Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #637: Featuring The Great Indoors

h1 Sunday, May 5th, 2019



 
I’m sending you to the Horn Book’s site today for a review I wrote of Julie Falatko’s very funny The Great Indoors (Disney-Hyperion, April 2019), illustrated by Ruth Chan. The review is here.

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #610: Featuring Arthur Geisert

h1 Sunday, October 28th, 2018



 
Arthur Geisert’s latest book, Pumpkin Island (Enchanted Lion, October 2018), is set in the very place the author-illustrator calls home — Elkader, a small city in northeast Iowa. In this story, a storm arrives, sweeping a pumpkin down the river. After it breaks into pieces and arrives on a small island, the seeds sprout, vines stretch, and before anyone knows it, the vines have stretched across the bridge and into town — and pumpkins begin to appear everywhere.

Read the rest of this entry �

A Visit from Erin Stead . . .

h1 Tuesday, January 16th, 2018



 
Over here at Kirkus at the tail end of last year, I wrote briefly (in my 2017 Children’s Book Ghost File) about The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip Stead with illustrations by Erin Stead. You can head over there to read what I wrote, if you’re so inclined, but it boils down to this: What a remarkable achievement this book is. And what an entertaining story.

I also mentioned the exquisite illustrations by Erin. Today, I am getting out of the way and handing 7-Imp over to her so that she can share what it was like (for both her and Phil) to take on this project. She also shares lots of images and art, which you know makes this blogger happy. I thank her for sharing.

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #500 (!):
Featuring Carin Bramsen (Again)

h1 Sunday, September 11th, 2016



 
Look at that number up there. FIVE HUNDRED WEEKS of kickin’, you all! Hard to believe, isn’t it?

I think that it’s fitting that we are celebrating kicking on a day that is a sad anniversary for so many people (9/11), because the whole idea of kicking is trying your damnedest to find the light in something, even if it’s been a hard week. There are some weeks it’s even hard for me to find seven whole kicks, but I usually manage it. It’s a good little exercise, huh?

So, thank you all for kickin’ with me for so long — for meeting here every Sunday to take the time to reflect (as I type every week) 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. (Thanks to Eisha, who founded the blog with me, for that wording.) I’m re-posting this image from Carin Bramsen. As I note on this page of my site, where I explain what 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks are, kicks kind of make you feel like the children in that image do, even if you’re not wearing a tutu on your head.

Read the rest of this entry �

My Q&A with Renée Watson: I, Too, Arts Collective

h1 Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Langston’s poetry was an early mirror for me. As a child, I didn’t read many novels where the characters looked like me, talked like me, were concerned with the same issues I was worried about. Poetry was where I found my people. In the lines and stanzas of Langston’s poems, my grandmother called out to me, my dark skin and crinkly hair was beautiful, and the stories of my ancestors were honored. There was strength, anger, grace, and ambition all there for the taking. I needed that as a child, and I believe our young people need that now. “

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to children’s book and YA author Renée Watson, pictured above, about I, Too, Arts Collective, her initiative to turn the brownstone in Harlem where legendary poet Langston Hughes once lived into “a space for poets, a space to honor his legacy.”

That is here this morning.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Renée taken by NAACP and used by her permission.

The Moon Inside

h1 Tuesday, August 16th, 2016


“Every night, when the dark entered the house, traveling slowly down the walls
and over the floors, Ella grew afraid.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 
Coming to shelves next month from Groundwood is Sandra V. Feder’s The Moon Inside, illustrated by Aimée Sicuro. I like this book so much I want to show you all some spreads from it today.

This is the gently-paced story of a young girl, named Ella, afraid of the dark. There’s no shortage of picture books on this topic, but Feder and Sicuro handle this with such care and thoughtfulness; it really stands out. Note, for one, in the spread featured above, the book’s opening spread, how evocatively and accurate Feder describes how the dark appears to a child (or, more precisely, how it moves). Ella turns on the lights in each room she enters in order “to make the dark go away.” The sun makes Ella happy, and yellow—which dominates the book’s paelette—is her favorite color. For this reason, she avoids dusk.

Read the rest of this entry �

Jeannie Baker’s Circle

h1 Thursday, July 14th, 2016


“Following an ancient, invisible pathway high above the clouds,
each bird takes a turn to lead the way south.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 

Last week, I chatted over at Kirkus (here) with Australian author-illustrator Jeannie Baker. It was fascinating to read her description of her collage-making process. Today, I’m following up with two spreads from her newest book, Circle (Candlewick, May 2016).

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Boris Kulikov

h1 Friday, July 1st, 2016


“‘You’re really going?’ his mother said.
‘Yes.’ Angus put on his backpack.
‘I’ll miss you.’
‘No, you won’t,’ Angus said, and left.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 
Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got some new emerging-reader books on the mind. That link is here.

* * *

I’ve got a couple of spreads here today at 7-Imp from Patrick Downes’s Come Home, Angus (Orchard/Scholastic, July 2016), illustrated by Boris Kulikov. I wrote about the book here at Kirkus last week. You can click below to see one more spread.

Enjoy.

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #467: Featuring Raúl Colón

h1 Sunday, January 24th, 2016


“Sometimes in class I’d gaze at a large map that hung on the wall. …
What would it be like to look out at nothing but dark blue as far as the eye could see?”

(Click to see full spread and read text in its entirety)


 
Good morning, all. I’ve got a review here over at BookPage of Robert Burleigh’s Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, January 2016), illustrated by Raúl Colón.

I’m following up with some art from it today.

Read the rest of this entry �

Bob Shea and Ballet Cat Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Pictured above is a sketch of the stars of Bob Shea’s new early reader series, Ballet Cat. That’s Ballet Cat herself and her best friend, Sparkle Pony.

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret (Disney-Hyperion) hits shelves early next month. Shea, one of the funniest authors in the field today, captures well the dynamics of play when one friend is a bit more domineering than the other. (I relate all too well. When I was little, it was Daring Donna across the street, who’d try to get me to leap from the playground swing and grab on to the pole on the other side of the swingset.) All’s well that ends well with these two best friends, but things are tenuous for a while there while Sparkle Pony admits that he isn’t fond of ballet, the one thing that Ballet Cat enjoys the most. The text is minimal; the illustrations, uncluttered; the humor, distinctive; and the comic timing, spot-on. Shea captures expressive body language in both characters with simple and bold lines, and he plays with font size to add humor and meaning.

Bob is here today to share some images from the original Ballet Cat pitch (it’s remarkable, as you can see below, how much the story was pared down for what readers hold in their hands), some early sketches, and some final art. We also talk a bit below about the very funny Dinosaur Vs. Mommy (also Disney-Hyperion), which was released last month.

I thank him for visiting.

Read the rest of this entry �