Tundra Telegram: Books to Brighten Any Holmes

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we discuss ideas that are hounding readers and clue them into some relevant titles, in case they need a new literary obsession.

The holidays are just around the corner, so it would be perfectly reasonable to start talking about wintry or holiday books. But this week, we’re talking about something else: murder. Specifically, the murder of Enoch Drebber. The murder of this fictional Mormon kicks off the first story to feature fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the story was published in the 1887 edition of Beeton’s Christmas Annual, and first hit newsstands on December 1. The rest is literary history.

To celebrate 115 years of the world’s greatest detective, we’re recommending children’s books about, based on, or similar to the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes. Nearly any mystery story is – in some fashion – indebted to the stories about Sherlock Holmes. But with this roundup, we’ve focused on those that most clearly are an homage to the great detective, or – at the very least – have a distinctly Victorian flavor.

PICTURE BOOKS

What better way to start a young reader’s journey with Sherlock than a picture-book biography about the man who created him? Arthur Who Wrote Sherlock by Linda Bailey and Isabelle Follath chronicles the incredible life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: a doctor, adventurer,  tireless campaigner for justice . . . and, of course, creator of the world’s greatest detective! Any kid with an interest in mysteries will love this lively story of the facts behind the fiction.

For a book of mysteries that many kids will know, and are conundrums worthy of Holmes himself, try Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty?: And Other Notorious Nursery Tale Mysteries by David Levinthal and John Nickle. Who committed a B & E at the Three Bears’ family home? Did Humpty Dumpty really just fall off that wall, or was he pushed? A streetwise investigator delves into five fairy-tale criminal cases, and though Binky wears a fedora (rather than a deerstalker hat), his shrewd mind has much in common with the great detective.

As Holmes and Watson are to London, Sam Cat and Dudley Pig are to Busytown. And in Richard Scarry’s The Great Steamboat Mystery, the almost-dynamic duo have to solve a jewel theft during a wedding aboard a steamboat (instead of eating cake). The best part is that young readers can assist by finding clues and helping crack the case in this humorous story book.

CHAPTER BOOKS & MIDDLE GRADE

Ghost and human child friends Simon and Chester may live in the here-and-now, but they are inspired by Sherlock Holmes in Cale Atkinson’s graphic novel Simon & Chester: Super Detectives! In the duo’s first comic-book adventure, Simon is busy writing a mystery (a regular Arthur Conan Doyle!) when Chester discovers a detective costume, complete with deerstalker. The two quickly decide to start solving mysteries themselves – starting with how a strange (yet adorable) dog wound up inside their house! (Perhaps a far cry from The Hound of the Baskervilles.)

Though their adventures take place decades before the first Holmes story, Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley make for effective tween alternatives to Holmes and Watson in Jordan Stratford’s The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency series, illustrated by Kelly Murphy. The girls who grow up to become the first computer programmer and Frankenstein writer join forces to make a secret detective agency dedicated to unlocking only the most puzzling mysteries, whether those involve missing wills, counterfeit dinosaur bones, or coded messages from princesses.

And while Marthe Jocelyn’s beloved Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen series very explicitly takes inspiration from Agatha Christie and her fictional detectives (rather than Arthur Conan Doyle’s), there’s no denying these mysteries, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot, have a touch of Sherlock in them. At the very least, they occupy the same era of British mystery – and now you can burn though all four books in the series (mysteries from fall through summer) in one handsome ebook bundle.

YOUNG ADULT

If you need a YA fix for your Sherlock jones, look no further than the Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer. Now a series of motion pictures starring Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Superman (Henry Cavill), the books star the teenaged sister of Sherlock Holmes, who finds herself investigating missing mothers, missing ladies of wealth, and even missing landladies (sometimes with the help of her talented older brothers, and sometimes while evading them!) And, like the Aggie Morton series, they are also available in one digital collection.

Equally intriguing is Shane Peacock’s The Boy Sherlock Holmes series. From The Eye of the Crow, the first book in the saga, to Becoming Holmes, the sixth and final book, Peacock reimagines Holmes as a teen social misfit with an aristocrat mother and poor Jewish father whose wits are his only defense – and an incredible asset when solving baffling murders in Victorian London. (Additionally, the books feature no nightmarish food sequences like that Young Sherlock Holmes film!)

Though Sherlock Holmes is not referenced, Singaporean-Canadian Y. S. Lee’s four-book series, The Agency, features secret assignments undertaken by heroines in a Victorian atmosphere. Mary Quinn, an orphan, is brought to Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, which is a front for an all-female investigative unit who use disguises and wits to infiltrate everything from high society to damp cargo ships to solve the era’s most dastardly mysteries.

What if Sherlock Holmes had to solve the mystery of his own death? Well, Lemony Snicket is no Sherlock Holmes. But he has been poisoned in the book Poison for Breakfast (you can probably guess when the poisoning happens), and it’s up to the author to follow a winding trail of clues to solve the mystery of his own murder plot – with more than a few diversions along the way in this archly comic novel.

Our Stars of 2022

At Tundra Book Group (Tundra Books, Puffin Canada, and Penguin Teen Canada), we think all our books are brilliant, and it’s nice when others think so too! Congratulations to our authors and illustrators; these are our starred books of 2022!

THREE STARS:

Night Lunch
By Eric Fan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270572 | Tundra Books
“Via the glow of streetlamps, the luminous moon, and the cart’s twinkling light, Seiferling (The Language of Flowers) theatrically illuminates the nighttime action,” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“It’s difficult to create stories that plug directly into the looping logic of the minds of very young children that are also smart and engaging enough for adults in charge of bedtime reading.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire
“An inspired inversion of the sleep-pushing picture book.” – Starred Review, Shelf Awareness

The Puffin Keeper
By Michael Morpurgo
Illustrated by Benji Davies
112 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271807 | Puffin Canada
“A memorable story of the healing powers of art, nature, and human kindness.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Morpurgo’s spare, deeply felt prose, with undercurrents of the otherworldly, creates an irresistible momentum for this elegant story of the sea and a destiny fulfilled.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“Whether on land or at sea, this tale of lasting friendship delivers adventure and charm in spades. A welcome addition to most collections.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

TWO STARS:

My Self, Your Self
By Esmé Shapiro
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880234 | Tundra Books
“A sublime joy” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Shapiro envelops big ideas within this whimsically affirming exploration of individuality and selfhood.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Rodney Was a Tortoise
By Nan Forler
Illustrated by Yong Ling Kang
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266629 | Tundra Books
“Wry, observational writing by Forler and loose, frequently funny vignettes by Ling Kang give this tale of loss its own distinctive, endearing resonance.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“This tender story about losing a friend and making room for a new one ends on a realistically hopeful note.” – Starred Review, The Horn Book

ONE STAR:

A Garden of Creatures
By Sheila Heti
Illustrated by Esmé Shapiro
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268814 | Tundra Books
“The discussions are thoughtful but direct, with no euphemisms or straightforward answers . . . . A beautiful and unconventional meditation on loss and love.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Arthur Who Wrote Sherlock
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
56 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269255 | Tundra Books
“Bailey, the author of Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein, writes with a sure sense of her audience . . . . Follath’s droll illustrations capture the look of the Victorian era, the drama of Doyle’s imagination, and the dry wit of Bailey’s text. A lively, memorable biography.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Baby Squeaks
By Anne Hunter
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269095 | Tundra Books
“The gift of gab proves deeply funny in Hunter’s (Where’s Baby?) earnest portrait of early language acquisition.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly 

Fight Like a Girl
By Sheena Kamal
272 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735265578 | Penguin Teen Canada
“Kamal’s raw novel about a young fighter from a working-class background fittingly pulls no punches when it comes to examining the lasting impact of familial trauma. Trisha’s search for the truth will stay with readers, as will the satisfying feeling that they have finished reading a truly complex page-turner.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Flowers Are Pretty . . . Weird!
By Rosemary Mosco
Illustrated by Jacob Souva
36 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265943 | Tundra Books
“Using wordplay (“Bee honest” and “bee-lieving”) and puns galore, a bee explains how flowers are both wonderful and weird.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

Kumo: The Bashful Cloud
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion
64  Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267282 | Tundra Books
“Sprinkled with Japanese vocabulary, Kumo will impart a new appreciation for clouds and show readers how it can sometimes be frightening to step into the world, then reassuring them that others are willing to help when we overcome our bashfulness.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Midnight and Moon
By Kelly Cooper
Illustrated by Daniel Miyares
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266308 | Tundra Books
“The story’s gentle drama and quiet heroics of two characters with disabilities make this a wonderful read that also affirms being introverted, nonverbal, or shy.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Super Family: Simon and Chester #3
By Cale Atkinson
96 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735272439 | Tundra Books
“Atkinson’s mastery of facial expressions is unmatched in comics today, and the combination of visual and written humor with genuinely sweet revelations about the nature of familial love is so perfectly balanced it’s simply superb.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

The Grave Thief
By Dee Hahn
344 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269439 | Puffin Canada
“Fast-paced and full of magic, this debut is sure to be a smash hit with fantasy and adventure lovers. Readers should come prepared with a box of tissues, however, as there are some tearjerker moments. Recommended first purchase.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

Too Many Pigs and One Big Bad Wolf: A Counting Story
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Marianna Balducci
36 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269910 | Tundra Books
“[A] a clever take on metafiction . . . Creative visuals and storytelling make for an absorbing read and a great bridge for both math and writing activities.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Wrong Side of the Court
By H. N. Khan
312 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270879 | Penguin Teen Canada
“H.N. Khan’s Wrong Side of the Court is finely crafted and well paced, it’s hard to believe it’s his literary debut. Toronto’s infamous Regent Park is brought vividly to life in the novel, and Khan creates relatable, true-to-life characters. He also portrays the multiculturalism of Toronto well, gradually immersing the reader in Fawad’s South Asian culture.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Holiday Spotlight: Tundra Books 2022

Here at Penguin Random House Canada, we’re lucky to work with so many different imprints and children’s book lists. This holiday season, we’ll be highlighting each one with a dedicated post to help you find the perfect gift (or your next read). Today’s post is all about Tundra Books, our very own Canadian publisher!

Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park
By Marthe Jocelyn
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
400 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735265516 | Tundra Books
Aspiring writer Aggie Morton is looking forward to Christmas. Having just solved a murder and survived her own brush with death in her small town of Torquay on the coast of England, Aggie can’t wait to spend the holidays with her sister Marjorie, the new Lady Greyson of Owl Park, an enormous manor house in the country, Grannie Jane and her fellow sleuth and partner in crime, Hector Perot. Owl Park holds many delights including Aggie’s almost-cousin Lucy, exciting and glamorous visitors from Ceylon, and disguises aplenty in the form of a group of travelling actors. Not to mention a secret passageway AND an enormous, cursed emerald. Not even glowering old Lady Greyson (the Senior) can interfere with Aggie’s festive cheer. But when Aggie and her friends discover a body instead of presents on Christmas morning, things take a deadly serious turn. With the help of a certain nosy reporter, Aggie and Hector will once again have to put their deductive skills and imaginations to work to find the murderer on the loose.

Happy Narwhalidays!
(A Narwhal and Jelly Book #5)
By Ben Clanton
76 Pages | Ages 6-9  | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262515 | Tundra Books
Dive into three new stories about Narwhal’s favorite time of the year! It’s the festive season in the world wide waters, and Narwhal is looking forward to cozying up with a good book, singing and partying with his pod pals and enjoying some warm waffle pudding. But most of all he’s excited about the arrival of the Merry Mermicorn! According to Narwhal, she’s part mermaid, part unicorn and completely mer-aculous! Jelly is of course skeptical about the existence of the “Mira-Miny-What-A Corn” . . . even when he receives a mysterious present. It must be from Narwhal. Now Jelly has to get the perfect gift, but finding a present for someone as unique as Narwhal is no easy feat, even when you have six tentacles. How will Jelly ever come up with a whaley great gift for a best pal who spreads cheer all through the year?

Merry Christmas, Anne
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267183 | Tundra Books
It’s Christmas in Avonlea, and Anne is thankful for so many things: feathery frosts and silvery seas, and wreaths as round as the moon. But most of all, she’s thankful for her kindred spirits, including Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, who adopted her, and her bosom friend Diana. But Anne is distracted this holiday by having to recite at the upcoming Christmas concert. And she feels bad that her kindred spirits give her so much during the year when she has very little to give in return. Can Anne overcome her jitters and make her kindred spirits proud – and also think of a way to show her appreciation for the people she loves? With magical illustrations and a heartfelt message, this festive picture book is the perfect holiday read for Anne fans old and new and a joyous way to celebrate the season.

Strum & Drum: A Merry Little Quest
By Jashar Awan
56 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735272392 | Tundra Books
All is quiet in the forest as the Great Star rises in the distance, and two little musicians, Strum and Drum, wake up from a deep slumber and set out to make the most joyous music they can! But as Strum strums his guitar and Drum drums her drum on their way to the North, some mysterious obstacles fill their paths . . . flickering lanterns, bubbles of glass, a silver waterfall, a tiny house, dangerous animals . . . and a wooden man with a toothy grin warns them of a beast with green eyes lying in wait. For this is no ordinary forest – it’s a Christmas tree, on Christmas Eve, and Strum, Drum and all their new friends are ornaments! But when the green-eyed beast strikes and sends them tumbling out of the “forest,” Strum and Drum’s quest to reach the Great Star seems doomed . . . until a little boy setting out milk and cookies for Santa spots them. 

Snow Falls
By Kate Gardner
Illustrated by Brandon James Scott
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919217 | Tundra Books
Snow softens, snow tricks, snow tracks, snow glows and snow snows and snows and snows, transforming a small village into a winter wonderland. A girl and her dog set out and make the most of every snow-filled moment: sledding, building snowmen and snowforts, making snowangels (and snowdogs), and drinking cocoa by a cozy fire as the snow continues to fall. This luminous and lively picture book celebrates the beauty, magic and excitement of snow with simple, easy-to-read text, comprised almost solely of verbs and action words, and gorgeous art that highlights the amazing colors of a snowy day. As inviting as the first snowfall, but so much warmer, Snow Falls encourages little people and big people to go outside and enjoy the snow . . . before it goes!

The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold
By Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735268708 | Tundra Books
Santa has a problem. This kid? Harold? Santa doesn’t think he’s real. He WANTS to believe in Harold – after all, Harold is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Getting Harold’s letters, eating the cookies he leaves out, feeding his carrots to the reindeer . . . what would Christmas be without that? But Santa’s just not sure. Some of his friends are telling him they think Harold’s not real. And the Harold that sat on his knee last Christmas looked AWFULLY different. Santa comes up with a plan to find out once and for all if Harold really exists . . . with hilarious consequences.

Tiny Reindeer
By Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271180 | Tundra Books
Santa and his reindeer are getting ready for Christmas, but Tiny Reindeer is too small to join in! Santa knows that a nudge in the right direction could change Tiny’s life forever. When Tiny discovers a letter from a bereft little girl who is wishing for a tiny reindeer to match her grandfather’s final gift, a hand-carved tiny sleigh, Tiny realizes that this might be his big chance. But will he have the courage to take a (literal) leap into the unknown? And what can Santa do to help? This picture book is a sweet, funny and heartfelt look at being different and feeling too small to matter, and reassures readers that even the smallest gift – whether it’s a tiny reindeer or a seemingly small opportunity to help – can bring lots of joy.

When Santa Was a Baby
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770495562 | Tundra Books
Santa’s parents think their little one is absolutely wonderful, even though he has a booming voice instead of a baby’s gurgle, loves to stand in front of the refrigerator, gives his birthday presents away, trains his hamsters to pull a matchbox sleigh . . . and has an unusual interest in chimneys. The adorably funny portrait of an oddball kid who fulfills his destiny – and two very proud parents.

Tundra Telegram: Books for Your To-Be-Dread Pile

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we look at the things currently haunting readers, and recommend some petrifying publications in which to bury themselves (figuratively speaking, of course).

My fellow creatures of the night know that Halloween is just around the corner: the time to embrace all things spooky and eerie. In many parts of the world, this is the first year in a while that the young and ghoulish are able to gather at costume parties or take in a scary movie at the theatre or even trick-or-treat door-to-door. So, we’re a little more hyped for Halloween than usual.

Luckily, we’ve been able to scare up scads of scary, blood-curdling books, from those from the youngest readers to YA that might make Stephen King blanche. Read on – if you dare!

PICTURE BOOKS

Ghosts – they’re a classic Halloween costume. All you need is a sheet and two eyeholes. They’re also a classic element of many a Halloween book, and that includes some picture books featuring entirely friendly ghosts. There are few friendlier ghosts than Cale Atkinson’s Simon, who first rose to prominence with the picture book Sir Simon: Super Scarer. Simon is given his first house-haunting assignment, but it doesn’t go well because the kid who lives in the house, Chester, isn’t afraid and can think of nothing more fun than spending time with a real, undead ghost! And for the true horror fans, there are dozens of horror-movie Easter eggs throughout the book’s illustrations.

In other tales of failed ghosts, No Such Thing by Ella Bailey features a poltergeist who can’t seem to spook a clever, skeptical girl named Georgia. No matter what the ghost does, Georgia has an explanation! This picture book is a perfectly not-too-spooky blend of supernatural and STEM.

And Riel Nason and Byron Eggenschweiler’s The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt is a ghost who demonstrates that being different is great, even if it makes being a ghost a little harder than he’d like. The book also makes for a great homemade Halloween costume that’s a level-up from the traditional sheet.

Lest we forget Gustavo: The Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago, about a ghost who would love to make some friends – if only he could work up the courage. Technically a Day of the Dead book (rather than a Halloween one) – but that’s just a couple days after Halloween – Gustavo is a sweet story about introverted ghosts and companionship.

If these ghosts sound pretty cool and you need a few tips on how to make a ghost friend of your own, you need to read How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green. It whimsically provides tips for ghost care so you’ll make a spectral friend for life, including how to read your ghost spooky stories, and what snacks ghosts prefer.

Not to be outshone by ghosts, witches are also a time-honored Halloween favorite, and the perfect place to start, book-wise, is Leila: The Perfect Witch, by Flavia Z. Drago. From the creator who brought us Gustavo comes this other spooky picture book, featuring a witch who excels at nearly everything she does: flying, conjuring, shape-shifting. There’s only one thing she can’t do: cook. She tries to learn from her witchy sisters, but instead learns the value of trying your best, even if it’ll never win you any awards.

Witches are usually associated with Halloween, but what about Christmas? That’s where The Legend of the Christmas Witch by Aubrey Plaza (April Ludgate herself), Dan Murphy, and Julie Iredale comes in. The Christmas Witch is Santa Claus’s misunderstood twin sister, separated from the big elf at a young age, in a picture book that rethinks everything we know about witches and the holidays!

If you want to get a sense of the kinds of things witches get up to outside of the major holidays, Little Witch Hazel by Phoebe Wahl is for you. In four stories (one for each season), a tiny witch gets into adventures in the forest, be they rescuing an orphaned egg, investigating the howls of a ghost (this story is the spookiest), or lazing on a summer’s day.

But then, there are many other monsters to consider at Halloween, as well. Best to start with the guidebook, Monsters 101 by Cale Atkinson (man, he loves Halloween). Professors Vampire, Blob and Werewolf, along with their trusty lab assistant – a zombie named Tina – reveal some ridiculous and fang-in-cheek monster facts about creepy favorites from swamp creatures to demons.

And if you like monsters, you’ll want to read the story of the woman who created one of the granddaddies (if not the entire genre of horror): Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey and Júlia Sardà. This is the picture book biography of the girl behind one of the greatest novels and monsters of all time: Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein. The book is also a wonderful exploration of creativity and where stories come from, complete with spine-chilling and gothic illustrations.

CHAPTER BOOKS & MIDDLE GRADE

Once again, we start with ghosts, this time with beloved Canadian writing legend Kenneth Oppel giving us chills with Ghostlight. It’s a fun (though sometimes terrifying) horror story in which young Gabe’s summer job scaring tourists with ghost stories turns real when he accidentally summons the spirit of a dead girl – and must join forces with her to protect the world of the living. As a bonus, it’s partially based on a real ghost story about Toronto’s Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.

Like ghosts by the water? Well, Double O Stephen and the Ghostly Realm by Angela Ahn features ghost pirates. A kid who loves pirates, Stephen Oh-O’Driscoll, comes face-to-pale-face with the ghost of pirate Captain Sapperton, who needs his help to cross over to the titular ghostly realm.

Karma Moon: Ghosthunter by Melissa Savage looks at the intersection of the supernatural and the reality-television in the story of a girl whose father is a TV ghost-hunter! Karma stays in a haunted Colorado hotel and must face her own anxiety and help her dad’s flailing TV series in this spooky book that’s part Veronica Mars, part The Shining.

Ghosts and spooky dolls? Sign us up for The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story by Canadian master of the middle-grade macabre Charis Cotter. When Alice and her mom head to some small town where Alice’s mom has been hired as the new live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady, Alice finds a dollhouse in an attic that’s an exact replica of the house she’s in. Then she wakes up to find a girl who look a lot like one of the dolls from the dollhouse – let the creeping dread begin!

And Sir Simon returns – this time in comic form, with the Simon & Chester graphic novel series (again by Mr. Halloween, Cale Atkinson). In the three books that exist so far, the ghost and human friends solve mysteries (Super Detectives), stay up late (Super Sleepover), and visit the waterpark and a ghost conference (Super Family). Who says it’s all hauntings and eerie moans?

But we have witchcraft for early readers and middle-grade lovers, as well! Evie and the Truth about Witches by John Martz is about a girl who wants to be scared, and the usual horror stories aren’t doing it for her anymore (we’ve all been there). When she stumbles across a different sort of book, The Truth about Witches, she hopes she’s found a new scare, but she’s forbidden by a kindly shopkeeper from reading the last page out loud! Find out why in this graphic novel that is honestly quite unsettling!

Escape to Witch City by E. Latimer explores an alternate Victorian London where a sentence of witchcraft comes with dire consequences. Here, all children are tested at age thirteen to ensure they have no witch blood. So, Emmaline Black must attempt to stamp out her power before her own test comes. But the more she researches, the more she begins to suspect that her radically anti-witch aunt and mother are hiding something.

Speaking of witches and cities . . . readers so often encounter witches in the woods, standing over a bubbling cauldron. But what about urban witches? Crimson Twill: Witch in the City by Kallie George and Birgitta Sif features a little witch who loves bright colors as she ventures out on a big-city shopping adventure (think the Shopaholic series meets Bewitched). The book is also up for the Silver Birch Express Award, which makes us think there may be a few covens hidden amongst the Ontario Library Association.

And the city witches keep coming with Sophie Escabasse’s Witches of Brooklyn graphic novel series. Life in Brooklyn takes a strange turn when Effie discovers magic runs in the family when she starts to live with her weird aunts – and weird in the Macbeth version of the term.

Ghosts and witches are fine, but what about the scary stuff out there. You know, the creepy things from outer space that Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully protected us from? Then you need The Area 51 Files from Julie Buxbaum and illustrator Lavanya Naidu. When Sky Patel-Baum is sent to live with her mysterious uncle, she didn’t imagine she’d end up at Area 51, a top-secret military base that just so happens to be full of aliens.

And Natasha Deen’s Spooky Sleuths series, illustrated by Lissy Marlin, follows kids Asim and Rokshar as they uncover paranormal mysteries in their town. Whether it’s ghostly trees or teachers who glow in the moon or mermaids, the creepy supernatural encounters our heroes have are all based on ghost stories and folklore from Guyana!

Halloween in summer? It’s possible with New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White’s Sinister Summer books. In each, the Sinister-Winterbottom twins solve mysteries at increasingly bizarre (and creepy) summer vacation spots. The books begin with an amusement park that’s seemingly cursed (Wretched Waterpark), then travel to a suspicious spa in the Transylvanian mountains (Vampiric Vacation).

And from the creator of Séance Tea Party (which is also a good Halloween read), Remeina Yee, comes the uncategorizable creatures of the graphic novel My Aunt Is a Monster. Safia thought that being blind meant she would only get to go on adventures through her audiobooks. This all changes when she goes to live with her distant and mysterious aunt, Lady Whimsy (who may be – okay, definitely is – a monster).

YOUNG ADULT

Now, do you want to be scared, or have a good horror-adjacent time? Because we have YA for both moods. In the realm of real scares is How to Survive your Murder by Danielle Valentine, that comes recommended by Mr. Goosebumps R. L. Stine himself! Kind of like a more murdery Back to the Future, the book concerns Alice, a teen about to testify in her sister Claire’s murder trial. But as she approaches the courtroom, she’s knocked out cold. When she awakes, it is Halloween night (see?) a year earlier, the same day Claire was murdered. Alice has until midnight to save her sister and find the real killer in this inventive slasher.

Speaking of slashers, let’s talk Stephanie Perkins and There’s Someone Inside Your House. The thriller works like a classic slasher, with students at Makani Young’s high school dropping like flies to a grotesque series of murders. Makani tries to sort out the rhyme and reason as the body count increases. Read it, then check out the Netflix adaptation (don’t watch this trailer unless you’re not easily spooked!) and see which you prefer.

And the slasher gets witchy with Coven by Jennifer Dugan and Kit Seaton, a queer, paranormal YA graphic novel featuring a young witch racing to solve a series grisly supernatural murders of her coven members in upstate New York before the killer strikes again.

Like your spooky stories with a healthy heaping of Cronenberg-esque body horror? You need to be reading Rory Power. Her debut novel Wilder Girls starred three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school where a disturbing infection, the Tox, has started seeping into everything – and everyone. She then followed that up with Burn Our Bodies Down a creepy yarn about weird and dark secrets in a teen girl’s mom’s hometown, for fans of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and people frightened by corn mazes.

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass gives sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston the ability to see dead people everywhere. But for him, watching the last moments of dead people is easy compared to the racism he faces as one of the few Black students at St. Clair Prep. Just when a little romance enters his life, he encounters a dangerous ghost: Sawyer Doon, a troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school before taking his own life. Jake finds his supernatural abilities bring him into contact with some very dark forces.

If you like the trappings and style of horror, but a little less distress, we have YA novels for you, too. Case in point: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson. In it, teenage Wiccan Mila Flores investigates the murders of three classmates (including one friend), but accidentally ends up bringing them back to life to form a hilariously unlikely – and mostly unwilling – vigilante girl gang. Sounds rad, right?

What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat isn’t all fun-and-games – in fact, it’s a folk horror about an idyllic small town being devoured by a mysterious blight called Quicksilver – but it certainly has some funny moments. And when Wren finds herself one of the last in her town unaffected by the blight, she turns to her ex, Derek, and the two have to uncover the weird and disturbing secrets that kept their town’s crops so plentiful.

Jessica Lewis’s Bad Witch Burning is a witchy story full of Black girl (occult) magic. Katrell’s ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, as she figures it could help out at home, where her mother is unemployed and her dad avoids paying child support. So she doesn’t listen to the ghosts and takes her summoning a little too far, with very dark consequences.

Finally, The Babysitters Coven by Kate M. Williams is a funny, action-packed series about a coven of witchy babysitters who protect the innocent and save the world from evil. The series follows the indoctrination of seventeen-year-old babysitter Esme Pearl’s to this heroic lineage when she meets Cassandra Heaven, a force of nature who – for some reason – wants to join her babysitters club. And the sequel, For Better or Cursed, takes readers to the Summit of the Synod, the governing group of the Sitterhood – a sort of work conference for super-powered demon-fighting babysitters. Spells Like Teen Spirit wraps up the trilogy.

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!

Arthur Who Wrote Sherlock
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
56 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269255 | Tundra Books
What if you wrote a story about a detective, and he became the most famous detective ever? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Or . . . would it? Arthur has always loved stories. Even as he grew up poor, endured hardships at school and experienced danger on the high seas, Arthur was always thrilled and inspired by stories. Eventually, he writes his own, and after many years of struggle as a writer, he finally finds success with a series of mystery stories starring his genius detective, Sherlock Holmes. But is it possible for a character to become too successful? Too popular? And if that happens to Arthur, will he really throw his greatest literary creation . . . over a cliff?!

Little Echo
By Al Rodin
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880623 | Tundra Books
Have you ever heard an Echo?
They live in lakes and tunnels and caves.
But have you ever seen an Echo?
Little Echo lives alone in a cave. Shy, she hides away, echoing the noises around her. But Little Echo isn’t just shy – she’s lonely. And when Max comes to the cave one day, in search of treasure, Little Echo starts to discover that maybe she has a voice of her own.

Seekers of the Fox: Thieves of Shadow #2
By Kevin Sands
400 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270442 | Puffin Canada
Rule number one: Never mess with magic. Even so, a life-or-death situation calls for Callan and his criminal friends to make a deal with the Eye – the sinister, sentient artifact they stole from a sorcerer. It’s Lachlan’s life in exchange for a future task, and the gang has no choice but to agree. But even as Lachlan is resurrected, it’s not without cost. Through the Eye, Callan can see a tiny purple stain inside Lachlan’s soul, which will eventually consume him. The cure – and their part of the deal – lies with the Dragon’s Teeth, a pair of swords with extraordinary powers, and the search for them leads the thieves on a quest that will unravel the mystery of the Eye. Old friends, new betrayals, and an even more daring break-in than the last culminate in a confrontation that will take all the gang’s skill and power to resist – or they’ll die trying.

Unstoppable Us, Volume 1: How Humans Took Over the World
By Yuval Noah Harari
Illustrated by Ricard Zaplana Ruiz
208 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774882214 | Puffin Canada
Even though we’ll never outrun a hungry lion or outswim an angry shark, humans are pretty impressive – and the most dominant species on the planet. So, how did we become “unstoppable”? The answer to that is one of the strangest tales you’ll ever hear. And it’s a true story. From learning to make fire and using the stars as guides to cooking meals in microwaves and landing on the moon, prepare to uncover the secrets and superpowers of how we evolved from our first appearances millions of years ago. Acclaimed author Yuval Noah Harari has expertly crafted an extraordinary story of how humans learned to not only survive but also thrive on Earth, complete with maps, a timeline, and full-color illustrations that bring his dynamic, unputdownable writing to life.

New in Paperback:

Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Dead Man in the Garden
By Marthe Jocelyn
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
400 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735270787 | Tundra Books
Aspiring writer Aggie Morton is ready to enjoy an invigorating trip to a Yorkshire spa, where her widowed mother can take the waters and recover from a long mourning period. Having solved yet another murder and faced extreme peril with her best friend Hector over Christmas, Aggie’s Morbid Preoccupation is on alert when rumors abound about the spa’s recently deceased former patient . . . and then another body appears under mysterious circumstances. Together with Grannie Jane, and often in the company of George, a young patient at the spa, Aggie and Hector take a closer look at the guests and staff of the Wellspring Hotel, and venture into the intriguing world of the local undertaker. Has there been a murder – or even two? As Aggie and Hector ignite their deductive skills, their restful trip takes a sudden, dangerous turn.

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.