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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: 7-Imps 7 Kicks, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 185
1. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #410: Featuring Chris Raschka


“And that is the very best sort of thing to be.”


 

I’ve got some illustrations today from Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka, and I think taking a look at his artwork is pretty much always a good way to start one’s day.

If You Were a Dog (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 2014) was written by Jamie A. Swenson and is an engaging title for very young children. Swenson introduces a series of animals, using the conditional if-you-were question — from dogs to dinosaurs and lots of other animals in between (including a human at the book’s close). The text has an infectious energy, its fair share of entertaining onomatopoeia, and a very playful rhythm that begs to be shared in group story times. You can see some of that below in the spreads shared here today. It’s a book that invites young children to use their imagination and play along; I kinda wish I could snap my fingers right now and have a group of children to share it with.

Kirkus calls this one a “cheery picker-upper.” It’s true. See for yourself below. And please enjoy Raschka’s menagerie of swooping, swimming, stomping, swooshing, fluttering, buzzing creatures. His color palette here is spot-on, and I love the way he captures the movement and energy of all these creatures.



 


“Would you howl at the moon? …”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 



(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


 


“If you were a dinosaur, would you be a stomping-roarer, earth-quaker, tree-shaker, sharp-pointed toothy-grinner, colossal-chomper, super-duper,
longest-neck-o-saur sort of dinosaur?”

(Click to enlarge)


 



 

P.S. Raschka has another 2014 title out, this one from Atheneum Books and released in August. But I haven’t seen this one yet. (Well, I’ve seen it on bookstore shelves, but I haven’t yet spent a lot of time with it.) Have any of you? Oh, and you all saw the Sun Ra biography from earlier this year, yes?

 



 

IF YOU WERE A DOG. Copyright © 2014 by Jamie A. Swenson. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Chris Raschka. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Farrar Straus Giroux, 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 * * *

Last week, I was super busy with a writing assignment (which I’m still working on), so I didn’t leave seven separate kicks. And this week I’m, once again, not leaving seven separate kicks, because I’m actually out of town for a very short trip. So, I apologize, but I’m SURE to have listy kicks next week.

I’ll be back today, and as always, I’m eager to hear that you all had a good week. At least I hope you did. So, please do kick here — if you’re so inclined.

(Also, Seven Separate Kicks. Band name. I call it!)

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #410: Featuring Chris Raschka, last added: 12/14/2014
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2. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #409: Featuring Roger Duvoisin


“‘Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away, all!’”


 

I’m going vintage today, you all.

Want to know one of my favorite things about this holiday season? Back in September, Knopf re-released Caldecott Medalist Roger Duvoisin’s very tall The Night Before Christmas, which was originally published in 1954.

Duvoisin’s take on the classic Christmas poem includes his vivid colors, robust line, and elegant shapes. Know what I just read in the Publishers Weekly review, too? “The illustrator’s fans may notice that the stuffed yellow lion among Santa’s gifts bears a notable resemblance to Louise Fatio’s The Happy Lion, which Duvoisin illustrated the same year.” Well, huh. That hadn’t occurred to me.

That same review also notes the use of primary colors in Duvoisin’s illustrations here, which you can see for yourself in the images featured here today.

This is one of many Christmas stories Duvoisin illustrated. In the classic American Picturebooks from Noah’s Ark to the Beast Within, Barbara Bader writes, “Nobody celebrates Christmas like Duvoisin — except children.”

Here’s some more art (without the text). Enjoy.


“The children were nestled all snugs in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.”


 


“As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.”


 

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Originally published in 1954. Illustrations copyright © 1954 by Roger Duvoisin. New edition published September 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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 * * *

I have a big ‘ol writing assignment I’m working on now, and I’m holed up today, working on that. Please do tell me your cheery kicks so that, during my breaks, I can come read them. You can even DOUBLE them, if you’re so inclined, to make up for my lack of them this week. (Not that I didn’t have any; I just gotta write write write!)

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #409: Featuring Roger Duvoisin, last added: 12/7/2014
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3. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #408: Featuring Elizabeth Zunon



 

Today I’m featuring the artwork of Elizabeth Zunon, pictured left, whose illustrations I’ve actually shared here previously (in this 2011 post). And I’m looking ahead a bit here; this isn’t a book out on shelves now. It will be out on shelves in February of 2015 (Millbrook Press). Written by Miranda Paul, One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia tells the story of one woman who transformed her community.

The book is set in Njau, Gambia. We meet a young girl, carrying fruit in her palm-leaf basket. When the girl’s basket breaks, she picks up a plastic bag that has flown by her, and she gathers her fruits in this bag. Eventually, she learns that it’s one of many plastic bags littering the landscape of the community where she lives.

Years go by, and Isatou becomes a woman. “She barely notices the ugliness growing around her … until the ugliness finds it way to her,” the author writes. Her grandmother tells her that many goats are perishing after having eaten the plastic trash. Isatou and her friends decide to dry the bags and then cut the bags into strips. They then roll the strips into spools of plastic thread to use for the creation of purses. The women crochet with these plastic strips, and they do so away from the community — for fear they will be mocked. When they set out to sell the recycled purses (“fingers sore and blistered”), they discover that they sell well.

A closing Author’s Note from Miranda explains how she once visited Gambia and actually visited with Isatou in her home in Njau. (They are pictured right.) The book’s back matter also includes a Wolof glossary and pronunciation guide, as well as a timeline and suggested further reading.

Zunon herself grew up in the Ivory Coast in West Africa but now makes her home in Albany, New York. Her collaged, multi-media illustrations for this story are very textured and colorful, capturing well the transformation at the hands of Isatou.

See for yourself. Here are some spreads from the book. Enjoy.

 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 


“One woman lays dalasi coins on the table. She chooses a purse and shows it to one friend. Then two. Then ten. Soon everyone wants one!”
(Click to enlarge)



 


“…it was.”
(Click to enlarge)


 

ONE PLASTIC BAG: ISATOU CEESAY AND THE RECYCLING WOMEN OF THE GAMBIA. Copyright © 2014 by Miranda Paul. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Elizabeth Zunon. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Millbrook Press, Minneapolis.

The photos of Elizabeth, Miranda, and Isatou are taken from Elizabeth’s website.

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) You know how at Thanksgiving people talk about gratitude? That is something we do here weekly. So, thanks to you all for meeting here to do that with me.

2) It was really good yesterday to volunteer at Parnassus Books for Indies First Day. My friend and I, who did story time together, even hand-sold the book pictured here, Deirdre Gill’s Outside, after we read it to the children there that day. Their eyes got really big at the beautiful illustrations in this book, and there was one parent there who just had to have it.

3) When the girls are off from school for the holidays, we have more time to read aloud together.

4) This is a great conversation.

5) The Star Wars teaser. I mean, RIGHT? You saw that, right?

6) Invitations.

7) Did you see this performance below on SNL last week? I see a CD purchase in my future.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

8 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #408: Featuring Elizabeth Zunon, last added: 12/1/2014
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4. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #407: Featuring August Hall


“Foxes, wolves, deer nest too. Forest knows waking, opening up.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 

I always look forward to new picture book releases from Kentucky novelist and poet, George Ella Lyon. I reviewed her newest picture book, What Forest Knows (Atheneum, November 2014), illustrated by August Hall, for BookPage. That link is here, if you’d like to read more about it. And today I’m sharing some spreads from it.

While we’re on the subject of Lyon, I’m also currently reading this wonderful book, which she wrote with J. Patrick Lewis and which was released by WordSong last month:

There’s more about the book here, including several starred reviews, and here’s an interview with Lyon at Sylvia Vardell’s site.

Here are two more spreads from What Forest Knows:

 


“Then forest knows snow. While Earth travels round the sun
Forest knows each season, each creature, needs the others.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 


Sniff. Forest knows everything belongs.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 

WHAT FOREST KNOWS. Copyright © 2014 by George Ella Lyon. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by August Hall. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 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) Naomi Shihab Nye. One of my favorite writers, and this interview from this week is wonderful. Also, I’m excited to start her new book, which I just got.

2) While we’re discussing Naomi, she wrote my favorite poem.

3) This made me laugh:

4) Gantos has a Tumblr!

5) I have ordered this book and am really eager to see it.

6) Ditto for this one.

7) My 9-year-old’s second-ever piano recital.

BONUS: A friend told me to check out Gravity Falls. It’s a hoot and makes everyone in the family laugh. Also, I love Mabel.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

8 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #407: Featuring August Hall, last added: 11/23/2014
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5. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #406: Featuring Alex Barrow


“This tale begins with Samuel Drew, wherever he goes, his dog goes too.
The day is fine, the sky is bright, as Sam and dog stroll into sight.
Look there he is, the little boy with dog-on-wheels, his favourite toy.
Let’s watch and find out where they go … But hurry up — we can’t be slow!”

(Click to enlarge)


 

This week over at BookPage, I have a review of Gabby Dawnay’s A Possum’s Tail, illustrated by Alex Barrow. The two have worked together on stories and poems for the UK’s OKIDO magazine, and this is their first picture book together. It was published this month from Tate Publishing in London but is distributed by Abrams here in the States.

The review is here, so you can head over there if you want more information. This morning, I share two spreads so that we can all get a sneak peek inside the book. One more is below.


“…London Zoo! They pass the cheeky chimpanzees and noisy parrots in the trees.
Past hippos snoozing in the sun and sliding penguins having fun.
Past sleeping snakes and tigers snoring, tall giraffes and lions roaring …
Sam looks around, he knows his mind, he knows exactly where to find …”

(Click to enlarge)


 



 

A POSSUM’S TAIL. Copyright © 2014 by Gabby Dawnay. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Alex Barrow. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tate Publishing/Abrams.

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 spoke in Knoxville this week about Wild Things—at a bookstore and at the University—and that went well.

2) I got to see old friends, while there.

3) I read B. J. Novak’s The Book With No Pictures at story time at Parnassus Books just yesterday, and one little girl, a regular whom I always enjoy seeing, laughed so hard that her whole body shook.

4) Since we got a galley of the fourth Penderwicks book, the girls and I are re-reading books 1 to 3 (mostly to refresh our memories). And they are having so. much. fun. Even more fun than the first time. I am enjoying the re-reads but am super eager to get to the new one.

5) We are also reading the Joey Pigza books, which I may have already said recently, but it’s truly a kick to read Gantos’ writing outloud. Also, I’ve decided Grandma is one of children’s literature’s best characters ever. (Books 1 to 4 are re-reads for me, but they’re all new to the girls, who now love Joey. When we’re done with the fourth, the brand-new one awaits, the one I haven’t read yet. I’m eager to get to that, too.)

6) The score in the TV show The Leftovers. I also really like the show itself thus far, though it’s often deeply sad and though the title makes me giggle every time. It makes me think of things like meatloaf. In fact, I’ve just been referring to it as Meatloaf, though really and truly, the episodes I’ve seen so far have been good.

7) Nashville’s Kidlit Drink Night. So good to see folks there. AND to have the Local Latte, because honey, cinnamon, milk, coffee … YUM.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #406: Featuring Alex Barrow, last added: 11/17/2014
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6. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #405: Featuring Keiko Kaichi


“‘We will not open the door,’ they cried. ‘You are not our mother!
She has a soft, kind voice and your voice is gruff. You are the wolf!’”


 

We’re goin’ Grimm today, you all.

Back in September, Minedition (whose books I’m always eager to see) released a picture book adaptation of the Grimms’ tale “The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids” with illustrations from Keiko Kaichi. The Wolf & the Seven Kids was translated by Anthea Bell and is very faithful to the Grimms’ version, viciousness and all. And this is the debut book from Kaichi, who was born and raised in Japan and who currently lives in Osaka.

Kaichi’s kids, the baby goats, are clearly snuggly and … well, flat-out adorable, as you can see here. But the book doesn’t shy from the original tale’s dramatic turn-of-events. The wolf still eats every kid but one, and the mama still releases the six from the wolf’s stomach with her scissors, needle, and thread. Oh, and that’s right: The big bad wolf also still sees his demise at the bottom of a well.

This has always been one of the most terrifying Grimms’ tales to me. An intruder bursts into the home and kidnaps, then devours, each and every kid — but one. The one who manages to hide and hear the entire thing. Oof. This makes it all the more satisfying when the mama comes home to save everyone. With her SEWING KIT, nonetheless! And then she distributes very tight hugs.

Kaichi’s color palette is particularly soothing, but I’ll let you see for yourself with some more art below.

Enjoy.



“But the wolf found them all and quick as a flash he swallowed them one by one, whole. The youngest in the grandfather clock was the only one he didn’t find.”
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 


“…She looked for her children but they were nowhere to be found. She called them one after another by name but no one answered. At last, when she came to the youngest,
a soft voice called, ‘Dear mother, I am in the grandfather clock.’ She took the kid out, and he told her that the wolf had come and had eaten all the others.
Then how she wept over her poor children.”

(Click to see spread in its entirety)


 


“Then the kid had to run home to fetch scissors and a needle and thread, and the mother goat cut open the monster’s stomach. Hardly had she made one cut than a little kid thrust his head out, and when she cut further out sprang all six, one after another, all still alive, and they were not hurt at all, for in his greediness the monster had swallowed them down whole. How happy they all were!”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


 


THE WOLF & THE SEVEN KIDS. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Keiko Kaichi. English text translation by Anthea Bell. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Minedition, Hong Kong.

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) Visiting a brand-new, beautiful library.

2) Visiting with friends.

3) Friends who feed you delicious meals.

4) My latest book club read, Eugene Yelchin’s Arcady’s Goal, is so good.

5) Songs that take you back …

6) Re-reading beloved novels with my girls.

7) Kick in advance: I’ll see some old friends this week.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #405: Featuring Keiko Kaichi, last added: 11/12/2014
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7. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #404: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Olivia Chin Mueller




 

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I welcome a student or brand-new illustrator to 7-Imp. Today I welcome Olivia Chin Mueller, who grew up in Connecticut but now lives in California. She recently graduated, as you’ll read below, from Rhode Island School of Design.

You’ll see I had trouble picking which illustration to feature at the very tip-top of this post. The first one, called Beware of the Bird, seemed fitting, since it’s Halloween weekend. But the one under it is called All Summer in a Day, and that’s the title of my very favorite Ray Bradbury short story (which, incidentally, HAUNTED me when I was a child). So, I thought I’d just put both up there.

Olivia is here to introduce herself. She sent me two pieces of art (Haze and the first Perrin piece of art), and she told me I had free reign of the art at her website to share here in this post. So, I chose all the rest you see here. I made sure to include pieces that would be considered more picture book-friendly, but I couldn’t help but also pick some of the other types of images too.

Here’s Olivia, and I thank her for visiting.

Olivia: Hello, everyone! My name is Olivia Chin Mueller, and I am a recent graduate of RISD’s illustration program — and aspiring children’s book illustrator!

 

Self-portrait


 
I always knew I wanted to be an illustrator, but it took me until senior year of college to realize that I wanted to do kids’ books. I took a really great class taught by my teacher, Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges, and since then I knew that was what I wanted to do.

Before then, I didn’t really know where my work fit in. I was making very different stuff then. I still love making those illustrations—like my piece, Haze (pictured below)—but it definitely wasn’t nearly as fun for me.

 



 

I found myself over-rendering and getting lost for hours in the details. I would come away with pieces I loved visually — but also with a giant headache. When I started doing children’s book stuff, I found that I really loved the process. I could be looser with my work and still love the outcome.

The first book I wrote and illustrated was in that senior year class. It was called Perrin and the Peculiar Poppy Pod. I made a book dummy and three finished illustrations. I’m hoping one day someone will like it enough to publish it!

Here is a small excerpt from the book:

“Perrin poked it gingerly, and with a ‘Ping’ the flower pod popped out of the ground and landed by Perrin’s paw. He picked it it up, and one of the purple seeds pattering about inside fell out onto the sandy dirt.”


 



Cover concept


 

I guess I should also talk about how I make my work. Sometimes people can’t tell, but my work is all done digitally. Most people usually think its done with gouache or watercolor, which I guess is a good thing. However, its all done from sketch to finish on Photoshop.

 



 

Right now, I am working on building my portfolio and looking for jobs. I’m hoping soon I will be lucky enough to support myself solely on illustration. But right now I’m relying on income from my Etsy shop and commissions. I’ve also been on the hunt for an artist rep, and things are looking good. I am crossing my fingers things keep on the right track.

So, that’s about it! Thank you so much for featuring my work and letting me ramble on a bit.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 








(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

All artwork is used by permission of Olivia Chin Mueller.

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 this week are when brand-spankin’-new illustrators, like Olivia, visit the site. (And I wish her the best of luck in her career.)

AND that, after a long day of school-type chores with my girls, we have a brand-new book to read together. So, please forgive me while I go do that with them—instead of listing seven, separate kicks—’cause it’s chilly and windy out, and that would really be the most kickin’ thing of all right now. Cuddling up to read. Ahh.

But I’m countin’ on you all to tell me your kicks, because I always enjoy reading them.

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #404: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Olivia Chin Mueller, last added: 11/2/2014
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8. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #402: Featuring David Mackintosh


(Click to enlarge)

Happy Sunday, all …

Right here over at BookPage, I reviewed Lucky from British designer and illustrator David Mackintosh, released by Abrams this month. Below, I’ve got some art from it, ’cause you know we just GOTTA take a peek inside the pages.



(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


 



(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


 


“Leo says, In Hawaii, you drive around in golf carts and have spending money and drinks with fruit in them. And … There are erupting volcanoes there, with rivers of boiling lava and clouds of rotten-egg gas. Plus … To protect against volcanoes and falling coconuts, people wear grass skirts and flower necklaces and strum tiny guitars called ukuleles.”
(Click to enlarge)


 

LUCKY. Copyright © 2014 by David Mackintosh. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 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) Well, I saw Shakey Graves live on Thursday night, and it was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Next day’s slight hearing loss was even worth it. (We were standing RIGHT in front of the amazing drummer and right next to a huge amp.)

2) Some necessary Spring cleaning in Autumn.

3) Just now reading some totally weird and wonderful picture books, old and new, to my girls.

4) Sleeping in.

5) Discovering that Nashville’s Fido has a fabulous dinner menu. Though this is where we have our Nashville Kidlit Drink Night monthly, I’d never ordered dinner there till the other night. Yum.

6) Lattes with honey and cinnamon.

7) Hear hear for unpredictable and dangerous and exciting encounters with stories! Read here.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #402: Featuring David Mackintosh, last added: 10/19/2014
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9. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #401: Featuring Richard Byrne


(Click to enlarge)

Today’s post will be brief, because it’s the weekend of the Southern Festival of Books here in middle Tennessee. My co-author was in town from New York City to present with me about our book (which was yesterday and went well). But it’s been an unusually busy work week, and this weekend itself is hoppin’. I’m, quite simply, worn out, so I’m going to tell you briefly about this entertaining book by Richard Byrne. And then I’m going to relax with a cup of hot cocoa.

Know your picture book terminology? Know what a gutter is? The gutter is the place between two pages where the binding meets. Awards committees (think: Caldecott) care an awful lot about gutters and whether or not an illustrator can effectively work around them. You don’t want, for instance, to let the gutter swallow an illustration whole.

Well, cue Byrne’s book. This UK illustrator’s newest picture book, This Book Just Ate My Dog! (Henry Holt, September 2014), embraces the gutter, to put it mildly. In this story, a young girl named Bella takes her dog for a walk “across the page,” only to discover that he is suddenly gone. He’s walked straight into the gutter, you see; the dog’s leash just disappears into the center of the book, leaving Bella with a look of shock on her face. When Bella sees her friend Ben, she declares, “THIS BOOK JUST ATE MY DOG!” When Ben investigates … you guessed it: He disappears into the gutter too. So do the fire truck, police car, and more: “Things were getting ridiculous,” Byrne writes.

My, what a vicious book!

So, our protagonist turns to readers to ask for help. She herself has disappeared after all. She tosses out a note, asking the reader to kindly turn the book and shake it.

If you’ve read Wild Things, by chance, you know that there’s a section about picture books in which the protagonists get eaten. Well, now we have a new one to add to the list, and in this case, it’s the very book itself causing all kinds of mischief. Chomp, chomp.

Here’s a bit more art. Big fun, this book …


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge just a little bit)


(Click to enlarge slightly)

THIS BOOK JUST ATE MY DOG! Copyright © 2014 by Richard Byrne. Spreads used by permission of the publisher, Henry Holt, 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 * * *

My kicks one to seven are this weekend’s festival. Betsy and I presented about Wild Things yesterday, as I said, which went very well. It was good to see Betsy here in Nashville, and my family and I saw some great authors and illustrators speak. The highlight was probably hearing John Rocco read Blackout and Blizzard to us all.

Tomorrow we head back for the likes of Jacqueline Woodson, Deborah Wiles, and Lev Grossman.

Best thing about Nashville in the Fall!

What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #401: Featuring Richard Byrne, last added: 10/15/2014
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10. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #400, 3D-style: FeaturingSusan Eaddy, Maggie Rudy, and Karina Schaapman


Illustrator Susan Eaddy tweezes in an eyelash

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which usually means I feature a student illustrator. But I’m breaking my own rules and doing something different today.

I wrote a review last month for Chapter 16, which is a daily online journal about books and author events in Tennessee. I reviewed Julie Hedlund’s My Love for You Is the Sun, illustrated by Nashville artist Susan Eaddy, pictured right, and published by Little Bahalia Publishing last month. I’ve enjoyed reading Chapter 16 for years, so it’s particularly great to contribute to the site. That Chapter 16 review is here.

Regular 7-Imp readers know that I like to follow up these reviews I write at other places with picture book art. So, for today’s post, I asked Susan if she’d be interested in sharing some photos of what it’s like to create her illustrations. I thought it’d be fun to see Susan’s process in particular, because Susan works in clay. She shared generously, including some images of final spreads, and all of that is below.

But there’s more! Because I love to share as much picture book art as possible, I’ve also got illustrations from a couple of other new books. I mentioned in the Chapter 16 review that 2014 has given us a handful of picture books illustrated, like My Love for You Is the Sun, in what can best be described as a sculptural technique — not the traditional, two-dimensional illustrations we typically see in picture books. There is Yuyi Morales’ Viva Frida, for example, rendered in stop-motion puppets, paints, photography, etc. Yuyi will visit 7-Imp soon to share images from that. Or Loretta Holland’s Fall Leaves, illustrated in 3D paper vignettes by Elly MacKay, who will also visit 7-Imp soon. And remember Princesse Camcam’s Fox’s Garden, featured in this post? Yep. That one, too.

This year, we’ve also seen Karina Schaapman’s The Mouse Mansion, originally published in the Netherlands in 2011 but coming to the States next month from Dial. And there’s Maggie Rudy’s I Wish I Had a Pet (pictured above), published by Beach Lane Books in July.

Karina’s and Maggie’s three-dimensional tableaux are pictured below. Last up—because she sent so many images, which makes me happy—are the photos Susan sent, and I thank her for that.

Here’s to 3D art. Let’s get to it …

From Maggie Rudy’s I Wish I Had a Pet:


 


(Click to enlarge)


 


“…that you had a pet?”
(Click to enlarge)


 



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


 



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


 



 

From Karina Schaapman’s
The Mouse Mansion (without text):



 


The Mouse Mansion
(Click to enlarge)


 


“Little Sophie’s Birthday”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“Hoisting Time”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“The Bakery”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Susan Eaddy and My Love for You Is the Sun,
written by Julie Hedlund:


 


Figuring out the palette
(Click to enlarge)


 


Trying a new palette — with reference
(Click to enlarge)


 


Clay palette
(Click to enlarge)


 


Background
(Click to enlarge)


 


Laying in the grass, one piece at a time
(Click to enlarge)


 


Building a face — with anatomy reference
(Click to enlarge)


 


Laying in the mane, one hair at a time
(Click to enlarge)


 


Final spread: “My love for you is the wind. /
Blowing kisses in your ears, / It wipes away your salty tears.”
Susan: “See how the mane changed? The art director thought
the first manes looked too ‘wormy.’”

(Click to enlarge)


 


Mama frog before spotting


 


Mama with spots


 


Bare baby
(Click to enlarge)


 


Spotted baby jumping


 


Making ripples
Susan: “You can see how many audio books I go through during the building stages!”

(Click to enlarge)


 


Putting in raindrops one at a time
(Click to enlarge)


 


Bunny- and background-building
(Click to enlarge)


 


Final spread (front and back of book)
(Click to enlarge)


 

Finally, want to see Susan create a spread (really, really fast)? Here we go:

 



 

* * * * * * *

I WISH I HAD A PET. Copyright © 2014 by Maggie Rudy. Spreads used by permission of Beach Lane Books, New York.

THE MOUSE MANSION. Copyright © 2011 by Karina Shaapman. U.S. Edition 2014. Spreads used by permission of the publisher, Dial Books, New York.

MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN. Text copyright © 2014 by Julie Hedlund. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Susan Eaddy. Published by Little Bahalia, Milwaukee. All images related to this book are used by permission of Susan Eaddy.

Author photo of Susan Eaddy used by her permission.

* * *

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) October.

1½) That my 10-year-old collects acorn caps in October.

2) The Boxtrolls. Totally off the wall and slightly demented and very entertaining.

3) I got our tickets to see Shakey Graves live in Nashville in a couple of weeks:

4) My girls and I are usually reading a small stack of novels at once (maybe a bad habit?), but once we started Laura Amy Schlitz’s A Drowned Maiden’s Hair, it trumped everything else and it turned into a reading frenzy. I swear, I nearly kept them home from school on Friday (but didn’t) just so we could finish it. ‘Cause WHAT A GOOD BOOK. It was a re-read for me, and I knew they’d hang on every word. Which they pretty much did.

5) My friend. Featured on the local news!

6) It was really wonderful to visit Karen MacPherson’s blog and talk about Wild Things! Her work was important to our research, and she has a great site for children’s book fans.

7) The Southern Festival of Books is next weekend. It’s, hands down, the best thing about Nashville in the Fall.

 


(Poster art created by Cage Free Visual)


 

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #400, 3D-style: FeaturingSusan Eaddy, Maggie Rudy, and Karina Schaapman, last added: 10/5/2014
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11. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #374: Featuring Katherine Tillotson

This morning, we’re going to meet a dog, who is—in the words of illustrator Katherine Tillotson—a little more than a scribble and a smudge.

Shoe Dog (Richard Jackson/Atheneum Books for Young Readers), written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Katherine, hits bookshelves next week. It tells the story of one very enthusiastic dog, adopted from a shelter, who loves to chew shoes. His owner—whom McDonald calls She, Herself—scolds the dog, but he repeatedly gets into trouble. Shoe Dog most certainly loves his cozy and warm home, where he’s so happy to be, but he struggles to behave. No worries. She, Herself eventually comes up with just the right solution, involving a cat. Of sorts.

Katherine is here today to tell us how she created the illustrations for this story — and what inspired her to do so. The story, particularly the artwork, are nothing short of “totally ebullient,” as the starred Kirkus review puts it. Shoe Dog is all action, energy, and bounce—I mean, right? Just look at him up above there—and it’s fascinating to read how Katherine put him together, as well as to read about the tools she used for everything that surrounds our naughty, but loving, protagonist.

So, let’s get right to it. I thank Katherine for sharing.

* * *

Katherine: When I begin work on a new book, it is always with small scribbly page layouts, but when I began work on the book Shoe Dog, I never expected that a small scribble would make his way to the final pages of the book.

A couple of my very early, very scribbly sketches:



(Click each to enlarge)

When Shoe Dog originally landed on the page, he was a bull terrier. You can see him here in a couple early dummies for the book.



(Click each to enlarge)

In the final illustrations, Shoe Dog still holds onto a smidgeon of terrier, but he is now little more than a scribble and a smudge. His essence.

I used crayons, a square graphite pencil, and charcoal to build the illustrations.

I will have to back up a little to describe the technique. My friend and crit-mate, Christy Hale, introduced me to a wonderful book, Creative Rubbings, published in 1967. I found the techniques described in the book irresistible.


(Click to enlarge)

Shapes were cut out of tag board, and then a crayon was used to rub an impression, much as we place a penny under a piece of paper and rub it with graphite to create a flat rendering of that penny. I loved the idea of using crayon rubbings to illustrate the world inhabited by the scribbly Shoe Dog.

I experimented with rubbing all sorts of textures …


(Click to enlarge)

…but mostly I cut out shapes and then made rubbings. These are how the environments—the house, furniture, stairs, shoes, etc.—were constructed.


(Click to enlarge)

Black and white sketches helped me determine value before I rendered the final illustrations in color.



(Click each to enlarge)

The computer is a wonderful tool for collage, and Shoe Dog is basically collage. I scribbled and made crayon rubbings and then combined all the hand-made marks by using the computer.

Here is some of the final art [without the text]:


“Dog wanted a home. A real home. A place full of hundreds of nose kisses,
dozens of tummy rubs. A place as warm as soup and cozy as pie.”

(Click to enlarge)


“A place with room to run …”
(Click to enlarge)


“BAD BAD DOG! She, Herself said. That night, Shoe Dog slept downstairs on the cold, cold floor with only a mop for a friend. Shoe Dog did not want to go back to the
Land of Sad Puppies and Scratched-Up Cats and One-Eared Bunnies. No!

(Click to enlarge)

And lastly the cover, front and back:


Thank you so much for asking me to show and tell. I had such fun creating the illustrations for this story!

SHOE DOG. Copyright © 2014 by Megan McDonald. Illustrations © 2014 by Katherine Tillotson. Published by Richard Jackson/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Katherine Tillotson.

* * * * * * *

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 really love how an old, obscure book from 1967 gave Katherine such inspiration.

2) Because my oldest was home for three days this week (adenoid surgery), I got to see an awful lot of her.

3) Painting clay.

4) A day out with the family yesterday to see Muppets Most Wanted. Very funny.

5) I got nice and unsolicited feedback about 7-Imp this week, which I really appreciate. In this day and age of rampant social media, I often stop to wonder if my blog is still relevant (I think this is a natural question for any blogger today; I promise I’m not just self-deprecating for fun), so to get compliments, ones that are truly informative, can be energizing.

6) Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings.

7) I read a galley of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars (a YA novel) in just about 24 hours. It’s a compelling novel, to say the least.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #374: Featuring Katherine Tillotson, last added: 3/23/2014
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12. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #375: Featuring Manuel Monroy


“‘Why are you doing that?’ asked Chepito as his mother stood at the stove, cooking eggs and frying beans. … ‘These eggs and beans will make you really strong.’ …”
(Click to enlarge spread)

Today’s featured book won’t be out till June. Yes, June! Sorry to be posting about it so early — I try not to make a habit of this.

Why Are You Doing That? (Groundwood Books) is a picture book for very young readers, written by Elisa Amado and illustrated by Manuel Monroy. Elisa is an author and translator, born in Guatemala. Manuel is one of Mexico’s most celebrated illustrators. It’s a companion to their first picture book, What Are You Doing? (2011).

In this book, a young boy, named Chepito, explores his environment one morning—from his mother, cooking breakfast, to his neighbors, flattening dough and milking cows and feeding chickens—all the while asking in his sing-song way (as if he’s a bird), “Why are you doing that … What for? What for?” All the patient, accommodating adults answer him; this is a gentle read about curiosity and rural communities and not only where food comes from, but also how we nurture our bodies and the animals that feed us. It even closes with a short glossary.

Monroy evidently started out with color pencil and watercolor drawings, and then he went the digital route from there. The illustrations are warm and affectionate. Please note, however, that they appear a bit brighter here on the screen than they do in the book.

Here are a couple more spreads. Enjoy.


“There was his neighbor, Manuel, digging in the ground. … ‘Look at this nice elote,’ Manuel said as he peeled back the husk.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


“Chepito ran around the corner. He saw Doña Ana throwing corn to some chickens. … ‘What for? What for?’ sang Chepito. ‘So that they can grow strong and lay good eggs like the ones you just had for breakfast.’”
(Click to enlarge spread)

WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT? Copyright © 2014 by Elisa Amado. Illustrations © 2014 by Manuel Monroy. Published by Groundwood Books, Toronto. All images here reproduced by permission of the publisher.

* * * * * * *

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) Hands down, my biggest kick of the week was an opportunity to chat with Barry Moser about Appalachian children’s literature, as a favor for some friends at UT in Knoxville, who are planning an upcoming exhibit about that very topic. I got a picture afterwards. It was a pleasure to chat with him.

2) And the night before, I heard him and author Ann Patchett speak at Vanderbilt about writing and typography and design and illustrations and books and such.

3) And that reminded me to pick up Ann’s latest book, which I’ve been wanting to read for a while now.

4) I’m mildly to moderately obsessed with Rufus Wainwright’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel,” which I only listened to about 77 times this week. Not this particular rendition below, but still …



 

“Well, never mind / we are ugly, but we have the music” …

5) This CD is now on my Want List.

6) Planetariums.

7) Sean Lennon! New sound! (It’s the first song there, called “Too Deep.”) Well, it’s Sean Lennon with Charlotte Kemp Muhl, and they call themselves The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

Did you all see that the Hans Christian Andersen Award was given this week — as well as the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award?

What are YOUR kicks this week?

11 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #375: Featuring Manuel Monroy, last added: 3/31/2014
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13. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #376: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Christine Allen



 

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I welcome a student or new illustrator. Today, Christine Allen visits. Christine, who lives in Colorado, studied painting and is transitioning into illustration. She tells us more about herself below, so let’s get right to it.

I thank her for visiting …

* * *



 

My Schooling/Training and
Transition into Illustration:

I received my BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I studied painting. I also studied at Parson’s The New School for Design and Yale School of Art and Music. All exceptional experiences, all challenging and fulfilling. Following all of this study, I had a bit of a crisis, a loss of excitement and energy when it came to painting. I began to realize that, despite identifying as a creative person, I was at that time very rigid in my thinking. It was painting or nothing. As I began to lift the walls, so to speak, and go (not to sound hokey) where the energy took me, I came to children’s books. And as often happens when one looks back, it seemed exceedingly obvious that this connection had walked with me all along the windy road and back to where I began.




 

What I Am Working on Now:

I am currently playing around with circus images. The imagery is rich. The animals are unsettled and haunted by distant memories of life in the wild. I am also painting animal gods that look to be from somewhere in China.




 

Inspirations:

Illustrators and writers I greatly admire are David Lucas, Jon Agee, Tove Jansson, David Small, John Burningham, and of course all things William Steig, James Thurber, and Virginia Lee Burton. I am in complete awe of Rob Dunlavey, Blexbolex, Laurent Moreau, Astrid Lindgren, Maira Kalman, Quentin Blake, Sophie Blackall, Kevin Waldron, Marjorie Priceman, Mo Willems. Honestly, it’s just too many to name here, but it’s hard to stop. I want to just keep naming them. So much incredibly wonderful work out there.



 

What I Am Reading Now and Love:

Unless I am deeply absorbed in a novel, I usually have two or three books going at once and another 20 due back to the library. Currently, it is Design as Art by Bruno Munari, The Bat Poet by Randall Jarrell/Maurice Sendak, and The Owl in the Attic and Other Perplexities by James Thurber. Since the day I became a parent, in addition to pleasure reading came the desperate reading of books by experts on child-rearing and of self-help books.




 

From the Sketchbooks:





 

All images here are used by permission of Christine Allen.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

I’m going to keep it short today, since I’m going out of town later this week for work and have my work cut out for me (for before I leave).

I’m grateful Christine visited today, as I enjoy seeing her artwork.

My big kick is that I finished Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, such a great novel.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #376: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Christine Allen, last added: 4/6/2014
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14. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #377: Featuring Elizabeth Rose Stanton



 

Good morning, all.

Author/illustrator Elizabeth Rose Stanton visits 7-Imp today to talk about her debut picture book, Henny, which was published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster in January. The painting above, called Ignition, is not from that book, but I like it and it makes me laugh.

Henny is the story of a chicken who has arms, and below Elizabeth tells us how she came to this premise, what reactions have been (the creeptacular painting below is my second favorite), and she also tells us a bit about what she’s up to next. I thank her for visiting and for sharing lots of art.

Henny, by the way, is packing her bags and learning her French. Her story will be published in France by Seuil Jeunesse in 2015. Bon voyage, Henny.

Here’s Elizabeth …

Elizabeth: I’m often asked how I thought up the idea of writing a picture book about a chicken with arms.


(Click to enlarge)

It all began a few years ago after a bout of strenuous doodling. I do my best thinking when I’m drawing, and one day I was thinking about (which means I was drawing) birds. What a shame, I thought, that some birds have wings that are relatively useless—birds like ostriches and dodos—when out popped a sketch of a bird with arms. Much more useful, I thought. I found myself getting quite carried away with the idea.



First thoughts about birds with arms

Then I started thinking about chickens. What about a chicken with arms? Much more useful, I thought. I had so much fun imagining what a chicken could do with a pair of arms that, soon after, Henny was born. I became so intrigued that I drew her in every imaginable scenario in every handy medium — from pen and ink to gouache to colored pencil. By the time Henny was published, I had more than a few fat binders and numerous sketchbooks overflowing with her.


Early Henny doodles


Early Henny cover idea



Study sketches for Henny


Then came time for the final art. It happened that Henny was acquired by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books based on a rough dummy, rendered entirely in pencil, so I had to decide what to use for the final art. Having been trained as an architect and scientific illustrator and having been a portrait artist, I was very used to working in pencil, pen and ink, pastel, and gouache.


Pen and ink, colored pencil


Gouache, colored pencil

Shortly before the book offer, I (serendipitously) inherited a generous supply of watercolors, brushes, and what seemed like an endless supply of watercolor paper from a distant relative. So I thought, why not?

All of the final art for Henny was rendered in pencil and watercolor on cold press watercolor paper.


First rough watercolor sketch of Henny


“Soon Henny begain to imagine all the other things she could do.”
(Click to enlarge)


“She didn’t like being different.”
(Click to enlarge)


“Sometimes Henny followed Mr. Farmer around. He was always very busy.”
(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

So now that it’s been a couple of months since Henny’s book debut and I can step back from it all a little, I have to say how much I am enjoying reading and seeing some of the reactions to my unusual character. Some of the most frequently used words I’ve read in comments and reviews about her are: adorable, weird, funny, lovely, quirky, sweet, and hilarious — and someone even said she was creeptacular.

I just can’t resist drawing Henny as creeptacular:

I love all these observations, because I think it shows there’s a complexity to Henny’s character that’s getting people thinking and feeling on multiple levels.

But I have to say that the most satisfying responses have been from the kids. They seem to take it in stride that Henny was born different. Even if they initially think Henny is a bit odd, by the end of the story her personality seems to win them over.


“… she tried to act natural … and fit in.”

At the moment, I have no plans for a Henny sequel, but I find I just can’t stop drawing and painting her. She’s been such a fun character and, after all, her story is about possibilities and using your imagination …


Henny being regal


Henny, waving like the Queen



Henny in her debut attire


 

So now, cue the pig:

My next book, also with Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, is Peddles (due out early 2016). Peddles is still in the works, but let’s just say it’s a story about a little pig with some BIG ideas.


(Click to enlarge)

Meanwhile, I’m continuing on with my strenuous doodling. I have a standing goal to draw something everyday and post it. I have to admit I don’t always make it, but I like the challenge and it’s certainly led me to come up with some interesting character and story ideas — so stay tuned.


Sketchbook and some works-in-progress





 

Character ideas from my sketchbooks:

 




 

Beginnings of some story ideas from my sketchbook:

 




Thanks so much for having me, Jules!

HENNY. Copyright © 2014 by Elizabeth Rose Stanton. Published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Elizabeth Rose Stanton.

* * * * * * *

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) Traveling.

2) Getting home when you’re weary of airports and small talk on planes with extroverts — and when you really want big hugs from your daughters.

3) Big hugs from the daughters.

4) My co-workers (from one of my many contractor jobs and the reason I flew to Massachusetts this week). We work virtually, so meeting up once a year, face to face, is always fun.

5) The I-miss-you notes my eight-year-old snuck in my luggage, which I was supposed to pretend not to see when I was packing.

6) Though I wish they’d let a woman host a major late-night talk show from time to time, COLBERT!

7) I knew that Nickel Creek covered a Sam Phillips’ song on their new CD, but before I even ordered it, Little Willow emailed me a link to it on Grooveshark. (Thanks, LW!) It’s even her Poetry Friday post from this past week.

So gorgeous, this cover, and Sam is such a fabulous songwriter:

Where Is Love Now by Nickel Creek on Grooveshark

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #377: Featuring Elizabeth Rose Stanton, last added: 4/13/2014
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15. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #380: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator Elizabeth Lilly


An illustration of Nikki Giovanni’s poem, “Migrations”
(from
Bicycles: Love Poems)


 

It’s Sunday! It’s Spring! Hurrah!

It’s also the first Sunday of the month, so today I welcome a student illustrator. Her name is Elizabeth Lilly, and she’s here to tell us all about her work, as well as share some of her art.

So, without further ado …

* * *

Elizabeth: When I was a kid, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I mostly just loved reading, so when I was eight I decided to be a librarian. How great would it be to be surrounded by books every day?

In high school, I was drawing rabbits and animating dancing grapes while my friends were all applying to Ivy League schools, with promising lawyer/doctor-type futures ahead. I applied to be an architect, went to a prestigious architecture program, and was miserable.


Abuelita Gallina (Grandma Chicken)

After two years of crying over elevation drawings and chipboard staircases, I left and transferred to MICA [Maryland Institute College of Art] as an animation major and finally settled in the General Fine Arts department.


Starting over in Baltimore was lonely, but soon I started to feel at home, as I wrote my own stories and made images to go with them. Crumbled brick buildings, rats in the train stations, geese that waddled between gravestones — everything in my new city seemed to swim with stories.

This year, my last year in school, I took my first illustration class, a book illustration class taught by the fantastic Shadra Strickland, and everything made perfect sense. I loved the thrill of telling a story with images, of composing pages, of making words and lines and colors all work together.


Nicaragua Bus
(Click to enlarge)

Now I’m working on a new story about Geraldine Giraffe, who has a hard time fitting in (literally) when her family moves from a giraffe town to a human one. I’m excited to show it to publishers this summer, and I’m working with a friend to make an animated version of the story as well.


Character work
(Click to enlarge)





 

Thank you, Jules, for featuring my work!

* * *

Be sure to explore Elizabeth’s website, if you’re so inclined. Some of her narrative illustrations have a definite Thacher Hurd vibe. Best of luck to her in her career!

All artwork is used by permission of Elizabeth Lilly.

* * * * * * *

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) The Tennessee Renaissance Festival — jousting, lutes, pirates, pixies, and people generally (and gloriously) letting their freak flags fly.

2) The We Need Diverse Books campaign, which launched this past week. One of the best photos/statements I saw is here at author-illustrator Grace Lin’s blog.

3) I presented at the 2014 Tennessee Library Association conference on Friday, which went well, and I got to have breakfast with a dear friend, in town for the conference.

4) This trailer cracks me up, and I love my Jemaine Clement sightings:

5) Tiramisu.

6) Walks in the park.

7) I’m still enjoying The Goldfinch.

Congratulations to Peter Brown on the 2014 Bull-Bransom Award!

What are YOUR kicks this week?

11 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #380: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator Elizabeth Lilly, last added: 5/4/2014
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16. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #382: Featuring Marianne Dubuc

Hi, dear Imps. I’m going to be brief today. I’m actually typing this on Thursday night, since I’m heading out of town to a) see my nephew graduate from high school (I’m already teary-eyed about this, and I’m not even at the ceremony yet), and b) someone I used to babysit is all grown-up and I’m heading to her wedding. (Ditto on the tears.)

So, I’ll be skipping my kicks, though I always enjoy reading yours, so please do share. I do, however, have some art for you.

I’ve previously featured the work of Canadian author-illustrator Marianne Dubuc at 7-Imp — here and here. Her newest book, The Lion and the Bird (Enchanted Lion, May 2014), is a tender and moving story of friendship, first published in French in 2013 and translated by Claudia Z. Bedrick (intrepid leader of Enchanted Lion and possessor of exquisite taste). Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings writes that this book is an “ode to life’s moments between the words.” Oh, how I love that and wish I’d written it. That captures the book well. (You can read her entire post, also art-filled, about the book here, if you’re so inclined. She describes the book so wonderfully.)

The story is about a lion, who lives alone and one day finds a wounded bird. After nursing the bird lovingly, they become friends, and the bird stays on. Their friendship grows, but when Spring comes, Lion knows the bird must fly away. Lion adjusts to his loneliness, and then the following Winter, the bird returns.

But, as Popova notes in her piece, there’s so much to discover in the book’s artwork and the expert pacing of the story. I remember reading once in a theatre text in college that a play is interrupted silence. (I think it was a quote from a French playwright? I really should look this up.) Well, this story is interrupted silence. Dubuc does wonders here, not rushing the story, letting it breathe, inviting in child readers to be with Lion as he adjusts to his loneliness and melancholy after Bird leaves, as time marches on. A lot of the gentle pacing comes from Dubuc’s use of white space. (“White space—sometimes whole pages—speaks its own language of loss and hope,” writes the Kirkus review.) For instance, here’s very simply how we know that Bird has returned:

Even that tiny musical note is on the right side of a giant white double-page spread, and the page before that is white, too. Dubuc lets silence speak a lot here.

There’s a lot of emotion, Dubuc conveying a great deal with her soft lines and warm palette. So much that is left unstated is conveyed in the expressive faces, if not in very economical words. “Yes, I know” is all that Lion says to Bird, as you can see below, when he realizes that Bird must fly away for Spring, and after his friend leaves, Dubuc merely writes: “And so it goes. Sometimes life is like that.” The story sings with an earnestness that is never too loud or trying too hard. It’s simply lovely.

Here’s some more art. Enjoy.


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“The snow is cold and icy, but you’re snug and warm.”
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“It snows and snows.”
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That’s it for the art, but don’t toss and turn, worrying about Lion. Remember the illustration that opens this post? Yeah. That. They are reunited.

THE LION AND THE BIRD. Copyright © 2013 by Marianne Dubuc. First American edition © 2014 by Enchanted Lion Books, Brooklyn, NY. Images reproduced by permission of the publisher.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

Again, my apologies that I’m not kickin’ today, but as you read this, I’m heading back home.

But do tell: What are YOUR kicks this week?

12 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #382: Featuring Marianne Dubuc, last added: 5/19/2014
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17. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #383: Featuring David Soman


“And Mama Bear, being a mother, looked at each one of her three little bears,
hugged them all very, very tight, kissed the tops of their furry heads,
and forgave them. Then she brought them inside for a warm supper.”

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Now, wouldn’t this have been the perfect post for Mother’s Day a couple Sundays back? Too bad I always do everything backwards.

This is art from David Soman’s Three Bears in a Boat, released just this past week by Dial Books for Young Readers. I reviewed this for BookPage, so if you want to read all about it, that link is here. I wanted to be sure to follow up with art. My very favorite illustration from the book is below, too.

Enjoy!


“Charlie and Theo smiled. And so just like that, the sly bears slide their into the sea and set sail. Their sail flew open like a wing, and the boat flashed across the water. Dotting the sea around their home were many other bears in boats.
Surely one of them would know where they could find a blue seashell.”

(Click to enlarge and see the full spread and the text)



“But the bears on the first boat did not have any idea where to look. The bears in the second boat were a little confused. And the bears in the third boat seemed a bit busy.”
(Click either image to see the spread in its entirety with the text)


“They sailed until the island rose in a hump before them,
and began to search for the seashell.”

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“Mama was waiting for them. ‘I’m sorry I broke your shell,’ said Theo. ‘Me too,’
said Dash. ‘Me three,’ said Charlie. ‘But look what we found for you!’
Dash held up the beautiful new shell.”

(Click to enlarge)



 

THREE BEARS IN A BOAT. Copyright © 2014 by David Soman. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

* * * * * * *

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) Last weekend I saw my super cool nephew graduate from high school, and I saw a girl I used to babysit get married. MARRIED, I tell you. Time marches on.

I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stop by Knoxville’s Children’s Festival of Reading, but fortunately I did have time after all. I had a Zachariah OHora sighting (no, that’s not the ghost of Shel Silverstein) …

… and I got to hear (pictured left to right) Zachariah, Toni Buzzeo, Jessica Young, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and Brian Pinkney discuss picture books:


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2) I have been wearing out St. Vincent’s new CD, because it is very, very good.

3) This week Neko Case told someone not to “Peggy-Olson” her.

4) Teachers who get it.

5) I got an F&G of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s new picture book, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (not out till October). I see so many picture books every week that it’s such a treat to see ones like this — funny and clever and one to pore over.

I hope to post about it closer to its release. I won’t be able to help myself. It’s a really wonderful book.

6) My daughters and I are reading some great novels aloud together.

7) School is very close to being out, so we’ll be reading even more.

BONUS: Thoughtful surprises from thoughtful friends in the mail.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #383: Featuring David Soman, last added: 5/26/2014
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18. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #386: Featuring Brian Floca


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“The seal’s coat was silvery brown. She was eight feet long—as long as a long surfboard—and she weighed twelve hundred pounds — as much as fifteen Labrador retrievers. The people of Christchurch knew there was something very special about her. She was strong and powerful and regal — like Elizabeth, the Queen of England. And so they named her, Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas.”
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Good morning, all. First up, it’s Father’s Day, so happy Father’s Day to you dad-readers out there. And happy Father’s Day to all the father figures in our lives. (It just so happens that I wrote here on Friday about some great picture books about fathers — and even some grandfathers can be spotted in some of those pages.)

This morning, Caldecott medalist Brian Floca is sharing some sketches from his latest illustrated book, Lynne Cox’s Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas (Schwartz & Wade, May 2014), and I’ve got some art from the book as well. And, since Atheneum Books for Young Readers just re-issued (in early June) Brian’s Five Trucks (pictured left), originally released back in 1999 by DK Publishing, I’ve got some art from that as well. And Brian has some early sketches from that book to share, too.

Lynne’s Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas opens with an Author’s Note about how Lynne once traveled to New Zealand (she is a world-renowned long-distance swimmer and writer and headed there to swim some lakes near Mount Cook), and it was there that she met a boy named Michael, standing along the Avon River near the city of Christchurch, who asked her if she was looking for Elizabeth. When she asked who it was that they meant, the boy explained that Elizabeth was an elephant seal, and both the boy and his sister told Lynne the story of the “Queen of the Seas.”

That story is the tale of this sunny picture book: Elizabeth lived not on the beach in New Zealand, but in the shallow waters of the Avon River in the city. The townsfolk named her after the Queen of England, and a young boy (named Michael, of course!) would frequently look for her and call out her name. Often, she’d manage to hoist herself up onto the road in town, Lynne writes, which caused great consternation for residents, as she’d already caused a traffic mishap or two. Volunteers decided to haul her out to the beach, where she belonged. Eventually, she returned, only to be taken back to the shore yet again by a boat crew. Yet she made the long journey back, once again, to the Avon River.

Floca’s palette, as you can see below after the sketches (as well as above), consists of warm greens, blues, and yellows, and Lynne’s storytelling is just as bright — it’s an entertaining story (and even closes with “Some Facts About Southern Elephant Seals Like Elizabeth”). It’s a loving story of community, and it’s also funny: As Sarah Harrison Smith wrote at the New York Times, “there’s something inherently funny in seeing commuters gawp and swerve around the huge, regal mammal.”

Five Trucks is, essentially, an informational book for children (calling all those children, boys and girls alike, who obsess over things that go vroom!) that describes the five airport vehicles typically seen on runways. Floca brings readers a diverse crew of men and women who work the trucks, and the spare, simple text makes this one a great beginning reader: “Floca offers a book that’s simple enough for a two-year-old (prime age for the young truck enthusiast), without being boring or simple-minded,” wrote Booklist.

Below are sketches and some final art from each book. Enjoy …

 

Some sketches from Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas:


 
















 



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Various “welcome home” sketches
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Endpaper ideas
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Some final art from Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas:


 



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Some sketches from Five Trucks:


 


Brian: “A sketchbook drawing of airport trucks, done when I got to Logan too early
for a flight in 1996 (!) and the genesis of the book.”

(Click to enlarge)





Brian: “Some photos of airport workings that I took when I got onto the tarmac at Logan to get some reference for the drawings. (In 1996, all you had to do to get on the tarmac with a camera and questions was find the right person,
explain your intentions, and ask.)”


 


Storyboard
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Brian: “A sketch showing the fuel truck, [which didn't make] the cut (too few pages) …”
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Sketches from an early draft of the book
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Brian: “A sketch for the new cover …”
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Some final art from Five Trucks:


 



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ELIZABETH, QUEEN OF THE SEAS. Copyright © 2014 by Lynne Cox. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Brian Floca. Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, and all sketches reproduced by permission of Brian Floca.

FIVE TRUCKS. Copyright © 1999 by Brian Floca. 2014 edition published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, and all sketches reproduced by permission of Brian Floca.

* * * * * * *

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) Right here, author David Sedaris says the following about bookstores:

Maybe I’m out of touch, but I’d rather go to an actual shop — preferably a small one — than to a harshly lit superstore, or, worse still, a website. I don’t want to buy my books and my toilet paper and my clothing all under the same roof. I want beauty in my life. I want charm. I want contact with actual people. It is, for me, a large part of what makes life worth living.

2) This:



 

Oh, the great WHIMSY. But I fall for it very hard, especially those lyrics.

3) Thus far, it’s been an absolute pleasure to read this prose outloud to my daughters, and we’re getting to the juicy-good parts:

4) Ditto for this. (We’re reading about four novels at once right now. Probably a bad habit.) This isn’t new, and it took us a while to get to it, but heavens, it is fun to read aloud:

This made me laugh, especially since Eisha always says my middle name is Hyperbole. It comes right after a pretty annoying adult excessively flatters the Incorrigibles at a party (with regard to their appearance):

As you may know, complimentary remarks of this type are all too often made by well-meaning adults to children who are, to be frank, perfectly ordinary-looking. This practice of overstating the case is called hyperbole. Hyperbole is usually harmless, but in some cases it has been known to precipitate unnecessary wars as well as a painful gaseous condition called stock market bubbles. For safety’s sake, then, hyperbole should be used with restraint and only by those with the proper literary training.

5) We’re watching season two of Orange Is the New Black. I thought season one was good, but season two … well, it’s remarkable. I am struck at each episode by all that Jenji Kohan gets away with. (This is a good thing.) And I am struck by how she has made so popular a show that tells the stories of underprivileged, incarcerated women, who are black, white, and about every other shade in between — and she pulls this off in a culture that seems most of the time to value young, white, middle- to upper-class, size-two women.

6) Oh, and I’m reading this right now. More on this book soon, but it’s definitely a kick:

7) I’m sorry if I sound like Annoying Braggy Parent here, but I love love love the simple design here of my ten-year-old’s ninja cat:

BONUS (and best kick) for Father’s Day: My husband. My girls are very lucky to have him for a father.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #386: Featuring Brian Floca, last added: 6/16/2014
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19. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #387: Featuring Kazuno Kohara

Have any of you seen Kazuno Kohara’s newest picture book, The Midnight Library (Roaring Brook, June 2014)?

I’m taken with it, and I love to see her linocut illustrations.

I reviewed The Midnight Library here for BookPage. So, if you’d like to read more about the book, you can head over there.

Today I’m following up with some illustrations from the book. The one pictured here to the left is toward the end of the book when the little librarian and her owls head upstairs to read one last book before bedtime.

And below is a bit more art.

Enjoy …

 


“Once there was a library that opened only at night.
A little librarian worked there with her three assistant owls.”

(Click to enlarge)


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 


“A book of bedtime stories for three sleepy owls. Sleep tight!”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


 



 

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY. Copyright © 2014 by Kazuno Kohara. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Roaring Brook, 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 * * *

You’ll have to forgive me for not listing seven, separate kicks here, but I’ve got a stack of great books I’m reading (and I’m eager to start this new one from Gregory Maguire), so my one big kick is: Good books. And that, just like the little librarian, I’m going to go get comfy and read.

But do tell me: What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #387: Featuring Kazuno Kohara, last added: 6/23/2014
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20. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #389: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Brooke Boynton Hughes


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It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means a student or just-starting-out illustrator here at 7-Imp. Today, I welcome Brooke Boynton Hughes, who has already illustrated one children’s book and is working on a handful of others now but is still relatively new to the field. It’s a pleasure to share some of her artwork today. Let’s get right to it, especially since Brooke gives us a few words of introduction.

Brooke: I’ve wanted to illustrate children’s books ever since I was little. When other kids my age were moving on to middle-grade books, I was still poring over picture books. I loved reading, but I was especially enthralled by visual storytelling. As a kid, I spent a lot of time drawing and becoming engrossed in whatever visual world I was into at the time. There were a couple of years where I drew almost nothing except for tree houses, and there was the year of underground rabbit houses. The imagined worlds that I created in my drawings felt really real to me. I guess I loved, and still love, residing in imagined worlds.


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I attended Colorado State University where I earned a BFA in printmaking. In 2006, I received an MFA in figurative art from the New York Academy of Art. I concentrated on drawing and relief printmaking and made a lot of woodcuts that focused on folktales. Today, I use pen and ink and watercolor on Arches 140lb hot press watercolor paper to create my illustrations.


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In 2005, while still in grad school, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and began attending their conferences. I’ve learned so much from SCBWI and have met most of my close friends at SCBWI conferences.

This summer I’ve been working on putting the finishing touches on Baby Love, written by Angela DiTerlizzi and published by Beach Lane Books. Baby Love [pictured below] will come out next Spring.


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I’ve started on the illustrations for the second book in a middle-grade series, called Cupcake Cousins. The first Cupcake Cousins book, written by Kate Hannigan and published by Disney-Hyperion, came out at the beginning of May. I’m starting on the illustrations for a picture book titled MORE!, written by Linda Ashman and published by Random House. I’m also working on two book dummies of my own stories and am getting ready for this year’s SCBWI Summer Conference.

Some of my favorite books when I was little were The Little Moon Theatre by Irene Haas, Where’s Wallace by Hilary Knight, The Clown of God by Tomie DePaola, and The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang. Oh, and I can’t leave out How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Quentin Blake! And just one more: Come Follow Me by Gyo Fujikawa. I spent so much time with that one that the binding broke and the cover fell off.

Thank you so much for sharing my work, Jules!



Jules: Thanks to Brooke for visiting. Because she gave me permission to pull more images from her website, I’d like to share these, too. The last two are my very favorites:


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All images used with permission of Brooke Boynton Hughes.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

It was a distressing week in children’s lit, due to the very sad loss of Walter Dean Myers, and it was a distressing week for women’s rights in national news, so let’s work extra hard to find our kicks, shall we?

1) Though it’s challenging to get work done at home (since I always work from home) during the summers, I’m still enjoying more time with my girls — and especially more time for reading with them.

2) Remember how last week I was too tired to even leave kicks from re-organizing stuff in our home (mostly books)? Well, it feels good to be re-organized.

3) I love, in particular, what Sergio Ruzzier has to say in this interview about reading levels and children reading what they want.

4) We’re enjoying this CD:



 

And the cover art is by illustrator Marcellus Hall!

See? Here’s the best song:

 

5) Gelato.

6) Betsy Bird and I launched a website for our upcoming book, where we will share a story a day up until publication — stories, that is, which never made it in the book (but were in earlier drafts). Today’s story includes the best ALA conference photo ever.

7) I’ve lined up a book launch at Parnassus Books in Nashville for the book’s release, but I’ll try to remember to post about the website and the book launch here at 7-Imp tomorrow.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #389: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Brooke Boynton Hughes, last added: 7/6/2014
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21. 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”
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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!”

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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.

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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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22. 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.

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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.

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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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23. 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.

 

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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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24. 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?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #395: Featuring Bruce Eric Kaplan, last added: 9/2/2014
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25. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #397: Featuring David Biedrzycki

Hello, dear kickers. Today I have some artwork from author-illustrator David Biedrzycki, whose has a brand-new picture book out from Charlesbridge, Breaking News: Bear Alert (Charlesbridge, September 2014). It’s the story—in the style of a breaking-news, this-just-in television report—of two very curious bears who make their way into a busy town. It’s a fun story, and David has a handful of spreads from it to share today, as well as a few early sketches. The Kirkus review for this one notes that David’s Adobe Photoshop illustrations are “bold and playful, appropriately reminiscent of vintage Hanna-Barbera and a good match for the slapstick story,” while the Publishers Weekly review adds that David’s book “comically exploits our cultures of distraction and surveillance.” (They make an excellent point.)

The cover’s so entertaining that I’m opening this post with it, though I normally open with artwork (well, non-cover artwork).

While David’s here, he’s also sharing some other artwork, so let’s get right to it, shall we? To read more about the books from which these images come and more about David and his work, you can visit his site here.


 

Sketches and final art from
Breaking News: Bear Alert
(Charlesbridge, September 2014)

(Click on each piece of final art to enlarge and see in more detail)



 

















 

From the Me and My Dragon books
(Charlesbridge)

(You can click on most of these to enlarge and see in more detail)


 







 

From the Ace Lacewing books
(Charlesbridge)

(Click on each image to enlarge and see in more detail)


 






All artwork is used with permission of David Biedrzycki.

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) A weekend with no big plans, which is good for relaxing and reading.

2) Good food and good conversations with friends this week.

3) I love the first song on this First Listen from Shara Worden, who evidently goes by the name My Brightest Diamond. (New to me, but I love all the sounds in that first tune.)

4) You gotta admit this is funny.

5) Picture books are always a kick for me, but I enjoyed two in particular this week: Joyce Sidman’s Winter Bees & Other Poems of the the Cold, illustrated by Rick Allen (see some beautiful spreads here!), and Jen Bryant’s The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Melissa shared some images from that book back in July (here), but this week I saw the hardback. MY GOODNESS, it’s gorgeous.

6) A friend recommended a BBC drama called Happy Valley, and my husband and I watched the whole first season in a few days. (Granted, there are only six episodes. Also I’m a hopeless night owl.) The acting is particularly wonderful, though it’s also intense and difficult to watch in spots.

7) I’m learning a Chopin piece on piano this week.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #397: Featuring David Biedrzycki, last added: 9/14/2014
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