Neal Porter of Roaring Brook Press has acquired the first children's book by David Rabe, the Tony- and Obie-Award winning author of such plays as Hurlyburly and Sticks and Bones. Mister Wellington, a chapter book, will be illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker. It tells the story of a squirrel that is separated from its family and is nursed back to health by the boy who discovers him. Tentative publication date is fall 2008. Deborah Schneider of Gelfman Schneider handled the deal on behalf of Rabe, and Paige Gillies of Publishers Graphics negotiated on behalf of Parker. [Full disclosure: Dabid Rabe was once attached to Learning to Fly to write the screenplay. This was very exciting. He also wrote the screenplay for The Firm. Unfortunately, LTF never got off the ground. But there is still interest, and where there is interest, there is hope.]
Twentieth Century Fox has picked up film rights to the R.L. Stine children's book series "The Rotten School," published by HarperCollins Publishers and Parachute Publishing. He created the mega-selling "Goosebumps" series . As Variety puts it, "The 'Rotten' books are written as laffers for tykes." [For some reason, Variety likes words like "ankled," "bowed" and "laffers." It's like talking to some retired vaudevillian.] [Full disclosure: Last fall, I sat next to RL Stine while we both signed books. We also ate dinner at the same big round table with the lady who writes and illustrates those cool Amelia's diary books and Walter Kirn (Even more full disclosure: a totally different screenwriter, Sheldon Turner, was once attached to Learning to Fly, AND one of Walter's books.). RL Stine looks something like a cheerful lizard. He was wearing the ugliest green blazer I had ever seen. It looked like what realtors used to wear in the 70s, only in this shocking shade of green. It must have been specially made to make him look like the headmaster.