Archive for June, 2013

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #337: Featuring Oliver Jeffers

h1 Sunday, June 30th, 2013

“…and an A+ for creativity!”

Hello, one and all. I am at ALA Chicago this weekend, but I would never leave my dear kickers hanging without some illustrations on a Sunday. I don’t really have any kicks this morning—unless you want to consider my first ALA conference kicks one to seven—but I do have art.

I have been writing picture book reviews, as of a couple months ago, for BookPage. Recently, I reviewed Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit (Philomel, June 2013), illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

So, I’ll send you to the always informative BookPage for my thoughts on the book, and here at 7-Imp today I include some art.

And now it’s back to conferencing for me, but do tell me your kicks this week, if you’re so inclined. I may not get back to you all till Monday or Tuesday, but I’ll be back, I promise.

Here are some more spreads from Jeffers. Enjoy … Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Up To at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Meilo So

h1 Friday, June 28th, 2013

“In the Inner Hall, Daozi painted five dragons whose scaly armor moved in flight.
In temples throughout the city, waterfalls spilled from his imagined mountainsides.
‘Aaaaaah,’ someone cried. ‘This man is no ordinary painter.
He holds the brush of the gods!'”

(Click to enlarge spread)

This morning over at Kirkus, I feature a French picture book import from Enchanted Lion Books, Charlotte Moundlic’s The Bathing Costume, illustrated by Olivier Tallec. That link is here today.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about the beautiful Brush of the Gods, written by Lenore Look and illustrated by Meilo So. Today I have some spreads from the book. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Q & A with Divya Srinivasan

h1 Thursday, June 27th, 2013

I might be in the air right now, on my way to ALA Chicago, but due to the wonders of technology, I still have posts this week.

Today over at Kirkus, I chat with author/illustrator Divya Srinivasan about her work. Pictured right is an illustration from her newest picture book, Octopus Alone, which she discusses in our chat.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll have some more art from Divya.

That Kirkus chat is here today.

Until tomorrow …

He’s Holding Up Well for a 50-Year-Old Fish …

h1 Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

“…and when they had learned to swim like one giant fish, he said, ‘I’ll be the eye.'”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got to pack for ALA, and I will be back later this week, even though I’ll be in Chicago and away from 7-Imp Central (my very messy desk). But I leave you for now, as I head towards my suitcase with the best of intentions (though in reality I throw stuff in there about thirty minutes before I leave), with some art from Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, which received a 1964 Caldecott Honor. (This is fitting, since ALA will, in many ways, celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott at the conference this week.) Swimmy was in excellent company that year, what with Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are taking home the big gold.

For the 50th anniversary of Swimmy, Random House has just released a new edition with an opening tribute from Eric Carle. Here’s part of what he wrote, which I love:

Like all of Leo Lionni’s work, Swimmy is a magnificent blend of story and graphics. Here, I feel, he has been more daring than ever. Both childlike and sophisticated, the images in the underwater environment glide by like a film across the screen. The jellyfish halfway through the book is similar to a potato print done by a kindergartner and is as sophisticated as the best art of our time. … Lionni, ever inventive, using the ornamental edge on a napkin or doily, painted on it and made prints. The joy that Lionni must have felt while doing this couldn’t possibly escape the viewer.

Here’s a bit more art. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #336: Featuring Todd Harris

h1 Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

“You see, Queen Apricotta (named after her mother’s favorite fruit) and King King (whose parents liked to keep things simple) were shunned by the very people whom they supposedly ruled. And Duncan’s teenage sisters—twins Marvis and Marvella—were no better off. Those two girls turned weirdness into an art form (dancing to imaginary music, walking pet crickets on leashes, constantly sniffing each other’s hair). Of course, Duncan was just as unpopular as the rest of his family, but he didn’t realize that, which is why, for the past several months, he’d turned down every one of their invitations to come visit the castle. But he couldn’t avoid his family forever.”

I’m doing something a bit different today in that I’m not featuring a picture book. Instead, I’ve got the interior art from two children’s novels that my daughters and I have been enjoying of late. And that’s putting it mildly. They’re pretty crazy about them, and I had the pleasure of reading the books outloud to them and enjoyed them a great deal, too.

I first read about The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (who also writes here about “children’s pop culture from a grown-up perspective”), a book released in 2012 by Walden Pond Press, here at the Horn Book’s site. I thought it might be the kind of book my girls would like, and I wanted a good read-aloud. So, I found it at the library, and … well, we were done with it in days. It’s some mighty fine entertainment, this book.

The sequel, The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle (from which the art above comes), was released this past April, so we pre-ordered a copy from our favorite bookstore, and IF I HAD A DIME for every time the girls asked if the book was there yet … I tried to pace our reading of this second book, once it finally arrived, but a lot of good that did. It was equally entertaining, and we were done in no time flat.

The books contain cover and interior drawings from Todd Harris, who evidently works mostly in video game art and D&D. (I see he was interviewed here fairly recently and that we share a favorite character, whose name is Duncan.) Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Up To at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Bob Shea

h1 Friday, June 21st, 2013

“Until that show-off went flying by!”
Early sketch and final illustration from Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great
(Disney-Hyperion, June 2013)
(Click each to enlarge)

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Lenore Look’s Brush of the Gods, to be released next week by Schwartz & Wade and illustrated by Meilo So (whose work I love and who visited 7-Imp last year).

That link is here.

Last week, author/illustrator Bob Shea chatted with me about how humility is for losers. Today, he shares some early sketches and final art and such from his two latest picture books, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great (Disney-Hyperion, June 2013) and Cheetah Can’t Lose (Balzer + Bray, February 2013).

He also gives a sneak peek at his forthcoming picture book, which he mentioned in last week’s Q&A, Buddy and the Bunnies in: Don’t Play with Your Food (to come from Hyperion, January 2014).

Let’s get to it, and I thank Bob for sharing. Read the rest of this entry �

A Peek at Yuyi Morales’ Drawing Table

h1 Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

“NIÑO!” (final art)
(Click to enlarge)

Last week at Kirkus, I wrote about Yuyi Morales’ newest picture book, Niño Wrestles the World, published this month by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook. That link is here.

Today, Yuyi visits to share some early sketches, dummies, final art, etc. I thank her for sharing. Let’s get to it … Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #335: Featuring Bei Lynn

h1 Sunday, June 16th, 2013

“The principal has no choice. He pulls Gus off the road. Gus is so sad that he hides in the gym and cries and cries. Just one of Gus’s tears could fill a bathtub.
Each one falls to the ground with a SPLAT!”

(Click to enlarge)

Happy Father’s Day to all, and I apologize that I don’t have Father’s Day art. If only it were Ride Your Dinosaur to School Day … Hmm.

I’m shining the spotlight today on a book that will be released in early July, Julia Liu’s Gus, the Dinosaur Bus, illustrated by Bei Lynn (Houghton Mifflin). Both author and illustrator live in Taiwan. Lynn’s illustrations were rendered in watercolor and pencil.

“Who needs a bus stop when you have a dinosaur bus?” That’s right. Gus, the big green dinosaur, comes right to your door (or window, if you live in a tall apartment). Gus is careful not to step on cars, but he has big feet, so the city works around him. New road. Snacks lined up along the way (“two tons of french fries”). Road crews repair the holes he leaves behind.

Gus is a helpful creature, but eventually he’s pulled off the road for all the problems he causes. His friends are there to cheer him, though, and it turns out that his banishment ends up becoming a new thing—a new treat—for the children, but I won’t give it all away. (Oh, wait. The illustrations below give it all away, so look away if you want to be surprised when you read it for yourself.) Read the rest of this entry �

Battle Bunny: A Visit with
Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, and Matthew Myers

h1 Friday, June 14th, 2013

(Click to enlarge)

In high school, my best friend and I would buy really bad romance novels and take a pen to them, re-writing the story in our own twisted ways. (Oh, how I wish I had kept at least one of those books.)

It’s certainly not a new idea. Many children, as picture book author Mac Barnett notes below, like to mess with books, deface images, channel their inner wise guy. When Mac and Jon Scieszka decided to join forces and create a picture book, Battle Bunny (Simon & Schuster), that looks as if a child has defaced an obscenely sweet story for children (think saccharine-sweet and totally hackneyed), it’s safe to say they had their work cut out for them. We simply haven’t seen the likes of such a picture book before — such a supremely subversive book, one that is essentially two stories being told simultaneously. (I’ve got an early copy of this book. I think it is scheduled to be released this Fall, though honest to Pete, I had thought it was this summer. I try not to post about books wildly early, but ah well. I’m forging ahead anyway.)

The underlying story? A bunny believes all his friends have forgotten his birthday, but in the end he’s given a surprise party. But along comes a child (so the reader is led to believe) with a marker, and this child has wreaked utter havoc on the story and artwork: That sweet birthday bunny is really a battle bunny, the kind who eats carrot juice brain juice and Carrot Crispies greasy guts for breakfast. And he’s actually not so sweet: He has an Evil Plan after all. (Make that birthday a doomsday, and off we go.) Many forest creatures try in vain to stop him. No worries: A boy, named Alex (the vandal we assume has put his pen to the sweet book) tries to stop the dastardly rabbit, and he has a few tricks up his sleeve, as well as a big secret (oh, and some assistance from the President).

Are you following all this? Yes, Jon and Mac wrote the sweet story first. The illustrator, Matthew Myers, illustrated said story. Then, they all got to work again. Defacing. Wrecking. Fun with disorder and disruption. Spray paint cans in hand. Mischief rules here.

I wanted to ask them precisely how they went about such a thing. All three of them. So, I did. I talked to Jon and Mac together, and then separately, I chatted with Matt. I did my best to weave it all together here. (In the process, incidentally, I discovered—thanks to Jon—that it is actually possible to read this book aloud, something I hadn’t thought do-able before. You gotta get a little help from your friends, but you can really and truly do it.)

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

Niño. Unicorn. Goat.

h1 Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Here’s what I’m doing at Kirkus this week:

Today? Bob Shea makes me laugh and talks about how story is boss.

Oh, and we talk about his new books, including Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great, which is pretty flippin’ great. Next week, I’ll follow up with lots of Shea art.

That link is here today.

Tomorrow, I write about Yuyi Morales’ Niño Wrestles the World. (Niño is pictured left.) That link will be here tomorrow morning.

And next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with art from Yuyi, as well as early sketches from the book.

Until later.