7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #522: Featuring
Jason Carter Eaton, Mark Fearing, and Gus Gordon

h1 February 19th, 2017    by jules

— From Jason Carter Eaton’s The Catawampus Cat,
illustrated by Gus Gordon


“Vlad and Törr couldn’t agree on whose horde got the popcorn kernels and whose got the half-eaten sandwiches. So they each declared crumb war on the other.
Their battles raged all night long.”
— From Jason Carter Eaton’s
Great, Now We’ve Got Barbarians!,
illustrated by Mark Fearing
(Click to enlarge spread)


Author Jason Carter Eaton is a funny guy. Case in point is his newest picture book, Great, Now We’ve Got Barbarians! (Candlewick, February 2017). I’ve got a review over at BookPage—that review is here—and, because you know I get twitchy if I can’t show you art, this morning I’ve got a couple of spreads from the book right here at 7-Imp. The book was illustrated by Mark Fearing.

But THERE’S MORE. While we have Jason on the mind, I thought I’d also show some illustrations from his next book, on shelves in March, The Catawampus Cat (Crown Books for Young Readers). This one is illustrated by Australian artist Gus Gordon (who visited 7-Imp way back in 2010 and whose art from 2013’s Herman and Rosie is here). Gus sent some spreads (sans text) from the book. I love this book, which has a lot to say about seeing the world from one’s own unique angle, and I think that pretty much Gus was the perfect illustrator for this one. It is filled with laugh-outloud details for those who look closely enough. (In fact, I’m opening this post with a tiny detail from one of the spreads, though it’s hard not to open with an image of the catawampus cat himself. Anyway, in this spread, which you’ll see below, a whole bunch of townfolks appear, but this little moment—which you’ll miss if you blink—made me laugh out loud. I think that both Jason and Gus must understand what a funny word “pants” is.)

p.s. This Fall in the U.S., we’ll see Gus’s Somewhere Else (Neal Porter Books), which is about a non-flying duck named George Laurent. But more on that later!

Enjoy the art!

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Jessixa Bagley, Marie-Louise Gay, and Lane Smith

h1 February 17th, 2017    by jules

“‘Well, how about building a fort?’ asked Ma Badger. ‘We already made one,’ said Tic. ‘Then we invaded it, and it fell apart,’ said Tac.”
— From Jessixa Bagley’s
Laundry Day


“It WAS a perfect day for Squirrel.”
— From Lane Smith’s
A Perfect Day
(Click to enlarge spread)


— From Marie-Louise Gay’s
Short Stories for Little Monsters
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got poetry on the mind over at Kirkus. That is here this morning.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about three entertaining picture books, where being up to no good is pretty great — Jessixa Bagley’s Laundry Day (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, February 2017), Marie-Louise Gay’s Short Stories for Little Monsters (Groundwood, March 2017), and Lane Smith’s A Perfect Day (Roaring Brook, March 2017). I’m following up with art from each book today, and both Lane and Marie-Louise sent some sketches and other art as well. (Marie-Louise and Lane also share a little bit about what inspired their respective books.)


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My Kirkus Q&A with Adam Rapp

h1 February 16th, 2017    by jules

[O]ne day I saw this older Asian man walking very slowly in the Astor Place area. If a fellow pedestrian came toward him—while engaged with their smartphone, head down, thumbs pummeling their smartphone screen—the Asian man would wave his hand right in front of their face. It was startling, but it actually forced people to look up and consider where they were going and whom they might be walking toward. I thought the guy was a genius. He was starting a revolution of sorts. Stop. Look up. Consider another human being. Connect. I think that was the moment when the idea for the book came to me.”

* * *

Today over Kirkus, I talk with Adam Rapp about his new YA graphic novel, Decelerate Blue (First Second, February 2017), illustrated by Mike Cavallaro.

That Q&A is here this morning.

I’ll have art from the book here at 7-Imp next week.

* * * * * * *

Photo of Adam Rapp taken by Sham Hinchey.

Hello, Readers in Ann Arbor . . .

h1 February 13th, 2017    by jules


The Children’s Literacy Network in Ann Arbor, Michigan, asked me to come speak this week about picture books, why I love them so, and why I write about them. This will be at Literati Bookstore there in Ann Arbor.

If you live in or near Ann Arbor, I would love to see you there on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. Here is more information.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #521: Featuring Melissa Castrillon

h1 February 12th, 2017    by jules

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Nina Laden’s If I Had a Little Dream (Paula Wiseman Books, February 2017), illustrated by Melissa Castrillon. That is here, if you’d like to read all about the book.

This is a snug, gentle book, and it’s Castillon’s debut as an illustrator. Here are a couple more spreads.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Catia Chien, Deborah Freedman, and Kevin Henkes

h1 February 10th, 2017    by jules

— From Deborah Freedman’s This House, Once


” … Look like a pearl / when you’re brim-full / and bright. /
Hang in the darkness. / Dazzle the night.”
— From Elaine Magliaro’s
Things to Do,
illustrated by Catia Chien

(Click to enlarge)


— From Kevin Henkes’ Egg
(Click to enlarge)


This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got mischief on the mind. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here at Kirkus about Elaine Magliaro’s Things to Do, illustrated by Catia Chien (Chronicle, February 2017); Deborah Freedman’s This House, Once (Atheneum, February 2017); and Kevin Henkes’ Egg (Greenwillow, January 2017).

I’ve art from each book today, and Deborah also shares some early sketches and thumbnails, for which I thank her.


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A Moment with the Artwork of Julie Kim

h1 February 10th, 2017    by jules

(Click to enlarge cover)

I’m walkin’ on the wild side today, you all, and doing one of those cover reveal dealios. I’m very intrigued by this book, Julie Kim’s Where’s Halmoni? This will be on shelves in early October of this year from Little Bigfoot, a children’s book imprint from Sasquatch Books. The story provides a look into Korean folklore and is evidently told in a unique picture book-graphic novel hybrid format.

The author was born in Korea, and this is her debut children’s book, which tells the story of two young children who, per the publisher, “stumble into a technicolor fantasy world while on a search for their missing grandmother. Throughout their travels, they meet several Korean folk characters that help (and hinder) their search. The backmatter of the book includes extensive information on Korean folk tales and culture.”

I managed to snag two spreads here below from the book. Beautiful, huh? Read the rest of this entry »

A Bit of Norse Mythology Before Breakfast

h1 February 9th, 2017    by jules

“And Thor’s own brother, Tyr, had his hand bitten off
when he tried to outwit the wolf.”

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted here with Joe Todd-Stanton about his debut children’s book, Arthur and the Golden Rope (Flying Eye Books, February 2017), volume one in the Brownstone’s Mythical Collection series.

Today, I am following up with some art from the book, including the glorious endpapers.


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My Beautiful Birds

h1 February 7th, 2017    by jules

“The ground rumbles beneath my slippers as I walk. Father squeezes my hand. ‘It will be okay, Sami. Your birds escaped too,’ he repeats. His voice sounds far away.
I squeeze back, hoping it will steady my wobbly legs. Everyone I know is here.
We are walking, one after the other. ‘Just like follow-the-leader,’ says Father.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

The plight of Syrian refugees was in the news well before we elected such a disastrous and hateful president, but due to his recent travel ban, it’s all the more top of mind for folks all over the world. Having picture books on hand that can explain this to children is helpful, and I recently wrote here at Kirkus about picture books that capture the plight and flight of refugees.

Coming to shelves in March is Suzanne Del Rizzo’s My Beautiful Birds (Pajama Press), a new book specifically about Syrian refugees. Rendered in bright and textured polymer clay and acrylic, it’s the story of a boy named Sami, leaving his Syrian home (with a sky full of smoke) to escape war. The boy is concerned about the pet pigeons he leaves behind. “It will be okay,” his father tells him. “Your birds escaped too.” When Sami and his family make it to a refugee camp, the boy tries to create art commemorating his birds, but his art only turns to black. Sami eventually comes to some peace when he a canary, a dove, and a rose finch fly into the camp.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #520: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, James Serafino

h1 February 5th, 2017    by jules

It’s the first Sunday of the month, dear Imps, which means I have a student or newly-graduated illustrator. Today, it’s James Serafino, who graduated from the School of Visual Arts and tells me that children’s books are his primary passion in life and that he loves to share and learn and talk about them as much as possible.

Let’s get right to it, and I thank James for sharing his artwork.

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