September 22, 2023

Lion Forge and Penguin Young Readers Sign Development Deal


Lion Forge Entertainment and Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House, have entered into an alliance to develop film and TV projects based on popular children’s books published by Penguin Young Readers.  Under terms of the deal, Lion Forge Entertainment retains rights to develop and adapt a multi-title slate of Penguin Young Readers books as animated and/or live action properties. The books initially selected for development include “Wannabe Farms” (Penguin Workshop, ages 8-12); “North Pole Ninjas” (Penguin Workshop, ages 3-7); “Monster Juice” (Grosset & Dunlap, ages 8-12); and “The Pathfinders Society” (Viking, ages 8-12).

Lion Forge Entertainment President and Chief Content Officer Stephanie Sperber, who brokered the deal, will oversee the projects. Lion Forge Founder and CEO David Steward II, along with Sperber, Francesco Sedita from Penguin Young Readers, and Media Consultant Rich Korson, will produce the projects.

This latest deal continues a busy summer for Lion Forge Entertainment, which recently closed a first-look deal with Nickelodeon Animation and set a global content partnership with advertising giant Dentsu.

“The creative team at Penguin Young Readers are as passionate about storytelling and world-building as we are at Lion Forge,” said Sperber. “Their publishing list aligns perfectly with the content we bring to market and we are eager to develop these books for kids and family audiences globally.”

Steward II said, “Each book we’re developing with Penguin offers something different to audiences but all share heart, humor and sense of discovery that we love to highlight at Lion Forge Entertainment. We look forward to working with these talented authors to bring their stories to the screen.”

Penguin Young Readers President Jen Loja said, “Lion Forge is the perfect partner to bring some of Penguin’s most exciting properties to screens worldwide. With their expertise in engaging diverse audiences with unique yet universal stories, we couldn’t be more excited to see how these projects develop.”

About the books:

“Wannabe Farms” by Brian McCann, Emmy Award-winning comedy writer for Conan O’Brien (Penguin Workshop, ages 8-12): On Wannabe Farms, the animals like to wonder and dream, plot and scheme, and definitely not act how they’re supposed to. In rhyming verse, McCann shows readers what happens when cows want to drive, pigs dream of being sophisticates, and sheep take their hairstyles into their own hands (well, hooves). What emerges is a delightful, hysterical romp through the farmyard, as animals discover the place where dreams meet their limits, and the power of adjusted expectations.

“North Pole Ninjas” by Tyler Knott Gregson and Sarah Linden (Penguin Workshop, ages 3-7): The North Pole Ninjas are Santa’s team of special elves, selected for their ability to perform top-secret missions that are all about helping, giving, caring, and listening. Anyone receiving this book is called upon to help carry out those missions with a bit of stealth and an open heart. The gorgeously illustrated picture book retells the legend of the North Pole Ninjas for new recruits, and includes 50 secret tasks to stealthily help others before the Holiday.

“Monster Juice” Series by M.D. Payne (Grosset & Dunlap, ages 8-12): When Chris signs up to volunteer at a retirement home, he has no idea that its residents are monsters! But it turns out that the elderly monsters are actually in danger, and they need Chris’s help to fight back. This offbeat middle-grade series is full of gross-out humor, horror, and adventure.

“The Pathfinders Society” Series by Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian (Viking, ages 8-12): Summer camp becomes a whole lot more interesting when five curious kids accept a mysterious challenge: work together as a team to uncover a series of strange clues, reveal a secret path, and follow its twists and turns to a legendary treasure hidden in a creepy castle that seems to warp time itself.

Source: Lion Forge Entertainment

Whitney Whitener's picture

Whitney is a freelance writer focusing on VFX-driven fantasy film & TV as well as preschool animation.

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