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Little, Brown Attends Monster High

Under license from Mattel, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will be publishing a new YA series, Monster High, written by Lisi Harrison, best known for the Clique and Alphas series. In the books, the sons and daughters of Frankenstein, The Mummy, and other famous movie monsters, disguised as humans, interact with the modern teenagers who are their fellow students.

The concept was created in-house by Mattel, which sought out a publisher to help establish the brand and its storylines and characters. "This is an original intellectual property that we're launching as a franchise," says Mattel spokesperson Sara Rosales. In addition to books, there will be toys, including dolls, accessories, and games; online content; future entertainment vehicles; consumer products such as apparel; and an extensive marketing campaign.

Mattel created the premise, initial characters and look-and-feel, but wanted the author to have broad freedom when writing the books. "It's to Mattel's credit that they wanted a well-known author who can bring so much to it creatively," says Little, Brown senior executive editor Erin Stein, who is editing the series. "They wanted a great book that stands alone and has a great story and characters."

This freedom resulted in an unusally collaborative relationship among Harrison, Stein, and Mattel brand executives. "With licensed publishing, you always are feeling creatively stifled, a little bit, since you're working under the constraints of the property," Stein says. "In this case, they're really open to anything and can't wait to see what Lisi comes up with. And she responded to the concept immediately."

Some of the characters in Mattel's toy line will make their way into the books, to be published under the Poppy imprint, and book characters may migrate into toys. Books will be cross-promoted with toys and other products on Mattel's Monster High website, on hangtags and packaging, and in non-book retail environments.

With an initial printing of 150,000 copies, the first of four intial Monster High titles will be released this fall, along with the first toys from Mattel, followed by one title per season through spring 2012.

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