When did you last see a child reading a book? Chances are that you can count on your fingers those rare occurrences.
Children in India are raised on tales from the West: These are the characters they are familiar with, wear on their person in the form of clothes and accessories, and covet as toys and collectibles.
Dream Theatre, an entertainment company that is into licensing of international brands in India, has collaborated with HarperCollins to come out with a new range of story books for children in the age group of four to six. Jiggy George set up the company three years ago. Launched in 2010 with Beebop toys, the brand has added apparel gift sets and bed sets and has also stepped into the world of publishing.
The genesis of the publishing programme lay in the fact that in today's world, there is no turning away from the fact that kids are born into an age of technology, says George, co-founder, Dream Theatre. It is inevitable that they are growing up in an environment of tremendous opportunity and information, leaving very little space for the "joy of discovery'' and "the celebration of wonder" for both the child as well as for parents and caregivers. There is a distinct need for providing kids with great content which gives them a chance to discover the joys of reading and delve into a world of wonder.
The Beebop publishing programme seeks to do just that: simple playful stories bring alive the world of Beebop, a friendly bee, who takes four friends — Sarah, Jay, Zoya and Zubin — on many marvelous adventures. Beebop books bring back wonder-filled fantasies, adventure and make-believe worlds while spreading the values of friendship and fearlessness.
Dream Theatre is the first professional licensing and brand management enterprise of its kind in the country offering out of box licensing models for brands. It has three verticals — entertainment, sports and lifestyle.
HarperCollins was interested in the idea. Beebop has three levels for graded readers. Each level increases in complexity to allow for greatest success in ability of the readers to follow the story and keep them interested. The ratings take into consideration difficulty of vocabulary, sentence length, comprehension abilities, literary elements and subject matter. Each level consists of four story books and four activity books priced at Rs 75 each; the whole set of four story and four activity books retails at Rs. 500. Dream Theatre is targeting sales of 25,000 copies in the next six months.
“The Beebop books are fun; they’re funny, they’re charmingly written and beautifully illustrated. I’m so thrilled that Harper Kids is publishing a homegrown graded-reader programme: not only do the stories fit into a larger narrative arc, they are set to match the child’s learning curve at a slightly accelerated level. So as the stories continue and the characters grow, the language too alters in vocabulary and complexity. The series has given us a lot of joy,” says Manasi Subramaniam, Commissioner Editor and Rights Manager, HarperCollins India.