Last week we looked at some of the big buzz books at BEA. But with so much to see at the show, it’s easy for books to slip through the cracks, and there were many standout children’s book offerings from smaller houses on the floor this year. Here’s a look at some intriguing projects on the horizon from a diverse sampling of publishers. And be sure to check out our earlier roundup as well.
Peachtree had news of two sequels, for readers on both ends of the age spectrum. On the picture book front, Return of the Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Michael P. White (Sept.), is the sequel to 1994’s The Library Dragon, which has sold around 137,000 copies and is still going strong, says president and publisher Margaret Quinlin. “Librarians love the book and many use it to introduce the library to first graders. Many dress up like the dragon.” Of the sequel, she said, “It’s been coming for a long time,” noting that the author and illustrator have been working on it for six years. And Peachtree’s big YA offering for the season is The Theory of Everything by J.J. Johnson (Oct.), a follow-up to last year’s This Girl Is Different; the new novel, Quinlin explained, “is about coming to terms with death when everyone else has gotten over it.”
Also returning to bookstore shelves is Mélanie Watt’s comically fearful rodent, who stars in Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas. Due in October from Kids Can Press, it’s an 80-page handbook packed with step-by-step instructions and helpful hints for conquering the holiday (one example: a hot dog is “not festive”). Another recurring Kids Can character, Ashley Spires’s Binky the Space Cat, returns for the fourth time in Binky Takes Charge; in this go-around, the interstellar explorer has a new recruit – a puppy.
Marcus Pfister has a new Rainbow Fish book this season; North-South Books will release Good Night, Little Rainbow Fish in October, featuring baby Rainbow Fish. Two other big books for North-South: Nick and the Nasty Knight by Ute Krause (Aug.), and Ten Birds: Rhymes to Bend and Break. Written by Jürg Amann and illustrated by Helga Gebert (Oct.), the volume features slightly twisted tales for fans of Edward Gorey.
Enchanted Lion, which specializes in picture books from an international spectrum of authors, including Béatrice Rodriguez’s The Chicken Thief series, will release its first middle-grade novel: Mister Orange (Nov.) by Dutch author Truus Matti tells the story of a boy in 1943 Manhattan who becomes acquainted with Piet Mondrian. Claudia Bedrick, Enchanted Lion’s publisher and editorial director, also reported that a May picture book, My Dad Is Big and Strong, But… by Coralie Saudo and Kris Di Giacomo, drew a lot of attention at BEA and beyond: “We’re out of our first print run,” Bedrick reported.
Two of Bloomsbury’s big novels this fall feature strong and independent female characters: Princess Academy: Palace of Stone is Shannon Hale’s sequel to her Princess Academy, which won a 2006 Newbery Honor. And Sarah J. Maas makes her novel debut with Throne of Glass, a fantasy that the author previously posted for readers online; the fairy tale-like story centers on a female assassin.
Two YA novels are at the top of the list for Cinco Puntos. Cadillac Chronicles (Oct.) by debut novelist Brett Harman is a coming-of-age story starring two unlikely companions: a hormone-driven teenage boy and a cantankerous elderly man, who take a road trip to find the teen’s estranged father. And Conspiracy Girl (Sept.) by Karen Chacek, with illustrations by Abraham Balcázar, is a graphic novel/chapter book hybrid about a tough heroine faced with the task of saving the world from evil birds.
Hunter Moran Saves the Universe by Patricia Reilly Giff (Holiday House, Sept.) is the first of at least two novels about this character, and The Boston Tea Party by Russell Freedman, illustrated by Peter Malone (Sept.) is Holiday House’s big book for the season, a nonfiction picture book the entire staff loves.
Philadelphia-based Quirk Books ventures into middle-grade fiction with Tales from Lovecraft Middle School by Charles Gilman. The brainchild of Jason Rekulak, editor of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the series launches in October with Professor Gargoyle, whose lenticular cover – a stern but normal-looking teacher morphs into a smiling demon – was the cause of much rubbernecking at BEA, where the book was also a Middle Grade Editors Buzz Panel pick. The second of 12 books in total, The Slither Sisters, comes out in January 2013. Also on the horizon: September’s Monkeyfarts!: Wacky Jokes Every Kid Should Know, by Quirk founder David Borgenicht, creator and co-author of the Worst-Case Scenario series.
Barefoot continues its series of illustrated chapter books for independent readers based on classic stories, including Robin Hood (Sept.), retold by David Calcutt and illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith; and The Twelve Dancing Princesses Oct.), retold by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Miss Clara. A hardcover picture book edition of Robin Hood also releases simultaneously with the chapter book.
Picture Book Offerings
McSweeney’s growing line of children’s books from the McMullens imprint include The Night Riders (Aug.), a wordless debut from Matt Furie about nocturnal animals on an adventure, and Benny’s Brigade (Aug.) from Arthur Bradford, illustrated by Lisa Hanawalt, about the world’s tiniest walrus. Both books’ jackets unfold into two-sided posters. Also from McSweeney’s McMullens comes the house’s first YA novel: The Expeditioners by S.S. Taylor, illustrated by Katherine Roy. The adventure story, due in December, is about a family of explorers in a future world.
In October, the New York Review Children’s Collection will publish an edition of the Carlo Collodi novel Pinocchio, with the full translated text from New York Review Books’ 2008 adult edition (complete with introduction by Umberto Eco), featuring more than 100 all-new watercolor illustrations by Fulvio Testa. August brings He Was There from the Day We Moved In, a picture book about a family who discovers a dog already in residence in their new home, written by Rhoda Levine and illustrated by Edward Gorey.
A new title in Charlesbridge’s Imagine imprint, It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, contains lyrics to a Peter, Paul and Mary song, illustrated by Christine Davenier. The book, coming out in July, contains a CD with three songs by the musical trio.
This fall, Tiger Tales will release Big Book of My World (Sept.) by Kali Stileman, a guide to a toddler’s environment featuring what sales director Barb Knight called “bright, fresh illustrations.” Two other picture book offerings: Counting Birds, an embossed board book by Jing Jing Tsong with a cumulative text and a surprise ending; and About a Bear by Holly Surplice, centering on an ursine character and his colorful forest home.
In the spirit of his 2005 picture book, Beneath the Streets of Boston: Building America’s First Subway, author-illustrator Joe McKendry turns to New York City for One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World (David R. Godine, Sept.). Godine’s marketing director Sue Berger Ramin gave word of plans for a major launch at the Times Square Experience, and is working on programming at the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Public Library.
Lerner will release Infinity and Me (Oct.), a picture book by Kate Hosford and Gabi Swiatkowska that features a little girl who confronts big ideas about the universe. Also from Lerner: Waga’s Big Scare (Oct.) by Samuel Hiti, in which a monster has an identity crisis; and Little White Duck (Oct.) by Na Liu and Andrés Vera Martínez, a biographical graphic novel based on the author’s childhood in China following the Cultural Revolution.
New character Mirabelle, a Boston terrier, and her owner star in a series of padded board books for Workman, featuring a minimalist design by Michael Muller. The first three titles, out in September, are Mirabelle Goes for a Walk, Mirabelle and the Butterfly, and Mirabelle and the Bouncy Red Ball. Elsewhere in the Workman booth, Arlo Needs Glasses, Barney Saltzberg’s interactive book about a dog that gets specs, nabbed some attention; Saltzberg’s Beautiful Oops! was a previous hit with retailers.
John O’Brien, a cartoonist for the New Yorker for more than 20 years, has a picture book of brain-teasing cartoons, Look…Look Again! (Oct.), for Boyds Mills. Other Boyds Mills illustrated offerings: Oh! What a Surprise by Suzanne Bloom (Oct.), another in the Bear and Goose series; and If You Were a Chocolate Mustache by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Mathew Cordell (Oct.), a picture book of poetry for the WordSong imprint.
Sterling is starting up Silver Penny Stories, a series of classic books in a miniature trim size aimed at the Etsy-mom set. Eight titles will be released in September, including Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, The Elves and the Shoemaker, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. All sell for just $3.95 (in hardcover), with six more coming out each season for the next two years.
Tundra has a new series of black and white board books coming out for babies and toddlers. The first two titles, Checkers and Dot and Checkers and Dot at the Zoo by J. Torres, illustrated by J. Lum, will be released in October, and a second set will be released next spring. Two picture books the publisher is featuring this fall: Miss Mousie’s Blind Date by Tim Beiser, illustrated by Rachel Berman (Oct.), and Mr. Zinger’s Hat by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Dusan Petricic (Aug.). Tundra also releases a dystopian stand-alone novel called The Bridge by Jane Higgins, in October; it was originally published in Australia and Tundra reports that it has done really well there.
The big news for Andrews McMeel is the launch of its AMP! Comics for Kids line, which kicks off in August with Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate Makes the Grade. That’s followed in October by Big Nate All Work and No Play: A Collection of Sundays, as well as AAAA! A Foxtrot Assortment for Young Readers by Bill Amend, and Mark Tatulli’s Lio: There’s a Monster in My Socks. Amy Worley, v-p of marketing, pointed out the line’s value in an age when the Sunday paper is a vanishing species: “It’s a way to get these comics in front of a generation of kids who aren’t growing up with the joy of the comics section.”
With reporting by Carolyn Juris, John A. Sellers, Matia Burnett, and Joy Bean.