Archive for February, 2014

Meanwhile, Back at 7-Imp …

h1 Thursday, February 13th, 2014

“‘This peaceful life suits me just fine,’ Widow Jones would say, while she and her ranch hands drank tea and gazed at the summer sky. But it didn’t stay peaceful very long.”

I chatted over at Kirkus last week with author Anne Isaacs, but back here at 7-Imp, I just gotta share some art from the book she and I discussed. It’s her newest picture book, called Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (Schwartz & Wade, February 2014), and it’s illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.

Here’s the Q&A if you want more info on the book itself, and here below is a bit more art.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

A Rare Bird

h1 Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Here’s a quick post to share some art from Kate Samworth’s Aviary Wonders Inc.: Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual, to be released by Clarion in March.

Now, this is one of the most bizarre picture books I’ve seen in a while, which at the very least brings to my mind this guy exclaiming things like “DON’T BE BORING.” This book definitely has that goin’ for it.

This one is slightly macabre in spots, though I’ve sat here for entirely too long at my keyboard, thinking that “macabre” isn’t precisely the word I want. How about this: The Publishers Weekly review (one starred review of several) calls it “unsettling and unforgettable.” Booklist describes it as “original, somewhat disturbing, and wholeheartedly bizarre (but in a good way!).” Yes, all those things, and I like it — and my own children absolutely delighted in it. This is surely one of the most offbeat picture books I’ve seen in recent years.

Let me back up and tell you what it is. It’s a pretend futuristic catalog that sells bird parts so that you can build your own bird. “Renewing the World’s Bird Supply Since 2031” is the fake company’s motto of sorts (as you can see on the book’s cover). There’s a pretend “About the Company” note, which opens the book. It’s written by the company’s founder, Alfred Wallis, where he states: Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #368: Featuring Komako Sakai

h1 Sunday, February 9th, 2014

If someone were to ask me who some of my favorite author-illustrators for very young children are—those who make books, that is, geared at preschool readers—I’d say that Komako Sakai is most assuredly one of the names at the top of that list.

This month, Gecko Press released the first American edition of Sakai’s Hannah’s Night, which was first published in Japan in 2012. It’s the story of a very young child, who wakes at night and, after failing to wake her sister, explores her home with her cat, Shiro. There’s mystery and wide-eyed wonder (the dark house at night) and mischief here (Hannah giggles as she takes her sister’s music box, notebook, and coloring pencils back to her own bed to play with), and the youngest of readers will thrill at Hannah’s free reign of the home, independent of any grown-ups telling her what or what not to do. There are moments of beauty, too, such as when Hannah hears cooing and heads to the window to see the “prettiest dove she’d ever seen,” something she’s not likely to see during the hustle and bustle of her day.

Sakai’s thick brushstrokes bring a vibrant texture to the story, and I’m enamored with the dark, navy blues of Hannah’s world at night. These are deep, rich shades, made all the more striking when the sun starts to come up — just as Hannah finally gets sleepy.

If her books are any indication, Sakai knows young children very well. Here’s some more art from the book. Enjoy … Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Carolyn Fisher and Clotilde Perrin

h1 Friday, February 7th, 2014

From Clotilde Perrin’s At the Same Moment Around the World:
“At the same moment, in Paris, France, it is seven o’clock in the morning, and Benedict drinks hot chocolate before school. At the same moment, in Sofia, Bulgaria, it is eight o’clock in the morning when Mitko chases after the school bus.”

(Click to enlarge)

From Cindy Jenson-Elliott’s Weeds Find a Way, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher:
“Weeds send their seeds into the world in wondrous ways:
fluffing up like feathers and floating away on the wind.”

(Click to enlarge)

This morning at Kirkus, I write about a quiet, little picture book by Natalie Russell, who lives and works in Scotland, called Lost for Words (Peachtree, March 2014). That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote about Cindy Jenson-Elliott’s Weeds Find a Way (Beach Lane Books, February 2014), illustrated by Carolyn Fisher, and Clotilde Perrin’s At the Same Moment Around the World (Chronicle Books, March 2014), first published in France in 2011. That link is here, and today I follow up with some art from each book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

“All exaggeration must be restricted
to the first twenty-four hours past sunrise …”

h1 Thursday, February 6th, 2014

What draws me is a sense of kinship: I like and understand people who venture out to do impossible things, and I feel a bond with those who cannot live without nature, raw and untamed. Those who have a bit of lake water in their veins.”

* * *

Today over at Kirkus, I chat with picture book author and tall-tale queen, Anne Isaacs.

Her newest book, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, is Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (Schwartz & Wade, February 2014), and it’s funny stuff.

That Q&A is here.

Next week, I hope to have art from the book to share.

Until tomorrow …

Photo used by permission of Anne Isaacs.

A Bit of Art from Laura Carlin …

h1 Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

“Nothing grew. Everything was broken. No one ever smiled.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

A couple of weeks ago, I chatted with British picture book author and zoologist Nicola Davies about her newest picture book, The Promise (Candlewick, March 2014), illustrated by Laura Carlin. I already linked to that here at 7-Imp, yet I completely forgot to share the spread from the book that I have on hand.

So, here it is today, a Laura Carlin-moment. (And, in case you missed it, here’s the Q&A with Nicola.)

Also, here’s a video I found online of Carlin discussing the book:


Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

THE PROMISE. Text copyright © 2013 by Nicola Davies. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Laura Carlin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood

h1 Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Early sample and final art (without the final text):
“Where churches offer music schools that polish rough stones into jewels.”

(Click second image to enlarge)

Over at BookPage today is my review of Carole Boston Weatherford’s Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. This is a February release from Albert Whitman & Company. To read more about the book, just head on over there today. Here’s the link.

And I really want to, as always, share some art from the book, too, so with big thanks to R. Gregory Christie, here are some early samples and final art from the book. Please note: As always, the colors as they appear on your screen might be just a tad bit off from how they appear in the book. Also, these spreads do not include the playful, colorful font that ended up in the final version of the book.

Enjoy the art … Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #367: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Deborah Hocking

h1 Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

It’s the first Sunday of the month, and when it is such a day ’round these 7-Imp parts, I feature an illustration student or someone otherwise brand-new to illustration.

Today, I welcome student Deborah Hocking. I’m opening today’s post with my favorite of all the pieces she sent. Let’s get right to her introduction, since she’s here to say a few words in addition to sharing art.

I thank her for visiting today. Read the rest of this entry �