Mercer Mayer, author of 300 books, including the long-running Little Critter series, has partnered with digital media developer John Sansevere to form a new company, Twelve/30, LLC. The organization will handle licensing and media extensions, including new editions, for all Mayer-published works.
“Mercer has practiced quitting,” Sansevere said P.W. “He had been working on his books for more than 50 years and decided it was time for someone else to take it and carry it forward. We’ve worked together for a long time and he trusts that I can keep Little Critter and the other series on track.” Sansevere will be the final decision maker, responsible for making sure the initiatives come to fruition, but Mayer is still very much involved. “We talk every day and I work with him on every aspect of the creation.
“In my mind, Mercer is a genius,” said Sansevere, who is the firm’s managing partner. “He is able to capture very small moments of growth for children and he succeeds every time. There is a lot of imagination in the books.”
Mayer said P.W, “I’m excited to collaborate with my longtime collaborator and friend of over 40 years, John Sansevere, whose focus will be not only to develop my books and brands for the next generation of fans, but also to find new ways innovative to offer them. these timeless stories. Now that there are two chefs in the kitchen, who knows what exciting and creative dishes we will cook up?”
The Little Critter series, which has sold more than 200 million copies since 1975, when the first title, Just for you, has been published, will be the initial focus. Sansevere cited the social and emotional content of Critterville’s world, where characters can make mistakes and figure out how to solve their own problems, as one of its attractions. “It’s very relevant today,” he said.
The first licensing deal for the new business is an extension of HarperCollins’ current Little Critter deal, including a continuation of the long-running Little Critter I Can Read series. Little Critter sales at HarperCollins total 27 million copies worldwide.
HarperCollins began publishing Little Critter in 2004 and its first story Little Critter I Can Read, Little Critter’s Snowball Soupappeared in 2008, according to executive editor Tamar Mays. Little Critter: Monster Truck, due out next March, will be Little Critter I Can Read’s 22nd book. “These stories are energetic, funny and feature family and community, so they are developmentally appropriate for the age group,” Mays said.
The new deal also brings Little Critter to the I Can Read Comics format for the first time, with content focused on the sibling relationship between Little Critter and Little Sister. The first comic book reader, The little creature: Tricky Chickies, is currently scheduled to be published in the winter of 2024. Mays noted that Little Critter is a natural for I Can Read Comics and that Mayer’s art style fits the format well. “Mercer has a love for comics and has a great interest in bringing Little Critter into this world of graphic novel storytelling,” she said.
“It’s an interesting format for us,” added Sansevere. “It’s more visual and lends itself to animation. It’s almost like a storyboard.”
In fact, the first episode of a new series of 15 animated shorts to be shared on a dedicated Little Critter YouTube channel will be based on the first I Can Read Comics title; other episodes will be a combination of original stories, more comic book content, and content based on backlist titles.
Twelve/30 is also talking to potential partners for a limited range of consumer products.
Beyond Little Critter, Twelve/30 is also looking for opportunities for all of Mayer’s other properties. The first up is likely to be animation and publishing based on Professor Wormbog in search of Zipperump-a-Zoo and One monster after another, which take place in the same universe, with the first announcements to come next year. Others with potential include the 11-title Little Monster series; It’s a nightmare in my closet and There’s an alligator under my bed; the six-title series A Boy, a Dog and a Frog; and Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp.
Random House publishes the original Little Critter series and a variety of other Little Critter titles in its key formats.