January 23, 2023

New worldwide licensing partnerships with Rainbow Designs, Merrymakers and Tonies for ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’

International media group and rights owner Coolabi has today announced worldwide licensing partnerships with leading soft toy manufacturers Rainbow Designs and MerryMakers, and the UK’s fastest growing preschool toy brand tonies® for heritage brand Giraffes Can’t Dance.

Licensed by Coolabi Licensing Ltd, the number one bestseller Giraffes Can’t Dance from author Giles Andreae and illustrator Guy Parker-Rees was first published in 1999. The funny, touching and triumphant picture book about a giraffe who finds his own tune and confidence has been delighting children for over 20 years. Published by Orchard Books, part of the Hachette Children’s Group, the classic picture book has been translated into 36 languages, selling over 10 million copies worldwide.

Allison Watkins, Director of Consumer Products and TV Distribution, Coolabi Group comments: “Giraffes Can’t Dance is such an iconic book and holds such a special place in the hearts of families around the world. I am delighted to be working with such wonderful partners to bring Gerald into homes across a range of products.”

Rainbow Designs will launch its exclusive Giraffes Can’t Dance plush collection into the UK market in A/W 2023, distributing to the rest of the world outside the US/Canada through the year. The newest addition to the Rainbow Designs’ Bedtime Cuddles and Stories programme joins its family of heart-felt children’s storybook characters.

For over 50 years, Rainbow Designs has been creating high quality, made-to-last toys, inspired by the beloved characters from children’s literature, for babies and children of all ages, promoting bedtime cuddles and stories, and providing fun, comfort and sensory learning.

Anthony Temple, Managing Director, Rainbow Designs, comments: “Giraffes Can’t Dance is an exciting and natural new addition to our Bedtime Cuddles and Stories programme.  At Rainbow, bringing the story to life, and giving the child a tangible, soft and cuddly version of their much-loved storybook friend, is what we do best. Storytime, whether it is part of a day time or bedtime routine, provides a special, parent, or grandparent, and child moment, supporting the love of stories, creating valuable bonding time and encouraging that all important cuddle.”

MerryMakers has launched its Giraffes Can’t Dance plush range across the US and Canada. These forever-toys are available both online and in-store now with leading retailers Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and across independent retailers and bookstores.

Clair Frederick, MerryMakers comments: “MerryMakers has been keen on offering a Gerald soft toy for many years, and is absolutely thrilled to finally team with Coolabi on the consumer products program.”

tonies® has launched its Giraffes Can’t Dance Tonie both online and in-store globally. Children are invited to dance along with Gerald as he two-steps and tangos his way to becoming the jungle’s best dancer as this bestselling classic is brought to life.

Since its launch in 2016, the preschool toy brand has sold more than 4.1m Tonieboxes and 51 million Tonies globally. The intuitive design of the musical storybox and combination of collectible figurines, known as Tonies, together with the audio speaker, known as a Toniebox, makes tonies® a unique interactive audio system. Aimed at ages 3+, the portable storytime companion gives children easy and instant access to hundreds of adventures at their fingertips, introducing them to the magical world of narrative and storytelling.

Liz Peters, Head of Portfolio, tonies® comments: “We are delighted to bring the heartfelt Giraffes Can’t Dance story to life. Narrated by the wonderful Hugh Laurie, this touching tale teaches children the importance of embracing your uniqueness and not being afraid to stand out from the crowd…a valuable lesson for young and old alike!  I am very sure the Giraffes Can’t Dance Tonie will quickly become a firm favourite with our little listeners!”

October 17, 2022

New deal with internationally renowned lantern and light trail festival Lightopia

International media group and rights owner Coolabi has today announced a new deal with award-winning winter light festival Lightopia. For the first time ever, Lightopia Festival will host an installation with Coolabi’s BAFTA award-winning pre-school property Clangers at Crystal Palace Park this winter.

Taking place from the 17th November ‘22 – 2nd January ‘23, the festival will showcase an immersive, multi-sensory interactive light installation for all the family to enjoy.

The installation will feature the iconic Clangers family Mother, Major, Tiny, Small and Granny Clanger, plus their friends the Soup Dragon and Iron Chicken. Families will be able to see the iconic, kind-hearted characters, and their infamous friends at the spectacular, reimagined neon-lit Clangers planet.

The exciting new deal is a first for both Coolabi and Lightopia. Since 2019, Lightopia has been partnering with various parks and trusts to host the award-winning light festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to each location every year.

Inspired by the ancient Chinese lantern festivals, Lightopia combines handcrafted lanterns with new technology and creative approach.

Michael Dee, Director of Content at Coolabi Group comments: “We’re delighted to announce this new deal with Lightopia, and for Clangers to be the first licensed brand to join this internationally renowned light festival. The Clangers family has been brought to life in a new and enchanting way, creating a joyful experience where families can interact with the brand.”

October 12, 2022

Coolabi Group has been acquired by Talenthouse AG, home to the world’s largest creative community

Talenthouse AG is the technology platform serving a community of 18+million members and is an innovator at the forefront of the Creator Economy, specifically within the digital marketing and entertainment space. Together, Talenthouse and Coolabi plan to connect the IP and Creator Economy spaces, initially through gaming and in the metaverse. Additionally, this will open up exclusive opportunities for Talenthouse’s creative community to produce assets for Coolabi’s global brands.

Talenthouse empowers the world’s largest global creative community across 195 countries, to produce the highest quality, localised digital content for leading global brands. Its clients include Universal Music Group, Unreal Engine, Bombay Sapphire and HBO, to name but a few, who are all able to utilise Talenthouse’s creative community to produce visual assets both locally and internationally.

The Creator Economy is truly thriving in 2022, with more than 303 million people around the world now considering themselves to be creators according to Adobe. The global creator economy is estimated to be worth in excess of $2.8 trillion. It is the engine that will drive business and society forward, and Talenthouse holds the key to progression and the future stakeholding of the sector.

Coolabi Group has created and licensed to publishers over 2,000 book titles across some 200 book series to publishers and actively manages the intellectual property it creates in order for it to achieve international recognition and commercial success as brands. For example, Warrior Cats has so far been played 200 million times on Roblox by some 2 million unique users a month and has been viewed on YouTube over half a billion times all just in the last year. In addition, Coolabi’s books are licensed in over 40 languages and its award[1]winning TV shows are licensed in over 140 countries.

Jeremy Banks, CEO of Coolabi, Tim Ricketts, COO of Coolabi, and Chris Snowdon, MD of Working Partners, join creative, financial and advertising serial entrepreneurs Clare McKeeve, CEO of Talenthouse, and founders Maya Bogle and Roman Scharf on the leadership team to push the group into a new era of creative endeavours.

Clare McKeeve, CEO of Talenthouse AG, comments: “The team is thrilled to welcome Jeremy Banks and the Coolabi team into the Talenthouse family and combine their content generation capabilities and younger audience reach to supplement the 18 million members within Talenthouse’s community. We strongly believe that the acquisition will result in new routes to market and maximise our potential within existing international markets.”

Jeremy Banks, CEO of Coolabi, comments: “We are pleased to be joining Clare McKeeve and the highly-regarded Talenthouse team through this acquisition. Their extensive, diverse and engaged creative community strongly ties into what we do here at Coolabi and our ambitions for the future. The merging of both groups will allow us to offer more of what we do best; create stories, brands and content that excites and entertains children across the globe.”

October 6, 2022

Imagine Kids+ Family wins rights to highly sought-after ‘Baskerville Hall’ multi-book series

In a highly competitive situation, Imagine Kids+Family has won the filmed content rights to The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall multi-book series. These brand-new adventures are the imagined origins story for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s many great fictional characters. HarperCollins will publish the first book title in Fall 2023.

The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall is born from a unique, close collaboration between story-creation powerhouse, Working Partners (part of the Coolabi Group of companies), and The Conan Doyle Estate, the official guardians of the works of the Arthur Conan Doyle franchise.

London-based Coolabi Productions, Working Partners’ sister prodco, will co-develop and co-produce the filmed content adaptation alongside Imagine Kids+Family.

The series follows a young Arthur Conan Doyle as he leaves his family to attend Baskerville Hall, a school for the extraordinarilygifted, where he will seek to solve many mysteries with the help of his new schoolmates and teachers.  Here he’ll meet the characters that will become the inspiration for his many famous novels — including Professor Sherlock Holmes, Dr.Watson, and friends like James Moriarty.  At Baskerville Hall, Arthur uncovers a mystery that will lead to an epic adventure and will be the springboard to the creation of an inter-connected and far-reaching Conan Doyle universe.

“The characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are some of the most compelling and enduring ever put to paper.  What drew us to this book series was the creative twist of putting the young Conan Doyle into the story himself, showing how his professors and friends formed the foundation of his life’s work,” said Stephanie Sperber, President Imagine Kids+Family.  “We see this as an opportunity to build a world that connects the Sherlock and all other ACD novels into one unique interconnected world for kids and adults around the world.  We couldn’t be more thrilled by the collaboration with the Conan Doyle Estate and Working Partners in bringing this universe to life on screen.”

“Working Partners is excited to be entrusted to work with the Conan Doyle Estate to develop a world where audiences would meet the genesis of existing characters, plus new and diverse characters; making Sir Arthur Conan Doyle more relevant than ever to a 21st century audience,” said Chris Snowdon, Managing Director, Working Partners. “Imagine Kids+Family, with such a rich story-telling history, are the perfect partner to bring this new Conan Doyle canon to life. With our lead publisher, Harper Collins, at the helm too this book series promises to be one of our greatest ever!”

“We have long discussed the idea of bringing all of our great ancestor, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s brilliant characters, not just Sherlock Holmes, into the limelight – effectively creating a new fictional universe,” said Richard Pooley, step-great grandson of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. “A dream came true when Working Partners proposed that the Conan Doyle Estate work with them in creating The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall. We gladly accepted and are grateful to writer Ali Standish and the brilliant people at Working Partners for their whole heated endeavor to this project and response to our contribution. It has been a truly collaborative effort.”

Chelsea Eberly of The Greenhouse Literary agency licensed three books in  The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall by Ali Standish to HarperCollins in a pre-emptive deal. Publication for the first book is set for Fall 2023, with the second book in the series set to be released in Fall 2024, and the third book targeted for Fall 2025.

“Brimming with rich mystery, puzzle-filled plots, and classic and beloved characters reimagined for the contemporary reader, this captivating world is perfectly crafted for the middle-grade audience, and we are so thrilled to be launching this publishing franchise that will appeal to a new generation of sleuths and adventurers,” said Alyson Day, Executive Editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Sherlock Holmes and his world have been a mainstay in the global cultural zeitgeist for well over a century. Sherlock Holmes is in the top five fictional characters having been portrayed in some 250 movies or TV shows to date. For the first time, Baskerville Hall brings together characters from all of Conan Doyle’s works of fiction—from Sherlock Holmes to The Lost World, to his many other adventure stories—to create one interconnected “ACD Universe”.

June 14, 2022

Tiny and Small Clanger to land at Gulliver’s World this summer

Families are in for a treat at Gulliver’s World this summer with the return of favourite characters from the BAFTA and Broadcast award-winning children’s TV show, Clangers.

Tiny and Small Clanger, the loveable, pink, mouse-like creatures who communicate in whistles and live out in space on their Little Blue Planet, will be making daily appearances at the Warrington theme park resort until September 4.

As well as the chance for young guests to meet the ‘out of this world’ characters, the resort will host an exclusive Clangers stage show.

The hugely popular show, originally created by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, first made its debut on BBC Television in 1969, and returned to CBeebies in 2015 with three brand-new series and a total of 104 new episodes to date, all available on the BBC iPlayer.

The return of the Clangers comes after Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts extended its partnership with Coolabi Group across its four UK resorts until December, 2023.

Craig Clews, resort director at Gulliver’s World, said: “It’s a real pleasure to welcome these very special guests back to Gulliver’s World. Clangers is a classic British show, well-loved by young and old, so we’re thrilled Tiny and Small will be making daily appearances and performing in an exclusive stage show throughout the summer.”

Dean Kimberley, director of loyalty and marketing at Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts, said: “We’re thrilled to extend this important partnership with Coolabi Group which will see the Clangers continue to make regular appearances at Gulliver’s resorts.

“We have a very productive relationship with Coolabi and creative ideas about how to develop this partnership even further. Our guests love The Clangers so we’re so pleased they will continue to bring families magical moments at Gulliver’s.”

For more information visit: www.gulliversworldresort.co.uk/clangers

June 12, 2020

Working Partners launches new UK initiative

Karen Ball joins as the company’s inaugural Head of UK Sales

Karen Ball has nearly 30 years’ experience in children’s publishing, including time spent as Publisher at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and heading up her consultancy, Speckled Pen, where she was nominated as a Bookseller Rising Star. Previously, she has worked as Head of Editorial at Working Partners.

She said, ‘I am thrilled to team up with the expertise at Working Partners at such a key stage in the life of publishing. As an industry, we stand at a significant crossroads and I relish the opportunity to engage with our colleagues in the UK to bring the best author and series fiction talent to a fresh generation of readers.’

Chris Snowdon, Managing Director of Working Partners, said, ‘We are so delighted to welcome Karen back. Her understanding of the way we work, and her deep knowledge of children’s publishing, make Karen the perfect fit for this new role.’

Ball will be engaging with the Working Partners editorial team to build upon and develop relationships with UK publishers across children’s fiction, from first chapter books through to teen and YA.

Karen Ball started at Working Partners on 1 June 2020.

For More Information Contact: KarenB@workingpartnersltd.co.uk

Phone 0778 068 2372/0207 004 0980