Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

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 �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #426: Featuring The Mad Hatter

h1 Sunday, April 5th, 2015


I’m typing this on Saturday night, and we’ve just returned from a week-long vacation to New York City. I’m pretty worn out, and since I took (most of) the week off from blogging, I’ve got no art today. Since I can’t NOT have images, though, here’s a photo of me and my girls at the Alice statue in Central Park. I figured that was mighty fitting, given the banner at this blog, though I apologize that the Hatter’s in the shadows a bit here.

So, my kicks from the week are legion: Being able to take a vacation to begin with; Central Park; Times Square; Lady Liberty (I have this weird phobia of giant iconic monuments, but she was far away enough on the ferry to not frighten me with her ginormous-ness); a Broadway show; a little girl who was sick for just one day (not a kick that she was sick, but it’s a kick that she wasn’t sick for multiple days); the graciousness of Brian Floca, Sophie Blackall, Edward Hemingway, and John Bemelmans Marciano in allowing us to visit their studio; seeing an old friend; the Met; the planetarium; the library lions; and much more. The biggest kick of all is that it was my girls’ first time to NYC.

Oh, and I ended up in a segment (as in, made an utter fool of myself, but hey, why not?) on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon as my family and I walked past 30 Rock. Given that I’m a huge SNL fan, it was neat to be one degree removed (or however that works) from Fallon, though my secret wish to see SNL’s Kyle Mooney on the streets, filming one of his bizarre short videos, was left unfulfilled. Oh, and I brushed past Kate McKinnon in 30 Rock. WHY DIDN’T I ASK FOR A PHOTO? Oof.

Good to be home, too.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

A Peek into Roller Girl

h1 Thursday, March 12th, 2015


Last week at Kirkus, I had a lovely conversation (here) with Victoria Jamieson about her graphic novel, Roller Girl (Dial, March 2015). Today, she shares some early sketches and final art (without text) from the book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Victoria Jamieson and Roller Girl

h1 Thursday, March 5th, 2015

The issue of friendships ending was certainly central for me, and it was the concept I was most interested in exploring in the book. Although the details of the story are different, the heart of the issue—the pain of a slipping friendship—was from my own experience.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I have a back-and-forth with author-illustrator Victoria Jamieson, pictured here, about her first graphic novel for children, Roller Girl, which will be on shelves next week — and which is really good.

That link is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art from the book, as well as some early sketches and such.

Until tomorrow …


Photo of Victoria taken by Herminio Jacome and used by permission of the author.

Christopher Myers’ My Pen

h1 Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

“But I know my pen can do anything, anywhere. There are a million pens in the world and each one has a million worlds inside it. So if you have a pen,
see what you can do—let those worlds inside your pen out!”

(Click to enlarge and spread in its entirety)

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Christopher Myers’ newest picture book, My Pen (Disney-Hyperion, March 2015).

That review is here, and I’m following up today with a few spreads from the book.


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Indies First Day

h1 Monday, November 24th, 2014

See this?

It’s IndieBound’s list, by state, of which authors and illustrators will appear at their local indies as volunteers on Saturday, November 29, for Indies First Day. Nashville folks, I’ll be volunteering at Parnassus Books from 10 to 11, and I’ll do story time during that hour with my friend, author Jessica Young. Bring your wee ones to us!

Sherman Alexie started Indies First Day last year, encouraging authors to work a shift in their local independent bookstore on Small Business Saturday. This year, Indies First is being spearheaded by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.

Hope to see you there!

My Chapter 16 chat with G. Neri …

h1 Monday, November 17th, 2014


Over at Chapter 16 today, I talk with author G. Neri about his new picture book biography, Hello, I’m Johnny Cash, illustrated by A. G. Ford.

That Q&A is here.

What I’m Doing at Kirkus (And a Couple of Other Places) This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Icinori, Jöns Mellgren,
Alexandria Neonakis, and Kazue Takahashi

h1 Friday, November 7th, 2014

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Kristy Dempsey’s A Dance Like Starlight, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. It was released back in January, but sometimes I’m just slow. That link is here.

The other day over at Chapter 16, I interviewed Chris Van Allsburg. He’ll be in Nashville next week. I can’t make it to his talk, but it was good to ask him a bit about his new book and what’s next for him.

And over at BookPage, I reviewed Jim Aylesworth’s My Grandfather’s Coat, illustrated by Barbara McClintock. That is here.

Last week (here) at Kirkus, I wrote about four new international imports, and I’ve got art from each below. (Above is an illustration from Kazue Takahashi’s Kuma-Kuma Chan, The Little Bear.)

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Halloween May Be Over, But …

h1 Thursday, November 6th, 2014

… I still have some spine-tingling art to share here at 7-Imp today.

Last week, I chatted here with author James Preller over at Kirkus. We chatted about several things, including his Scary Tales series (Feiwel & Friends), which are illustrated by Iacopo Bruno.

Today, I’ve got some of Bruno’s art from the Scary Tale books. (Pictured above is an illustration from One-Eyed Doll, the newest in the series.)

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Preparing Your Supply of Light

h1 Thursday, October 30th, 2014

“Ripe mango / Fresh mango / Yellow mango / Mango in-between / Mango clusters / Balance yourself below the branch / Produce more mangos / That taste of honey and delight / For the lovers of the universe / All while preparing your supply of light”
(a poem from Maríe-Andriele Charlot)

This morning, the New York Times Best Illustrated Books list for 2014 was announced. It’s here. I get excited every Fall about this list. If you love picture books, it’s a kick to see these lists, because how often are picture books celebrated on a national scale? I was happy to wake up and see the list had been announced.

You can see 2014 posts about nearly all of these books in the 7-Imp archives, but this morning I highlight one book I was particularly happy to see on this list, which I hadn’t yet blogged about. In fact, just yesterday I had connected with the publisher, thanks to wonderful Ellen Myrick of Myrick Marketing and Media, to try to secure some illustrations from the book to feature here at 7-Imp, because I really like it. And this morning, those images came through, so what good timing. Enjoy the art today! And congrats to the illustrator for being on the NYTimes list.

The book is called Haiti, My Country. Originally published in 2010, this English edition (March 2014) comes to us by way of Fifth House Publishers. It was illustrated by a Canadian artist, name Rogé. You can see more of his beautiful work here. The book is a series of poems, written by young people of Camp-Perrin in Haiti. For several months, the illustrator, who lives in Quebec and who was evidently awarded the Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration in 2006, worked on these portraits. The book primarily focuses on the joy in their lives, though as the publisher writes so vividly, “misery often storms through Haiti” (earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters). There are some exceptions, such as with the striking short poem: “Magnificent country becomes / Broken land / All smiles are lost.” But, as one young poet writes, there is always hope: “On the distant horizon, the sun disappears / To refresh our souls. / We observe the sea and the sky / In harmony, awaking tenderness within us.”

Here’s another illustration: Read the rest of this entry �