Craig Bartlett to write, Cory Edwards to direct 'toon pic

The Jim Henson Co. is developing an animated feature film based on the children’s books “Frog and Toad” with Craig Bartlett (“Dinosaur Train”) penning the screenplay and Cory Edwards attached to direct.

Henson Co. made the announcement Friday.

The four “Frog and Toad” books, written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel in the 1970s, chronicle the exploits of a frog and his friend, a toad — named Frog and Toad.

“‘Frog and Toad’ has tremendous value with parents who read these charming stories when they were children and are now sharing them with their own kids,” said Lisa Henson, CEO. “With such high caliber talent on board, the delightful and funny adventures of these two great friends–with a nod to the classic ‘buddy movie’–will bring a whole new audience to their big screen debut.”

Lisa Henson will produce and Adam Lobel and Adrianne Lobel will exec produce.

The company has also signed a deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books to develop and implement a multi-category licensing and merchandising program in the U.S. and Canada and will present the property at the upcoming Licensing Expo in Las Vegas.

Guillermo Del Toro came on board last month to co-direct “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio” with Mark Gustafson, animation director on “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” as a 3D stop-motion animated production for the Jim Henson Company. Del Toro plans to begin shooting in the summer of 2013.

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