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.

Join Us at Camp Penguin 2020!

Camp Penguin 2020 bannerWe’re back with an all-new summer reading list and activity program for kids ages 6-9 and 9-12. This year we’re thrilled to offer a week of author presentations held on Zoom at 2:00 pm ET/11:00 am PST. Attendance is free, but everyone must register through Eventbrite:

Monday, July 13, 2020: Magical Objects & Mythical Beasts with Zetta Elliott (Dragons in a Bag)
Magic happens everywhere, and everyone has a story to tell. Learn how to develop an inclusive magical story that takes place right in your own community! Bring a favourite object, toy, or stuffie to write about!
Register here: https://camp-penguin-zetta-elliott.eventbrite.ca

Tuesday, July 14, 2020: Problems at the Pickle Factory with Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Mya’s Strategy to Save the World)
In Mya’s Strategy to Save the World, Mya’s always writing letters. In this slightly silly writing workshop, we’ll work together on our own protest letter about the problems at Mr. Pickwick’s Pickle Factory. Bring a paper and pen, a sense of humour, and a steady supply of imagination.
Register here: https://camp-penguin-tanya-lloyd-kyi.eventbrite.ca

Wednesday, July 15, 2020: The Science of Monsters & Magic with Kelley Armstrong (A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying)
Kelley Armstrong will explore the link between magic and science and give a brief history of the unexplained, and then a deeper dive into the “magic” of science-based monsters. Plus we’ll create our own science-based monsters!
Register here: https://camp-penguin-kelley-armstrong.eventbrite.ca

Thursday, July 16, 2020: Story Ninjas Rule with Sigmund Brouwer (Innocent Heroes)
Sigmund Brouwer talks about how to use the power of story to have fun messing with all the people in your lives. Make sure you have a four-digit secret password ready and get ready to create an amazingly fun story!
Register here: https://camp-penguin-sigmund-brouwer.eventbrite.ca

Friday, July 17, 2020: Drawing Creatures with Hatem Aly (The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines)
The Unicorn Rescue Society series introduces us to creatures from mythology. Join illustrator Hatem Aly for a drawing demonstration and make your own mythological creatures together!
Register here: https://camp-penguin-hatem-aly.eventbrite.ca

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the books on our Camp Penguin list!

Camp Penguin 2020 Titles

Camp Penguin 2020 Titles 9-12

Downloadables:

For a list of participating bookstores in Canada and for more information, please visit our official Camp Penguin page.

#GetBehindPictureBooks

During the past month of April 2016, Penguin Random House Canada got behind Tundra picture books! This all started out as an innocent e-mail linked to the campaign from the Eric Carle Museum. For more information, visit their website here.

We hope this inspires you to get behind picture books, don’t forget to use the hashtag #GetBehindPictureBooks and share it with us too!

2015 Willow Awards Nominations

The Willow AwardsThe Willow Awards have been announced! We are very happy to see that three of our titles have been nominated for the Shining Willow Award and one for the Diamond Willow. Congratulations to Roy MacGregor, Geneviève Després, Eric Walters, Eugenie Fernandes, Elise Gravel, and Charis Cotter for their fantastic work!

Click here for a bookmark checklist for the Shining Willow nominees and click here for the Diamond Willow bookmark.

Shining Willow Nominees:

The Highest Number in the WorldThe Highest Number in the World
Written by Roy MacGregor
Illustrated by Geneviève Després
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-5753
“MacGregor’s writing packs an emotional punch without relying on sentimentality (‘Gabe’s heart felt as if a skate had just run across it’). Expressive pencil drawings, brightened with color washes, perfectly capture the characters’ feelings. From the moment Grandma begins to share her past and her passion for hockey, the story’s context becomes broader, more complex, and more meaningful. A memorable, intergenerational picture book perfect for sharing.” – Starred Review, Booklist

My Name Is BlessingMy Name Is Blessing
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 Pages |Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-301-8
“This expressive picture book, based on a real family, lovingly tells a hard story with a twist. It’s difficult to broach poverty, disability and custody issues in so few pages without sounding maudlin, but Walters manages by speaking simply…. With dignity and quiet acceptance, this story illustrates that blessings, like family, can take unexpected forms.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

The WormThe Worm
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-633-0
“Gravel covers basics like worm anatomy and diet with simple text and bold, hand-lettered typography. But it’s the earthworm protagonist, sporting a beret and greeting readers with a worldly ‘Énchanté!’, that helps make the book so entertaining. It has a witty quip for every wormy fact…. But even the book’s more aesthetically challenged creatures—tapeworms, I’m looking at you—can’t help but woo with their cute dot-eyes and expressive mouths. The Worm is gross, silly, and informative—the perfect combo for maximum kid appeal.” – Science Friday

Diamond Willow Nominee:

The SwallowThe Swallow
A Ghost Story
Written by Charis Cotter
Hardcover | 320 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-591-3
“The novel alternates between Polly’s and Rose’s first-person points of view, and Cotter ably creates their two distinct voices, each of which is appealing in its own way. This is a novel about loneliness and friendship, feeling invisible, finding your voice, and long-buried secrets. But The Swallow is never heavy-handed, and, best of all, it’s genuinely spooky. Cotter builds suspense without artificially withholding information from the reader. And for bibliophiles, the author’s subtle hat tips to favourite books are a joy. Like all the best ghost stories, The Swallow tells us more about the living than the dead. It is a fantastic addition to Toronto literature, with all the makings of a classic.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: The Heebie-Jeebies

Listed by age range:

Bob's Hungry GhostBob’s Hungry Ghost
Written by Geneviève Côté
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN: 978-1-77049-713-9
Bob wants a dog for his birthday, but instead he gets a ghost … and its name is Fluffy. Unfortunately, Fluffy doesn’t fetch, sit or go for walks. But he does eat everything, and soon all of Bob’s things and even Bob himself end up in Fluffy’s belly. Will Bob find a way to tame his unruly and very hungry ghost? Will Fluffy realize that eating Bob wasn’t a very nice thing to do?

The FlyThe Fly
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-636-1
The first in a series of humorous books about disgusting creatures, The Fly is a look at the common housefly. It covers such topics as the hair on the fly’s body (requires a lot of shaving), its ability to walk on the ceiling (it’s pretty cool, but it’s hard to play soccer up there), and its really disgusting food tastes (garbage juice soup followed by dirty diaper with rotten tomato sauce, for example). Although silly and off-the-wall, The Fly contains real information that will tie in with curriculum.

The WormThe Worm
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-633-0
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).

The SlugThe Slug
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-655-2
The Slug is a look at the land slug. It covers such topics as the slug’s two pairs of tentacles, one pair for seeing, one pair for smelling (it can see you’re a kid and smell like broccoli), its breathing hole (on the side of its head!), and its pretty gross mucous covering (in order to find a partner, the slug can follow another slug’s mucous trail. True love!).

The RatThe Rat
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-658-3
The Rat is a look at the black rat. It covers such topics as the rat’s long, agile tail (it’s good for balancing and picking noses), long teeth (they can chew through anything, including books) and disgusting taste in food (delicious electrical wires in tomato sauce, anyone?).

The SwallowThe Swallow: A Ghost Story
Written by Charis Cotter
Hardcover | 320 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-591-3
eBook: 978-1-77049-593-7
In 1960s Toronto, two girls retreat to their attics to escape the loneliness and isolation of their lives. Polly lives in a house bursting at the seams with people, while Rose is often left alone by her busy parents. Polly is a down-to-earth dreamer with a wild imagination and an obsession with ghosts; Rose is a quiet, ethereal waif with a sharp tongue. Despite their differences, both girls spend their days feeling invisible and seek solace in books and the cozy confines of their respective attics. But soon they discover they aren’t alone–they’re actually neighbors, sharing a wall. They develop an unlikely friendship, and Polly is ecstatic to learn that Rose can actually see and talk to ghosts. Maybe she will finally see one too! But is there more to Rose than it seems? Why does no one ever talk to her? And why does she look so … ghostly? When the girls find a tombstone with Rose’s name on it in the cemetery and encounter an angry spirit in her house who seems intent on hurting Polly, they have to unravel the mystery of Rose and her strange family … before it’s too late.

Zombie ElementaryZombie Elementary
The Real Story

Written by Howard Whitehouse
Hardcover | 256 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-608-8
eBook: 978-1-77049-610-1
Larry Mullet is your typical fourth grader. He’s not the biggest kid or the smartest kid or the best looking kid. He rides his bike, plays baseball, takes the school bus, avoids cafeteria food, and–oh yeah, he’s a zombie hunting expert. Larry was just doing his usual thing when Alex Bates from Ms Hoag’s class tried to eat him. Sadly, that was only the beginning. Something odd was going on at Brooks Elementary… and it was up to Larry and his friends to take charge (for some reason). Hilariously told interview-style as a record of the REAL story, and peppered with zombie tips and facts, zombie cheerleaders and plenty of gore, this book will be a surefire hit for anyone interested in a ghoulishly good life-or-death comedy.

The Voice Inside My HeadThe Voice inside My Head
Written by S.J. Laidlaw
Hardcover | 256 Pages | Ages 14 and up
ISBN: 978-1-77049-565-4
eBook: 978-1-77049-566-1
Seventeen-year-old Luke’s older sister, Pat, has always been his moral compass, like a voice inside his head, every time he has a decision to make. So when Pat disappears on a tiny island off the coast of Honduras and the authorities claim she’s drowned – despite the fact that they can’t produce a body – Luke heads to Honduras to find her because he knows something the authorities don’t. From the moment of her disappearance, Pat’s voice has become real, guiding him to Utila, where she had accepted a summer internship to study whale sharks. Once there, he meets several characters who describe his sister as a very different girl from the one knows. Does someone have a motive for wanting her dead? Determined to get to the bottom of Pat’s disappearance, Luke risks everything, including his own life, to find the answer.

Bob Reading