Fred Rogers Productions, the entertainment company behind Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad, and Peg + Cat, has tapped Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing as its master publishing partner for Donkey Hodie, its multi-platform puppet series for pre-schoolers.
The new series will launch early next year on PBS Kids, it will be supplemented with a wide range of books from Simon & Schuster, all inspired by the new show and the work of Fred Rogers to begin rolling out at retail in the first quarter of 2022.
“We’re very excited to build on our successful relationship with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for our newest brand, Donkey Hodie,” said Paul Siefken, president and CEO, Fred Rogers Productions. “Donkey Hodie shows children that they can accomplish great things with a can-do attitude, perseverance, and a little help from their friends.”
Valerie Garfield, VP, publisher, novelty and licensed publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, added: “We’re delighted to develop books for this stunning new series and build on its timely messages about creative problem-solving and goal-setting for pre-schoolers beyond the screen.
“We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with Fred Rogers Productions with another standout brand that will inspire kids and families to learn and play together.”
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing’s broad assortment of titles for Donkey Hodie will encompass storybooks; Ready-to-Read beginning readers; board books; novelty titles, including pop-up and lift-the-flap titles; early chapter books; and e-book formats. As master publishing partner for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, the company has produced more than 10 million books in print across a range of formats for that license.
Donkey Hodie is an imaginative puppet series that follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, a sweet, yellow donkey with a magenta mohawk, and her pals – Purple Panda, Duck Duck, and Bob Dog – who live in the land of Someplace Else. Donkey Hodie is the granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie character (now known as Grampy Hodie) from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, who appeared in 59 episodes of the beloved classic children’s series.
The new Donkey Hodie series, produced by Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures (Nature Cat), is designed to empower children ages three to five to dream big and overcome obstacles in their own lives, to work hard and persevere in the face of failure, to be resourceful and discover they can solve problems on their own—and to laugh themselves silly along the way.
The series is currently in production on 40 half-hour episodes and will feature new music along with re-imagined versions of Fred Rogers’ original songs to reinforce and underscore each story’s positive message.