Archive for March, 2010

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #158: Featuring Susan Gaber

h1 Sunday, March 14th, 2010

I’m featuring this morning two of the acrylic paintings by Susan Gaber that make up JoAnn Early Macken’s beautiful new picture book, Waiting Out the Storm, released by Candlewick this past week, I think it was. At the back of the book, Gaber pretty much summarizes the appeal of this book, so how about I quote her, shall I? She writes, “I’m inspired and held in awe by how this graceful story takes on fear, love, and compassion all in a simple and familiar situation.” Read the rest of this entry �

Poetry Friday: I Sign Off on Entirely Too Many
of My Emails with “In Haste,” Too

h1 Thursday, March 11th, 2010

My Poetry Friday post this week is—straight up, y’all—stolen from the honorable Liz Garton Scanlon. Always steal from the best, right? She posted this poem by Marie Howe back in September of last year, and I swear I’ve thought of it every day since then. Cross my heart.

And that would be because I’m a hurrier myself. And I would like to be less of one. And my oldest daughter moves slowly and takes in the world well, which she got from my husband. Evidently, a grown-up neighbor once told him when he was a boy—and I paraphrase—“you will never get an ulcer, my child, but you’ll give one to those who are waiting on you.” I drop my daughter off at school, and—no matter if she’s about to be late—she downright ambles into the building, all these kids rushing past her. Wait: It’s most definitely a mosey that she executes. But I think she probably sees way more than I do in this weird, bizarro world we live in. And this is good.

So, here’s the poem that Liz posted that kept me from getting up from my computer for about twenty minutes after I first read it. It had this power over me, started a conversation with me about why exactly it is that I do hurry. Yes, I talk to myself. What? Seriously? Don’t you all? For real? Read the rest of this entry �

On Being an Alice Fan Right Now,
Part Two: Electric Boogaloo

h1 Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Well, I mentioned earlier, dear readers, that Chronicle Books was releasing a most lovely illustrated paperback edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, originally published (as hardcover) in 2000. This was back when I noted what a good time it is to be an Alice fan. Due to the new Tim Burton film adaptation (which, no, I haven’t seen; it will likely be a DVD-watch for me), the lit-minded folks of the world are all AliceAliceAlice right about now. This is good for us geeky fans, who consider it one of our desert-island-type reads.

{Pictured here is Gertrude Kay’s depiction of Wonderland, circa 1923.}

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Classic Illustrated Edition was compiled by Cooper Edens, who owns an impressive collection of rare and antique picture books, one of the largest in the world. Excuse me, but SWOON. ….Where was I? Right. Chronicle has released this 2010 paperback edition and did I mention it’s lovely? Edens explains in the preface how he chose with “great care and deep reverence” the illustrations in this edition. He adds:

…there is no singular vision of Wonderland. In researching the visual history of {the book}, and the many different artists it has enchanted, I discovered that each artist focused on different elements of Lewis Carroll’s story…For me, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a book so incredibly faceted that its many secrets begin to shine only when these distinct interpretations are brought together.

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We Might Just Start a Jon McGregor Fan Club…

h1 Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

…Eisha can be President. I’ll be Secretary. (Hey, she can be in charge, as I’m a really good note-taker.) We’ll meet in the 7-Imp Treehouse. Snacks WILL be served.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done this, as I’ve been focusing so heavily on illustration at 7-Imp (picture books and illustrated novels), but I’m going to mention an adult fiction title today. And with the help of Eisha. You remember her, right? Oh you know you miss her. And it hasn’t been that long since she said goodbye.

There are reasons I stopped blogging about novels: Primarily, I burnt myself out on reading a novel and then turning right around to report on it. I still read ’em, but I’m keeping them to myself. But Eisha and I decided to make an exception today. Rather, we decided back before Christmas to make an exception and accept an early copy of British author Jon McGregor’s newest novel, Even the Dogs. And that’s because we’re big ‘ol ginormous nerdy fans of his novels, and when he contacted us out of the blue to say he’d written a new one and would we be interested in reading it, why, we were most certainly intrigued. Eisha blogged here about his first book (2003), which she convinced me to read Way Back When (long before that blog post, which is itself rather dated anymore), and I fell in love with it just about as hard as she did. And then there was his exquisite, luminous second novel, So Many Ways to Begin (Bloomsbury 2007), which we…uh….tried to post about here. But Yours Truly screwed it all up. I’m a winner like that sometimes.

Bottom line: Jon McGregor, whom The Guardian has called “a hoarder, an omnivorous collector of perception and experience,” has become one of our favorite contemporary authors. So, hell to the YES we wanted to read his new book. And, as it turns out, the novel didn’t let us down. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #157: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Janet Lee

h1 Sunday, March 7th, 2010

A is for Alice:
Alice indeed was a curious girl
Who fell rather far through a hole in the world
She followed a clock-watching rabbit, you see,
To a land full of wonder…and madness…and tea.

(Click to enlarge image — and all artwork in this post.)

You’d think I’d timed today’s post to join in all the Alice mania right now, what with a new film adaptation out this week. But, nope, I’m not that organized. Here’s what happened instead: Last November, I visited an East-Nashville art gallery, the wonderful Art & Invention Gallery, which showed up in my kicks last Fall, and I took in an exhibit of works, called “Proto Pulp: Classic Books of the Future,” all created by local, aspiring children’s-book illustrators. It was there I saw the work of Janet Lee, whose Alice illustrations were hanging on the wall of the gallery that day and which are being featured at 7-Imp today. I’ve been wanting to have Janet visit the 7-Imp cyber-salon since then, but sometimes I’m just slow. Here she is today to tell us a bit about the her Alice art, as well as share some more illustrations from her other work-in-progress. So, without further ado, here’s Ms. Lee. (As mentioned above, all Janet’s illustrations here are hyperlinked to take you to larger versions, and I highly recommend rampant clicking-on-images, since her art is so texturized and beautiful up close.)

* * * * * * *

It’s exciting (and a bit intimidating!) to actually be on Seven Impossible Things, rather than just reading it. My name is Janet Lee; you won’t have heard of me… at least not yet! By day, I work as a Book Buyer for a large national wholesaler. By night and in every extra moment I can scrape together, I work as an artist/illustrator.

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Poetry Friday: Two Sides to Every Story

h1 Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Two things on this Poetry Friday:

First, you know those picture books that try entirely too hard to be clever concept books, as in the concept is uncomfortably forced? Well, it’s Opposite Day (in more ways than one): Here’s one concept book, a collection of poems, that really works. Below is the smart poem that goes with the spread you see above. It comes from Marilyn Singer’s newest collection of poetry, Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse, illustrated by Josée Masse, and released this week by Dutton Juvenile:

“We read most poems down a page,” writes Singer in the book’s note on the poetry. “But what if we read them up? That’s the question I asked myself when I created the reverso. When you read a reverso down, it is one poem. When you read it up, with changes allowed only in punctuation and capitalization it is a different poem…” Singer uses her reverso technique to tell both sides of each tale, Publishers Weekly calling the concept a smart one and praising Masse’s fun-with-symmetry, as you can see in these featured spreads.

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Checking in with Nicole Tadgell and…
Warming Up with Lucky Beans

h1 Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

It’s cold these days. I’ll take some of the hot beans pictured here.

Illustrator Nicole Tadgell visited 7-Imp in October of ’08, and I figured now would be a good time to catch up with her and see what she’s been up to. And that’s because I knew for a fact that what she’s been up to is illustrating author Becky Birtha’s second picture book, Lucky Beans, released by Albert Whitman & Company this month. And I’ve read Lucky Beans, and I like it. (And if I were a math teacher for late-elementary students—or even a social studies teacher—I’d be all about using it in the classroom.) Nicole’s here to share some art and sketches, as well as talk a bit about illustrating the book. Here’s the sketch for the illustration opening this post:

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The Red Scarf: My Favorite Slapstick Title of ’10

h1 Monday, March 1st, 2010

Won’t you join me for a brief moment as I shine the spotlight on a picture book import? I picked this one up at my local library fairly recently and immediately contacted the publisher about sharing some spreads from it. Canadian illustrator Anne Villeneuve’s nearly wordless picture book, The Red Scarf, was originally published in French as L’Echarpe Rouge in 1999, and it won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. It was released last month by Tundra Books and leapt off the new-books shelf in the library, calling my name loudly with its colorful, action-packed cover. Villeneuve’s work is not well known here in the States, but I hope that changes one day.

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