From the Curious Fox birthday party

You may have noticed (it’s not as if we’ve kept it a secret) that Curious Fox has just turned one. Obviously that means a birthday party is in order, and that’s exactly what we had last night in London.

We were very lucky to have loads of our authors along, and guest appearances from Batman and Superman, no less!Ann, Jasmine, Superman, Jackie, LauraStewart, Batman, Laura

No party would be complete without a birthday cake, and even if we do say so ourself, this one was pretty special:

Cake

A huge thank you to everybody who came along – it was great to see you all, and we can’t wait until our second birthday!

The sound of Josh Walker

If you’ve read Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets, you’ll know that the brains behind the book, Josh Walker, is a fifteen-year-old wannabe metalhead, who has some brilliant ideas for lyrics – like these:

Like a mockingbird
Whose song is unheard
Whose beak has been tied
Slowly dying inside

And now the brilliant talents of our good friend Jack Cape have brought Josh’s lyrics to life in this full-length version of ‘Like A Mockingbird’, from the maybe-to-be-released debut album ‘Slowly Dying Inside’ by Josh Walker.

We think it’s really rather good – hope you enjoy it!

Track by Jack Cape – follow Jack online:

New recruits in the Fox’s den!

We’re coming up to our first birthday here at Curious Fox, and as we enter our second year we’ve got some great new people joining us in the fox’s den: Loraine Taylor as Publisher, Helen Freeman as Publishing Director and Chris Moody as National Sales Manager.

New recruits to the team at Curious Fox
New to the team at Curious Fox: (l-r) Loraine, Ann, Helen and Chris

Loraine Taylor joins Curious Fox in the role of Publisher on the basis of a long and highly
successful career in children’s publishing. She worked at Walker Books for 20 years, during which time she guided and developed the Where’s Wally publishing programme, as well as working on other high-profile properties such as Maisy and Guess How Much I Love You. Latterly Loraine has been working as a freelance literary consultant. At Curious Fox Loraine will oversee the list and shape its future, representing us at industry events and making sure we stay curious and creative.

Helen Freeman joins as Publishing Director, overseeing both the Curious Fox list and our sister list at Raintree, leading the content development teams across both imprints. Just
back from two years living in Perth, Australia, Helen worked as an education publishing consultant on a variety of projects, including an online education programme for Western Australia’s Department of Transport. Helen is known in the UK for her six-year role as Publishing Director at Scholastic UK.

Chris Moody joins Curious Fox after 10 years as Sales Director with Priddy Books. Prior to
this he held product and key account management positions at Egmont. His significant experience selling Children’s books make him ideally suited to help build and develop our trade business. In his new role Chris will work closely with the editorial/content and marketing teams to build Curious Fox sales across all UK channels.

Of the new appointments, Curious Fox MD, Miles Stevens-Hoare said: “I’m thrilled to have Loraine, Helen and Chris join our fox’s den! We’re publishing some of the best books available and we’ve hired the best people to get them in to children’s hands. I think these new appointments reflect our commitment and investment to our list, and send a message to the industry that we mean business. 2014 is going to be a big year for Curious Fox.”

New marketing executive, Ann Carter, also joins the marketing team from Oxford-based
internet start-up Journl, having previously worked at BrainPOP and Folens. She will be working on online and offline campaigns to build Curious Fox’s success over the course of 2014.

A very warm welcome to the team to all of them!

Meeting the ferrets at Wood Green

A guest blog by Jackie Buckleauthor of Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets.

Although a ferret features prominently in my book, I had yet to meet one in the fur so I was excited to be heading off to Wood Green, The Animals Charity near Cambridge for a ferrety photofest. Of course ferrets do have a certain reputation for biting and as we approached the shelter I conjured up an unwelcome image of a TV presenter from my youth screwing up his face in agony as his hand is prised from a ferret’s locked jaws. Hopefully the Wood Green ferrets would be better behaved.

Jackie Buckle visits Wood Green Animal Shelter

Jackie (right) and Marie (left), plus Albie and Frank

I was greeted by Katja who is Wood Green’s Business Development Officer, by Tara from PR and by Marie who is an expert in field and small animals. Marie introduced me to two different ferrets: Albie (pure white), and Frank (yellowy-brown). Both were very cute, in a lively, slinky, fast and furry kind of way! Like dogs, ferrets enjoy going for walks, so we harnessed them up and went to take the pictures. I must say Albie and Frank were very obliging throughout the rather windswept photoshoot and didn’t bite once!

Albie and Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets

After photos it was time for a tour. The shelter is one of the largest in Europe, covering 52 acres, and providing a home for pigs, ducks, goats and alpacas, as well as the more usual rabbits, cats and dogs. In addition to rescue, Wood Green also do lots of work educating the public on animal welfare, including showcasing how animals should be kept. Rabbits, for example, need much larger enclosures than most people are aware of. In fact, according to Katja, rabbits are probably the most abused of all British pets due to poor housing and neglect.

At the dog enclosure, it was time to get a few lumps in the throat, as the dogs came rushing up to the bars wagging their tails. Dogs are so desperate for human contact that it’s especially heartbreaking to see them in kennels. Wood Green have just opened new state-of-the art enclosures to house the dogs, though, which will be a lot more homely.

Katja then had to go for a meeting so we didn’t have time to see the cats. In hindsight this was probably a good thing as I have an especially soft spot for kitties. It meant I was able to leave with my dignity and mascara largely intact!

wood_green_animal_shelter_logo

We will be making a donation to Wood Green for every copy of Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets that’s sold. I am so pleased to be helping this excellent charity, even in a small way. They really are a worthwhile cause and the staff are so committed to making things better for animals. You can find out more about them and the great work they do at www.woodgreen.org.uk

Curious Fox is the new home of Scooby Doo!

As announced in The Bookseller today, we are really delighted to announce that we have signed a new licensing deal with Warner Bros. Consumer Products UK.

Curious Fox Bookseller announcement

This means that for the next three years we’ll be publishing new books for DC Comics Justice League, Looney Tunes and top dog Scooby-Doo. The first titles will launch in May 2014, and we have plans to publish at least 30 books in the first year for children aged 5 to 12 years old.

Batman 3 Stories in 1

Key products will include 3-in-1 fiction box sets for the Justice League Super Heroes Batman and Superman (June 2014), illustrated colour non-fiction titles Batmobiles and Batcycles and The Engineering Behind Batman’s Vehicles (July 2014) and hardback gift books like the Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo Treasuries (Summer 2014).

Scooby Doo

Miles, who’s in charge here at Curious Fox, explains, “When we launched Curious Fox in spring last year we had a very clear goal – to publish brilliant books that would spark curiosity in young minds. In a short time we’ve immersed our readers in new worlds, introduced them to new characters and engaged them in some amazing stories.  The acquisition of the rights to publish books featuring some of the world’s most iconic brands and characters is hugely exciting and is integral to helping us achieve our ambition of inspiring a life long love of books amongst children.”

The UK deal is an extension of an existing and highly successful relationship between our parent company, Capstone, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products in the US.  Paul Bufton, General Manager for Warner Bros. Consumer Products UK, said, “Publishing is the cornerstone of any successful licensing campaign, with books often being a child’s first experience of a brand.  Quality books such as those created by Curious Fox add credibility and aids parental favour with our brands.  We’re thrilled to have them on board and we’re looking forward to working with them to put our stamp on the UK children’s book market.”

Stay tuned to curious-fox.com for more details.

Jewellery students take the Amber design challenge

If you’ve read the brilliant Amber by Julie Sykes (and if you haven’t, you really should), you’ll know that it features a piece of amber jewellery (hence the name – clever, see?) that our heroine has.

Amber-cover

The necklace forms a pivotal part of the story, and we challenged jewellery students at Basingstoke College of Technology to design and make a piece of jewellery inspired by AMBER’s necklace and the sci-fi setting of the story.

Students spent the autumn term designing and making their pieces. In the run-up to Christmas, AMBER author Julie Sykes popped along to one of the classes to choose her favourite piece and award a winner their prize: a voucher for jewellery-making tools and a signed copy of the book.

The standard was remarkably high. Here are the top three entries:

Top three pieces of jewellery

But there had to be one winner – the winning piece was designed by Amanda Westbrook. Here she is (on the left), holding the winning piece and collecting her prize from Julie.

(l-r) Amanda Westbrook and Julie Sykes

After judging, Julie said “It’s such a great to idea to mix the worlds of fashion, jewellery and books, they’re all areas young people are passionate about.

“The standard of jewellery was really high and everyone was so nice. It was hard to pick a winner when it was obvious that all three ladies had put so much effort into their pieces.

“However, I did have a favourite. I picked it for two reasons. The shape was very close to the lightening shaped bolt of gold through Amber’s necklace. Also, it was a delicate necklace and Amber loves delicate jewellery.”

WELL DONE Amanda, and everybody who entered the competition.