Archive for May, 2011

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Dave McKean)

h1 Thursday, May 12th, 2011

I’m out of town this week for work, so here’s a quick note to say that tomorrow morning over at Kirkus, I’ll have some thoughts on Coretta Scott King Award-winner Andrea Davis Pinkney’s new children’s novel, Bird in a Box, published last month by Little Brown — with cover art and opening-chapter illustrations from Sean Qualls.

The Kirkus link will be here tomorrow morning.

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Last week’s column was all about David Almond’s and Dave McKean’s Slog’s Dad, published in February by Candlewick. If you missed it, it’s here. And here at 7-Imp today, I re-post for you the two McKean spreads that were posted over there last week. You can click each one to supersize and see in more detail. Enjoy. And see everyone on Sunday, if you’re so inclined to come kickin’.

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SLOG’S DAD. Text copyright © 2010 by David Almond. Illustrations copyright © 2010 by Dave McKean Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Nikki McClure

h1 Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

I suppose it’s not often I’ve featured papercut artists here at 7-Imp, but I’m happy to have one such illustrator, Nikki McClure, visiting 7-Imp this morning. Nikki—a self-taught artist, who began her work in 1996—cuts illustrations away from a single piece of black construction paper with an X-Acto knife in a process that, to say the very least, is time-consuming and intricate.

Nikki produces her own merchandise (posters, books, note cards, tee shirts, and yearly calendars), designs covers for records and books, and has contributed illustrations to The Progressive and Punk Planet.

But in the realm of children’s literature, Nikki has also brought us her delicate, beautiful papercut designs. In 2009, she illustrated Cynthia Rylant’s All in a Day, followed by her own two titles, 2010’s Mama, Is It Summer Yet? and this year’s To Market, To Market, just released this month (and all three published by Abrams). About Nikki’s illustrations for All in a Day, School Library Journal wrote, “Astonishingly detailed, the artwork evokes the feel of classic 1940s and ’50s picture books…. They successfully capture the magical childhood sense that a day can go on forever.” Kirkus added, “McClure’s bold cut-paper illustrations make such nebulous concepts as hope and renewal accessible to young readers. Her touching black-and-white tableaux, satisfying and solid with thick lines and sharp reliefs, offer simple scenes of rejuvenation.” With bold lines and textures and complex, meticulous papercuts, McClure’s artwork delights. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #218: Featuring Mini Grey

h1 Sunday, May 8th, 2011

“On a pebbly stretch of shore in a beach hut by the sea, there lived
a black cat, a white dog, and a little gray mouse.”

(Click to enlarge)

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books once described one of Mini Grey’s picture books as “expectation-busting.” I love that, because, first of all, don’t you get weary sometimes of the descriptors used for many picture books? Maybe I read too many reviews, but there’s “whimsical,” “quirky,” and “sweet,” to name a few. Yes, they’re necessary, and you gotta call it like it is, but “expectation-busting”? Right on. Breath of fresh air. It’s also great, ’cause it’s generally true for Mini’s work. (Many of her books—think about it—also usually deal, in one way or another, with death, though they’re never macabre.) Her latest title, Three By the Sea (click the cover to the left to supersize it)—released by Knopf in April, though originally published in Great Britain in 2010—is Mini doing what she does best: Funny, sly, thought-provoking. And she, once again, cracks some of those expectations wide open. That’s for sure.

You see, I thought the story was going one way and telling me one thing, and then it threw me for a loop. I like this. Oh, right. Brief synopsis first, an illustrated synopsis: Read the rest of this entry �

Addendum to This Morning’s Post
(Sorry…I’ve Been Absent-Minded Today)

h1 Friday, May 6th, 2011

Below are some images I had intended to include in this morning’s post.

In last week’s Kirkus column, in which I chatted with author Candace Fleming, she noted that in Fall 2012 she’ll have a new picture book out, illustrated by Eric Rohmann, called Oh, No! (published by Schwartz & Wade). Below is a sneak peek at this book — a nearly-finished relief print for the front endpaper and a close-up. Enjoy.

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Images are copyright © 2011 Eric Rohmann and used with permission.

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week (Plus What
I Did Last Week, Featuring… Well, Amelia Earhart)

h1 Friday, May 6th, 2011

Amelia Earhart’s license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ll have some thoughts on Slog’s Dad from David Almond and Dave McKean, published in February by Candlewick. And that would be because I am such a fan of Almond’s writing and McKean’s artwork, that I always sit up and take notice when they release anything. (Well, as I understand it, this is only their second collaboration, but still… Bliss.)

In fact, Almond stopped by here in 2008 for an interview, and here is the 2009 McKean interview, quite possibly my favorite 7-Imp interview ever.

The Kirkus link is here this morning.

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Last week’s column was a Q & A with author Candace Fleming. If you missed it, it’s here. She discusses the research and writing of her superb biography, Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, published by Schwartz & Wade in February. Below are a couple more images from the book. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Seriously. This Book Has So Many Good Passages I Keep Copying and Underlining That My Hand May Fall Off.

h1 Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Well, now. So happy to have just stumbled upon this book trailer. I’m reading this now, am nearing the end, and keep putting off the last chapter, as I simply do not want it to end. No, sirree. Too good. Can’t say goodbye.

And this would be how you make a good book trailer, too, I have to say:

Some of Betsy Franco’s and Michael Wertz’s
Dazzling Dogs Before Breakfast

h1 Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Remember illustrator Michael Wertz, this funny guy, who interviewed himself here at 7-Imp in 2009 and blatantly disregarded the usual rules for pronoun use? Here’s a quick post to show some illustrations from the follow-up title to the one featured in that post, Betsy Franco’s A Curious Collection of Cats.

And that title would be one in which Franco and Wertz turn their attention to dogs, called A Dazzling Display of Dogs (Tricycle Press, January 2011), what Publishers Weekly calls a “clever, jubilant gem.”

Just as with 2009’s cat title, this is a collection of concrete poetry — thirty-four poems, everything from haiku to free verse to cinquains. The very prolific Franco impresses again with this volume of visual poems, which capture a range of tones but primarily affectionate and sweetly goofy. And it’s all engaging fun. So are Wertz’s brightly-colored monoprints, a feast for your eyes. Many of the same elements that made the cat collection work are on display here again with this volume of canine poems, in which the text cannot possibly exist without the art and vice versa, these smart, witty poems embedded in images nearly bursting off the page.

Since it’s way more fun—and much easier—to show you what I’m talking about, I’ve got some spreads to show you today. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #217: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator Nora Krug and Author Molly Rausch

h1 Sunday, May 1st, 2011

I’ve had some sick daughters of late—not anything really terrible, mind you (knock on some cyber-wood)—but burning foreheads and nasty colds? Yes, I know of what author Molly Rausch speaks here.

Molly’s first picture book, My Cold Went on Vacation (Putnam, January 2011), illustrated by Nora Krug, gives us the perspective of one such pesky cold bug. The young boy you see in bed above starts out with a runny nose on Wednesday, which turns into an achy throat on Thursday and a burning forehead by Friday. On Sunday, however, his cold is gone: “I wonder where it went…” he says. Molly and Nora map out that cold’s adventure: Last summer, it hit Iowa; before that, Las Vegas. “My mom says I caught it on the school bus. But I don’t remember catching anything. I’d like to know where it went. And when it’s going to come back again.” Did his cold go on vacation? he wonders. To Canada? Flying over the Sahara? In the end, he discovers that the cold didn’t travel too far after all: It simply crossed the hall to his sister’s room.

The idea for this book came to Molly about four years ago, “joking around with Nora when we were both getting over colds,” she told me. “I wrote her an email saying that my cold went on vacation and I was sure it would be back soon. She answered with oh yes, I got a postcard from mine a few weeks ago.” Eventually, Nora suggested such an adventure tale for a children’s book. “It was great fun collaborating with her! We both love to travel, and each chose certain places we definitely wanted to send our cold.” Read the rest of this entry �