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Spring preview 2014: picture books, non-fiction, and international titles for young people

Picture books

Author Laurel Croza and illustrator Matt James join forces once again on From Here to There (Groundwood, $18.95 cl., May), the sequel to their Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award”“winning I Know Here. “¢ Speaking of Marilyn Baillie, the author has a book out in April from Owlkids Books. Whoosh! A Watery World of Wonderful Creatures ($17.95 cl.) introduces young readers to several aquatic animals, with help from veteran artist Susan Mitchell‘s bright, playful illustrations. “¢ Telling the story of three dolphins rescued by teens after they were trapped by ice off the coast of Newfoundland, Dolphin SOS ($16.95 cl.), written by Roy and Slavia Miki and illustrated by Julie Flett, will be released by Tradewind Books in April. “¢ One West Coast artist, Dean Griffiths, channels another in his illustrations for Monica Kulling‘s When Emily Carr Met Woo ($19.95 cl.), coming from Pajama Press in May. The book, based on a true story, tells of the eccentric painter and her beloved pet monkey, whose antics get them both in trouble. “¢ Music Is for Everyone (Nimbus Publishing, $19.95 cl., May), from singer-songwriter Jill Barber, is an introduction to different genres and instruments. Toronto artist Sydney Smith illustrates.

The distinctive, bold illustrations of Jeremy Tankard grace U.S. author Aaron Reynolds‘ clever book Here Comes Destructosaurus! (Chronicle/Raincoast, $19.99 cl., April). Anyone who’s lived with a two-year-old boy will recognize the inspiration for the title character. “¢ Dinos also feature in Daniel Loxton‘s Plesiosaur Peril (Kids Can, $16.95 cl., March), the third title in the Tales of Prehistoric Life series. “¢ From author Linda Bailey and illustrator Colin Jack comes If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur (Tundra, $19.99 cl., May), a tongue-in-cheek look at how the giant beasts can be useful around the house.

Feathers (and other stuff) fly in Starring the Vole Brothers ($16.95 cl.), Roslyn Schwartz‘s latest addition to her popular series featuring the titular rodents, coming from Owlkids in March. “¢ Having wrapped up her Binky Adventure series, Ashley Spires turns her attention to a girl and her dog in The Most Magnificent Thing (Kids Can, $16.95 cl., April). “¢ YA author Philip Roy will publish the first in his Happy the Pocket Mouse series of picture books with Ronsdale Press. Mouse Tales ($9.95 pa., Jan.) is illustrated by Andrea Torrey Balsara. “¢ Mice also take centre stage in Shh! My Brother’s Napping (Scholastic Canada, $14.99 cl., April) by Ruth Ohi, in which an elder sibling’s attempts to play are stymied by his brother’s slumber. “¢ Inspired by a traditional Celtic folktale told to him by his father, poet and critic George Murray will release his first title for children in May. Wow Wow and Haw Haw (Breakwater Books, $19.99 cl.), illustrated by fellow Newfoundlander Michael Pitman, is the story of a frisky fox who makes an alliance with a helpful crow.

Crooked House blogger Stephany Aulenback swaps her trademark dry humour for some sweetness in If I Wrote a Book About You (Simply Read Books, $18.95 cl., May). The story, illustrated by Denise Holmes, is a mother’s love letter to her child. “¢ Cut-paper artist Elly MacKay follows up her stunning debut, If You Hold a Seed, with Shadow Chasers (Running Press/Perseus Book Group, $19.95 cl., May), in which three children at play exemplify the pursuit of hopes and dreams. “¢ O’Shae the Octopus (Simply Read, $18.95 cl., May) has a couple of extra arms, but learns to accept himself as he is in this debut from former special-needs teacher Brandee Bublé (sister of crooner Michael), illustrated by Eliska Liska. “¢ Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton will release a sequel to When I Was Eight in March. Not My Girl (Annick Press, $21.95 cl., $9.95 pa.), illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, continues the story of an Inuit girl who returns home after two years at a boarding school. “¢ Hanna the raccoon is fed up with her buddy Lizzy the skunk’s competitiveness in Frances Itani‘s Best Friend Trouble ($19.95 cl.). The book, illustrated by Quebec’s Geneviève Després, will be released by Orca in April.

Rebecca Bender lends her artistic skills to newcomer Raymond Nakamura‘s Peach Girl (Pajama Press, $19.95 cl., May), a quirky retelling of a Japanese folktale in which little Momoko and her animal friends take on an ogre. “¢ Vancouver artist Rebecca Chaperon explores some creative excuses for being absent from school in her unconventional ABC book Eerie Dearies (Simply Read, $19.95 cl., Jan.). The darkly humorous text and gothic illustrations should appeal to older kids and Tim Burton fans. “¢ Kari-Lynn Winters and Lori Sherritt-Fleming take a more conventional approach to educating readers with Count Us In! (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, $18.95 cl., April), a poetry collection illustrated by Peggy Collins that focuses on math concepts.

Non-fiction

Second Story Press is partnering with Plan International Canada on a series of 10 books, the first of which, Every Day Is Malala Day ($18.95 cl.) by the charity’s president and CEO Rosemary McCarney, will be released in March. The book is a “letter of solidarity” to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who has become a symbol for girls’ right to education. “¢ Journalist and food writer Sarah Elton releases her first book for children in March. Starting from Scratch (Owlkids, $19.95 cl.) is an ambitious primer touching on everything from the science of flavour to locavorism to the difference between browning and sautéing. Jeff Kulak provides helpful illustrations and infographics.

Ecologist Mia Pelletier, a Baffin Island resident who works with Inuit to manage Arctic seabirds in protected areas, lends her considerable knowledge to A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds ($16.95 cl.), coming from Inhabit Media in May. With the aid of illustrations by Danny Christopher, Pelletier shows readers how to identify birds by their calls, nests, and eggs. “¢ Michelle Mulder contributes another title to Orca’s Footprints series, which focuses on environmental issues. Every Last Drop: Bringing Clean Water Home ($19.95 cl., April) discusses threats to the world’s freshwater supply and how it can be protected. “¢ More than 20 years ago, David Suzuki’s then 12-year-old daughter raised money in order to travel to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where she delivered a speech about the poor state of the global environment. Severn and the Day She Silenced the World (Second Story, $14.95 pa., April) by Janet Wilson is the story of how her words had an effect that is still felt today.

In Secrets Underground: North America’s Buried Past (Annick, $24.95 cl., $14.95 pa., March), Elizabeth MacLeod explores the tunnels, passages, and darkened spaces beneath our feet to bring some of history’s longest kept secrets to light. “¢ Also from Annick is Outlaws, Spies, and Gangsters: Chasing Notorious Criminals ($24.95 cl., $14.95 pa., March) by author Laura Scandiffio and illustrator Gareth Williams. Wonder how many of those criminals used secret underground passages?

International

According to Caldecott Medal honoree Mo Willems, The Pigeon Needs a Bath (Disney-Hyperion/Hachette, $17.99 cl., April), though the bird doesn’t agree. “¢ Simon & Schuster will publish Judith Viorst‘s Lulu’s Mysterious Mission ($17.99 cl.) in April. Kevin Cornell takes over illustrating duties for this series instalment, in which Lulu schemes to get her parents to come home early from their child-free vacation. “¢ From K.G. Campbell, author of the fabulous Lester’s Dreadful Sweater, comes The Mermaid and the Shoe (Kids Can, $18.95 cl., April), in which Willow the mermaid embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

Move over werewolves, here come the witches. Rights to Half Bad (Penguin, $18.99 cl., March) have already been sold in 30 countries. This first book in a planned trilogy by Sally Green tells of 15-year-old Nathan, who has both white and black magic running through his veins. “¢ Cress (Feiwel & Friends/Raincoast, $21.99 cl.) is the latest instalment of Marissa Meyer‘s Lunar Chronicles series. Will the titular super-hacker, who’s been trapped on a satellite since childhood, be able to help Cinder and Scarlet save the world? Find out in February.

In best-selling adult novelist David Baldacci‘s new middle-grade novel, the village of Wormwood is a dangerous place to live, but escaping it may be deadly. Coming from Scholastic in March is The Finisher ($19.99 cl.).

Q&Q‘s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2014. “¢ 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.

This feature appeared in the January/February 2o14 issue of Q&Q.