HarperCollins Publishers has acquired world rights to The Happiest Hippo in the World, a children's picture book by international bestselling author Danielle Steel. The new book, by the author of 88 adult novels, including Honor Thyself, Sisters, and the "Max and Martha" series for children, tells the story of a baby hippo who happens to be born green instead of gray and learns with the help of a little boy to love himself despite being different. Both delightful and heartwarming, the book was written by Ms. Steel for her son Nicholas Traina when he was little and is expected to be published in Fall 2009. Illustrations will be by celebrated artist Margaret Spengler.
The deal was negotiated by Kate Jackson, SVP/Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief of HarperCollins Children's Books, with agent Kate Schafter of Janklow & Nesbit Associates.
Since 1981, Ms. Steel has been a permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestsellers list. Twenty-one of Ms. Steel's novels have been adapted for television, each earning high ratings and critical acclaim, including two Golden Globe nominations for Jewels, a four-hour miniseries that starred Anthony Andrews.
Ms. Steel is also the author of several children's books, including "Max and Martha," a ten-book series of books for young readers, and four "Freddy" books. Her nonfiction work His Bright Light, about the life and death of her son Nicholas Traina, released by Delacorte Press in September 1998, immediately jumped to the New York Times Nonfiction bestseller list. Her books are published in 28 languages in 47 countries.