Atheneum is beating the drums for the fall release  of the first books in William Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood series. It’s a complex publishing program, featuring both picture books and chapter books (there are actually TWO titles listed as “Guardians of Childhood #1“) and a Dreamworks movie, called Rise of the Guardians, releasing in November, 2012.

In total there will be 7 picture books and 6 chapter books, with both series featuring the same characters. The “Guardians” are various childhood icons, the Man in the Moon, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman, who band together to thwart the evil Pitch, the Boogeyman, who plans to throw the world into darkness.

The first picture book, The Man in the Moon, releases on Sept. 6th and the first chapter book, Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King on Oct. 4th. A special Web site features full-page spreads, and a video introducing The Guardians, (via the special publisher-supported issue of Shelf Awareness).

Kirkus gave the picture book a bit of a cold shoulder, “A visual feast cannot compensate for lackluster plotting …” (but, what a visual feast it is).

The animated film will feature the voices of Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law and Alec Baldwin. It will be in in 3-D (of course). Joyce is co-directing.

If you’re going to ALA, Joyce will be featured in the Auditorium Speaker Series.

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