Archive for February, 2015

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jean Jullien

h1 Friday, February 13th, 2015

(Click to enlarge)


This morning over at Kirkus, I write about a small handful of new picture book imports, since I was inspired by the just-released 2015 Outstanding International Books List from USBBY. That Kirkus write-up is here.

* * *

Up above is a spread from Sean Taylor’s Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise (Candlewick, February 2015), illustrated by Jean Jullien, which I wrote about here last week.

(The trailer is good stuff too. You can visit Minh Lê’s site to see it.)

Until Sunday …



* * * * * * *

HOOT OWL, MASTER OF DISGUISE. Text copyright © 2014 by Sean Taylor. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Jean Jullien. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

The Art of Carson Ellis

h1 Thursday, February 12th, 2015

“Or home is an apartment.”
(Click to enlarge)

Last week, I talked over at Kirkus with Carson Ellis about the first picture book she’s both written and illustrated, Home (Candlewick, February 2015).

Today I’m following up with some sketches and art from the book. I thank Carson for sharing. And I highly recommend reading this Q&A over at the wonderful Picturebook Makers too, which has even more art.

Here’s my 2011 breakfast interview with her.

Enjoy the art. Read the rest of this entry �

Calling Illustrators …

h1 Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

I’m doing something totally different today, something I’ve never really done at 7-Imp before.

The Art Director for the children’s magazine Ranger Rick, Jr. emailed me last year (it’s taken a while to post this!), asking how she can search at my site for newer talent, for illustrators just starting out and looking for work. As you’ll read below, they’re always in need of illustrators (whether new or seasoned), despite the fact that their magazine is a photo-driven one.

For different reasons, I thought she and I could do a Q&A — for those illustrators who might be interested in such work or curious about this type of work in general.

Her name is Cynthia Olson, and our short Q&A is below. (Personally, I enjoyed chatting with her, since she’s a big picture book fan. We had a lot of conversations about our favorite 2014 picture books, a conversation that took place over months just before the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced.)

Read the rest of this entry �

The Fantastic Quentin Blake

h1 Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

You know what makes me happy to see? A new book by Quentin Blake. Today’s post is a quick one, but it’s to share art from a new Blake title, which will be on shelves here in the U.S. next month from Tate Publishing. (The book was first published in London last year, and here in the States, Abrams distributes Tate’s books.)

The Five of Us is about five friends — Angie, Ollie, Simona, Mario, and Eric. “They were all fantastic,” Blake writes. Angie had amazing eyesight; Ollie, hearing. Simona and Mario were super strong. “Eric was just as amazing, but you will find out how later on,” Blake adds.

The five friends set out one day in a big yellow bus, which someone named Big Eddie is driving. While each child continues to do amazing things with their eyes and ears and muscles all day long, Eric merely says: “Erm … erm.” I take it this is a stutter of sorts — or perhaps he merely isn’t sure what to say. Each time the spotlight turns to Eric, it’s “erm … erm” every time.

But when disaster strikes, he finds his voice in more ways than one — and, with the help of his friends, saves the day. On one level, it’s a simple story about five fantastic friends, but it also strikes me as a story about the subtle and quiet power of the introvert in the group.

And I always love to see Blake’s art. Let’s take a look at some more illustrations from the book.

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #418: Featuring Keith Graves

h1 Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Today, I want to introduce you to The Amazing Bubbles and his assistant, Oop. They’re the stars of this very funny picture book from Keith Graves. Second Banana (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook) will be on shelves this week.

Bubbles there is the star of the circus, and Oop is very much not. Oop is always there for his friend, though — to clean up his messes and to help with the act. When Oop asks one day if he can be the star of the circus, too, Bubbles just laughs:

Obviously, I am the Top Banana. The Big Banana. Numero Uno Banana. You are Second Banana.

Second Bananas are pool filler-uppers, the pumper-uppers, music holder-uppers, and fuse lighter-uppers.

But Oop is only too happy to help one day when Bubbles gets a boo-boo. Things don’t go so well. He crashes the car. He breaks the piano. That’s only skimming the surface. But Bubbles has got his back after all, and it turns out the audience loves it.

The humor here is slapstick, and it’s a lot of fun. Graves gives both Bubbles and Oop tremendous character, and his over-the-top cartoon illustrations entertain. He uses comic book elements in spots, and it’s all very fitting for the action-packed story this is. Oop is so endearing—and his naivete and enthusiasm so real—that readers really root for him.

Here’s a bit more art. Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Michael Hall

h1 Friday, February 6th, 2015

“He was red.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Sean Taylor’s Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise, illustrated by Jean Jullien, a book that makes me laugh. That link is here.

* * *

Since last week (here), I wrote about Michael Hall’s Red: A Crayon’s Story, I’ve got some art from it today.


Read the rest of this entry �

Carson Ellis on Home

h1 Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The more I worked on this book, the closer I felt to it. It’s about homes: the ways they’re different and the ways they’re the same; the questions we ask about the residents of an evocative home and the stories we’re prompted to invent. It’s also, because I’m in the book myself, about being an artist and celebrating the things that artists are attracted to and inspired by — all the worlds that we can’t stop thinking about, reading about, conjuring up, visiting, and inhabiting.”

* * *

This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to author-illustrator Carson Ellis about her newest picture book, Home, out on shelves this month.

That link is here.

(Also, given that the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced this week, I just had to ask her about how Mac Barnett’s and Jon Klassen’s Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, now a 2015 Caldecott Honor book, is dedicated to her.)

* * * * * * *

Photo of Carson taken by Autumn de Wilde and used by her permission.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jeff Mack

h1 Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Author-illustrator Jeff Mack has been a busy guy the past couple of years. He has illustrated a handful of picture books and chapter books; in 2008 he published the first picture book he both wrote and illustrated; and he’s even written and illustrated his own graphic novel/fiction hybrid, the cartoon-illustrated Clueless McGee series, all about an enterprising fifth-grade private eye.

Jeff is visiting this morning to talk about his work, share lots of art, and talk about what’s on his plate this year. For breakfast, he’s opting for French toast with cream cheese, jelly, and fake maple syrup. It’s the breakfast of champions, he tells me, which he sometimes also has for dinner. I’m all for that, as long as we have some coffee too.

Let’s get the basics while we set the table for seven questions over breakfast. I thank Jeff for visiting.

Read the rest of this entry �

The Niblings: Bigger and Better

h1 Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

For those of you who follow The Niblings over at either Facebook or Twitter, here’s a quick announcement about two new inclusions into our Niblings sphere:

To fill the much-needed YA slot, Mitali Perkins (pictured at the open of this post) joins us. A distinguished author, responsible for such books as Rickshaw Girl, Bamboo People, Secret Keeper, and this April’s Tiger Boy, Mitali has maintained her blog, Mitali’s Fire Escape, since 2005, where she discusses books between cultures. You may also find her on Facebook or Twitter.

Minh Lê also joins us. We’ve been impressed by and big fans of his work for years now. Not only has he been blogging for Book Riot, the Huffington Post, and Bottom Shelf Books, but he recently sold his debut picture book, Let Me Finish!, to Disney-Hyperion. You can also find him on Twitter.

For those of you not familiar with The Niblings: We are a blog consortium, created almost two years ago this month, over at Facbeook and Twitter. It represents Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (Yours Truly), A Fuse #8 Production (Betsy Bird), Nine Kinds of Pie (Philip Nel), and 100 Scope Notes (Travis Jonker). Our Facebook page and Twitter presence are our spaces for sharing in one spot links from our blogs and other writings, as well as for sharing other interesting links/news related to the field of children’s literature. We hope that it’s a sort of one-stop resource center for information on children’s literature. (Here’s more information.)

* * * * * * *

Photo of Mitali Perkins taken by Thomas Vo and used by her permission.

Photo of Minh Lê taken by Danielle Lurie and used by his permission.

The Niblings art was created by Megan Montague Cash and is © 2013 Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, Travis Jonker, and Philip Nel.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #417: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Molly Walsh

h1 Sunday, February 1st, 2015

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I invite a student illustrator or recent grad to visit 7-Imp, and today I’ve got the latter. Molly Walsh graduated in 2013 from RISD, and she’s here today to share art and tell us a bit about herself.

Without further ado …

Read the rest of this entry �