Archive for September, 2010

Seven Impossible Idioms Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, September 30th, 2010

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Cristiana Clerici’s International Spotlight #1:
Giovanna Zoboli and Camilla Engman’s Too Late

h1 Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

I’m so pleased that today marks Italian blogger Cristiana Clerici’s first contribution to 7-Imp. You may remember from this early September post that I invited her to come on over to the 7-Imp salon to discuss international picture book titles whenever the mood strikes her. Lucky for me, she was all fired up about that idea. You may also remember from my introductory post on Cristiana that over at her blog, The Tea Box, where she will cross post these reviews and interviews, she is following books from all over — with special attention to Italy, the United States, the UK, France, Spain, and South American countries. And she maintains three pages in three languages over at The Tea Box (Italian, English, and French). Hubba whoa did you say? Yes, hubba WHOA. Impressive, indeed.

Cristiana is working on an interview with the very talented Italian illustrator Eva Montanari, which she’ll also post over here, once she wraps that up. Today she’s contributed a review of the book you see pictured below, written by one of the leading authors in Italian children’s literature and illustrated by a Swedish artist. The book is being published in France by Hélium. It’s looking for a publisher in other countries, says Cristiana. (More information can be found here.)

Without further ado, here’s Cristiana to tell you more about it, and I thank her kindly… (By the way, I need a clever title for Cristiana’s series of sorts. Any ideas? It’s late, and “Cristiana Clerici’s International Spotlight” is the best I can do.)

(Click to enlarge.)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #186: Featuring Eric Rohmann

h1 Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Today, I’m featuring illustrations from the tiny, square, and perfect Last Song, illustrated by Eric Rohmann (Roaring Brook, September 2010). This is a picture book adaptation of Scottish poet James Guthrie’s “spare ode to the heavens” (Publishers Weekly), which very simply goes like this:

To the sun
Who has shone
All day,
To the moon
Who has gone
To the milk-white
Lily-white star,
A fond goodnight
Wherever you are.

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Poetry Friday: Switching on the Moon

h1 Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star, / How I wonder what you are!…”
(Click to enlarge.)

This is going to be brief, as I seem to have been visited this week by the same bug my daughters had within the past couple of weeks. But I wanted to check in—an early Poetry Friday post, if you will—with some art from one of my favorite illustrators, G. Brian Karas.

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Angel’s Return

h1 Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

“Dust Devil blasted hot air from his nostrils with such force that he snorted the Desperadoes halfway to Kansas. But the gale nearly blew Angel off; and as she grabbed for the reins, she dropped her bolts of lightning. At once the Desperadoes moved in and aimed their mosquitoes. It didn’t look good for Angel,
up in that thicket of thorny thieves.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

This image right here gives me the heebie-jeebies is what it does. And I mean in an awe-inspiring kind of way, given my weird phobia of monumentally large things. When the copy of Athena was erected in the Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park years ago, it took me about thirty minutes to look up at her, and my honeymoon trip to Rome, needless to say, was challenging. But, as usual, I digress.

That’s the colossally big Angelica Longrider, a.k.a. Swamp Angel, and—as promised yesterday—I’m here this morning to show some spreads from the sequel to her first story, the 1995 Caldecott Honor winner, Swamp Angel. Yes, Swamp Angel fans will be very happy to know about this continuation of Anne Isaac’s original folktale—sixteen years later!—paired once again with Paul O. Zelinsky’s illustrations, rendered in oils on cedar, aspen, and maple veneers. (Here’s my ’08 interview with Paul, and I’m fairly certain that opening photo remains my favorite interview photo thus far in all my eleventy hundred 7-Imp interviews.) Read the rest of this entry �

My Caldecott Ramblings: Or, What I Would Add
to Betsy Bird’s List and How I Can Really Get
Behind Most of the Titles on Her List Anyway

h1 Sunday, September 19th, 2010

“Sandy’s tail got longer until Gregory saw a tiny ghost crab scurry sideways into his dark, round hole. Gregory went round and round the hole. Sandy’s tail went round and round, too. But Gregory did not go into the water, and he did not leave Sandy.”

“Uncle Nigel stopped in his tracks. ‘I say! Footprints! That’s ace, lad!
The footprints of the Zimbobo Mountain Gorilla!'”

The above illustrations come from Karen Lynn William’s A Beach Tail (Boyds Mill Press, February 2010), illustrated by Floyd Cooper, and Elise Broach’s Gumption (Atheneum, April 2010), illustrated by Richard Egielski. More on those at the bottom of this post. (I know, I know. Long shots for a Caldecott, but, well…just humor me and keep reading.)

It is not possible for me to keep from responding to—or, in all actuality, adding to—Betsy Bird’s post from last week about Caldecott 2011 predictions. Her post addressed Newbery predictions as well, but for different reasons I’ve been focused for the past couple years on only picture books and illustration (occasionally, illustrated novels) here at 7-Imp.

And I say that I’ll be adding to Betsy’s list, because I love her choices thus far, and I can get behind most of them. They include some (but not all) of the below titles; for most of these, I’ve done posts here in 2010 (which I will point out below, in case you want to head to those posts to see even more art). And, again, I’m also going to throw in—at the bottom—what I would add to the list. Here we go.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #185, Me Hearties:
Featuring Aaron Renier

h1 Sunday, September 19th, 2010

(Click to enlarge and see the entire page from which this early sketch comes.)

Ahoy, buckos! It’s National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Now, I’m not going to talk pirate in this entire post. I’m not aye I can even pull that off. (See what I mean? Probably even that is wrong.) But what better way is there to celebrate than to showcase some art from Aaron Renier, seeing as how his latest title, The Unsinkable Walker Bean (First Second, August 2010 — colorist on this title is cartoonist and illustrator Alec Longstreth), involves adventure on the high seas — fearsome pirates, wicked sea-witches, a cursed skull, and CERTAIN PERIL. The swashbucklin’ kind. The image above comes from one of Aaron’s earlier sketches for this title. Aaron is not only a picture-book illustrator, but he is also a cartoonist who won the Eisner award for cartoonist deserving wider recognition for his first graphic novel, Spiral-Bound.

AND Renier was also recently named a recipient of the inaugural Sendak Fellowship. I had to do a web search on this fascinating-sounding thing, and I found more info here at this interview with Renier. Chris Mautner over at Manga Studio wrote on Friday:

At SPX {Small Press Expo} this past weekend, First Second’s Gina Gagliano told me that cartoonist Aaron Renier was headed up to Maurice Sendak’s home after the convention, as he was one of four young illustrators who won a grant from the brand-new Sendak Fellowship, which, if I understood it correctly, gives aspiring artists the chance to meet, workshop and work on various projects for several weeks at Sendak’s house, as well as soak up wisdom from the author of In the Night Kitchen.

HOLY WOW. He gets to hang out with The Great One himself. HE IS DOING SO AS WE SPEAK. Just wow. Read the rest of this entry �

The Preeminent Fairy Expert Speaks Out

h1 Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

“One by one, the brownies came into her room: some under the crack beneath the door, others through the air vent. Soon all two hundred of them stood at her feet, staring up at her sadly, wringing their nutshell hats in their hands…”

Weeks ago, I mentioned (here) reading and loving this book, Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins, and Other Nasties: A Practical Guide by Miss Edythe McFate, as told to Lesley M.M. Blume and illustrated by David Foote, released by this month by Alfred A. Knopf. Well, I knew I wanted to tell you a bit more about it. One day. When my schedule gets less hectic. Ahem. (Not gonna happen.) Read the rest of this entry �

Two Picture Books Re-Prints That Make Me Happy
(Or, Some Cute and Deadly Before Breakfast)

h1 Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

“She was shaking so much she could barely eat her morning hay. Her nose got redder and redder and began to itch. Her eyes watered. Her throat tickled.
‘K-k-k-k—‘ ‘KA-CHOW’ she sneezed.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

(Click to enlarge.)

I’m taking a moment this morning to highlight—by sharing lots of art from within—two old-skool re-prints, James Flora’s The Day The Cow Sneezed and William Wondriska’s A Long Piece of String. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #184: Featuring Ulises Wensell

h1 Sunday, September 12th, 2010

“…maybe, what if, the best family in the world was . . . a family of tiger trainers! She’d live at the circus! She’d spend the day playing with the tigers, tickling the tips of the cubs’ whiskers and counting the stripes on their coats…”

In honor of this post this week—and Cristiana-posts-to-come about international picture books and their creators—I’m featuring an illustrator from Spain today, Ulises Wensell. Wensell was born in Madrid in 1945 and was originally trained as a chemical engineer, later becoming a self-taught painter and illustrator. His many honors include the Spanish National Prize for Children’s Literature. In 2008, he was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and in 2009 for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Read the rest of this entry �