Our Stars of 2021

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 2021!

FIVE STARS:

Instructions for Dancing
By Nicola Yoon
384 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271234 | Penguin Teen Canada
“An endearing, affecting exploration of the journey of love. Everything Yoon touches turns to gold and this cinematic supernatural romance will be no exception.” – Starred Review, Booklist
“A remarkable, irresistible love story that will linger long after readers turn the final page.” – Starred Review, Kirkus
“Yoon delivers a story of love’s unpredictability and the importance of perspective that unfolds with ease and heart.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“A sweet, genuine love story sure to pull on the heartstrings.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal
“Yoon delivers this captivating story of first love with beautiful prose, clever dialogue that swings between laugh-out-loud funny and wildly insightful, clear respect for the complexity and nuance of her teen characters’ perspectives and emotions – and just enough magic to make it all truly unforgettable.” – Starred Review, BookPage

FOUR STARS:

In the Wild Light
By Jeff Zentner
384 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263055 | Penguin Teen Canada
“A brilliant treasure of a book that holds up a mirror to the best parts of our humanity.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Evocative and moving, highlighting Zentner’s impressive skill with both poetry and prose.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“A wise, gorgeous exploration of loss and survival that will make readers cry…Lyrical and heartbreaking.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal
“Heartfelt and deeply moving . . . a book that readers will unhesitatingly take to their hearts.” – Starred Review, Booklist

THREE STARS:

Little Witch Hazel
By Phoebe Wahl
96 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264892 | Tundra Books
“The writing is lush and lyrical, and the textured, earth-toned illustrations expertly capture Hazel’s world, both cozy and gloriously wild . . . More Mosswood, please.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“A thread of loving and nurturing emerges through this treasury of quiet adventures . . . and readers will find satisfaction in seeing the way [Little Witch Hazel’s] sturdy care succors her community and results in gentle reciprocation.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“The quiet but insistent rejection of conventional norms is both cheer worthy and effortlessly integrated, and the result is a story that can sit happily next to any classic fairy story as well as contemporary picture books directly addressing physical differences.” – Starred Review, Booklist

On the Trapline
By David A. Robertson
Illustrated by Julie Flett
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266681  | Tundra Books
“An outstanding contribution to the literature about family, intergenerational friendship, remembrance, community, Indigenous experience, and more.” – Starred Review, The Horn Book
“Robertson’s text is as spare as Flett’s artwork, leaving plenty of space for readers to feel the emotions evoked by both.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“A deeply affecting journey of memory and history.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Time Is a Flower
By Julie Morstad
56 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267541 | Tundra Books
“Thoughtful metaphors and diverse characters take viewers through the manifold dimensions of time. . . . This exuberant vehicle will expand the thinking of those just beginning to comprehend clocks and calendars.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“A conceptual meditation, winsome and enigmatic.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“A fascinating way to think about the passage of time.” – Starred Review, Booklist

TWO STARS:

Bear Wants to Sing
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268036 | Tundra Books
“Sparkling whimsy . . . a delicate story full of humor and friendship.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“This tender tale of creativity, manners, and nurturing friendship by the creators of King Mouse has all the makings of a contemporary classic.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Blankie
By Ben Clanton
22 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780735266780 | Tundra Books
“A delightful celebration of friendship and fancy.” –  Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“From Clanton’s early graphic novel series, hilarious best-friend duo Narwhal and Jelly happily talk about their favorite things and dart about in their simple, signature colors across the pages.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

Both Sides Now
By Peyton Thomas
300 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269750 | Penguin Teen Canada
“Emotionally charged and politically relevant, this is a must-read.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Thomas’ debut is achingly vulnerable . . . There’s no debate: Both Sides Now is a compelling, heartfelt must-read.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Ten Little Dumplings
By Larissa Fan
Illustrated by Cindy Wume
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266193 | Tundra Books
“Stepping out of the shadows: a gentle, persuasive #ownvoices take on a hitherto-untold perspective.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“A sincere and beautiful story for all ages, and one that can gently introduce a serious discussion topic of rank and gender for older readers.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

The Great Godden
By Meg Rosoff
256 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735268319 | Penguin Teen Canada
“One wants to read the book several times to tease out how Rosoff achieves her effects. The effort is a joy, just like this unforgettable novel, the first of a planned, summer-themed trio.” – Starred Review, Booklist
“There’s enough tension here that readers may hope for a ramp-up into full thriller, but the story moves toward a different kind of satisfying conclusion, with victory lying in an unpredictable tennis match and the ability to preserve the possibilities of future summers.” – Starred Review, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

What Does Little Crocodile Say?
By Eva Montanari
40 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268135 | Tundra Books
“This endearing take on a common preschool scenario will make an appealing read-aloud at home or school.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Montanari’s economic, softly textured pencil crayon drawings and intimate, inventive vignette framings provide plenty to linger over, and deliver the gentle persuasion that reluctant, or sensorially sensitive, preschoolers need.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

ONE STAR:

Anonymouse
By Vikki VanSickle
Illustrated by Anna Pirolli
40  Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263949 | Tundra Books
“Slyly subversive, Anonymouse offers a shrewd commentary on the challenges and hazards facing nature in the city.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Bubbles
By Ben Clanton
22 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780735266766 | Tundra Books
“From Clanton’s early graphic novel series, hilarious best-friend duo Narwhal and Jelly happily talk about their favorite things and dart about in their simple, signature colors across the pages.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

Butterflies Are Pretty . . . Gross!
By Rosemary Mosco
Illustrated by Jacob Souva
36 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265929 | Tundra Books
“A proboscis-in-cheek introduction to butterflies that will appeal to reluctant readers and bug enthusiasts alike.” –  Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Children of the Fox: Thieves of Shadow #1
By Kevin Sands
416 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270411 | Puffin Canada
“The protagonists’ natural chemistry as they learn to collaborate and trust one another helps to ground the epic story, especially once it leans more heavily into fantasy elements, while Callan’s narrative voice adds just the right amount of self-aware humor.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Etty Darwin and the Four Pebble Problem
By Lauren Soloy
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266087 | Tundra Books
“An excellent introduction to the natural sciences, Darwin, fairies, and inquiry, sure to inspire and fascinate young readers and listeners.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

I Do Not Like Yolanda
By Zoey Abbott
44  Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266513 | Tundra Books
“[F]ull of little wonders that hold the reader’s attention from page to page.A book that will inspire readers to find their own pen pals, a good book, and a new friend.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

Out Into the Big Wide Lake
By Paul Harbridge
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265592 | Tundra Books
“A heartening Canadian picture book with an emotionally resonant ending.” –  Starred Review, Booklist

Peter Lee’s Notes From the Field
By Angela Ahn
Illustrated by Julie Kwon
312 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268241 | Tundra Books
“[A] winsome . . . and fetching middle-grade novel. Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field is a winner.” – Starred Review, Shelf Awareness

Super Detectives: Simon and Chester #1
By Cale Atkinson
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267428 | Tundra Books
“This story is a winner for new readers and aspiring gumshoes alike. Readers will look forward to seeing more of this entertaining detective duo in the future. It’s no mystery – all clues point to fun!” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

The Great Bear: The Misewa Saga #2
By David A. Robertson
288 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266131 | Puffin Canada
“Robertson’s nods at the complexity of time-travel plots serve as wry metafictive commentary and also tie into his consideration of profound existential questions.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

The Secret Fawn
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Elly MacKay
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265165 | Tundra Books
“Sweet and pretty for bedtime or naptime – and validating to little ones all the time.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Tiny Reindeer
By Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271180 | Tundra Books
“Tiny Reindeer is a wonderful addition to the Christmas picture book canon that reminds us of the special gifts we all have to offer, no matter how tiny we might be.” – Starred Review, BookPage

Walking in Two Worlds
By Wab Kinew
296 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269002 | Penguin Teen Canada
“Kinew’s first novel for teens stands out in the field of speculative fiction with its respectful, celebratory, and nuanced exploration of cultures and communities all too often at risk of erasure (particularly Indigenous communities).” – Starred Review, Booklist

Back-to-School Readiness

Get your littles ready for back-to-school with these titles!

Anne’s School Days
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Abigail Halpin
72 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267206 | Tundra Books
Anne loves autumn in Avonlea, and she’s been enjoying her first three weeks of school. It helps that she walks to school with and sits next to her kindred spirit, Diana Barry. However, one day, Gilbert Blythe joins the class. According to Diana, he’s very handsome, and smart too. However, Gilbert immediately gets on Anne’s nerves. When he pulls on Anne’s braid and calls her “Carrots” because of her red hair, enough is enough. How can Anne enjoy school when Gilbert is ruining everything? Anne vows never to talk to Gilbert again, and even stops going to school for a time when her teacher forces Anne to sit next to her rival. But later, when Anne has an accident on the pond and her wooden plank sinks, who should come to her rescue but her nemesis, Gilbert Blythe?

Count on MeCount on Me
By Miguel Tanco
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265752 | Tundra Books
Everyone has a passion. For some, it’s music. For others, it’s art. For our heroine, it’s math. When she looks around the world, she sees math in all the beautiful things: the concentric circles a stone makes in a lake, the curve of a slide, the geometric shapes in the playground. Others don’t understand her passion, but she doesn’t mind. There are infinite ways to see the world. And through math is one of them. This book is a gorgeous ode to something vital but rarely celebrated. In the eyes of this little girl, math takes its place alongside painting, drawing and song as a way to ponder the beauty of the world.

Check out the Count on Me activity kit!

Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness
By Ben Clanton
88 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262546 | Tundra Books
Dive into four new stories about Narwhal and Jelly becoming substitute teachers! The two best friends come across an enthusiastic school of fish one morning. Unfortunately, Mr. Blowfish, their teacher, has come down with a cold, and class will have to be cancelled . . . until Professor Knowell (Narwhal) and Super Teacher (Jelly) volunteer to help out! The first subject is Wafflematics, in which Narwhal and Jelly calculate the number of waffles needed to feed the class. That’s what we’re chalking about! Next up is a super-fun science scavenger hunt, followed by a game of “Tag! You’re Awesome!” at recess. Narwhal’s teaching methods may be unconventional, but with Jelly’s help, the two teach (and learn) with their trademark positivity and humor. Before they know it, the day is over . . . but what grade will Narwhal receive from Jelly?

What Does Little Crocodile Say?
By Eva Montanari
40 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268135 | Tundra Books
What sounds does the Little Crocodile hear on the first day of preschool?
The alarm clock goes ring, ring
The car goes vroom, vroom
The elephant says peekaboo
The drum goes rat-a-tat
The food goes nom nom nom
And the crocodile says . . . WAHHHH!
In this charming book of sounds, a little crocodile experiences the highs and lows of preschool, ultimately enjoying their day . . . after a small meltdown, of course! Little ones will delight in the adorable illustrations and fun read-aloud, and parents will delight in the sly humor and familiar emotional rollercoaster of a toddler’s day.

Check out the  What Does Little Crocodile Say? activity kit!

Your First Day of Circus SchoolYour First Day of Circus School
By Tara Lazar
Illustrated by Melissa Crowton
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263710 | Tundra Books
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages! It’s the most amazing day on earth: the first day of school! It can be a daunting prospect, but don’t worry – your big brother can show you the ropes. Join a nervous boy and his enthusiastic older brother as they navigate the highs and lows of a first day at school . . . except this school is a big top, and the teacher is named Miss Stupendous, and the cafeteria can be a zoo, literally! It turns out, school isn’t so scary when you can let off steam during recess (on a steam train) and walk on stilts to all of your classes. With a bit of help from family and some new friends, you’ll make it to the top of the class in no time! This charming take on school readiness will delight new school-goers and take a bit of the fear out of those first-day jitters.

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!

What Does Little Crocodile Say?
By Eva Montanari
40 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268135 | Tundra Books
What sounds does the Little Crocodile hear on the first day of preschool?
The alarm clock goes ring, ring
The car goes vroom vroom
The elephant says peekaboo
The drum goes rat-a-tat
The food goes nom nom nom
And the crocodile says . . . WAHHHH!
In this charming book of sounds, a little crocodile experiences the highs and lows of preschool, ultimately enjoying their day . . . after a small meltdown, of course! Little ones will delight in the adorable illustrations and fun read-aloud, and parents will delight in the sly humor and familiar emotional rollercoaster of a toddler’s day.

Tell Me When You Feel Something
By Vicki Grant
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270091 | Penguin Teen Canada
It seemed like a cool part-time program – being a “simulated” patient for med school students to practice on. But now vivacious, charismatic Viv lies in a very real coma. Cellphone footage just leads to more questions. What really happened? Other kids suspect it was not an intentional overdose – but each has a reason why they can’t tell the truth. Through intertwining and conflicting narratives, a twisted story unfolds of trust betrayed as we sift through the seemingly innocent events leading up to the tragic night. Perhaps simulated patients aren’t the only people pretending to be something they’re not. . . . The perfect after-school job turns deadly in this contemporary YA thriller that exposes the dark reality of #MeToo in the world of medicine, for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.

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.