Cover Reveal: The Big Sting

Tundra is very excited to be publishing The Big Sting on February 7, 2023! Written by Rachelle Delaney, The Big Sting follows Leo, whose visit to his grandfather’s farm is turned upside down when his late grandmother’s beehives go missing!

Scroll down for the full bee-utiful cover plus a Q&A with Rachelle Delaney!

Cover Art: Morgan Goble
Cover Design: Emma Dolan

The Big Sting
By Rachelle Delaney
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269309 | Tundra Books
Release Date: February 7, 2023
Eleven-year-old Leo is an “armchair adventurer.” This, according to Dad, means he’d choose adventures in books or video games over real-life experiences. And while Leo hates the label, he can’t argue with it. Unlike his little sister Lizzie, Leo is not a risk-taker.

So when he, Lizzie, Mom and Dad leave the city to visit Grandpa on Heron Island, Leo finds all kinds of dangers to avoid – from the deep, dark ocean to an old barn on the verge of collapse. But nothing on the island is more fearsome than Grandpa himself – Leo has never met anyone so grumpy! According to Mom, Grandpa is still grieving the recent death of his wife, a beekeeper beloved by everyone on the island.

Despite Leo’s best efforts to avoid it, adventure finds him anyway when Grandma’s beehives go missing in the dead of night. Infuriated, Grandpa vows to track down the sticky-fingered thieves himself . . . with risk-averse Leo and danger-loving Lizzie (plus a kitten named Mayhem) in tow.


Q&A with Rachelle Delaney

What inspired The Big Sting?

A few years ago, I learned about hive heists, which is another term for bee theft. I’d never heard of a hive heist before, and I was intrigued. I quickly started brainstorming ideas for a story, though it took me a long time to decide on a setting. Eventually I settled on one close to home: a fictional Gulf Island off the coast of BC. I live in Vancouver and visit the islands a few times a year. They’re beautiful and quirky, and I’ve always thought it would be fun to set a story there.

Did you have to do any research? What was the most fun/interesting fact you learned?

I love doing research for novels, and this was no exception. I learned all I could about hive heists from articles and podcasts. I did a lot of research into bees too. Unfortunately, this was during the height of the pandemic, so there weren’t many opportunities to meet with people in person. But I did Zoom calls with my beekeeper friend, Jode, who answered many, many questions.

The most amazing fact I learned is that one of the most expensive honeys in the world is produced in a cave in northeastern Turkey. The cave is so deep it takes a team of mountaineers to harvest it. It’s called Elvish honey, and it costs almost $7,000 per gram!

Without spoiling anything, what was your favourite moment to write in The Big Sting?

One of my favourite parts is when the Heron Island Bumblers – a group of geriatric beekeepers – descend on Leo’s grandpa’s house to help solve the crime. I loved writing their dialogue and interactions with Grandpa, who is not a fan of the Bumblers. Also, the scene is FULL of bee puns.

Do you think Leo would be friends with Alice Fleck?

Oh, I think so. Leo and Alice are both clever, curious and braver than they think. They have very different interests, but I don’t think that would stop them from being friends.

Which character is the most like you or the most like someone you know?

Like Leo, I’m a bit of a catastrophizer – I tend to think of everything that can go wrong before taking a risk. But I love having adventures (within reason), so I try to push past most fears. When I described how Leo feels bold and capable after climbing Heron Mountain, I was definitely writing from experience.

How many cover drafts did you see before this one was finalized?

I think I saw three drafts before it was finalized. It’s so fascinating to see a cover come together. I think the illustrator, Morgan Goble, and the designer, Emma Dolan, did an incredible job.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever given or received?

The other day, my 14-year-old niece and I were talking about how hard it is to write when you don’t want to make mistakes – when you want everything to turn out RIGHT. It can be totally paralyzing, and it can take the fun out of writing. It’s so important to give yourself permission to play with writing, experiment and have fun. I have to remind myself of this all the time.

What have you been reading lately?

I’ve been reading – and loving – Norwegian author Maria Parr’s books. She writes delightful middle-grade novels (translated into English, of course) set in the mountains and fjords of Norway. They’re the perfect blend of humour and adventure.

Also by Rachelle Delaney: 

Alice Fleck’s Recipes for Disaster
By Rachelle Delaney
256 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269279 | Puffin Canada
Alice Fleck’s father is a culinary historian, and for as long as she can remember, she’s been helping him recreate meals from the past – a hobby she prefers to keep secret from kids her age. But when her father’s new girlfriend enters them into a cooking competition at a Victorian festival, Alice finds herself and her hobby thrust into the spotlight. And that’s just the first of many surprises awaiting her. On arriving at the festival, Alice learns that she and her father are actually contestants on Culinary Combat, a new reality TV show hosted by Tom Truffleman, the most famous and fierce judge on TV! And to make matters worse, she begins to suspect that someone is at work behind the scenes, sabotaging the competition. It’s up to Alice, with the help of a few new friends, to find the saboteur before the entire competition is ruined, all the while tackling some of the hardest cooking challenges of her life . . . for the whole world to see.

Clara VoyantClara Voyant
By Rachelle Delaney
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780143198543 | Puffin Canada
Clara can’t believe her no-nonsense grandmother has just up and moved to Florida, leaving Clara and her mother on their own for the first time. This means her mother can finally “follow her bliss,” which involves moving to a tiny apartment in Kensington Market, working at a herbal remedy shop and trying to develop her so-called mystical powers. Clara tries to make the best of a bad situation by joining the newspaper staff at her new middle school, where she can sharpen her investigative journalistic skills and tell the kind of hard-news stories her grandmother appreciated. But the editor relegates her to boring news stories and worse . . . the horoscopes. Worse yet, her horoscopes come true, and soon everyone at school is talking about Clara Voyant, the talented fortune-teller. Clara is horrified – horoscopes and clairvoyance aren’t real, she insists, just like her grandmother always told her. But when a mystery unfolds at school, she finds herself in a strange situation: having an opportunity to prove herself as an investigative journalist . . . with the help of her own mystical powers.

The Bonaventure Adventures
By Rachelle Delaney
288 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780143198512 | Puffin Canada
Sebastian Konstantinov has grown up in a travelling circus, surrounded by talented performers. Seb, however, has no circus skills at all. He can’t even turn a somersault. But he does know this: the old-fashioned circus his father founded is out of date and running low on money. If someone doesn’t figure out how to save it, the Konstantinovs will be in real trouble. Seb thinks he may have the answer, and it involves attending the highly selective Bonaventure Circus School in Montreal, Canada. Seb secretly writes to the school’s Directrice (conveniently leaving out the part about his lack of circus skills), and to his surprise, he gets accepted right away. Now all he has to do is keep his lack of talent a secret. But it turns out that Seb is not the only one with secrets. The school is literally crumbling beneath the students’ feet, and the Directrice is counting on Seb’s “talent” to save it.

Rachelle Delaney: website | instagram | twitter

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra is an ongoing series featuring our new releases. The following titles are now available in stores and online!

Double O Stephen and the Ghostly Realm
By Angela Ahn
288 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268272 | Tundra Books
Stephen loves pirates. What he doesn’t love is his name: Stephen Oh-O’Driscoll. He believes when his Korean mother and Irish father gave him this name, that it was just one cruel setup for being teased. Giving things the proper name is important, which is why Stephen thinks that it’s time to update the definition of “pirate.” They’ve got a bad rep, and maybe they deserve some of it, but Stephen still likes a few pirate traditions, like bandannas and eyepatches – he’s just not that into stealing things from people. He has the perfect new word: piventurate. A sailor who passionately seeks adventure. That’s what he wants to be. When he gets suspended from school for doing proper piventurate-in-training things (using sticks to practice sword fighting), his mother doesn’t let him sit around doing nothing, instead she takes him to a museum. At the museum everything changes. Stephen finds himself in a strange new place, face-to-face with a real pirate. A pirate ghost. Captain Sapperton needs Stephen’s help to cross to the other side, and his former ghost crew are intent on making sure Stephen follows through, whatever it takes. Stephen is about to discover the true meaning of piventurate, and much to his surprise, his adventure will not only take him farther into the ghostly realm, but also closer to home, where long-held family secrets reveal surprising ties to the spirit world.

The Further Adventures of Miss Petitfour
By Anne Michaels
Illustrated by Emma Block
160 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268210 | Tundra Books
Miss Petitfour enjoys having adventures that are “just the right size” for a “single, magical day.” With her sixteen cats and the aid of a tablecloth as a makeshift balloon, Miss Petitfour soars – which is to say, she rises high in the air and flies – over her charmingly eccentric village, encountering adventures along the way. One never knows where the wind will take her in this delightfully seasonal collection of magical outings: perhaps to the aid of dearly loved friends and neighbors, including a hapless handyman and an onion-loving baby, or to a coconut-confetti parade, or in search of keys, lucky charms or even simply the perfect tablecloth for her next flight. A witty, whimsical, beautifully illustrated collection of tales that celebrate language, storytelling and all the pleasures of life, large and small!

New in Paperback:

The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story
By Charis Cotter
360 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735269088 | Tundra Books
Alice’s world is falling apart. Her parents are getting a divorce, and they’ve cancelled their yearly cottage trip – the one thing that gets Alice through the school year. Instead, Alice and her mom are heading to some small town where Alice’s mom will be a live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady. The house is huge, imposing, and spooky, and everything inside is meticulously kept and perfect – not a fun place to spend the summer. Things start to get weird when Alice finds a dollhouse in the attic that’s an exact replica of the house she’s living in. Then she wakes up to find a girl asleep next to her in her bed – a girl who looks a lot like one of the dolls from the dollhouse. . . . When the dollhouse starts to change when Alice isn’t looking, she knows she has to solve the mystery. Who are the girls in the dollhouse? What happened to them? And what is their connection to the mean and mysterious woman who owns the house?

We can’t wait to see you reading these titles! If you share these books online, remember to use #ReadTundra in your hashtags so that we can re-post.

Window Wednesday

#WindowWednesday: We are incredibly fortunate to have stores create window features of our books. We want to highlight their amazing work here on our blog for you to see (and perhaps you’ll discover a new local bookstore).

Mabel’s Fables
662 Mt Pleasant Road, Toronto, ON M4S 2N3

Inspired by: Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink and Sharon, Lois & Bram’s One Elephant Went Out to Play by Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, and Bram Morrison, with Randi Hampson and illustrated by Qin Leng
Photo by: Mabel’s Fables

P.S. Check out their Instagram for a fun video tour of the video!

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra is an ongoing series featuring our new releases. The following titles are now available in stores and online!

New in Paperback:

How to Make Friends with a Ghost
By Rebecca Green
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9781774880401 | Tundra Books
What do you do when you meet a ghost? One: Provide the ghost with some of its favorite snacks, like mud tarts and earwax truffles. Two: Tell your ghost bedtime stories (ghosts love to be read to). Three: Make sure no one mistakes your ghost for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you aren’t looking! If you follow these few simple steps and the rest of the essential tips in How to Make Friends with a Ghost, you’ll see how a ghost friend will lovingly grow up and grow old with you. A whimsical story about ghost care, Rebecca Green’s debut picture book is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and the timeless theme of friendship.

Sir Simon: Super Scarer
By Cale Atkinson
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9781774880395 | Tundra Books
Meet Sir Simon, Super Scarer. He’s a professional ghost who has been transferred to his first house. And to top it off, this house is occupied by an old lady — they’re the easiest to haunt! But things don’t go as planned when it turns out a KID comes with this old lady. Chester spots Simon immediately and peppers him with questions. Simon is exasperated. . . until he realizes he can trick Chester into doing his ghost chores. After a long night of haunting, it seems that maybe Chester isn’t cut out to be a ghost, so Simon decides to help with Chester’s human chores. Turns out Simon isn’t cut out for human chores either. But maybe they’re both cut out to be friends . . .

We can’t wait to see you reading these titles! If you share these books online, remember to use #ReadTundra in your hashtags so that we can re-post.

Tundra Top Ten: July 2022

Want to know what everyone else has been reading and loving lately? Every month we will share our list of top ten bestselling kids’ books that we publish into North America. Here are the Tundra and Puffin Canada titles for the month of July 2022 – how many have you read?

narwhal unincorn of the sea1. Narwhal and Jelly Series
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

By Ben Clanton
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918265 | Tundra Books
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together. A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever – even though it doesn’t have any words . . . or pictures!

2. Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink
By Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, and Bram Morrison, with Randi Hampson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
28 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780735270527 | Tundra Books
What does “skinnamarink” mean? You may not find its definition in a dictionary, but the meaning is clear to the generations of children who sang along: friendship, happiness, sharing, community and, ultimately, love. This song has been sung in weddings and in classrooms. It can be fun and silly – especially with the accompanying actions! And it has a way of bringing people together. Based on the classic folk song made famous by a beloved trio of children’s entertainers, this picture book is best sung aloud! “Skinnamarink” is a timeless anthem of love and inclusion.

The Barren Grounds3. The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga #1
By David A. Robertson
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266100 | Puffin Canada
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home – until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything – including them.

4. Scaredy Squirrel Gets a Surprise
By Melanie Watt
84 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269590 | Tundra Books
In this second NUTTY ADVENTURE, Scaredy is in for a big surprise . . . and Scaredy does NOT like surprises. He is a squirrel who likes a schedule, predictability, nothing unexpected. So, what’s inside the mysterious crate? Turns out it’s a POOL! Scaredy imagines sharks, eels and algae! He prepares safety rules! Luckily his friends Ivy, Timber and newcomer Rash are happy to remind him of another important rule . . . having fun!

5. Carson Crosses Canada
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
36 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918838 | Tundra Books
Feisty Annie Magruder and her dog, Carson, live in British Columbia, Canada, and they’re setting out to visit her sister, Elsie, in Newfoundland. In their little rattlebang car, packed with Carson’s favorite toy, Squeaky Chicken, and plenty of baloney sandwiches, Annie and Carson hit the road! They travel province by province, taking in each unique landscape and experiencing something special to that particular part of this vast, grand country. For example, they marvel at the beauty of the big, open sky – and grasshoppers! – in Saskatchewan and discover the gorgeous red earth and delicious lobster rolls in PEI, before finally being greeted by Elsie – and a surprise for Carson!

6. Scaredy Squirrel In a Nutshell
By Melanie Watt
72 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269576 | Tundra Books
Scaredy is happy to stay in his nut tree. Why would he ever leave? The outside is filled with dangers. Like aliens! And dust! And a certain fluffy bunny who likes to pop up! But things don’t always go as planned, even for a super-prepared squirrel. When he has to venture out of his tree and onto the ground, Scaredy panics and plays dead . . . but maybe the fluffy bunny’s not so scary after all? In a nutshell, Scaredy might just make a new friend, if he is brave enough . . .

7. If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Colin Jack
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770495685 | Tundra Books
If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don’t know what to do with it . . . why don’t you use it as a can opener? It will make a terrific nutcracker too! There are oodles of uses for a dinosaur – from a fine umbrella to an excellent kite and a dandy pillow, not to mention a reliable burglar alarm and the perfect excuse to forget your homework. This delightfully absurd exploration of the domestic uses of dinosaurs – and the things dinos just aren’t good for at all – is guaranteed to tickle funny bones and spark imaginations. If you read carefully, you’ll learn how to make your dinosaur last a very long time.

8. On the Trapline
By David A. Robertson
Illustrated by Julie Flett
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266681  | Tundra Books
A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago – a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination, and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.

9. Little Witch Hazel
By Phoebe Wahl
96 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264892 | Tundra Books
Little Witch Hazel is a tiny witch who lives in the forest, helping creatures big and small. She’s a midwife, an intrepid explorer, a hard worker, and a kind friend. In this four-season volume, Little Witch Hazel rescues an orphaned egg, goes sailing on a raft, solves the mystery of a haunted stump, and makes house calls to fellow forest dwellers. But when Little Witch Hazel needs help herself, will she get it in time? Little Witch Hazel is a beautiful ode to nature, friendship, wild things and the seasons that only Phoebe Wahl could create: an instant classic and a book that readers will pore over time and time again.

The Barnabus Project10. The Barnabus Project
By The Fan Brothers
72 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263260 | Tundra Books
Deep underground beneath Perfect Pets, where children can buy genetically engineered “perfect” creatures, there is a secret lab. Barnabus and his friends live in this lab, but none of them is perfect. They are all Failed Projects. Barnabus has never been outside his tiny bell jar, yet he dreams of one day seeing the world above ground that his pal Pip the cockroach has told him about: a world with green hills and trees, and buildings that reach all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars. But Barnabus may have to reach the outside world sooner than he thought, because the Green Rubber Suits are about to recycle all Failed Projects . . . and Barnabus doesn’t want to be made into a fluffier pet with bigger eyes. He just wants to be himself. So he decides it’s time for he and the others to escape. With his little trunk and a lot of cooperation and courage, Barnabus sets out to find freedom – and a place where he and his friends can finally be accepted for who they are. This suspenseful, poignant and magical story about following your dreams and finding where you truly belong will draw readers into a surreal, lushly detailed world in which perfection really means being true to yourself and your friends.