Chorion Hooks Simon & Schuster U.K. on Octonauts

Simon & Schuster U.K. has struck a licensing deal with Chorion to publish a full line of tie-in books based on the preschool animated series The Octonauts.

The publisher’s rights cover the United Kingdom and Commonwealth territories for the series, which has been pre-sold to CBeebies in the U.K., TF1 in France and ABC in Australia for a planned 2010 premiere.

The deal covers picture books, novelties, activity and ebooks based on the preschooler show, which features a team of heroes who dive into action wherever there is trouble under sea in a fleet of cool aquatic vehicles.

‘We fell hook, line and sinker for The Octonauts, with its rare combination of originality as well as strong commercial appeal,’ says Ingrid Selberg, publishing director of Simon & Schuster Children’s Books U.K. ‘The adorable characters, action packed storylines, the beautiful underwater world with its exciting vessels, missions and explorations ‘ offer a whole world of creative publishing opportunities.’

Executive produced by Emmy-winning writer Stephanie Simpson and Chorion’s senior VP of creative Kurt Mueller, the animated series (52 x 11 min. plus 1 x 22 min. special) is currently in production and made its international debut at MIPCOM in Cannes.

The HD CGI animation is being produced by Oscar-nominated Brown Bag Films, which also produces Chorion’s Olivia and Noddy in Toyland.