Archive for December, 2010

Raymond Briggs Meets Quentin Tarantino

h1 Friday, December 31st, 2010

Last week, I decided at the last minute to post some holiday illustrations and managed to get a few up. I have two more to throw into the mix, one for today and one for tomorrow. Short and sweet. Not the trilogy that yesterday’s 7-Imp recap post is.

This one actually comes by way of an agent, the agent of Ohio author/illustrator Adam Watkins. This image comes from a work-in-progress title of his, his next project and first children’s book, Christmas Ninja Attack! Head on over to Adam’s site for more information and more art.

If you were to ask me how heartily I laughed when I first saw this, the answer would be very. Enjoy. And here’s hoping you still have some snow—but no shuriken-wielding, snowman-defeating mercenaries of feudal Japan—in your backyard.

(Click to enlarge.)

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Image copyright © 2010 by Adam Watkins. Reproduced by permission of Joanna Volpe, Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation.

One Impossibly Crazy
2010 7-Imp Retrospective Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Alfred and I are here to look back on What Happened at 7-Imp in 2010. I’ve done this for the past two years every December, and—as I explained last year—I question my own sanity when I pull together posts like this, since it’s not a trivial thing to do and takes quite a bit of time I could use, say, sleeping instead. Well, this is way more fun than napping, I say, not to mention that, for some inexplicable reason, I find strangely beguiling at the end of every year those retrospective round-ups and best-of lists of all sorts that one sees everywhere—both online and in print—about entertainment and literature and politics and on and on. Ill say it again: Creating one of my own, looking back at who visited the 7-Imp salon in 2010, is my warped idea of fun, tidy fun. And these recaps are crazy long, yes. But they’re for browsing. Good-times browsing.

I know Alfred looks slightly sinister and surly, but he really enjoys these, too. He just takes it very seriously.

So, what was new to 7-Imp in 2010? This is how I see it: Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #199: Featuring Julie Paschkis

h1 Sunday, December 26th, 2010


I almost forgot about this post, you guys, since these holiday days are running together. But here I am. Notice the number up above. ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE. I am not even making that up. Next week, the first Sunday of 2011, we’ll all be kickin’ it 200-style. Two hundred weeks of taking some time here at 7-Imp to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. Whew. Pretty neat timing, huh?

I’m going to forego seven separate kicks this week (by all means, leave your seven kicks, though) and simply say hi and, once again, happy holidays. I’ve been short-and-sweet posting some holiday illustrations this week, one for each day, thanks to some nice illustrators, so if you missed ’em, go have a look. Today’s illustrations are from the one and only Julie Paschkis, who has graced this blog many a’times, seeing as how I’m a huge fan. Read the rest of this entry �

Merry Christmas from 7-Imp

h1 Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Today’s illustration comes from illustrator Lauren Castillo. You can see this spread and more of Lauren’s beautiful work in the October 2010 Simon & Schuster release, Christmas Is Here (adapted from the King James Bible). I haven’t seen this book yet, but Adrienne likes it, and I always listen to her.

Thanks to Lauren for sharing her artwork, and merry Christmas to all . . .

(Click to enlarge spread.)

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Image copyright © 2010 by Lauren Castillo. Reproduced by permission of the illustrator.

Merry Christmas Eve Day with Little Tree

h1 Friday, December 24th, 2010

“who found you in the green forest / and were you very sorry to come away?”

This October, Random House re-released the 1987 picture book adaptation of e.e. cummings’s poem, “little tree,” illustrated by author and artist Deborah Kogan Ray. (It was also released as a paperback edition in 1994.) Here’s the low-down.

This re-printing makes me happy, as it’s always been one of my favorite holiday picture books. Today, Deborah is sharing two images from it, and I thank her.

Merry Christmas Eve from 7-Imp . . .

“little tree / little silent Christmas tree /
you are so little / you are more like a flower”

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LITTLE TREE. Text copyright © 1923 by e.e. cummings. Illustrations copyright © 1987 by Deborah Kogan Ray. Published by Random House, New York. Images reproduced with permission of the illustrator.

Noel / Nosh

h1 Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Here’s today’s holiday image. (See below for yesterday’s from illustrator Shadra Strickland.) This comes from illustrator Kelly Light, who single-handedly created the blog Ripple this year to raise money for the oil-drenched Gulf.

Enjoy, and happy holidays from 7-Imp…

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Image copyright © 2010 by Kelly Light. Reproduced by permission of the illustrator.

May You Catch Some Snow
On Your Tongue This Winter

h1 Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

I’ve decided to—last-minute, which seems to be normal for me—post some new holiday images from some very talented illustrators this week. I’ve got a few I’ve collected anyway. Here’s an image from Shadra Strickland. Don’t you love its joy?

Happy holidays from 7-Imp, which means…uh, happy holidays from Jules! (I really should stop referring to myself as a blog, huh?)

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See you tomorrow with another festive illustration. Until then . . .

Image copyright © 2010 by Shadra Strickland. Reproduced by permission of the illustrator.

Barbara Bottner Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

2010 is grinding to a halt, but before it does, I wanted to invite over to the 7-Imp breakfast nook Barbara Bottner, the author of one of my favorite picture books from this year, Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t). Those of you who saw this post from May of this year know why I (and many others) cheer the book so enthusiastically. (And if you haven’t seen the book yet, by all means, go take a look at the post, though I am re-posting the spreads from it below in this interview.)

Barbara has had a long, rewarding career in children’s literature, writing more than thirty-six books, including picture books, beginning readers, middle grade novels, and YA novels. As discussed below, she’s also dabbled in other fields, including theatre and animation (Sesame Street, The Electric Company). In addition to her writing, she gets a great deal of joy from teaching. Barbara teaches both privately and at Parson’s School of Design in New York City, something she also touches upon in the chat below. “She leads a really tough but also a wise and supportive critique,” author Denise Doyen told me. “I’ve learned a lot from Barbara Bottner (and the seven other writers in her master class who regularly gather ’round her dining room table.) Mainly: to work from passion; to find one’s inner child and then write to, for and with that child in your head and heart; and not to stop at ‘a nice little story’ but to push onward until you find something fresh and uniquely yours.” Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #198: Featuring Steve Light

h1 Sunday, December 19th, 2010

I can’t let the holiday season slide by without featuring some illustrations from at least one holiday title, and this year it’s Steve Light’s The Christmas Giant (Candlewick, September 2010), which endears itself to me more and more with each reading. And I suppose now is the time to feature this, if one celebrates Christmas. This is the last Sunday before Christmas, which gobsmacks me. Can gobsmack be a verb? I doubt it, but let’s just pretend it can be, okay?

This title is infused with a real joy and a sweet charm. It’s the story of a giant and an elf, two very good friends, who live in the North Pole. You may be scratching your head, but child readers will just run with this. A monstrously tall, bearded giant with hairy knuckles? A wee, hooded, funny-looking elf who fits into the giant’s palm? Best buds? Santa’s helpers? Sure thing. Onwards and upwards then… Makes all the sense in the world to children, don’t you know. Light knows this and simply forges ahead. Read the rest of this entry �

I Love It When An Illustrator Surprises Me

h1 Thursday, December 16th, 2010

(Click to super-size spread. No. Really. You must. It’s gorgeous.)

I ask you, O Best Beloved 7-Imp Readers: Are you following the Top 20 Children’s Books of 2010 this week over at 100 Scope Notes, brought to us by two intrepid school librarians (with most excellent taste, I might add, not to mention a keen eye for kickin’ children’s lit), Travis Jonker and John Schumacher? It begins here, and you may have just heard me cheering loudly over today’s post, numbers 5 to 1. I can enthusiastically get behind the picture book titles on that short list.

Today I offer up no Best-Of list of my own. I figure lots of really smart bloggers, such as Travis, are out there with many of those lists in this twilight of 2010, but I do want to highlight a picture book title released by Candlewick in November that makes the Illustration Junkie in me happy. (Yes, I’m consumed by this addiction, though I don’t do things like pore over illustrations in lieu of feeding my children. Most of the time they get fed, though—after a while without a well-executed picture book—I do get a bit twitchy.)

Anyone remember this post from July of this year? That was illustrator Kevin Waldron (originally from Ireland, studied illustration in London, now living in New York, and very much likes tea and cake, as stated at his site), his picture book debut in a title he also penned. Read the rest of this entry �