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Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers Fall 2019

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Alma and the Beast
By (author): Esme Shapiro
9780735263963 Hardcover English Juvenile: Age (years) from 3 - 7, Grade (US) from P - 2 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship Sep 03, 2019
$21.99 CAD
Active 9 x 11.3 x 0.46 in 44 pages FULL COLOR THROUGHOUT Tundra Books
Alma’s beautiful, hairy world is turned upside down by the arrival of a stranger. From the utterly original imagination of the author-illustrator of Ooko comes a story about celebrating differences and making new friends. For fans of Where the Wild Things Are and Wild.

Alma lives happily in her hairy world, where she can braid the trees, comb the grass, pet the roof and feed her plumpooshkie butterfly. Until one day…a hairless, button-nosed beast appears in the garden! At first Alma is scared but when she realizes the beast is lost and misses her hairless home, Alma offers to help her find her way back. As the two take a fantastical journey through the red-headed woods and the bearded mushroom glen to the beast’s bald abode, they discover that they are much more alike than different.

This quirky and charming story about friendship, empathy and perspective invites readers into a surreal, fantastical world that evokes Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are and The Lorax.

BEFRIENDING OTHERS WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM YOU: Alma and the beast overcome their preconceptions and discover how much they have in common.

UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE: In this book, Alma, the hairy girl, is the main character, and a girl from our world is the beast.

STUNNING ART: Alma’s world is colorful, absorbing and unique.

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR WITH STRONG FOLLOWING: Esmé is a beloved Tundra creator (and former intern) whose star continues to rise. She’s charming and charismatic, with over 15k Instagram followers.

LOOPY WHIMSY: Readers will love the quirky weirdness and humor of Alma’s hairy world. Esmé’s treatment of themes of tolerance and inclusion are never heavy-handed or didactic.

EVOKES CHILDREN’S CLASSICS: Alma and the Beast brings to mind famous books such as Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are and The Lorax.

ESMÉ SHAPIRO grew up in Laurel Canyon, California and Ontario, Canada. Currently she and her dog, Chebini Brown, split their time between Brooklyn and New York’s Hudson Valley. A graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design, Esmé is a past recipient of both the Nancy Lee Rhodes Roberts Scholarship and The SILA West 53 Gold Award-Phillip Hayes Scholarship. She has previously written and illustrated Ooko, which was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award in 2016, and has illustrated Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear and Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Margaret McNamara. She has exhibited at The Society of Illustrators, and her work has been featured in Taproot and Plansponsor magazines. Connect with her online at, on Twitter and Instagram @esmeshapiro.

Author Residence: Brooklyn, NY

Author Hometown: Toronto, ON

Author Website:

Author Social Media: @esmeshapiro

PRAISE FOR Yak and Dove (by Kyo Maclear):

An Amazon “Best of the Month” pick (September 2017)

A 2017 Quill & Quire Best Kids’ Book of the Year

A Globe and Mail 100 Best Books of 2017 pick

“Every page of Esmé Shapiro’s art is suitable for framing.”—Peter Reynolds, New York Times Book Review

“The humor and whimsical nature of the entries are enhanced by the watercolor, gouache and colored pencil illustrations.”—School Library Journal

“Shapiro’s watercolor illustrations [are enchanting].”—Globe and Mail


Nominee, Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustrated Book (2016)

“Playful, joyous and hip.”—Kirkus Reviews

“There are some books that are almost not even worth reviewing, simply because their merits are too obvious that they’re primed to become a hit without any outside help…this is one of those books…Shapiro’s sugar-spun world that exists on these pages is an idyllic and compassionate place, where life lessons are learned at a softly rolling pace.”—Globe and Mail

“Shapiro is onto something here: a hard to define ’Ooko-ness,’ that is lovely, invigorating and pure.”—Quill and Quire

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