Archive for July, 2014

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Amrita Das

h1 Friday, July 11th, 2014

“A child’s life is hard, especially if you’re cursed to be poor. It’s gone even before you start on it. … If you dream for a moment,
you’re asked why you’re twiddling your thumbs.”

(Click to enlarge and read full text)

This morning over at Kirkus, because I’m preparing for a presentation about the best picture books of the year thus far, I thought I’d weigh in my with tippy-top favorites.

Thank link is here.

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Last week, since I wrote (here) about Amrita Das’ Hope is a Girl Selling Fruit, an April release from India’s Tara Books, I’m following up with some art today.


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Catching up with Author-Illustrator Matt Phelan

h1 Thursday, July 10th, 2014

I’m never consciously thinking ‘wispy’ when I draw, but my line (and especially my pen line) does have an intentional sketchy quality. I like the term ‘lost and found line’ as a description.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Matt Phelan, pictured here, about his 2014 projects, Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily, released back in March, and his own picture book, Druthers, coming in September. Both books are from Candlewick.

Matt’s response to the what’s-next question may or may not have made me squeal. (I think the Snow White project sounds pretty great.)

That Q&A is here.

Next week, I’ll have some art from each book, as well as some sketches and such from Matt.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Matt Phelan used with his permission.

“We used to laugh so hard at The Stupids Step Out that milk would trickle from our noses at the dinner table.”

h1 Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

I’m having fun at the site for Wild Things!, where my co-author and I are sharing a story a day, at least till publication of our book in early August — stories, that is, which were cut from our original manuscript. So, yeah. I’m now running two blogs at once — or at least, co-running one and running another, but hey, it’s been fun to share these stories over there. I’ll sleep during the apocalypse.

I posted about it the other day and mentioned our first posts. Here’s what’s going on this week:

  • On Tuesday, we told the story of what happened when Charles Dickens said to Hans Christian Andersen, why don’t you swing by and stay with me sometime? (Big mistake.) That is here.
  • Today, it’s a tribute to James Marshall and a touching story about his resting place. And that is here (and that is where this post title comes from).

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at Twinkles Lowry and Slim Hyman: The Untold Story. Friday, we’ll have a tribute to Nancy Garden, and on Saturday we’ll take a look at The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (or When You Might Want to Rethink Buying Your Own Tropical Island).

It’s all here.

In the meantime, see you back here at 7-Imp tomorrow.

Finding the Right Illustrations with Melissa Sweet

h1 Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

(Click to enlarge)

Last week in my Kirkus column, I mentioned Jen Bryant’s The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, coming from Eerdmans in September. It’s such a superb picture book, and today Melissa visits to share a bit about what went into creating the art for it.


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Wild Things!: Website and Book Launch

h1 Monday, July 7th, 2014

Just a quick note to say two things:

First up, Betsy Bird and I have launched a website for our upcoming book, Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, coming from Candlewick Press in early August. It will have handy info, like appearances, book order info, etc., but together, for every day until our release date, Betsy and I will reveal a story that didn’t make it into our book. It’s, as Betsy describes it, the Director’s Cut.

Saturday’s post (when the site went live) was an introductory/hello post. Yesterday, we shared what has to be, hands down, the best ALA Conference photo ever. And today’s story is a tribute to the generosity Maurice Sendak had for up-and-coming illustrators and includes a story from author-illustrator Barbara McClintock about calling him up out of the blue in 1975:

I thought…well, he’d know how I should get involved in children’s books. He could give me advice, which is a little like thinking you could call Meryl Streep and ask for advice about becoming an actress. But I decided that I would call him. And I thought that I didn’t really have much to worry about, because he would do only one of two things: He would either tell me what I wanted to know or he’d hang up.

All those posts are at the new site, and again, we will post daily for a while.

Secondly, I’ll have a book launch for the book at Parnassus Books on August 7, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited. Here’s the info.

Until tomorrow …

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #389: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Brooke Boynton Hughes

h1 Sunday, July 6th, 2014

(Click to enlarge)

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means a student or just-starting-out illustrator here at 7-Imp. Today, I welcome Brooke Boynton Hughes, who has already illustrated one children’s book and is working on a handful of others now but is still relatively new to the field. It’s a pleasure to share some of her artwork today. Let’s get right to it, especially since Brooke gives us a few words of introduction.

Brooke: I’ve wanted to illustrate children’s books ever since I was little. When other kids my age were moving on to middle-grade books, I was still poring over picture books. I loved reading, but I was especially enthralled by visual storytelling. As a kid, I spent a lot of time drawing and becoming engrossed in whatever visual world I was into at the time. There were a couple of years where I drew almost nothing except for tree houses, and there was the year of underground rabbit houses. The imagined worlds that I created in my drawings felt really real to me. I guess I loved, and still love, residing in imagined worlds.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Rilla Alexander and Bob Staake

h1 Friday, July 4th, 2014

Back cover character sketches from Bob Staake’s My Pet Book


“Read along. Read out loud.”
— From Rilla Alexander’s
The Best Book in the World
(Click to enlarge)

This morning over at Kirkus, since women’s rights (given the news this week) are heavy on my mind, I write about Amrita Das’ Hope is a Girl Selling Fruit, an April release from India’s Tara Books. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote (here) about Rilla Alexander’s The Best Book in the World! (Flying Eye Books, July 2014) and Bob Staake’s My Pet Book (Random House, July 2014). Now, that column also included Jen Bryant’s The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet and coming to bookshelves in September from Eerdmans, but I will have some images (preliminary images, final art, and some words from Melissa) next week.

Today, I have some art from Rilla’s and Bob’s books — and Bob shares some early sketches as well.


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TOONs Thursday: Some Art from
Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès,
Lorenzo Mattotti, and Yvan Pommaux

h1 Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

“And then, one morning, their father announced he was taking them with him to work.”
— From Neil Gaiman’s
Hansel & Gretel, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti
(Click to enlarge)


From Yvan Pommaux’s Theseus and the Minotaur
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


From Fred’s Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure
(Click to enlarge)

Last week over at Kirkus, I chatted with designer and editor Françoise Mouly about TOON Graphics, the new imprint from TOON Books. That conversation is here, and today I follow up with some art from the imprint’s three debut titles — Neil Gaiman’s Hansel & Gretel, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti; Yvan Pommaux’s Theseus and the Minotaur; and Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure from Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès, who went simply by Fred.


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All Different Now

h1 Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

“And nobody knew, as we ate a little, talked a little, and headed to the fields
as the sun was rising, that soon, it would be all different.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

It would have been very fitting to post about this picture book in June, but I’m mostly disorganized. (I put this book in a Read Right Away stack, on account of my love for the illustrations of E.B. Lewis. But then I promptly misplaced this stack and couldn’t find it, for the very life of me.)

It’s July 1st, though, and clearly I found my Read Right Away stack. Better late than never.

If ever there were doubt that E.B. Lewis is one of the greatest living illustrators, Angela Johnson’s All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom (Simon & Schuster, May 2014) would put an end to that. This is the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom arrived to the last slaves in Texas in the year 1865. Read the rest of this entry �