Archive for October, 2007

Our Halloween Post: “America’s Greatest Ghost Story,” Or Eisha’s Gonna Kill Jules for Posting This Image

h1 Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

{Note: Please see the post below this one for today’s Robert’s Snow schedule}

Jules: Happy Halloween! I am starting this post, to which Eisha plans to add some comments. And let me tell you that when she sees this image, she just might kill me. It’s taking a great deal of courage for me to post it to begin with.

That’s an image from the Bell Witch legend, a story, according to that link, which is “America’s Greatest Ghost Story.” Or so says Dr. Nandor Fodor, a researcher and psychologist. Or, if you grew up in middle Tennessee, it’s the “One Story That Will Scare the Holy Utter Crap Out of You for the Rest of Your Life,” or so say bloggers Jules and Eisha. The image you see there (in the public domain) is an artist’s sketch of Betsy Bell. Perhaps the most widely-used “Bell Witch” photo in existence, it was created in 1893. (The printing plates were made by Sanders Engraving Company out of St. Louis, MO and were used for M.V. Ingram’s 1894 book, An Authenticated History of the Bell Witch).

And as for the book cover image below and what it has to do with the Bell Witch, well, I’ll get to that in a moment.

If you saw the movie “American Haunting” last year, you may know the basic story of the Bell Witch. Author and historian Pat Fitzhugh will tell you everything you need to know about the legend at this site (and, specifically, on this page). Here’s the basic summary, as found on this informative Wikipedia page: “The Bell Witch is a ghost story from American Southern Folklore. The legend of the Bell Witch, also called the Bell Witch Haunting, revolves around strange events allegedly experienced by the Bell family of Adams, Tennessee, in 1817–1821.” And this might help (from this site), which will tell you a bit more:

“The spirit identified itself as the ‘witch’ of Kate Batts, a neighbors of the Bell’s, with whom John had experienced bad business dealings over some purchased slaves. ‘Kate’ as the local people began calling her, made daily appearances in the Bell home, wreaking havoc on everyone there. People all over the area of soon learned of the witch and she made appearances, in sounds and voices, all over Robertson County.

The ghost became so famous that even General Andrew Jackson decided to visit. He too experienced the antics of the witch and his carriage wheels refused to turn until the witch decided to let them.” Read the rest of this entry �

Blogging for a Cure, Day 17 (including a note on yesterday’s awesome-ness)

h1 Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Happy Halloween! Below is the Robert’s Snow schedule for Wednesday, October 31, 2007. Pictured here is an older snowflake, Mo Willems’ 2005 creation, entitled “Snow Devil,” done in pencil and ink. Mo’s ’07 snowflake, you’ll see below, is being featured today.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007:

Blogging for a Cure, Day 16

h1 Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

I had planned on posting a book review today up above this snow schedule post, but then I saw this snowflake (also a Christmas-tree topper) for the 2007 Robert’s Snow: for Cancer’s Cure online auctions. It was created by illustrator Linda Wingerter. Why not let this sit atop our blog for a while in all its glory? Isn’t she gorgeous? As in, heart-stoppingly beautiful? Her name is Grace. I wouldn’t dare cover her up today.

This snowflake/piece of beauty by Linda did not make the illustrator list initially sent to me by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, so it wasn’t assigned to a blogger in this whole Blogging for a Cure effort. And I don’t believe it’s posted yet at the auction site. But I’m happy to show it to you today and to tell you a bit about Linda if you aren’t already a fan:

If you’re not familiar with Linda’s work, you can read our April interview with her, in which her talents as an illustrator, Blue Rose blogger, doll artisan, fire-spinner, puppeteer, and rollergirl are revealed. She’s probably best known for her illustrations in 2002′s One Grain of Sand: A Lullaby (Little, Brown and Company), a picture book adaptation of a lullaby written decades ago, which folksinger Pete Seeger composed for his daughter. Linda’s most recent book was 2005′s What Could Be Better Than This? by Linda Ashman (Dutton Juvenile). It’s a twist on the traditional fairy tale, the story of a dragon-slaying king and his seafaring bride who finally find their “happily ever after” in the simple, everyday wonders revealed to them by their young child. You can read about all of Linda’s illustrated titles thus far in that afore-linked interview.

I failed to find out in which auction (Auction 1, 2, or 3) this snowflake/tree-tropper will be included. But, since I have a feeling people will be very curious to know, I’ll try to find out today and amend this post later.

ADDENDUM: Okeley-dokeley. Linda’s snowflake will be auctioned off in Auction 3: December 3 to 7!

Here’s today snow forecast: Read the rest of this entry �

Picture Book Round-Up: Eight Reviews at ForeWord

h1 Monday, October 29th, 2007

{Note: Please see the post below this one for today’s Robert’s Snow schedule}

Hi. No blogger interview this week, ’cause next week will be the Winter Blog Blast Tour in which we here at 7-Imp will feature five interviews with some children’s and YA authors whom we respect and admire a great deal, so WAHOO! But we gotta prep for those interviews, so no blogger feature today. Sorry. And none next week, since we’ll be interviewing authors each and every day, but the week after that . . . well, we will feature none author than Andrea or Mark (whoever sends responses first!) of Just One More Book!! Excellent.

Today’s post is a quick one to show you the book cover images, title info, and a bit of an excerpt from each review for the eight picture books I covered this week at ForeWord Magazine in their “Shelf Space” column. I mentioned this last Friday, but I gotsta gotsta gotsta see my book cover images, especially when we’re talking picture books (and the Shelf Space column doesn’t include book covers), so here they are in case you’re interested in reading about them. My write-up this week is called “Size Matters — And So Do Your Friends and Neighbors,” and if you’re wondering what I mean and which book goes where (size? friends and neighbors?), why, you’ll just have to go read.

Rabbit’s Gift
by George Shannon
Illustrated by Laura Dronzek
Harcourt
November 2007
(review copy)
“If you treat yourself to any one snowy, winter-time book this year, let it be this sparkly gem of a book, an adaptation of a centuries-old Chinese folktale. Snow is coming, and Rabbit is prepared with two turnips for the winter. But, remembering Donkey alone on the hill, he ‘gently butted his extra turnip to Donkey’s house,’ thus beginning a pay-it-forward, domino-like wave of generosity as each animal then does the same for his neighbor . . .”

A Box Full of Kittens
by Sonia Manzano
Illustrated by Matt Phelan
Atheneum
June 2007
(library copy)
“Want to wrap up with the book most energetically capturing ‘the rhythms and period details of a bustling, friendly community’ (Publishers Weekly)? In this case, it’s an intimate Hispanic community in this title by ‘Maria’-of-Sesame-Street by day and author by night, Sonia Manzano, and illustrated by Matt Phelan, another one of my
favorite new illustrators . . .”

Read the rest of this entry �

Blogging for a Cure, Day 15

h1 Monday, October 29th, 2007

Pictured here is Tony Diterlizzi’s 2004 snowflake for Robert’s Snow: for Cancer’s Cure, entitled “Mr. Spider’s Webby Snowflake.” Neat, huh?

Now, I’ve been featuring ’07 snowflakes lately — those, that is, which have not already or will not be featured by a blogger in this Blogging for a Cure event (remember that the illustrators and snowflakes that participating bloggers are featuring are only the ones that the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute had ready to go when this multi-blog event was organized). But, you know, I just looked at the current list of ’07 snowflakes, and all of those illustrators are scheduled to be featured or have already been featured. Those who haven’t been featured or aren’t scheduled to be covered, I wrote brief write-ups for — and featured the snowflakes, of course — here at 7-Imp last week (Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s here; Yuyi Morales’ here; Ashley Bryan’s here; Anna Dewdney’s here; Amiko Hirao’s here; Patrick Girouard’s here; and Lizzy Rockwell’s here). Unless I’m missing someone, we’ve got that list covered! So, until I see new snowflakes up there, I’ll keep showing you some of the wonderful older ones.

And remember that you can see all of the snowflakes at the Robert’s Snow auction site.

Here’s today snow forecast:

Monday, October 29, 2007:

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #34: Featuring LeUyen Pham

h1 Sunday, October 28th, 2007

{Note: Please see the post below this one for today’s Robert’s Snow schedule —
and Lizzy Rockwell’s ’07 snowflake}

Jules: Mwahahahahahaha. Happy Halloween to everyone! This week’s illustration is by LeUyen Pham (who, apparently, goes by “Uyen” and says it’s pronounced “win”), and let me just say that I love her illustrations but it wasn’t ’til I saw this post in July at Chicken Spaghetti, in which Susan talked about Once Around the Sun by Bobbi Katz and illustrated by LeUyen, that I became familiar with her books. Whoa, she’s talented. Go visit her great web site, too, where you can see all kinds of her illustrations in her gallery. Eisha, I think, was already in love with her art work, and I thank Susan for posting about one of her books so that I could discover her awesome-ness myself.

And many thanks to LeUyen for giving us permission to use this Halloween illustration, which is on her web site — especially since she just gave birth and yet still managed to take the time to correspond with us about this. She also sent many other illustrations, some never seen before (as in, slotted for upcoming publications), and told us all about them. Woot! So, here’s the deal: If you’re a LeUyen fan, you’re in luck. If you’re not, we hope to convert you. If you really just visit every Sunday to merely read and list kicks and don’t care about the illustrator features (my New Favorite Thing Ever at 7-Imp), then scroll down to the kicks, by all means.

We’re just going to post these beautiful things and include her commentary about them right next to them:

Read the rest of this entry �

Blogging for a Cure, Day 14

h1 Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Below is the Robert’s Snow illustrator-and-snowflake feature schedule for Sunday, October 28 (scroll down after clicking “read the rest of this entry”).

Featured here is Lizzy Rockwell’s snowflake for this year’s auction, entitled “Snowangels” (*). I didn’t think I was familiar with Lizzy’s work, but then I saw this page at her site, which lists the books she’s illustrated thus far in her career. And, hey, I know and love this one: Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell, published back in 1989. What elementary school library doesn’t have that great book in its collection? Here’s part of her bio, straight from her site:

Lizzy Rockwell is an illustrator whose artwork can be seen in picture books, magazines, games and other children’s products. She studied art at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Lizzy is the illustrator of over 20 children’s books by a variety of authors including her mother, Anne Rockwell. She wrote and illustrated Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition, Hello Baby!, and The Busy Body Book: A Kid’s Guide to Fitness. Lizzy frequently visits schools to talk to young authors and illustrators about her work.”

Lizzy’s snowflake will be auctioned off in Auction 2 from November 26 to 30.

Reminder that in this below schedule, the illustrator’s name links to his/her website, but click on the blog to be taken to that blogger’s snowflake/illustrator feature:

Sunday, October 28, 2007:

Read the rest of this entry �

Blogging for a Cure, Day 13

h1 Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Below is the Robert’s Snow illustrator-and-snowflake feature schedule for Saturday, October 27 (scroll down after clicking “read the rest of this entry”).

Featured here is Patrick Girouard’s snowflake for this year’s auction, entitled “Fishmas Tree Topper” (*). I am not familiar with Patrick’s work, so I can’t very well get behind it with a “rah! rah!” or even tell you that I don’t care for it. I have no opinion, as I’ve never seen one of his books. But here’s some info, straight from his web site, if you’re interested in this snowflake (look at that Fishmas Tree!):

“When Patrick was growing up his teachers constantly scolded him for drawing monsters in class. Many years later he illustrated his very first book, Halloween Holiday Grab Bag, and got to put those monsters to good use. In the days since, he has illustrated over seventy books for children. They include More or Less a Mess, Yikes-Lice! (Science Books and Films Best Books), I Have A Weird Brother Who Digested A Fly (Society of School Librarians International Honor Book), and Paul Bunyan. His work has appeared in National Geographic, Sesame Street Magazine, USA Today, Kid City, Spider, Weekly Reader, and Instructor Magazine.”

And here’s his very colorful portfolio. I see, after a bit of research, that he also illustrated Halloween by Alice K. Flanagan (Compass Point Books, 2001). There’s an older title for you — just in time for the upcoming holiday.

Patrick’s snowflake will be auctioned off in Auction 1 from November 19 to 23.

Reminder that in this below schedule, the illustrator’s name links to his/her website, but click on the blog to be taken to that blogger’s snowflake/illustrator feature:

Saturday, October 27, 2007:

Read the rest of this entry �

Poetry Friday: Monsters! Raaaaa!

h1 Friday, October 26th, 2007

{Note: Please see the post below this one for today’s Robert’s Snow schedule —
and Amiko Hirao’s ’07 snowflake}

Eisha and I are about to complete our month-long guest-blogging gig for ForeWord Magazine. This week, I wrote a picture book round-up and it’s entitled, “Size Matters -– And So Do Your Friends and Neighbors” (and we’ll be writing for them next week as well). Lately, I’ve had my mind on picture books whose illustrators, in one way or another, play around with the notions of size and perspective, as well as the abundant number of books out and about now which focus on one’s community and circle of friends. So, I chose eight of them to review. It’s posted this morning over at “Shelf Space,” ForeWord’s column where we are guest-blogging until the end of this month (I’ll have to plan on a Monday post with all the great book cover images).

One of the books I reviewed is the fabulous Monster Hug! by David Ezra Stein, whose snowflake is also being featured today at HipWriterMama’s site. I began my review of that book thusly: “I think an up-and-coming picture book illustrator we all can get most excited about this year, other than the obscenely talented Jonathan Bean, is David Ezra Stein.” Yes, my love for Stein’s art work is strong (and fortunately for us and all our readers, he agreed to let us feature some of his illustrations on a Sunday in November. Swoon! Swoon!).

And for this Poetry Friday, since my mind is on monsters and it’s nearly Halloween and since Eisha and I have been doing some writing for the Poetry Foundation and playing around in their archive of children’s poems, I am going to share this Halloween monster poem by Kenn Nesbitt:

When the musical contest for monsters convened,
the Wolfman was howling and played like a fiend.
Then Dracula jammed, but flew into a rage
when Frankenstein’s torch singing lit up the stage.

The Mummy, he rapped with the aid of a band,
but stopped when The Blob ate his microphone stand.
The Blob, by the way, also swallowed The Fly.
(I don’t know why he swallowed The Fly.)

Heh. You can read the rest here. And for another laugh, here’s another Nesbitt poem, “Halloween Party,” at the aforementioned Poetry Foundation site.

Don’t you just want to read those aloud to some late elementary/early middle school students? Enjoy. And happy Poetry Friday (and almost-Halloween)!

Blogging for a Cure, Day 12

h1 Friday, October 26th, 2007

Below is the Robert’s Snow illustrator-and-snowflake feature schedule for Friday, October 26 (scroll down after clicking “read the rest of this entry”).

Featured here is Amiko Hirao’s snowflake for this year’s auction, entitled “Caravan” (*). I’m not terribly familiar with her work, but you can see some of it here at the artists’ agency, Studio Goodwin Sturges (click on “artists & authors”). And I have seen and enjoyed 2002′s All Aboard! (Little, Brown & Company), illustrated by Hirao and written by Mary Lynn Ray. She also illustrated 2002′s How the Fisherman Tricked the Genie: A Tale Within a Tale Within a Tale (Atheneum) by Christopher “Kitoba” Sunami.

This year, her illu-
strated Tulip at the Bat by children’s poet and author J. Patrick Lewis was released in April by Little, Brown Young Readers, and next year we will see Just What Mama Needs (Harcourt) by Sharlee Glenn.

Again, I’ve only seen All Aboard! (and enjoyed it), but, hey . . . I’m just a messenger right now, trying to get people to buy snowflakes and raise money for cancer research.

Amiko’s snowflake will be auctioned off in Auction 2 from November 26 to 30.

Reminder that in this below schedule, the illustrator’s name links to his/her website, but click on the blog to be taken to that blogger’s snowflake/illustrator feature:

Read the rest of this entry �