Archive for the '7-Imp’s 7 Kicks' Category

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #395: Featuring Bruce Eric Kaplan

h1 Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Okay, you all. I just gotta write about another Bruce Eric Kaplan picture book, because whenever he writes and illustrates a new one, I’m reminded how wonderfully weird and refreshing they are. I see a lot of picture books on a regular basis, you see, and some of them start to blur together in my vision, but when one of his shows up, I know I’m likely in for a laugh.

Let me back up first. Kaplan is a cartoonist, whose work regularly appears in the The New Yorker, and since he’s known for his darker humor, his picture books have a touch of that as well (which means, of course, I’m going to be drawn to them). Dark humor in picture books is an easy thing to get wrong, though, yet Kaplan hasn’t made a misstep yet. At least, not in my book anyway. His debut picture book was 2010′s Monsters Eat Whiny Children, featured here at 7-Imp, and this was followed last year by Cousin Irv from Mars, which I wrote about here at Kirkus (and followed up here with art).

The new one, Meaniehead, came out in June (Simon & Schuster) and features more of his dark, hyperbolic humor and wry (and wise) observations on childhood. Henry and Eve are siblings who are experiencing an ugly new phase (as you can see above), involving lots of arguing. One day, an argument over an action figure (“There’s nothing sillier than fighting about what belongs to whom, but no kids and even fewer adults know that”) leads to a broken lamp, a wrecked bedroom, and the destruction of the house, the neighborhood, the local toy store, the library, the pizza place, the beauty parlor, the park, and all the town’s buildings, really. After a snack break, the intensive arguing continues until … well, I can’t give it all away, but some Texas football teams get involved …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #393: Featuring Christopher Weyant

h1 Sunday, August 17th, 2014



 
Over at BookPage, I’ve written a review of Anna Kang’s You Are (Not) Small (Two Lions, August 2014), illustrated by her husband, Christopher Weyant. So, I’m sending you over there today to read about it, but I’ve got a bit art here at 7-Imp today to go with it.

The review is here.

Enjoy the art … Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #392: Featuring Zack Rock

h1 Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Hey, look! It’s an animated GIF in which debut author-illustrator Zack Rock is showing us a spread being painted. I hope the animation is working for everyone.

It’s good to have Zack back at 7-Imp. In 2012 (here), his artwork was featured on one of my Up-and-Coming Illustrators Sunday posts, and now his first book is out with Creative Editions. In fact, if you look again at that post from two years ago, you will see that he included two images from this new book back then. (Also, it’s a fun post to re-read, since he talks about studying at England’s Cambridge School of Art with scholar Martin Salisbury. Zack described it as “a no-holds-barred, steel cage death match of mutual respect and encouragement.”)

The new book is called Homer Henry Hudson’s Curio Museum and will be released in mid-August. “Everything has a story,” the book opens, and Zack’s is a beguiling one. Henry is a bulldog, who owns a museum of curios from all over the world. He proudly displays several in the book and tells readers about them — from a Conatusaurus Skull from the Late Jurassic Period to a Humble Willow Root Cane. The collection includes delightfully bizarre artifacts, and Homer is a fine storyteller. I like the art in this book (illustrations that the Kirkus review describes as possessing “touches of humble elegance”), and the writing is outstanding. (“My job is to keep the place spick-and-span,” Henry says when we first meet him. “My eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but I’m a proper Magellan at nose navigation. You’d be surprised how well a 6th-century Byzantine bedpan keeps its distinctive aroma.”) Zack Rock is one to watch.

I’m going to let Zack talk now and share some of his artwork. Enjoy.

p.s. If you visit his 2012 7-Imp post, you can spot Maurice Sendak, Shaun Tan, and Lisbeth Zwerger in one of the illustrations from this book.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock

h1 Sunday, July 20th, 2014


Author-illustrator Barbara McClintock is here today to talk about creating the artwork for Beverly Donofrio’s Where’s Mommy?, released in March by Schwartz & Wade, which Kirkus calls “irresistible.” This is a companion book to Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, released back in ’07. Those of you familiar with the first title will know that Maria is Mary’s daughter, and Mouse Mouse is Mouse’s daughter. In this new book, Maria and Mouse Mouse are (separately) looking for their mothers, their experiences and goings-on fully parallel, as McClintock gives us a peek into each one’s home and surroundings.

Soon, Barbara will also see the release of another 2014 illustrated title, Jim Aylesworth’s My Grandfather’s Coat (Scholastic), which has already received two starred reviews. (Barbara also discusses below some other new projects. Fans of Adèle & Simon will be happy.) I haven’t seen My Grandfather’s Coat yet, but maybe she can come back to talk about it, especially since she’s also interested in talking further about the March Leave Your Sleep exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, as well as the Leave Your Sleep Carnegie Hall concert (back in April), which had, in Barbara’s words, “images from the book projected big as a barn behind the stage. Maybe [we can have] a discussion about ways picture books extend beyond their printed avatars.” (If you’re not familiar with Leave Your Sleep—with Natalie Merchant—you can visit this 2012 7-Imp post.)

I’d love to discuss those things, but for now, let’s look at Where’s Mommy?

I thank Barbara for sharing …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #389: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Brooke Boynton Hughes

h1 Sunday, July 6th, 2014


(Click to enlarge)

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means a student or just-starting-out illustrator here at 7-Imp. Today, I welcome Brooke Boynton Hughes, who has already illustrated one children’s book and is working on a handful of others now but is still relatively new to the field. It’s a pleasure to share some of her artwork today. Let’s get right to it, especially since Brooke gives us a few words of introduction.

Brooke: I’ve wanted to illustrate children’s books ever since I was little. When other kids my age were moving on to middle-grade books, I was still poring over picture books. I loved reading, but I was especially enthralled by visual storytelling. As a kid, I spent a lot of time drawing and becoming engrossed in whatever visual world I was into at the time. There were a couple of years where I drew almost nothing except for tree houses, and there was the year of underground rabbit houses. The imagined worlds that I created in my drawings felt really real to me. I guess I loved, and still love, residing in imagined worlds.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #387: Featuring Kazuno Kohara

h1 Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Have any of you seen Kazuno Kohara’s newest picture book, The Midnight Library (Roaring Brook, June 2014)?

I’m taken with it, and I love to see her linocut illustrations.

I reviewed The Midnight Library here for BookPage. So, if you’d like to read more about the book, you can head over there.

Today I’m following up with some illustrations from the book. The one pictured here to the left is toward the end of the book when the little librarian and her owls head upstairs to read one last book before bedtime.

And below is a bit more art.

Enjoy … Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #386: Featuring Brian Floca

h1 Sunday, June 15th, 2014


(Click to enlarge)


“The seal’s coat was silvery brown. She was eight feet long—as long as a long surfboard—and she weighed twelve hundred pounds — as much as fifteen Labrador retrievers. The people of Christchurch knew there was something very special about her. She was strong and powerful and regal — like Elizabeth, the Queen of England. And so they named her, Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas.”
(Click to enlarge)


 
Good morning, all. First up, it’s Father’s Day, so happy Father’s Day to you dad-readers out there. And happy Father’s Day to all the father figures in our lives. (It just so happens that I wrote here on Friday about some great picture books about fathers — and even some grandfathers can be spotted in some of those pages.)

This morning, Caldecott medalist Brian Floca is sharing some sketches from his latest illustrated book, Lynne Cox’s Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas (Schwartz & Wade, May 2014), and I’ve got some art from the book as well. And, since Atheneum Books for Young Readers just re-issued (in early June) Brian’s Five Trucks (pictured left), originally released back in 1999 by DK Publishing, I’ve got some art from that as well. And Brian has some early sketches from that book to share, too.

Lynne’s Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas opens with an Author’s Note about how Lynne once traveled to New Zealand (she is a world-renowned long-distance swimmer and writer and headed there to swim some lakes near Mount Cook), and it was there that she met a boy named Michael, standing along the Avon River near the city of Christchurch, who asked her if she was looking for Elizabeth. When she asked who it was that they meant, the boy explained that Elizabeth was an elephant seal, and both the boy and his sister told Lynne the story of the “Queen of the Seas.”

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #383: Featuring David Soman

h1 Sunday, May 25th, 2014


“And Mama Bear, being a mother, looked at each one of her three little bears,
hugged them all very, very tight, kissed the tops of their furry heads,
and forgave them. Then she brought them inside for a warm supper.”

(Click to enlarge)


 
Now, wouldn’t this have been the perfect post for Mother’s Day a couple Sundays back? Too bad I always do everything backwards.

This is art from David Soman’s Three Bears in a Boat, released just this past week by Dial Books for Young Readers. I reviewed this for BookPage, so if you want to read all about it, that link is here. I wanted to be sure to follow up with art. My very favorite illustration from the book is below, too.

Enjoy!

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #382: Featuring Marianne Dubuc

h1 Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Hi, dear Imps. I’m going to be brief today. I’m actually typing this on Thursday night, since I’m heading out of town to a) see my nephew graduate from high school (I’m already teary-eyed about this, and I’m not even at the ceremony yet), and b) someone I used to babysit is all grown-up and I’m heading to her wedding. (Ditto on the tears.)

So, I’ll be skipping my kicks, though I always enjoy reading yours, so please do share. I do, however, have some art for you.

I’ve previously featured the work of Canadian author-illustrator Marianne Dubuc at 7-Imp — here and here. Her newest book, The Lion and the Bird (Enchanted Lion, May 2014), is a tender and moving story of friendship, first published in French in 2013 and translated by Claudia Z. Bedrick (intrepid leader of Enchanted Lion and possessor of exquisite taste). Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings writes that this book is an “ode to life’s moments between the words.” Oh, how I love that and wish I’d written it. That captures the book well. (You can read her entire post, also art-filled, about the book here, if you’re so inclined. She describes the book so wonderfully.)

The story is about a lion, who lives alone and one day finds a wounded bird. After nursing the bird lovingly, they become friends, and the bird stays on. Their friendship grows, but when Spring comes, Lion knows the bird must fly away. Lion adjusts to his loneliness, and then the following Winter, the bird returns.

But, as Popova notes in her piece, there’s so much to discover in the book’s artwork and the expert pacing of the story. I remember reading once in a theatre text in college that a play is interrupted silence. (I think it was a quote from a French playwright? I really should look this up.) Well, this story is interrupted silence. Dubuc does wonders here, not rushing the story, letting it breathe, inviting in child readers to be with Lion as he adjusts to his loneliness and melancholy after Bird leaves, as time marches on. A lot of the gentle pacing comes from Dubuc’s use of white space. (“White space—sometimes whole pages—speaks its own language of loss and hope,” writes the Kirkus review.) For instance, here’s very simply how we know that Bird has returned:

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #380: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Elizabeth Lilly

h1 Sunday, May 4th, 2014


An illustration of Nikki Giovanni’s poem, “Migrations”
(from
Bicycles: Love Poems)


 
It’s Sunday! It’s Spring! Hurrah!

It’s also the first Sunday of the month, so today I welcome a student illustrator. Her name is Elizabeth Lilly, and she’s here to tell us all about her work, as well as share some of her art.

So, without further ado …

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