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Our vision for this blog is pretty simple: we're going to talk about the books we read. We read lots of different kinds of books: picture books for toddlers, memoirs, young adult fiction, graphic novels, Man Booker Prize-winning high-art metafiction, whatever.
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1. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #395: Featuring Bruce Eric Kaplan

Okay, you all. I just gotta write about another Bruce Eric Kaplan picture book, because whenever he writes and illustrates a new one, I’m reminded how wonderfully weird and refreshing they are. I see a lot of picture books on a regular basis, you see, and some of them start to blur together in my vision, but when one of his shows up, I know I’m likely in for a laugh.

Let me back up first. Kaplan is a cartoonist, whose work regularly appears in the The New Yorker, and since he’s known for his darker humor, his picture books have a touch of that as well (which means, of course, I’m going to be drawn to them). Dark humor in picture books is an easy thing to get wrong, though, yet Kaplan hasn’t made a misstep yet. At least, not in my book anyway. His debut picture book was 2010′s Monsters Eat Whiny Children, featured here at 7-Imp, and this was followed last year by Cousin Irv from Mars, which I wrote about here at Kirkus (and followed up here with art).

The new one, Meaniehead, came out in June (Simon & Schuster) and features more of his dark, hyperbolic humor and wry (and wise) observations on childhood. Henry and Eve are siblings who are experiencing an ugly new phase (as you can see above), involving lots of arguing. One day, an argument over an action figure (“There’s nothing sillier than fighting about what belongs to whom, but no kids and even fewer adults know that”) leads to a broken lamp, a wrecked bedroom, and the destruction of the house, the neighborhood, the local toy store, the library, the pizza place, the beauty parlor, the park, and all the town’s buildings, really. After a snack break, the intensive arguing continues until … well, I can’t give it all away, but some Texas football teams get involved …


… and in the end the world explodes.

That’s a Bruce Eric Kaplan book for you. Though you can never expect a moral with his books (thank goodness), there is some remorse, post-apocalypse. Best of all, he seems to really get those intense childhood fights. (My late brother and I grew up to be the best of friends, but boy howdy did we have some doozies when we were younger. I remember an argument over macaroni that is best not discussed.)

MEANIEHEAD. Copyright © 2014 by Bruce Eric Kaplan. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Simon & Schuster, New York.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) I might have to listen to this great conversation with poet Marie Howe multiple times. This is excellent on so many levels.

2) I took my girls this weekend to this Coretta Scott King event at the Nashville Public Library, and they got to take writing and art workshops — and I finally got to meet in person R. Gregory Christie.

3) Reading about this smart idea (putting a social worker on staff at a D.C. library to work with homeless patrons) led me to this podcast. It’s from the Dallas Public Library; it’s about homelessness; and it’s hosted by a young man who is himself homeless. I’m on episode three at this point; so far, it’s interesting stuff.

4) It’s lovely to see Dolly Parton’s book program (which is FABULOUS) get some national love and attention.

5) I got a good stack of new novels at the bookstore today. On that note …

6) Bubble bath. Reading. Bye! (Sorry to kick #7.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

8 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #395: Featuring Bruce Eric Kaplan, last added: 9/1/2014
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2. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Michael Emberley


” … which is exasperating boys like YOU.”
(Click to enlarge)


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I’m doing something entirely different. I’m chatting with author Kekla Magoon about her upcoming YA novel, How It Went Down. Why is someone who always writes about picture books and illustration doing that? Because the events in Ferguson have weighed heavy on my mind, as they have for many. More about this great novel and my chat with Kekla are here.

Last week I wrote about Barbara Bottner’s Miss Brooks’ Story Nook (where tales are told and ogres are welcome!), published by Random House in August and illustrated by Michael Emberley. That link is here.

Today, I’m following up with some sketches from Emberley and art from the book. Michael tells me he typically does hundreds of sketches for each book. These below are just some. You can click on nearly every sketch below to see it larger and in more detail.

Michael has even more about the book, including more sketches, at this page of his site.

Until Sunday …



 

Sketches


 


















 

Some Final Illustrations


 



(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


 

* * * * * * *

MISS BROOKS’ STORY NOOK (WHERE TALES ARE TOLD AND OGRES ARE WELCOME!). Text copyright © 2014 by Barbara Bottner. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Michael Emberley. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY. All sketches and art here reproduced by permission of Michael Emberley.

3 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Michael Emberley, last added: 8/29/2014
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3. Early Sketches and Outtakes and Art and Suchfrom Peter Brown (Who is Not Really a Monster)



 

That’s right. Despite photographic evidence from last week, Peter Brown is not actually a monster.

Since I chatted (here) last week with Peter about his newest book, My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I am Not.), published by Little, Brown, I’m following up today with some images he sent — some final art from the book but also early sketches, an outtake, etc. The early sketch above cracks. me. up.

Enjoy …


Final art: “Bobby had a big problem at school. Her name was Ms. Kirby. …”
(Click to enlarge)


 


Final art: “Bobby spent his free time in the park, trying to forget his teacher problems. But one Saturday morning, on the way to his favorite spot,
Bobby found a terrible surprise.”

(Click to enlarge)


 



 


Early versions
(Click second image to enlarge)



 


Final spread: “Bobby wanted to run! He wanted to hide!
But he knew that would only make things worse.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 


Outtake
(Click to enlarge)


 


Early spread
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *

MY TEACHER IS A MONSTER! (NO, I AM NOT.) Copyright © 2014 by Peter Brown. Published by Little, Brown and Company, New York. All images here produced by permission of Peter Brown.

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4. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Mike Curato



 

Debut author-illustrator Mike Curato is visiting for breakfast this morning to share lots of art and talk about his new book, Little Elliot, Big City (which I think actually comes out today — I swear I don’t plan these things, but I just get lucky with my timing sometimes). Clearly, based on the sketch of Elliot above, we must have cupcakes for breakfast. Actually, Mike agrees, when I ask him what he’d like on his plate. “If I could choose whatever I wanted without consequence,” he told me, “I’m sure I’d start off my morning with a cupcake. (Aren’t muffins just really boring cupcakes anyway?)” He went on to say that he usually starts his day with something a bit healthier, but I’m all for this cupcake plan (healthy schmealthy), so let’s just DO IT.

Little Elliot tells the story of a tiny (cupcake-loving) elephant, who heads intrepidly into the big city and eventually makes a new friend. Booklist praises Mike’s “almost cinematic artwork,” and the Kirkus review notes “the meticulous beauty” of the illustrations. Mike’s here today to show us some of that, as well as some other illustrations. I’ll get the cupcakes and coffee out, and I thank him for visiting.

* * * * * * *

Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

Mike: Both!

While thinking about this question, I started wondering if I should just go by “storyteller,” since I love to tell stories whether it’s visual, written, or spoken. But then people might roll their eyes if I say that, so let’s stick with Illustrator/Author.


An animated GIF showing Mike’s process;
this is a spread from
Little Elliot, Big City

Jules: Can you list your books-to-date?

Mike: My very first book, Little Elliot, Big City, comes out August 26th. It’s the first in a three-book series with Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Macmillan), starring my favorite polka-dotted elephant.



Books of Wonder’s storefront window
(Click to enlarge)


 

Also, before that I illustrated a self-published book called Mabel McNabb and the Most Boring Day Ever by Amy Jones [pictured below].

 




Jules: What is your usual medium?

Mike: Usually, I draw in graphite-on-paper, then scan and color in Photoshop. For a super detailed explanation, click here.

Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?

Mike: I currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I actually grew up in the NYC suburbs, then went to college upstate at Syracuse, then lived in Seattle for ten years, and I just moved here last November. I think what I like most about Brooklyn is that you could throw a kneaded eraser and you’d hit two or three illustrators.


(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Can you tell me about your road to publication?

Mike: You mean aside from wanting to do this forever?

Well, in 2012 I attended my first SCBWI Winter Conference here in NYC. I entered the portfolio show and won. Everyone was smitten with Elliot, who appeared throughout my portfolio. The week after was filled with emails and calls from agents and publishers. I signed with Brenda Bowen, a literary agent at Greenburger (who is now officially my favorite strawberry blonde person). I worked on a manuscript for several months. We took it to several houses, and then it went to auction. I signed with Holt for a three-book deal and have been blessed to be able to work with my editor, Laura Godwin.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Can you please point readers to your web site and/or blog?

Mike: You can see my portfolio at www.MikeCurato.com.
You can read my blog at mikecurato.wordpress.com/.

Jules: If you do school visits, tell me what they’re like.

Mike: I just had my very first school visit this July at a preschool on the Lower East Side. In addition to reading Little Elliot, Big City, we wrote our own Elliot story: “Elliot woke up. Elliot ate breakfast. Elliot brushed his teeth. Elliot went to the beach. Elliot ate ice cream.” The kids told me what to draw in each scene, and some details were quite interesting. It was super fun, and I can’t wait to do it again!


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)



Jules: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?

Mike: I just finished the second book in the Little Elliot series, Little Elliot, Big Family, which comes out Fall 2015. Soon I’ll start working on the third, and I honestly have no idea what it’s going to be about yet.

Meanwhile, there are two projects I just agreed to illustrate, but I can’t talk about them just yet. (Eep! I can’t wait to shout them from the rooftops!)

I have also been working on an idea for a YA graphic novel, but it will be some time before it’s ready to be shown to anybody.

Mmm. Coffee.Okay, I’ve got coffee and more cupcakes, and it’s time to get a bit more detailed with seven questions over breakfast. I thank Mike again for visiting 7-Imp.

1. Jules: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up?

Mike

: DANCE. My “process” isn’t sequential. I jump back and forth between writing and illustrating, almost like a dance. Doing one will inspire the other, or sometimes when I’m feeling stuck, I’ll switch to get back in the rhythm. So, I start with sketches, then do some writing, then back and forth.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

KEEP IT LOOSE. The initial dummy is very loose. The sketches just show enough to convey what is going on in the spread; that way I don’t get too hung up on the details. However, I did start out both Little Elliot, Big City and Little Elliot, Big Family with one finished piece of art that I made before the book deal.

RESEARCH. When you’re illustrating a non-abstract scene, you need reference materials. Little Elliot is set in the late 1930s/early ’40s, so I had to do my homework on the look and feel of the time period. One of my favorite parts of the research was going to the MTA archives to look at photos of the subway and then going to the MTA museum to see vintage subway cars. (High-fives to my fellow history nerds!)


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

DRAW, DRAW, DRAW. Once my thumbnails are approved and I have all the reference materials I need, I create a detailed comp for each spread. Sometimes I’ll create a mock-up by stitching together all of my reference materials in Photoshop. I check in with the editor one more time with the comps before taking everything to finish, giving me a window to make adjustments to the drawings. Once all adjustments are made, based on feedback, I will finish the drawing.

COLOR. After I scan, I touch up anything that sticks out, then start coloring. Each color is a separate layer in Photoshop with different opacities, almost like a glazing technique one would use in painting.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

2. Jules: Describe your studio or usual work space.

Mike

: I have a workroom in my apartment. It’s a pretty easy commute! It’s spacious (by New York standards) and gets good light. I love being there.


Mike: “Let there be light!”
(Click to enlarge)


Mike: “The wall to the right houses some illustrations by friends (and artists I WANT to be friends with). I made that picture of a cat when I was four. The image of Elliot above the desk appears in Little Elliot, Big Family.”


(Click to enlarge)


Mike: “Books and flatfiles of drawings and books and art supplies and books.”
(Click to enlarge)

3. Jules: As a book-lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

Mike

: My Mom says that my favorite books when I was little were The Little Red Caboose and The Poky Little Puppy. She used to read to me all the time from a Golden Book compilation entitled Tibor Gergely’s Great Big Book of Bedtime Stories, which I still have and I still love. I think Gergely’s work still influences me today. I also loved Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day?, Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, and Mabel Watt’s Hiram’s Red Shirt (illustrated by Aurelius Battaglia?).

4. Jules: If you could have three (living) authors or illustrators—whom you have not yet met—over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose? (Some people cheat and list deceased authors/illustrators. I won’t tell.)

Mike: Since moving to Brooklyn, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing illustrators, but I have yet to meet this handful of heroes. (Okay, okay. I know I’m only supposed to choose three, but who do you expect me to cut from this list?)

Chris Van Allsburg, Ian Falconer, Peter McCarty, and Renata Liwska.

5. Jules: What is currently in rotation on your iPod or loaded in your CD player? Do you listen to music while you create books?

Mike: I often listen to music while I’m illustrating (or I have a movie playing in the background). While working on the latest book, I listened to a lot of Fiona Apple (The Idler Wheel), Robyn (Bodyrock), Mark Ronson (Record Collection), Gossip (A Joyful Noise), MS MR (Secondhand Rapture), and everything/anything by Vampire Weekend and Rufus Wainwright. I’m also really into soundtracks such as Amélie, Chicago, Pride & Prejudice, Sleepless in Seattle, and Pina. And when I really want to burn the midnight oil, I usually default to either my ’80s pop or ’90s grunge playlists. Oh, and Weezer’s Blue Album is always playing at some point when I make art. It’s a tradition that my former college studio-mates and I share.

6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Mike: One thing I must confess is that I was not a voracious reader in my teens. I’m not sure what happened, but once I grew out of picture books, the idea of reading seemed like such a chore. It was cutting into my drawing and TV time! Thank goodness for comic books. They are pretty much all I read from the ages of 12 to 15. I was very passionate about my X-Men collection from then into my early 20s. I did dream about making my own picture books when I was very young, but for the duration of middle and high school, I aspired to be a comic book artist. Though my interest in classic superheroes has diminished, I am hoping to break into graphic novels one day.

7. Jules: Is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do? Feel free
to ask and respond here.

Mike: One question I’d like to hear is: “Aside from other children’s books, is there anything that influences your work?” And the answer would be: “YES!”

I am really inspired by film. Good cinematography, like picture books, can tell a story with very few words. My favorite movies (and picture books) have both amazing imagery and compelling narrative. Movies like Amélie, The Last Emperor, American Beauty, Inception, Marie Antoinette, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Lord of the Rings are not only riveting stories; everything is also visually stunning. There is attention to detail in every scene. Every object is carefully placed — and the color adjusted to convey the feeling in the atmosphere. The framing of each scene is dynamic and directs the eye. I could watch any of these on mute and just revel in their beauty. I try to take the visual lessons I learn from films like these and apply them to my work.



 

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

Jules: What is your favorite word?

Mike: “Cake.”

Jules: What is your least favorite word?

Mike: “Literally.” When it’s misused.

Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Mike: See: What is your favorite word?

Jules: What turns you off?

Mike: Celery.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)

Mike: I couldn’t possibly choose one.

Jules: What sound or noise do you love?

Mike:

Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?

Mike:

Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Mike: Maybe acting. Or ice cream-taste-tester. (That’s a thing, right?)

Jules: What profession would you not like to do?

Mike: Anything involving customer service. Been there. Done that. Next.

Jules: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Mike: “Don’t worry. You can still keep making books.”


All artwork and images are used with permission of Mike Curato.

The spiffy and slightly sinister gentleman introducing the Pivot Questionnaire is Alfred, © 2009 Matt Phelan.

3 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Mike Curato, last added: 8/27/2014
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5. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #394: Featuring Julie Morstad


“When Julia was very little, she had a splendid meal of sole meunière. And that was that. Julia fell in love with French food. She loved to eat French food.
And she especially loved to cook it.”

(Click to enlarge)


 

I think this is the first time I’ve featured the illustrations of Julie Morstad here at 7-Imp (oh wait, I have some of her art here from back in 2012). I always like to see her artwork, and her latest illustrated picture book is Kyo Maclear’s Julia, Child, released by Tundra Books in July.

The book is pure fiction. As Maclear writes in an opening note:

While the story contains no true knowledge of (the real) Julia Child and should be taken with a grain of salt and perhaps even a generous pat of butter, we hope that you will find something here to savor.

It tells the story of Julia and her friend Simca. Simca would be French cookbook and author Simone Beck, who once worked and wrote with Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking).

This book imagines a childhood friendship and two girls who work to bring cheer and imagination into the lives of the adults around them with their cooking. Noting that “too many grown-ups … did not know how to have a marvelous time,” they set out to create recipes for them. It works for the poor, tired, harried adults — until they begin to argue. The girls then decide to make smaller portions for the grown-ups, “just enough to feed the sensible children from whom these senseless grown-ups grew.” The cookbook they create here? Mastering the Art of Childhood.

Morstad used gouache, ink, and Photoshop to create the illustrations. Oh! And don’t miss Jama Rattigan’s July chat with author Kyo Maclear here at her site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

Here’s a bit more art. Enjoy.


“On weekends, she and her friend Simca would shop at the market
and gather new ideas and recipes.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“But together they took cooking and baking classes, and practiced and practiced.
And learned a few tricks.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“…They cooked extra slowly to bring out the flavor of not hurrying. They used delicate spices so that worries would disappear and wonders would rise to the surface.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“As the savory scent of cooking waited through the streets, a curious crowd began to gather. Soon, all sorts of big, busy people wanted a place at the table.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)

JULIA, CHILD. Text copyright © 2014 by Kyo Maclear. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Morstad. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Tundra Books, Toronto, Ontario.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Julie Morstad illustrated one of my favorite CDs EVER.

2) My husband’s been working hard, doing some much-needed maintenance on 7-Imp. Whew. It’s still here, and thank goodness he knows his tech stuff.

3) As I’m typing, I’m listening to All Songs 24/7, and they are currently playing a wonderful Broken Bells song I’ve never heard.

4) Sam Phillips sent her fans a new song this week. Well, it was created last year, but anyway, it’s downloadable here now. Only Sam could make a song about a rock beautiful.

5) Visiting Little Willow’s site!

6) Getting to hear Jon Scieszka speak in Nashville this week. Also this this this this this this. Every word of this. YES. I wish every teacher and librarian in the country would read that.

7) This write-up about Sonya Hartnett, one of my favorite writers.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #394: Featuring Julie Morstad, last added: 8/24/2014
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6. What I’m Doing at Kirkus and BookPage This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Gary Kelley


“Dismissed by much of white America as ‘darkies playing soldiers,’ porters, butlers, hotel doormen, elevator operators—2,000 strong—volunteered for the cause.”


 

Today over at Kirkus, I’m shining the spotlight on Barbara Bottner’s Miss Brooks’ Story Nook (where tales are told and ogres are welcome!), illustrated by Michael Emberley. That link will be here soon.

Also, yesterday at BookPage my interview with author-illustrator Cece Bell went up, as well as my review of El Deafo, her graphic novel. That is all linked here. And remember: I featured art from El Deafo back in June. That’s here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about J. Patrick Lewis’ Harlem Hellfighters (Creative Editions, August 2014), illustrated by Gary Kelley. And guess what? I saw yesterday that it up and won an Original Art Award from the Society of Illustrators. See here for more information and the other winners.

I have some art from this book today. Enjoy.





 


“Somewhere in the mid-Atlantic fog of history, two dark ships passed in the night …”


 


“The Harlem Hellfighters defined courage, / none more than red cap Albany porter / Henry Johnson …”


 


“Relieved from trench duty, Jim Europe found a modest farmhouse
in a remote hamlet alive with birdsong. …”


 


“Three days later, / the first black man ever to be given / a public funeral in the city of New York / rolled through the streets of Harlem / past a delirium of mourners. /
In black armbands, the Hellfighters / marched last, their hushed instruments /
at their sides.”


 



 

* * * * * * *

HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS. Copyright © 2014 by J. Patrick Lewis. Illustrations © 2014 by Gary Kelley. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Creative Editions, Mankato, Minnesota.

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7. Peter Brown is a Monster Before Breakfast …

Well, not really, even if he’s illustrated himself as one here.

First up, sorry for my silence this week, but the blog has been undergoing some much-needed maintenance. As my husband put it, there are something like 28,000 images in one folder where my site is hosted, and “I can’t believe that your site hasn’t already had a fit and gone boom.” (Notice his wording, and that’s because I always have to request that he explain this tech stuff as if I’m two years old.)

Okay. Where was I? … Yes, today I’m chatting with author-illustrator Peter Brown over at Kirkus. And that’s because I think his brand-new picture book, My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.), is very funny. (Given the book’s title, you can see now why he has illustrated himself in such a manner.)

So, we chat—the link is here—and then next week at 7-Imp I’ll follow up with some sketches and art and even deleted scenes from Peter.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Illustration of Peter Brown copyright © 2014 and used by his permission.

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8. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #393: Featuring Christopher Weyant



 

Over at BookPage, I’ve written a review of Anna Kang’s You Are (Not) Small (Two Lions, August 2014), illustrated by her husband, Christopher Weyant. So, I’m sending you over there today to read about it, but I’ve got a bit art here at 7-Imp today to go with it.

The review is here.

Enjoy the art …





 



 

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL. Text copyright © 2014 by Anna Kang. Illustrations © 2014 by Christopher Weyant. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Two Lions, New York.

 

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) I got to Skype in yesterday to The Book Beat’s special book launch (in Oak Park, Michigan) for the late Peter D. Sieruta, one of my co-authors on Wild Things. Here’s a photo, courtesy of Rhonda Gowler Greene on Twitter, of Betsy (who was there) talking to Video Me at the launch:

 



 

2) Snowpiercer! WHOA. It is very good.

3) The Giver wasn’t half-bad either. It was interesting to see so soon after having read it to my girls.

4) Speaking of, my girls and I are reading some good novels again. (We had a dry spell for a while there.)

5) I love this idea, this book, and this smart, smart teacher.

6) Educating my girls in the way of The Beatles.

7) Wild Things got a starred Booklist review (though it’s not published yet). That was so lovely to see.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

6 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #393: Featuring Christopher Weyant, last added: 8/18/2014
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9. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Leo & Diane Dillon and Liniers



 

Today over at Kirkus, I write about a new collaboration from J. Patrick Lewis and Gary Kelley, Harlem Hellfighters.

That will be here soon.

* * *

Last week, I chatted (here) with Diane Dillon, and I also wrote (here) about Liniers’ What There Is Before There Is Anything There (Groundwood, September 2014).

Today I have art from that book (pictured right), as well as the last book Diane and Leo Dillon did together (pictured above), If Kids Ran the World (Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, August 2014).

Enjoy …


 

Art from What There Is
Before There Is Anything There


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



 

Art from If Kids Ran the World
(without text)


 


“Maybe we’d run the world in a big tree house,
and everybody would be welcome.
We’d take care of the most important things.”

(Click to enlarge)



 


“We know people are hungry, so all over the world, everyone would have enough to eat. The food would taste delicious, and it would make people healthy and strong.
Kids who had extra food would help bring it to people who needed it.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“And that’s why, if kids ran the world,
we’d make it a wonderful place for everyone to live.”

(Click to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *

WHAT THERE IS BEFORE THERE IS ANYTHING THERE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2006 by Liniers. First published in English in 2014 by Groundwood Books. English translation copyright © 2014 by Elisa Amado. Illustration reproduced by permission of the publisher.

Illustrations from IF KIDS RAN THE WORLD © 2014 by Leo & Diane Dillon. Used with permission from The Blue Sky Press/Scholastic.

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Leo & Diane Dillon and Liniers, last added: 8/15/2014
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10. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Birgitta Sif

Yesterday I did a guest blog post at BookPage, talking about my favorite new illustrators. That is, those illustrators who have come to prominence in the past couple of years. I snuck author-illustrator Birgitta Sif onto my list, and today she visits for breakfast.

Here’s what I wrote at BookPage:

“Hailing from Iceland (but currently living in Sweden) is author-illustrator Birgitta Sif. Her debut, Oliver

(2012), is the picture book I’d point to that most accurately gets what it is to be an introvert. And Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance, coming at the end of August, pretty much nails shyness. And Sif executes it all with style and warmth.”

Yep. That. I think she’s one to watch, and below she talks about what else she’s done, beyond Oliver and Frances Dean, as well as what’s next for her. Best of all, she shares some art and sketches.

As for what we’re going to pretend-eat while we pretend to sit across an actual table from one another (though I really super-bad wish I were in Sweden right now), Birgitta says, “I would say a scone with apricot marmalade and a perfectly hot cup of coffee. Or on fancy days, Nutella-filled aebleskiver with strawberries. Mmm. Those are yum. But truth be told, on most mornings I’m lucky to grab a quick piece of toast and and lukewarm coffee. A 2.5-year-old and 6-month-old keep me on my toes from very early in the morning to night.”

Let’s dream big and go for the Nutella-filled aebleskiver with strawberries.

I thank Birgitta for visiting!

* * * * * * *

Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

Birgitta: Both. But perhaps illustrator/author, English not being my first language. I’m from Iceland. But I’d say perhaps pictures are my first language.



– From Sue Monroe’s The Magnificent Moon Hare (Egmont Books, 2013)

Jules: Can you list your books-to-date?

Birgitta: Oliver (illustrator/author), Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance (illustrator/author), [Sue Monroe's] The Magnificent Moon Hare (illustrator, chapter book series), Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats (illustrator — forthcoming), Where Our Feet Go (illustrator/author — forthcoming).

Jules: What is your usual medium?

Birgitta: Pencil. It’s my favourite tool. Then digital colouring.

Jules: If you have illustrated for various age ranges (such as, both picture books and early reader books OR, say, picture books and chapter books), can you briefly discuss the differences, if any, in illustrating for one age group to another?

Birgitta: I worked also on a series called The Magnificent Moon Hare, which were chapter books for children. I think in that particular case, when having so much more text and perhaps story, the illustrations play a different role. They are aiding or punctuating the story. Picture books are creating worlds with pictures and text, hand in hand. But there are exceptions to this, of course.


Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?

Birgitta: Currently, we live just outside of Gothenburg, Sweden. But I am originally from Iceland. We are a bit of a traveling family. We love to adventure and show our little girls the world.



Jules: Can you tell me about your road to publication?

Birgitta: I started as a designer for a newspaper in the mountains of a small town named Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Then I interned for Candlewick Press and moved on to work in the children’s book art department in NYC (HarperCollins and Henry Holt and Co.). Finally, I jumped oceans to England to try my heart at a masters degree in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art. At our final degree show in London, I was offered an amazing chance to work with Walker Books, UK, and they have been lovely!


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Can you please point readers to your web site and/or blog?

Birgitta: www.birgittasif.com; Instagram: www.instagram.com/birgittasif; Facebook: www.facebook.com/birgittasif.illustration.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


“Oliver felt a bit different.”
(Click to enlarge)


“The next day, as he was playing tennis on his own . . .”
(Click to enlarge)


Sketches and illustrations from Oliver

(Candlewick, 2012)

Jules: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?

Birgitta: I recently did an illustration for a new book Amnesty International is publishing called, What is Freedom? I’m really so honored to be part of such an incredible project. My book Oliver is also endorsed by Amnesty International, which makes working with them again even more amazing.

And currently, I’m also working on a new book with Knopf, Random House, called Where Our Feet Go. It’s really exciting, and I’m thrilled to be working with the great people at Knopf.


From Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats (forthcoming)
(Click to enlarge)

Mmm. Coffee.Okay, I’ve got more coffee (a perfectly hot cup), and it’s time to get a bit more detailed with six questions over breakfast. I thank Birgitta again for visiting 7-Imp.

1. Jules: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up?

Birgitta

: I’m still learning as I go and developing new ways to do things. But I usually start with doodling, and a main idea evolves from that. And when I feel the doodles start to make some sort of sense together, I start adding text. And then I add more doodles to make it all come together — and more text, like layers upon layer, oftentimes erasing or taking out just as often as adding. It’s like one of those sliding puzzles, each piece moving opens up new possibilities, but you hope that after sliding it around and around, a beautiful story will emerge.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


“When no one was around, she would feel the wind and dance …
and hear the singing of the birds and dance and dance and dance.”

(Click to enlarge)



Sketches and final art from
Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance


(Candlewick, August 2014)

2. Jules: Describe your studio or usual work space.

Birgitta

: I work in the living room. I have a little corner there where my desk faces out to our yard, filled with trees and birds. Being a mamma to two little girls means that I need to grab moments whenever I can. I often work when they are playing, but I do most of my work at night when they’ve both gone to bed and the quiet fills the house.



3. Jules: As a book-lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

Birgitta

: Growing up in the U.S. and in Scandinavia, I had a variety of different kinds of books. But I did love reading Roald Dahl — a little bit of mischief in his books. And many of Astrid Lindgren’s books.

4. Jules: If you could have three (living) authors or illustrators—whom you have not yet met—over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose? (Some people cheat and list deceased authors/illustrators. I won’t tell.)

Birgitta: Halldór Laxness, an Icelandic author (I named my second daughter after one of his books, a beautiful story with a strong female character, Salka); Astrid Lindgren; and Bill Peet.


5. Jules: What is currently in rotation on your iPod or loaded in your CD player? Do you listen to music while you create books?

Birgitta: Ásgeir Trausti, or anything swing or folk or even a bit of ’50s, although I often have the Icelandic radio on. I love having Icelandic on in the background. It makes me feel less far away from home.

6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Birgitta: I taught wood carving to residents at a nursing home in Reykjavík.


(Click to enlarge)

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

Jules: What is your favorite word?

Birgitta: “Bergmál.” It means “echo” in English, but in Icelandic it translates to “the talking of the mountains.” Icelandic has a lot of beautiful words.

Jules: What is your least favorite word?

Birgitta: “No.”

Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Birgitta: Sleep.

Jules: What turns you off?

Birgitta: No sleep.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)

Birgitta: “Andskotinn.” I don’t curse in English, only occasionally in Icelandic.

Jules: What sound or noise do you love?

Birgitta: My girls’ laughter or the soft sound of their sleep.

Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?

Birgitta: Honking of horns.

Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Birgitta: Toy-maker.

Jules: What profession would you not like to do?

Birgitta: Being a suit.

Jules: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Birgitta: “You’ve been loved.” Or: “Oh, hi Birgitta! I’m a big fan!”

* * * * * * *

All other artwork and images are used with permission of Birgitta Sif.

The spiffy and slightly sinister gentleman introducing the Pivot Questionnaire is Alfred, © 2009 Matt Phelan.

3 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Birgitta Sif, last added: 8/14/2014
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11. So hard to narrow …



 

I’m guest-blogging over at BookPage today, who asked me about my favorite new illustrators. Needless to say, I loved this challenge.

It’s here.

Thanks to BookPage for having me!

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12. Nervous Children and Magic Pencils Before Breakfast


“‘No!’ said Joe.”
Spread from Anthony Browne’s What If …?
(Click to enlarge)


 

Over at BookPage, I’ve got a review of Anthony Browne’s What If …?, published by Candlewick this month. This was evidently first published last year but sees its U.S. release this year. That is here, and I’m following up with a bit of art from the book today at 7-Imp.

I’ve also got a spread from Browne’s The Little Bear Book, which was originally published in 1988 but re-released by Candlewick this year.

Enjoy …


 

Art from What If …?



(Click second image to see spread in its entirety and in more detail)


 



 

Art from The Little Bear Book


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



 

* * * * * * *

THE LITTLE BEAR BOOK. Copyright © 1988 by Brun Ltd. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

WHAT IF…?. Copyright © 2013 by AET Browne. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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13. Velvet Devils & Kung-Fu Girls

Take a moment, if you’re so inclined, to head over to the Wild Things! site today and hear about precisely which wines you can read while reading our book! All that is here.

Until tomorrow …

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14. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #392: Featuring Zack Rock

Hey, look! It’s an animated GIF in which debut author-illustrator Zack Rock is showing us a spread being painted. I hope the animation is working for everyone.

It’s good to have Zack back at 7-Imp. In 2012 (here), his artwork was featured on one of my Up-and-Coming Illustrators Sunday posts, and now his first book is out with Creative Editions. In fact, if you look again at that post from two years ago, you will see that he included two images from this new book back then. (Also, it’s a fun post to re-read, since he talks about studying at England’s Cambridge School of Art with scholar Martin Salisbury. Zack described it as “a no-holds-barred, steel cage death match of mutual respect and encouragement.”)

The new book is called Homer Henry Hudson’s Curio Museum and will be released in mid-August. “Everything has a story,” the book opens, and Zack’s is a beguiling one. Henry is a bulldog, who owns a museum of curios from all over the world. He proudly displays several in the book and tells readers about them — from a Conatusaurus Skull from the Late Jurassic Period to a Humble Willow Root Cane. The collection includes delightfully bizarre artifacts, and Homer is a fine storyteller. I like the art in this book (illustrations that the Kirkus review describes as possessing “touches of humble elegance”), and the writing is outstanding. (“My job is to keep the place spick-and-span,” Henry says when we first meet him. “My eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but I’m a proper Magellan at nose navigation. You’d be surprised how well a 6th-century Byzantine bedpan keeps its distinctive aroma.”) Zack Rock is one to watch.

I’m going to let Zack talk now and share some of his artwork. Enjoy.

p.s. If you visit his 2012 7-Imp post, you can spot Maurice Sendak, Shaun Tan, and Lisbeth Zwerger in one of the illustrations from this book.

* * *

Zack: Thanks again for having me back aboard the good ship 7-Imp! It was an honor being previously featured as an up-and-coming illustrator and an absolute joy to return as an arrived-and-here illustrator. I can only hope 7-Imp will continue to record my career in the decades to come, even if it’s only in a Where Are They Now-type feature, far down the road (SPOILER: undefeated tango champion at Deer Glen Assisted Living Facility).

For now, I’m super excited to share my first book, Homer Henry Hudson’s Curio Museum! It’s the tale of a globetrotting explorer and the bounty of bizarre bits-and-bobs he collects on his adventures. Part Indiana Jones, part Hoarders, but with the one element those series were conspicuously lacking: an elderly, half-blind talking dog.


Zack: “A photo from the sketchbook page I first worked out the idea for HHH on.”
(Click to enlarge)

Starting in the present day with an introduction to the crowded museum, the book then flashes back to the rise and fall of Homer Henry Hudson via the curio descriptions themselves. It was a fun way to narrate his biography and buys the reader a ticket to all the exotic locales HHH has pilfered (as well as a sushi restaurant).

But the big draw for many has been the smörgåsbord of artifacts in the book. Every drop of my imagination was wrung out to fill the museum, leaving a scoosh over 100 exhibitions in the book. Each has a story, though for the most part I’ve left them for the reader to dream up.




“Everything has a story: the dullest clam may hold the brightest pearl. …”
Zack: “{These are} step-by-steps of an illustration from thumbnail to final illustration.”

(Click each to enlarge)

The journey from first draft to final was almost as calamitous as one of H³’s adventures. The original idea sprawled out to include seven main characters, a trio of taxidermic bulldogs, a pair of dead parents, and one sinister white squid. After some minor retooling (picture an axe-wielding lunatic with a vendetta against paper), I pared it down to only one main character. And only one dead parent.


“My eyesight isn’t what it used to be …”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


“… the future is never set in stone (or, in this case, bronze).”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


“She begged I accept her bear as a token of gratitude.”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


“Reward from the temple’s caretakers for convincing the parrot priest to unbeak a panel of wood he’d stripped off the dilapidated temple wall.”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)

Working with Creative Editions on the book was beyond wonderful. Tackling a project like this is daunting to say the least, but the dedication Creative’s publisher Tom and art director Rita had to Homer carried me through the many harrowing legs of the journey. When I first approached them with my portfolio, I felt like the high school Science Fiction Club president asking the prom queen for a dance, and I’m still stunned by the faith they have in my work.


Zack: “My work space back in Seattle where I wrote and illustrated the book.
(I’m living in Berlin nowadays.) My cat sat right behind me like that for most of the project, kept my posture straight.”

(Click to enlarge)

Sadly, two individuals whose talents helped shape Homer Henry Hudson’s Curio Museum passed away before its release: my editor Aaron and printer, Ermanno. Along with writing some of the most engaging titles Creative Editions has released, Aaron’s deft red pen led my original text away from the brink of obscurity. And Ermanno’s genius not only revived the illustrations after my particularly poor scanning job nearly derailed the project, he made them just shine on the page. But beyond their professional abilities, they were a couple of the warmest and kindest people I’ve ever met. The world’s poorer for their absence.


(Click to enlarge)

Currently, I’m chiseling away at another book for Creative [pictured above], this time about an acrobatic young pig whose life changes after an encounter with a bookstore. Something about surrounding short, squat little animals with stuff evidently appeals to me. It’s called The Unexpected, and you can expect it 2016.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

Hi, kickers! I’ve missed you the past two weeks. Let’s get caught up …

1) It’s really neat to have Zack back at 7-Imp.

2) I GOT TO MEET JAMA, YOU ALL! And her very nice husband. And hang out with her in her beautiful home. I also got to see Sara Lewis Holmes, though it wasn’t my first time meeting her in person, and meet her husband. I’m lucky to have these people as friends in my life (and I could have spent all day talking to them).

3) This was all while we were in D.C. last week for vacation, which was a fun trip (“fun AND a lot like Social Studies,” said my 8-year-old).

4) There was this Wyeth exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. Hoo boy, I could have stayed ALL DAY in that one exhibit.

5) The book I wrote with Peter Sieruta and Betsy Bird came out on Tuesday of last week! (Should you wanna read it, by chance, here’s the low-down.) I had a book launch at Parnassus Books, which was fun. A local wine shop manager, Dan Hutchinson at The Wine Shoppe at Green Hills in Nashville, paired my book with some wines for the event, and he chose The Velvet Devil and Kung-Fu Girl (both from here). I mean, how wonderful is that? I have a video of the talk he gave at my launch, so I’ll try to share it soon.

6) People have been very supportive of and generous about the book launch, and I really appreciate it.

7) I’m reading this, and I love it thus far. I had to back up and start over (before I had gotten very far at all) just so I could read it with my girls:

I think I used the word “fun” an awful lot in this post, but it’s been a fun couple of weeks, in fact.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #392: Featuring Zack Rock, last added: 8/10/2014
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15. What I’m Doing at Kirkus Today,Plus Art from Princesse Camcam, Lizi Boyd,Richard Scarry, and Hervé Tullet


– From Hervé Tullet’s Mix It Up!


 


– From Princesse Camcam’s Fox’s Garden


 


– From Lizi Boyd’s Flashlight


 


“So Chicken Little and Henny Penny and Ducky Lucky and Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey hurried off down the road to tell the king the sky was falling.
And on the way they met Foxy Loxy.”

– From

Richard Scarry’s Best Little Golden Books Ever!
(Click to enlarge)

 

Today over at Kirkus, I take a look at Liniers’ new picture book What There Is Before There Is Anything There, to be released by Groundwood Books next month.

That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about a small handful of new picture books. Since you know I always like to follow up with art, today I have art from each book. It’s all below. (Please note: The colors in the spreads from Richard Scarry are a bit off; the colors are a bit brighter than they appear in the book.)

Enjoy.

 

Art from Princesse Camcam’s Fox’s Garden
(Enchanted Lion Books, September 2014)


 






(Click each to enlarge)


 



 

Art from Hervé Tullet’s Mix It Up!
(Chronicle, September 2014)


 


“If you rub the two colors together really hard … then what happens?”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“You got it!”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“…White makes colors lighter. Go ahead, try it!”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“See?”
(Click to enlarge)


Art from Richard Scarry’s
Best Little Golden Books Ever!
(Random House, July 2014)


 


“Here comes the mail truck to pick up mail. A man sells ice cream.
A delivery motorcycle hurries by.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“The little mouse ran through the city. She ran and ran and ran. And she did not stop until she was safe in the quiet green country.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“And on he ran, with the little old woman, the little old man, the gentle brown cow,
and the big brown bear all running after him.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


Art from Lizi Boyd’s Flashlight
(Chronicle, August 2014)


 




(Click each to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *

RICHARD SCARRY’S BEST LITTLE GOLDEN BOOKS EVER! Compilation copyright © 2014 by Random House, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

FLASHLIGHT. Copyright © 2014 by Lizi Boyd. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

FOX’S GARDEN. First American edition published in 2014 by Enchanted Lion Books, Brooklyn. Translation © 2014 by Enchanted Lion Books. Originally published in France. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

MIX IT UP! Copyright © 2014 by Hervé Tullet. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

3 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus Today,Plus Art from Princesse Camcam, Lizi Boyd,Richard Scarry, and Hervé Tullet, last added: 8/11/2014
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16. What I’m Doing at Kirkus Today,Plus Some Art from Bob Graham

Today over at Kirkus, I chat with acclaimed author-illustrator Diane Dillon. Pictured above is Diane with her late husband, Leo.

That link will be here soon.

* * *

A couple weeks ago, I chatted with Australian author-illustrator Bob Graham, one of my favorites. That link is here, and I’m following up below with art from three of his books.

Enjoy.

 

Art from Vanilla Ice Cream (August 2014)


 


“… in just one fleeting moment …”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“Edie’s life changes forever.”
(Click to enlarge)



 

Art from The Silver Button (2013)


 


“He swayed, he frowned, he tilted forward …”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Art from How to Heal a Broken Wing (2008)


 




 

* * * * * * *

Photo of Leo and Diane Dillon taken by Pat Cummings and used with permission.

HOW TO HEAL A BROKEN WING. Copyright © 2008 by Bob Graham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

THE SILVER BUTTON. Copyright © 2013 by Bob Graham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

VANILLA ICE CREAM. Copyright © 2014 by Bob Graham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus Today,Plus Some Art from Bob Graham, last added: 8/9/2014
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17. It’s here!

I guess I failed to mention here at my very own blog yesterday that I had a book release! I blame the bunny on the left. Yes, he knows he’s in trouble.

Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and the late Peter D. Sieruta, is out from Candlewick Press. If you’re at all interested in reading it, the website we created for the book has ordering information here. And we’ve been posting daily over there stories that were cut from the book. It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed writing at that site with Betsy, though of course we wish Peter were still with us. So super bad do we wish that. (On that note, don’t miss this special event, if you live near Oak Park, Michigan.)

Starting today, we are also sharing videos from authors and illustrators over at the Wild Things site. They’ll be telling behind-the-scenes stories about their upcoming 2014 books. We’re doing that, because … well, Wild Things is really a celebration of the children’s books we know and love, so this seems a fitting way to celebrate. Today’s video is from author N. D. Wilson, and boy howdy is it a treat (especially around moment 2:43 where N. D. quotes Beowulf’s opening lines, which pretty much just made my week).

For those of you near Nashville, I will have a book launch tomorrow night at Parnassus Books. Here’s the low-down. There will be wine, thanks to Dan Hutchinson at The Wine Shoppe at Green Hills. (I cannot WAIT to see which wine he chooses for our book — and why!)

Also, I’d like to quickly add that this has been one of my favorite write-ups about the book. Tracy is a talented writer.

Until tomorrow!

* * * * * * *

WILD THINGS!. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by David Roberts. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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18. Because I Want Even More of Julia …

Hey, my blog’s still working! It probably just needed a vacation, which is precisely what I did last week. So. Well, that worked out. We are both relatively well-rested.

I’m playing a bit of catch-up this week, and today here is how I will start:

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Ben Hatke’s latest book, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures (First Second), which will be out in early September. That was here.

So, today I have some art from the book, as well as (in no particular order) what Ben describes as “some of the preparatory/mock-up/notebook stuff.” (Also, over at Facebook, Matthew Winner of the Let’s Get Busy Podcast described this book as “Miyazaki-esque,” which I love. He also wrote about it here.)

I don’t know about you, but I could look at even just Ben’s sketches all day.

Enjoy …

 














 




(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 




 

Some Final Art:


 


“That evening there was a warm fire and toast and tea.”
(Click to enlarge)



 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



 

* * * * * * *


 

JULIA’S HOUSE FOR LOST CREATURES. Copyright © 2014 by Ben Hatke. Published by First Second, New York. Illustration reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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19. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock


Author-illustrator Barbara McClintock is here today to talk about creating the artwork for Beverly Donofrio’s Where’s Mommy?, released in March by Schwartz & Wade, which Kirkus calls “irresistible.” This is a companion book to Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, released back in ’07. Those of you familiar with the first title will know that Maria is Mary’s daughter, and Mouse Mouse is Mouse’s daughter. In this new book, Maria and Mouse Mouse are (separately) looking for their mothers, their experiences and goings-on fully parallel, as McClintock gives us a peek into each one’s home and surroundings.

Soon, Barbara will also see the release of another 2014 illustrated title, Jim Aylesworth’s My Grandfather’s Coat (Scholastic), which has already received two starred reviews. (Barbara also discusses below some other new projects. Fans of Adèle & Simon will be happy.) I haven’t seen My Grandfather’s Coat yet, but maybe she can come back to talk about it, especially since she’s also interested in talking further about the March Leave Your Sleep exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, as well as the Leave Your Sleep Carnegie Hall concert (back in April), which had, in Barbara’s words, “images from the book projected big as a barn behind the stage. Maybe [we can have] a discussion about ways picture books extend beyond their printed avatars.” (If you’re not familiar with Leave Your Sleep—with Natalie Merchant—you can visit this 2012 7-Imp post.)

I’d love to discuss those things, but for now, let’s look at Where’s Mommy?

I thank Barbara for sharing …

Barbara: Hi there, Jules! Great to be back at 7-Imp!

Thanks for inviting me to talk about Where’s Mommy? I had the great pleasure of working with Lee Wade, Rachael Cole, Stephanie Pitts, and Anne Schwartz again for round two of the mouse/girl adventure.

Where’s Mommy? is a definite nod to The Borrowers by Mary Norton. The Borrowers was one of my favorite books when I was growing up. I wished with all my might when I was little that I’d had my very own tiny family living under my bedroom floor, going about their life with furnishings poached from forgotten small stuff under the couch or lost in the back corner of cluttered kitchen drawers.

Beth and Joe Krush’s fluid black and white illustrations for The Borrowers were—and still are—enthralling. The Krushes really had their drawing chops down. Their loose, sketchy illustration style jumps out of a solid background in highly-skilled, realistic drawings. Love it!

The secret friendship, the risk of discovery, the parallel worlds — it’s all there in Where’s Mommy? with whiskers and tails added. I had a lot of fun thinking of all the modern household debris that would make perfect furnishings for a comfy contemporary mouse house. Just imagine what little midnight visitors to a recycling bin would find, making good use out of plastic berry containers and caps and bottles and used-up toothpaste tubes. And I now know where my missing set of ear buds might be.

Where’s Mommy? is a step away from my usual style. I was excited about mixing up the visual pacing by using very simple, minimal images along with those complex drawings that invite hunting for details. I relied on watercolor more than cross-hatch to get effects like that light-glowing-through-clear-plastic thing goin’ on in Mouse Mouse’s kitchen. The word balloons hearken back to my girlhood obsession with drawing comics, and I am over-the-moon thrilled with Chris Costello’s gorgeous hand lettering in the balloons throughout the book and on the front cover.


(Click to enlarge)

There was a vibrant conversation between Lee, Rachael, Anne and me about the dummy and elements in the sketches and finished art. We were definitely a team finding our way to making the book as engaging, energetic, and fun as possible.


“Sketches taped up on my studio wall”
(Click to enlarge)

I began the art for Where’s Mommy? right after I finished art for Leave Your Sleep, the last book I worked on to completion with my beloved editor Frances Foster. I’m so very lucky to have known Frances and worked with her on five and a half books. She was universally loved by her authors, illustrators, and anyone who worked with her. She was intensely involved with every aspect of my creative process, always available, always there for me. I’d send Frances an email at 11:30 at night and get an email back 15 minutes later. Her husband Tony referred to her weekends as “work ends.”

To have had such access to her inventive, brilliant mind was a a rare and precious gift. I still feel a deep sense of grief and loss, even feeling lost, but she was ready to take flight and leave all of us with her legacy and the memory of her elegance, wit, and genius.



Sketches and final art:
“If Maria’s parents knew there were mice in the house, they’d get a cat.”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



Sketches and final art:
“Have you seen Mom?”

(Click each to enlarge)

I’m working on finished art for Adèle & Simon in China at the moment. This was the last project Frances and I worked on together; we’d gotten to the sketch stage. Simon Boughton is my new editor on this book. He’s enthusiastically cheering me on with the book and is also being amazingly sensitive to honoring Frances’ vision and work on this book. I can’t imagine how tricky that must be, and I admire his tact and am grateful for his belief in my work. The book is really in place, but I admit to missing hearing Frances’ voice and reading her emails as I’m drawing crowded market streets in Hong Kong or coloring a scene of the desert near Dunhuang. My partner David Johnson encourages me to “channel my inner Frances” — not quite the same as actually being in contact with her, but it is a comfort nonetheless.



Sketches and final art:
“Where’s Mom?”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



Sketches and final art:
“Guess who!”

(Click each to enlarge)

Adèle & Simon in China, by the way, is looking FABULOUS! My son Larson DiFiori is getting his PhD in Chinese philosophy and ancient Chinese language studies at Brown and has been at my elbow as my go-to guy to answer questions — or put me in touch with people who can answer questions about China that come up as I’m working on the book. Plus he and David pop into my studio from time to time wearing funny hats and make me laugh. What could be better than that?


“Hey, what’s this? It’s my son Larson, wearing a klondike hat in my studio!
He just popped in while I was working to offer some comic relief.”

AND … there’s more! I’m also working on Emma and Julia Love Ballet with the wonderful, dear Dianne Hess at Scholastic Press. Emma and Julia shows a day in the life of Emma, a young girl who dreams of being a ballet dancer, and Julia, a professional ballet dancer. They both have breakfast, go to lessons, and are ultimately at the same evening dance performance — Emma in the audience and Julia on stage. They meet back stage after the performance, Emma with her dreams of the future and Julia with encouragement and the memory of her early dreams. I wrote the book thinking of my sister who loved ballet as a girl. I’m having a blast drawing and photographing dancers at a local ballet school, as well as drawing and inking the final artwork. Dianne, like Frances, is that rare breed of marvelous editors who is always there, always supportive and caring. This will be our ninth book together. Holy Cow, time flies!

My Grandfather’s Coat, written by Jim Aylesworth and edited by Dianne Hess for Scholastic Press, comes out this fall. Stay tuned!

Here’s a promiscuous hodge-podge of work-in-progress/process pics [from Where's Mommy?]:


“Working on spread of family at beginning of book. Why not have a Goya poster on the wall? I was fascinated by this painting as a child, and if I stop to think about it now,
it’s a little weird and scary. So I don’t stop to think about it!”


 


“Studio chaos!”


 






“Inked 1st page spread”


 



 



 


“Cover idea”


 



 


“Finding the perfect Maria-yelling-‘Mommy!’-head”


 




“Various failed attempts to get the right inked drawing of Maria yelling”


 


“At last — got the inked Maria head and everything else down!”


 


“Coloring”


 


“One of many dummies/revised dummies”


 


“Another dummy”


 


“Three little dummies”


 


“Early napkin sketch of mouse household objects”


 


“Things for Maria’s room”


 


“Cut-out, reassembled drawings for cover”


 






“Early sketchbook drawings”


 


“The end result”


 

WHERE’S MOMMY? Copyright © 2014 by Beverly Donofrio. Illustrations © 2014 by Barbara McClintock. Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Barbara McClintock.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

My kicks one through seven this week will be that I saw Hurray for the Riff Raff live in Nashville a second time this year. They always put on a highly entertaining show.

And it always makes me happy to see Barbara’s artwork. (And this recent Wild Things! post reminded me that I wanted to share some of her artwork here.)

It’s not that I didn’t have other kicks this week, but as usual, I’m typing past midnight (I’m a hopeless night owl), so I think I’ll hang it up for now.

But do tell: What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock, last added: 7/22/2014
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20. Wildness



 

I don’t have art for you all today, but I will later this week.

This is just a quick post to, once again, point you all to the Wild Things! site. My co-author and I are still sharing stories over there, ones cut from the original manuscript of our book, and we will have a story-a-day until publication on August 5th. (We’re even going to have some fun with author videos after that.)

Yesterday, we had a short post about the precocious ones of children’s lit. (Can you guess what Maurice Sendak’s first illustrated title was? It may not be what you think.) That link is here.

Today, we have a short post on celebrity children’s books (which gets an entire chapter in our book). We have the nice folks at the Horn Book to thank for re-posting a piece Peter once wrote about the celebrity book trend. (And when I read the Twitter response mentioned in this post, I laughed so hard, my husband came in the room to ask me if I was okay.)

Later this week, we’ll look at some feuds, some early exits of children’s lit, a funky Buddha party, films and children’s books, and more. It’s all here.

Until Thursday …

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21. Vanilla Ice Cream Before Breakfast

It’s sometimes hard to come out from behind my stories and articulate reasons for things, as the stories are not written that way. I don’t go into them with a reason or issue — only that the characters will treat each other with respect and tolerance. And that their dogs can do anything they like around the house. The rest will hopefully follow.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Bob Graham, pictured here, whose books I consistently like. He chats with me about his newest book, Vanilla Ice Cream, coming from Candlewick in August, as well as what’s next for him.

That Q&A will be here here soon.

Next week, I’ll have some art from some of Bob’s books.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Bob Graham used with permission of Candlewick Press.

0 Comments on Vanilla Ice Cream Before Breakfast as of 7/25/2014 12:10:00 AM
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22. Wildness



 

I don’t have art for you all today, but I will later this week.

This is just a quick post to, once again, point you all to the Wild Things! site. My co-author and I are still sharing stories over there, ones cut from the original manuscript of our book, and we will have a story-a-day until publication on August 5th. (We’re even going to have some fun with author videos after that.)

Yesterday, we had a short post about the precocious ones of children’s lit. (Can you guess what Maurice Sendak’s first illustrated title was? It may not be what you think.) That link is here.

Today, we have a short post on celebrity children’s books (which gets an entire chapter in our book). We have the nice folks at the Horn Book to thank for re-posting a piece Peter once wrote about the celebrity book trend. (And when I read the Twitter response mentioned in this post, I laughed so hard, my husband came in the room to ask me if I was okay.)

Later this week, we’ll look at some feuds, some early exits of children’s lit, a funky Buddha party, films and children’s books, and more. It’s all here.

Until Thursday …

0 Comments on Wildness as of 7/25/2014 12:10:00 AM
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23. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock


Author-illustrator Barbara McClintock is here today to talk about creating the artwork for Beverly Donofrio’s Where’s Mommy?, released in March by Schwartz & Wade, which Kirkus calls “irresistible.” This is a companion book to Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, released back in ’07. Those of you familiar with the first title will know that Maria is Mary’s daughter, and Mouse Mouse is Mouse’s daughter. In this new book, Maria and Mouse Mouse are (separately) looking for their mothers, their experiences and goings-on fully parallel, as McClintock gives us a peek into each one’s home and surroundings.

Soon, Barbara will also see the release of another 2014 illustrated title, Jim Aylesworth’s My Grandfather’s Coat (Scholastic), which has already received two starred reviews. (Barbara also discusses below some other new projects. Fans of Adèle & Simon will be happy.) I haven’t seen My Grandfather’s Coat yet, but maybe she can come back to talk about it, especially since she’s also interested in talking further about the March Leave Your Sleep exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, as well as the Leave Your Sleep Carnegie Hall concert (back in April), which had, in Barbara’s words, “images from the book projected big as a barn behind the stage. Maybe [we can have] a discussion about ways picture books extend beyond their printed avatars.” (If you’re not familiar with Leave Your Sleep—with Natalie Merchant—you can visit this 2012 7-Imp post.)

I’d love to discuss those things, but for now, let’s look at Where’s Mommy?

I thank Barbara for sharing …

Barbara: Hi there, Jules! Great to be back at 7-Imp!

Thanks for inviting me to talk about Where’s Mommy? I had the great pleasure of working with Lee Wade, Rachael Cole, Stephanie Pitts, and Anne Schwartz again for round two of the mouse/girl adventure.

Where’s Mommy? is a definite nod to The Borrowers by Mary Norton. The Borrowers was one of my favorite books when I was growing up. I wished with all my might when I was little that I’d had my very own tiny family living under my bedroom floor, going about their life with furnishings poached from forgotten small stuff under the couch or lost in the back corner of cluttered kitchen drawers.

Beth and Joe Krush’s fluid black and white illustrations for The Borrowers were—and still are—enthralling. The Krushes really had their drawing chops down. Their loose, sketchy illustration style jumps out of a solid background in highly-skilled, realistic drawings. Love it!

The secret friendship, the risk of discovery, the parallel worlds — it’s all there in Where’s Mommy? with whiskers and tails added. I had a lot of fun thinking of all the modern household debris that would make perfect furnishings for a comfy contemporary mouse house. Just imagine what little midnight visitors to a recycling bin would find, making good use out of plastic berry containers and caps and bottles and used-up toothpaste tubes. And I now know where my missing set of ear buds might be.

Where’s Mommy? is a step away from my usual style. I was excited about mixing up the visual pacing by using very simple, minimal images along with those complex drawings that invite hunting for details. I relied on watercolor more than cross-hatch to get effects like that light-glowing-through-clear-plastic thing goin’ on in Mouse Mouse’s kitchen. The word balloons hearken back to my girlhood obsession with drawing comics, and I am over-the-moon thrilled with Chris Costello’s gorgeous hand lettering in the balloons throughout the book and on the front cover.


(Click to enlarge)

There was a vibrant conversation between Lee, Rachael, Anne and me about the dummy and elements in the sketches and finished art. We were definitely a team finding our way to making the book as engaging, energetic, and fun as possible.


“Sketches taped up on my studio wall”
(Click to enlarge)

I began the art for Where’s Mommy? right after I finished art for Leave Your Sleep, the last book I worked on to completion with my beloved editor Frances Foster. I’m so very lucky to have known Frances and worked with her on five and a half books. She was universally loved by her authors, illustrators, and anyone who worked with her. She was intensely involved with every aspect of my creative process, always available, always there for me. I’d send Frances an email at 11:30 at night and get an email back 15 minutes later. Her husband Tony referred to her weekends as “work ends.”

To have had such access to her inventive, brilliant mind was a a rare and precious gift. I still feel a deep sense of grief and loss, even feeling lost, but she was ready to take flight and leave all of us with her legacy and the memory of her elegance, wit, and genius.



Sketches and final art:
“If Maria’s parents knew there were mice in the house, they’d get a cat.”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



Sketches and final art:
“Have you seen Mom?”

(Click each to enlarge)

I’m working on finished art for Adèle & Simon in China at the moment. This was the last project Frances and I worked on together; we’d gotten to the sketch stage. Simon Boughton is my new editor on this book. He’s enthusiastically cheering me on with the book and is also being amazingly sensitive to honoring Frances’ vision and work on this book. I can’t imagine how tricky that must be, and I admire his tact and am grateful for his belief in my work. The book is really in place, but I admit to missing hearing Frances’ voice and reading her emails as I’m drawing crowded market streets in Hong Kong or coloring a scene of the desert near Dunhuang. My partner David Johnson encourages me to “channel my inner Frances” — not quite the same as actually being in contact with her, but it is a comfort nonetheless.



Sketches and final art:
“Where’s Mom?”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



Sketches and final art:
“Guess who!”

(Click each to enlarge)

Adèle & Simon in China, by the way, is looking FABULOUS! My son Larson DiFiori is getting his PhD in Chinese philosophy and ancient Chinese language studies at Brown and has been at my elbow as my go-to guy to answer questions — or put me in touch with people who can answer questions about China that come up as I’m working on the book. Plus he and David pop into my studio from time to time wearing funny hats and make me laugh. What could be better than that?


“Hey, what’s this? It’s my son Larson, wearing a klondike hat in my studio!
He just popped in while I was working to offer some comic relief.”

AND … there’s more! I’m also working on Emma and Julia Love Ballet with the wonderful, dear Dianne Hess at Scholastic Press. Emma and Julia shows a day in the life of Emma, a young girl who dreams of being a ballet dancer, and Julia, a professional ballet dancer. They both have breakfast, go to lessons, and are ultimately at the same evening dance performance — Emma in the audience and Julia on stage. They meet back stage after the performance, Emma with her dreams of the future and Julia with encouragement and the memory of her early dreams. I wrote the book thinking of my sister who loved ballet as a girl. I’m having a blast drawing and photographing dancers at a local ballet school, as well as drawing and inking the final artwork. Dianne, like Frances, is that rare breed of marvelous editors who is always there, always supportive and caring. This will be our ninth book together. Holy Cow, time flies!

My Grandfather’s Coat, written by Jim Aylesworth and edited by Dianne Hess for Scholastic Press, comes out this fall. Stay tuned!

Here’s a promiscuous hodge-podge of work-in-progress/process pics [from Where's Mommy?]:


“Working on spread of family at beginning of book. Why not have a Goya poster on the wall? I was fascinated by this painting as a child, and if I stop to think about it now,
it’s a little weird and scary. So I don’t stop to think about it!”


 


“Studio chaos!”


 






“Inked 1st page spread”


 



 



 


“Cover idea”


 



 


“Finding the perfect Maria-yelling-‘Mommy!’-head”


 




“Various failed attempts to get the right inked drawing of Maria yelling”


 


“At last — got the inked Maria head and everything else down!”


 


“Coloring”


 


“One of many dummies/revised dummies”


 


“Another dummy”


 


“Three little dummies”


 


“Early napkin sketch of mouse household objects”


 


“Things for Maria’s room”


 


“Cut-out, reassembled drawings for cover”


 






“Early sketchbook drawings”


 


“The end result”


 

WHERE’S MOMMY? Copyright © 2014 by Beverly Donofrio. Illustrations © 2014 by Barbara McClintock. Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Barbara McClintock.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

My kicks one through seven this week will be that I saw Hurray for the Riff Raff live in Nashville a second time this year. They always put on a highly entertaining show.

And it always makes me happy to see Barbara’s artwork. (And this recent Wild Things! post reminded me that I wanted to share some of her artwork here.)

It’s not that I didn’t have other kicks this week, but as usual, I’m typing past midnight (I’m a hopeless night owl), so I think I’ll hang it up for now.

But do tell: What are YOUR kicks this week?

0 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock as of 1/1/1900
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24. Blog Break

P.S. This includes next Sunday! I’ll be back after that, so as for you kickers, I’ll see you in two weeks.

9 Comments on Blog Break, last added: 7/27/2014
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25. Hey, my blog said it forgives me, and I’m back in(just in time for a week-long blog break, though) …


“‘Children, stand up.’ Mother smiled. They pushed their chairs back and stood up.
‘This is your sister. … Loretta Mason Potts … but it’s not Potts any more.
She has come to live with us—at last.’”


 

Granted, I’m not so sure what I did to my blog, but it’d had enough of my nonsense and packed its bags last week and went to some remote island resort — and without leaving me the keys. As I noted in yesterday’s quickie post (it had to be brief, lest the blog kick me out again), I just couldn’t get in to edit a post without the blog hanging on me and kicking me out repeatedly, but my smart tech-support husband managed to figure it out. At least we think … we hope that it’s finally fixed.

BUT … I had planned on announcing a week-long blog break anyway (for other reasons), which I’m still going to do. I can leave you this with this art below, though. It’s what I had intended on posting last Friday. A couple weeks back, I wrote about The New York Review Children’s Collection’s reissue of Mary Chase’s children’s novel Loretta Mason Potts (pictured above), originally published in 1958 and illustrated by Harold Berson. So, I have some art from that book today. Bonus: The folks over at the New York Review also sent some art from some of their other reissues, which makes me very happy. (This means there’s art below from the likes of Lillian Hoban

, Marc Simont, and William Pène du Bois, to name a few. I embiggened their names here, just ’cause I like seeing their art and get excited.)

Also: Over at Kirkus on Friday, I wrote about Ben Hatke’s newest project, a picture book called Julia’s House for Lost Creatures. That link is here.

Next week I’ll have some art from Ben Hatke, as well as some from Bob Graham, since I chatted with him last Thursday.

Enjoy the art below … And I will be back here at 7-Imp in about a week.



 

Art from Mary Chase’s Loretta Mason Potts (1958), illustrated by Harold Berson


 


“The Countess threw back her head and laughed a silvery, tinkling laugh. ‘How very amusing!’ She waved her little fan. ‘How utterly, utterly refreshing!’ And all of them laughed gaily again as Loretta grinned and kicked her feet back and forth.”


 


“He got up and followed her into her room, watched her walk into the closet and push against the wall. There was the tunnel!”


 


“There it lay. A dollhouse of a mansion with the broad stone steps no bigger than the width of his hand. Why, he could step over and kick it with his foot
and it would tumble down.”


 



 

Art from Ruth Krauss’ The Backward Day (1950), illustrated by Marc Simont


 


“He put on his shoes. Over his shoes, he put on his socks.
Then he turned his head backward as far as he could, to see over his shoulder,
and he walked backward out of his room and backward down the stairs.”


 


“‘Time to go to bed,’ he said and got up from the table.
He turned his head backward as far as he could, to see over his shoulder,
and walked backward out the breakfast room.”


 



 

Art from Barbara Sleigh’s
The Kingdom of Carbonel (1961),
illustrated by Richard Kennedy


 


“The black cat had slipped from her and melted into the other shadows.”



 

Art from Barbara Sleigh’s Carbonel and Calidor (1978), illustrated by Charles Front


 




 

Art from Maria Gripe’s The Glassblower’s Children (1973), illustrated by Harald Gripe


 


“Klas sat still as a mouse in his corner and watched one glistening bubble after another swell up, conjured out of Albert’s long glassblowing pipe.”


 


“It is not known how she got hold of him—whether she caught him herself,
for instance—but she’d always had him, and he was a very remarkable creature.”


 



 

Art from Esther Averill’s Jenny and the Cat Club
(very first published in 1944)


 


“By evening the garden was entirely white. Jenny stole outdoors and hunted in the drifts. She found snowflakes shaped like flowers
and stars and spiderwebs—but no skates.”


 


“How proud she was to teach them how to dance the sailor’s hornpipe!”



 

Art from Rumer Godden’s The Mousewife (1967), illustrated by William Pène du Bois


 


“…[I]n winter they were bare until the snow came and they were white with snow.
The mousewife saw all these through the windowpane,
but she did not know what they were.”


 


“The dove kept his wings folded. The mousewife thought him large and strange and ugly with the speckles on his breast and his fine down.”


 


“He told her these things as a dove would see them, as it flew, and the mousewife, who was used to creeping, felt her head growing as dizzy as if she were spinning on her tail, but all she said was, ‘Tell me more.’”



 

Art from Russell Hoban’s The Sorely Trying Day (1964), illustrated by Lillian Hoban


 


“Mother was saying, ‘Stop that!’
But the children would not stop.”


 


“‘Dora did not tell you everything. I did not strike her until she sat heavily on the ship model I was building. When I complained about that, she pulled my hair.’”


 



 

* * * * * * *

All art is posted by permission of The New York Review Children’s Collection.

4 Comments on Hey, my blog said it forgives me, and I’m back in(just in time for a week-long blog break, though) …, last added: 7/30/2014
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