Archive for July, 2010

Moon Bear, Who Helps Me Announce a Wee Blog Break

h1 Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

“Who gulps the fall crops of beechnuts and acorns?
Happy moon bear, gorging on extra food for the winter.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Hi, dear readers. I’ve got my work cut out for me this week. I’m coming up on a self-imposed writing deadline, and I’m also preparing for this, a presentation at The University of Tennessee’s Center for Children’s & Young Adult Literature, in which I have one hour to talk about the best picture books thus far of 2010. Can you even try to imagine for one second how I’m having trouble narrowing here, dear people, since I love me my excellent picture books ever so muchly? But I’m having fun, and I think the presentation will be very fun, too. The best part is that I get to hear my former East Tennessee librarian colleagues—who are brilliant and will also be presenting—talk about books for other ages, and I particularly look forward to hearing about YA novels in the afternoon, since I’ve not had as much time for reading those on my own this year. (Good thing I love my picture books, right?)

So, for those reasons, I probably won’t be back here at 7-Imp until Sunday. But I promise to return for some kickin’. In the meantime, I’m leaving you this week with some collage illustrations from the great Ed Young. His latest illustrated title is by Brenda Z. Guiberson, who has been writing and illustrating children’s books for over 15 years. It’s called Moon Bear (Henry Holt, May 2010), a lyrical tribute to the Asiatic black bear, becoming rare in the wild. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #177: Featuring Kevin Waldron

h1 Sunday, July 25th, 2010

“‘Oh, woe is me! You’re getting very fat,’ Mr. Peek says to himself, noticing the bulge in his jacket. The hippo overhears and thinks the remark is intended for her!”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Last year, Candlewick Press debuted its first imprint, Templar Books, a partnership with Britain’s Templar Publishing. So far, I’ve been super pleased with what titles Templar/Candlewick has brought to the U.S. market — some really unusual (read: weird…you know I love my weird picture books) stuff and lesser-known author/illustrators. Er, lesser-known to me anyway. And one of those is being featured today: In 2008, Kevin Waldron debuted as an author/illustrator with Mr. Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo, and the first U.S. edition was released this May. I’ve got a couple spreads to show you today so that the art can speak for itself. Don’t you love the ’60s, sort of Inspector Clouseau vibe? Kirkus describes Waldron’s digitally-created art as “a delightful cross between Calef Brown and J. Otto Seibold.”

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Quick Art Stop: Steven Guarnaccia

h1 Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Here’s a quickie illustration post this morning that falls into the Just When You Think You’d Seen It All category for the ‘ol tried-and-true tale of the Three Little Pigs. Steven Guarnaccia, the chair of the illustration program at Parsons the New School for Design in New York, brings us The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale, released by Abrams in March.

Hand this book to an architectural design junkie, and you will make his or her day. Read the rest of this entry �

A Visit with Author Ellen Weiss
(with Some Art from Jerry Smath and Marsha Winborn)

h1 Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Almost exactly one year ago, when Mac Barnett and Adam Rex visited the blog, Mac mentioned a book published in 1979, I believe it was—But No Elephants, written and illustrated by Jerry Smath—which Mac said he’d “probably read 4,000 times.” I noticed in the comments that, almost one year later, Smath himself stopped by the post to type:


Thanks for your kind words … now please see some of my other books, and my new illustrations in Lola: A Shrew Story.


Jerry Smath”

Well, it’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally got some of those illustrations to show today, and that’s because the author of that picture book, Ellen Weiss—who has written over 150 children’s titles—is here this morning to talk a bit about not only that book, but another of her new titles, also released this Spring, as well as to discuss what’s next for her. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #176: Featuring Ruth Paul

h1 Sunday, July 18th, 2010

“They squeal, they squirm, they bellow and bark …
they don’t seem to like being fed to a shark.”

(Click to enlarge.)

I was fortunate enough recently to get a copy from Scholastic New Zealand of author/illustrator Ruth Paul’s latest picture book title, Two Little Pirates (April 2010). Now, none of her titles have made it to the States yet, so I hadn’t heard of her books, but when I saw this title, I was immediately smitten with her style. As you can see from the illustrations she’s sharing with us today during her 7-Imp visit, she’s got a rich, warm palette, and her comforting, curvy lines pull one in. Two Little Pirates tells the story of a couple of imaginative boys and the raucous way in which they awaken their Mom—I mean, Mum—and Dad — as if pirates attacking a ship: “The dawn slips in on a dragonfly’s wing, in through a porthole to wake up the King, and in through the misty remains of the night, come two little pirates preparing to fight.” The illustrations, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, are full of movement, playful perspectives, and expressive characters — especially poor Mom and Dad, awake way sooner than they wanted to be.

I say all the time here at 7-Imp that I love to shine the spotlight on international illustrators, and I really do. I especially enjoy the opportunity to introduce readers to folks not otherwise published here in the States. Here’s Ruth to tell us a bit about her work — and, incidentally, her wonderful environmentally-friendly home… Read the rest of this entry �

One Little Word…

h1 Thursday, July 15th, 2010

KA-CHINK. That was the sound of me turning on my cyber-spotlight to shine it on an international illustrator this morning. (Incidentally, I’d do this way more often if blogging were, say, my full-time job in, uh, Bizarro World. But, hey, one can dream.)

Standing in the glare of said spotlight today is author/illustrator Natalia Colombo, who studied at the Architecture and Graphic Design Faculty of Buenos Aires and whose work has been exhibited throughout Spain. I’m not sure if this is her first picture book, but I don’t believe it is. The book I speak of is called So Close and was published (the English translation, that is) by Tundra Books of Canada in May. It was originally released as Cerca in 2008 by Kalandraka Editoria.

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Spilling Ink with Anne Mazer,
Ellen Potter, & Matt Phelan

h1 Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

I have been doing my own writing lately, occasionally feeling a lot like the young girl featured here, and that has made 2010 Busier Than Normal. For that reason, my visitors to the 7-Imp bungalow this morning, authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, deserve an award. And that would be because I contacted them a long while ago about their wonderful new handbook on writing for kids, Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook (Roaring Brook, March 2010), told them I loved it, and asked them if they’d like to stop by 7-Imp to talk briefly about it. Sure! they said. LENGTHY TIME INTERLUDE. (All my fault.) Apologies sent to them. EVEN LENGTHIER TIME INTERLUDE. (Still my fault.) Finally, I said to them: I haven’t forgotten, but I’m so swamped. Would you accept an open invitation to say whatever you’d like about the book and I promise to work it up into a nice post? I gave them some basic guiding questions, mind you, but what they returned to me is what you see below. They took some of my questions and adapted them a bit, and then they came up with some questions of their own. Nice.

All of that is to say that, if you like the questions below, Anne and Ellen get big-time credit for essentially interviewing themselves. (And here’s hoping they don’t think I’m the lamest blogger in the history of Blogistan.) Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #175: Featuring Mark Crilley,
a new Mad Tea Party image,
and a bonus treat from Elisha Cooper

h1 Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I’m pleased to welcome author/illustrator and graphic novelist Mark Crilley to 7-Imp this morning. He’s stopped by to share some art, tell us a bit about where he’s been and what he’s up to next, and to give 7-Imp a gift!

Mark says he started drawing, growing up in Detroit, almost as soon as he could hold a pencil in his hand. After graduating from college (more on that below) in 1988, he taught English in Taiwan and Japan for nearly five years. His first comic series, Akiko, was published in 1995, leading Random House to invite him to adapt it as a series of chapter books. His latest graphic novel series, Miki Falls, was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens for 2007 and has been optioned by Paramount Pictures and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Production Studio for development as a feature film. His newest project is a six-volume graphic novel series from Dark Horse Comics called Brody’s Ghost, which he tells us more about below.

Currently, Mark lives in Michigan with his wife, Miki, and children, Matthew and Mio. I thank him for stopping by and for sharing some of his art with us this morning. Read the rest of this entry �

Roar, Snort, Grunt, and Grrrrrrr:
I’m Declaring It Dinosaur Day at 7-Imp

h1 Thursday, July 8th, 2010

I’m shining the spotlight on some nonfiction today. In fact, everything’s coming up dinosaurs this morning at 7-Imp, as I’ve invited Lita Judge and Deborah Kogan Ray for a visit. Lita is the author and illustrator of Born to Be Giants: How Baby Dinosaurs Grew to Rule the World, published by Roaring Brook in April. And Deborah both wrote and illustrated Dinosaur Mountain: Digging Into the Jurassic Age, also published in April (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Both author/illustrators have stopped by to share some spreads, images, and sketches. Let’s check in with Lita first:

Lita: I love dinosaurs! I was crazy about them when I was five. I was even more in love with them when I was fifteen and started working on a dinosaur dig for the Tyrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada. And, as an adult, I’m still wild about them. But, instead of sitting under the blazing sun, digging them up, I like to use my imagination and bring them to life through my pencil and paint.

“A bad-tempered Tyrannosaurus rex mother probably ate anyone who tried stealing her eggs. She stood guard over her warm, smelly mound nest. Leftovers from her last meal rotted nearby. Insects swarmed the rotting meat and piles of dinosaur poop.”

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What David Small Is Up to in 2010

h1 Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

“How Elsie loved that hound from the first moment it greeted her, jumping up and licking her face and then arooooing in her ear. She sang back to it, a childhood favorite, ‘With a bow-wow here, a bow-wow there . . .’ And Timmy Tune sang along. That hound, those hens, that banty rooster, and all the noise they made kept Elsie’s house full of sound, and Elsie loved them all for they turned her house into
a true prairie home.”

If you’re a fan of author/illustrator David Small’s work, then you’re having a good year. I decided to check in with him this morning to see what he’s been up to in 2010, and the answer to that would be two really great illustrated titles — Elsie’s Bird (Philomel), written by Jane Yolen (an illustration from that is pictured above) and to be released this Fall, and Naomi Howland’s Princess Says Goodnight (HarperCollins), released in May. David is stopping by to share some art and sketches from these titles. Let’s start with Naomi’s title, since it was released earlier this year.

Read the rest of this entry �