Madonna's next literary effort should be a lot more G-rated than her last, 1992's ''Sex.'' The Penguin publishing group announced Monday that Lourdes and Rocco's mom has written a series of five children's books, aimed at kids ages 6 and older. The first book, ''The English Roses,'' is due in hardcover in September.
Nicholas Callaway, founder of Callaway Editions, the books' U.S. publisher, said the singer/actress/author has lined up a celebrated illustrator for each book. He said in a statement that Madonna ''has drawn on a lifelong passion for and deep familiarity with literature and children's books to create contemporary classics that combine great storytelling with ravishing art.'' Of the stories, whose characters include a young prince and a fox, he said, ''With these books, Madonna has accomplished something rare and wonderful. Despite the astonishing range and variety of her stories, they all evoke the secret that the red fox shares with the Little Prince: 'It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.'''
Penguin chairman and chief executive John Makinson said, ''Madonna is an artist with a universal appeal and these books will touch children of all backgrounds everywhere in the world.'' That's a far cry from her last book, her limited-edition, metal-bound erotic manifesto. ''Sex'' did have some memorable illustrations, but no red foxes or little princes.