S&S signs young fiction series from Philip Ardagh

Rights - Children Thursday, 18 April 2019

Four-book series illustrated by Rob Biddulph stars Furry Purry Beancat

Simon & Schuster Children’s (UK) today announced the acquisition of a four-book series from Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Rob Biddulph. Books one and two of The Nine Lives of Furry Purry Beancat are due to be published in September 2020 with book three to follow in Spring 2021 and book four in Autumn 2021.

Jane Griffiths, editorial director, children's fiction, acquired World Rights in all four books from the author directly and World Rights in Rob Biddulph’s illustrations were acquired via Jodie Hodges at United Agents.

According to the acquisition statement: 'The Nine Lives of Furry Purry Beancat is being described as "Mr Ben meets Quantum Leap featuring the most irresistible cat since Bagpuss." Each book follows one of the nine lives of Furry Purry Beancat; from derring-do as a pirate captain’s cat to playing her part to save the library she calls home to heroic deeds in rough seas as the lighthouse keeper’s cat. Each time Furry Purry Beancat awakes, she finds herself about to embark on an exciting new adventure. Furry Purry Beancat was inspired by Philip’s first cat, Beany, who lived until she was eighteen years old and was often found sitting with Philip in his study as he wrote his many novels.'

Ardagh said: "I’d heard such great things about Jane Griffiths and the children’s team at Simon & Schuster from a variety of fellow authors, that I thought she’d be ideal to approach with the idea of Furry Purry Beancat and, I’m delighted to say, she snapped it up. Jane suggested I team up with Rob Biddulph for the pictures – I love his illustrations – and I couldn’t be happier. The idea is for the series to be exciting, funny, heart-warming, and feline. I feel that Furry Purry Beancat has found the perfect home."

Biddulph said: "I’m delighted that the cat is finally out of the bag and I can tell you how pleased I am to be working with Mr Ardagh and the S&S team on these books. Philip is, literally and figuratively, a giant of the kidlit world and I can’t wait to get my claws into bringing his pal Beancat to life."

Griffiths said: "I’ve long been a fan of Philip’s writing and am absolutely thrilled that he’s joining the Simon & Schuster list! I instantly fell for Furry Purry Beancat and am pawsitive that readers will feel the same way about this adorable feline. Rob’s illustrations are the purr-fect match and we couldn’t be more excited about this wonderful new series."

Ardagh has been a published author for twenty-eight years; written over a hundred books; and been translated into around forty languages. His books range from the best-selling Eddie Dickens series, to the award-winning Grubtown Tales, and The Grunts quartet, illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

Biddulph is the also the official World Book Day Illustrator for 2019 and 2020. His first picture book, Blown Away (HarperCollins), won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2015. His second book, GRRRRR! (HarperCollins) was nominated for the CILIP Greenaway Medal and the IBW Children’s Picture Book of the Year in 2016. As well as working on his own books he also illustrates for other authors including Jeff Brown (the Flat Stanley series), Piers Torday, Garth Jennings, Jess Butterworth, and Christian O'Connell.

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