Archive for the 'Picture Books' Category

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Debbie Ridpath Ohi

h1 Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

If I had to create at, say, knife-point a list of the Funniest Picture Books of the Last Decade (that sounds violent, but I’m not a fan myself of creating such superlatives-lists), I’d put Michael Ian Black’s I’m Bored, illustrated by my guest Debbie Ridpath Ohi (her illustrated self-portrait is above), on that list. What can I say? I’m a fan of the potato.

Know what else I am? Slow. Or busy. Or both. When Debbie released a new picture book last year, one she’d both written and illustrated, she sent me these interview responses, and I’m just now getting around to posting the interview. I thank her for her patience — and also this image of us getting ready for breakfast:

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It looks like we’re having tea and toast, though I’ll have to make some coffee too. Also, we’ll have steelcut oatmeal with raisins, because that’s her breakfast-of-choice. “I like the texture,” Debbie tells me, “especially if they’re fresh-cooked and a little crunchy. I never used to like oatmeal until I read Angela’s Ashes.”

I really enjoyed this interview, because I learned quite a few new things about Debbie. You think you know someone—at least from their public persona—and then they up and surprise you. I like that. Also, I like the way she sees the world (her found-object art being a lovely case-in-point). Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Thanks again to Debbie for visiting. …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #466: Featuring Andrea D’Aquino

h1 Sunday, January 17th, 2016

“Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea.
‘I don’t see any wine,’ she remarked.”

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I’ve got the artwork today of art director, illustrator, and graphic designer Andrea D’Aquino. In this, her debut, she provides illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as part of a series from Rockport Publishers, called Classics Reimagined. D’Aquino’s interpretation of this story is bold, beautiful, and surreal; her watercolor, collaged artwork provides a modern, fresh look at a story many know so well. It’s a thoughtfully-bound book; go here and scroll down to see images of how the publisher worked quotes into the book’s exterior. (They put quotes on the page’s edges, a nice touch.)

Andrea shares quite a bit of art below from the book, so let’s get right to it so that you can see for yourself. I thank her for sharing!

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jessica Ahlberg

h1 Friday, January 15th, 2016

“‘Oh!’ said Lucy. ‘I know where we are.'”
(Click to enlarge spread)


Above is a spread from Jessica Ahlberg’s Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker: A Peek-Through Story (Candlewick, March 2016), which I wrote about here at Kirkus last week.

Today, I’ve got a look at Carole Boston Weatherford’s Freedom in Congo Square (Little Bee Books, January 2016), illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. That is here.

Until Sunday …

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FAIRY TALES FOR MR. BARKER. Copyright © 2016 by Jessica Ahlberg. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

Maya’s Blanket / La manta de maya

h1 Thursday, January 14th, 2016

” … under her own special, magical manta. /
… bajo su propia manta especial y mágica.”

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Here’s a quick post, featuring the artwork of David Díaz. The illustrations are from author Monica Brown’s Maya’s Blanket/la manta de Maya (Lee & Low, August 2015). Last week Monica and I chatted over here at Kirkus, so here are a few spreads from the book.


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A 2016 Picture Book Preview, Featuring Iacopo Bruno, Bryan Collier, Laura Dronzek, Rick Lieder, Josée Masse, Yuyi Morales, Zachariah OHora, and Red Nose Studio

h1 Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Pictured above is one of the characters from Ame Dyckman’s upcoming picture book (coming in April), illustrated by Zachariah OHora. I love this girl’s shock of red hair. She’s welcoming you all to a sort of illustration dump today. Well, that phrasing sounds very ineloquent, but it’s a happy thing.

About two weeks ago, I wrote over here at Kirkus about some upcoming early-2016 picture books—-collaborations between authors and illustrators, some new pairings and some to which we readers are accustomed—and I follow up today here at 7-Imp with some art from each one.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #465: Featuring E. B. Lewis

h1 Sunday, January 10th, 2016

“… When the gavel slammed down to end court that day, it announced change all over the country. And in its echo, you could hear the sound of Sarah’s first steps
to school and her long road to justice.”

(Click image to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)

Hi, dear kickers. I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Susan E. Goodman’s The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial, illustrated by E. B. Lewis (Bloomsbury, January 2016).

That review is here, if you’d like to learn more about the book. Since I always like to follow up with some art, I’ve got a few spreads from the book here today.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus Today

h1 Friday, January 8th, 2016


Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got some thoughts about the book pictured above, the first one both written and illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. It was originally published last year in the UK but hits American shelves this March.

That is here today.

Until later …

Kirkus Q & A: Monica Brown

h1 Thursday, January 7th, 2016

These books represent my desire that our multiracial and multicultural children are not considered ‘fractions’ but rather celebrated for containing multitudes.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Monica Brown, pictured here, about her newest picture book, Maya’s Blanket/la manta de Maya (Lee & Low). It was released back in August and illustrated by David Díaz. We also discuss what’s next on her plate for 2016.

That link is here today.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll showcase some spreads from the book.

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Photo of Monica used by her permission.


Revisiting Dire Lullabies to Great Effect
with Linda Ashman and Simona Mulazzani

h1 Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

“Baby has fallen into a nest, / Cozy and snug now, starting to rest. /
Mama Crow frets, ‘This bird is too big!’ / Nudges the babe …”

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If you’re talkin’ nursery rhymes/Mother Goose rhymes and their inherent eccentricities (the rhymes themselves and their origins), I think many people would agree that one of the oddest of all is “Rock-a-bye Baby,” what with the falling baby from the treetops. It’s macabre, to say the least.

One of my favorite picture book authors is Linda Ashman. She consistently brings the goods. Her brand-new book (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House), illustrated by Italian artist Simona Mulazzani, is an early-2016 treat. (It’s coming to shelves this month.) It’s called Rock-a-Bye Romp, and it almost reads as Ashman’s response to this bizarre traditional rhyme, yet it’s not as if she’s trying to fix the rhyme. It’s not as if she’s saying anything is wrong with it. In fact, she does her part to extend the wonderful madness of the tale — yet brings it all full-circle with lots of warmth.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #464: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Erin McLaughlin

h1 Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

It’s the first Sunday of the month, fellow kickers, and that means a student or debut illustrator. I’ve got the former today, a student from Montserrat College of Art. Erin McLaughlin is nearly done with her studies, tells us all about herself below, and also shares some of her art with its bright palettes and simple shapes. (It’s almost as if a child’s toys have come to life, her pieces below.) So, let’s get right to it. I’m handing it over to Erin now. …

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