Archive for July, 2012

A Bit of Magritte and Monet Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

“He’d always dreamed of going to sea.”
(Click to enlarge)

“As I reach the top of the cliff, I face the sea one more time,
knowing that I will be back again tomorrow.”

(Click to enlarge)

Because I like good picture books about art, I’m going to share two today that have caught my eye lately.

First up is The Magical Life of Mr. Renny, a picture book import from Belgian author/illustrator, Leo Timmers. Originally published in 2010 as Meneer René, we will see the first American edition, thanks to Gecko Press and translator Bill Nagelkerke, this September. Read the rest of this entry �

No, I Don’t Work for the Highlights Foundation,
But I Have to Quickly Say …

h1 Monday, July 30th, 2012

Edited to add, 8/1/12: Neal Porter will now be a special guest at this workshop as well.

…that, if you are an illustrator looking for some professional development/workshop opportunities, I read about this recently and wanted to mention it:

The Highlights Foundation Advanced Illustrators Workshop is a five-day workshop from August 30 to September 3, 2012, during which (according to Highlights), you will “immerse yourself in illustration—oil wash on board, printmaking, pen and ink, watercolors, and more. Daily hands-on workshops will challenge you to sharpen your illustration skills, all under the support and guidance of our highly talented mentors.” (In addition to illustration techniques, they promise that you’ll also explore: dummy preparation; storyboarding; continuity; portfolio expectations; character development; self-promotion; and finding a market.) Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #290: Featuring William Joyce

h1 Sunday, July 29th, 2012

“Morris wondered if his book could fly. But it couldn’t. It would only fall to the ground with a depressing thud. The flying lady knew Morris simply needed a good story,
so she sent him her favorite. The book was an amiable fellow,
and urged Morris to follow him.”

(Click to see entire spread)

Here’s a picture book that will most likely not need any help whatsoever getting attention. It’s a book that follows an award-winning animated short film, and I don’t even tend to post about books that are spin-offs of movies, but I like this book. It also made a giant lump form in my throat when I shared it with my own daughters (the film and the book), and then it made me cry my fool head off, despite my best intentions (I don’t think there’s the tiniest thing wrong with crying, but GOD how I hate to do it in front of other people), while they just looked at me funny. But more on that in a minute.

Many of you are familiar, I’m sure, with the short film from William Joyce and Moonbot Studios, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, the 2012 Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Film. Yep, the book version is out now from Atheneum Books (released in June). Also, I know a book about the love of books came out after the film and the iPad app, but carry on we will. I think this picture book adaptation is lovely. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
The Brothers Hilts, The Sisters Klise,
and David Mackintosh

h1 Friday, July 27th, 2012

“The cloud of animals roused and rushed into the night. They weren’t mice at all.
They dipped and dived and surfed the air. They squealed with delight.”

(Click to enlarge)

“My grandpa’s name is Frank. Frank lives at our house, and he’s always around.”

“Grammy Lamby left the next morning,
but not without giving Larry the secret handshake.”

(Click to enlarge)

This morning at Kirkus, I write about Victoria Jamieson’s Olympig! That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote about two books, The Frank Show, coming in August from Abrams, from British designer and illustrator David Mackintosh, as well as Karina Wolf’s The Insomniacs, illustrated by The Brothers Hilts and to be released next month from Putnam. If you want to read about them, you can head over to last week’s column. Here today at 7-Imp I’ve got some art from each.

And, since we’re on the subject of really kickin’ grandparents (see The Frank Show), I’m also including some art in today’s post from Kate and M. Sarah Klise’s Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake, released by Henry Holt in early July. (No, they don’t go by “The Sisters Klise,” but I couldn’t resist typing that up there, following the Hilts as it is. And, yes, Ben and Sean Hilt go by “The Brothers Hilts.”)

Grammy Lamby tells the story of Larry, a little lamb whose grandmother is loud, larger-than-life, and full of personality — and not ashamed of it. When she visits, Larry clams up, embarrassed by her loud singing in church and annoyed by her secret handshake. It isn’t till a huge summer storm blows through their valley home and Grammy Lamby is prompted to get to work—cleaning up, patching roofs, and repairing windows—that Larry comes to comprehend what a fully-realized bad-ass she is, indeed. This is very much like the understanding the young boy in David Mackintosh’s The Frank Show comes to as well.

I love the picture books the Klise sisters have brought readers over the years, their domestic dramas, rendered in creamy, richly-colored acrylics. Three spreads from Grammy Lamby are featured here today.

[Note for those who like the art seen here today from The Brothers Hilts: They’re going to stop by for a breakfast interview one day in the near future.]

Enjoy all the art. Read the rest of this entry �

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Marisabina Russo

h1 Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Photo credit: Gerard MalangaThis morning I’m having breakfast with author/illustrator Marisabina Russo. To be precise, we’re having a glass of orange juice, some whole wheat English muffins with honey, and some café lattes. “My husband makes French toast on the weekends,” Marisabina told me. “In the summer, I buy granola at the local farmers market and fresh blueberries. That’s really my favorite.” (Note to self: Though it all sounds good, next time interview her on a weekend for some of those pancakes. I’ll bring the syrup.)

Marisabina grew up in Queens and knew from a young age that she loved art and wanted to make a career of it. At the very bottom of this post, she shares the comprehensive list of books she’s both written and illustrated in her career, including two YA novels.

I Will Come Back for You: A Family in Hiding During World War II, one of her latest picture books (released by Schwartz & Wade), has been named a Bank Street Best Book for 2012, as well as a Sydney Taylor Award Notable Book. The book, based on her mother’s own experiences, tells the story of a Jewish girl living in Rome with her family until Italy aligns itself with Nazi Germany, making life dangerous for Jews. Read the rest of this entry �

Three Multi-Tasking Cats Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Word play with children. It’s how a love for poetry develops, not to mention language development and literacy. Best of all, it’s great fun for them.

Here’s a quick post about an upcoming picture book that delights in clever, quick wordplay. We’ll see this one on library and bookstore shelves in late August, I believe. Michael Hall’s Cat Tale (Greenwillow) is about three eager cats, Lillian, Tilly, and William J., finding their way in the world, word for word.

“They pack some books and kitty chews. They choose a spot. They spot some ewes. They use a box to hide from bees. They do their best to box some fleas.” As you can see, Hall likes to play, in particular, with nouns and verbs. As in, blur their lines. As in, show how one word can be both. As in, homophones. As in, homonyms. As in, ALL OF THE ABOVE, actually (as you’ll see if you read the book). It’s wordplay goodness all-around.

Graphic designer Hall brought us last year’s Perfect Square, featured here at 7-Imp in June, another clever book that looks simple and effortless on the surface but was really what Kirkus called “a colorful, geometric romp.” Just as with that book, Cat Tale is playful, expressive, and a bit of a geometric wonder. (Once again, Hall uses simple shapes for young readers, as you can see in the art featured here today.) It’s a tongue-twisting, but very fun, read-aloud and begs to be shared at a library or classroom story time.

The Publishers Weekly review has already noted, “the puns are never stilted, and Hall’s simple forms and bright colors only complement the verses’ compelling rhythm.” You can see a bit of his bright colors at work here in a couple more spreads, which were rendered using acrylic painted textures and paper cut-outs, all combined digitally.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #289: Featuring Tad Hills

h1 Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

This is the first time Tad Hills’ Rocket, pictured above, has visited 7-Imp, and it’s long overdue.

So, when I write weekly columns for Kirkus, I always follow up one week later here at 7-Imp with art from the book. (To not post as much art as I’m allowed makes me twitch a little.) In early May, I did a short Q & A over at Kirkus with author/illustrator Tad Hills. He has created many picture books over the years that my children and I have enjoyed, including the Duck & Goose books, one of which I covered here at 7-Imp in 2007 (back when, shudder, I only included book covers).

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Hyewon Yum, Dan Santat
(and a Bonus Cover Reveal)

h1 Thursday, July 19th, 2012

“‘Will you be okay in the big kids’ school? You’re still so little.’
‘Mom, don’t worry. I’ll be fine, I am already five!'”

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

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Friday at Kirkus, I’ll have a column about David Mackintosh’s The Frank Show, as well as Karina Wolf’s The Insomniacs, illustrated by The Brothers Hilts. That link will be here tomorrow morning.
* * *

Okay, as for this post’s title, “cover reveal” sounds mighty dramatic, but … well, it just sounded better than “cover.”

Remember when Yuyi Morales visited last week (that link is here) and mentioned her next picture book project? Here’s part of what she wrote:

I just finished my book, Niño Wrestles the World, and I am tremendously happy with it. This is a book with Roaring Brook Press and Neal Porter, and I couldn’t be more delighted working again with this group of artists, thinkers, [and] creative people, who are embedding into my work the richest of their talents. Niño is a lucha libre story, filled with some of my favorite (scary) Mexican characters, and it is also a tribute to games and to my two sisters, Magaly and Elizabeth, who were the truest terrors of my childhood.

Read the rest of this entry �

One ‘Glorious Image of Liberation’ Before Breakfast
and a Quick Note to My Impish Readers

h1 Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

(Do yourself a favor and click to enlarge this spread)

Hello, dear Imps.

I’m busy this week working on my part of this presentation, which will be in Knoxville this Friday. I will be speaking in the morning to a group of librarians and teachers about picture books, my favorite titles thus far in 2012. I love doing this every summer. In point of fact, I love it as much as Snoopy loves root beer:

… and that’s ’cause how often does one get asked to talk about picture books for nearly two hours? Not often, so I look forward to this every year. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #288: Featuring Craig Frazier

h1 Sunday, July 15th, 2012

“‘Here it comes!’ said Tyler. ‘Let’s eat!'”

Every now and then, I like to check in and see what author/illustrator and designer Craig Frazier is doing. Last June (2011, that is), he visited 7-Imp—his Pearly-Gates Pivot response is still one of my favorites—and shared lots of artwork.

Craig’s got a new illustrated book out, Tyler Makes Pancakes! (HarperCollins, April 2012), written by Food Network chef Tyler Florence. It’s all about a young boy (whose dog, Tofu, is along for the fun), who wakes up with pancakes on the mind and then sets out to make some. In the process, he learns about where the ingredients come from, thanks to Mr. Jones at the local market. (Yep, this is for all those who think pancakes come from a box. No, that’s eggs, buttermilk, butter, flour, and maple syrup, thanks very much.) Read the rest of this entry �