Archive for September, 2013

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #348: Featuring Adam Rex

h1 Sunday, September 15th, 2013

“I walked over and under and around
to where Mom and Dad waited. ‘What now?'”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Morning, everyone. Author/illustrator Adam Rex is visiting today to tell us a bit about his newest picture book, Moonday, released by Disney-Hyperion earlier this month. Moonday tells the goosebump-inducing story of the moon lowering itself into a young girl’s backyard, putting all the town under its sleepy spell. Was it real or a dream? That’s for readers to decide.

I really like Adam’s paintings for this story. No need to describe them; you can see them on display here. And the writing? The writing is superb. This one makes an outstanding read-aloud, best for (but not excluded to) a cozy one-on-one read with your favorite child. It possesses a rhythm and cadence to savor. Kirkus gave this one a starred review. I just read the entire review, and they put it this way: “Gentle rhymes, recurring consonance and almost subliminal rhythms make murky, dreamy paintings vivid and the surreal story sleepily spectacular.”

Yep. What they said.

Here’s Adam. I thank him for visiting … Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Up To at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Helen Oxenbury

h1 Friday, September 13th, 2013

“Grampa stepped onto the platform. He waved and waved. His cap was green.”
(Click to enlarge spread slightly)

“Charley barked at the train for a while, and when it was gone, he held his head tall, which is code for Follw me, gentlemen! I know the way home!”
(Click to enlarge spread slightly)

I was feeling too restless this week and didn’t want to write about just one picture book over at Kirkus, so this morning I write about a series of Fall 2013 Picture Book Surprises. That link is here.

(Next week, I’ll have art here at 7-Imp from each and every book mentioned in that column. Calling all illustration-lovers: It’ll be art-tastic, you guys.)

* * *

Last week, I chatted here with author Amy Hest, whose most recent release is When Charley Met Grampa (Candlewick, September 2013), illustrated by the great Helen Oxenbury. Above are some spreads from this one, and below is the cover. (This book is a follow-up to last year’s Charley’s First Night, featured here at 7-Imp, if you want to see more art from Oxenbury.)

Until Sunday …

* * * * * * *

WHEN CHARLEY MET GRAMPA. Copyright © 2013 by Amy Hest. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Helen Oxenbury. Spreads reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

My Morning Chat with Mordicai . . .

h1 Thursday, September 12th, 2013

(Click to enlarge)

Last week at Kirkus, I wrote here about Mordicai Gerstein’s newest picture book, The First Drawing, a book that is magical in more ways than one.

Mordicai is visiting this morning to chat a bit about this book, as well as share some early sketches—I really love the sketch above, opening this post—and to provide a brief peek at the picture book he released earlier this year (April), How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers.

I thank him for stopping by. Let’s get to it.

* * *

Jules: I wrote in my column that I think this is such a wonderful topic for a picture book. Can you talk about how this premise came to you, the genesis of this particular story?

Read the rest of this entry �

A Visit with Author/Illustrator Kristi Valiant

h1 Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Author/illustrator Kristi Valiant is visiting this morning to elaborate on the point she makes in the above sketch. I love that. Who ever said making a picture book was quick or easy?

Valiant’s newest picture book, which she both wrote and illustrated, is called Penguin Cha-Cha (Random House, August 2013). The Kirkus review calls it a “humorous romp,” while School Library Journal describes it as a “sweet zoo fantasy” and a great one-on-one read, this lively story of a group of dancing penguins at the zoo and one very determined girl, who has caught them in the act.

Let’s get right to Kristi and the art and sketches she’s shared today. I thank her for visiting.

Read the rest of this entry �

Wild Thing

h1 Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Caldecott Honor-winning author/illustrator Peter Brown has a new picture book (Little, Brown, September 2013). It’s called Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, and it’s one of my favorite picture books this year. If you want to know why, by chance, I wrote a review of the book here for BookPage.

Peter visits below to share some early images and to talk a bit about the book. I’ll close with some final spreads from the book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #347: Featuring Jamie Hogan

h1 Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Happy Sunday to all. Illustrator Jamie Hogan is visiting today to talk about her latest illustrated book, written by April Pulley Sayre and released back at the beginning of this year. It’s called Here Come the Humpbacks! (Charlesbridge, February 2013), and it tells the story of a humpback whale calf and its mother, as well as the dangers they face during migration.

The image above is from one of Jamie’s sketchbooks. It has nothing to do with April’s book (way more on that below); I just like it.

Let’s get to it, since Jamie talks a bit about creating the illustrations for this book and what’s next for her. (I wish we were chatting in person on the beautiful island where she lives in Maine.)

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Up To at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jeanette Winter

h1 Friday, September 6th, 2013

“As time went on, Matisse cut bigger and bigger shapes. They filled his seaside room with color. ‘You see, as I am obliged to remain often in bed … I have made a little garden all around me where I can walk. … There are leaves, fruit, a bird.'”
(Click to enlarge spread)

Mordicai Gerstein’s newest picture book, published by Little, Brown, will be released next week. This morning over at Kirkus, I weigh in on that one. It’s called The First Drawing, and that column is here.

Yesterday, I chatted here with picture book author Amy Hest about her newest Charley picture book, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, When Charley Met Grampa, to be released next week from Candlewick. (Remember last year’s book about Charley and Henry?) Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll have some art from When Charley Met Grampa.

* * *

Last week at Kirkus, I wrote about Jeanette Winter’s Henri’s Scissors (Beach Lane/Simon and Schuster, August 2013). If you missed it, that link is here, and pictured above is a spread from the book.

Until Sunday …

* * * * * * *

HENRI’S SCISSORS. Copyright © 2013 by Jeanette Winter. Illustration used with permission of Beach Lane Books, New York.

A Short Essay (With Lots of Pictures)
on the Making of a Book:
Philip C. Stead & Hello, My Name Is Ruby

h1 Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Philip C. Stead, pictured here in one very cozy-looking hat, is visiting 7-Imp this morning to talk about the creation of his newest picture book, Hello, My Name Is Ruby, a Neal Porter/Roaring Press Book, released just this week.

The first time I read this story was at the book-saturated ALA convention (back in June). I rather devoured it. I put it aside. That was that for the time being. I knew I’d revisit it, but it took me a while. Once I finally did pick it back up, I read. And re-read. And re-read again. Slowly this time. And each time I saw something new, and each time I appreciated it in a deeper way, because this is not a book to read fast. It’s a book that nearly beckons you to sit with it and linger, and to be sure, this is something I love about picture books — how they ask me to slow down.

Another experience I’ve had with this book, though I don’t tend to go on and on here at 7-Imp about my own children’s responses to books (humor me while I do now for a moment): My daughters happened to fall for this one. We’ve read it repeatedly, and the youngest is still, months later, talking about, wondering about, asking about the peacock in the story. This is a book about friendship and introverts and Being Brave and Asking to Be Friends Even When You Might Feel Scared, and Ruby, the small feathered protagonist, is shunned one day by a peacock. The peacock says, “No, thank you” when Ruby asks if they can be friends. “Was that necessarily rude?” wondered my seven-year-old aloud weeks after first reading it. I mean, the peacock turns Ruby down with polite words, she’s noted, and there could be any number of reasons the peacock didn’t want a friend that day. It’s engendered many a discussion around here about intentions and emotions and how one’s words and actions can make someone feel as down as Ruby does in the wonderful rain spread you’ll see below. (I’m eager to read this one to a group of children, the first chance I get.)

Read the rest of this entry �

Color Commentary with Debut Author Jessica Young

h1 Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

“But my black is peaceful / Like the still surface of a lake /
And the spaces between the stars. / I guess colors are how you see them. . . .”

(Click to enlarge)

Appearing on shelves now, as of last month, from Candlewick Press is debut author Jessica Young’s My Blue Is Happy, illustrated by Cátia Chien. (Chien evidently was born in Brazil and now lives in California.) In this book, a young girl uses color to discuss emotions and, essentially, to ponder the notion that there’s not just one way to see or experience this world. Blue doesn’t have to mean sad “like a lonely song,” thanks very much, and who ever said red had to be angry and black had to be scary? (Shadows, schmadows. This young girl’s black is peaceful, as you can see above.)

Jessica’s writing is lyrical and perceptive, and young readers who feel slightly out of step with their peers will particularly welcome the protagonist’s delightfully left-of-center point of view. Or, as the School Library Journal review wrote, “This child knows her own mind and feelings and isn’t about to have someone else’s associations color her world.”

Hear, hear.

(I also love how Esmé Raji Codell describes this book as “oddly subversive … and surprisingly evocative.”)

Jessica (pictured left), who is originally from Canada and an art teacher by day, is visiting this morning to chat with me about this book, as well as colors, perceptions, Ira Glass, Picasso’s Blue Period, art therapy, and much more. If 7-Imp were a review blog, I’d be required to get all in-the-interest-of-full-disclosure on you here and tell you that Jessica is a dear friend. She is, in fact, one of my favorite friends on the planet. She lives here in middle Tennessee, and it’s actually thanks to this blog that we met. But 7-Imp isn’t a review blog, as I explain here at the site. It’s really a fan site, a place where I talk about picture books that I like and see if the creators want to come visit. And I really like Jessica’s writing in this book, and I would even if she weren’t my friend.

So, let’s get to it, and we’ve got some art from Chien to pepper the post. I thank Jessica for visiting. (I’m getting out some of my favorite coffee mugs right now.)

Read the rest of this entry �

Xander’s Panda Party

h1 Monday, September 2nd, 2013

The first cover concept for Linda Sue Park’s Xander’s Panda Party

Author/illustrator Matt Phelan has already visited 7-Imp this year. He shared some early art from Bluffton back in July.

But he’s back again. And that’s because I reviewed Linda Sue Park’s new picture book, Xander’s Panda Party (Clarion, September 2013), which Matt illustrated, for BookPage this month, and I asked Matt if he could once again share some early sketches and such. This is a great picture book, which has already been given multiple starred reviews.

My review of the book is here over at BookPage, and I thank Matt for sharing the images today.

Read the rest of this entry �