Having already released a bundle of three Margaret Wise Brown eBooks at the start of the month, Parragon, Inc. will release two new hardbacks in mid-April, followed by three more in August and December. Last month, I wrote about how Sterling Children's Books was able to publish the lullaby book Goodnight Songs sixty-two years after Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952) died of an embolism while on a publicity tour in France.
Seemingly every American born in the last two generations has read (or had read to them) Goodnight Moon, written by Ms. Brown and illustrated by Clement G. Hurd (1908-1988). Approximately 24,000,000 copies of that book alone have sold since 1947.
Over 100 of Ms. Brown's children's books had been published by the time she died. She kept six publishers busy. This being the case, it is difficult to understand why her sister, Professor Roberta Brown Rauch, was unable to elicit interest from any publishers in the seventy-three unpublished manuscripts Margaret Wise Brown left behind.
Mrs. Rauch kept 500 typewritten manuscript pages in a cedar trunk until 1991, when Amy Gary, of Montevallo, Alabama-based WaterMark Inc., rekindled Professor Rauch's hope that some of her late sister's unpublished manuscripts might get published. Ms. Gary had approached Prof. Rauch about re-publication rights of Ms. Brown's out-of-print books when, after a six month delay, Ms. Gary's question if there were any unpublished manuscripts led Professor Rauch to show her the above-mentioned cedar trunk.
As reported by Suelain Moy in Entertainment Weekly in 1991, Ms. Gary had already had good luck in selling re-print rights to three of Ms. Brown's previously-published books to Hyperion Books for Children (an imprint of The Walt Disney Company's publishing arm). At the time, there was an expectation that sixty-seven books would be forthcoming because five of the manuscripts were unfinished.
A Parragon spokeswoman wrote me, “Amy [Gary] came across this treasure trove and has spent over 20 years editing the works from that trunk in the attic. Through her analysis of Margaret’s works she has created a captivating portrait of the genius behind all those best-sellers for children. Margaret’s ability to capture the enduring qualities of childhood is the reason why her books are still popular with children today. Amy’s presentations combine the easy-to-learn techniques of Margaret’s writing style and the story behind the fascinating life and legacy of the master of children’s writing.”
In 2011, Ms. Gary began to work with Parragon, Inc. She has been friends with Wendy Friedman, President of Parragon North & South America, for over twenty years.
“Parragon released Count to 10 with A Mouse in 2012, followed by ten Margaret Wise Brown titles in English, Spanish, and German,” according to a press release. Over 1,200,000 copies have been sold in two years.
On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Parragon’s New York-based digital books division released a three-book bundle on iTunes, BN.com, and Kobobooks.com: the Margaret Wise Brown Bedtime Bundle. It is comprised of three of her eBooks with full audio: Goodnight Little One, Sleep Little Angel, and Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears.
Parragon states it “enhances the digital editions of its Margaret Wise Brown titles with ‘Read-Along’ audio. Parents can read to their children or listen to the audio narration of the classic bedtime stories together with their little ones.”
On Friday, April 18, 2014 (Good Friday), Parragon Books will, as stated in the press release, publish “two more print titles and an omnibus digital book” continuing “the tradition and legend that is Margaret Wise Brown.” These titles are Wish Upon a Dream (I.S.B.N. 978-¬1-¬4723-¬4531-¬8) and The Good Little Bad Little Pig (I.S.B.N. 978-¬1-4723¬-4530¬-1).
Parragon states, “Wish Upon a Dream, a beautiful journey into the world of dreams…is lavishly illustrated by Charlotte Cooke.” It “allows children to explore a magical bedtime world of favorite dreams as they fall asleep.”
The company also states, “The Good Little Bad Little Pig is delightfully illustrated by Loretta Schauer and tells the story of Peter who wants a perfect little pig for a pet.”
Wish upon a Dream is also available for iTunes, Nook, and Kobo readers as an eBook on April 18th, while the digital version of The Good Little Bad Little Pig will be available this December.
Both books are thirty-two pages, hardback. These two are the first of five Margaret Wise Brown titles Parragon is publishing this year. All five have a list price of $7.99.
Jingle Paws (I.S.B.N. 978-¬-1-¬-4723-¬-5064-¬-0) will be available Friday, August 8, 2014, and has a list price of $7.99. The fourth and fifth titles will be available Friday, December 19, 2014, in time for Christmas: The Noon Balloon (I.S.B.N. 978-¬1-¬4723-¬6716-¬7) and One More Rabbit (I.S.B.N. 978-¬1-¬4723-¬6717-¬4).
Founded over twenty years ago to supply books for British supermarkets, by the turn of the century, Parragon was the largest supplier of books to supermarkets in the U.K. This inspired by the privately-held Scottish media company D.C. Thomson to acquire the firm and expand its operations overseas.
Parragon states, “We focus on illustrated, non-author driven, non-fiction books. Our books are of the highest quality while still maintaining mainstream accessibility. We don’t publish books just because a trendy author pens them; we publish books that offer unbelievable value both in terms of content and quality.”
Our main publishing areas are cookbooks, adult non-fiction, children's books and licensed character books. Within these publishing areas we publish under our own Parragon brand; under in-house brands such as Love Food™ or Goldstars™; or under retailers’ own proprietary brands. We create books for beloved characters such as Disney, Dora the Explorer, Ben 10, Discovery Kids, Power Rangers, Barbie, Sesame Street and Marvel…
From working with local book stores to supermarkets, online retailers and gift stores, we ensure our books are as accessible and easy to find as possible. Wherever you may be around the globe, there's always a Parragon book to inspire or entertain.
We are proud to work with many of the world’s best known retailers including Barnes & Noble, Marks & Spencer, TJ Maxx, KIK, Indigo, Wal-mart, Target, Tesco, J Sainsbury, Metro, Coles Group, Tata, Reliance, Waterstones, WH Smith, Argos, The Works, Karstadt, Amazon and Apple.
Headquartered in Bath, England, Parragon has offices in New York City (covering North and South America); Cologne, Germany (covering Continental Europe); Dehli, India (covering Near East Asia and South Asia); Australia (covering Australasia and Africa); and Singapore and Hong Kong (covering Far East Asia). The company also has sub-offices in Denmark, Holland, South Africa, and New Zealand.
Parragon publishes 2,000 titles per year in twenty-six languages. The company states it is “the largest illustrated non-fiction publisher in the world.”