Tundra Top Ten: April 2021

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 April 2021 – 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. Petra
By Marianna Coppo
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262676 | Tundra Books
Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird’s nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she’s flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl’s pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she’s a rock, and this is how she rolls! The humorous adventures of an irresistible little rock who finds herself in constantly changing circumstances, Petra is a picture book that celebrates the power of perspective and believing in yourself.

3. 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.

The Barren Grounds4. The Barren Grounds
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.

The Barnabus Project5. 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.

6. 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!

7. Butterflies Are Pretty . . . Gross!
By Rosemary Mosco
Illustrated by Jacob Souva
36 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265929 | Tundra Books
Butterflies are beautiful and quiet and gentle and sparkly . . . but that’s not the whole truth. Butterflies can be GROSS. And one butterfly in particular is here to let everyone know! Talking directly to the reader, a monarch butterfly reveals how its kind is so much more than what we think. Did you know some butterflies enjoy feasting on dead animals, rotten fruit, tears, and even poop? Some butterflies are loud, like the Cracker butterfly. Some are stinky – the smell scares predators away. Butterflies can be sneaky, like the ones who pretend to be ants to get free babysitting. This hilarious and refreshing book with silly and sweet illustrations explores the science of butterflies and shows that these insects are not the stereotypically cutesy critters we often think they are – they are fascinating, disgusting, complicated, and amazing creatures.

8. The Darkest Dark
By Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion
Illustrated by The Fan Brothers
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918623 | Tundra Books
Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem – at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is – and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company. Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible.

9. The Worm
By Elise Gravel
32 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781101918418 | Tundra Books
The second in a series of humorous books about disgusting creatures, The Worm is a look at the earthworm. It covers such topics as the worm’s habitats (sometimes they live inside other animals), its anatomy (its muscle tube is slimy and gross), and its illustrious history (worms have been on Earth for 120 million years). Although silly and off-the-wall, The Worm contains factual information that will both amuse and teach at the same time.

10. Sonya’s Chickens
By Phoebe Wahl
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9781770497900 | Tundra Books
Sonya raises her three chickens from the time they are tiny chicks. She feeds them, shelters them and loves them. Everywhere Sonya goes, her chicks are peeping at her heels. Under her care, the chicks grow into hens and even give Sonya a wonderful gift: an egg! One night, Sonya hears noises coming from the chicken coop and discovers that one of her hens has disappeared. Where did the hen go? What happened to her? When Sonya discovers the answers, she learns some important truths about the interconnectedness of nature and the true joys and sorrows of caring for another creature.

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

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

PetraPetra
By Marianna Coppo
38 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780735267985 | Tundra Books
“Meet Petra, a smooth grey oval of possibility . . . a pleasantly intelligent book.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“[S]imple, smooth, and stylish… Change may be the only constant in Petra’s peripatetic existence, but her bubbly optimism is as solid as a Gibraltar.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“You’ve never seen a cuter rock… Petra’s unmitigated confidence in an unpredictable world make(s) it a keeper.” – Starred Review, Booklist

The Gryphons LairThe Gryphon’s Lair
By Kelley Armstrong
352 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265387 | Puffin Canada
“Action is no sin with such an impressive menagerie to feature—belligerent koalas and carnivorous aquatic horses just for starters—nor does Armstrong waste the opportunity to show readers the growing depth of Rowan’s sense of purpose and relationship with her friends. Rowan’s illustrated field guide continues to expand in the backmatter as well. Armstrong’s setting is a thoroughly multiracial (but not racialized) one, with the principals’ skin tones of varying shades of brown. A fun and fiery follow-up.” – Kirkus Reviews

FollowersFollowers
By Raziel Reid
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263802 | Penguin Teen Canada
“That’s why reading his latest novel, Followers—about a naive teen who suddenly becomes a key player in a messy Real Housewives-esque series—is meant to feel like you’re scrolling through Insta while watching your fave Bravo show…. But make no mistake: Followers isn’t some after-school special where everyone learns an important lesson at the end. ” – Elle Canada 

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

A Mighty Girl’s 2018 Books of the Year

Strong. Fearless. Magnificent. These are the traits of our empowering and inspirational books for kids. We’d like to give a heartfelt congratulations to our authors and illustrators for their amazing work!

A Mighty Girl’s 6 – 8 (Elementary):

BloomBloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101918562
Growing up in Rome, Elsa Schiaparelli knew she was “brutta” — ugly — so she searched around her for beauty, even “planting” seeds in her ears and nose so she would be vibrant and colorful like the flower market! In the 1920s and ’30s, as a single mother in Paris, she drew inspiration from her surrealist artist friends and her own vivid imagination and started creating amazing, unique designs — from a hat shaped like shoes to a dress covered in lobsters — all in bold colors, including the signature shocking pink she invented herself. With style and sophistication, this book celebrates a truly innovative designer who dared to go her own way.

Dr JoDr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America’s Children
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Julianna Swaney
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101917893
After Sara Josephine Baker lost her brother and father to typhoid fever, she knew she wanted to be a doctor. But when she graduated in 1898, few people wanted to see a woman doctor, so Dr. Jo took a job in public health working in Hell’s Kitchen, one of New York’s poorest neighborhoods. She realized that, by improving the health of children, she could improve the health of a whole community. Dr. Jo assigned visiting nurses to new mothers, designed safe infant clothing, set up milk stations, and created training and licensing for midwives — and her work saved over 90,000 children. This picture book biography of a groundbreaking woman in medicine highlights how simple innovations can have an enormous impact.

Goodnight AnneGoodnight, Anne
Inspired by Anne of Green Gables
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781770499263
It’s bedtime for Anne — but she can’t sleep until she says goodnight to everything she loves. She thinks of her wonderful new family, Matthew and Marilla; of her bosom friend Diana and her encouraging teacher, Miss Stacy; and special places like the Snow Queen tree and the Lake of Shining Waters. She even spares a thought for her annoying classmate, Gilbert, and Mrs. Lynde, the nosy neighbor. This charming bedtime story is a lovely introduction to the beloved character Anne, perfect for fans both old and new.

Mary Who Wrote FrankensteinMary Who Wrote Frankenstein
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Júlia Sardà
Hardcover | 56 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781770495593
How does a story begin? Sometimes it begins with a dream, and a dreamer. Mary is one such dreamer, a little girl who learns to read by tracing the letters on the tombstone of her famous feminist mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and whose only escape from her strict father and overbearing stepmother is through the stories she reads and imagines. Unhappy at home, she seeks independence, and at the age of sixteen runs away with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, another dreamer. Two years later, they travel to Switzerland where they meet a famous poet, Lord Byron. On a stormy summer evening, with five young people gathered around a fire, Byron suggests a contest to see who can create the best ghost story. Mary has a waking dream about a monster come to life. A year and a half later, Mary Shelley’s terrifying tale, Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus, is published – a novel that goes on to become the most enduring monster story ever and one of the most popular legends of all time.

PetraPetra
By Marianna Coppo
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9780735262676
Petra the rock is full of confidence: “Nothing can move me. Not the wind. Not time,” she declares. Except when a dog runs up to her, it becomes clear that Petra is really quite little — small enough for the dog to pick up in its mouth, and then for the dog’s owner to fling her into a bird’s nest! Petra isn’t dismayed, though — attitude is everything, and she soon finds an upside to her new situation. After all, “I’m a rock, and this is how I roll.” Kids will giggle as Petra finds herself in constantly changing surroundings (and comes up with optimistic viewpoints on all of them), but along the way they’ll learn an important message about perspective and believing in yourself.

A Mighty Girl’s 9 – 12 (Pre-Teen):

Elephant SecretElephant Secret
By Eric Walters
Hardcover | 352 Pages | Puffin Canada
ISBN 9780735262812
Sam has grown up among elephants at a North American elephant sanctuary, so she’s used to understanding how elephants think — and hearing about the sanctuary’s financial woes. Then an anonymous sponsor donates a huge amount of money, in exchange for artificially inseminating Daisy Mae, one of Sam’s favorite elephants. When Daisy Mae dies while giving birth, Sam raises her calf — and realizes that baby Woolly has actually been cloned from woolly mammoth DNA. But with the billionaire behind the project willing to do anything to protect his investment, can Sam protect both Woolly and the other elephants? Kids will be fascinated by Sam’s work with the elephants and will eagerly flip pages to find out what happens to Woolly and her other elephant friends.

SweepSweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
By Jonathan Auxier
Hardcover | 368 Pages | Puffin Canada
ISBN 9780735264359
11-year-old Nan Sparrow is a ‘climbing boy,’ an orphan owned by a chimney sweep to do the dirty, dangerous work of cleaning flues in Victorian London. But, Nan isn’t a boy and she’s quite possibly the best chimney climber who ever lived, beating the odds again and again … until the day she’s trapped in a chimney fire. When she wakes up safe in an attic, she discovers that she was saved by a mysterious creature — a golem — made from ash and coal. Together, the two outcasts will need to evade Nan’s abusive boss and figure out how to create a better life in a world that’s quick to label differences as monstrous. Told by master storyteller Jonathan Auxier, this powerful and heartwarming tale explores the search for home and family, in whatever form they take.

The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony GrayThe Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray
By E. Latimer
Hardcover | 336 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101919286
Bryony Gray’s work is deeply in demand in London’s art community … but her life is grim. Her cruel uncle keeps her locked up, painting canvas after canvas for his clients. Then her paintings start taking on a life of their own — and her customers start going missing. When Bryony starts digging into her family history, she discovers she’s accidentally unleashed a deadly family curse. If she’s going to break the curse, she’ll have to avoid angry mobs, her evil uncle, and perhaps most difficult of all: her own artwork. This middle grade novel inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray is full of thrilling twists and terrifying turns.

A Mighty Girl’s 13+ (Teen):

Tess of the RoadTess of the Road
By Rachel Hartman
Hardcover | 544 Pages | Penguin Teen Canada
ISBN 9780385685887
Tess is the black sheep of her family, always speaking out of turn and getting into trouble. When she drunkenly punches her new brother-in-law at her twin Jeanne’s wedding, her parents decide that’s the last straw and plan to send her to a nunnery. Instead, she cuts her hair, disguises herself as a boy, and hits the road. She’s not sure where she’s going yet, just that the road will give her answers — answers about who she is, why she is the way she is, and where she belongs. This fantasy adventure set in the world of Seraphina and Shadow Scale also explores how girls are taught to blame themselves even when others are at fault — and the power of journeys to reveal truths to those who walk them.

Booklist Editors’ Choice 2018

We received some wonderful news from Booklist, their editors’ list of the best youth titles published in 2018 include Petra and Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein. And as if that’s not enough, Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein was selected as the Top of the List in the Picture Books category – the best of the best! Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

PetraPetra
By Marianna Coppo
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9780735262676
“Size is clearly a matter of perspective when it comes to Petra, a smiling gray boulder, or magnificent mountain, or pebble, depending on whom you ask…. On one page, dinosaurs roam near her base; in another, a tiny-looking knight trots by on his horse. But things take a turn when a stick soars over Petra, and a giant schnauzer’s head enters the frame…. Thus begin her adventures, from slingshot to bird’s nest to pond, all punctuated by Petra’s upbeat commentary, which will surely garner some laughs…. This Italian import is truly a charmer. Coppo uses tempera, pastels, and digital collage to create memorable illustrations—you’ve never seen a cuter rock—in natural colors and set against white backdrops. The idea of relative size is seamlessly incorporated into the story, but it’s Petra’s unmitigated confidence in an unpredictable world that makes it a keeper.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Mary Who Wrote FrankensteinMary Who Wrote Frankenstein
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Júlia Sardà
Hardcover | 56 Pages | Ages 5-8
ISBN 9781770495593
“Though youngsters won’t yet have delved into Mary Shelley’s gothic horror classic, most will have been exposed to her piecemeal monster…. Viewed in this eerie light, a picture-book biography on Shelley herself doesn’t seem out of place, especially one so stunning as this. Bailey relates Shelley’s childhood, rebellious adolescence, and participation in the now-famous writing competition that spawned the mad Dr. Frankenstein and his monster as a fantastic story in its own right. Her writing is warm and inclusive, posing occasional questions directly to the reader and establishing Shelley as a spirited dreamer. No less astonishing are Sardà’s folk art–style illustrations, which employ deep, moody hues—burgundy, plum, black, gray, and midnight blue—to create hauntingly detailed scenes. Ghostly monsters waft through people’s imaginations; dense trees lean and reach their branches toward Shelley’s passing carriage; a dead frog sits upright when zapped with electricity. Readers will revel in this artful portrait of a celebrated young author and better appreciate the true brains behind the operation. A thorough afterword offers more details of Shelley’s life.” – Starred Review, Booklist