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Children's Fiction Lgbt

The Fabulous Zed Watson!

by (author) Basil Sylvester

illustrated by Kevin Sylvester

Initial publish date
May 2022
LGBT, Friendship, General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2021
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7




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 When Zed discovered the mystery surrounding an unpublished novel called The Monster’s Castle, they were completely hooked.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 authors

BASIL SYLVESTER is a non-binary writer and bookseller. Their first book, The Fabulous Zed Watson!, co-written with Kevin Sylvester, was a finalist for the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award, the 2021 Lambda Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Night of the Living Zed is their second novel.


Basil Sylvester's profile page


KEVIN SYLVESTER est auteur laure´at, illustrateur, journaliste, animateur de radio, re´alisateur et documentariste. Il a e´crit les livres de la se´rie MiNRS et Neil Flambe´, ainsi que les livres documentaires Gold Medal for Weird et Sports Hall of Weird. Kevin est reconnu pour son habilete´ de faire un souper dernie're minute avec ce qui est moindrement consommable dans son frigo. Il peut aussi transformer des cercles en chats et des cornets de cre'me glace´e en dragons. Kevin habite a' Toronto.


KEVIN SYLVESTER is an award-winning writer, illustrator, reporter, radio sports host, producer and documentary maker. His books include the MiNRS and Neil Flambé series. Kevin's claims his superpower is that he can take a puck off the head and STILL finish a hockey game. He's also known for his ability to be able to make a last-second dinner from whatever smells reasonably edible in the fridge. And he can instantly turn circles into cats and ice cream cones into dragons. Well, cat and dragon cartoons anyway. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. Visit him online at


Kevin Sylvester's profile page


  • Governor General’s Literary Award for Young People's Literature – Text
  • Silver Birch Award Finalist
  • Rocky Mountain Book Award

Editorial Reviews

“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

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