Carrying the Torch: When a Character Continues with New Creators
It’s always fascinated me when a well-known book series continues without the original creators on board. It seem like there are a couple different versions of this:
The original creators passed away.
Whoa, Dog. Whoa! and You Are My Mother
P.D. Eastman is no longer with us, but characters from some of his most famous books continue on.
Same for Llama Llama:
Anna Dewdney passed away in 2016.
Both Madeline and Babar also continue – by family members of the original creators.
The original creators are feuding.
Pete the Cat
The original trio of picture books were created by Eric Litwin and James Dean. But along the way Litwin said goodbye. Now all the Pete books are written and illustrated by either James Dean solo, or James and Kimberly Dean.
And a third category . . .
The original creators are handing it off.
There are probably a number of reasons why this happens. Often it’s because the character is being expanded into new formats (board books, early readers, etc.)
Here are some recent examples of characters living on under the care of someone new.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
This one isn’t a full-on handing off. Original author Sherri Duskey Rinker is still handling the writing, Tom Lichtenheld has handed off the illustration duties to A.G. Ford and Ethan Long.
See that at the bottom? That “Based on the creation of”? The original author and illustrator are not at the helm here, folks, although they do reunite for the occasional Fancy Nancy picture book.
Splat the Cat
Original creator Rob Scotton was in charge of the first picture books, but not the books that have followed.
Diary of a Worm
You may not have known that there are new Diary of a Worm early readers, but here they are, based on the books by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss.
Any I missed? Let me know in the comments.
Filed under: Articles
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
SLJ Blog Network