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‘Cradle’ Book Series Comes To Animated Life


Cradle, the New York Times best-selling fantasy book series that started as a self-publishing operation a decade ago, has returned to its grassroots beginnings in its adaptation for animation – alongside award-winning Lex+Otis Animation Studio – with a Kickstarter designed to give fans even greater connection to the stories, realms and characters of the popular fable.

Will Wight, author of the books and founder of Hidden Gnome Publishing, has combined his celebrated writing talents with the acclaimed artistry of Jay Oliva and his Lex+Otis team to initiate the Kickstarter for Cradle: Unsouled, an animated depiction of the series’ first book.

The Kickstarter is live at https://kck.st/48ADhBI, and has already achieved over half its initial goal of $1 million, courtesy of more than 3,800 backers. The Cradle: Unsouled Kickstarter ends on February 9, and includes tiered perks for supporters that range from early viewing access to the animation and unique digital artwork and story content, to physical art prints, Cradle-inspired toys and accessories, to exclusive autographed materials, a private screening and on-screen credits.

“We wanted to do this as a Kickstarter instead of seeking private funding because we wanted this to be completely a fan project,” says Wight. “Jay’s a fan, I’m a fan, and we want to bring all the Cradle fans with us on this journey. The more support we get from the fan base, the bigger and better we can tell the story, but we’re committed to telling the story no matter how much we raise.”

Achieving the initial Kickstarter goal would allow Lex+Otis, hand in hand with the Hidden Gnome Publishing team, to produce a fully-realized “animatic,” which in industry terms is essentially the film prior to colored animation and final polishing. Oliva, noted for his unparalleled work on animated films for Warner Bros. & DC like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, has already been deeply involved in creating character designs and storyboards for the piece, much to the delight of Wight and his key Hidden Gnome associates, siblings Sam Wight and Rebecca Wight.

“As we were preparing to release the 12th and final book in the series, we began discussing where we could take Cradle next – how we could bring these stories to people in another medium. We realized that we had to pursue a more visual approach to storytelling, and animation seemed the logical direction,” Wight explains. “At the same time, Jay approached us – he loved the stories, and I was already a fan of his work. He made a trip to visit us in Florida, and there was an instant connection. Our first priority was to ensure that any adaptation of Cradle was authentic to its source material, and Jay’s enthusiasm, his passion for the books, and his years of experience made Lex+Otis the obvious choice.”

“When you read a Cradle book, the stories and detailed descriptions are so vivid and iconic that it virtually begs for an animated adaptation,” Oliva says “These are fully fleshed out characters in rich, lush environments. Even if I wasn’t the one animating it, I’d be lining up to see these stories brought to the screen.”

Audiobook narrator and #1 New York Times best-selling author Travis Baldree has already agreed to join the adventure, providing his voice to the still-in-production sizzle reel, and setting his sights on at least one character to whom he’d like to voice.