Archive for April, 2013

Hilda and Akissi and Some Awesome Robots and Why the “Pulpy, Inky Pages of a Treasured Picture Book”

h1 Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

— From Luke Pearson’s upcoming Hilda and the Bird Parade

— Above and immediately below:
Illustrations from Marguerite Abouet’s and Mathieu Sapin’s
Akissi: Cat Invasion

I run the risk of looking like a bonafide Lazy Pants today—call me what you will; I can take it—but I’m going to lean on blogger/online colleagues and friends for today’s post.

I have a syllabus to finish building, and you know that Candlewick book I wrote with Betsy Bird and the late, great Peter D. Sieruta, coming your way Spring 2014? I have some to-do items on that, too. I have that work (and lots of other work) to do, and work always trumps blogging, out of necessity. (Boo. Sorry, blogging.)

I have lots of art to share, mind you. I’m just going to leave the words to others so that I can get back to work.

Here’s the low-down: Anyone else remember this conversation I had over at Kirkus last year with Sam Arthur, the director of the UK-based Nobrow Press? Well, soon after that—at the tail end of last year, I believe—Nobrow launched a dedicated children’s book imprint, called Flying Eye Books. In this first year, they’ve already released a handful of outstanding picture books and comics. (Pictured left is an illustration from Viviane Schwarz’s Welcome to Your Awesome Robot.)

I mean to tell you: It makes me inordinately happy that they produce books for children. For one, check out this manifesto of sorts. Here’s the beginning of it:

Apps and ebooks are great. They offer all the bells and whistles of a video game or TV show, they’re portable, cheap, they’re even dribble-proof! So why go to the trouble of printing books?

This may very well be the question on everyone’s minds at the moment and many think there’s a strong case for being rid of books altogether. But is that really what we all want? What would the world be like without beautiful, magical, tactile books? What would our homes look like? What would our children’s bedrooms be like? Where would that wondrous reveal of turning the pulpy, inky pages of a treasured picture book go?

Oh, just HEAR! HEAR!

Today, I’ve got art from three of Flying Eye’s new books to showcase, but remember that note about how I’ve got a lot of work to do? I’ll post the art (which always speaks way louder than I could anyway) and then step aside and link you to the reviews of others who have also seen and enjoyed these books this year — those whose reviews I respect and trust.

Sound good? Ready for lots of art? Let’s do it. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #328: Featuring Vladimir Radunsky, Mies van Hout, & Frank Viva (Including a Brief Visit with Viva and a Sneak Peek at His Next Picture Book)

h1 Sunday, April 28th, 2013

“Good little girls always show marked deference for the aged.
You ought never to ‘sass’ old people unless they ‘sass’ you first.”
— From Mark Twain’s
Advice to Little Girls,
illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

(Click to enlarge)

— From Mies van Hout’s Friends
(Click to enlarge)

— From Frank Viva’s A Long Way Away

I’m feeling ambitious today and am featuring three picture books this morning — not just one, as I usually do on Sundays. Actually, since Frank Viva is also giving me a sneak peek at his upcoming Fall picture book, I’ve got four.

What I have in mind is this: Each of these books is a follow-up book in one way or another — at least in my mind. See the Radunksy-illustrated title above? I featured another picture book illustrated by him recently (remember this one?), having forgotten altogether that I also wanted to show art from this book at the same time. As for the van Hout-illustrated title, I featured this book by van Hout last year, so I’m following up here today with his latest. And, finally, I’m following up with Frank Viva to see what he’s up to now (and this Fall, as already mentioned). Hence, the follow-up-ness of today’s post.

Let’s get to it. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Up To at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Paul Thurlby

h1 Friday, April 26th, 2013

(Click image to enlarge and see full spread from which it comes)

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about three picture book sequels of sorts, and that link is here.

* * *

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted briefly with London-based illustrator Paul Thurlby. As a follow-up today, I’ve got some illustrations (two spreads) from his new book, one pictured above and the rest below. Paul Thurlby’s Wildlife was released by Templar in March. (And if you missed the award-winning Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet in 2011, I featured it here at 7-Imp.)

Enjoy the art. Read the rest of this entry �

Time Flies: A Visit with Mark Pett

h1 Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Here is Mark Pett, who is responsible for one of my favorite picture book spreads thus far this year, this one below, which you simply must click on to enlarge and see in its glory:


(No, really. Click to embiggen.)


That old man is from Pett’s The Boy and the Airplane (Simon & Schuster, April 2013), which I wrote about at Kirkus last week. If you’re wondering who he is and what he’s doing with that toy airplane, I explained it all last week in my column. This evening, I want to show some spreads from the book, and bonus! Mark is visiting to talk a bit about the book and share some more art, including a sneak-peek at a follow-up to The Boy and the Airplane. Let’s get to it, and I thank him for visiting … Read the rest of this entry �

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Selina Alko

h1 Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Photo credit: Isabelle DervauxAuthor/illustrator Selina Alko and I are cyber-meeting this morning for a delicious scone (“like, oh, chocolate cherry or lemon raspberry,” she recommends) and very large coffees, and since we can only cyber-meet (what with me being nearly a thousand miles away near Nashville and her in Brooklyn), we’ll do so in her setting of choice, a lovely light-filled café.

A “very large coffee.” Lots of light. Why, I can whole-heartedly get behind these things.

Selina—who has visited 7-Imp before, but not for a full-fledged interview—is sharing so very much art today that I want to get right to it, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t introduce you to her if, by some chance, you aren’t familiar with her books. As you’ll read below, Selina’s been illustrating picture books for almost ten years now with her brightly-colored, textured gouache and collage artwork — “funky [and] fun” is how Booklist once described her work. About B is for Brooklyn (Henry Holt, 2012), one of her most recent picture book titles, Kirkus wrote that her “[k]aleidoscopic mixed-media pages…are chockablock with vibrant images that fairly burst from the pages.” That could be said for a lot of Selina’s illustrated titles.

If that very large coffee doesn’t wake me up this morning, I know her vivid illustration work will. What are we waiting for? Let’s get to it. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #327: Featuring Julie Paschkis

h1 Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Julie Paschkis: “This picture of the two kids was the first painting that I did for the book, even before drawing the dummy. I often start a book with one finished piece
of art that sets the tone for all of the subsequent art.”
Julie Paschkis’ opening illustration from George Shannon’s

Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar?


What a week. (Caveat: That is not a hyperlink to launch and bring into your life if you are offended by rampant cursing.)

Here is part of what Camille Guthrie wrote at the Poetry Foundation’s web site about this unforgettable week we’ve had here in the U.S.:

“This week I want to believe Elaine Scarry, who argues that Beauty is a compact, or contract, between the beautiful being and its perceiver: ‘As the beautiful being confers on the perceiver the gift of life, so the perceiver confers on the beautiful being the gift of life.’ This week in which a marathon was bombed, senators refused to pass a commonsensical gun law, a plant exploded on a small town, a week in which beauty feels irrelevant and the gift of life feels utterly vulnerable.”

And in this poem, Wislawa Szymborska captures what went through my mind when I saw the bombing footage on television.

Now, more than ever, do we need to gather and list some kicks and look for some beauty, for crying out loud. To be clear, it’s always good to find the slivers of sunlight, even in happier times, and let us also not forget those people overseas who experience on a daily basis the violence Boston experienced this week. (See here.)

But, well. Yes. This week. Wow.

And I feel like George Shannon’s Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar? (Henry Holt, March 2013), illustrated by Julie Paschkis (who is visiting this morning), is just the fitting, life-affirming picture book to feature today. As Julie has already written about it—here, which I highly recommend reading—“I was drawn to the underlying meaning of the book: that every person’s contributions matter. As George put it, the book is an ode to the widest sense of community. … George’s text shows the joy that comes through doing work and being part of something bigger than yourself.” Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Up To at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Joydeb Chitrakar, Thomas Gonzalez, & Amanda Hall

h1 Friday, April 19th, 2013

“Instantly, the sun vanished and the sky turned black.
Rain began to pour like a great waterfall from the sky.”
— From Gita Wolf’s
The Enduring Ark, illustrated by Joydeb Chitrakar

“Flags wave, banners fly, crowds cheer at the village square. But this time Gandhi marches by. He finally stops, at the far edge of town, where the Untouchables live. Outcasts of the Hindu faith, dirty, ragged, poor, pushed away by all — but Gandhi.”
— From Alice B. McGinty’s
Gandhi: A March to the Sea,
illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

(Click to enlarge spread)

“‘I would not invite my son’s friends into my home without giving them a proper meal, especially on a holiday like Diwali. When a guest walks into your house, God comes with him and there must be food waiting.’ Anika said, ‘The family is high-caste Brahmin and very wealthy. Maybe they do things differently.’ ‘No,’ Kumar told his older sister, ‘in school Andal is not stuck-up. He is a friend with everybody in our fourth class.'”
— From Gloria Whelan’s
In Andal’s House,
illustrated by Amanda Hall

Anyone else seen Mark Pett’s The Boy and the Airplane (Simon & Schuster, April 2013)? That’s what I wrote about over at Kirkus today, and the link is here. I hope that Mark can visit 7-Imp next week for a short chat, and I’ll also have some art from the book then.

* * *

Last week, I wrote about three new picture book offerings that are about India in one way or another: Gita Wolf’s The Enduring Ark, illustrated by Joydeb Chitrakar and to be released in May by Tara Books; Alice B. McGinty’s Gandhi: A March to the Sea, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez and released by Amazon Children’s Publishing this month; and a new title in Sleeping Bear Press’ Tales of the World series, Gloria Whelan’s In Andal’s House, illustrated by Amanda Hall and released in March.

That link is here, if you missed it last week, and there’s a bit more art below from each book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

On “maximum meaning, minimum means” …

h1 Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Today over at Kirkus, I chat with London-based illustrator Paul Thurlby about why he’s having a good year, as well as about mid-century design and illustration.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

“[A]n emotional, yet hopeful, parable”

h1 Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Sometimes here at 7-Imp I write about books well before their release date. In early January of this year, I chatted briefly at Kirkus (where this post’s title comes from) with author/illustrator Bob Staake about several things, including his new picture book, Bluebird, released just last week. After I chatted with him, he stopped by here to share a few sketches.

I don’t tend to post reminders that a book has come out, but I am today. Because Bluebird will go down, if all is right in the world, as one of this year’s best picture books. Below is the trailer. Here’s some great process info at his website.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #326: Featuring Elisa Kleven

h1 Sunday, April 14th, 2013

As evidenced by today’s post, I’m still in the celebrate-Spring mode. (For those of you Imp readers who still have snow, I share this in an attempt to warm you.) And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by featuring author/illustrator Elisa Kleven’s newest picture book, Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story (to be released by Dial this week), which Kirkus calls a “joyously optimistic book.” And Elisa’s visiting today to say a bit about it and share lots of art, as well as a few early sketches.

Read the rest of this entry �