G is for green
Priddy Books launches Organic Baby
book series for the preschool set
By Hope Katz Gibbs
FROM FOOD TO TOYS, most adults are determined the back cover offers information on what each book
to expose their little ones to only the safest items. is supposed to accomplish in terms of skill level,”
These days, many are also looking for the most envi- Kelly notes. “No one trains you on how to be a good
ronmentally friendly children’s products. parent, so we try to help whenever possible.”
Execs at the UK-based publishing company Kelly and Roger Priddy, who helped set up
Priddy Books have taken a cue from these savvy cus- Priddy Books, know whereof they speak. Both have
tomers and recently launched the Organic Baby
book series, which is printed on recycled paper with
soy ink, as opposed to the traditional cardboard-and-petroleum-ink method.
“We’ve always wanted to do our best to protect
the environment for future generations, and using
recycled paper and soy ink seemed like a great idea,”
says Bill Kelly, associate publisher for Priddy Books
North America. “Plus, sophisticated retail chains like
Costco that carry our books are insisting on it. So
this isn’t something we could ignore.”
The big question for Kelly was whether the
books—which are mostly color photographs— sion is to help kids stay in touch with the childhood
would look as good printed on recycled stock.
Another issue was whether the soy ink would hold
up, say, when toddlers chewed on them. been in the children’s-book business for decades,
working first for DK Books before that company
was purchased by Macmillan in 1999. The businessmen suggested to their new bosses that they start a
children’s division, and since 2000 Priddy Books has
been the imprint on most of Macmillan’s children’s
atlases, dictionaries and nonfiction titles.
Four books have been published so far in the
Organic Baby line, and several more are on the
Although Kelly says he and Priddy are excited
about using more natural materials, their real mis-
magic of imaginative play.
“Whereas children used to like whimsical illustrated books, today they are into reality and interac-After months of safety tests (including Costco’s tion,” Kelly confesses. “That’s why most of our books
own lab) and research on Priddy’s target market of feature photographs of real kids, real animals
babies to 8-year-olds, it turned out that books printed
on 60 percent recycled material and 40 percent regular paper looked great and held up just fine.
Indeed, it’s tough to tell that one of Priddy’s
newest titles, Organic Baby Animals, isn’t printed
the old-fashioned way. Vivid photographs of pets
(cats, goldfish and puppies), babies on the farm
(chicks, foals and lambs) and animals in nature
(frogs, alligators and squirrels) are clear and crisp.
Although my kids didn’t do a lick test, the oversize
board book stood up to a recent trip to the beach.
As with all Priddy Books, guidelines on the back
provide information on the skills the book
enhances—such as speaking skills and 100 first The Costco Connection
words—and details on the benefits of using recycled Priddy’s Organic Baby books, including
paper and printing with soy ink. the titles First Words, Machines, Animals and
“We don’t overtly advertise that these books are Colors ABC Numbers, are available in
environmentally friendly, but our parents’ guide on most warehouses. and
real dinosaur models. But we don’t want them to
lose their imagination.”
Although it’s nice for parents to read a story to
their child, Kelly and Priddy believe it’s more educational for the child to become involved in the process.
According to Kelly, “At Priddy Books, we strive to
strike the perfect balance.” C
Hope Katz Gibbs is an organic-products-loving
freelance writer in northern Virginia.