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Walker Books seeks new licensees at BLE

Walker Books, the world’s leading wholly independent publisher of English-language children’s books and a licensor of many household names in children’s publishing, will be highlighting a number of classic properties known and loved by all age groups at stand E162 during this year’s BLE.

Walker Books boasts a rich portfolio of award-winning titles, authors and illustrators and many will be on show at BLE, with a particular emphasis this year on Guess How Much I Love You, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, Anthony Browne and Maisy Mouse.

Guess How Much I Love You is a favourite of many generations of pre-school children, not to mention parents, parents-to-be, gift buyers and grandparents, for whom the tale of Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare trying to express how much they love each other has been a story time staple since its publication in 1994. In fact the book’s gentle humour and appealing message have made it a success with all age groups, extending its licensed output beyond its multiple publishing formats (including board books and puzzle books) and a successful stage production.

Guess How Much I Love You inspires toys, plush, apparel, party supplies, bed ware, prints, storage boxes and personalised gifting for children; and stationery, calendars, cards, diaries and even jewellery for families and adults. Moreover, the arrival of handmade jewellery from BOO Gallery underlines the popularity of the brand among adults for special occasions like Valentine’s Day and weddings. With global book sales of over 43 million in 57 different languages (over 25 years) making this title a firm fixture in homes and nursery schools all over the world. This is a true classic that enjoys very high awareness among many generations that loved it as children and have passed that affection onto their own offspring. Walker plans to build on that awareness and develop further categories globally for this evergreen classic in the coming years.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt combines the formidable storytelling talent of former children’s laureate Michael Rosen with the unforgettable drawings of Helen Oxenbury in a light-hearted tale of a family’s bold quest that has inspired a hit stage play and television adaptation as well as selling close to ten million copies in its 30 years in print. This property also has a powerful presence at retail in multiple book formats, a success that has attracted strong interest from both licensees and retail since the launch by Walker of a licensing programme in 2016. With thirtieth anniversary celebrations in full swing, the licensee list already includes plush, games, apparel, stationery, babywear, wall stickers, greetings cards and DVDs. Many family-friendly promotions are also planned or under way and Walker will be aiming to expand the licensing growth of this enduring favourite during and after BLE.

Anthony Browne has been one of the world’s most celebrated creators of picture books for more than 40 years, during which his fantastical tales for children have won him recognition in the form of awards, dedicated exhibitions and, of course, massive sales. His creative and imaginative drawings, with their influences from surrealism and frequent use of animals – often primates – as the main protagonists have built a worldwide audience for his books. His Walker portfolio includes Little Beauty, How do You Feel, and the enormously popular tales of Willy, a little boy-chimp, and his hopes and dreams. Now this high awareness is being translated into a licensing campaign, with a target audience ranging from children aged six to adults, among whom there is a strong affection for Browne’s work and style. The key categories being targeted in the first phase of the campaign are stationery, greeting cards, posters, art, gifting, housewares and apparel.

Maisy Mouse Maisy the mouse has been a favourite with pre-school children and their carers for nearly 30 years. The charming picture books, written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins, featuring Maisy and her friends Charley the crocodile, Tallulah the chick, Cyril the squirrel, and Eddie the elephant are a multi-million-selling worldwide success. Walker Books Ltd continues to publish an average of ten books a year – including board and novelty books under the umbrella of friends, learning and fun! The series includes themes such as First Experiences, First Science, First Concepts and First Words. In addition, a popular brand website, a quarterly newsletter and regular character costume events, have reinforced the enormous appeal of the books and their positive, inquisitive and bold heroine. The vibrant and instantly recognisable illustrations that make the books so popular have also informed a style guide which will translate into all key categories including tableware, apparel, plush, bags, calendars, cards, toys and stationery.

Pindy O’Brien, Licensing & Retail Development Director, Key Franchises, Walker Books says: “We are enormously proud of our classic children’s titles and illustrators, their longevity and their success as both publishing and licensed properties. We also feel that, with their high levels of awareness and multi-generational appeal, there is enormous potential for further licensing expansion of all of these much-loved properties, as we’re sure partners – and potential partners – visiting stand E162 will agree!”