Archive for January, 2015

A Peek at Pat Cummings’ Process

h1 Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Early thumbnail
(Click to enlarge)


Pat: “This is the scene when Beauty has returned home, overstayed her visit, and has
a bad dream about the Beast dying in the castle garden, because she’s broken her promise. The round symbol repeated on the base of her bed is her family motif that I wanted to suggest one of the west African Adinkra symbols.”

(Click to enlarge)

I’m following up today at 7-Imp with some art from H. Chuku Lee’s Beauty and the Beast, illustrated by Pat Cummings and published by Amistad/HarperCollins earlier in 2014. I talked with them both at Kirkus last week (here) about this book, and as always, I wanted to be sure to share some images from it. I thank Pat for sharing some final art, as well as for including some early thumbnails and other preliminary images (plus a bit of explanation as to what the images are).

Enjoy. …

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Seven Questions Over Shots with Nick Bruel

h1 Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

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Author-illustrator Nick Bruel is serious about breakfast. When I ask him what pretend-breakfast-of choice we’ll pretend-have over pretend-coffee this morning, his answer is detailed (right after my own breakfast-lovin’ heart):

Choice? Well, the finest breakfast dish I ever had was an oatmeal crème brulee from a hotel somewhere in Miami. It was dessert; it was breakfast; it was oatmeal; it was sugary; it was delicious, and I’ve never had anything like it since. But my typical breakfast of choice is some nice, fresh, untoasted sourdough bread and a quality olive oil for dipping. I especially like a mushroom-roasted garlic oil that comes from a shop in Tarrytown, NY, called Pure Mountain Olive Oil.

Years ago when I traveled in China, my favorite breakfast dish was what Westerners here call congee, which is a hot rice porridge accompanied by at least half a dozen small dishes filled with assorted items, like egg or pickle or vegetables. You scoop out some of the hot rice mush into your bowl and add whatever you feel like from the smaller dishes. If you do it right, it can be delightful.

I have a lot to say about breakfast. I like breakfast.

Nick’s Bad Kitty, one of children’s literature’s most refreshingly naughty characters, appeared ten years ago—“Bruel’s little black star is perhaps the hammiest, most expressive feline ever captured in watercolors,” wrote Kirkus at the character’s debut—and it’s safe to say things haven’t been the same for Bruel since. Bad Kitty’s adventures began with a picture book, which then turned into a bestselling chapter book series.

But Nick started out with picture books and returns to them, in part, this year with the release this month of A Wonderful Year (our purple friend above comes from this story), already the recipient of a handful of positive reviews, some starred.

Nick talks about that new book, and much more below, and I thank him for visiting. As you’ll read, we may have a few shots with our coffee. (What? I’m up for just about anything.)

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Coming Soon in Nashville …

h1 Monday, January 12th, 2015

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Here’s a quick note to share this upcoming event from Parnassus Books. Author Sharon Draper will be in town to engage in this panel discussion, sponsored by Parnassus but taking place at the Nashville Public Library, about diversity in children’s literature. I’ll be participating in the discussion, and there’s more information here at Parnassus’ site, including details about my fellow panelists, Kristin Bernet and Dean Schneider.

For those in and near middle Tennessee, I hope you can make it!

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #414: Featuring April Pulley Sayre

h1 Sunday, January 11th, 2015

“Raindrops reflect.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)

I’m having a very BookPage week here at 7-Imp. (There was this post and then this post.)

One more today! I reviewed April Pulley Sayre’s newest picture book, Raindrops Roll. That review is here, and today I’ve got some spreads from this beautiful book.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �

Hopping in the Wayback Machine
(Though I Promise Not to Smash It) …

h1 Friday, January 9th, 2015


Today over at Kirkus, I’m thinking about early-2015 picture book reissues, which include Peter Spier, Margaret Wise Brown & Leonard Weisgard, Chris Van Allsburg, Dahlov Ipcar, and the impish story pictured above, originally published in 1964.

That is here.

Until Sunday …

A Chat with H. Chuku Lee and Pat Cummings …

h1 Thursday, January 8th, 2015


These two. If I were only half as cool as they are …

Go see for yourself. That’s H. Chuku Lee (left) and Pat Cummings (right). We talk at Kirkus today about their 2014 picture book collaboration, Beauty and the Beast, which Chuku wrote and Pat illustrated. They’re a husband-and-wife team, and here’s hoping Chuku ends up writing more; this was his children’s book debut, though he has had a long and distinguished career in journalism. (Actually, he told me, though there wasn’t room for it in the Q&A over there, that he is developing several ideas for other stories, so that’s good news.)

Pat, as you’ll read over there, has illustrated over 30 books in her career and also teaches Children’s Book Illustration at Pratt and Parsons. I’ve wanted to interview her for years now, and I really enjoyed this Q&A. Next week here at 7-Imp, she’ll share some art from the book.

The Q&A is here.

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Photos of H. Chuku Lee and Pat Cummings used with their permission.

A Bear, a Truck, an Unreliable Narrator,
and Julia Sarcone-Roach (a Few Hours After Breakfast)

h1 Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Author-illustrator Julia Sarcone-Roach is visiting 7-Imp today, you all, and it’s pretty much made my day.

Over at BookPage, I reviewed her newest picture book, The Bear Ate Your Sandwich, released just this week. The review is here, if you want to know my thoughts (I’m quite smitten with this book), and if you want to know more about the story.

Julia shares here at 7-Imp some spreads from the book, some dummy pages, and some behind-the-scenes peeks, too. She created the illustrations using acrylic paints and pencil, and I could stare at them all day. The colors, o! the colors!


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Last Stop on Market Street:
A Visit with Matt de la Peña & Christian Robinson

h1 Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

There’s a brand-new picture book in this brand-new year that I like an awful lot. It’s Matt de la Peña’s Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson (pictured above), and I’ve reviewed it for BookPage.

That review is here, and I like the book so much that I wanted to follow up here at 7-Imp with some art and preliminary images from Christian, as well as some words from Matt (pictured right) about the book.

So, all of that is below—Matt’s responses to a small handful of questions I sent him and Christian’s behind-the-scenes images—and I thank both of them for sharing.

Let’s get right to it. … (Oh, and if you read the review over at BookPage, you’ll see some spreads from the book there, too!)

Jules: Can you talk about how this story came to be?

Matt: A few years ago, Steve Malk (my agent) sent me a link to some art by Christian, saying, “You gotta check this guy out. He’s incredible.” This was before Steve had even signed Christian. Steve has impeccable taste, so I was excited. But when I clicked on the links, I was blown away. The work was so fun. And expressive. And quirky. But what struck me most was the depth. The soul. There was one piece that especially moved me. It was a boy on a bus with his grandmother.

Nana and CJ
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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #413: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Esther Lui

h1 Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Crazy Like a Fox, 2014

It’s the first Sunday of the month—the first one of 2015, of course, and Happy New Year to all!—which means a student or debut illustrator here at 7-Imp. Today, I’ve got a recent graduate. Her name is Esther Lui, her website is here, and she’s here to tell us a bit about her work, as well as share some art.

I thank her for visiting. Oh, and she does comics, too! (This one will take care of my nightmares for a while. HOO HA.) Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Deirdre Gill and John Hendrix

h1 Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Illustration from Deirdre Gill’s Outside
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Illustration from John Hendrix’s
Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Today over at Kirkus, I write about some good things that happened in 2014 in the realm of picture books. That link is here.

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Since last week I chatted with John Hendrix (here) about Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (Abrams, October 2014), I’ve got some art from the book today. I also wrote last week about some snow books (here), so I’ve also got some art from Deirdre Gill’s Outside (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2014).

Enjoy the art, and until Sunday …

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