Archive for May, 2014

A Bit of Absurdity Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

The beginning of my week has been busier than usual, which means I’m stragglin’ here, folks, so I’ll be brief today.

I have some art this morning from James Kochalka’s The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza (First Second, March 2014). It features a rather dim-witted, three-eyed pink alien with three teeth; his companion, Super Backpack; and their dangerous journey to deliver a pizza. Throw in a Magic Robot, a Gonk that likes to bonk, a Glorkian supercar, some Glorkian kung fu, some self-directed punching in the face, some space and time disruptions, and lots of banter and bright colors, sure to please lovers of both comics and graphic novels — especially fans of the absurd. The Kirkus review calls it “vibrantly weird and wonderful,” and School Library Journal calls it “interestingly subversive.” Ah, you had me at subversive. (And weird.)

I’ve heard/read discussions lately about the intense, heavy subject matter of many books for children today. For one, I’m currently reading this with own daughters. This is a conversation that never seems to go away. Swings like a pendulum, that one. Rest assured, there are no, say, deceased parents, natural disasters, or crippling class issues in The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza. Yes, we need all kinds of books (and, thus far, my girls are riveted by Lamana’s book), but sometimes you just need the straight-up madcap ones, the ones good for a hearty laugh.

Did I mention my eyes are crossing from fatigue today? That’s all I’ve got, and let’s hope I was mildly to moderately articulate. Here’s some more art (the first four pages of the book, actually).

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #381: Featuring George O’Connor

h1 Sunday, May 11th, 2014

See that little girl above and the look on her face? That is not only how I feel in the mornings before I’ve had the life-blood that is coffee (apparently, I’m a cliché of a coffee-drinker), but it’s also what happens when you have a pet raptor and they wake you up very early and reject the breakfast you put out for them.

And this young girl would know. Or well … she hopes to know. Her story, George O’Connor’s If I Had a Raptor (Candlewick, May 2014), is written entirely in this subjunctive mood (“if I had a raptor …” — not when). That is, we never find out if she actually gets one (though who knew raptors were so similar to cats in every way?).

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Alexis Dormal and S. D. Schindler

h1 Friday, May 9th, 2014

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Chris Raschka’s new picture book biography, The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening (Candlewick, May 2014). That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote (here) about two new picture books that make me laugh (with them, not at them) — Katy Beebe’s Brother Hugo and the Bear, illustrated by S. D. Schindler, and Dominique Roques’ Sleep Tight, Anna Banana!, illustrated by Alexis Dormal (originally published in 2012 as Ana Ana Douce Nuit).

Below is some art from each book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �


h1 Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Mark Pett, that is.

I like saying “Pett.” I like to imagine that when Mark Pett walks into a bar, his friends yell, “PETT”, à la Norm Peterson.

Anyway. Last week at Kirkus, I wrote about Mark’s newest picture book, The Girl and the Bicycle (Simon & Schuster, April 2014). That is here.

I like to read reviews. I read one reviewer refer to the “Capra-esque” worlds of Pett’s books. I like that. Capra-esque could be entirely too much, depending on the illustrator, but Mark Pett does it just right.

Here are some more spreads from the book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Never Read a Funny Email When Drinking Hot Coffee …

h1 Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Speaking of BookPage, as I did just yesterday, my review of Shaun Tan’s The Rules of Summer (Scholastic, April 2014) happens to be up. It is here. And I’m not even going to do a follow-up post with art, because the fine folks at BookPage included some spreads in the review. I love it when they do that.

You’ll also notice that they have chosen the book as a Children’s Top Pick.

Until tomorrow …

(NOTE: My post title is because Shaun Tan’s new book is full of rules, most beginning with “never,” and I just read an email from author-illustrator Zachariah OHora, in which I told him that, sadly, I will not be at next weekend’s wonderful children’s book festival in Knoxville, which I attend annually but I have a wedding and a graduation to go to this year instead, and he will be there and I will miss meeting him in person and he responded with “WHAT THE HENKES?” and then my coffee nearly got snorted up my nose from laughing ’cause I guess I’m easily amused when it comes to children’s lit jokes and I wasn’t sure what to name this post so I went with that and this is the longest run-on sentence ever in the history of the blog, I bet, and I’m waaaay off the point. Read Shaun Tan’s book. It’s rather brilliant.)

The Birds and the Bees Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

(Click to enlarge)


The basics of reproduction before I’ve even had my coffee yet? That’s a 7-Imp first.

Over at BookPage, my review of Sophie Blackall’s The Baby Tree (Nancy Paulsen Books, May 2014) has been posted. If you wanna read all about it, head over to their always informative and entertaining site. The review is here.

I follow up today with a visit from Sophie and some art from the book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #380: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Elizabeth Lilly

h1 Sunday, May 4th, 2014

An illustration of Nikki Giovanni’s poem, “Migrations”
Bicycles: Love Poems)

It’s Sunday! It’s Spring! Hurrah!

It’s also the first Sunday of the month, so today I welcome a student illustrator. Her name is Elizabeth Lilly, and she’s here to tell us all about her work, as well as share some of her art.

So, without further ado …

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring James Marshall

h1 Friday, May 2nd, 2014

“‘My name is Viola Swamp,’ said the lady in a scratchy voice.
‘Yipes!’ cried the kids. ‘The Swamp!'”

— From Miss Nelson Is Missing!, originally published in 1977

Yesterday over at Kirkus, I wrote about Mark Pett’s newest picture book, The Girl and the Bicycle. That link is here, and next week here at 7-Imp I’ll have some more art from the book.

Today, I write about two very funny picture books, Katy Beebe’s Brother Hugo and the Bear, illustrated by S. D. Schindler, and Dominique Roques’ Sleep Tight, Anna Banana!, illustrated by Alexis Dormal. That link is here. And ditto. Next week at 7-Imp, I’ll have art from both books.

* * *

Today here at 7-Imp, it’s the Swamp. See her up there in all her glory? Since I wrote last week (here) about James Marshall’s three stories of Miss Nelson and her evil twin, Viola Swamp (from 1977, 1982, and 1985), I’m following up with some art from The Miss Nelson Collection, coming from Houghton Mifflin next week.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

My Zita Tribute, During Which
the Eight-Year-Old Momentarily Takes Over the Blog

h1 Thursday, May 1st, 2014

(Click to enlarge)

First Second Books has a really fun blog tour going on, called “My Favorite Thing About Zita the Spacegirl.” You can read about it here and see the long line-up of Zita’s fans. (Yesterday, Mark Siegel wrote about the many reasons he likes this character, one of those being “that Zita is like The Little Prince. Only female and kicks some ass and has a bunch of alien friends she makes along the way.”)

The Zita books were created by writer, artist, and graphic novelist Ben Hatke, and this May readers will see the last of the Zita trilogy, The Return of Zita the Spacegirl. Before that came 2011’s Zita the Spacegirl and 2012’s Legends of Zita the Spacegirl.

I’m happy to be a part of this blog tour, because I love these graphic novels. In fact, you can read why here (2011) and here (2012). Those are 7-Imp visits with Ben in which he shares art and even such things as early sketches (and even some of his other, non-Zita art).

Today, however, I’m handing my site over to my eight-year-old. I don’t normally do this, but she was super eager to contribute, as both she and her sister are HUGELY HUGE fans of the Zita books. I couldn’t possibly count the number of times they’ve read each book. The only reason her older sister isn’t contributing today is ’cause she’s more private, and I think she feels a bit shy about it. But the eight-year-old, after I asked her why she loves Zita, ran off with pen and paper and drew some tributes (and freely gave me permission to post them). Read the rest of this entry �