Archive for July, 2015

Some I Likes Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

“Ask me some more I likes.
How about some more
I likes?
I like the color red. I like red everything.”

(Click to enlarge)


Here’s a quick post to share a bit of artwork from Suzy Lee. On shelves now is a new picture book from Bernard Waber (published posthumously), called Ask Me (Houghton Mifflin, July 2015), and Suzy has provided the beautiful colored pencil illustrations.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #440: Featuring Mordicai Gerstein

h1 Sunday, July 12th, 2015

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Mordicai Gerstein’s newest picture book, The Night World (Little, Brown, June 2015). That is here if you want to read all about the book.

I’ve got some art today here at 7-Imp from the book, and Mordicai also sent some early roughs from the book. “As you will see,” he tells me, “the ruffs are very close to the final art.”

They roughs are, indeed, similar to the final art, but if you’re an illustration fan like me, you love to see these kinds of comparisons, so I’m going to post Mordicai’s roughs and follow each one with the final art as seen in the book.

I thank him for sharing.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Kate Beaton, Lisa Brown, & Anita Lobel

h1 Friday, July 10th, 2015

“In a kingdom of warriors, the smallest warrior was Princess Pinecone.
And she was very excited for her birthday.”
— From Kate Beaton’s
The Princess and the Pony


“One golden morning, 26 playful pigs woke up. ‘What a day,’ they oinked as one.
‘A fine day to go exploring!'”
— From Anita Lobel’s
Playful Pigs from A to Z


“For she was the girl-queen, Hat-shup-set!
And he’d been her
hero, not just her pet!
boldest cat ancient Egypt had seen—
the number-one cat: the cat of the
— From Marcus Ewert’s Mummy Cat, illustrated by Lisa Brown

Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got a little something different, and it has to do with reading and how readers respond to books. That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Marcus Ewert’s Mummy Cat (Clarion, July 2015), illustrated by Lisa Brown; Anita Lobel’s Playful Pigs from A to Z (Knopf, July 2015); and Kate Beaton’s The Princess and the Pony (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, June 2015). I’ve got art from each book today, and Lisa Brown also shares some preliminary images (dummies, sketches, etc.).


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Globe-Hopping with the Lewins

h1 Thursday, July 9th, 2015

As children we were both fascinated by a book called I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson. It’s about her and her husband Martin’s travels to wild places around the world. We both aspired to their kind of life, and our childhood dreams came true. Our book is the culmination of all our travels. … We wanted to make this a true representation of what it felt like to be in these places. It would be less than honest if we made all our adventures look like a piece of cake.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to Betsy and Ted Lewin, pictured here, about their new book, How to Babysit a Leopard: And Other True Stories from Our Travels Across Six Continents (Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook, June 2015).

That link is here.

Next week, I’ll have a few of the watercolors from the book.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of the Lewins used by their permission.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Michael Emberley

h1 Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Well, dear readers, it’s been a while since I’ve done a breakfast interview. Since I’ve been teaching this summer, it takes me longer to get to these more time-intensive Q&As. My visitor today, illustrator Michael Emberley, deserves an award (or a free breakfast perhaps) for his patience with me. We started talking last year about doing this interview.

And I’m really glad we got around to it. I enjoy seeing his illustration work, and I really enjoyed chatting with him and hearing his responses to these questions. Emberley, the son of legendary illustrator Ed Emberley, has been illustrating since 1979. He was born and raised in Massachusetts but now makes his home in Ireland, near Dublin. (I highly recommend taking time to read this page of his site, where he talks about why he started illustrating and why he decided to stick with it: “I began illustrating because I needed money, but now I truly appreciate what I do. I can keep myself from being bored by doing a variety of book projects and using different techniques. This is more difficult than mastering one style but it is the only way for me.”)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #439: Featuring Akiko Miyakoshi

h1 Sunday, July 5th, 2015

It just so happens that my very favorite medium in picture book illustration is charcoal. I get all googly-eyed when I see it done well. But that’s not the only reason I love this book from author-illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi, The Tea Party in the Woods, coming in August from Kids Can Press and originally published in Japan back in 2010. The visuals here are pure magic and filled with intriguing details, and the story is one of mystery and friendship.

A young girl, named Kikko, awakes to a “winter wonderland.” She heads out to deliver a pie to her Grandma, the one that her father, who has already set out for Grandma’s house, left behind. This is all slightly reminiscent of the classic tale “Little Red Riding Hood” in that the girl’s destination involves her grandmother, and her skirt and winter hat are bright reds (much like Red’s cape) in a sea of white snow and dark charcoals. But that’s where the similarities end: There’s no menacing wolf here.

Instead, she is fairly sure after heading out that she spots her father ahead, and in an effort to catch up to him, she falls in snow drifts and the pie box is crushed. She follows her father anyway to “a strange house. Has it always been here? Kikko wondered.”


“Kikko followed her father all the way to a strange house. Has it always been here? Kikko wondered. She couldn’t remember having seen it before.
She watched as her father went inside.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Daniel Miyares

h1 Friday, July 3rd, 2015

(Click to enlarge second image)


I’ve got a wee picture book round-up over at Kirkus today. That link is here.

* * *

I wrote over at Kirkus last week about Daniel Miyares Float (Simon & Schuster, June 2015), so today I follow up with some final spreads from the book. Daniel also sent some early sketches.

Note: I wrote in that column last week that Daniel created these illustrations digitally. That wasn’t entirely correct, and it’s since been corrected over in my piece. These were rendered via watercolors with digital tools.


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The Art of Emily Hughes

h1 Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

“It was a flower. It was alive and wonderful. It gave the gardener hope
and it made him work even harder.”
— From
The Little Gardener
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


From Wild
(Click to enlarge)

Last week, I talked to author-illustrator Emily Hughes over at Kirkus, so today I’m sharing some spreads from her new book, The Little Gardener, coming to shelves in August, as well as 2013’s Wild (both published by Flying Eye Books).


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