Archive for May, 2009

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #114: Featuring Mother’s Day Photography and a Wee Bit of Daniel Baxter’s Art

h1 Sunday, May 10th, 2009

“Walking to the honey house, I concentrated on my feet touching down on the hard-caked dirt in the driveway, the exposed tree roots, fresh-watered grass, how the earth felt beneath me, solid, alive, ancient, right there every time my foot came down. There and there and there, always there. The things a mother should be.”

Jules: Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks on this Mother’s Day 2009! In honor of the special day, we’ve got some Mother’s Day photography and a bit of art. (That quote above comes from Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, and I just wanted to share it. It’s my favorite thought-on-mamahood ever.)

Read the rest of this entry �

One Visit Over Coffee with Maria van Lieshout

h1 Thursday, May 7th, 2009

You guys, yesterday’s birthday wishes were so, so kind. How can a girl get so lucky to have such friends — and a blog partner-in-crime who will get Barry Manilow to sing to her?

Anyway, thanks again, and onwards and upwards…

Ah, just look at that watercolor creation. This comes from author/illustrator Maria van Lieshout, and it’s a sneak-peek from one of her upcoming titles, Sleep, Baby, Sleep, to be published by Philomel in October of this year, and written by Maryann Cusimano Love. Here’s another sneak-peek:

Read the rest of this entry �

Seven Favorite Things About Jules

h1 Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Can you believe it’s been a whole year since the last time I broke out the marquee tag? Let’s see if I still remember how this works…


Yup, there we go.

Jules, for this year’s celebration, I invited Fountains of Wayne to sing a song in your honor:

(Ya’ll should know, if you don’t already, that Jules is a nickname for Julie.) What I love about that song is that, not only does it have your name in it, but it describes EXACTLY the kind of friend you are. You’ve always got my back. Not that I’m special – you’ve pretty much got the entire blogosphere’s back, too.

Oh, and guess who else? Are you ready for this? It’s your boyfriend, Barry Manilow:

I know, right? I didn’t think he’d be available, what with his being 197 years old and his tickets costing about $1000 and all, but when he heard it was your birthday, he was all over it. He said, “Oh yeah, Julie! Wasn’t she that little girl I winked at in the audience of a concert that time? ANYTHING for her! She’s my only fan under 60!”

See, even Barry appreciates how you’ve got HIS back, too.

What I’m trying to say here, is: you’re the best friend and blog-partner a girl could ever ask for. I hope I don’t take you for granted, but I probably do. So for this birthday, to remind you and everyone else how awesome you are, I’m proclaiming…


Read the rest of this entry �

Random Illustrator Feature: Janet Stein

h1 Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

“A dessert should smell as good as it tastes.”

I know this spread, from Janet Stein’s This Little Bunny Can Bake (Schwartz & Wade, March 2009), appears tiny, but click on it to see it up close and personal. You know I like my weird picture books (that’s a compliment, coming from me), and there was something about the art in this book that drew my eye: Perhaps it’s the whiff of retro? Perhaps it’s the use of brush-and-ink to bring the tale to life? The predominance of gray so that, when our rabbit protagonist appears in her shade of light pink, our eye is drawn to her? The absurdity in the characters’ actions and the humor therein? The dessert recipes on the endpages? (Helloooooo, C.G.’s Divine Chocolate Meringue Cookies and Crazy Coconut Lime Macaroons. Nice to meet you. Man, I love a good macaroon, but I digress.) The notion of a SCHOOL OF DESSERTOLOGY. O! Sign me up. I think it’s all of the above, but first I have to tell you a bit about the book. And its creator, Janet Stein, has stopped by for one of my in-her-own-words type of features. (And can I just say that I LOVE what she says about cooking below? Well, there. I just said it.)

Read the rest of this entry �

Additions to 7-Imp’s Mad Tea-Party Collection!

h1 Monday, May 4th, 2009

This post is a Part Two, if you will, of yesterday’s post, in which the art work of graphic novelist Eric Wight was featured. Eric very graciously created a Mad Tea-Party image just for 7-Imp, and it’s here to the left. Don’t you just love it — and Alice’s face? I didn’t put it in yesterday’s post for different reasons, mostly because I knew I wanted to post about it today. But, as mentioned yesterday, it is already up at the site — in the header of this page. Go have a look and see how fabulous it is! That page, based on the size of our blog’s email in-box, gets a lot of traffic, so we hope lots of folks will see it.

You may remember that 7-Imp is collecting various Mad Tea-Party images to include in the headers of our site’s pages (though we committed to always leaving the classic Tenniel image on the main, or “home,” page of the site.) We also recently acquired illustrator Helen Oxenbury’s version of Lewis Carroll’s Mad Tea-Party, and it has also been added to the header of another page of our site, the “Note for Publishers & Authors” page. It looks like this below, but you can also see it here.

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #113: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Eric Wight

h1 Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Jules: This is how happy we are that the month of May has arrived. See? We’re swoony and floating.

It’s the first of the month again, and that’s when 7-Imp features a student illustrator or someone otherwise new to the field of children’s books. The art today comes from first-time author for young readers, Eric Wight. Here we have an illustration from his debut graphic novel, My Dead Girlfriend, which was listed among the 2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens by YALSA. So, yeah, Jenny Wraith here is swoony and floating, but she’s also very much not alive.

As you can see, Eric’s not new to illustration, but this May he will be debuting a new chapter book/graphic novel hybrid series for younger readers, called Frankie Pickle. Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom, published by Simon & Schuster, will be released this week. “The Frankie Pickle series,” Eric told me, “is about a typical boy with an anything but typical imagination. Whenever faced with a challenge, Frankie becomes lost in fantasy -– which sometimes causes bigger trouble than what he started with. But, in the end, creative problem-solving always triumphs. The aspects of the chapter book that take place within Frankie’s imagination are told with sequential panels, while the parts of reality are prose. My intention for creating a hybrid was to seamlessly integrate words and illustrations in order to entice even the most reluctant of young readers. A father of two small children myself, I also set out to write a book that parents would find equally entertaining as they read it to their kids.”

Read the rest of this entry �

Poetry Friday: Ellen Steinbaum and
Loving the Locked Drawers

h1 Friday, May 1st, 2009

I’ve been reading Container Gardening, the latest collection of poetry from journalist, poet, and playwright Ellen Steinbaum (published last year by CustomWords). Ellen also, until very recently and for almost a decade, was a columnist for the Boston Globe, writing at “City Type,” conversations with Boston-area writers and poets. (Those columns are archived, for those interested, at her site.)

Ellen’s poetry is new to me, but I ripped right through this collection and I’m even currently re-reading it. I find many of these poems—whose themes often swirl around life’s most perplexing elements, memory, the rush of time, loss, and hope—to be moving. At her site, she writes, “I think of my new book, Container Gardening, as a collection of poems about what is perishable, what endures, and what makes us who we are. After my first book, Afterwords {pictured below}, which dealt very specifically with loss, these speak of how we pick up the pieces and go on to create the private and public worlds we inhabit.”

Read the rest of this entry �