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Kidlit spring preview 2019: Picture books

The Not-So Great Outdoors
Madeline Kloepper
Tundra Books, May

In her first picture book as author and illustrator, Madeline Kloepper (Little Blue Chair) takes on the lure of screens. In The Not-So Great Outdoors, an urban child protagonist must be convinced that a canoe trip full of starry skies, lakes, and caribou warrants giving up a Wi-Fi-connected summer in the city.


Otto and Pio
Marianne Dubuc
Princeton Architectural Press/Raincoast Books, March

Coming off her hat trick at the TD Canadian Children’s Book Centre awards, Marianne Dubuc (Up the Mountain Path) introduces readers to a squirrel named Otto and a lost and unidentifiable woodland creature named Pio who come to share a tree house.


The Owl and the Two Rabbits
Nadia Sammurtok and Marcus Cutler, ill.
Inhabit Media, June

In this book, featuring two rabbit sisters playing on the open tundra, Iqaluit writer Nadia Sammurtok shares a centuries-old traditional Inuit story about taking caution. Marcus Cutler provides the energetic artwork, illustrating the rabbits’ plans to outwit a clever owl intent on having them for dinner.


Dancing with Daisy
Jan L. Coates and Josée Bisaillon, ill.
Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides, June

In this charming collaboration between award-winning writer Jan L. Coates (A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk) and acclaimed illustrator Josée Bisaillon (The Snow Knows), little Liam has plenty of questions for his grandfather, who once tangoed with a hurricane – until Liam’s grandmother, Nana, came to the rescue.


Always with You
Eric Walters and Carloe Liu, ill.
Nimbus Publishing, April

Eric Walters’s 101st book could be described as Love You Forever meets The Jolly Postman: young girl loses her beloved grandfather but is heartened to find he’s left her letters (that fold out for the reader to peruse) coinciding with pivotal moments in her life.


Boonoonoonous Hair
Olive Senior and Laura James, ill.
Tradewind Books, May

A young girl is frustrated by her unmanageable mane until her mom convinces her it’s the most “fantabulous, splendiferous boonoonoonous hair in the world.” Jamaican-Canadian Commonwealth Prize winner Olive Senior and illustrator Laura James – the creative team behind Anna Carries Water – reunite for this vibrant #OwnVoices picture book.



A Plan for Pops
Heather Smith and Brooke Kerrigan, ill.
Orca Book Publishers, Feb.

Heather Smith’s new picture book follows Lou’s adventures with his two granddads – one a hands-on problem solver, the other a childlike former rocker. The critically acclaimed author also has the YA novel Chicken Girl (Penguin Teen) coming out this spring.


Nanny’s Kitchen Party
Rebecca North and Laurel Keating, ill.
Breakwater Books, June

Two East Coast natives come together in this picture book about a traditional Maritime celebration. But with seals juggling pots and pans and goats climbing up cupboards it’s not your average Newfoundland kitchen party.


The Yellow Suitcase
Meera Sriram and Meera Sethi, ill.
Penny Candy Books/Publishers Group Canada, March

Toronto interdisciplinary artist Meera Sethi brings her bold and award-winning style to picture books, illustrating Meera Sriram’s story of a young girl’s first trip back to India since the death of her grandmother.


The Worst Book Ever
Elise Gravel
Drawn & Quarterly, May

No one does goofy, cute, and ironic quite like Elise Gravel. In her latest picture book, the prolific Quebec author-illustrator introduces readers to the most boring book ever, and the miserable characters who have to live in it. With plenty of body-function humour, silly twists, and witty one-liners, it’s bound to be the exact opposite of its title.


In Albert’s Quiet Quest (Tundra Books, May), internationally beloved illustrator Isabelle Arsenault tells the story of a boy who just wants to find a silent place to read in his bustling Montreal neighbourhood.


  • Circle, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, ill.(Candlewick Press/Penguin Random House Canada, March)
  • Ghost’s Journey: 3 Refugees Find Freedom, Robin Stevenson and Rainer Oktovianus, ill. (Rebel Mountain Press, April)
  • One Whole Bunch, Mary Meyer and Sara Gillingham, ill. (Cameron Kids/Canadian Manda Group, April)
  • In the Sky at Nighttime, Laura Deal and Tamara Campeau, ill. (Inhabit Media, May)
  • Kenojuak, Jan Beaver and various illustrators (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, June)
  • Gargantua (Jr!), Kevin Sylvester (Groundwood Books, April)
  • Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden, Andrew Larsen and Anne Villeneuve, ill. (Kids Can Press, May)
  • Say Something!, Peter H. Reynolds (Scholastic Canada, Feb.)
  • My Cat Looks Like My Dad, Thao Lam (Owlkids Books, April)


FINE PRINT: Q&Q’s Spring Preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2019. All information (titles, publication dates) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at press time. Titles that have been listed in previous previews do not appear here.

By: Shanda Deziel

January 17th, 2019

1:26 pm

Category: Industry News, Preview

Issue Date: January 2019

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