Archive for the 'Picture Books' Category

A Visit with Stephen Alcorn: For the Love of Drawing

h1 Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

The Alcorn Homestead & Gallery; Mixed media on paper

Pictured above is an image from illustrator and printmaker Stephen Alcorn. It depicts the home he grew up in; Stephen’s father was artist, designer, and children’s book illustrator John Alcorn, who died in 1992. (There’s more information here at 7-Imp about John and his work.)

Stephen is visiting 7-Imp once again today, in an in-his-own-words type of piece, to talk about his work and, specifically, the teaching he’s been doing in beautiful Florence, Italy. Stephen is a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University/School of the Arts. Florence is also where he spent his formative years.

Let’s get right to it. …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #459: Featuring Csil

h1 Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

“Yes, but how? Traveling is out of the question!
Cathy is much too weak to go on an expedition.
What to do …? What to do …?
Cathy tries to laugh and tells Eiffel with a wink,
‘You could build us a railway that takes us up to the clouds in a blink.'”

(Click to enlarge)

When the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015 were recently announced, I noticed Alice Brière-Haquet’s Madame Eiffel: The Love Story of the Eiffel Tower, illustrated by Csil, on the list. Published for English readers this year by Little Gestalten but originally published in French, this book has been sitting in one of many giant stacks of new picture books in my home for a while now, but there’s nothing like the NYT list to make you sit up and pay attention and go pull a book out of its pile.

I can see the pull the book must have had on this year’s judges, especially since the award is given for illustration — and the artwork is elegant, graceful. It’s the story of engineer Gustave Eiffel and his wife, Cathy, “the prettiest girl in Paris.” As the sub-title tells you, it’s a love story. Cathy gets ill, and Eiffel builds the tower in her honor. “Rumor has it that sometimes at night you can see their shadow appear in the street light.”

Here’s what the judges wrote about Csil’s artwork:

With a strict palette of black and white with dabs of light rosy red, Csil’s intricate, lacy pen-and-ink illustrations convey Eiffel’s keen attention to detail, along with the allure of Paris and the high-flying ambition of his tower. The effect is romantic and utterly charming, inviting you to look and look at the pages.

Here are a couple more spreads from the book so that you can see for yourself. …

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring John Hendrix

h1 Friday, November 20th, 2015

Last week at Kirkus, I wrote here about Tom Angleberger’s McToad Mows Tiny Island (Abrams, September 2015), illustrated by John Hendrix. Today, let’s take a peek inside the book. If John Hendrix’s art doesn’t wake you up this morning, I don’t know what will.

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There have been a lot of discussions this week about refugee resettlement in the wake of terrorist attacks across the globe. My column at Kirkus today was prompted by that and some thoughts on responding with compassion — and three older picture books, in particular, that come to my mind. That link is here.

Enjoy John’s art below!

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More from Lisbeth Zwerger . . .

h1 Thursday, November 19th, 2015

“‘It is the same thing with you,’ said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn’t much.”

Today, I’m following up my Q&A last week with Lisbeth Zwerger—be sure to check out the piece Witch Has Turned Child Into an Apple, created when she was five, because I love it!— with some art from the three following Zwerger books:

  • L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard Oz, for which Lisbeth originally created the illustrations in 1996 but NorthSouth Books is releasing in a new edition this month;
  • Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, for which Lisbeth originally created the illustrations in 2004 but Minedition released in a (mini) new edition last month;
  • and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, for which Lisbeth originally created the illustrations in 1999 but Minedition is also releasing in a mini edition next year.


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One Picture-Book Roundtable Discussion
Before Breakfast #5: Featuring Team Roar!

h1 Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Good morning, Imps. I’ve got another picture book roundtable discussion today, this one with the team behind Roar!, which was released by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster in October.

Roar!, written by Tammi Sauer, tells the story of a young boy playing imaginatively in his home-made dragon costume. He’s pretty pumped about his big, scary dragon get-up. But then two dragons appear and tell him he’s not actually scary, big, toothy, and fierce. The boy deflates at the news, but then the dragons try to cheer him up — only to realize there are a lot of feats they can’t pull off themselves. All’s well that ends well when the boy comes to realize he’s made some new friends.

Back here in 2013, the book’s illustrator, Liz Starin, visited 7-Imp. (Liz is also one of the blogger’s at the wonderful Pen & Oink.) This is her picture book debut, and I knew I’d want to have her back to the site to talk about it. But she’s not alone, as I said: Tammi’s also here, as well as the book’s designer, Laurent Linn, and its editor, Sylvie Frank. They’re here to talk about the book’s creation.

Let’s get to it. I thank them for visiting. (Note: There’s also a sneak-peek below of new art from James E. Ransome and Vanessa Brantley-Newton.)

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Peace Through the Words of Jane Goodall
and the Art of Feeroozeh Golmohammadi

h1 Monday, November 16th, 2015

“We pray for the victims of violence and war,
for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.”

(Click to enlarge)

I’m going to keep this really short and merely say that it seems like a good week to post some art from naturalist Jane Goodall’s A Prayer for World Peace, which Minedition released this month. The illustrations from Iranian artist Feeroozeh Golmohammadi are captivating. Goodall’s text is a plea for us all to, with humility, “shun dogma,” “become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion,” remember the refugees forced from their homes, end cruelty, take care of our planet and its animals, “learn to take nothing for granted in this life,” and much more.

Let’s just let the art do the talking. There’s more of it below.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #458: Featuring Simona Mulazzani

h1 Sunday, November 15th, 2015

(Click to enlarge)

Good morning, all. I’d initially planned on another post for today, but it will have to wait, since I wasn’t able to secure all the art for it in time.

Instead, I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Alessandro Gatti’s and Pierdomenico Baccalario’s The Story of Snowflake and Inkdrop, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani and released by Enchanted Lion Books this month. The book was originally published two years ago in Italy.

The review is here, and below is some more art from the book.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Nicole Gsell and Mark Pett

h1 Friday, November 13th, 2015

— From Mark Pett’s Lizard from the Park


“Scritch. Scratch. Chip! Whoosh! The swift family swarms from the chimney. …”
— From Marilyn Grohoske Evans’
Spit & Sticks: A Chimney Full of Swifts,
illustrated by Nicole Gsell

(Click to enlarge spread and read full text)

This morning over at Kirkus I write about Tom Angleberger’s new picture book, McToad Mows Tiny Island (Abrams, September 2015), illustrated by John Hendrix. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Mark Pett’s Lizard from the Park (Simon & Schuster, September 2015), as well as Marilyn Grohoske Evans’ Spit & Sticks: A Chimney Full of Swifts, illustrated by Nicole Gsell (Charlesbridge, September 2015), so I’ve got art from each book today.

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The One. The Only.

h1 Thursday, November 12th, 2015

I’ve got a chat this morning over at Kirkus with one of my favorite illustrators, Lisbeth Zwerger. That is here.

Next week here at 7-Imp I’ll have lots more of Zwerger’s art.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Ms. Zwerger used by permission and taken by Willy Puchner.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #457: Featuring Jane Manning

h1 Sunday, November 8th, 2015

” … only / Miss Augusta / and I / are here /
in a room / filled with magic / story / rhyme. …”

(Click image to see in detail and read the poem in its entirety)

I’m keeping things very brief today here at 7-Imp, though I do hope you leave your kicks from the week, because I’m traveling now. I’m in D.C. to moderate the third annual picture book panel at Politics & Prose. This will be tonight and is all about picture books for older readers with Jason Chin, Jacqueline Woodson, Christopher Myers, John Parra, and Chris Soentpiet. I’m looking forward to the discussion.

I’m sharing today my very favorite spread from Jumping Off Library Shelves: A Book of Poems (WordSong, September 2015), selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Jane Manning. These are poems about libraries, blessed libraries, and I love this spread so much, as it pays tribute to the one and only Augusta Baker.

Note for any new readers: 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 week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

I do hope you leave your kicks, and it may take me a while to respond this week — but I will.

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