Archive for June, 2015

Loads of Headbutting Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

“This is my rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)

British author and illustrator David Lucas has a new book out, This Is My Rock (Flying Eye, May 2015), and I’ve got some art from it today. I always like to check out Lucas’ books, and this one has a poignant back story to its dedication.

This is a story of power and ultimately, friendship, as a domineering goat atop a mountain claims it for himself but in the end discovers his own loneliness. It invites, as the Kirkus review notes, “a broader consideration of the ins and outs of ownership than the usual toy-oriented run of ‘sharing’ titles.” Lucas’ geometric designs and angular speech bubbles give the book a distinctive look. Keep your eye on the sky here to note his shooting stars and zooming clouds and rising suns (note the one on the first spread, featured above). These are visually pleasing spreads, ones evoking the Southwest in color palette and border design (though it’s never specifically noted where the story takes place).

Here’s some more art from the book. Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #438, the Love-Wins Version:
Featuring Christian Robinson

h1 Sunday, June 28th, 2015


My one giant kick this week—all wrapped around kicks one to seven—is the news from the Supreme Court on marriage equality for all. It was a wonderful day on Friday when the news was announced, and it’s a new day in America. Today’s image is from Christian Robinson. (For those interested, the roosters can be purchased here at Red Cap Cards or as a print from Gallery Nucleus.)

Love wins, y’all!

What are YOUR kicks this week?

Oh, and the necessary spiel:

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * * * * *

Illustration is copyright © 2015 by Christian Robinson and used by his permission.

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Sergio Ruzzier and Paul Schmid

h1 Friday, June 26th, 2015

Preliminary art from My Dog Is the Best


Preliminary art from Whose Shoe?

Today over at Kirkus, I write about Daniel Miyares’ newest picture book, Float. That link will be here soon.

Last week, I wrote (here) about Eve Bunting’s Whose Shoe? (Clarion, June 2015), illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier, and Laurie Ann Thompson’s My Dog Is the Best (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 2015), illustrated by Paul Schmid. Today, I follow up with some early and final art from each book, thanks to Sergio and Paul.

Read the rest of this entry �

A Conversation with Emily Hughes

h1 Thursday, June 25th, 2015

The idea of sustainability, respect and nurturing of the land, is not a foreign concept to me, especially because in Hawaii there are lots of traditional morals linking to the earth. …

‘Malama ka aina’ means to respect the land, and they are strong words that resonate in the islands. ‘Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Āina i ka Pono’ is the state motto of Hawaii, and I think shines closer to the book: ‘The life of the land is perpetuated by righteousness.’”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Emily Hughes, pictured here, about her newest picture book, The Little Gardener (Flying Eye Books, August 2015), as well as last year’s Wild.

That link is here.

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

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Emily used by her permission.

Two Best Friends Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Back cover illustration

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Liz Rosenberg’s What James Said (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2015), illustrated by Matt Myers. That review is here.

Today I follow up with a bit of art from the book, as well as one of Matt’s early sketches. The sketch you’ll see below shows that, originally, Matt had considered merely pen and ink with the only color being watercolor splashes, but plans changed and the book ended up in color. “The book,” he tells me, “became less cartoony and more (I hope) realistic — not in the style of art especially, but in the emotion. A more cartoony book wouldn’t have been as personal.”

Enjoy, and thanks to Matt for sharing.

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #437: Featuring Jessixa Bagley

h1 Sunday, June 21st, 2015

“That evening, Buckley and Mama went for a walk.
Buckley brought along the little boat he had made especially for Papa
with a note attached that said, ‘For Papa. Love, Buckley.'”

I read a brand-new picture book this week, which I found really moving. It’s from debut author-illustrator Jessixa Bagley (pictured below), originally from Portland, Oregon, and now living in Seattle. “[M]y love of picture books,” Jessixa writes at her site, “has been the constant goal my entire life and has always been a working focus.”

Boats for Papa (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2015), which will be on shelves at the end of this month, is about Buckley, an anthropomorphized beaver who lives with his mother in a tiny house by the sea. “They didn’t have much, but they always had each other.” Buckley’s father is gone. One doesn’t really know why—I suppose it’s possible he took off for one reason or another—but it’s also perfectly plausible that he has died. Readers who look closely will see loving family photos, which include Buckley’s father, on the walls of the house.

[Note: Plot spoilers below!]

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Amy June Bates, Gary Clement,
Todd Stewart, and Peter Sís

h1 Friday, June 19th, 2015

— From Peter Sís’s Ice Cream Summer


“Every year we stay at the same place. I call it our cottage.
But it’s not really a cottage. It’s a motel.”
— From Andrew Larsen’s
See You Next Year, illustrated by Todd Stewart
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


“A long, long drive. It’s been a year of dreaming, waiting. Summer’s here.”
— From Deanna Caswell’s
Beach House, illustrated by Amy June Bates
(Click to enlarge spread)


— From Gary Clement’s Swimming, Swimming
(Click to enlarge spread)

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got two new picture books, especially perfect for preschoolers. That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about some very summer’y picture books — Andrew Larsen’s See You Next Year, illustrated by Todd Stewart (Owlkids, March 2015); Peter Sís’ Ice Cream Summer (Scholastic, May 2015); Gary Clement’s Swimming, Swimming (Groundwood, May 2015); and Deanna Caswell’s Beach House, illustrated by Amy June Bates (Chronicle, May 2015).

Here’s some art from each book. Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry �

Bright Skies with Aimée Sicuro

h1 Thursday, June 18th, 2015

“With the city suddenly darkened,
Phoebe and Dad sat in the store, listening to the rain. …”

Since I chatted last week (here) with author Uma Krishnaswami about her newest picture book, Bright Sky, Starry City (Groundwood, May 2015), I’m following up here today with some spreads from the book, which was illustrated by Aimée Sicuro.

Enjoy the art.

(Note: Some of the text in the spreads featured below varies slightly from the text in the final copy of the book.)

Read the rest of this entry �

Hasel, Rose, and Caroline

h1 Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

“Rose caught it up out of the water.”
(Click to enlarge)

Good morning, all. I’ve got some artwork today from Caroline Magerl, born in Germany but raised (mostly) in Australia. Just last year, her book Hasel and Rose was published by Penguin-Viking Australia. I’ve got a copy of the book, and it’s beautifully, eloquently told, this story of starting over and friendship found. Magerl’s pen and ink and watercolor illustrations, with their relaxed lines and muted tones, contain ample charms. As I understand it, the book will be reprinted in 2016 by DoubleDay here in the U.S. — under the title Rose and the Wish Thing.

I’ve got some illustrations from Hasel and Rose today, and since I was so taken with her artwork, Caroline even shares some of her other pieces here. I thank her for sharing. You can see more illustrations from the book here. (Some of the artwork was shown at the Chris Beetles Gallery in St James, London, last November. Here’s my favorite moment in the book.)


Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #436: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Louis Fratino

h1 Sunday, June 14th, 2015

I am breakin’ the 7-Imp rules this weekend and featuring a newly-graduated illustrator just one week after featuring another debut illustrator. (I normally do this the first Sunday of each month.) But, hey, rules are made for breaking.

My guest, Louis Fratino, graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art just under a month ago, majoring in Painting and concentrating in Illustration. He tells me he likes to draw more than anything, though his studio work is mostly oil on canvas.

Below is more from Louis, including some of his artwork. I thank him for visiting. I hope we see his work in (published) books one day.

Read the rest of this entry �