Archive for February, 2012

One Impossibly Cool Friend Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Picture books with really successful bah-dum-ching, final-page punchlines are hard to pull off, but here’s one that does it well.

Toni Buzzeo’s One Cool Friend, illustrated by Caldecott medalist David Small, was released by Dial in early January. I am loathe to ruin the ending for you before you read it yourself, so this post may seem kind of vague if you haven’t read it yet. But I enjoyed it and want to feature it, not to mention David is here to share some early sketches (and final images) from the book, and Toni is visiting as well. I’ve got my coffee cups all set out, don’t you know.

First things first, though: A brief summary. Meet Elliot, pictured left. Yes, he’s dapper, isn’t he? He is a “very proper young man.” One day, as you’ll see in a below spread, his father asks him if he’d like to attend Family Fun Day at the aquarium. Despite Elliot’s reservations (“Kids, masses of noisy kids”), he agrees to join his father.

The young boy falls for the penguins: “In their tidy black feather tuxedos with their proper posture, they reminded Elliot of himself.” His father, who appears to be clueless and altogether absent-minded, hands Elliot a twenty-dollar bill for a penguin, and Elliot picks out the smallest one he sees (an actual live, breathing one, not a plush one) and pops it inside his backpack. Magellan, the penguin, makes himself comfy at Elliot’s home, the boy doing all he can to conceal him from his father, who is a bit obsessed with a different creature, a ginormous sea tortoise from the Galápagos Islands. (Observant readers will notice that Elliot’s father is himself very tortoise-esque in appearance. Hint: Even looking at the shadows in this book is rewarding.) Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #267: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Maja Sereda

h1 Sunday, February 5th, 2012


“This is from my first published book, titled Danie Dreyer se dinosouruseier en ander alfabetpret, written by Jaco Jacobs. It is an alphabet book, and this illustration was done for the letter ‘H,’ which is about a girl who is always late,
in spite of all the clocks on her hat (gouache on paper).”

That’s illustrator Maja Sereda speaking up there. I’m bending the rules a bit this morning with her visit. On the first Sunday of each month, I feature student or new-to-the-field illustrators, and it’s the first Sunday of February, but Maja is not exactly new to illustrating. However, she may be new to many of us readers here in the U.S., since she is from Poland and now lives and works in South Africa.

I’ll let Maja tell you about herself, and she has some more images to share below. I thank her for visiting. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Isabelle Arsenault and R.G. Roth

h1 Thursday, February 2nd, 2012


“One day my sister Virginia woke up feeling wolfish.
She made wolf sounds and did strange things…”

(Click to enlarge and see full spread,
which includes Isabelle Arsenault’s hand-lettered text)


“…the boo-hoo blues, the you lose blues, the oh no, don’t go, miss you blues…”
(Click to enlarge spread)

For this week’s Kirkus column, which will be here tomorrow morning, I take a look at Kevin Henkes’ upcoming book, Penny and Her Song, which is Henkes’ debut as a beginning-reader author/illustrator.

* * *

If you missed last week’s column, I featured the beautiful picture book Virginia Wolf (to be released in March from Kids Can Press), written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Canadian Isabelle Arsenault. Long-time 7-Imp readers may remember this 2008 feature on Arsenault. How much do I love her artwork? If I counted the ways, we’d be here all week.

This morning, Arsenault shares some images and early studies from Virginia Wolf, and I thank her so much. I’m also featuring some illustrations from R. G. Roth from Everybody Gets the Blues (Harcourt, January 2012), written by author and illustrator Leslie Staub, a book I mentioned in last week’s column as well. Roth’s illustrations were hand-drawn, combined with collage, and then designed in Photoshop.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �