Archive for April, 2014

Tap Tap Boom Boom‘ing Before Breakfast:
A Visit with Author and Bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle

h1 Monday, April 14th, 2014

(Click spread to enlarge)

Earlier this month, I reviewed Elizabeth Bluemle’s Tap Tap Boom Boom (Candlewick, March 2014), illustrated by G. Brian Karas, for BookPage. What a good book it is, and that review is here over at the wonderful BookPage site.

Today, I’m following up with a couple of spreads from the book — and a chat with Elizabeth. She not only writes, but nearly 20 years ago, she also opened a bookstore along with Josie Leavitt, The Flying Pig Bookstore in Vermont, and she co-writes over at ShelfTalker (at Publishers Weekly), also with Josie.

I took the opportunity to ask Elizabeth today about Tap Tap Boom Boom, but also what she calls the World Full of Color diversity database. I also asked her simply, what are you reading now? (I love this question so much that I’d love to start a simple blog series where I ask authors and illustrators just that one question — short posts with short answers. Would I have time for this, though? Ay, there’s the rub.)

Anyway, enjoy my chat with the ever-curious, always-learning Elizabeth Bluemle … And, really, if you haven’t seen Tap Tap yet, you’re in for a treat. It’s one of my favorites thus far this year.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #377: Featuring Elizabeth Rose Stanton

h1 Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Good morning, all.

Author/illustrator Elizabeth Rose Stanton visits 7-Imp today to talk about her debut picture book, Henny, which was published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster in January. The painting above, called Ignition, is not from that book, but I like it and it makes me laugh.

Henny is the story of a chicken who has arms, and below Elizabeth tells us how she came to this premise, what reactions have been (the creeptacular painting below is my second favorite), and she also tells us a bit about what she’s up to next. I thank her for visiting and for sharing lots of art.

Henny, by the way, is packing her bags and learning her French. Her story will be published in France by Seuil Jeunesse in 2015. Bon voyage, Henny.

Here’s Elizabeth …

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week

h1 Friday, April 11th, 2014

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about a small handful of new picture books that caught my eye for one reason or another, including the one pictured above.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll try to have some art from each book.

That link is here.

Until Sunday …

I Like Dahlov Ipcar’s Art

h1 Thursday, April 10th, 2014

“I wish I were a keeper in a great big zoo —
with elephants and camels and ponies to ride.”

(Click to enlarge)

First up, a quick blog-scheduling note, though I don’t know that I have any blog readers who pay attention this closely. (“Blog-scheduling” is making me giggle, ’cause I really don’t have much of a schedule—as in, I mostly fly by the seat of my pants around here—but that’s neither here nor there.)

Where was I?

Oh, right. When I write anything over at Kirkus, I always follow up here at 7-Imp one week later with art from the books I write about. Kirkus doesn’t ask me to do this; it’s purely a 7-Imp thing. It’s ’cause I start to get twitchy when I can’t see illustrations from the books. (Sketches are even more fun to see.)

All that’s to say that today I’d normally have some art and maybe even early sketches from Laurie Keller’s Arnie the Doughnut chapter books, because we chatted last week at Kirkus. I will be posting those follow-up images, but it’ll be most likely next week, since Laurie is traveling now — which also works out for me, because as you read this, I’m traveling myself, near Boston for work.

But what I can bring you today are some spreads from Flying Eye Book’s newly-remastered edition of Dahlov Ipcar’s I Like Animals. If you missed it last week, I wrote over at Kirkus about the impressive care Flying Eye put into the re-mastering of this book, originally published in 1960. That column is here.

Enjoy the art, and see you tomorrow … Read the rest of this entry �

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jeremy Holmes

h1 Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

I’m pleased to welcome illustrator Jeremy Holmes to 7-Imp this morning for breakfast. Back in 2010, I wrote about Jeremy’s delightfully creepy and beautifully bizarre adaptation (Chronicle Books, 2009) of the mother of all cumulative children’s folk songs, “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” (complete with a slip cover and closing eyes on the lady’s head when she kicks the bucket). This book went on to win him a Bologna Ragazzi Opera Prima Award.

And it’s this Old Lady, which Jeremy notes at his site, who opened his eyes to the “imaginative and playful world of the picture book” (from primarily the world of graphic design, that is).

Jeremy’s here today to talk about his road to publication and what’s on his plate now — and he shares lots of art, especially from his latest illustrated book, J. Patrick Lewis’ and Douglas Florian’s Poem-mobiles (Schwartz and Wade, January 2014). Fitting, since it’s National Poetry Month. Rah!

I’m very good with Jeremy’s favorite breakfast: English muffins toasted with a smear of salted butter; one egg over hard, heavily peppered; “some pancetta, if ya’ got it, but Canadian bacon will do in a pinch”; a small glass of OJ; and a cup of strong, slightly creamed and sweetened coffee. (He got the coffee JUST RIGHT!)

I thank him for visiting. Without further ado …

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PB & J with JJK

h1 Monday, April 7th, 2014

Hey, look! Jarrett J. Krosoczka is visiting today to talk about his new picture book, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish (on bookshelves tomorrow, I believe, from Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers), and how he created the art for it. From his black linework to the abstract acrylic paintings (love the heavy brushstrokes in many of these spreads) that form the basis of the illustrations, JJK gives us the low-down here in this video, just over four minutes.

And, as he notes here, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a JJK picture book with new characters. I always like to see that.

Enjoy the sneak-peek at Jarrett’s process …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #376: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Christine Allen

h1 Sunday, April 6th, 2014

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I welcome a student or new illustrator. Today, Christine Allen visits. Christine, who lives in Colorado, studied painting and is transitioning into illustration. She tells us more about herself below, so let’s get right to it.

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

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Salina Yoon

h1 Friday, April 4th, 2014

“With flyers stacked high, Bear set off.”

I know I shouldn’t use the word “nerd” to describe someone who merely has a deep and abiding passion for something—it’s not entirely fair—but there’s just no two ways about it: My column over at Kirkus today is for fellow picture book nerds. As in, you’d have to seriously geek out over illustration to appreciate it.

That link is here. The best part is where Alex Spiro says, “we did this because it mattered.” Ah. Gotta love publishers who take such care with picture books.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Salina Yoon’s Found. Today, I’m sharing some of her art from the book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

My Morning Chat with Laurie Keller
(Where’s My Doughnut Anyway?)

h1 Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

It’s tricky to try to guess what kids will think is funny, so I usually just write what I think is funny and hope that they’ll think so, too. Sometimes silly lines will come to me right away, but other times it takes me weeks to get the right ‘angle’ or ‘voice’ that I’m looking for. Watching movies that make me laugh helps — like Monty Python and the Holy Grail (talk about slapstick!), Strictly Ballroom, The Jerk, Airplane!, Young Frankenstein and anything by Christopher Guest. If there are parts I’ve written that aren’t as funny as I would like, I can’t always pinpoint what isn’t working right away, but eventually the right mood hits and I can usually figure out how to fix it.”

* * *

This morning over at Kirkus, I chat with author-illustrator Laurie Keller. I do that annoying thing people do where they ask what it’s like to write humor, but hey, she was up for answering.

That link is here. Next week, I’ll follow up with some illustrations from her new Arnie the Doughnut chapter books.

Until tomorrow …

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Petr Horáček

h1 Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair may be over, but I’m still on an international kick here at 7-Imp. Today, I welcome author-illustrator Petr Horáček, born in Czechoslovakia and currently living in England.

Horáček has been making picture books for over ten years now, one reviewer even describing his vibrant and textured mixed-media paintings and collages as “strangely beautiful.” It may not be surprising to many to read below that Petr gets great inspiration from the work of Eric Carle. In fact, he describes having first seen Carle’s work as a life-changing moment, indeed. Both illustrators work in bright colors and craft stories that are gentle and reassuring to the youngest of readers. In fact, as you’ll also see below, Petr has many a board book under his belt, including some new ones coming from Candlewick this Fall — and he has passionate opinions about the role of board books in children’s lives.

It turns out that breakfast is Petr’s favourite meal of the day and always has been. “Both my parents worked,” he tells me. “They had already gone when our neighbour woke me up. The large lady pushed her head around the door, said ‘good morning,’ and disappeared. I had to wake up, get washed, and go to the kitchen, where on the table was hot cocoa and bread, spread with butter, honey, or jam. The radio was playing music approved by the communist government, and a voice coming from the radio was telling us that it was nearly 7 a.m. and, therefore, time to go to school.”

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