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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: 7-Imps 7 Kicks, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 51 - 75 of 164
51. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #234: Featuring Joyce Wan

Every now and then, the 7-Imp portion of my brain realizes that I don’t spend enough time focusing on board book illustrations, art for the wee’est of humans.

Well, today I’m gonna.

This morning I shine the spotlight on Joyce Wan, whose art, she tells me, is inspired by Asian traditional and popular culture. She also comes from an architectural design background and loves creating those books for wee ones that are tactile or contain interactive elements.

(more…)

21 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #234: Featuring Joyce Wan, last added: 8/30/2011
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52. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #233:Featuring Jennifer L. & Matthew Holm

Every now and then, in the name of graphic novels for the youngest of children, I like to check in on Babymouse.

And she’s back. Well, she’s been back since May of this year, but sometimes I’m slow with my posts.

And this is her fourteenth title from Jenni and Matt Holm. Yes, fourteenth.

In this one, Babymouse #14: Mad Scientist (Random House), Babymouse meets her new science teacher, Mr. Shelldon (who has “received little support from my colleagues for my discovery that slime mold makes a great pet,” he tells his class). Babymouse, entering the school science fair, has to decide upon a project and eventually lands on amoebas. Looking one day at what she calls a “blob” in her microscope, she meets an amoeba, named Squish. Squish likes to eat cupcakes. Ah, an amoeba after her own heart.

That same month, the Holms released their first title (volume 1), all about this new character, Squish, Super Amoeba (also from Random House), which Kirkus in their starred review called the “hilarious misadventures of a hapless young everylad who happens to be an amoeba.” Yes, a fun science’y series about an amoeba: Leave it to the Holms. Worth seeing for Peggy the paramecium alone, it’s a promising series, particularly for those children who are drawn to the Holms’ funny, manic, accessible style, yet might mutter, “Babymouse is for girls” (which I’d argue anyway). Squish loves comics (”Super Amoeba!”) and Twinkies, and he—like Babymouse—is simply navigating life through elementary school (though if you want to know if tacos can stop global warming, not to mention if single-celled creatures can be counted on to step up to do what’s right, this is the book for you). (more…)

18 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #233:Featuring Jennifer L. & Matthew Holm, last added: 8/23/2011
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53. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #232: Featuring Elisa Kleven

I’ve had an early, unbound copy of today’s featured book for the longest time and, after deciding just this week to showcase some art from it, I see that it arrived on shelves just this past week. I have the best luck with the timing of these things, since I’m not organized enough to actually plan ahead.

So, the book is a story by author Elka Weber, called One Little Chicken, illustrated by Elisa Kleven (Tricycle Press). It retells a story in the Talmud. Well, wait. I’ll let the author tell you a bit more, as this comes straight from the closing author’s note:

“Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa lived in Israel in the frst century. He was so poor he sometimes had to live from one week to the next on nothing more than a few carob seeds, but he was so righteous that the Talmud says the entire world was sustained by his goodness.

Rabbi Chanina carefully followed all the teachings in the Torah. Among them is the directive to return lost property to its owner. (’If you see another person’s animal, you shall not hide from it; you must return it to the owner. If the owner is not known to you, then you should bring the object into your house, where it shall remain until the owner inquires after it, and you will return it to him. So shall you do for his donkey, his garment, or any lost article that you may find. . . .’ …) (more…)

13 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #232: Featuring Elisa Kleven, last added: 8/15/2011
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54. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #231: Featuring Maria Zaikina(Not to Mention Will You Join Me in Celebrating 7-Imp’s Birthday?)

It’s the first Sunday of August (whoa, it feels like just yesterday I said that for January 2011), so it’s time to shine the spotlight on a student or new-to-the-field illustrator. And I’m doing the latter today — not a student, but an artist whose first illustrated picture book was just released this year (the only picture book this year, I can safely say, in which a sheep is slaughtered, grilled, and made into shish kebab). Maria Zaikina rendered the art in Lucine Kasbarian’s The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale, released by Marshall Cavendish in April, with layers of wax and oil paint and then cut away the layers to reveal the colors underneath. (Is this a sort of scratchboarding, perhaps?) I’m a nerd who, yes, reads reviews for fun, and I like how Kirkus described the illustrations as having, as you can see above, “an appealing, vigorous heft.” Yeah. What they said.

But, first. Quickly. It just occurred to me that it’s the five-year anniversary of 7-Imp. I’d almost forgotten. Back last month, when I realized a birthday was coming up, I figured I should do something special for the big five-year one. But then I got busy, and now I’m at a loss anyway. I’d really rather just do what I always do — feature some art. But I want to say, quickly: One of the reasons I started this blog five years ago—co-founded it, remember, with my best friend, who is still my best friend but just no longer a blogger (here’s the low-down)—was to connect with others and to keep my foot in the door of children’s lit. I was suddenly at home (my choice) with young babies, who were puddin’ heads (though screamy ones) and kept me on my toes, but altogether incapable of expounding on the latest and greatest in children’s lit with me. (All I was gettin’ was some goo-gah here and some baa-baa there.) I was no longer in a school library, where I could gab daily with teachers and other librarians who loved children’s and YA lit as much as I did. And I really missed that.

So, feeling isolated (while also joining forces with my long-distance best friend, with whom I LOVED discussing books), I reached out via my laptop to sort of create my own colleagues, if you will, through this blog. Eisha and I found the other children’s lit bloggers, and we jumped into the discussion. And I am forever grateful for what it has brought to my life. I always say—and I mean it—I wouldn’t know how to count blogger stats if you put a gun to my head. I honestly don’t care. I just want to connect. If one person is reading, I’ll keep doing it. And so thank you to all you One Persons out there stopping by to read and see and chat and let me be a part of the discussion. And to all my blogging friends, whom I truly admire. AND to all the authors and illustrators and etc. who stop by here to visit the 7-Imp cyber-salon over coffee and keep things interesting and beautiful with their words and their art.

I’m done. Now, back to Maria’s arresting art. (more…)

39 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #231: Featuring Maria Zaikina(Not to Mention Will You Join Me in Celebrating 7-Imp’s Birthday?), last added: 8/9/2011
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55. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #230: Featuring Maureen Hyde(And the Anarchy Contest Winners, Not to MentionOne More Note About Literacyhead)


“Francis knelt at his window, crumbling some of the bread into his palms. And when the birds saw that their friend was already up, calls of joy filled the hills as they flitted into town. The birds bustled into Francis’ hands, their twiggy feet pinching,
their horn-like beaks swiping left and right.”

This morning I’m featuring the oil paintings of Maureen Hyde, and evidently this is her first illustrated title (from Gingerbread House) in about twenty-five years. What she has illustrated here is an imagined boyhood story from the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, written by Josephine Nobisso. (Yes, since I posted about this picture book so recently, I figured I should mention this one sooner rather than later.) “Our story is set in the very early morning—before anyone else is awake to observe it—in order to propose an imagined moment in the boyhood of Saint Francis of Assisi,” the author writes. “Do forgive our taking liberties with history! Even though the details may not be true, they are, at least, possible. When one is a saint, after all, any goodness is possible.”

Seven possible goodnesses before breakfast. I like it. (more…)

9 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #230: Featuring Maureen Hyde(And the Anarchy Contest Winners, Not to MentionOne More Note About Literacyhead), last added: 7/31/2011
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56. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #229: FeaturingDianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

My introduction to this lovely book will be short, because I’ve been out of town, but suffice it to say that fans of 2006’s An Egg is Quiet and 2007’s A Seed is Sleepy will be happy to see A Butterfly is Patient (Chronicle Books, May 2011), again from author Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrator Sylvia Long.

As with the previous titles by this duo, this book is beautifully illustrated, informative, and engaging — all at the same time. This is an introduction to butterflies (the many varieties, their behavioral habits, their development and growth, their migration, and more), and Aston and Long do it up with style with text and illustrations that children and adults will pore over. Also as with the previous titles, many double page spreads are designed to look like the notebook of a nature-lover who has paused to note the beauty witnessed. Long’s illustrations, rendered in ink and watercolor, are lush and elegant. And the handlettering! Beautiful. Publishers Weekly calls this one a “lovely mix of science and wonder” and School Library Journal, a “lyrical, colorful, and elegant production.” Kirkus adds, “{s}imilar butterfly albums abound, but none show these most decorative members of the insect clan to better advantage.”

I said I’d be short, right? I meant it. Sorry not to provide more details, but I’ve got some unpacking to do. While I do so, here are some more spreads. You may click each spread to enlarge. Enjoy. (more…)

14 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #229: FeaturingDianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long, last added: 7/25/2011
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57. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #227: FeaturingPamela Dalton, Schereschnitte, and Coffee-Colored Art


“We praise you for our Brother Sun, who in his radiant dawning every day reminds us that it was you who brought forth light.”
(Click to enlarge)

Since I mention Katherine Paterson, the reigning National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, below in my kicks, it’s only fitting that I share some spreads today from her picture book adaptation of Saint Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures, illustrated by Pamela Dalton. In Brother Sun, Sister Moon, released in March from Chronicle’s Handprint Books, Paterson reimagines the nearly 800-year-old hymn of praise from Saint Francis, originally written in the Umbrian dialect of Italian and also known as the Canticle of the Sun, which celebrates life — everything from Brother Sun to Sister Moon and “all our Sister Stars who clothe the night” to even the courage given us “in this world of hatred and war.”

(more…)

32 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #227: FeaturingPamela Dalton, Schereschnitte, and Coffee-Colored Art, last added: 7/12/2011
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58. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #225: Featuring Michael Hall


“But on Monday, the square was cut into pieces and poked full of holes.
It wasn’t perfectly square anymore.”

It almost pains me to post anything over top of this post, since I really love the colors of Claudio Muñoz’s artwork, but onwards and upwards. At least it will always be here at 7-Imp for us to see.

I am, however, happy to share this picture book today. It’s called Perfect Square (Greenwillow, April 2011), and it’s from graphic designer and children’s book illustrator Michael Hall. Hadn’t even heard of this one till Betsy Bird mentioned it in her mid-year Caldecott and Newbery predictions post. So I grabbed a library copy, and voilà! Here I am to showcase it, ’cause me likey.

You see, there’s this square. Perfect square. (Hence, the title.) It was super happy to be a square, and that was that. You can see here in the cover art how content it was: (more…)

19 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #225: Featuring Michael Hall, last added: 6/27/2011
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59. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #221: Featuring Simon Wild

Having been inspired last weekend by hearing Robert Sabuda speak in person at Knoxville’s children’s reading festival, today I’m featuring a pop-up artist, UK illustrator Simon Wild. Don’t you just want to hop into that fantastical, most fabulous flying machine up there?

Wild graduated from Cambridge School of Art in 2007 with an MA in Children’s Book Illustration. He has previously worked as an animator, film maker, video editor, and street performer and currently teaches art foundation at Ipswich School of Art and works from his studio—with a white cat named Gert—in Suffolk. Simon’s latest title, written by Timothy Knapman, is Fantastical Flying Machines. The book follows two children named Sally and Jack on an air race filled with hot air balloons, flying ice lollies, and bubble gum rockets. I haven’t seen a copy myself, which was evidently released last Fall (Macmillan), but Simon tells me it features spinning, twirling, lift-the-flap pages, and a pop-up finale.

Here’s a bit more from Simon about the book and his thoughts on the value of interactive books for children today. I thank him for stopping by…

(more…)

19 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #221: Featuring Simon Wild, last added: 5/30/2011
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60. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #220: Featuring Chris Beatrice


“‘I believe the Spring has come at last,’ said the Giant;
and he jumped out of bed and looked out. What did he see?”

(Click to enlarge)

Don’t you think it’s time Oscar Wilde visited the blog? I do.

Okay. Sure. “Visited” the blog is a bit much. It’s not like I’ve called forth his spirit, but I am featuring one of his children’s stories today.

In 1888, Wilde’s own collection of original fairy tales, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, was published, and it included a story called “The Selfish Giant.” In March of this year, Noteworthy Books released a new picture book adaptation of this tale, which includes orchestral music on an accompanying CD from composer Dan Goeller and narration from British actor Martin Jarvis.

(more…)

15 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #220: Featuring Chris Beatrice, last added: 5/23/2011
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61. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #219: Featuring Arthur Howardand Author Liz Garton Scanlon and More than OneExperiment in Honesty and Kindness

I hope I don’t slight today’s featured picture book due to the fact that I’m typing this before leaving town for a work meeting. In other words, this has to be relatively short and sweet. (What? You’re laughing. I can actually be brief. On occasion.)

Fans of Cynthia Rylant’s Mr. Putter & Tabby series of chapter books may be happy to know, if you don’t already, that illustrator Arthur Howard’s cartoon watercolors are on display in Liz Garton Scanlon’s latest picture book, Noodle & Lou (Beach Lane Books, March 2011), which is all about…. Well, you know how you occasionally have those really low self-esteem, want-to-drag-your-ass-back-to-bed days, in which just about everthing you do makes you feel like an undeniable loser and the grass is always greener, no matter where you look, but along comes a kickin’-good friend to tell you that, indeed, you actually do rock and in quite possibly more ways than one? (These low-self-esteem moments happen to me way more often than a wiser person would admit.) Yeah. That. The book’s about that. (more…)

17 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #219: Featuring Arthur Howardand Author Liz Garton Scanlon and More than OneExperiment in Honesty and Kindness, last added: 5/15/2011
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62. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #194: Featuring Sylvie Daigneault


“‘Has the land lost its goodness, Papa?’ Her father lowers his head.
When he looks up, there is sadness in his eyes.
‘I fear it may be so.’”

(Click to enlarge and see full spread with text.)

I’m very smitten with this morning’s featured illustrations, and not just because of My Thing I Have for Sun Images (as mentioned previously at 7-Imp). The way illustrator Sylvie Daigneault depicts the sun in these images is particularly beautiful to me, but so is everything else about her work in this book, The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough (Kids Can Press, September 2010), written by Katie Smith Milway.

This is the story of a young girl named María Luz Duarte, living in the hills of Honduras, whose family fears they will lose their farm. When María’s father asks his daughter to plant their winter vegetables so that he can find employment elsewhere (thereby avoiding borrowing seeds from the coyote, or grain buyer, who will force the family to pay back three times the seeds he lends), she proudly agrees to the task. While her father is away, she learns from her new teacher at school, Don Pedro Morales, who has “big ideas” about how to restore the soil. María and her classmates learn about composting, how to keep insects away with marigolds, terracing, and more. She also learns how to feed the soil herself so that she and her family and neighbors no longer need to depend upon the deceitful coyotes, the middlemen who keep the villagers from getting ahead on their own (whom Daigneault depicts as literal coyotes).

I’m taken with Daigneault’s sweeping and highly stylized illustrations. Click on each spread below to see the full spread as it appears in the book, complete with the text.


“If their crops fail again, it will be worse. The Duartes will lose their farm to the coyote and have to find new land.”


“The coyote goes from campesino to campesino to look at their onions and chilies. He names a price and, as always, the price is low. If they accept it, they will barely have enough money to buy the seeds they need. But Don Pedro has another big idea. He says the villagers should take their vegetables to the market to sell for themselves
and offers to show them how…”


“María Luz cannot imagine the school and the school garden without Don Pedro. But she can see the change he has made as she looks around…It is not only the soil that is changing. There is something new in the air, too —
a feeling of hope spreading from garden to garden.”

Text copyright © 2010 Katie Smith Milway. Illustrations copyright © 2010 Sylvie Daigneault. Reprinted by permission of Kids Can Press.

As a reminder, 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

29 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #194: Featuring Sylvie Daigneault, last added: 11/22/2010
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63. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #195: Featuring Fr-a-a-a-n-k W. Dormer

Meet Socksquatch, the orange creature on the right . . .

He’s finally located a sock. He’s been lurching around and searching for one, you see, in an October release from Henry Holt and Company, Socksquatch, by elementary art teacher by day and author/illustrator by night, Frank W. Dormer (pictured left — half-man, half-illustration). Not only do I like this book—and think the children in your life will most likely enjoy it, too—but I have to say that I also have a special spot in my squishy heart for this title, and here’s why: As Frank mentions below, a children’s book editor saw his art work featured here at 7-Imp (that would probably be this post from ‘07, though Frank also visited me for a breakfast interview in 2008), and she contacted him about doing a book for Henry Holt. And that book would be the book you’re reading about today, Socksquatch. I cannot emphasize enough how happy this all makes me — not in a vain it-was-seen-at-my-blog kind of way. Not at all. But in an I-love-to-connect-such-talented-people kind of way. Truly.

Frank tells us a bit below about how he came up with the Socksquatch monster, so I won’t go on and on about that, but let me just say it’s a fun read-aloud. You have to be willing, mind you, to don your best old, B-movie monster voice when reading it — for maximum effect, that is. (more…)

22 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #195: Featuring Fr-a-a-a-n-k W. Dormer, last added: 11/30/2010
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64. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #196: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Amanda Laurel Atkins


Silver in E Minor

Jules: It seems like just a moment ago I was talking about the first Sunday in January, and here we are facing the first one of December. Crazy talk, I tell ya. And, as my dear readers know, the first Sunday of the month means I shine the spotlight on a student or new-to-children’s-books illustrator. Today, I welcome Amanda Laurel Atkins, who shakes things up with some portraiture this morning. (I don’t think I’ve featured a portrait artist since the talented Jody Hewgill in 2008, but don’t quote me on that.)

(more…)

19 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #196: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Amanda Laurel Atkins, last added: 12/7/2010
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65. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #197: FeaturingJavaka Steptoe and Print Mafia


“Like no one before him, Jimmy Hendrix taught his guitar to sing, scream, laugh, and cry. He learned to use it as an artist uses paint, creating new worlds with the colors of sound. To the heart and soul of the blues he added the restless energy of rock ‘n’ roll. His playing became bold as lightning. Wild as the waves.
Free as the wind through the trees…”

(Click to super-size spread.)

Things are coming up Very Rock-And-Roll at 7-Imp this morning. I knew I wanted to feature some art from Gary Golio’s vibrant new picture book biography of the young Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow (Clarion Books, October 2010), illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. And then at the last moment, I remembered the late Melissa Duke Mooney’s The ABCs of Rock, published by Tricycle Press in October — and with illustrations from Print Mafia. Lucky for me, I was able to get spreads from each to share with readers this morning. So. Are you ready to rock?

Am I a colossal nerd for just typing “are you ready to rock?” Yes. I am.

How about: Are you ready to go to eleven, which is one louder? There we go. Spinal Tap references, speaking of hard-core rock-and-roll, make everything better.

(more…)

21 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #197: FeaturingJavaka Steptoe and Print Mafia, last added: 12/13/2010
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66. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #201: Featuring David Wiesner

In honor of tomorrow morning’s big award announcements from the American Library Association—I am inordinately excited to hear who the Caldecott winner and Honor winners will be—I am featuring the illustrator who is very familiar with the Caldecott, to put it mildly, and who, some argue, has a chance at winning it yet again this year, author/illustrator David Wiesner. (David has been awarded three Caldecott Medals and two Caldecott Honors.)

David had planned last year to come over to 7-Imp for an interview—and might still make it for a visit when his schedule slows down—but I decided to go ahead today and show some art from this 2010 title anyway, though I had been holding out for that Wiesner-visit. I had my best coffee mugs out, y’all. But, really, he’s welcome any time, so let us carry on…

The title I’m speaking of is … well, see here to the left? That’s Max, holding the very line an illustrator uses to tell us a story. Art & Max, released by Clarion in October, is a marvel. One of my favorite bloggers, Travis Jonker at 100 Scope Notes, described it as “one of the more uniquely beautiful books of the year” and a “wonderful pick for introducing artistic media, styles, technique, and freedom in a classroom setting.” (Or, in the words of The Horn Book, it’s a “visual meditation on the effects of illustrative style.”) This is true on all accounts, particularly the latter, as what Wiesner does in this title is … well, again, as Travis put it, he deconstructs the the idea of illustration itself. (more…)

31 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #201: Featuring David Wiesner, last added: 1/11/2011
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67. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #204: Featuring Marc Rosenthal

Well, I’ve finally finished posting about 2010 titles, for the most part. I might sneak in an interview here or there some time soon with folks who published picture books in 2010, but it’s time to look at what’s being released this year. And I’m happy to show some spreads this morning from a brand-new 2011 title that I find so winning on every possible level, not to mention a book that made me and my wee girls laugh so hard we nearly split our collective pants. Okay, that simply doesn’t sound right, but I’m typing this post late-ish on Friday night, so forgive the nonsense that stems from my fatigue. “Collective pants” is kinda funny to think about, though. Admit it.

I Must Have Bobo!, written by Eileen Rosenthal (her picture book debut) and illustrated by Marc Rosenthal (Atheneum, January 2011), is the story of a straight up showdown between one young boy, Willy, and the family cat, the dilemma being that the object of their affection is one beloved sock monkey, named Bobo. Bobo, however, can only be with one creature at a time. Uh-oh. (If I could play the main theme song from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly right now, I would.)

(more…)

21 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #204: Featuring Marc Rosenthal, last added: 1/31/2011
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68. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #207: Featuring Sarah Young

I have only one illustration for you all today, but it’s a whopper of an illustration and positively terrifying, which—-given the book’s subject matter—is a compliment:


“Theseus rounded a twist in the walls, and the stench of the beast came rushing toward him. He knew it was there, hidden in the dark, at the end of the passage. He stood still. Could the Minotaur see? He was sure it had scented him. He heard it snuffling and questing; and then, with a great bellow, it was upon him.”

Don’t you love that? Wait, there’s a monitor between me and you, so I can’t hear you, but if you love it as much as I, you can always comment below.

This comes from illustrator, painter, and printmaker Sarah Young, who lives in England. It is one of the many arresting illustrations from Greek Myths by Ann Turnbull (also British), published by Candlewick. Now, I had thought this was a brand-new title, but it just so happens that every link I see online, including the book’s very home on the Candlewick site itself, is saying it was released in November of 2010. The copyright info also states 2010. Color me confused. And slightly behind. Could it be that this one got lost in the stacks of books all over my home and I assumed it was slightly newer than it is? Yes, it could be. Either way, it’s a book I like. I happen to have an emerging seven-year-old who is downright obsessed with myths, particularly if they involve monsters and particularly if they’re Greek, and we’ve been enjoying this one. (Shh. Don’t tell on me, given that the suggested age range for this one is “grade 6 and up.”)

What’s particularly effective here is how Turnbull links the stories together. Here’s what she wrote in the book’s intro: (more…)

23 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #207: Featuring Sarah Young, last added: 2/22/2011
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69. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #208: Featuring Il Sung Na,C.S.W. Rand, Peter Brown, and Aaron Zenz(In Which There Are Cute Fluffy Bunny Sightings andIt Becomes Very Clear That I’m Ready for Spring Already)


“They give the signal to form a Bunny Circle.
Their ears touch and noses twitch, and they know what to do.”


(Click to enlarge)

This post is probably the closest you’ll ever see to me talking about Cute Fluffy Bunnies in children’s book illustration, but quite clearly I’m ready for spring. All featured books today include bunnies of the fluffy and, quite possibly, cute variety (depending on your definition of “cute,” I guess). And I like all these bunnies, oh yes I do.

I’ve previously featured at 7-Imp the work of Korean illustrator Il Sung Na—at this 2009 post, to be exact—who now lives and works in London. The second spread above is his. I’ve got more spreads this morning from his new book. He just ups the ante on beauty with each book, huh? But more on him in a second. First up is Big Bunny (from which that top illustration comes), written by mother-daughter duo Betseygail Rand (daughter) and Colleen Rand (mother) — and illustrated by Colleen, who goes by “C.S.W. Rand” in the illustration credit. (more…)

15 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #208: Featuring Il Sung Na,C.S.W. Rand, Peter Brown, and Aaron Zenz(In Which There Are Cute Fluffy Bunny Sightings andIt Becomes Very Clear That I’m Ready for Spring Already), last added: 2/28/2011
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70. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #210: Featuring Amy June Bates

I’m keeping things very simple this week. I’ve got one image and one kick. The one image you see above comes from illustrator Amy June Bates. I’ve always enjoyed her work, as I made clear in this 2008 interview, another one of my favorite interviews, since she sent tons of art. Incidentally, she currently lives with her family in Japan, and I’m very relieved to hear they are safe after the earthquake, as well as Tarie in the Philippines. My heart goes out to those amidst the destruction in Japan.

At Amy’s blog, Drawing a Blank, she shares sketches and recent creations, and this one made me laugh outloud. I believe the first day of Spring is next Sunday, so this image is fitting today. I’m eager for Spring to make a premature arrival, how ’bout you? That cute fluffy bunny agrees. You can read the small print, right? So funny. (more…)

16 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #210: Featuring Amy June Bates, last added: 3/15/2011
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71. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #212:Featuring Amy Schimler and Shadra Strickland



(Click to super-size each.)

Every now and then at 7-Imp, I like to give the spotlight over to those who create illustrations for the wee’est of all wee readers. One such illustrator is visiting today, and her name is Amy Schimler. Her bright, colorful art work all about nature, geared for the big eyes of the youngest of children, is also fitting right now, given that Spring is upon us. Here in Tennessee, Spring graced us and then pulled back a bit, so at this point, I’m ready to dive into Amy’s world and live there a bit until Spring regains her senses and descends upon us again.

An illustrator and surface designer, Amy studied painting and fiber arts at the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as well as the Massachusetts College of Art, and continued her studies in textile and surface design at RISD. She currently lives in Georgia and is here this morning to show us some illustrations from her new title, as well as some other portfolio pieces. (The spread opening this post is a portfolio piece, and the one below it is from her newest title.) (more…)

20 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #212:Featuring Amy Schimler and Shadra Strickland, last added: 3/29/2011
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72. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #213: Featuring Komako Sakai


“The wind blows, rustling the leaves. Swishh. The meadow sways like the waves of the sea. My tummy sinks into the wave. My shoulders sink in too.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, 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.

As I type this, I’m getting ready to head to Knoxville, Tennessee, for this wonderful conference, so I’m going to keep things short and simple (ahem, short for me, that is) this week. I’ve got things to pack and CDs to pile up in my car for my road trip. (Have bluegrass, can travel.) However, I do hope folks will leave their kicks, as I’ll be back and reading them by Sunday.

Now, normally the first Sunday of each month, I share the work of a student or brand-spankin’-new-to-the-field illustrator, but I’m going to shake things up and do that next week instead. I didn’t want to slight a shiny new illustrator today, since I’m mostly on my way out the door. Instead, I’m pleased to be showing you spreads this morning from Yukiko Kato’s In the Meadow, illustrated by Komako Sakai. I’m a fan of Sakai’s work. I know I’ve not seen everything she’s done and want to correct that. I love Emily’s Balloon (2006) and The Snow Day (2009), though I haven’t seen this one yet (2010). Evidently, she’s super popular in Japan (her home), and I’m happy some of her titles have made it here to the States. (more…)

16 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #213: Featuring Komako Sakai, last added: 4/4/2011
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73. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #214: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Rozalind Best

Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, 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.

Since I like to highlight student or brand-new illustrators to the field on the first Sunday of each month, that was my plan for last week, but I was out of town and shifted things around. Instead, I welcome a student illustrator this week, and her name is Rozalind Best. Pictured above is her rendering of Captain Hook’s ship. Roz is set to graduate soon from The University of Plymouth in the UK, and here she is tell us all a bit more: (more…)

15 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #214: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Rozalind Best, last added: 4/10/2011
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74. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #215: Featuring Janice Nadeau


“One cool autumn morning a man called Sebastian was passing Miriam’s bakeshop when her sweet-smelling voice came floating through the window. He went inside the shop and bought some cinnamon bread. After that he bought a loaf of bread every day for a year. Then he asked Miriam if she would marry him, and she said yes.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

I responded on a personal level to today’s featured picture book, Cinnamon Baby (Kids Can Press, February 2011) by Nicola Winstanley and illustrated by Janice Nadeau. (Wow. Check out that website for lots more art.) From a professional standpoint—as a children’s librarian, who studied children’s lit in grad school and who is always trying to separate the good children’s books from the not-so-good ones—I love it, too. It resonated with me on both of those levels, that is.

It’s the story of a baker named Miriam, who owns her own little bakery. She makes bread and makes it well: “She made a spicy bread, studded with little peppercorns and basil, and a sweet bread with ginger. She made a light, white loaf with dill, and a crusty brown one with sunflower seeds and honey.” (Mmm. See? The story had me right at the beginning.) The cinnamon bread, her favorite, she always saves for last. While baking, Miriam sings the songs her mother taught her as a child. It’s her beautiful voice and the aromas from her delicious bread that attract Sebastian one day, riding around on his bike, who asks Miriam to marry him. (more…)

19 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #215: Featuring Janice Nadeau, last added: 4/20/2011
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75. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #216: Featuring Sergio Ruzzier

We’re being greeted this Easter Sunday by Eve Bunting’s and Sergio Ruzzier’s Little Elephant from Tweak Tweak (Clarion Books). I think if I could pinch that elephant’s cheeks, I would. (This is a sentence I never thought I’d type in life.)

Since it’s Easter today, I wonder if I’ll be kickin’ it alone. I hope, where ever you may be, that you’re enjoying chocolate or marshallows or hard-boiled eggs or candy robin eggs or Peeps or dark chocolate bunnies or jelly beans — but just not all at once. I also hope you get to hunt for an egg or two. Preferably the kind with treats hidden inside.

Author/illustrator Sergio Ruzzier is here today, as mentioned, not only to share his Easter egg up there with us, but also to give us a sneak peek into his latest illustrated title, Tweak Tweak, written by none other than the esteemed Eve Bunting, who has written over two hundred children’s books in her career, including Smoky Night, the winner of the 1995 Caldecott Medal, illustrated by David Díaz.

I thought Tweak Tweak was already out, but I see its official release date is May. Ack! This is what I get for being generally disorganized with the stacks of picture books that surround me. I don’t mean to sound all taunting with a book you can’t get your hands on yet, but you won’t have to wait long. Not to mention it’ll also be worth the wait. I was eager to see it myself, as a fan of both Bunting and Ruzzier, and it truly delivers. (more…)

22 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #216: Featuring Sergio Ruzzier, last added: 4/24/2011
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