Archive for July, 2009

Bloch Party

h1 Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

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Seven Questions Over Breakfast
with Lisa Horstman

h1 Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I would want to chat with author/illustrator Lisa Horstman, no matter where she lived, because I have been familiar with and have enjoyed her books for years now and because this is the first time here at 7-Imp that I’m having a conversation with an illustrator whose latest picture book, Squawking Matilda (Marshall Cavendish, April 2009), includes stop-motion hand-crafted puppets combined with digital art work. Yup, it’s a first, and I have to say her answer to the “process” question is one of my favorites thus far in all my breakfast interviews with illustrators. Ball-and-socket brass armatures. A jeweler’s drill press. Microknitting. Wee little puppet clothes. And wee little mask latex shoes. I find it all quite fascinating.

But, as an added extra bonus, Lisa is from Knoxville, Tennessee! In many ways, East Tennessee will always be home to me, and I’m thrilled to be shining the spotlight on a Tennessee author/illustrator. I don’t know why I didn’t invite her over for breakfast sooner, y’all. Seriously. 7-Imp evidently has readers all over the world, and that’s great. But it’s so nice to be having a breakfast chat for once with someone just a little over two-hundred miles away from me, as I blog in my little kitchen here in middle Tennessee. It’s great to see some Tennessee talent. Can someone give me a wa and hoo? And a WOOT! Okay, there. Got that out of my system.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #123: Featuring Ed Young

h1 Sunday, July 12th, 2009

(Click to enlarge. Really. You just have to. How can you not? It’s Ed Young.)

Jules: Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.

Happy Sunday to one and all . . . Some of you may remember that it wasn’t too long ago that I posted the 7-Imp Ed Young interview. Well, he’s got a new book out, and I am so head-over-heels in love with it and the art therein that I’m happy to be able to show you some spreads from it today.

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Poetry Friday: “no unusual malice anymore”

h1 Friday, July 10th, 2009

photo from Juiced Pixels. click for link.Welcome, Poetry Friday peeps. I’ve got a question for you: how good are you at holding grudges? I’m fabulous at it. If it were an Olympic event, I’d be a gold medalist 3 or 4 times over. At least, I used to be that way. I’ve mellowed a lot in my older-age, but in my youth my relationships with friends and boyfriends could be kindly described as “mercurial,” and less kindly as “volatile.” Lately I’ve been fortunate in being able to get back in touch with some of my old friends/enemies/friends again, and dumping all that old baggage for good.

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A Visit with Ayun Halliday, Dan Santat, Lots of Heinies,
and the Exclusive Premiere of “The Bellyache”

h1 Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

“No one tries to hide his heinie at the zoo.”
(Click to enlarge.)

Heinies, heinies, heinies. I’ve got a…um, buttload of them for you today. Well, maybe not a buttload. But I do have several spreads to show you from Ayun Halliday’s and Dan Santat’s Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo, published by Hyperion Books in May, as both author and illustrator visit today to talk about the book. And other stuff. My favorite part of this post is how the illustrator expresses some reservations about his own art for the book, and then—without even knowing what the illustrator has typed—the author proceeds to talk about how much she loves the art and what the illustrator has done in the book. As a bystander and book nerd AND illustration junkie, this is all very fascinating to me, needless to say. But I digress.

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One Impossible Visit Before Lunch with
Jarrett J. Krosoczka and the Lunch Lady
(“It looks like today’s special is a knuckle sandwich!”)

h1 Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Jules: Eisha, holy guacamole! One of our favorite children’s book creators is here today, Jarrett J. Krosoczka. And it’s for such a very fun reason. He is going to tell us the story behind how he came to write his new graphic novel series, debuting this summer from Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, called Lunch Lady.

In Book 1, Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute (to be published at the end of this month), we find out that Lunch Lady, bedecked in her yellow suction-cupped rubber gloves, fights crime — but secretly so. The Breakfast Bunch at Thompson Brook School—Hector, Dee, and Terrence—do wonder what she does when she’s not a lunch lady and dishing out shepherd’s pie (“I bet she has a like a hundred cats!” Dee says). But little do they know she’s got the backs of the students, meeting up with Betty (her sidekick and herself a lunch lady) in the Boiler Room, to keep an eye on the school and any, ahem, robot substitutes who might be planning very evil plots. Well, little do they know until they decide to follow her one afternoon; Hector, after all, does wonder aloud one day if perhaps she’s “some sort of super secret-agent spy or something.”

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #122: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Erin Stead

h1 Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Jules: Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.

And it happens to be the first Sunday of the month, in which I like to shine the spotlight on someone new to illustration.

But, first: Happy Independence Day and happy holidays to our American readers. We hope you enjoyed some good fireworks and red, white, and blue pie. (Oh yes, I did. I took in a slice of Cool Whip, strawberry, and blueberry pie. Mmm.) And we hope some folks will be around to kick with us today, even though it’s a long, leisurely holiday weekend for a lot of us.

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Notes from the Other Side

h1 Friday, July 3rd, 2009

image comes from chemicalparadigms.wikispaces.comThis week, I’m re-reading Thomas Lynch’s The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade, a National Book Award finalist, published back in 1997. Lynch is an essayist and poet, but he also—as the first chapter’s opening line tells us—buries a couple hundred of his townspeople every year. Yes, he’s the funeral director for the small Michigan town in which he lives — or at least he was back in ’97.

It’s a moving, life-affirming collection of essays, despite how it all might sound. As I started re-reading the book the other day, my eye was drawn to an excerpt from Jane Kenyon’s stunning poem, “Notes from the Other Side,” which Lynch uses to open the book. Then, I looked up the poem in its entirety, and I was blown away. Beautiful.

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Seeing Redwoods with Jason Chin

h1 Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

“…In some cases, a huge portion of the center of the trunk has been burned out,
but the tree keeps on growing…”

I’m shining a spotlight today on someone who is not new to children’s lit but who has just released the first title he’s both written and illustrated. And that would be Jason Chin. You may have read about Redwoods (Flashpoint, March 2009) in Betsy Bird’s early-June review (“you have kids that think non-fiction is dull as dishwater? Meet the cure”); in the Horn Book (“the book is…a contagious celebration of the relationship between information and imagination, the pure joy of learning”); in Booklist (“the first book Chin has written as well as illustrated is a real eye-opener”); in Kirkus (“an inventive, eye-opening adventure”); in School Library Journal (“this remarkable picture book delivers a mix of fantasy and fiction through beautifully detailed watercolors”); or Publisher’s Weekly (“Playing with the notion of just how immersive a book can be, illustrator Chin…makes his authorial debut with a clever exploration of coast redwoods”). Most of those are starred reviews, I might add. I hope, however, that you have actually read it — and not just read about it. And that’s because it’s every bit as good as the reviewers say.

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