Archive for the 'Picture Books' Category

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #494: Featuring Serge Bloch

h1 Sunday, July 31st, 2016

“And anyone else who wants to join in.”

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Ian Lendler’s Saturday (Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook, July 2016), illustrated by Serge Bloch. That review is here. Below are some spreads from the book; I always like to see Serge’s art.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Ivan Chermayeff and Giselle Potter

h1 Friday, July 29th, 2016

“… and look proudly at my dollhouse.”


Please! I was thinking I was thinking I love you a billion a zillion a whillion
a gorillion a hippopillion a rhinocerillion an elephantillion”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got Randy Cecil’s Lucy (Candlewick, August 2016) on the mind.

That is here today.

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Last week, I wrote here about Sandol Stoddard Warburg’s The Thinking Book (AMMO Books, May 2016), illustrated by Ivan Chermayeff and originally released in 1960, as well as Giselle Potter’s This Is My Dollhouse (Schwartz & Wade, May 2016). Below is a bit of art from each book.


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Jon Agee’s Lion Lessons

h1 Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

A zippy-quick post (because I’m in the final stages of packing a home this week)! Have you seen Jon Agee’s newest picture book, Lion Lessons (Dial, July 2016)? Here’s a story filled with Agee goodness — his understated humor, solid storytelling, and soft, no-nonsense palette. This one is about a boy who takes up lion lessons, just as the title tells you. His teacher, a great lion with (if you pay attention to the book’s details) a degree from the Harvard School of Claw, takes the boy under his wing, teaching him Looking Fierce, Roaring, Choosing What to Eat, Prowling Around, Sprinting, Pouncing, and Looking Out for Your Friends (all kicked off with some stretching). The boy isn’t exactly a star student, but there’s a lot of humor along the way — especially, as mentioned, in the details of the spreads. The boy succeeds in the end, complete with a Lion Diploma and the adoring creatures pictured above. (A lionhearted pounce, after all, can also go hand in hand with looking out for a friend.)

Here’s a bit of art from the book so that you can see more for yourself.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #493: Featuring Geraldo Valério

h1 Sunday, July 24th, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

Today’s post is a bit of a sneak peek at an upcoming picture book from Groundwood Books. Geraldo Valério’s Turn on the Night will be out this September, but I’ve got a few spreads from it today.

This is the wordless tale of a girl, at night, who’s fallen asleep, book in hand. This book looks very similar to Valério’s very story. Suddenly, the creature in the pages of the book leaps out through the window, and the girl is nowhere to be seen. Readers realize she has become the wolf-like creature who has leaped out of the house. The following pages show her as the wolf having a night-time adventure with the rooster just outside of her home, as well as a deer they meet. They fly to a star, the rooster grabs it, and the wolf returns to her home, lighting up the stringed lights around the headboard on the girl’s bed — really, he lights up her entire room. There, suddenly, is the girl again, sleeping happily.

It’s a simple, but magical, plot with Valério’s rich colors; the palette is dominated by deep blues and lush greens. He captures with a seeming ease the euphoria of dreams of flight, as well as the cryptic nature of dreams, even ones that leave you with a smile on your face. The Publishers Weekly review writes that there is a “giddy sense of possibility” in this story. Indeed.

Here are a couple more spreads. Enjoy!

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #492: Featuring Harry Bliss

h1 Sunday, July 17th, 2016

“A boy sheep is a ram. He has horns. The horns do not come off.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review here over at BookPage of Jeanne Birdsall’s My Favorite Pets: By Gus W. for Ms. Smolinksi’s Class, released by Knopf this month. Here at 7-Imp today, I’m featuring some of the books spreads from Harry Bliss.


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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jeff Newman

h1 Friday, July 15th, 2016

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got story time on the mind. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Dan Richards’ Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?, illustrated by Jeff Newman (coming to shelves in August from Simon & Schuster). Today, I have a few spreads from the book, but Jeff also shares some preliminary images.

You’ll see below some early sketches, as well as some (the ones broken into four grids) that represent an early version of the story in which Evan and his mother spent most of the story at their apartment. (In the final version, they stay at the zoo.) You’ll also see some finishes from, as Jeff puts it, “a more stylized, scrapped version of the book (before we took it in a slightly more realistic direction).”

I thank Jeff for sharing.


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The End Game with Isabel Roxas

h1 Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

Pictured above is, according to illustrator Isabel Roxas, one of many cover designs from Minh Lê’s debut picture book, Let Me Finish!, released by Disney/Hyperion last month. This is the story of a young boy trying to read, trying to reach the end of a book and experience the surprises in store, yet all around are his animal friends, revealing spoilers at every turn. At each spoiler, the boy picks up a new book, only to have its ending revealed as well. Lê paces the story well, building tension as the story progresses (and as the boy attempts to steal away and find a successful, interruption-free reading spot), giving readers a mammoth-sized surprise of his own at the end. (But I won’t ruin it for you.)

Roxas has illustrated many books in the Philippines but currently lives in the U.S. and is here to talk about creating the illustrations for this one. I thank her for sharing. Let’s get to it.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #491: Featuring Antoinette Portis

h1 Sunday, July 10th, 2016

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Antoinette Portis’s entertaining new picture book, Best Frints in the Whole Universe (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, July 2016).

The review is here. Now, normally I’d share some spreads from the book here, but Antoinette actually already shared some spreads from this one here at 7-Imp. When she visited in August of last year to talk about Wait, she talked about Best Frints and shared a handful of spreads. So, if you want to check those out, they are here in this post — towards the bottom.

It was fun to give you all a sneak-peek of Best Frints last year, but it’s even better to see it on shelves now.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Greg Pizzoli, Salina Yoon, and Toni Yuly

h1 Friday, July 8th, 2016

— From Salina Yoon’s Duck, Duck, Porcupine!


“Cat is sleepy. He wants to nap.
Kitten is curious. She wants to play …”
— From Toni Yuly’s
Cat Nap
(Click to enlarge)


— From Greg Pizzoli’s What’s an Apple?

Today over at Kirkus, I look at Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly? (coming to shelves in August from Simon & Schuster) in which Dan Richards and Jeff Newman explore what it looks like to a child when a parent stares into a cell phone. But mostly they tell an entertaining story. With floating elephants.

That is here.

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Last week I wrote here about Salina Yoon’s Duck, Duck, Porcupine! (Bloomsbury, May 2016); Toni Yuly’s Cat Nap (Feiwel & Friends, January 2016); and Marilyn Singer’s What’s an Apple? and What’s a Banana?, both illustrated by Greg Pizzoli and coming to shelves in August from Abrams.

I’ve got art from each book below, and Greg also shares some early character sketches and such.


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My Kirkus Q&A with Jeannie Baker

h1 Thursday, July 7th, 2016

I was lucky enough to have Raymond Briggs as one of my tutors at Art College. I think he has inspired me more than anyone. As a tutor, he was always very positive and encouraging. Initially, I had a very small and clichéd idea of what a children’s picture book should be. Raymond’s work made me realize the potential of a picture book — that its boundaries and possibilities are wide and exciting and, mostly, that I’m only limited by my imagination.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Australian author-illustrator Jeannie Baker, pictured here, about her newest picture book, Circle (Candlewick, May 2016).

That is here this morning. Next week at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some art from the book.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Jeannie used by permission of Candlewick Press.