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

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #548: Featuring Natalie Nelson

h1 Sunday, August 20th, 2017

It’s a pleasure to have illustrator Natalie Nelson visiting 7-Imp today. Natalie’s debut picture book was released last year, and below she tells me all about that book, as well as the one that followed early this year (and one coming in 2018). I very much enjoyed each one of these books, especially JonArno Lawson’s Uncle Holland (an illustration is pictured above), and I look forward to what’s next.

I thank Natalie for sharing words and images today. Let’s get right to it. (If you want to see more of her work, her website is here, and her Instagram is @nelsonknatalie.)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #547: Featuring Rebecca Green

h1 Sunday, August 13th, 2017

I always enjoy sharing the work of debut artists, but I also like showcasing the work of local artists. I have one illustrator today, Rebecca Green, who is both things. She sees her debut this September in How To Make Friends with a Ghost (Tundra), and she lives here in middle Tennessee (Nashville). In fact, she’s painted a story time mural for Parnassus Books—you can see pics in this post from the bookstore—and I can’t wait to see it in person.

How To Make Friends with a Ghost is a sweet and quirky faux how-to guide on creating lasting friendships with ghosts, beginning with a girl who is “found” by a ghost (on account of being sweet, warm, and kind) and ending with the same girl as an elderly woman, still hangin’ with her spectral friend. In the end, the woman becomes a ghost herself and the two remain friends “even after the end.” In the hands of Rebecca, this is not as dark and grisly as it might sound; her gouache and colored pencil illustrations, rendered in a subdued gray and red palette, communicate tenderness. This is, more than anything else, a friendship story. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #546: Featuring Bob Shea

h1 Sunday, August 6th, 2017

“Well, things are plenty scary right here. See? A kitty drinking milk!
Maybe it’s the kind of kitty that doesn’t like hugs? That’s scary!”

It’s a pleasure to showcase some art and preliminary images today from Bob Shea’s The Scariest Book Ever (Disney-Hyperion, July 2017). Remember last year’s The Happiest Book Ever? Well, now it’s time to get PETRIFIED. Maybe a bit panicky . …

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s the ghost protagonist of this very funny book who is scared. He even intentionally pours some orange juice on himself so that he can disrobe and avoid heading into the scary dark woods without the reader (who sees these scary woods on the title page spread). He knows, after all, there’s a dark hole in the forest, and that “nothing good ever comes out of a dark hole!” Even when the reader is given an opportunity to tell the ghost that it’s an adorable bunny who pops out of said hole, the ghost is still wary. This interaction with the reader continues, the ghost breaking the book’s fourth wall the whole way — and young readers will be thrilled to be one-up on the protagonist, privy as they are to the happy goings-on in the forest — the bunny plans for a spooky, but ADORBS (of course), costume party. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #545: Featuring Beatrice Alemagna

h1 Sunday, July 30th, 2017

“So I followed them down a path and found dozens of mushrooms. The air was so damp. I knew the smell from when I was small—my grandparents’ basement.
My cave of treasures. I felt a sense that there was something special close by.
That I was surrounded.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Author-illustrator Beatrice Alemagna is someone whose named has appeared often at 7-Imp over the years, given that I’ve done a whole heapin’ lot of interviews in the years I’ve been blogging, and many, many illustrators have named her as an inspiration.

Today I’m featuring her new book — well, new to U.S. readers. On a Magical Do-Nothing Day was originally published in France last year but is on American shelves now, thanks to HarperCollins. It’s the story of a girl whose day is being ravaged by some serious ennui. She and her mother visit a cabin in a forest, while the girl’s Dad stays back in the city. Who knows what is going on there and why the father isn’t with them, but the girl misses him.

It’s a rainy day, and like a lot of contemporary children, the girl is captivated by the tiny, hand-held device in her hands that allows her to play a game — specifically, one that allows her to destroy Martians. “Actually, I was just pressing the same button over and over,” Alemagna writes. Her mother, working at a laptop, growls at her and takes her electronic device and hides it. The girl finds it and heads out. It’s one of those days where an utter lack of creativity takes over, at least on the part of the girl, and she and her mother most definitely need some time away from one another.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #544: Featuring Mariachiara Di Giorgio

h1 Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

How about another import today, dear Imps? Last week we had a German one; today is one from Italy.

Professional Crocodile was originally published in Italy this year but is also seeing publication here in the States in early August (Chronicle Books). It’s a book conceived by writer and publisher Giovanna Zoboli, who is also one of the founders of the Italian children’s book publisher Topipittori, and it’s illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio.

In this wordless story, readers follow a crocodile during the course of his day. The illustrations are divided into panels of various sizes, though some spreads are continuous, full-bleed ones. The crocodile dresses and behaves as if human. Di Giorgio’s dynamic city scenes will beguile readers; there’s a lot to pore over and take in, and there’s a good dose of humor in the details. At one point, when the crocodile hops on a crowded train, we see mostly humans but also a few other animals. Hmm. … Where is he heading? child readers will wonder.

He’s actually heading for the zoo. Once there, he removes his clothes in a locker room and then waltzes right into his enclosure where, on the final spread, humans gape at him through a glass partition. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #543: Featuring Suzy Lee

h1 Sunday, July 16th, 2017

“This beautiful day …”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Richard Jackson’s This Beautiful Day (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, August 2017), illustrated by Suzy Lee.

That is here, and below are a couple more spreads from the book.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #542: Featuring Christian Robinson

h1 Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Christian’s art in the studio, sans text
(Click to enlarge)

Poet Julie Fogliano has a way with words, and in her newest picture book, When’s My Birthday? (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press), illustrated by Christian Robinson, she’s at her most child-friendly (which is saying a lot, since I think her previous books are inviting to—and delightful for—child readers). This one will be on shelves in September.

I was just about to type that birthdays are extra-special days for children, but hell. I get excited on my own birthday too, and (you can ask my friends) I’m a bit of a birthday bad-ass — in that I can tell you when your birthday is if we are good friends. Or I can, at the very least, get a few days close to it. (I always assume EVERYONE can do this, but evidently not.) It’s a fun party trick. And that’s because they’re little holidays for everyone — it’s your one special day to celebrate your very existence. I recently got into a conversation with my daughters about how I think most holidays are over-rated, and when they asked what the best holiday is, I had to say, simply: Birthdays.

This is a picture book (a tall, vertically-oriented one, as if the book itself is a giant candle) that celebrates the thrill children get when anticipating a birthday and all that comes with it — cakes, chocolate, candles, parties, presents. Even wishes. It’s a heap of unfettered joy, this one. Fogliano’s text is infectiously rhythmic and perfectly paced—this one begs to be shared aloud—and she even sprinkles in some nonsense words (“I’m just dreaming of my bluuuurfday” and “time for cakey / wakey wakey”). The text is from the point-of-view of an unnamed narrator (though we see one young girl multiple times), first wondering when the birthday will come; then dreaming of what the celebration will be like; and then, suddenly, “in the morning it’s my birthday!” Here, the child can hardly sleep from the excitement, but when she finally does, it’s “happy snore and snore to me!”

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #541: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Sophie Page

h1 Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

It’s the first Sunday of the month, and that means that here at 7-Imp I showcase the work of a student or debut illustrator. Today, I’ve got the artwork of Sophie Page, a mixed media and 3D illustrator and a recent RISD grad. Sophie is based in Brooklyn.

Sophie talks a bit about her work below, and I thank her for visiting and sharing today. Let’s get to it. (Pictured above is If Only He Stayed a Bear Forever, one of her personal pieces and her take on the fairy tale “Snow-White and Rose-Red.”)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #540: Featuring Julia Denos

h1 Sunday, June 25th, 2017

I saw this image, created by author-illustrator Julia Denos, on Instagram this week, and I secured her permission to share it here. I like it. It makes me think of not sweating the small stuff in life. You can click on it to see the entire image in her sketchbook.

When I asked her about it, she wrote:

I’ve been really moved lately by exploring space and local nature. There is so much to learn. Finding stories in the nonfiction of stars and flowers and trees.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #539: Featuring Dow Phumiruk

h1 Sunday, June 18th, 2017

It’s a pleasure to have Dow Phumiruk’s artwork here at 7-Imp today. Her illustrations for Jeanne Walker Harvey’s Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt, May 2017) mark her debut in picture books.

This picture book biography starts with Maya’s childhood in “her house full of light and open spaces.” Her parents, Harvey explains, had fled China for the U.S., and her childhood was filled with art. Having been inspired as a child to study architecture one day, she studied overseas. It was during her last year of college that she entered the contest to design the Vietnam War memorial. Her design—entered anonymously, as all of the submissions were—was chosen out of 1,421 entries:

“Simple yet strong. Creative and new. But when they found out Maya was the winner, the judges were shocked. She wasn’t famous. She was a young woman still in school. …”

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