Archive for September, 2012

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Morning,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Mary Blair

h1 Friday, September 14th, 2012

“…Some blew / To the ground, / One lit on a rose, /
And a big one burst / On the kitten’s nose.”
— From Miriam Clark Potter’s
The Golden Book of Little Verses,
originally published in 1953

(Click to enlarge)

This morning at Kirkus, I write about a lovely picture book that popped up and surprised me, Elin Kelsey’s You Are Stardust, illustrated by Soyeon Kim. That link is here today.

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Last week, I wrote about A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books, released this August. That link is here, if you missed it. Above is a spread from the book, and below are a couple more.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Because I Think Even the Sketches of
David Small Are Sublime…

h1 Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

I do. I think, that is, that even the early versions—the sketches, the doodles, the brainstorms—of author/illustrator David Small’s illustrations are splendid. Above is one from his latest illustrated title, Sarah Stewart’s The Quiet Place, to be released next week by Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar Straus Giroux.

...I have started something---a quiet place for me and my books. Father bought a big refrigerator for us and gave me the box. ...Last week, I chatted with David and Sarah over at Kirkus. We talked about their new book and what’s next for them. They also discussed how they collaborate (or, more accurately, don’t collaborate). “David Small and I have a great marriage,” Sarah told me, “because we do not collaborate as artist and writer. I write every day. Occasionally, a story emerges –- sometimes, excerpts. I read it to him. If he likes it, I send the manuscript to my editor. If she likes it, she buys it. And then the words go to my sweetheart, who with his magic pens and paints deepens and broadens the story. I’m the luckiest picture book author on earth!”

Here is that Q&A, as well as more about The Quiet Place, if you missed it last week.

I’m here today at 7-Imp with a bit more art from the book, as well as some of David’s early sketches, since—as my readers know—I get twitchy until I’ve the chance to feature some artwork from the books about which I write.

Let us take a moment to appreciate one of my top-five favorite picture book spreads of 2012 — straight from Sarah’s and David’s book. You’ll see in the Q&A that I asked David specifically about this beautiful creation: Read the rest of this entry �

A Visit with Author/Illustrator Jane Breskin Zalben

h1 Monday, September 10th, 2012

I’m happy to be having late-night coffee with author/illustrator Jane Breskin Zalben, who has created in her career more than fifty books for children. Most of those are picture books, but she’s also written YA novels, chapter books, and even cookbooks. She has also worked as an art director, as you can read below.

Jane’s latest book, released in August by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, is called Mousterpiece and centers around a young mouse, named Janson. She lives in a museum and loves exploring it each night after dark. When she finally explores the famous paintings hanging in the museum, giving readers a glimpse of the world of contemporary art, “her little world opened.” She emulates the iconic paintings she sees, meeting some acclaim of her own — but eventually comes to understand that the artwork that expresses her own style, her own voice, is her favorite. Booklist calls this a “charming introduction to modern art and an inspiring starting point for young art students.”

“The book,” Jane tells me, “is dedicated to my mom. She was a children’s book librarian in Manhattan in a private school for children with learning disabilities and put together their first library. Years and years ago!”

I thank Jane for visiting today. I enjoyed the opportunity to ask her not only about this book, but also—given her lengthy career in this field—about children’s literature today and how it’s changed over the years, as well as what’s next for her. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #296:
Featuring Susan Eaddy and Mary Uhles

h1 Sunday, September 9th, 2012


Above: Artwork from Mary Uhles


One of Susan Eaddy’s portfolio pieces, Bad Bunny
(Click to enlarge)

Do you know something I enjoy doing yet haven’t done as often as I’d like here at

Pass out snacks? Why, yes. If I could pass out actual snacks, I would. But another thing is to feature local talent. Local, as in local to me, of course. Meaning, middle Tennessee. The Nashville area.

And I’m here to do that today.

Yup, it’s 7-Imp Local Talent Sunday. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Morning, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Peter Brown and Scott Magoon

h1 Friday, September 7th, 2012

“Mike picked them up one by one and put them on the ground. Then he spelled it out for them. ‘Big, tough dogs do not hang around with tiny, fuzzy bunnies, okay?
So beat it. Scram. And don’t come back!’
Mike found excuses not to use his car for the next few days.”

(Click to enlarge)

This morning over at Kirkus, I take a look at A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books. That link is here today.

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Last week at Kirkus, I wrote about Aaron Reynolds’ Creepy Carrots! (Simon & Schuster, August 2012), illustrated by Peter Brown, and Michelle Knudsen’s Big Mean Mike (Candlewick, August 2012), illustrated by Scott Magoon. So, to read all about the two picture books, here is last week’s column. Today, I’ve got some art to share.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Sarah Stewart and David Small Visit for Breakfast
(And Kirkus Brings the Coffee)

h1 Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Yes, I’m chatting with Sarah Stewart and David Small today about their latest picture book, The Quiet Place.

But we’re chatting with coffee mugs in hand over at Kirkus, instead of at the 7-Imp table. Good thing, ’cause I didn’t clean the table up after last night’s heavy partying. (That is so totally just a lame joke. There will be no partying in my future until I get my manuscript edits done. Giving me the ‘ol skunk eye, that manuscript is.)

Here is the Q&A.

David and Sarah discuss the new book; how they collaborate (or, rather, don’t collaborate) together; what spawned this beautiful story; and more.

Next week, I’ll have some spreads from the book, as well as some early sketches from the book from David.

I’m looking forward to that post. Even David’s sketches blow me away.

Until tomorrow …

p.s. I composed this post before my own coffee intake today, and the post title was originally “Sarah Stewart and David Small for Breakfast.” I’m glad I caught that mistake. I think we all need them to stick around—no seven impossible acts of cannibalism before breakfast, please—so that we can experience more of their future books.

In Which I Ramble About My Love for Picture Books

h1 Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

As I’ve mentioned previously here at 7-Imp, Candlewick Press is celebrating picture books for one entire year, given their 20th anniversary, and they’re celebrating with a series of videos. Authors, illustrators, bloggers, and other book-lovers have made video tributes to picture books, and Candlewick will be sharing them at this site. (If you missed this video from my co-author, the entertaining Betsy Bird, and the one and only Travis Jonker, then drop everything now and watch it, ’cause it’s fun. They pretty much did it up as right as right can be.)

My video is up today. Here’s the link, or you can watch it above. If you’re going to watch it, you might want to grab a cup of coffee or a pillow, since I may or may not ramble a tiny bit.

Hey, ask a girl to talk about picture books, and that just happens.

EDITED TO ADD: Just found their thus-far video archives. Good stuff. Here it is.

Southern Festival of Books 2012

h1 Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Here’s a quick post to remind those of you who live in or anywhere near Nashville about this year’s Southern Festival of Books, which will be October 12 to 14 at War Memorial Plaza. Here is a taste of what the children’s and YA author line-up will bring. You can click on this image to embiggen it and see it even closer.

Also, a heads-up to those of you who enjoy Judith Viorst’s books: I’m planning a Q&A with her in the near future for Kirkus’ Book Blog Network, and I’ll ask her about visiting the festival and what’s on her plate now — other than the very funny sequel to Lulu and the Brontosaurus, which is called Lulu Walks the Dogs. Lane Smith will also share some artwork from the books.

Until later …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #295: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Susan Sorrell Hill

h1 Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Journey; watercolor, pen & ink.
“She traveled with only a bird for company.”

It’s a pleasure to be featuring illustrator Susan Sorrell Hill this morning on the first Sunday of September. FIRST SUNDAY OF SEPTEMBER? Yes, I’m doing a double-take. Are you? How did this shifty month sneak up on us so quickly? I blame the ringleader on the right. (More on him below.)

Well, it’s not that September is inherently shifty. It’s that it’s gotten here so quickly, it seems. It’s even almost officially Fall, y’all. (Here I am saying that which is kinda silly and pointless. Those “where does the time go?” mutterings we all do at one point or another are rather inevitable and unanswerable, but 2012’s really flown by. Don’t you think?)

Where was I? On the first Sunday of each month, as many of my imp readers know, I like to feature the work of student illustrators, debut illustrators, or those otherwise seeking out that elusive thing called publication.

Having studied both textile design and children’s book illustration, Susan—who lives in northern California with her husband, sculptor Ernest Caballero—has for many years now worked in both illustration and the fine arts. She has worked in printmaking, pen and ink, oil painting, silversmithing, ceramics, silk painting, and more. However, watercolor and pencils on fine papers are still her favorites, as she notes at her Etsy site. She has also started writing and creating picture book manuscripts.

As she notes at her site, she can be found most days painting — or thinking about painting. “Lizards, deer, blue jays, jack rabbits and very tall trees (plus the occasional mountain lion, bear or skunk) are my neighbors,” she writes at Etsy. These creatures, she further writes, remind her of the inscrutable mysteries of life.

And one can see in her artwork that she’s trying to capture those mysteries, those fleeting graces.

As you’ll see below, Susan’s work has an imaginative, ethereal quality to it. Her fairy-tale pieces, in particular, are lovingly, elegantly visualized. I thank her for visiting today, and I’ll let her tell us more about herself and her work. Read the rest of this entry �