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Fall preview 2012: picture books, non-fiction, and international books for young people

The season of high-profile literary awards and author festivals is on its way, and there’s no shortage of new releases from marquee names. In the July/August issue, Q&Q looks ahead at some of the fall’s biggest books.


Despite its title, Silent Sam (and the Singing Sausage from Saturn) (McArthur & Company, $19.95 cl., Sept.), the new alliterative picture book from Margaret Atwood is not about vodka, though the slew of sibilants may have readers slurring nonetheless. Illustrations are provided by Atwood’s long-time collaborator DuÅ¡an Petričić, who also lends his artistic talent to Cary Fagan‘s latest picture book, Mr. Zinger’s Hat (Tundra Books, $19.99 cl., Aug.), in which Mr. Zinger teaches a boy named Leo how to spin a good yarn.

In Ashley SpiresBinky Takes Charge (Kids Can Press, $16.95 cl., $8.95 pa.), Binky the Space Cat is tasked with training the next generation of space cadets. But what to do with a kitten recruit who isn’t a kitten at all? Find out in September.

Marilyn Baillie Award“winning illustrator Julie Morstad creates text to accompany her trademark pen-and-ink images in her latest book from Simply Read. How To ($18.95 cl., Nov.) suggests imaginative new ways for small readers to tackle everyday tasks.

Also from Simply Read comes a new title by Ella’s Umbrellas author Jennifer Lloyd. Murilla Gorilla ($14.95 cl., Sept.) features a primate detective who goes on the case when Ms. Chimpanzee’s muffins are stolen. B.C. artist Jacqui Lee makes her picture book illustration debut.

Cybèle Young follows up her much-lauded A Few Blocks with A Few Bites (Groundwood, $18.95 cl., Sept.). This time, Viola cajoles Ferdie to eat his lunch “ even the broccoli. ¢ The title character of Oddrey ($17.95 cl., Oct.) lives up to her name by being just a little bit different from everyone else. The book is My Think-a-ma-Jink author and illustrator Dave Whamond‘s latest work from Owlkids Books. An environmentalist gecko is bent on defending his turf from pesky humans “ and their dog “ in Gordon (Brighter Books, $29.95 cl., $19.95 pa., Sept.) by Josephine Gee and illustrator Angela Souza. ¢ From author Alma Fullerton and illustrator Karen Patkau comes A Good Trade (Pajama Press, $19.95 cl., Oct.), an eye-opening look at a day in the life of a boy in Uganda, and the gratitude he feels when an aid worker bestows an unexpected gift on his drought- and war-stricken village. ¢ Based on the recollections of Donald Uluadluak, and with the help of illustrations by Qin Leng, Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story (Inhabit Media, $10.95 pa., Oct.) gives readers a glimpse into traditional Inuit dog-rearing practices, as Jake guides Kamik from disobedient scamp to reliable sled dog under his grandfather’s tutelage.

Rainbow Shoes (Tradewind Books, $14.95 cl., Oct.) is a collection of colourful poems by Tiffany Stone with illustrations by Stefan Czernecki. ¢ Vancouver poet Robert Heidbreder‘s latest is Noisy Poems for a Busy Day (Kids Can, $18.95 cl., Sept.), which features scads of short poems and illustrations by Lori Joy Smith. ¢ Geneviève Côté illustrates a pair of titles this fall.

The first is Wishes (Scholastic Canada, $19.99 cl., Sept.), from beloved kidlit author Jean Little, which depicts the fulfillment of children’s longings and wildest imaginings. The second, W Is for Wapiti! (The Secret Mountain, $22.95 cl., Oct.), is a fun alphabet book with text by multiple Governor General’s Literary Award“winning Montreal author Christiane Duchesne, accompanied by a CD featuring songs by musician Paul Kunigis. ¢ Fishing with Gubby author and illustrator duo Kim La Fave and Gary Kent team up once again for a sequel to that successful graphic novel set on the West Coast. Harbour Publishing will release Gubby Builds a Boat ($19.95 cl.) in October.

As usual, there are plenty of holiday-themed titles to look forward to, and this year’s batch includes some heavy hitters.Everyone’s favourite bushy-tailed worrywart is back in Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas: A Safety Guide for Scaredies (Kids Can, $18.95 cl., Oct.) from Mélanie Watt. ¢ Dynamic duo Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko tackle the holidays with Finding Christmas (Scholastic Canada, $19.99 cl., Sept.), based on Munsch’s family.

Natalie thinks her Christmas list is just perfect, even if it includes some rather unusual items. If it’s No Trouble¦ A Big Polar Bear (Tuckamore/Creative Book Publishing, $12.95 pa., Oct.) is the debut from Lisa Dalrymple and Newfoundland artist Elizabeth Pratt. ¢ Gus the seagull and Isaac the cat come to the rescue when Santa’s sled becomes snowbound in Ho Ho NO Christmas! (Breakwater Books, $12.95 pa., Oct.), the second in a series by Debbie Hanlon and illustrator Grant Boland.


In Failed Hope: The Story of the Lost Peace (Dundurn, $18.99 pa., Sept.), prolific author (and Q&Q reviewer) John Wilson looks at major historical events between 1914 and 1945 from a Canadian perspective. ¢ Vancouver architect David H.T. Wong drew inspiration from his grandparents’ journey from China to B.C. to create Escape to Gold Mountain: A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America (Arsenal Pulp Press, $19.95 pa., Oct.).

Following her international bestseller Kitchen for Kids, culinary expert Jennifer Low continues her quest to get kids cooking (and eating) well. Everyday Kitchen for Kids (Whitecap Books, $29.95 pa., Sept.) encourages children to use pots and pans for something other than drumming. ¢ We may not have Stonehenge, but Cryptic Canada: Unsolved Mysteries from Coast to Coast (Owlkids, $16.95 cl., $12.95 pa., Oct.) by Natalie Hyde and illustrator Matt Hammill explores guilt homegrown intrigues, from buried treasure to ice mummies.

Cynthia J. Faryon adds two new titles to Lorimer’s ongoing Real Justice series. Guilty of Being Weird: The Story of Guy Paul Morin ($18.95 cl.) and Sentenced to Life at Sixteen: The Story of David Milgaard ($18.95 cl.) both land in August.


Until Lisbeth Salander came along, Pippi Longstocking was Sweden’s most famous fictional feisty girl. In September, for the first time ever in English, Drawn & Quarterly will publish Astrid Lindgren‘s Pippi Moves In ($14.95 cl.), the first in a three-volume series of comics illustrated by Danish artist Ingrid Vang Nyman.

U.S. author Annie Barrows and Aussie illustrator Sophie Blackall‘s troublesome twosome are up to more shenanigans in Ivy and Bean Make the Rules (Chronicle/Raincoast, $16.99 cl., Aug.), which sees the girls setting up their own summer camp. ¢ The most sophisticated piglet on the planet seeks to assert her individuality against an onslaught of girlishness in Ian Falconer‘s Olivia and the Fairy Princesses (Atheneum/S&S, $19.99 cl., Aug.).

Dav Pilkey‘s Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers (Scholastic, $10.99 cl., Aug.) promises to be as full of LAFFs as the eight previous titles in the series, but also addresses the serious subject of bullying. ¢ Picture My World (Owlkids, $16.95 bb., Oct.) from French author Cynthia Lacroix and illustrator Séverine Cordier continues the exploits of the three adorable siblings from Picture My Day as they discover more wonders around them.

In The Peculiar (HarperCollins, $22.50 cl., Sept.), the debut novel from 18-year-old classical musician Stefan Bachmann, Bartholomew Kettle is a changeling who stumbles into a murderous plot. ¢ The Scorpio Races author Maggie Stiefvater launches a new series with The Raven Boys (Scholastic, $19.99 cl., Sept.), a story about a girl whose destiny is to cause the death of her true love. Bummer.

Q&Q‘s fall preview covers books published between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. ¢ All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. ¢ Titles that have been listed in previous previews do not appear here.