are held back at every stage. The ability to read is a vital life skill and the Fonetti App aims to promote reading, particularly reading aloud, and language skills to children from four to nine years of age. Being able to offer Enid Blyton titles, alongside our many other authors, will help us to enhance and grow our reader base.”

Karen Lawler, head of brand strategy and licensed content, Hachette Children’s Group, added: “We are delighted to be working with Fonetti to help ensure even more children have access to Enid Blyton’s world-famous stories. 

“Fonetti’s ability to recognise children’s words as they read aloud has the potential to build reading accuracy and fluency. Enid Blyton’s stories have been used to develop literacy skills for generations of children, so we felt it was the perfect fit.”

Rights & Brands named licensing agency for author and illustrator duo Astrid Lindgren and Ilon Wikland

Rights & Brands has been named the licensing and merchandising agent for the joint works of the Swedish author illustrator duo, Asrid Lindgren and Ilon Wikland, based on the artwork and characters created by the pair and enjoyed by children and adults across Scandinavia, the Nordics and beyond.

Lindgren’s books have been translated into 107 languages and have sold more than 165 million copies worldwide. Wikland is the artist who has illustrated the greatest number of these books, including the popular Brothers Lionheart, Ronja the Robber’s Daughter, The Children of Noisy Village, Karlsson on the Roof, Mardie, and more.

Under the guidance of Rights & Brands, and for the first time in many years, Astrid Lindgren Company and Design Ilon Wikland AB have agreed on a mutual merchandising programme, with the first products already launched.

“It’s a great honor for Rights & Brands to represent icons like Astrid and Ilon,” said Patrick Ullman, CEO of Rights & Brands. “We are presenting a program based on the pair’s amazing output of stories and artwork. The initial response has been overwhelming.”

Annika Lindgren, head of publishing at Astrid Lindgren Company and granddaughter of Astrid Lindgren, said: “At Astrid Lindgren Company we are happy that the close and creative collaboration that started between Astrid and Ilon already in 1954, now will deepen and evolve in yet another direction.

“In Ilon, Astrid found ‘her’ illustrator and between them something ‘blessed’ grew, as Astrid’s daughter Karin expressed it. Ilon could dress Astrid’s stories in images like no-one else – images loved by generations of children and families. And just as Astrid wrote for the child within her, Ilon draws for the child within.”

Representing the illustrator and member of the board at Design Ilon Wikland AB, Ilon Wikland’s daughter Fredrika Wikland, adds: “Me and my three sisters, Ilon’s daughters, grew up with a mother who drew and drew. We all got to experience the process of how the images of Astrid’s fantastic stories emerged.

“We got to take part in our mother’s joy, but also her great respect of visualizing the words. Mother always said: when I read Astrid’s text, I always see the images and characters before me. They are already alive. Our mother loved to illustrate for Astrid and their collaboration was filled with mutual respect and admiration.”

BlueSkye Licensing to develop family edutainment programme for best-selling book Prisoners of Geography

BlueSkye Licensing has partnered with the independent publishing house Elliott & Thompson to develop a family edutainment franchise programme around the Sunday Times’ best-selling Prisonsers of Geography book series.

Written by Tim Marshall and first published in 2015, Prisoners of Geography has sold upwards of 1.5 million copies to date with global retail sales now exceeding $20 million. The book combines geography, history, and politics in an informative and accessible way. A sequel, The Power of Geography has already been scheduled for 2021.

“Extending the franchise is a natural step forward for Tim’s books,” said Elliott and Thompson chairman, Lorne Forsyth, who has appointed Maggy Harris at BlueSkye to develop the family-centric digital and game based licensing programme.

The licensing programme will primarily focus on Tim’s extraordinary grasp of his subject matter, the factual content, and the beautiful illustrated edition artwork.

Harris said: “This franchise is a great  example of licensing opportunities coming from an ever increasing and broad range of  sources. ‘Prisoners of Geography’ fits perfectly into the huge demand for quality, factual, fun  family and digital entertainment which the 2020 lockdown world has accelerated …Tim’s  books provide fresh, timeless content for our changing times.” 

BlueSkye will target the family edutainment sector with a licensing programme that will be ‘perfect for fans of maps and facts’ and will encompass board games, strategy games, quizzes and puzzle games, as well as digital apps, experiential, gifts, stationery, posters and cards.

Creatively, licensees will be able to access multiple design assets  sourced from the stunning illustrated edition. 

Elliott and Thompson’s Lorne, added: “It is a timely and welcome business development opportunity. We are a growing publishing house at the heart of the creative independent  publishing sector. We look forward to working with Maggy, our licensed partners and Tim to  build a uniquely different, but successful, multimedia franchise.”