Puffin is 70 years old - and it's celebrating in style...
On Monday (yes, I know, a week ago almost and I'm only just writing about it now, sorry!) I went to the press launch for Puffin's 2010 line-up. Press launch? Well, sandwiches, coffee, lots of familiar faces (and a few famous ones) and a bucket load of enthusiasm about new titles, old titles revamped and a few surprises thrown in for good measure.
Puffin is focusing on three things - big brands, crossover titles and classics. There's new teen fiction from the Razorbill imprint ('Unputdownable teen fiction'), Puffin Baby with Puffin classics re-styled for babies (a strategy already successful last year with The Very Hungry Caterpiller and pushed further this year by the re-jigged Moomins), Pocket Money Puffins in May are priced at 3.99 each and in June there'll be the Puffin Classics - seven titles, one for each decade (and a chance in June to vote via the website for the Puffin of Puffins). There'll be product! Yes, deckchairs, mugs, pencils etc. all with the wonderfully idiosincratic Puffin illustrations familiar to anyone who remembers Puffin Post.
But the Big Brands rule: Diary of a Wimpy Kid is going global with a movie - as is Percy Jackson; Cathy Cassidy has a new series Chocolate Box Girls, starting with Cherry Crush; there's a new Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (Shock horror! Artemis turns nice!) and to tie in with a new pre-school TV series, Tinga Tinga, a multicoloured glorious series set (and made) in Tanzania.
There's serious teen books from David Yelland (yes, the ex-editor of the Sun - and the theme is alcoholism), Kevin Brooks, Helen Grant and a smash-hit from the USA, Beautiful Creatures (Gone With the Wind meets Twilight). How about a new series from Rick Riordan? It's coming in May called The Kane Chronicles, which hopes to do for Egyptian myth what The Lightning Thief has done for Greek. My own excitement level notched up with the promo for Time Riders by Alex Scarrow. He writes adult thrillers and was a games designer - the promo features a lot of 'what ifs' to do with changes in history: the US flag with a swastika instead of stars next to the stripes, the Mona Lisa with an alien's face, a David with a lizard instead of Napoleon crossing the alps... fabulous! The books look set to rival Robert Muchamore for thrills, appeal to reluctant readers and boy / girl interest.
So, lovely lunch, lovely people - Charlie Higson talked and was funny, David Yelland talked and was thought-provoking, Jeanne Willis talked and was quite, quite mad (and fabulous!) and Cathy Cassidy proposed putting day-dreaming on the school curriculum. As the publicity bumph says - There's Nuffin Like a Puffin.
5 weeks ago