Q&A with the PRHC Young Readers team

This is the last week for which the Penguin Shop will feature the Tundra takeover for our 50th anniversary. We hope you get a chance to visit (we’re giving away lots of goodies and hosting a contest in-store). Don’t forget, we have story time and crafts on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm.

While we wait for Thursday to arrive, we thought you’d like this little Q&A we did with some of our team members!

TARA, VP AND PUBLISHER, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA YOUNG READERS
Tara WalkerInstagram: @tarawalker19

1. What is your favourite thing about your job?
Reading stories, looking at art and working with incredibly talented and devoted writers and illustrators.

2. Tell us about your favourite book as a child.
I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books with all my heart. I read and reread them all. I drew pictures of the characters: the clothes they wore, the food they ate, their meager belongings. I pretended my Barbies were Laura and her family. There was something so comforting and appealing to me about the little world they occupied, the simplicity of their lives and their close family ties, especially Laura’s relationship with her Pa. And Garth Williams drawings … perfection.

3. Which Tundra character(s) would you want to have dinner with and why?
Winifred Liszt: because she makes lists of her favorite cheeses and favorite Bowie songs.
Narwhal: because he has great banter and loves a good waffle.
Ooko: because I think he’d be my best Debbie.

LYNNE, PUBLISHING DIRECTOR, FICTION, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA YOUNG READERS
Lynne MissenTwitter: @LynneMissen1

1. What is your favourite thing about your job?
Working with people who love books as much as I do, especially children’s books.

2. Tell us about your favourite book as a child.
One that I remember vividly is A Fish Out of Water, which (I’ve just discovered) was written by Helen Palmer, a children’s book author and editor, whose husband was Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss). For some reason this story of a boy who fed a goldfish too much and it kept growing and growing, moving from a bathtub to a pool until help arrives and it goes back to a normal size remains vividly in my mind. I had a series of goldfish around then but they didn’t get bigger, they just died.

3. Which Tundra character(s) would you want to have dinner with and why?
I would love to have Annie Magruder and her dog Carson (Carson Crosses Canada) over — as long as they brought some delicious food from their travels across Canada! I want to drive across Canada myself and would love to hear more about their adventures.

LIZ, SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR

Elizabeth Kribs1. What is your favourite thing about your job?
Working with a great group of people who love kids books; reading them, talking about them, creating them.

2. Tell us about your favourite book as a child.
Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends was a wonderfully silly book and seemed to be written just for me!

3. Which Tundra character(s) would you want to have dinner with and why?
I think Narwhal from Narwhal and Jelly would be the life of the party (and he would be more than alright with waffles served for dinner). The Dixie Chicks from Count Your Chickens would be great to have around for musical entertainment. And I’d love to see what Pepper from A Pattern for Pepper would wear to a dinner party!

SAMANTHA, EDITOR
Samantha SwensonInstagram: @Twinkiethekidd
Twitter: @Twinkiethekidd
Tumblr: @Twinkiethekidd

1. What is your favourite thing about your job?
Getting to work with writers and illustrators is such a wonderful thing! I love being able to help creators shape and perfect their work, whether it’s working with an artist on a composition for a picture book or a novelist on a particularly tricky plot point. It’s also nice to know that the work I’m doing helps get books into the hands of children. I loved reading as a kid, and so many books really stuck with me – I’m glad I get to help create that experience for kids reading today.

2. Tell us about your favourite book as a child.
My favourite was definitely Ferdinand the Bull. The black and white illustrations are so fantastic, and the writing is funny and kind of weird. I was also really fond of The Olden Days Coat by Margaret Laurence and The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier.

3. Which Tundra character(s) would you want to have dinner with and why?
Arlo the Armadillo, so that he could tell me about his travels. The bed from The Pirate’s Bed because he seems like a nice guy and I could take a nap at dinner that way. And the dinosaur from Adventures with Barefoot Critters because I think we have a lot in common (we are both very clumsy).

JESSICA, ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Jessica Burgess1. What is your favourite thing about your job?
The hope that a book I’ve worked on will help a kid out there feel less alone, find out something they needed to know about themselves or the world, or just make them laugh a little.

2. Tell us about your favourite book as a child.
One of my favourite books was The Man Who Didn’t Wash His Dishes – there was something delicious about how he really didn’t learn his lesson (the rain cleaned the dishes so he didn’t have to) and that he drank out of a flower vase and an ashtray rather than wash any dishes!

3. Which Tundra character(s) would you want to have dinner with and why?
I think I’d like to have dinner with the Fitzgerald-Trouts and Mr. Knuckles. Maybe we could have a picnic at his laundromat (and shake down the vending machine for dessert).

LIZA, SALES DIRECTOR
Liza MorrisonInstagram: @Lizamo67
Twitter: @Lizamo67

1. What is your favourite thing about your job?
Talking about kids books all day!

2. Tell us about your favourite book as a child.
Are You My Mother? By P.D. Eastman

3. Which Tundra character(s) would you want to have dinner with and why?
Miss Moon so we could talk about our dogs!
Lydia Blankenship from The Serpent King so she could take me shopping and we’d hang out and talk about our lives.
Miss Petitfour – we would have a picnic dinner of pastries and cheese surrounded by adorable cats!

PAMELA, PUBLICITY & MARKETING MANAGER
Pamela OstiInstagram: @pamelaosti
Twitter: @pamelaosti

1. What is your favourite thing about your job?
Meeting our readers and seeing their faces when they meet their favourite author. It’s incredibly moving and rewarding.

2. Tell us about your favourite book as a child.
Bread and Jam for Frances.

3. Which Tundra character(s) would you want to have dinner with and why?
Miss Mousie because she rocks, Sadie because she is my childhood spirit animal.

SYLVIA, MARKETING & PUBLICITY COORDINATOR
Sylvia ChanInstagram: @sincerely.syl
Twitter: @sincerelysyl

1. What is your favourite thing about your job?
The rare chance I get to see sketches or final art when it comes in. We have so many talented illustrators!

2. Tell us about your favourite book as a child.
A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban, I wanted my own tea set so badly! I showed signs of wanting to host dinner parties at a very early age.

3. Which Tundra character(s) would you want to have dinner with and why?
Colette because she would tell me fabulous stories about the Mile End. Narwhal and Jelly because they also love to eat waffles for dinner.

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#GetBehindPictureBooks

During the past month of April 2016, Penguin Random House Canada got behind Tundra picture books! This all started out as an innocent e-mail linked to the campaign from the Eric Carle Museum. For more information, visit their website here.

We hope this inspires you to get behind picture books, don’t forget to use the hashtag #GetBehindPictureBooks and share it with us too!

Rachel Berman (1946-2014)

With heavy hearts, we regretfully share the news that our wonderful illustrator, Rachel Berman, passed away in her home in Victoria, BC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

Rachel Berman, courtesy of the Ingram GalleryRachel Berman was a self-educated painter who lived and worked in Canada, the United States, and Ireland. Born in New Orleans, Rachel worked as a professional artist for over thirty years. Her paintings have been likened to the poems of Leonard Cohen. The mysterious figures and hidden stories glimpsed in her paintings are a reflection of the mysteries Berman unraveled in her own life. Once known as Susan King, she discovered her original birth name, birth date, and the names of her biological parents only ten years ago. This experience led her to reclaim her long-lost name.

Alison Morgan, Publisher of Tundra Books, said, “Rachel was a free spirit, and a wonderful, warm person. She didn’t believe in technology, never had e-mail, and sometimes no phone. She lived an incredible life, which was reflected in her art—her light side came out in the illustrations she created for her books with Tim Beiser. Hats off to the memory of an intrepid individual who cared deeply about humanity in all its huge variety.”

Bradley_RachelBermanRachel created the beautiful artwork for Bradley McGogg, The Very Fine Frog (a frog, whose appearance, she said, was based on her own) and Miss Mousie’s Blind Date. Both books were finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards in Children’s Literature for Illustration.

Tim Beiser, author of Bradley McGogg and Miss Mousie’s Blind Date, remarked, “I honestly believe that Rachel was one of the world’s few true geniuses, and was so proud when she was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for the two books we did together…. My silly storybook characters that she brought to life and her monumental paintings will last forever, as will my fond memories of her. God bless you, Rachel. My life is better for having known you.”

We are so thankful that Rachel touched all our lives in the ways that she did—she will be in our thoughts and hearts always.

The Ingram Gallery were among Rachel’s greatest supporters and the closest thing she had to a family. Please visit the Ingram Gallery for a look at Rachel Berman’s artwork and event photos.

Praise for Bradley McGogg, The Very Fine Frog:

Bradley2_RachelBerman“The sophisticated rhyming text is accompanied by subdued watercolor…. Each animal’s face is imbued with character and personality.” – School Library Journal

“Even more original are the illustrations. Rachel Berman locates this moveable feast in a gentle setting, rural and mildly Edwardian…. Our hero Bradley, dressed in striped overalls, Birkenstock sandals and bow tie…. In her portrayal of facial expression and gesture Berman creates a frog who is different, courteous, tactful, and charming—everyone’s first choice as the eligible bachelor houseguest.” – Feature Review, Quill & Quire

“A very fine frog indeed…. This delightful excursion is made even more so because Rachel Berman’s illustrations, interpretations of the miniature worlds of mouse nests and bear and hare picnics, are nothing short of entrancing.” – The Globe and Mail

“Rachel Berman’s illustrations in beautifully detailed watercolor capture frog’s personality and bring the anthropomorphic animals to vivid life.” – National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature

“Rachel Berman … uses magical images to illuminate the text and to engage readers in the story in wonderful ways!” – Highly Recommended, CM Magazine

Mousie_RachelBerman“Tim Beiser’s text is lyrical and lively and Rachel Berman’s illustrations are full of character and personality…. Berman’s animal faces and gestures convey an array of human emotions and Beiser’s text contains enough gross-out references (a feast of insects!) and humour to delight children and adults of every age…. Bradley is one of the most endearing characters to come along in a long time!” – Canadianbookseller

“The watercolor illustrations are beautifully done in colorful detail by Rachel Berman, adding to the charm and humor of the story.” – Michigan Reading Journal

Praise for Miss Mousie’s Blind Date:

Mousie2_RachelBerman“Berman’s pictures, in watercolor and gouache on rag, suggest Beatrix Potter, ably matching the crisp elegance of the story. Wonderful.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

“Berman’s formally attired creatures, their delicate hands and oversized heads rendered in muted tones, show Beatrix Potter’s influence in the best possible way. This is an utterly charming book and a gentle introduction to the lifelong perils of spring fever.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

“The watercolor and gouache illustrations, with animals dressed in sumptuous clothing, are whimsical and reminiscent of the work of John Goodall….” – School Library Journal

“The text surrounds delicate watercolor and gouache paintings reminiscent of Beatrix Potter, which add plenty of charm to this winsome rhyming tale…. [A] lesson in true love from wise animals.” – Booklist

“Berman’s illustrations are adorable, in a classic muted colour scheme style reminiscent of Frog and Toad. There is a lot to look at in each image, and the illustrations help add visual support to the story being told. There are some longer blocks of text, and the illustrations help give focus to these pages….” – Recommended, CM Magazine

Rachel Berman by Jon ClaytorAround the Web:
+ Obituary in the Globe and Mail
+ Ingram Gallery Event
+ Munro’s Books Event
+ Tim Beiser
+ Don Denton
+ Sara Sniderhan

As per Rachel’s wish, there will be no visitation or funeral service. However, friends are invited to visit Ingram Gallery to share their memories. If desired, in memoriam donations may be made to your favourite art institution and/or local animal shelter.

Finalists for the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Awards

GG2012Each year, the Governor General’s Literary Awards (the GGs) honours the best in Canadian literature. Tundra Books would like to showcase our two finalists!

For Children’s Text, congratulations to Shane Peacock!

Becoming HolmesBecoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case
Written by Shane Peacock
Hardcover | 264 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-232-5
eBook: 978-1-77049-291-2
“This final book in Shane Peacock’s award-winning Boy Sherlock Holmes series combines brilliant storytelling with fascinating historical detail, including famous people, popular myths and street-level views of London. A surprising and shocking conclusion to a mystery worthy of one of the greatest sleuths in English literature.”

Congratulations to the other finalists in the text category: Beverley Brenna for The White Bicycle, Jean E. Pendziwol for Once Upon a Northern Night, Valerie Sherrard for Counting Back From Nine, and Teresa Toten for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B.

For Children’s Illustration, congratulations to Rachel Berman!

Miss Mousies Blind DateMiss Mousie’s Blind Date
Written by Tim Beiser
Illustrated by Rachel Berman
Hardcover | 24 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-251-6
eBook: 978-1-77049-363-6
“A story about self-acceptance, and love lost and found, told through the eyes of a little mouse, and her possibly-not-so-handsome suitor, Mole. Charmingly illustrated, cleverly told, the message is timeless, and the illustrations endearing.”

Congratulations to the other finalists in the illustration category: Gary Clement for Oy, Feh, So?, text by Cary Fagan; Matt James for Northwest Passage, text by Stan Rogers; Jon Klassen for The Dark, text by Lemony Snicket; and Julie Morstad for How To.

The winners will be announced Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 10 am at the Betty Oliphant Theatre at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto. For the official press release, please click here. For more information about the award and other finalists, please visit ggbooks.canadacouncil.ca

You’re Invited to the Launch of Miss Mousie’s Blind Date

Miss Mousies Blind Date You are invited to the launch of Miss Mousie’s Blind Date. Please join the award-winning author and illustrator team, Tim Beiser and Rachel Berman, as they celebrate their second collaboration!

When: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Where: I N G R A M G A L L E R Y
Address: 49 Avenue Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2G3
Telephone: 416-929-2220
RSVP: RSVPCanada@randomhouse.com

In addition, the artwork from Miss Mousie’s Blind Date will be exhibited at Ingram Gallery from April 6-18, 2013.

Praise for Miss Mousie’s Blind Date:

Miss Mousies Blind Date“…Beiser’s playful rhymes ferry us merrily along to the tale’s satisfying resolution. Realizing they’re both pretending to be something they’re not, Miss Mousie calls a truce, which the mole accepts on bended knee, proposing, ‘If you’ll be you, then I’ll be me.’ Beiser and illustrator Rachel Berman previously collaborated on the equally enchanting Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog. Once again, Berman’s formally attired creatures, their delicate hands and oversized heads rendered in muted tones, show Beatrix Potter’s influence in the best possible way. This is an utterly charming book and a gentle introduction to the lifelong perils of spring fever.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

“…Beiser’s sprightly text has warmth, heart and a valuable lesson. Berman’s pictures, in watercolor and gouache on rag, suggest Beatrix Potter, ably matching the crisp elegance of the story.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

“…The perfect collaboration of Tim Beiser and Rachel Berman takes Miss Mousie from crushing on the handsome rat to despairing over his disregard for her and finally to delight, with an ending that will please even those too young to know the pangs of first love but will understand the value of being oneself.” – CanLit for LittleCanadians

Invitation to the Miss Mousie’s Blind Date Book Launch

Join author Tim Beiser and artist Rachel Berman for the launch of their much anticipated title, Miss Mousie’s Blind Date.

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Time: 2:00pm-4:oopm
Place: Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay Street, Toronto, ON

Praise for Miss Mousie’s Blind Date:

“Spring fever strikes even the rodents. And who knows where the heart leads? … Beiser’s sprightly text has warmth, heart, and a valuable lesson. Berman’s pictures, in watercolor and gouache on rag, suggest Beatrix Potter, ably matching the crisp elegance of the story. Wonderful.” – Starred Review from Kirkus Reviews