Archive for March, 2012

Gregory Rogers’ Picture Books Make Me Happy.

h1 Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

It’s not easy, I’m sure, to make picture books that are entirely reliant on visual storytelling, featuring no dialogue whatsoever. But Gregory Rogers certainly makes it look easy.

For those not familiar with Rogers, he’s Australian and was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1995. For many years, he worked as a graphic designer before turning to illustration.

His newest book, The Hero of Little Street (to be released at the end of this month, though originally published in 2009 in Australia), is the third title in what Roaring Brook calls “the Boy Bear series.” The first two titles feature a young boy whose wayward soccer ball sends him on time-traveling escapades, what Publishers Weekly once called rambunctious silent comedies (or, if you’re Kirkus describing the new title in the series, a “wordless metafictive adventure”). For the first book, The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard (2007), he ends up on the stage of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, and in the second book, Midsummer Knight (also 2007), Rogers brought back the same cast of characters, this time for a romp through an Elizabethan fairy world, to put it simply, and this time with the Bear as a swashbuckling soldier. (The American covers are pictured here below, though all were first published in Australia.)

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Just Who Is Hotlips Triplefin? Or, A Visit with Author Kate Coombs with Art from John Nickle and Meilo So

h1 Tuesday, March 13th, 2012


“The couple so longed for a child that one day the man cried,
‘I want a son even if he’s half a hedgehog!'”

(Click to see entire spread)


“Rolling your belly like a tide, / sweeping the little fish aside, /
billow and swell of midnight blue, / you’re as grand as a planet / passing through.”
— From “Blue Whale”

I’ve got my best coffee mug out this morning for author Kate Coombs, who has two new picture book releases this year. The first release (January, Atheneum) is the re-telling of a classic Grimm tale, called Hans My Hedgehog, illustrated by John Nickle. The second, released this month from Chronicle Books, is a poetry collection, Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems, illustrated in shimmering watercolors by Meilo So. Kate’s here to talk a bit about each book and what’s next for her, and I’ve got art from each title. (Meilo will also be visiting soon for a breakfast interview, and I’m looking forward to that, too.) Read the rest of this entry �

Hans Christian Andersen Award Short List

h1 Monday, March 12th, 2012

A quick post to note that the International Board on Books for Young People today announced the short list for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. That list is here. The winning author and illustrator will be announced next week at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. (Oh, how I wish I were going back!) There are many good folks shortlisted here, so I shouldn’t single out anyone, but to say I’m a ginormous John Burningham fan doesn’t even quite cut it, so I’m particularly excited about that.

That’s it for now. Until tomorrow …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #272: Featuring Ashley Wolff

h1 Sunday, March 11th, 2012


“Baby Bear sees orange.”
(Click to enlarge)

Here’s a picture book I’ve been enjoying for a while and am finally featuring here at 7-Imp. Ashley Wolff’s Baby Bear Sees Blue was released in February by Beach Lane Books. Have you seen it yet? Heavens, it’s cozy and wake-you-right-up beautiful is what it is. This morning, Ashley (who has written and illustrated more than sixty books for children) is sharing some images and early thumbnails from the book.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Mark Hearld

h1 Wednesday, March 7th, 2012


“Winter is a slow, low time. Everything is hiding from the cold; just staying alive is enough. Days are short, but the long frosty nights blaze with stars and
spring is just a moon or two away.”
(Click to enlarge)

This week at Kirkus, I write about Cynthia Rylant’s Brownie & Pearl series for very young readers, illustrated by Brian Biggs. (As in: I did not even know about this great series, so I contribute my own little barbaric yawp about it to help introduce it to others who also may not know about it. I also acknowledge, however, that I am often just VERY SLOW.) The link will be here on Friday.

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Last week, I wrote about the very beautifully-designed and -illustrated Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature (Candlewick, February), written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld. You can go read all about the book—and me gushing—at this link from last week, but today I share a couple of spreads.

And I just stumbled upon this video (which makes me so happy that I’m going to paste it here RIGHT NOW), which showcases LOTS of Hearld’s art. Read the rest of this entry �

Well, Here’s an Impromptu Post…

h1 Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

I’m visiting this week (as a “special guest”) at a Highlights Foundation workshop in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Last night at dinner, my former career as a sign language interpreter came up, and before I knew it, the ever-effusive Katie Davis—who could probably talk a cat into a long, leisurely bath—had convinced me to interpret her latest picture book, Little Chicken’s Big Day, into American Sign Language, while she read it — all in the name of World Read-Aloud Day 2012, which is being celebrated today, in fact.

I haven’t interpreted in—gulp—nearly eight years (with the wonderful exception of having the opportunity to interpret for Walter Dean Myers’ 2009 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture at the Alex Haley Farm in East Tennessee). This is far from a perfect interpretation. There are even mistakes. I feel like I should point this out to any deaf folks or interpreters watching. Did I mention it was very impromptu? It was also at the end of a long day, as you can tell from my shiny face and tired hair. (I’m hardly a vain person, but you know … Whew.)

And it was fun. May you enjoy reading aloud today, if you’re so inclined.

I hope to be back tomorrow with actual picture book art. Until then …

“I want to make children’s books
as sexy as the newest pair of sneakers.”

h1 Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I’m away this week, speaking at this workshop in Pennsylvania, but here’s a quick post to mention two quick things…

Pictured above is illustrator R. Gregory Christie. That image comes from my 2009 breakfast interview with him. Greg has a wonderful and worthwhile new idea for which he needs financial backing from those so inclined to provide some support. Here’s all the information you need to know (don’t miss the video linked there at the top), but bottom line is that Greg has a children’s and young teens’ bookstore (in a mall) in Decatur, Georgia, that “needs a new look.” He writes at that link: Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #271: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Sarah Frances Hardy

h1 Sunday, March 4th, 2012

It’s the first Sunday of the month when I shine the spotlight on a student or debut illustrator, and this morning I bring you the latter.

Mississipian Sarah Frances Hardy will see her first picture book published this Spring. I haven’t seen a copy, but she’s here today to introduce herself and tell us a bit about it. And there’s even more information about her here at her site.

Without further ado, here’s Sarah Frances… Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week

h1 Friday, March 2nd, 2012

This morning over at my Kirkus column, I write about Nicola Davies’ Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, illustrated by Mark Hearld. Heavens. It’s a beautiful book. That link is here. I hope to have art from it next week to share with you here at 7-Imp.

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If you missed last week’s column, I wrote about the BolognaRagazzi Awards. That link is here.

I don’t have any art for my readers this morning, but here’s what I want to do, fingers crossed. Cristiana Clerici and I think it’d be super neato-skeeto (to put it all professional-like) to post all the book covers from the winning titles (and Mentions), along with at least one spread from each book. This is not a trivial task, though, given that many of these books are published in other countries, but we are going to try (after I get back in town next week from some more blogging-related travel).

So, we hope to have that for you one day in the near future — if we have our way, we’ll be sharing some international illustrations with you.

Until then …

Checking in with Taeeun Yoo Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, March 1st, 2012



“‘Oh, all right. We’ll call her Pohn, then,’ Auntie Orchid sighed. ‘Pohn-Pohn!’
Tua called to the elephant. ‘Pohn,’ Auntie Orchid corrected her niece.
‘One Pohn is plenty Pohn enough.'”

In 2009, author/illustrator Taeeun Yoo visited for a cyber-breakfast, and it remains one of my favorite interviews. Not just because her response to the Pivot question about what turns her on was “Coffee. A sunny day. A stormy day, too. Music. Good conversations with friends. And cupcakes.” Mostly ’cause I love her illustration work.

Every now and then I like to check in with her, and it turns out she has at least (there could be more, for all I know) two titles out this year. And she’s here today to share some art from them.

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