Archive for June, 2010

A Sneak Peek into John Manders’s Brain

h1 Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

As I’ve made clear before (when he stopped by for coffee and cigars), you 7-Imp readers know I love me some John-Manders art somethin’ fierce. Early this month, Clarion released Mary Nethery’s The Famous Nini: A Mostly True Story of How a Plain White Cat Became a Star, which John illustrated. The story is set in Venice in the 1890s. Nonna Framboni, a caffé owner, serves “strong coffee and sweet treats” (my kind of place), but “the caffé was so small, people passed by it as if it didn’t exist.” One afternoon, Nonna takes in a stray cat she names Nini. The cat becomes a huge celebrity after she meows just the perfect note for which Giuseppe Verdi was looking, charming everyone from Verdi to the king and queen of Italy to the pope himself (and, therefore, making Nini and the caffé famous), and eventually helps the daughter of the emperor of Ethiopia overcome a particular sadness. But I won’t give it all away. (Or, er, maybe I just did.)

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Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Amy Schwartz

h1 Monday, June 28th, 2010

Pictured here is the wee baby version of author/illustrator Amy Schwartz. I’m immensely pleased that the grown-up Amy is visiting 7-Imp today, as I’ve been a long-time fan of her picture books and the understated charm and humor of her stories and illustrations. Last November, I wrote a sort of Amy-Schwartz Appreciation one Sunday here at the blog. I’ve said even before that here at 7-Imp that I love the seeming simplicity of both her writing and illustrations, but there’s really a lot going on, including an undeniably strong child-centeredness that, in my experience, makes her books bonafide Kid Magnets. Amy can perfectly capture the details of a child’s world, what they truly care to pay attention to. The book best exemplifying this would be the wonderful What James Likes Best from 2003, which Amy discusses below, though it’s really hard to pick that “best.” So many of her titles perfectly capture the details to which young children attend.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #173: Featuring Peter Hannan

h1 Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Anyone around this week, or are you all at ALA? I’m so jealous of you ALA-go’ers, though not jealous in a stabby kind of way, which should go without saying, my dear readers: I shall never wield a dagger anywhere near you. ‘Cause I am smitten with you all. I’m jealous in a you-better-be-living-it-up-wish-I-could-be-there kind of way. And, as usual, I digress. Anyway.

So, I hope some folks are around, because I’m happy to feature writer, producer, and artist Peter Hannan this morning. And I generally love catching up with and featuring the cartoon-style author/illustrators new (or new-ish) to the field. See that image above from one of Peter’s forthcoming titles? I hope your breakfast this morning isn’t as messy (or alien-filled), but doesn’t it look fun anyway? Peter has a certain firecracker mania to his work that will WAKE YOU RIGHT UP, if you don’t already have your strong coffee in hand. It is strong, correct? Only way to drink it, my friends. This image below captures Peter’s…well, Peter-ness. It’s a little bit of something from several of Peter’s many projects: Read the rest of this entry �

Quick Art Stop with Eric Velasquez

h1 Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010


“‘Très bien, très bien,
Mes amis!’”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

I know lots of folks are getting ready to conference away this week, which is ever-so exciting and I wish I were travelling there myself. Instead, I offer you a quick art stop with Eric Velasquez, which is a wonderful alternative for me. If I can’t be at ALA, I can at least show you Eric’s shimmering oil paintings from Cheryl Willis Hudson’s My Friend Maya Loves to Dance (Abrams, April 2010).

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A Visit with Jarrett J. Krosoczka and the Lunch Lady

h1 Monday, June 21st, 2010

Some of you may remember around this time last year when author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka stopped by to talk about how Lunch Lady, his highly-acclaimed graphic novel series for middle-grade readers, came to be. (And I mean “highly-acclaimed,” as in 2009′s Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute was nominated for a 2010 Eisner Award under the category of “Best Publication for Kids.” Woot!)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #172: Featuring Marcellus Hall,
J.D. Lester, and Hiroe Nakata
(Oh! And a Little Treat from Dan Santat)

h1 Sunday, June 20th, 2010


“If I were a musher, we would glide on arctic snow/
And gaze up as the northern lights put on their brilliant show.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

Yes, I’m purposely putting up this snowy spread as the first image in this post, in case it’s as hot where you are as it is here in Tennessee.

It’s also beautiful, yes? It comes from Marcellus Hall (whom I’ve mentioned previously at 7-Imp, seeing as how he did the wonderful illustrations for Lee Bennett Hopkins’ City I Love). That spread comes from Sherry North’s Because I Am Your Daddy (Abrams, May 2010). Sometimes here at 7-Imp, I’m actually organized and timely, and today would be one of those days: I have some Father’s-Day-related illustrations for you all. Happy Father’s Day to all you papas out there, including my own babies’ daddy (yes, I’m trying to sound all Southern and I’m saying that in my best East Tennessee accent, but I don’t think it’s translating well via cyberspace) and all 7-Imp readers who are daddies themselves. Read the rest of this entry �

Mini Blog Vacation

h1 Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Hi there, dear readers. Just a quick note to say I’m taking a short blog break this week, as I’ll be going out of town here very soon for the latter part of the week to volunteer at my beautiful alma mater. This week, I also am cramming last-minute, as I’m wont to do, for a story time I’ll be doing today at my local public library. I decided to tell, amongst other things, Henkes’ Kitten’s First Full Moon on the felt board. What do you think?

My mother helped with those drawings. I’m afraid I might be the reason, though, that the version of the kitten on the left, sitting on the steps, looks a bit like a forest creature or chihuahua.

See you all Sunday for kickin’. Have a good week, one and all.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #171: Featuring David Ezra Stein

h1 Sunday, June 13th, 2010


One of David Ezra Stein’s fairly recent color studies for Interrupting Chicken

{Mid-Morning Editor’s Note: OOPS, you all! I bet you were wondering where the post was. Chalk it up to a WordPress error. But here I am … finally!}

Really, really observant readers may remember that, back in February of this year, I mentioned today’s featured book, Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (which, as you can see here, was a big ‘ol hit at BEA). I got a very early copy of it forever ago (one of the unbound, rubber-bandy, advanced kinds), and I immediately fell in love with it. I’m so happy it’s finally been released and I can share some art from it today. (Actually, I’m not entirely clear on the release date; it may be August. Don’t hate me for this.) Read the rest of this entry �

Checking in with Dan Santat . . .

h1 Thursday, June 10th, 2010


(Click to enlarge image.)

“…I believe the entire {manuscript} is only 110 words? The text was so simple Mac actually had to give some instruction as to what he meant by almost every line given. So, in this image the line was, ‘looks like I’m going to have to fix this,’ and Mac’s only note was: ‘Make it a situation that is impossible to fix.’ It was very simple and still left me room for interpretation and, hence, you have an oil rig on top of a skyscraper and a No Parking sign next to it as a gag.” — Illustrator Dan Santat

Things are comin’ up very Dan-Santat this week at 7-Imp. You may have seen Tuesday’s post in which Dan shared some of the interior illustrations he created for Andrea Beaty’s middle-grade novel, Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies. This morning, Dan’s sharing a bit more art from that title today, as well as sharing some illustrations from another of his illustrated titles from 2010, Mac Barnett’s newest picture book, which Kirkus calls a “must-have,” Oh No!: (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World), released by Hyperion this month.

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Seven Impossible Interviews
Before Breakfast #86 (And Some Most Excellent,
FREE Advice on Writing Picture Books): Andrea Beaty

h1 Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

I’m so pleased to be having some cyber-coffee this morning with author and blogger Andrea Beaty, who is being hypnotized here by murderous galaxy-hopping bunnies, as depicted by illustrator Dan Santat. I’m a super-big fan of Andrea’s picture books, in particular, many of which I’ve covered here previously at 7-Imp, including 2006′s When Giants Come to Play, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes; 2007′s Iggy Peck: Architect, illustrated by David Roberts; 2008′s Doctor Ted, followed by last year’s Firefighter Ted, both illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre; and last year’s Hush, Baby Ghostling, also illustrated by Lemaitre.

But Andrea’s written above and beyond picture books, too. She’s written for middle-grade readers as well. Here’s my 2008 review of Andrea’s Cicada Summer, a beautiful, poignant read. And she’s back this year with a rollickin’ good read for late-elementary/middle-grade readers, released by Amulet Books last month. It’s called Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies, and it’s illustrated by the one and only aforementioned Dan Santat (who might show up again here later this week, so things will be comin’ up very Santat here at 7-Imp, which is an altogether good thing). I love this book, which Booklist aptly describes as a “lighthearted, clever send-up of zany horror conventions” and Publishers Weekly as a “screwy, nonsensical thriller,” as well as a “wholly fun read.”

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