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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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I’ve featured a lot of student or brand-new illustrators lately and have yet another today. It’s the first Sunday of February, and the first Sundays of each month are devoted to the new folks, so I keep my promise today.
And I’m happy to welcome Colin Sutherland, whom I’d be pleased to tell you all about, but I’m going to hand 7-Imp over to him so that he can tell you about himself. He’s also sharing some art, of course, and my personal favorite is pictured above.
[Note: Colin and I would both like to point out that Bear Hunt, pictured below in this post, is—in Colin’s words—”a little graphic and upsetting.” Consider yourselves notified, dear Imps.] (more…)
“We line up the jars and jugs / by the road /
for all of South Carolina / to come and see our wares. /
Whoever buys the big one / will never know /
I made that jar.”
– Illustration from Andrea Cheng’s Etched in Clay:
The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet
“His children grew up. Relatives passed away. South Africa began to fall apart.
There were more protests, more rallies, and violence. The people needed a leader.
Nelson snuck a message to the people: ‘I will return.’”
– Spread from Kadir Nelson’s Nelson Mandela
(Click to enlarge spread, sans text)
Yes, lots of folks are visiting today.
First up, today over at Kirkus, I write a bit about two Maurice Sendak reissues. That link will here. (Just yesterday a friend sent me this link, too. Wow.)
* * *
Last week at Kirkus was “Going Beyond Black History Month.” Today, I share art from the books mentioned in that column, but I’ve got two added-extras: Author Charles R. Smith Jr. visits briefly to talk some about Brick by Brick, and I’ve also got some woodcuts from Andrea Cheng’s Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet. This is a collection of free verse poems about the life of the potter, which was just released last month by Lee & Low Books. The book is filled with Andrea’s stark, beautiful woodcuts. I’m still reading this one — and enjoying it. Here is Kirkus’ starred review of the book.
Let’s get right to the art and the brief chat with Charles. You will see art below from the following books (illustrations from each book, followed by the book cover):
- Charles R. Smith Jr.’s Brick by Brick, illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2013)
- Lesa-Clina Ransome’s Light in the Darkness: A Story About How Slaves Learned in Secret, illustrated by James E. Ransome (Disney/Jump at the Sun, 2013)
- Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, 2013)
- Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet by Andrea Cheng (with woodcuts from Ms. Cheng), published by Lee & Low Books (2013)
- Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington, written by Jabari Asim and illustrated by Bryan Collier (Little, Brown, 2012)
- In the Land of Milk and Honey, written by Joyce Carol Thomas and illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2012)
On a related note, there’s this from Robin Smith at BookPage.
Enjoy the art. (more…)
“That’s right—Clara. She calls out from the front of the hall.
The crowd lifts her to the stage, where she shouts in Yiddish:
‘I have no further patience for a talk—I move that we go on a general strike!’
And she starts the largest walkout of women workers in U.S. history.”
(Click to enlarge spread)
(Oy, I didn’t mean to rhyme there in that post title. And rhyme so poorly.)
Last week over at Kirkus, I had a chat with author/illustrator Melissa Sweet about her latest projects. Those include Michelle Markel’s Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909, to be released this month by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins (a spread is pictured very tippy-top) and Jen Bryant’s A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin (also pictured above), released by Knopf in January.
That Q&A is here. You’ll see that I also asked her a bit about Susan Hood’s Spike, the Mixed-up Monster, released last Fall by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, since it was recently named a Highly Commended honor book for the 2013 Charlotte Zolotow Award. (Pictured left is an actual axolotl, which Melissa describes as “preposterously cute.”) And I also mentioned Alicia Potter’s Mrs. Harkness and the Panda, another 2012 title (Knopf), the fascinating picture book biography of socialite explorer Ruth Harkness, who brought back the first live panda to the United States. (Such a beautiful book, even if I gave my copy away to my eight-year-old’s classmate, who loves pandas. How could I not? I never got around in 2012 to blogging about this book, but better late then never. I mean, really. The book’s final spread, which is at the bottom of this post, the one with a photo of Mrs. Harkness’ back and the panda? That spread was one of my 2012 favorites. I’m so happy it’s here at 7-Imp today.)
All that’s to say that today I have art from each of these books, even one of Melissa’s sketches from Spike. I thank her for sharing, and I hope you all enjoy it. (more…)
Some “early workings of style” from
Paul Schmid’s upcoming Oliver and his Alligator
Author/illustrator Paul Schmid has visited 7-Imp a couple times in the past, but I welcome him back today for seven questions over breakfast. Paul has three forthcoming picture books in 2013, and—lucky for me—I saw some early copies of each.
Find your favorite toddler or preschooler to share with him or her Perfectly Percy, to be released this week by HarperCollins. (If the web links I’m seeing are correct, that one is released today, which I didn’t even plan, but I guess my timing is lucky.) This book answers the question of precisely what happens when a porcupine has a deep love of balloons. Oh yes, balloons. The sturm und drang of Percy’s predicament is both funny and sweet, while never saccharine. And his solution? Just right. As with many of his previous books, Paul delivers here with soft pastels, endearing characters, and confident line work in a story that will resonate with very young children.
Following Percy’s tale this year will be Randall de Sève’s Peanut & Fifi Have A Ball, also aimed at the youngest of picture book listeners and to be released this April from Dial. This well-crafted tale nails a particular predicament of siblings, and Paul talks a bit below about his thoughts behind his illustration choices.
And my favorite of all? Coming this June from Hyperion is Oliver and his Alligator, both written and illustrated by Paul. “Oliver sometimes felt his brave wasn’t nearly as big as he needed it to be,” the book opens. So, on the first day of school, he stops by the swamp to grab an alligator. Just in case. And, just when things get scary … why, his alligator is there to swallow everyone. Yup, swallow them. So to speak. I can’t ruin this one for you, so promise me you’ll find a copy, come June. It’s a powerful story about the fears a child possesses in the face of uncertainty, and Paul dedicated it, fittingly, to Maurice Sendak, who made a career of honoring the emotional lives of children. Paul spent some time as a fellow in the first year of Maurice’s Sendak Fellowship. (See the wonderful picture below.) (more…)
“There was an Old Man with a beard, / Who said, “It is just as I feared! /
Two Owls and a Hen, / Four Larks and a Wren, /
Have all built their nests in my beard!” — (Edward Lear)
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Lately I’ve been featuring quite a few student illustrators or illustrators new to the field, haven’t I? I guess it’s because, as I noted
the other day, it’s still January, and I still have a lot of new F&Gs and picture books to go through, and until then, I’ll shine the spotlight on the young ‘uns. Plus, I really enjoy seeing their work.
Today, I welcome Israeli artist and illustrator Gabriella Barouch, who works digitally. I emailed her, after seeing the artwork she shares here today, to clarify: “You mean that you start out with pencil on paper, right? And then you muck around with the art, using your computer?” Nope, she said. It’s all digital. Even her sketches. (more…)
(Click to enlarge spread)
Today over at Kirkus, I’ll have a Q&A with author/illustrator Melissa Sweet, in which we’ll discuss two of her brand-new picture book titles, as well as a bit more. That link will be here.
As Vicky Smith wrote here at Kirkus this week, Black History Month is just around the bend. Wisely, she added: “[H]ere’s hoping that the industry does not forget or neglect books by and about African-Americans for the next 11 months.” Since teachers and librarians will be looking for new titles for the dedicated month-long celebration (and beyond, we hope), tomorrow at Kirkus I take a look at some new picture books for this annual February observance. That link also will be here.
* * *
Last week, I wrote (here) about Jed Henry’s Cheer Up, Mouse! Today, Jed visits to share art (a spread is pictured above), including a progression of images that shows the birth of the book jacket art. I thank him. Let’s get to it … (more…)
I feel like I’m sort of stuck in the limbo of January. It’s a brand-new year, and I’ve got huge stacks of Spring picture book F&Gs to read (once I get organized), but not yet a lot of new hardback picture book titles. I’m still trying to get a sense of what’s new and what’s coming out. (I’m very excited, I might add, about the upcoming ALA Awards announcements, too. The big Caldecott decision is less than a week away. Have you been following Calling Caldecott? I hope so.)
And all of that is to say that today, instead of looking at a new book or established artist, I’m going to give the spotlight over to an aspiring illustrator, who is joining me for coffee. And maybe her cats are joining us, too. As you can see above, one of them already has dibs on coffee. (The other one is just outta luck.)
Let’s get right to it. Her name is EunHye Seo, and she goes by “Kaila.” She comes to 7-Imp by way of illustrator Kelly Murphy, who was once her instructor and who tells me that Kaila was last year’s SCBWI winter conference student scholarship award-winner. Kaila’s going to tell you about herself and share some art. I thank her for visiting. (more…)
I’m doing something different this Sunday.
Usually, I feature artwork from an illustrator, but today I’m shining the spotlight on International Book Giving Day, which has its own Web presence here and which will be February 14. I like the official poster, featured above, which has artwork from Priya Kuriyan.
Here’s the low-down on the big day, straight from their Web site:
“International Book Giving Day is a volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books. International Book Giving Day’s focus is on encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child on February 14th. We invite individuals to 1) give a book to a friend or family member, 2) leave a book in a waiting room for children to read, or 3) donate a gently used book to a local library, hospital or shelter or to an organization that distributes used books to children in need internationally. In addition, we encourage people to support the work of nonprofit organizations (i.e. charities) that work year round to give books to children.”
I think that’s just about the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.
Dear Imps, feel free, if you’re so inclined, to spread the word about this initiative. If you or other people you know even want ideas on how to contribute further, there are some great ideas listed here. (You can even purchase bookplates at the International Book Giving Day Zazzle page.)
P.S. Travis Jonker’s post about this is way more fun. (more…)
“My cheek is against Daddy’s cheek, close to his breathing. After a while he says: ‘Tomorrow we’ll chop down the big spruce. It will fall to the ground with a crash.
That’ll be fun, won’t it?’ ‘Mmm,’ I say. Daddy likes chopping down big trees.
I know that. ‘What about the red birds?’ I ask. …”
(Click to enlarge spread and see full text)
Today over at Kirkus, I weigh in on Jed Henry’s Cheer Up, Mouse!, released this month by Houghton Mifflin. That column is here today.
* * *
Last week, I wrote here about My Father’s Arms Are a Boat (Enchanted Lion, February), originally published in Norgwegian in 2008 and written by Stein Erik Lunde and illustrated by Øyvind Torseter. Today, I’m following up with some art.
Some of Bob Staake’s Bluebird models
(Click to enlarge)
As a follow-up to my Kirkus Q&A last week with author/illustrator Bob Staake, today I’ve got a handful of images — some early and final pieces of art from both Bluebird, coming out this April from Schwartz & Wade Books, and Look! Another Book!, released at the end of 2012 from Little, Brown. Bob is also here to explain how he responds (on some books) to insanely tight schedules. (Note for Staake fans: He’s got a site up that is especially for Bluebird. Here’s the link.)
I’m also including one question and response that I didn’t have room for over at the Kirkus Q&A.
Let’s get right to it. (more…)
“At first you’ll joy to see the playful snow, /
Like white moths trembling on the tropic air, /
Or waters of the hills that softly flow /
Gracefully falling down a shining stair. …”
– From Claude McKay’s “To One Coming North”
(Click image to see spread in its entirety)
I’m preparing for two presentations about children’s literature this week, on top of my regular work, so I’m going to be brief today. I share some artwork here from Karen Barbour, rendered in watercolor, ink, and collage, from African American Poetry (January 2013, though technically the copyright date is 2012), the latest in Sterling’s Poetry for Young People
Edited by Arnold Rampersad (Stanford University) and Marcellus Blount (Columbia University), this is a collection of poetry celebrating the works of African Americans over the last two hundred years. Blount selected the poems, and Rampersad writes the informative introduction. There’s a wide range of poetry here from the likes of Langston Hughes, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and many more well-known names, as well as some lesser-known poets. Each poem opens with an annotation, which includes biographical info.
As the Kirkus review notes, one interesting thing about this collection is that “[a]typically, the editors steer largely clear of explicit racial or religious themes in their selections,” with but a couple of exceptions.
See? I really was brief. For once. ‘Cause I really do have my work cut out for me this week. Here’s another piece of Karen’s artwork from the book. (Note: The final illustration as it appears in the book is slightly different from the one below.)
Until later …
“When I go spinning, / your care is given / to the steel nerves / of reticent angels. …”
– From Afaa Michael Weaver’s “A Meditation for My Son”
(Click image to see spread in its entirety,
which also includes Weaver’s “My Father’s First Baseball Game”)
* * * * * * *
POETRY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY. Copyright © 2012 by Sterling Publishing Co. Illustrations © 2012 by Karen Barbour. Published by Sterling, New York. All images reproduced by permission of the publisher.
It’s kicks #313 on the 13th in 2013.
Surely that means something?
Ah well. I am declaring it means only good things.
Today at 7-Imp I welcome a debut author/illustrator, named Angela Dominguez (pictured left with Hugo), who is originally from Mexico City but now lives in San Francisco, where she also teaches at the Academy of Art University. Angela’s debut picture book will be released this March from Dial Books. Let’s Go, Hugo! tells the story of a bird who prefers walking to flying. He’s not trying to be different for the sake of it; he’s actually afraid of flying. Not that Dominguez opens the book this way. “Hugo was content to live on the ground,” she writes, but we readers ease into the notion that he’s really beset by fears.
Things change when Hugo meets Lulu, the same day he’s building a model (on the ground, of course) of the Eiffel Tower. When Lulu tells him they can fly to the Eiffel Tower and see the real deal, Hugo’s got all kinds of excuses as to why he won’t go. Just when things start to feel really hopeless for Hugo (since Lulu does what she can, but nearly gives up on him) … well, I can’t give the entire story away, but if you’re interested in reading it, it’ll be on bookstore and library shelves, come Spring.
The illustration note on the copyright page indicates that Dominguez uses “Canson paper, ink, [and] tissue paper … on illustration board.” Angela’s here today to tell us a bit more about this and her work, so let’s get right to it. I thank her for visiting. (more…)
One of Jonathan’s early studies from the book
(Click to enlarge)
I love this post so much, and it’s all thanks to author/illustrator Jonathan Bean.
Last week over at Kirkus, I wrote about his newest picture book, Building Our House, released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux this month. (That link is here.) I discussed why I really like this book, but today I’m here to follow up with some art from the book.
I always do this, as I get twitchy if I don’t get to share art. (Pictured right is a cutting from one of the book’s spreads.)
However, Jonathan also went out of his way today (I’m yelling that in excitement) to share early studies, sketches, some process shots, and even photos of his family building this house back in the ’70s. There’s even more than all that.
For all this, I raise my coffee mug to Mr. Bean. Sharing lots of images that show us picture book fans (me and my imp’y readers) how a book was made is how you win over this blogger. Shoot, I’ll even buy him a cup of coffee if I ever meet him in person. And a cookie, if he wants one.
Let’s get right to it. There’s lots of good stuff to see here, especially if you like his style, his art, his books—all of the above—as much as I do.
Note: Jonathan also visited The Horn Book recently for their five-questions series. That link is here. Best part? Roger Sutton asks, “What is the most useful home repair tip you know?” to which Jonathan replies, “I know from personal experience that humming a soothing melody helps unclog a drain.”
Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got a brief Q&A with author/illustrator Bob Staake about his upcoming Spring picture book release from Schwartz & Wade Books, Bluebird, pictured left, which is simply stunning. (I was lucky enough to see an early copy.)
I also ask him about December’s Look! Another Book! (Little, Brown), which is the very fun sequel to 2011’s Look! A Book!, as well as what’s next on his plate.
That Q&A is here.
Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some sketches and artwork from Bob.
Tomorrow at Kirkus, I take a look at My Father’s Arms Are a Boat (Enchanted Lion), originally published in Norgwegian in 2008 and written by Stein Erik Lunde and illustrated by Øyvind Torseter. That link will be here in the afternoon on Friday. (Notice that Kirkus has all spiffy-like redesigned their site.)
Until then …
Here’s a quick post, since work awaits me, one more title from 2012 to look at before we get knee-deep into 2013.
Last September TOON Books released David Nytra’s The Secret of the Stone Frog, and if you missed it, I highly recommend finding a copy. As you know (or if you don’t, you can read this 2011 column I wrote), TOON Books brings us early-reader comics, so what we have here is technically an early reader. This could also be classified a graphic novel, as Nytra lays out the action in panels.
This is the story of Leah and Alan, who inexplicably wake up in the forest beneath a giant tree. Not knowing which way is home, a rhyming frog, made of stone, suddenly appears to assist. “Stay on the path!” he tells the siblings. On their journey, they encounter giant bees, who steal words and are the pets of a strange woman (clearly a run-away from a lost Lewis Carroll tale), living in a giant house in the middle of nowhere. After their escape, they stumble into an orchard with a trio of snappily-dressed lions (”Why, James, it appears that a few children have SPROUTED in our garden!”), who introduce them to giant rabbits. The children hop onto the rabbits for an exhilarating ride to a tunnel, where things get even stranger. Fear not; they make it back home, but I can’t ruin the entire read for you. (more…)
See that video? Those are outtakes from my attempt with author/illustrator Stephen Savage
(pictured left with Trinka in his studio) to do a video interview. He had the great idea of doing a breakfast interview with video or iPhone cameras—just me and him, back and forth—but you can see how well that went. At least we had fun with finger puppets and Play-Doh.
We eventually gave up the idea of a video chat, but I found all our old videos last night, all our failed attempts, and created this, not really knowing what I was doing at all with the movie-making software, as you can tell by the absence of good things like music and smooth transitions. (When our back-and-forth questions and answers were done, had we actually pulled it off, Stephen—who knows what he’s doing with video—was to create the video interview.) The choppy, clumsy nature of what I made above shows you one of the reasons we never pulled it off. One day. One day, I say, I’ll learn all about makin’ movies. Watch your back, Scorsese.
But, hey, it was really fun chatting with him face-to-face for a while there. Plus, as a friend said, it’s impressive how we get nothing accomplished in the nearly four-minutes of footage. Also, it’s seriously fun to witness Stephen’s changing hairstyles here.
Stephen’s here this morning instead for the old-fashioned, regular breakfast interview at the 7-Imp salon. His timing is good, given that he has a new illustrated title out. Lauren Thompson’s Polar Bear Morning was just released by Scholastic this month, and it’s the follow-up to 2004’s Polar Bear Night (also by Lauren), which was one of the New York Times’ Best Illustrated Books of the Year. Polar Bear Morning has already been met with a starred review from Kirkus, who praises its “clever composition,” noting that the “deceptive simplicity of the playful graphic design masks great sophistication.” Indeed. What they said.
It’s good to have Stephen here, given that at the release of 2011’s Where’s Walrus? (Scholastic), which he both wrote and illustrated, I was hankerin’ for him to visit over coffee. (Turns out that simply “coffee” is his breakfast-of-choice, too.) If somehow you missed this acclaimed book in 2011 … well, there are some spreads from it featured below. It’s a visually delightful, “incongruously silly” (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books) keeper. Last year’s Little Tug (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook) was also a visual treat; as you can see with the art he shares in today’s interview, Stephen has a background in editorial illustration, and his crisp, bold artwork is well-suited to the big, round eyes of the youngest of readers.
See what I mean? See these beautiful spreads from Polar Bear Morning, rendered via linoleum block printing? (more…)
Today’s the first Sunday of the month, so I welcome a student illustrator. Her name is Sairom Moon, and though she’s originally from South Korea, she comes to 7-Imp by way of her instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), illustrator Shadra Strickland.
Let’s get right to Sairom’s introduction, in her own words … (more…)
Today over at the Kirkus Book Blog Network, I have some thoughts on Jonathan Bean’s newest picture book, the excellent Building Our House. That link is here.
(Incidentally, this particular column will also appear in the print version of Kirkus — the January issue.)
Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with lots of images from Jonathan, including photographs, early sketches, and final art.
Poor Santa. Looks like he’s having a rough time.
That illustration comes from Richard Curtis’ The Empty Stocking, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, who is visiting for breakfast this morning. “My favourite breakfast,” she told me, “is a banana and some toast, and I don’t like tea or coffee, but I do like the comforting idea of a warm drink, so I always drink hot water instead.” I gotta have my coffee, but I like the way she thinks. Comforting, indeed. I’m setting out some hot water for her and my own coffee mug.
If Rebecca’s name isn’t familiar to you, that’s because she lives and works in the UK. But you all know I like to see what illustrators across the big, wide pond are doing.
Rebecca has both written and illustrated some of her own titles and has also collaborated with authors such as Helen Dunmore and UK Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson. Rebecca’s Missing Mummy, a picture book about the death of a young boy’s mother, was shortlisted for the 2012 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.
I thank her for visiting this morning and sharing her art. Let’s get right to it.
“Cursing loudly, Bradley struggled free of the thorny stems. He had barely caught his breath when six sleek, stripy shapes came bounding toward him out of the snow. …”
(Click to enlarge spread)
This week at the Kirkus
Book Blog Network, I didn’t write about a picture book, as I usually do. I still have last week’s events in Connecticut on my mind, as many of us do, and wrote a bit about that. That link will be here
* * *
Last week, I wrote about Jonathan Emmett’s The Santa Trap, originally published in Great Britain in 2009 but released this year here in the U.S. by Peachtree. It’s illustrated by Poly Bernatene, who lives in Argentina and teaches at the Buenos Aires School of Fine Art. If you’d like to read about it, that link was here last Friday, and today I share some art from it.
“Mountains of gifts are placed under the tree for eight nights of Hanukkah,
plus Christmas Day. How lucky am I?”
(Click to enlarge spread)
This morning, I welcome author and illustrator Selina Alko to tell us all a bit about her latest picture book, Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama, a story about a family who merges two holiday traditions. Sadie, the young girl narrating the story, has a father who has always celebrated Christmas, a mother who has always celebrated Hanukkah, and they annually combine the traditions of each holiday event in order to teach their daughter about both. Selina—using gouache, collage, and colored pencil, which result in such appealing textures here—lays it all out on the pages of this book with vibrant colors and great joy. She’s here today to share some artwork from the book (sans text), as well as early dummy images, and to tell us the story behind the book.
Toward the end of this post, I’ve also got some holiday illustrations from several illustrators, just ’cause I’m an illustration junkie and couldn’t help it. Let’s get right to it all … (more…)
You all know how I like to do 7-Imp year-end recaps (here was last year’s), on account of being a ginormous nerd? I’m working on 2012’s now. I enjoy doing them.
In the meantime, though, I took a break to write, over at my Kirkus column, about two juicy-good early 2013 picture book titles:
That link is here this morning, if you’re so inclined to read it.
[Note: I just discovered that it’s best to read those columns using Internet Explorer — that, if you use Google Chrome, as I tend to do, some text gets cut off. Just noting this for any readers.]
Until later …
(Click to enlarge)
Instead of featuring a brand-new picture book today or an up-and-coming illustrator, I’ve got artwork from one of my favorite picture book artists, Elisa Kleven.
The new year is upon us, and when I thought about sharing artwork as we edge up on 2013, some art that would buoy our spirits, I immediately thought of her.
Elisa sent me a handful of illustrations, and it was hard to choose which to share (for many reasons, I’m going to keep this post relatively short and sweet this week), but I chose the one above, and these two: (more…)
It’s time to look back, dear Imps, on what happened at 7-Imp during 2012 and look at who graced the site with their presence—all with my buddy here, Alfred—simply because I am a hopeless nerd, who enjoys recaps. As I’ve said during the past couple of years, including during 2011’s recap, this is fun to me. Also, it satisfies the tremendous picture book junkie in me.
Since 7-Imp is devoted to contemporary illustration—with a particular focus on picture books—these end-of-year recaps can be an awful lot like looking back at the state of picture books during a given year, even though I certainly didn’t have the time to cover every book I wanted to discuss. I’m not promising any kind of analysis or commentary here on picture book-dom in 2012, by any means. I just like to kick back and see who has visited and what insightful things they had to say, as well as look at some wonderful illustrations. Besides, I don’t consider 7-Imp a review blog. There are lots of other blogs who are very good at that. As I write at this page of the site, I like to think of it as a sort of literary salon where authors and illustrators stop by, after getting a cup of cyber-coffee, to share their craft — and where illustrators wake us up with art.
All of that is also one way of saying, as I did last year: This long post is good for browsing, especially if you like to see picture book art.
And, because I occasionally like to give the 7-Imp platform over to student illustrators or up-and-coming illustrators, you’ll see more experienced authors and illustrators, even the award-winning ones, sharing space here with the illustrators of the future … future … future. [Say that with an echo.] I think it’s a) important to give newbies the spotlight and b) it’s fun, too.
If I take a look at what was new to 7-Imp in 2012—before we look at who visited, that is, and all kinds of artwork—I run the risk of actually sounding organized, which I’m not. Or as if I’m someone who blogs 40 hours a week, which I’m also not. Since blogging comes after my children, the work-that-pays, and other things that allow me to have a life, I’m kind of scattered, have no real 7-Imp Action Plans, and you should just see my system of organization (chicken-scratch-scrawled Post-it notes stuck all over my very messy desk).
(This is precisely what I said last year, but it bears repeating. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, that is Frank Viva’s rodent up above from September’s A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse. I rather covet his winter hat there.)
But … let me give this a shot anyway, an attempt to ponder what was new in 2012: (more…)
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(Click on image to see entire spread from which it comes,
though in the final, printed version, it says “…open another!”)
Squeak. Grunt. Stumble. That’s how I feel my words are today, since I took a sort of holiday blog break there, didn’t I? (That is, with the exception of my ginormously nerdy 2012 recap, but I think those are fun.)
But here I am, and fortunately today I don’t have to compose that many words, since this is a follow-up post to last week’s Kirkus column. It was over there last Friday that I wrote about the good thing that happened when author Neil Gaiman and author/illustrator Adam Rex collaborated. I’m talking specifically about Chu’s Day, released by HarperCollins in early January. Chu is pictured right, mid-sneeze. I know what you’re thinking: THE PRECIOUS. Yes, he appears adorable. But no, my dear imps, keep outta the way of that boy’s sneeze, I tell you. (As a reminder, we got a sneak-peek of this book back in July of 2012.)
I also weighed in on debut author (and editor) Jesse Klausmeier’s Open This Little Book, illustrated by Suzy Lee and released by Chronicle. (An illustration from it is pictured at the tippy-top of this post.) That column is here, if you missed it last week and are so inclined to read.
Today, I’m here to share art, since I start to get twitchy if I don’t get to showcase picture book art from the books about which I write.
Also, there are two special treats today: Adam shares early sketches from Chu’s Day, and for Open This Little Book … well, you’ll see the treat below.