Archive for February, 2014

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jeff Kulak

h1 Friday, February 28th, 2014

“What Makes Different Cuisines Different?”
(Click to enlarge and see entire spread)

This morning at Kirkus, I write about two brand-new picture books (one from Groundwood Books and one from Albert Whitman & Company) about what one of the authors calls gender-nonconforming children — in both cases, these are about boys who, in particular, like to wear dresses. That link is here, and next week I’ll have art from each book.

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Last week, I wrote here about Sarah Elton’s Starting from Scratch: What You Should Know About Food and Cooking (Owlkids Books, March 2014), illustrated by graphic designer and artist Jeff Kulak. I’ve got a bit of his art from that book here today.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

A Spot of Sunshine …

h1 Thursday, February 27th, 2014

“These books are loyal friends, helping you explore,
dream, discover, think, learn, and know much, much more.”
Early sketch and final spread

(Click second image to enlarge)

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted with illustrator Shadra Strickland about her latest illustrated picture book, Toni and Slade Morrison’s Please, Louise (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, March 2014), as well as a few other things. That Q&A was here (in which Shadra referred to Louise as a “spot of sunshine on each page”).

Today, I’m following up with a bit of art and sketches from the book (the two sketches below are preliminary ideas that didn’t make it into the book, Shadra tells me), and I thank her for sharing. Read the rest of this entry �

This, That, and the Other (the February 2014 edition)

h1 Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

I don’t often do this (it pains me to have a 7-Imp post with no art), but I have a few, quick newsy-type notes. I’ll use my rock-and-roll hands, like I did in the most recent This, This, and the Other post back in November, just to keep things interesting:

Today, I’m over at the blog of author-illustrator Brian Lies. It’s not often that I’m the interviewee, but he asked if I wanted to participate in a blog series about favorite characters in children’s lit, and I was totally game.

That link is here.

p.s. We will not discuss the fact that Brian recently visited a library in the county I live in, and I managed to miss it altogether. Not I-knew-about-it-but-couldn’t-go, but I-managed-to-miss-the-announcement-that-he’d-even-be-here. Still kicking myself over that.

I’m happy to have contributed to the Horn Book’s upcoming issue (March/April) all about illustration. Needless to say, I’m eager to read the issue cover-to-cover.

The piece about illustration that I wrote for them is also online now at their site.

Finally, a note for local friends: I’ll be doing story time this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Parnassus Books in Nashville. We’ll be celebrating Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss stories. I hear there will be cupcakes, and what a wonder are cupcakes.

Until tomorrow (when I will have art!) …

Have You Seen Steve Light’s Sketchbook?

h1 Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Early sketch
(Click to enlarge)

Have You Seen My Dragon? is the latest from author-illustrator Steve Light, who visited 7-Imp for a cyber-breakfast in 2012. The book will hit bookshelves in April (Candlewick Press).

This is the intricately-drawn story of a young boy in New York City, looking for his dragon. As you can see from the cover, he’s inspired by the manhole cover, blowing up steam in the street. Could there be a dragon down there? He’s lost his, after all. He goes searching through the city, yet the dragon is always just around the bend.

Light brings readers elegant pen-and-ink drawings but also, as you can see from some of the final spreads at the bottom of this post, splashes of color. This is also a counting book. (The boy stops for a hot dog, wondering if his dragon got hungry, so we have “2 Hot dogs,” and then the boy wonders if his dragon went downtown on a bus, so we have “3 Buses,” and so on — all the way up to 20.)

There are so many details to pore over here (I have an F&G, but I’m fairly certain the detailed maps opening and closing the book are the endpapers, happy sigh), and Light’s line drawings are utterly beguiling. This is an inviting picture book, offering moments of exploration and discovery. It’s simply beautiful.

Steve’s visiting today to share some sketches, which I love to see. And, as mentioned, there are two final spreads below, as well as the ornately-drawn full cover. You can enlarge each image for seeing in more detail by clicking on it.

I thank Steve for sharing. Enjoy … Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #370: Featuring William Grill

h1 Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

“After 16 long months, the crew had found solid ground. Dehydrated and hungry,
each man ate and drank until he was full. But their troubles were not over yet,
as the coastline was exposed to the elements, and a cruel blizzard set in for days …”

(Click to enlarge)

Today’s featured book is Shackleton’s Journey (February 2014), written and illustrated by British artist William Grill. This is a book that marks the centenary since polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, his attempt with a crew of men to make the first land crossing of Antarctica. It was considered the last expedition of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

Now, let me make something clear about this book right up front. The copy of this book that I have is incomplete. Long story, but think of it as like a sampler, so I will not be able to provide anything like a traditional review. (As noted on this page of my site, I don’t consider 7-Imp a traditional review blog anyway—my focus is more on illustrations—but still … just making clear that I haven’t seen the book in its entirety yet.)

Anywhoozles, with nonfiction it’s especially important to note the back matter of books; in particular, you must ask if the author included his/her sources. I can’t tell you that about this book, since my copy is not complete, but I can tell you the art is beautiful, and that’s going to be my focus today. Also that it comes from Flying Eye Books, the children’s imprint of Nobrow Press, who care about high-quality book production and design. This means it has things like an illustrated cloth spine. (Happy sigh.)

And how about that illustration above? HOO BOY. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jon J Muth

h1 Friday, February 21st, 2014

(Click to enlarge)

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about a nonfiction children’s title, Sarah Elton’s Starting from Scratch: What You Should Know About Food and Cooking (Owlkids Books, March 2014). It’s especially good for the budding, young chefs in your life. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote about Jon J Muth’s Hi, Koo! (Scholastic, February 2014). That link is here, and today I’m following up with some art from the book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Notes from a Colorful Interview …

h1 Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Early in January, I chatted with author-illustrator Lois Ehlert for BookPage about her newest book, The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life (Beach Lane Books, March 2014), which is an exceptionally good book.

Not surprisingly, as noted in the interview, when I called her up, she was surrounded by scraps and paints and paintbrushes — and she was busy creating, happy to be doing so. It was a genuinely inspiring interview; when I got off the phone, I wanted to make something myself.

BookPage has posted the interview. It’s here. I really enjoyed my conversation with her, and I want to give The Scraps Book to every child I know. If you read it, you’ll understand why.

Best part about the interview? You know how I always follow up columns I contribute at other places with art here at 7-Imp? I get kinda twitchy if I don’t, because I love to see picture book art up close and as big as possible. I don’t have to do that here, because BookPage posted spreads from the book so nice and big. (I was so excited when I saw it that I called to thank them for that.) Go take a look!

‘Til tomorrow …

Catching Up with Shadra Strickland …

h1 Thursday, February 20th, 2014

This morning over at Kirkus, I chat with illustrator Shadra Strickland about her latest illustrated picture book, which you can spot in the photo above, as well as other projects she has going now and what’s next on her plate. That is here this morning. Next week, I’ll have some art and sketches from the new book.

Until tomorrow …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #369:
Featuring Lena and Olof Landström

h1 Sunday, February 16th, 2014

(Click to enlarge)

Have I ever said here at 7-Imp how much I love the work of Swedish author and illustrator duo Lena and Olof Landström? Well, I do. I see that in the old days of 7-Imp, back when images were tragically small, I once posted about Boo and Baa. (And, oh! The Benny books by Barbro Lindgren and illustrated by Olof! Oh, how I love those books, which once appeared in this post I co-wrote with Adrienne Furness.)

The Landströms’ latest book, Pom and Pim, does what I think the Landströms always do so well: They tell wonderfully droll stories that are all about the types of daily dramas (and traumas — see the ice cream-induced tummy ache below) that very young children really care about.

Pom and Pim was originally published in 2012, and this first American edition (which I think will be on bookshelves in March) comes from Gecko Press. (Yes, Gecko published last Sunday’s book as well, but hey, on the whole they make really entertaining books.) It tells the story of a young boy with his favorite toy, who head out on a warm day to explore and play. What follows is a series of good-luck / bad-luck moments, ending with one moment that could be seen as either good or back luck, depending on how full or empty one’s glass is. (This book would be great paired with either Linda Ashman’s Rain!, illustrated by Christian Robinson, or Jeff Mack’s Good News, Bad News.) Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Natalie Russell

h1 Friday, February 14th, 2014

“And without a word he drew the sun, big and round, right at the top of his page —
a bright sun especially for Flamingo.”

(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Jon J Muth’s Hi, Koo! It’s fabulous in many directions. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about UK author-illustrator Natalie Russell’s Lost for Words, and I’m following up with some art from it today.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �