It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means that here in 7-Imp Land I take a look at the work of an up-and-coming illustrator. Today, instead of a student, I’ve got a debut author-illustrator. David Litchfield’s new book, The Bear and the Piano (Clarion), was evidently inspired (in part) by the White Stripes’ song “Little Room.” It was published in the U.K. last year but arrived on U.S. shelves at the beginning of this month.
Archive for the '7-Imp’s 7 Kicks' Category
I’ve got a tiny peek today inside Kaori Takahashi’s Knock! Knock!, published by Tara Books this month and with text from Gita Wolf. Tiny, as in just two little illustrations, but if you want more information, you can head over to my BookPage review of the book. As you’ll read there, this is a story that quite literally unfolds (clear some space when you read it) to tell the story of a young girl in search of her toy bear.
That review is here.
I keep watch.”
(Click to enlarge)
Hi, dear kickers! I’m back from my research trip and happy to be kickin’ again.
I write weekly columns for Kirkus, and when I write about picture books over there, I always like to follow up later, here at 7-Imp, with art from the books I write about. That’s on account of being a big illustration fan. I don’t normally do that on Sundays, but I’m a bit behind from being out of town.
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!
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!
(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.
The snow covers me like a fleecy blanket.”
(Click to enlarge spread)
Okay, you all. Before Spring officially gets here, I must take some time to tell you about Yuki Kaneko’s Into the Snow, illustrated by Masamitsu Saito and released by Enchanted Lion Books last month. This is a book that captures the glee and exhilaration of a beautiful day of play in the snow. It’s captured with such exuberance — the textured artwork (rendered via oil pastels, gouache, acrylics, and colored pencil) nearly leaps off the page and pulses with an infectious energy.
A young boy wakes to see the snow from his window and bundles up to head outside. He feels the snow, finds an icicle, and heads to the top of a hill for a sled ride. He barrels down the hill, and his joy (and probably a fair share of fear) at this moment are captured in four dynamic spreads. His mother comes for him, and he heads home — to hot chocolate, no less.
The colors here pop off the page — bright blues, warm greens and oranges, vivid yellows. Saito’s lines are delightful, particularly as the boy sleds down the hill; they’re a swirling jumble of movement and speed. The whole book is a snapshot in time for the boy, perfectly capturing the joyous parts of Winter.
Let me just show you what I mean with a few more spreads. Enjoy!
My guest today is artist Helen Zughaib, who was born in Beirut. Helen says she knew she wanted a life of painting and making art when she was very young and cites Matisse, Rousseau, Mondrian, and Jacob Lawrence as influences. Growing up primarily in the Arab world, she says, also influenced her — “the light, the patterns and colors on carpets, tiles, and buildings that surrounded me.”
I hear the beat of feet. …”
(Click to enlarge spread)
Anyone else remember 2014’s Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Frank Morrison? There’s art from the book here at 7-Imp; it won a 2015 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.
Well, today I have some more artwork from Frank, this time from Pat Zietlow Miller’s The Quickest Kid in Clarksville (Chronicle Books, February 2016). That’s right: Clarksville. As in, Clarksville, Tennessee, which is only about 70 miles from where I live. Tennessee represents. WOO!
This is the story of Alta, the spirited girl of the book’s title, who likes to pretend she’s three-time Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph, “the fastest woman in the world.” (An Author’s Note explains that Wilma herself grew up in Clarksville.) As Alta considers the Clarksville parade, coming up tomorrow, a new girl in town sashays her way up to Alta and her friends to show off her new shoes. This girl’s name is Charmaine, and she struts in these “only-been-worn-by-her shoes with stripes down the sides and laces so white they glow.” Charmaine even compares her shoes to Wilma’s. (Gasp!) Alta is stunned; her own shoes are falling apart.
a brown mouse, a bunny with floppy ears and a bunny with un-floppy ears, a frog,
a bat, a pig, a slightly bigger pig, a woolly sheep, a koala, and also a hen.”
(Click to enlarge spread)
I’ve got a few spreads today from Lucy Ruth Cummins’ A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals, coming from Atheneum next month. Cummins is not only a writer and illustrator; she is also a full-time art director. (Here’s her site.) This new book, which she rendered via brush marker, gouache, graphite, colored pencil, and charcoal, is the story of a very hungry lion, as you can see from the three spreads here today. It takes the sweet ending you expect and turns it on its head in the vein of the contemporary subversive picture book, but instead of a surprise revenge, Cummins brings readers yet another twist at the close of the story, which I won’t ruin for you.