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Funny Animal

Kitty with some Famous Parents…

There’s an extensive article over at Animation Scoop about the new Amazon Prime animated series Pete the Cat, based on the popular children’s books by James Dean. Check out the voice actor list too! “Pete the Cat is a fun, musically driven series about exploring your world and trying new things, while being smart, accepting, and optimistic. Whether you’re making new friends or facing all of life’s ups and downs, Pete always finds a way to put a groovy spin on things. The series stars Jacob Tremblay (Room) as Pete the Cat, and musicians Diana Krall and Elvis Costello as his Mom and Dad. Pete the Cat features original music from Grammy Award-winners Costello and Krall, which will also be available to stream via Amazon Music. Jessica Biel (The Illusionist), Atticus Shaffer (The Middle) and internationally acclaimed musician KT Tunstall also star in the series… Pete the Cat… is developed by Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (Phineas and Ferb) and Appian Way Production Company.” There’s a preview video too.

image c. 2018 Appian Way

Little Frog with Big Dreams

At San Diego Comic Con we came across the works of Shelley Daniels Lekven and her new book Lily Pond. Here’s what her web site says about it: “Elaborate illustrations and fabulous frogs fill this charming picture book about a little frog’s daydreams and hopes for her future. The scenes were created from colored modeling clay by Shelley Daniels Lekven, a character sculptor on The Nightmare Before Christmas and Toy Story and sculpting supervisor on James & the Giant Peach.” And speaking of (two of!) those movies, here’s what director Henry Selick had to say: “On the eve of her eighth birthday, a young frog dreams of her future in Shelley Daniels Lekven’s new book, Lily Pond. Ms. Lekven’s remarkable illustrations – all sculpted by her hand in colored clay – are eye-opening works of wonder and imagination that should make this sweet tale a children’s book classic.” After a successful Kickstarter, Lily Pond is available from Claytown Press. The web site has a video about how the book was made, too.

image c. 2018 Claytown Press

And They Can Talk To Him… and Her

Another obscure animated feature we found through Animation Magazine — this one from Latvia, of all places. Jacob, Mimmi, and the Talking Dogs is a new feature film from Atomart Studios, directed by Edmunds Jansons. It’s based on the book Dog Town by Luīze Pastore, and animated in an interesting combination of cut-out style and 2D CGI. “When Dad brings Jacob to spend summer in one of the city’s suburbs, the boy not only discovers an environment never seen before, becomes acquainted with his cousin, the smarty-boots Mimmi, and his uncle, the former seaman Eagle, but also makes friends with Boss, the leader of a horde of talking homeless dogs. Will Jacob and Mimmi succeed to make friends and together with the talking dogs rescue the place from the rich Lord Pie who has plans to convert the romantic wooden house neighbourhood into an impersonal glass skyscraper area?” The official web site has clips in the original Latvian, but there’s an English language trailer up on Vimeo too.

image c. 2018 Atomart Studios

Little Dino Lost

The June/July issue of Animation Magazine features a huge list of upcoming animated films in production all over the world. Including one from Poland: “Human Ark, one of Poland’s leading animation studios, has launched a new animation test for its new animated feature comedy Diplodocus. The movie is a family comedy inspired by classic 1980s comic books by the cult Polish author Tadeusz Baranowski, which have sold over 2.5 million copies. It tells the epic adventure of a little dinosaur, who has to find his missing parents and discovers that he actually lives inside of a comic book. The project is the second feature-length animated film by Wojtek Wawszczyk (George the Hedgehog), who also wrote the script in collaboration with Mark Palmer (The Penguins of Madagascar, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Kim Possible). Set for completion in 2020, the movie is the biggest 3D CGI production for children ever produced in Poland.” The article in Animation features several illustrations from the film, and Human Ark has also produced a promo clip on Vimeo.

image c. 2018 Human Ark

These Rabbits are Dynamite!

Here’s another project we found out about through Animation World Network: “Fox Family is prepping children’s book The Royal Rabbits of London as a hybrid CG-animation/live-action feature film, Variety reports. Screenwriter Will Davies, whose credits include Flushed Away, Puss and Boots, How to Train Your Dragon, and the forthcoming Abominable, has been hired to write the script. The Royal Rabbits of London is based on the 2016 children’s book written by husband-and-wife team Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore… There’s no word yet on where the animation will be produced. The story introduces the Royal Rabbits of London, who have secretly protected England’s Royal Family for centuries. When a small country rabbit uncovers an devious plot against the royals, he travels to London to warn the protective order.” Not to leave it out: The book was illustrated by Kate Hindley and it’s available at Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2018 Aladdin Publishers

A Cat For Our Times

So Animation Magazine lead us to discover Krocchi the Street Cat, a new animated character brought to us by Nurue in Japan. Here’s what they say: “Krocchi is a tough cat who’s seen a lot, a new type of hero for children who teaches them to have a strong heart that never gives up, no matter how bad things get. Through this series children will learn creativity, and how to invent games with natural materials like grass and plants. And by dancing with Krocchi, they can have fun exercising too.” Besides the animated series for preschoolers, Nurue has also created a line of Krocchi artwork and plush toys.  Currently they’re seeking international distribution, and they’ve had some success in Asia.

image c. 2018 Nurue, Inc.

Big Dino, Little Dinos

Here’s a new TV series we found out about through Animation magazine: Gigantosaurus, produced by Cyber Group Studios. “Growing up in the Cretaceous is no mean feat for kids! New volcanoes popping up all the time, long-necked brachiosauruses, meteor showers, enormous triceratopses and… the big bad Gigantosaurus, as the kids would say. Gigantosaurus isn’t actually very well-known but the mere mention of his name is enough to conjure up a range of (conflicting) emotions in our four young (dinosaur) friends: Fear (Bill), fascination (Rocky), laughter (Tiny), and scientific interest (Mazu). In short, Gigantosaurus represents four different ways of finding out more about the world when you’re between 4 and 6 years old.” According to their web site it’s all “based on a book written by the multi-awarded children novelist Jonny Duddle”. Gigantosaurus has already been sold to Disney Junior for worldwide distribution, and it’s in production now. And as you can see from their site, Cyber Group Studios have several other shows of furry fan interest in production as well.

image c. 2018 Cyber Group Studios

The Little Creatures Don’t Know They’re Ugly

Looks like the popularity of the Uglydolls plush toy line continues to grow. After a graphic novel series several years ago, now there’s a new TV series in production for the Hulu network. According to an article at Deadline, STX will be producing the TV series and also has exclusive rights to the feature film which is also in production (and has been for some time). “Created as a plush toy line by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, the Uglydoll brand quickly gained a cult following around the world and was named Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Association in 2006. Uglydoll characters are distinct for their endearing ‘ugliness’, in a wonderful ‘uglyverse’ where differences are celebrated and embraced.” Look for both the feature and the series in 2019.

image c. 2018 STX

This Bunny is a Blast

The things you find at Comic Con… be on the lookout for Black Hops U.S.A. G.I., new from Antarctic Press. He’s a cute little bunny — and he kills for America. Here’s more from Previews: “North Korea has a nuclear warhead aimed at Hawaii, and every last American commando unit sent in to disarm it has gone missing. With the clock ticking, the fate of the Aloha State rests in the paws of U.S.A.-G.I. This dauntless, highly trained special missions leporid must now cross the 38th parallel and take on the Nork forces, both man and animal, to save the world from a nuclear war!” You heard ’em. It’s written by Mark Pellegrini, with full-color art by Timonthy Lim and Brian Denham and a cover by Dave Dorman. And it’s on the stands now. Duck!

image c. 2018 Antarctic Press