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Henson Options 'Harriet the Spy,' 'The Kissing Hand'

Rehab Entertainment and 2 Friends Entertainment partner with iconic company to develop pair of beloved children’s books for television.

LOS ANGELES -- The Jim Henson Company in partnership with Rehab Entertainment and 2 Friends Entertainment has optioned for development as television series Louise Fitzhugh’s book series Harriet the Spy, and Audrey Penn’s picture book series The Kissing Hand.

Originally published by Harper & Row in 1964, Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy is considered to be one of the finest books ever written for children. It is being developed as a new stylized 2D animated series that will follow the title character and aspiring writer as she observes and writes about the bustling world of New York in the 1960s. BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning Karrot Entertainment (The Snowy Day, Sarah & Duck) is attached to animate the series.

Based on the beloved, award-winning, picture book and to be brought to life with puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Penn’s The Kissing Hand will feature Chester the raccoon as he learns how to navigate going to school, making new friends, and dealing with the daily anxieties of a preschooler, with the love and support of Mama Raccoon and help from a comforting kiss she leaves on his hand.

“Both of these classic book properties share The Jim Henson Company’s commitment to entertain and inspire children, featuring dynamic characters and stories that celebrate creativity, empowerment, and joy," said Halle Stanford, president of television for The Jim Henson Company. "We have a deep respect for Harriet the Spy, and her many fans, and we’re ready to bring this real girl to audiences around the world. Similarly, The Kissing Hand, which is arguably the top book parents use to prepare their children for preschool and kindergarten, is deeply nurturing and perfectly suited for puppetry. Now more than ever, we believe children need the stories of Chester Raccoon and his Mama to encourage them to adventure in the world while still maintaining the loving connection of family and friends."

Both properties have been shepherded by Rehab Entertainment’s John Hyde and Terissa Kelton, and 2 Friends Entertainment’s Wendy Moss-Klein and Nancy Steingard, alongside The Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford.

Source: Jim Henson Company

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Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.