Archive for the 'Picture Books' Category

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Karen Lewis, Tom Sullivan, and Jennifer Thermes

h1 Friday, October 7th, 2016

— From Tom Sullivan’s I Used to Be a Fish
(Click to enlarge spread)


“After almost four years of exploring,
it was time to start the long voyage home. …”
— From Jennifer Thermes’
Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure
(Click to enlarge spread)


“This is our Grandmother Fish. …”
— From Jonathan Tweet’s
Grandmother Fish:
A Child’s First Book of Evolution, illustrated by Karen Lewis
(Click to enlarge spread)


Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got Henri Rousseau, René Magritte, Mordicai Gerstein, and Klaas Verplancke on the mind. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about some new picture books about evolution (though one is more specifically about Charles Darwin) — Jonathan Tweet’s Grandmother Fish: A Child’s First Book of Evolution (Feiwel & Friends, September 2016), illustrated by Karen Lewis; Jennifer Thermes’ Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure; and Tom Sullivan’s I Used to Be a Fish.

I’ve got some spreads today from each book, and Tom and Jennifer also share some preliminary images (sketches and such). Let’s get to it, and I thank them for sharing.

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The Art of Michele Wood

h1 Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Painting for “Jacob’s Ladder”
(Click to enlarge and see text)

Last week, I chatted here at Kirkus with illustrator Michele Wood about her paintings for Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Song (Millbrook/Lerner, September 2016), which includes text from Cynthia Grady.

Today, I’m following up with some paintings from the book.


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Aaron Becker Returns

h1 Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Early sketch and final art
(Click each to enlarge)

Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Aaron Becker visits 7-Imp today to talk about the close of his Journey trilogy. Return (Candlewick Press), the final picture book in the series, hit shelves in August and tells the further adventures of the girl whose crayon enables her to leave the world of her distracted family and enter a magical one of emperors, majestic birds, rich, cinematic landscapes, and much more. I won’t spoil the read for you, but suffice it to say that the girl’s father, satisfyingly, plays a large part in this final adventure.

I was curious to know how Aaron is feeling at the trilogy’s close, and I thank him for visiting today. He also shares some preliminary images and final art. Let’s get to it.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #503: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Billy Renkl

h1 Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

When I feature the work of student illustrators or those otherwise new to children’s literature on the first Sunday of each month here at 7-Imp, I tend to use the title you see above, which involves the phrase “up-and-coming illustrator.” Somehow that doesn’t seem enough for the work of artist Billy Renkl, who is actually a local artist to me. (He lives and teaches in Clarksville, Tennessee.) He’s been making art and teaching art since the late ’80s. Given that he has a newfound interest, however, in illustrating children’s books—he talks a bit about that below—I’m going to run with the whole “up-and-coming illustrator” moniker, even if he’s been making beautiful art for decades now.

Renkl, who teaches art, drawing, and illustration at Austin Peay State University, works in collage. “The old, retired, images and documents that I use,” he writes at his site, “many from antique didactic texts, allow for the possibility of meaning and metaphor in their peculiar beauty and often accidental æsthetic.” His work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions, and he has also done editorial illustrations for many clients over the years. He’s had work in Creative Quarterly (the current issue, in fact), American Illustration, Society of Illustrator’s Annual, and 3×3.

Not only is Billy sharing some of his captivating artwork today, but he also shares his thoughts on his influences, why he loves collage, how teaching informs his work, and more. I thank him for visiting. Let’s get right to it.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Amy June Bates, Simona Ciraolo, and Owen Swan

h1 Friday, September 30th, 2016

— From Phil Cummings’ Newspaper Hats, illustrated by Owen Swan


“So I ask Nana why, and she tells me it might look that way because of all the lines on her face. ‘Do you mind them, Nana?’ I ask. ‘Not at all,’ she says.
‘You see, it is in these lines that I keep all my memories!'”
— From Simona Ciraolo’s
The Lines on Nana’s Face
(Click to enlarge spread)


“The apple peelings are piling up. / Faith looks at me and says,
Tell us more, Uncle Arthur….”
— From Helen Frost’s
Applesauce Weather,
illustrated by Amy June Bates

(Click to see spread in its entirety)

Over at Kirkus this morning, I’ve got evolution on the mind. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Simona Ciraolo’s The Lines on Nana’s Face (Flying Eye, October 2016); Phil Cummings’ Newspaper Hats (Charlesbridge, October 2016), illustrated by Owen Swan; and Helen Frost’s Applesauce Weather (Candlewick, August 2016), illustrated by Amy June Bates. I’m following up today with a bit of art from each book.


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My Kirkus Q&A with Michele Wood

h1 Thursday, September 29th, 2016

One of the things I am looking at as an artist is: How do I tell the truth? How do I inform the truth of the story so that you may not turn away? The truth is not always pretty.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Michele Wood, quoted and pictured here, about Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Song, released this month from Millbrook/Lerner.

That Q&A is here this morning, and next week here at 7-Imp I’ll follow up with some paintings from the book.

* * * * * * *

Photo of Michele Wood taken by Kevin Parker and used by her permission.

Owl Sees Owl, and I See Rob’s Sketchbook

h1 Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Illustrator Rob Dunlavey is here this morning to talk about creating the illustrations for Laura Godwin’s Owl Sees Owl, released this month by Schwartz & Wade. (Pictured above is an early sketch.) Godwin constructed this story of an owl’s night-time adventure (home, journey, and home again) in the form of a reverso. The text is spare and the illustrations, wondrous. It’s a story possessing a quiet, lovely restraint, and I find that with repeated reads, I spot something new and rewarding.

As you’ll see in some of the images below, it’s also a fitting book for the arrival of Autumn. (To read more, head here to the Horn Book, which featured its starred review of the book as this week’s Review of the Week.)

I thank Rob for visiting to give us a peek into his sketchbook and show some final art. Let’s get to it.

[Incidentally, I got to meet Rob earlier this month, while traveling, and see his sketchbooks in person. Needless to say, his sketches are even better up close and in hand.]

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #502: Featuring The Fan Brothers

h1 Sunday, September 25th, 2016

“The next day seemed to last forever. But finally, when the Moon was shining over the lake and the summer wind was ruffling the leaves of the trees, Chris ran next door.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Chris Hadfield’s The Darkest Dark (Little, Brown, September 2016)), illustrated by The Fan Brothers. That review is here, and I’ve got a couple of spreads from it to share here at 7-Imp today.

You may have seen from earlier this year The Fan Brothers’ The Night Gardener. If you didn’t see it, it’s your lucky day: You can see a handful of spreads from it here at their site.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Matt Phelan

h1 Friday, September 23rd, 2016

At Kirkus today, I’ve got picture books and grandparents on the mind. That is here.

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Last week I wrote here about Matt Phelan’s Snow White: A Graphic Novel (Candlewick, September 2016), as well as Shaun Tan’s The Singing Bones (Scholastic, October 2016). I’ve got a bit of art here today from Phelan’s book, as well as some preliminary images he sent along, but unfortunately I don’t have any images from Tan’s book. You can, however, see some here at his site.


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A Moment with the Art of Edel Rodriguez

h1 Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

“… By the time of his bar mitzvah, Lenny could make the gesture easily with either hand. His fingers looked like the letter shin, which, he’d learned in Hebrew school, was the first letter of the word shalom, or “peace,”
Shaddal, one of the names for God.”

I’m following up last week’s Kirkus Q&A with author Richard Michelson and illustrator Edel Rodriguez with a bit of Edel’s art from Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy, on shelves this month from Knopf.


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