The Fabulous Zed Watson!

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The literary scavenger hunt of a lifetime, starring an endlessly endearing non-binary tween

Zed Watson loves a few things: their name (which they chose themself!), their big rambunctious family, and--oh yeah--monsters. When Zed discovered the mystery surrounding an unpublished novel called The Monster's Castle, they were completely hooked. Now Zed is a member of a small but dedicated legion devoted to finding the long-buried text.

When a breakthrough discovery leads Zed to the route that they are sure will take them to the treasure, they know it's time for a road trip. And with the help of their shy, flora-loving neighbour, Gabe, and his sister, Sam, a geologist who is driving back to college in Arizona, Zed and company are soon off on a wild adventure following cryptic clues.

But it's not all fun and games. Gabe doesn't like Zed's snacks, Sam is a bossy driver with total command of the ancient Impreza's stereo, and Zed is often misgendered. It's a good thing they also encounter kind strangers, potato-themed dance-offs and lots and lots of ice cream along the way. If Zed and Gabe can combine their strengths, survive Sam's wrath and best the greedy historian who's also hot on the book's trail, they just might find the greatest treasure of all.

Co-authored by child-parent duo Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester, this is a vibrant and enormous-hearted story about friendship, identity and belonging. It features illustrations by celebrated author and illustrator Kevin Sylvester, and an Own Voices perspective based on Basil's experience.

About the Author

KEVIN SYLVESTER is the author/illustrator of more than thirty books, including the MINRS trilogy, The Almost Epic Squad: Mucus Mayhem, the Neil Flambé Capers and the Hockey Super Six series. He has won awards from across Canada, among them the Silver Birch Award and the Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award. His latest novel, The Fabulous Zed Watson!, co-written with Basil Sylvester, was a finalist for a 2021 Governor General's Literary Award and a Silver Birch Award. Kevin Sylvester lives in Toronto. Visit him online at

"Completely irresistible . . . There are few books that offer unadulterated joy from beginning to end. But The Fabulous Zed Watson! is a middle-grade wonder." -- Quill & Quire (starred review)

"Zed is a delightful protagonist, full of heart and humour, with a personality as big and colourful as their outfits--many of which are amusingly illustrated by Kevin throughout the book. Gabe and Zed's friendship shines on the page, and discussion of Zed's gender is treated with respect and nuance. Full of twists and turns, laughs and emotional lows, The Fabulous Zed Watson is a delightful road trip novel for young readers." -- CM Magazine

"Led by an endearing and self-empowered main character who knows they're 'over the top' in the best of ways, this road trip mystery is filled with original queer, trans, and nonbinary characters who I am delighted for kids to meet." -- Alex Gino, Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author of GEORGE and RICK

"Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester have populated their novel with a refreshing cast of interesting and gender-nonconforming characters, as well as one dastardly villain . . . In the end, this is a book about the importance of seeing ourselves in the stories we read." -- Canadian Children's Book News

"What could be better than a novel by the incredible Sylvester? A novel by two Sylvesters! This family is bound to become Canadian middle-grade royalty." -- Susin Nielsen, author of No Fixed Address and We Are All Made of Molecules

"It is impossible not to fall in love with Zed Watson. Fabulous indeed!" -- Kenneth Oppel, bestselling author of Inking and the Bloom Trilogy

"Wow: A literary puzzle, a road trip adventure, a delightfully exuberant nonbinary protagonist, and a cast of quirky and very lovable characters. Add in the wonderful wordplay, fabulous nerdiness, adorable illustrations and plenty of laugh out loud moments and you have a book that is sure to be a hit. I cannot wait to introduce to young readers to Zed Watson!" -- Robin Stevenson, Stonewall Honor Award-winning author of Pride

"The Fabulous Zed Watson was everything I wanted: a madcap adventure full of hijinks, a loving portrayal of a nonbinary kid, and a nerdy literary romp that my nonbinary ten-year-old literally begged for more of every night." -- S. Bear Bergman, Lambda Award-winning author and publisher

"I love that ZED is a story like no other on the market. The sensitive manner in which this subject is explored is one of the story's strong points. I also love the sweet illustrations which work so well to capture Zed's impishness." -- Monica Kulling, author of Mary Anning's Curiosity

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub date: May 17, 2022
304 pages
Format: Paperback