In this second of three preview instalments, Q&Q presents middle grade and graphic novels. Young adult novels and nonfiction will be featured next week.
Q&Q’s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2024. All information (titles, publication dates) was supplied by publishers.
Night of the Living Zed
Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester
Basil and Kevin Sylvester, the dynamic duo behind The Fabulous Zed Watson!, return with Night of the Living Zed, which finds Zed and Gabe determined to unravel the mystery of Glyndebourne Manor. With only three days and two nights to solve the puzzles in each room, they’ll need to depend on their sleuthing skills like never before. –Inderjit Deogun
Scholastic Canada, Feb.
Athletic superstar Arnie “Yash” Yashenko is forced to join a summer school remedial physical education class (a.k.a. Slugfest) in order to graduate from eighth grade. An unlikely but scrappy team is formed. Expect lots of Gordon Korman–esque plot twists and turns, along with hilarious dialogue. –Linda Ludke
The Curse of Eelgrass Bog
Razorbill/Penguin Random House Canada, Jan.
In PhD student Mary Averling’s spooky fantasy debut, intrepid 12-year-old Kess Pedrock finds herself on a high-stakes adventure when she wades into a forbidden bog full of creepy creatures to search for a way to save her family’s Unnatural History Museum. –LL
Out of the Valley of Horses
Pajama Press, April
Since escaping the illnesses spreading across the rest of the world, Honey and her family have called the valley of the horses home. When Honey’s father falls ill, she must find a way to leave the magical bounds of the valley to get help from a world she doesn’t remember. –ID
Waking the Dead and Other Fun Activities
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, May
A young witch, a secret family power, a dead grandma, an undead boy, and an evil witch are the backdrop for this supernatural mystery that follows 12-year-old Kimmy Jones as she uses her ability to wake the dead to uncover the circumstances behind a boy’s death. –ID
Noah Frye Gets Crushed
Lambda Literary Award finalist Maggie Horne’s sophomore novel is a sweet LGBTQIA+ rom-com. Using the scientific method, a tween girl tries to teach herself how to have a crush on a boy in order to fit in with her friends. This leads to a funny and feel-good turn of events. A queer contemporary middle-grade story about friendship, first crushes, and self-discovery. –LL
The Kodiaks: Home Ice Advantage
David A. Robertson
HighWater Press/Portage & Main Press, April
Hockey fans and David A. Robertson fans alike will cheer for this action-packed novel featuring an 11-year-old Indigenous star player who deals with discrimination and racism on and off the ice. Alex learns to take pride in where he comes from and his Cree identity. –LL
Stephanie Cooke and Mel Valentine Vargas, ill.
In Stephanie Cooke’s debut young adult graphic novel, introvert Grace Mendes tries out for and is accepted into the Pillow Fight Federation. Fighting as her alter ego, Cinderhella, she dominates the ring, but the fight that continues to rage, and the one she needs to overcome, is that of her growing insecurity. –ID
Buns Gone Bad (Fluffle Bunnies, Book #1)
Anna Humphrey and Irma Kniivila, ill.
Tundra Books, May
Anna Humphrey, author of the Megabat series, launches a new graphic novel chapter book series that centres on The Fluffle gang. Flop, Biggie, and Boingie – who must fend for themselves when their mother goes to Brazil to learn jiu-jitsu – are dead set on becoming rulers of the park. Racoons beware. –ID
Willa and Wade and the Way-Up-There
Judith Henderson and Sara Sarhangpour, ill.
Kids Can Press, June
Best friends Willa, an ostrich, and Wade, a penguin, want to fly. From pirouettes to pogo sticks, they’ll try anything to get off the ground. This charming early reader series by Judith Henderson encourages curiosity while also exploring STEM concepts of force, motion, air, and flight. –ID