Archive for the 'Picture Books' Category

Bedtime Bliss: Jane Smiley’s
and Lauren Castillo’s Twenty Yawns

h1 Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Sketch and final art: “She spread her blankie over them and kissed them good night. Now they looked sleepy and happy.”

Hello, Imps. I was out of town, and I missed blogging. But I’m back.

And today I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley’s debut picture book, Twenty Yawns (Two Lions, April 2016), illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Such a good one. Here’s the review if you want to read about it, and Lauren shares here today some process images and final art.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #477 and 478:
Featuring James Marshall (and a Tiny Blog Break)

h1 Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Hi, dear kickers! I’m getting on a plane this morning to head to Connecticut. Last year, I was fortunate enough to receive the James Marshall Fellowship from the University of Connecticut. That means I have the opportunity to look through the papers of author-illustrator James Marshall. (Big fan here of his work. I’m excited!) I was going to do that back in October, but it was the week my father passed away. So, I had to re-schedule. And now it’s here — the week I’m finally going!

I’m really looking forward to looking through the Marshall Papers all this week, which means I’ll see lots of sketches and art. I’ll also have the opportunity to meet people up there in Connecticut who knew and love Marshall (who passed away in 1992).

That takes care of all seven of my kicks this week.

I’ll be able to read your kicks later today, BUT I won’t fly back till next Sunday, so this means that a) 7-Imp will be quiet this week and b) this post will still be here Sunday, April 10th, and I’m sorry I won’t have new art for you then. If you want to leave your kicks for next Sunday, too, at this same post, that’d make me happy. But no pressure.

And then after all that, I’ll be back on schedule.

See you on the other side of next week!

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Sydney Smith

h1 Friday, April 1st, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

Today over at Kirkus, I take a look at the newest U.S. release from Japanese author-illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Jo Ellen Bogart’s The White Cat and the Monk, illustrated by Sydney Smith. Today, I follow up with some art from it.


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A Play Date with Hervé Tullet

h1 Thursday, March 31st, 2016

I feel that inspiration is everywhere. You just have to find it. To look, observe — the streets, the walls, the pavement, the windows, the traffic jams, and so on. …

I feel that everybody is ready for this experience, including children. There’s a real connection between art and children. Children don’t know anything, and they are open to understanding everything. That’s their strength. That’s why I feel books can bring children to amazing places.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Hervé Tullet, pictured here, about his newest book, Let’s Play! (Chronicle, March 2016). That chat is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Hervé used by permission of Chronicle Books.


Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Gareth Hinds

h1 Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

If you like the artwork of Gareth Hinds, pictured right, you’re in for a treat today. In this, his breakfast visit to 7-Imp, he shares a whole heapin’ lot of artwork, and it’s my pleasure to feature it.

You may have already heard a lot this year about Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune. (Pictured above is an early sketch from the book.) It is the 256-page nonfiction account, written by Pamela S. Turner and illustrated by Gareth, of the life of 12th-century samurai Minamoto Yoshitsune, and it has been met with a host of starred reviews. Booklist calls it “pure excitement”; Kirkus calls it a “well-researched narrative told with true grit”; and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books writes, “It’s not often that ‘biography’ and ‘page-turner’ come together in one thought, but Turner’s tale of the twelfth-century warrior Minamoto Yoshitsune is just the work to draw samurai fans from the manga and movie aisles into the nonfiction shelves.” It’s even a book getting early Newbery buzz. Gareth’s eloquent brush-and-ink drawings open each chapter of the book.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #476: Featuring Helen Oxenbury

h1 Sunday, March 27th, 2016

“Jack, Zack, and Caspar, brave mariners three,
were building a galleon down by the sea.
Up rose the sides and the stern and the bow.
Zack, the ship’s bosun, worked hard on the prow.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Today, I’ve got some artwork from the great Helen Oxenbury. On shelves this month from Dial is Captain Jack and the Pirates, written by Peter Bently. The book was originally published last year in the UK and was evidently shortlisted for the Kate Greeenaway Medal.

The story is the rhyming adventure of three young boys, engaging in imaginative pirate play on the shore on a warm, sunny day. The boys’ imagination takes them far — rolling on the high seas, running from pirates and roaring hurricanes. They’re young, these adventure-seekers; one is even in a diaper and can usually be seen with his pacifier. Oxenbury’s watercolors are expressive and detailed; the color spreads are full-bleed, as if readers are right there with the boys on their undertaking, and occasionally we see pencil sketches, breaking up the action and giving readers a breath. As usual, Oxenbury puts the endpapers to use to help tell even more of the boys’ story, which all wraps up with the parents calling the boys to the table for sweets and ice cream. (Mmm.)

The Kirkus review calls the book “gently and agreeably thrilling.” Yes. That. Below is one more spread. Enjoy!

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Marie-Louise Gay, Peter McCarty, & Viviane Schwarz

h1 Friday, March 25th, 2016

“‘Let’s find gold,’ said Anna.
‘That would be dangerous and difficult,’ said Crocodile.
‘Good!’ said Anna. ‘Let’s go!'”
— From
How to Find Gold


“This is Badger. And this is Tiger.
They really are best friends.”
— From
Tiger and Badger
(Click to enlarge spread)


“They know their A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s. . . .”
— From
Bunny Dreams
(Click to enlarge spread)

Today at Kirkus, I’ve got some thoughts on Jo Ellen Bogart’s beautiful The White Cat and the Monk (Groundwood, March 2016), illustrated by Sydney Smith. That is here today.

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Last week, I wrote here about three picture books — Viviane Schwarz’s How to Find Gold (Candlewick, March 2016); Emily Jenkins’ Tiger and Badger, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay (Candlewick, February 2016); and Peter McCarty’s Bunny Dreams (Henry Holt, January 2016). Below is a bit more art from each one.

(Sorry about the gutter lines in the McCarty art. Just pretend it’s not there!)


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Following Up with Barbara McClintock . . .

h1 Thursday, March 24th, 2016

“The theater lights dim. The music begins. The curtain rises. The dancers glide onstage. Gracefully they bend, and swirl, and leap. Emma watches every move.
She can feel every lift of the dancers’ arms, every step and pause.”

(Click each to enlarge)

Last week, I chatted with author-illustrator Barbara McClintock over at Kirkus about her newest picture book, Emma and Julia Love Ballet (Scholastic, February 2016). That Q&A is here, and today Barbara visits to share some art and research images.


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A Visit with Larry Day

h1 Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

“… Yes, they said, that youngster Roosevelt is going to do big stuff—
exactly like his famous, older cousin, President Ted.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Illustrator Larry Day is in 7-Imp Land today to talk about creating the artwork for Suzanne Tripp Jurmain’s new picture book (Dial, January 2016), Nice Work, Franklin!. The book—which kicks off the story of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency by emphasizing how much he idolized his cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt—is a lively account of FDR’s challenges and successes as President. Jurmain brings readers an accessible text filled with engaging anecdotes about FDR’s life.

Larry, who has illustrated many books about American history, talks here today about the artwork, what a Wolff pencil is, and why he likes illustrating nonfiction in general.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #475: Featuring Cécile Gambini

h1 Sunday, March 20th, 2016

“Don’t I look like a living painting? …”
(Click to enlarge and read text)

Next month will see the U.S. publication of a book called Strange Trees: And the Stories Behind Them, written by Bernadette Pourquié and illustrated by Cécile Gambini (Princeton Architectural Press). It was a book first published in France, evidently the winner of the Prix Versailles Lire Au Jardin. The Kirkus review calls it a “charmingly illustrated but odd French import.”

The book features sixteen real but unusual trees, who speak directly to the reader in a first-person voice. There’s the cocoa tree, which Pourquié calls the “Chocolate Tree” and gives you cocoa paste; the Davidia or “Ghost Tree” (with its white leaves that “look like lightweight white sheets floating on the breeze”), pictured below; the multicolored Mindanao Gum Tree or “Rainbow Tree,” pictured above; and more. Each tree “speaks” in a chatty, accessible voice and is accompanied on the right side of each page by a full-page illustration. (I’ve got some of them featured below, but please do click on each one to see the text, as well as the ornate borders of each spread.)

The book lacks sources or any sort of backmatter — and, if you’re interested to read it, the full Kirkus review is here. (It’s the only professional review I could find and, I think, captures the book well.) I wanted to share a bit of art from the book today; they are vividly illustrated paintings, some with a magical quality all their own.


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