7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #795: Featuring Wanda Gág

h1 May 22nd, 2022    by jules

(Click to enlarge)

The great and groundbreaking picture book artist Wanda Gág published The ABC Bunny in 1933, and it went on to win a Newbery Honor the following year. It’s an alphabet book, and it includes hand-lettering by Gág’s brother. Also, music for the text (“ABC Song”) is included in the back of the book in the form of a score. This was composed by Gág’s sister. Clearly, it was a family affair.

Last month, the University of Minnesota Press — Gág was a Minnesotan from an immigrant family — released a board book edition of the book. Though many picture books don’t translate well to board book form, I think this one works.

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A Day for Sandcastles

h1 May 20th, 2022    by jules

I’m always excited to see a picture book with a story concept conceived by JonArno Lawson. Lawson’s newest, A Day for Sandcastles (Candlewick, May 2022), is illustrated by Qin Leng. Even better.

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Yoshi and the Ocean

h1 May 18th, 2022    by jules

I’ve a review over at BookPage of Lindsay Moore’s Yoshi and the Ocean: A Sea Turtle’s Incredible Journey Home (Greenwillow, May 2022).

That is here — it’s a remarkable story, this tale of Yoshi — and below are some spreads.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #794: Featuring Matthew Cordell

h1 May 15th, 2022    by jules

I’m sending you to the Horn Book today to read, if you’re so inclined, my review of Philip Stead’s Every Dog in the Neighborhood (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House), illustrated by Matthew Cordell and arriving on shelves in June. Here’s the review. This is, hands down, one of my favorite picture books thus far this year.

And then, if you’re so inclined again, you can look below to see some spreads.

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The Velveteen Rabbit: A Visit with Erin Stead

h1 May 12th, 2022    by jules

A color sketch
(Click image to enlarge)

When I was a child, I read Margery Williams’s The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real), originally published in 1922, over and over again — so often that I can still recite the book’s first paragraph by memory. I remember feeling chilled by the description of Nana, who “ruled the nursery.” I remember her “swooping about like a great wind” and being short-tempered and careless with the toys. It was my first lesson in how an author can depict so much about a character via their actions alone. I remember the Skin Horse’s words. And I was mesmerized by the fairy.

A reader can certainly have a nostalgic longing for a book they read as a child, but is the book good? I am all the time talking to my picture book grad students about this — about not letting that kind of thing get in the way of evaluating a book on its merits. For me, this book endures. This is why I was excited to see that Erin Stead has illustrated the 100th anniversary edition of the book, released in April by Doubleday. Erin put it well in this NPR piece: “The part that we all remember about talking about what’s real – that really carries with you for the rest of your life with all of the relationships you have, all the friendships that you’ll make, and all the times that people aren’t necessarily kind to you. There’s a lot of insecurities. There’s a lot of figuring out how you belong. It’s hard to shake a story that’s that honest.”

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The Waiting Place

h1 May 10th, 2022    by jules

“Matin is five. He is from Afghanistan. His waiting place is a field of shipping crates turned into homes, just below a misty mountain where ordinary people picnic and hike. …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a children’s book this year as driving, urgent, passionate, and deeply felt as The Waiting Place: When Home Is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found (Candlewick, May 2022), which comes from author Dina Nayeri and photographer Anna Bosch Miralpeix. The book chronicles Nayeri’s and Miralpeix’s 2018 visit to Katsikas, a refugee camp near Ioannina, Greece.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #793: Featuring
The Art of Alice & Martin Provensen
and The Provensen Book of Fairy Tales

h1 May 8th, 2022    by jules

Martin and Alice Provensen
(Click image to enlarge)

I’m goin’ vintage today, you all. If you are fond of reading about picture books, illustration, the history of children’s literature, and (especially) the work of illustrators Alice and Martin Provensen (pictured above), I have two books here at 7-Imp today that will certainly pique your interest — each superb, spectacularly detailed, and lovingly designed.

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The Tale of the Tiny Man

h1 May 5th, 2022    by jules

” … he woke to find a cold nose in his hand! Beside him was a big dog with a beautiful curve in its tail. The dog looked at him kindly and then
laid its heavy head on his shoulder.”

Barbro Lindgren’s The Tale of the Tiny Man, illustrated by Eva Erikkson, is evidently a classic Swedish picture book. Lindgren wrote it in 1979, and it’s been read and loved for nearly 45 years and has even been adapted to the stage. Last month Gecko Press released a new edition, translated by Julia Marshall.

And o! The drama! The pathos! The desolation! The joy! It’s ALL THE FEELINGS. And if the children in your life ask you to read it to them over and over and then some more, don’t be surprised.

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The Great Zapfino: A Visit with Marla Frazee

h1 May 3rd, 2022    by jules

I’ve got a review over at the Horn Book of Mac Barnett’s spectacular The Great Zapfino (Beach Lane, April 2022), illustrated by Marla Frazee.

That review is here. And Marla visits today to talk about creating the illustrations for the book. Fortunately for all of us, she shares lots of images.

Let’s get right to it, and I thank her for sharing.

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Marie Dorléans’s Our Fort

h1 April 28th, 2022    by jules

“It’s spring! Every day, nature calls to us to come outside and play. Birds chirp in the garden. Trees rustle in the sunlight. It’s as if the entire countryside were waiting impatiently for us to wander through it. ‘Hey, guys! Want to go to the fort?’
‘Yes! To the fort!'”

(Click spread to enlarge)

If you saw last year’s exquisite Night Walk (named a 2021 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book) from Marie Dorléans, you might be very happy to know she has a new picture book. Our Fort (The New York Review Children’s Collection) — translated from the French by Alyson Waters and, like The Night Walk, originally published in 2020 — will be on shelves in early May.

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