Archive for January, 2011

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #204: Featuring Marc Rosenthal

h1 Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Well, I’ve finally finished posting about 2010 titles, for the most part. I might sneak in an interview here or there some time soon with folks who published picture books in 2010, but it’s time to look at what’s being released this year. And I’m happy to show some spreads this morning from a brand-new 2011 title that I find so winning on every possible level, not to mention a book that made me and my wee girls laugh so hard we nearly split our collective pants. Okay, that simply doesn’t sound right, but I’m typing this post late-ish on Friday night, so forgive the nonsense that stems from my fatigue. “Collective pants” is kinda funny to think about, though. Admit it.

I Must Have Bobo!, written by Eileen Rosenthal (her picture book debut) and illustrated by Marc Rosenthal (Atheneum, January 2011), is the story of a straight up showdown between one young boy, Willy, and the family cat, the dilemma being that the object of their affection is one beloved sock monkey, named Bobo. Bobo, however, can only be with one creature at a time. Uh-oh. (If I could play the main theme song from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly right now, I would.)

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Cristiana Clerici’s International Spotlight #4:
Maurizio Quarello’s take on Bluebeard

h1 Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Barbe Bleue by Charles Perrault, illustrations by Maurizio Quarello, Milan Presse, Collection Albums Classiques, 15 April 2010
(Click to enlarge cover.)

Jules: It’s time to welcome again Cristiana Clerici (pictured here) for another international picture-book spotlight. And today she treats us all to an Italian illustrator and French book.

As a reminder, these posts are all Cristiana’s doing, since I asked her last year to stop by 7-Imp when the mood strikes her to show us what is happening in contemporary picture books over in Europe. In this case, it’s one Italian illustrator’s take on the demented, bloodthirsty aristocrat Bluebeard of the classic tale by Charles Perrault. In case you missed it earlier, to get the low-down on what I’m calling Cristiana Clerici’s International Spotlights, visit this page of the site.

I thank her kindly for contributing today. You can click on each image below to super-size it and see in more detail.

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Two Unforgettable Picture Book Heroines from 2010

h1 Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Meet April and Esme. They are the stars of one of my favorite picture books from 2010, April and Esme, Tooth Fairies from Bob Graham (Candlewick Press, September 2010).

This book packs such an emotional whollop at its heart (though, fortunately, Graham doesn’t beat us upside the head with it) that it makes me all choked up is what it does. What we have here are two wee members of the tooth fairy family. Before we even get to the title page (Graham doesn’t waste his time with his storytelling), one of them, April Underhill, is taking a phone call on her cell. “‘You’re his grandma? No, my sister, Esme, and I don’t do tooth visits yet. Our mom and dad always . . . You want US? We shall be there. I PROMISE.'” On the next spread, the title page spread, we see the young girls’ tiny home, a lovely cottage on the side of a tree stump next to a major highway — and I mean major, as in huge semis are barreling by. One gets the very definite sense that times have changed and that their home was perhaps once … well, less life-threatening. Indeed, on the very initial endpages, we see them swinging, not far from their home, on their tiny, fairy-sized swing, which is next to a huge, discarded bottle. Life isn’t what it used to be, we sense. Graham expertly sets the tone right off the bat.

As the girls fly through the front door, we see—though the reader will have figured this out already—that Graham will be treating observant readers to all kinds of wonderful details: For one, who knew the tooth fairy family hung retrieved teeth from their ceiling? As I type that, I understand how it can seem rather macabre, but those of you familiar with Graham’s work have to imagine here that this is the endearing type of Graham picture-book family we’ve seen in his later work. Picture the very contemporary, unconventional, laid back, tattooed father of this family, but just add a ponytail and tooth fairy wings, and you’ve got Dad Underhill, along with his mellow fairy family. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #203: Featuring Kathryn Otoshi

h1 Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

I’m happy to shine the spotlight today on Shen’s Books, a publisher of, as their site states, “multicultural children’s literature that emphasizes cultural diversity and tolerance, with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia.” Last April, they released Susan Lendroth’s Maneki Neko: The Tale of the Beckoning Cat, illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi. It just so happens that I got a review copy of the book last year right after having stumbled and stuttered over my own words after my daughters had seen a Maneki Neko (or Welcoming Cat or Lucky Cat) in a little shop and asked me about them. I knew nothing about the story behind them, but then Susan’s book showed up to save the day.

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Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Elise Primavera

h1 Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Here’s an interview that I had planned to post around Christmas, one of the last interviews of 2010, as it features author/illustrator Elise Primavera, who included some illustrations below from some of her Auntie Claus titles. Clearly, I didn’t quite meet my goal, now did I? Consider this a gift to those of you who are a) Elise fans and b) still haven’t taken down your Christmas tree.

I had the opportunity to meet Elise, who has been writing and illustrating books for children for over twenty-five years, in 2009 at the Southern Festival of Books. Little did I know till then what a wonderfully dry and wicked funny sense of humor she has, though I suppose if I had paid more attention I would have figured that out from her pen-and-ink drawings, such as this delightfully disturbing one:

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They’re Back! (Or, er….They were back in 2010)

h1 Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

So, as I type this on Monday evening, I’m saying goodbye to a day of having felt like I’ve operated on only one brain hemisphere. Ever just wake up like that? Yep. That was me today.

As a result, this will be short and sweet. I’m still, you see, posting about lingering 2010 titles. I suppose I’ll be done with that in about a week or so and shall move on to new 2011 titles. (I make that sound like I actually have a blog plan-of-action, when in all reality I decide the night before what I’m going to do!) But for now, I feature the return of ninja, cowboy, and bear.

Anyone else remember this 2009 title from Kids Can Press? Take a moment, if you’re so inclined, to re-read that post and take in that art again. Good stuff. Funny, too. I still love that book, written by David Bruins and illustrated digitally by Hilary Leung, for closing with the NINJA COWBOY BEAR game, not unlike “rock/paper/scissors” but involving you getting up off your keister to strike a ninja or cowboy or bear pose. Work in an office or library? I say try that game when you are experiencing a midday lull. Well, this new title, Ninja Cowboy Bear Presents: The Way of the Ninja (also by Bruins and Leung and also published by Kids Can Press), was released one year later. And that would be this past September. The second spread of this second title includes the words “merrymaking,” “buffoonery,” and “hilarity.” Those big words right off the bat made me happy. Also, let’s face it: Ninjas always make children’s literature more fun. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #202: Featuring R.W. Alley

h1 Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Yup, I’m still showing you some picture books from 2010.

Now, back in 2008, I didn’t cover here at 7-Imp There’s a Wolf at the Door: Five Classic Tales (Roaring Brook Press), written by Zoë B. Alley and illustrated by R.W. Alley. (I’ll throw in the cover below.) But I liked it an awful lot, this book that was also met with many starred reviews. (And I remember that Jama Rattigan covered it here in November of that year.) R.W. illustrated that title in a comic panel format. He and his wife Zoë returned to that format in last year’s There’s a Princess at the Palace: Five Classic Tales (published in September 2010, also by Roaring Brook), which I’m featuring today. And I like this companion book, too, which was also met last year with some excellent reviews. (“Smartly hysterical,” wrote Kirkus.) This book, like its predecessor, is over-sized (in both physical dimensions and in its sarcastic wit) and lots of clever fun. Read the rest of this entry �

Move On Over, Mary Poppins

h1 Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Boy, do I love that image.

(I have to say that it’s almost painful to put a post over top the vibrant David Díaz image below, but move on I must.)

I’m here this morning with a quickie post to share some art from another delightful picture book title from the Netherlands. Those folks make the most interesting picture books on quite a regular basis, now don’t they?

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Me, Frida

h1 Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

“For once, Frida felt larger than life. Me, Frida! She felt like she could fly.”

I’m sorry, I know I engage in hyperbole for fun quite a bit here at 7-Imp, but I truly find those colors breathtaking.

On the 7-Imp to-do list in my head for this week, though I admit I usually figure these things out at the last minute, was a post in which I had planned to feature some illustrations from Amy Novesky’s Me, Frida (Abrams, October 2010), illustrated by David Díaz. I’ve had the book for a while, and it’s a well-crafted story and beautifully illustrated. Then, yesterday it was up and named a Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book. So, I don’t know about you, but I think today’s the perfect time to feature it. I’m still feeling celebratory over yesterday’s winners!

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I’m Still Excited and Want to Share More Art
Before I Have to Get to Work Already

h1 Monday, January 10th, 2011

I want to add, now that I got that Caldecott yawp’ing out of me, congratulations to all of today’s winners in all categories.

Just because I want to celebrate with more art, here’s a previously-featured illustration from Seeds of Change (Lee & Low Books, April 2010), written by Jen Cullerton Johnson and illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler, who was named the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent (Illustrator) Award winner. (To see more, visit this August 2010 post.)

“In her jail cell, Wangari prayed. And like a sturdy tree against a mighty wind, her faith kept her strong. Instead of giving up, she made friends with the other women prisoners. They told her their stories. She taught them about her seeds and saplings. Together, they helped one another.”

The Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book is Gary Golio’s vibrant picture book biography of the young Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow (Clarion Books, October 2010), illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. You can visit this December 2010 post for more illustrations from that title.

(Click to enlarge spread.)

Okay, seriously. To the work-that-pays…

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All images posted with permission of publishers and recycled from earlier posts.