Archive for the 'Picture Books' Category

Layla’s Happiness

h1 Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Here’s a post to showcase some spreads from Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s Layla’s Happiness, illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin and coming to shelves (Enchanted Lion) later this month. It’s the story of a girl named Layla — and in telling readers about her joys, she prompts them to think about how they define happiness in their own lives.

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A Visit with Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

h1 Monday, September 30th, 2019


Early next year, Denene Millner’s imprint at Simon & Schuster will publish Alice Faye Duncan’s Just Like a Mama, a picture book about a young girl (Carol Olivia Clementine) whose caretaker (Mama Rose) is someone, as the book description notes, whose blood is not her blood — but who loves the girl as fiercely and lovingly as a biological mother.

The book’s illustrator is Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, a debut artist. If her middle name sounds a wee bit familiar, well … she explains that below. Charnelle visits 7-Imp today to share some of her vivid artwork and to talk a bit about her work. I thank her for visiting.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #657:
Featuring a Reminder to Picture Book Fans …

h1 Sunday, September 29th, 2019

I had different plans for today, dear Imps, but some unexpected events in my Saturday ate up my day — and kept me from formatting the post I wanted to format. I’ll have that later this week at 7-Imp, but what I do have for you today is a reminder that over at the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott, we are taking deep dives into some of the most outstanding picture books of the year — including, thus far, the ones pictured above. So, if you love picture books, you can head over there to see some of what our talented guest posters have had to say this year.

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Seeing with Our Eyes Closed

h1 Friday, September 27th, 2019

I’ve some spreads today from Mac Barnett’s Just Because (Candlewick, September 2019), illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. Isabelle also shares some early sketches from this book, describing what she shares here today as a “bit of a melting pot” and adding that she tried many different approaches before starting the final illustrations for the book.

I love that the phrase that is the title of this book never actually appears in the book. Any child anywhere that communicates their curiosity about the world in the form of “why?” queries (“but why?” is the repeated refrain of any three- or four-year-old) has likely heard “just because” muttered by an adult. In this book, a young girl, tucked into bed at night, has a series of “why?” questions for her father. I don’t know that she’s even necessarily delaying bedtime; she just has a lot of questions swirling around in her brain. (I mean, check out that face above. The gears are turning.) Read the rest of this entry �

Mordicai Gerstein: A Tribute

h1 Thursday, September 26th, 2019


Over at the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott today, we pay tribute to author-illustrator Mordicai Gerstein, whose death we learned about this week.

That is here.

I think I’ll find my copy of Applesauce Season — my favorite book for autumn, which he illustrated for Eden Ross Lipson — and spend some time with it. Not to mention the exquisite The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Gerstein’s legacy is a very tall stack of lovingly crafted picture books.

My condolences to Gerstein’s family.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #656: Featuring Zachariah OHora

h1 Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

See that guy on the right? That’s Reuben of Troop 73, and he’s not the most self-aware dude. He is, in fact, the king of false accusations. He’s peed his pants, blames it on everyone else, and never really comes to understand that it’s his own doing. In fact, in the end he blames his pants. (“Thanks for nothing, leaky broken pants! Making me blame all my super great friends.”)

This is the story of Bob Shea’s Who Wet My Pants? (Little, Brown, September 2019), illustrated by Zachariah OHora. Child readers looooove to be one-up on the protagonist in a story. They’ll recognize that Reuben has — heaven bless him, it happens to the best of us — had an accident yet can’t accept it. He’d rather play the blame game, which … hey, it’s a tempting thing for even the non-narcissistic among us. Read the rest of this entry �

JooHee Yoon’s Up Down Inside Out

h1 Friday, September 20th, 2019

“People in glass houses should not throw stones.”
(Click to enlarge)

I always like to see what author-illustrator JooHee Yoon is up to. (Remember when she first visited 7-Imp back in 2011?) Coming to shelves in early October (from Enchanted Lion Books) is Up Down Inside Out, in which Yoon takes a string of idioms and depicts them literally.

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The Hundred-Year Barn

h1 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

(Click to enlarge spread)

I’m sending you to BookPage today for my review of Patricia MacLachlan’s The Hundred-Year Barn (Katherine Tegen Books, September 2019), illustrated by Kenard Pak. That is here, and then if you want to come back here to 7-Imp Land, I’ve some spreads from the book today.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #655: Featuring Guojing

h1 Sunday, September 15th, 2019

Those of you who follow picture books closely may remember this 2015 publication, The Only Child. Named one of the New York Time’s Best Illustrated Children’s Books for that year, it was created by author-illustrator Guojing. She’s back with a new wordless book (Schwartz & Wade, September 2019), called Stormy, the story of a stray dog who finds a new home.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #654: Featuring Daniel Egnéus

h1 Sunday, September 8th, 2019

I am happy to see a new picture book illustrated by Daniel Egnéus, who has illustrated two of my favorites this year (see here and here). This is Wendy Meddour’s Grandpa’s Top Threes (Candlewick, September 2019), and it a moving look at grief — and how it affects a child and his grandparent. It was evidently first published in the UK as Tibble and Grandpa.

“Henry was talking,” the book opens. “But Grandpa was gardening. Again.” I love this. We see young Henry on the verso; it appears that he is expounding in great detail on one topic or another, finger in the air as if to accentuate his point. On the recto, there is Grandpa. Yes, he’s gardening, but he seems lost in thought. Or maybe just lost.

Henry asks his Mom why Grandpa is always gardening, to which she tells him: “Just give him some time.” Henry fails to reach his Grandpa — until, that is, he engages him in the top three game. “What are your top three sandwiches?” he asks him one day. Grandpa’s face lights up a bit. Then they discuss their top three jellyfish, trains, and days-out. The latter is Grandpa’s idea, asking his grandson what he’d like to do that day. (“The zoo. The swimming pool. The park,” Henry exclaims.)

The life seems to be seeping back into Grandpa, thanks to his ebullient grandchild, filled with joy and a bustling energy. It is when Henry asks Grandpa who his “top three Grannies” are that it is revealed Grandpa is mourning the loss of his wife. (See the spread below.) It is a deeply felt moment, tender and restrained.

Meddour writes with a delightful specificity: Henry’s answers to the top three game are detailed, often funny, and reveal much about his personality. She succinctly captures Grandpa’s grief (“Grandpa made a little grunty noise”). Read the rest of this entry �