Archive for September, 2015

Momo & OHora (& Frank Zappa) Before Breakfast

h1 Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Author-illustrator Zachariah OHora visits 7-Imp today to talk about his newest picture book, My Cousin Momo (Dial, June 2015). Momo is a flying squirrel, and he throws his cousins for a loop when he visits and does things his own way. You know, we all have a cousin like that (thank goodness, because normal people worry me). It’s a story about family and acceptance and embracing your inherent weirdness, and it’s very funny. OHora has a style all his own, and you can see that for yourself below in the art he shares. He also shares some preliminary images, which are always fun to see.

Let’s get right to it. …

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And to Think He Was Almost a Drama Critic . . .

h1 Monday, September 28th, 2015

Right on the heels of his Eric Carle Honor, I have a long chat with editor Neal Porter over at Phil & Erin Stead’s Number Five Bus blog about publishing picture books today and all kinds of other stuff. The Barry Manilow moment is courtesy of the Steads.

That interview is here. It’s got some sneak-peeks at upcoming picture book art (from the likes of Jerry Pinkney, Christian Robinson, Hadley Hooper, Eric Rohmann, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Phil Stead, Antoinette Portis, and probably more), which makes me especially happy.


7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #451: Featuring Joyce Wan

h1 Sunday, September 27th, 2015

“Ten! Ugh!”
A final spread, followed by its sketch

We’re going to say goodbye to summer today, dear kickers, with a book I had meant to post about during the summer months — but better late than never. We’ll use this opportunity to wave farewell to swimming outside and lounging in the sun, since this past week marked the first day of Autumn.

If you read about picture books as often as I do, you may have seen the New York Times coverage in May of Joyce Wan’s The Whale in My Swimming Pool (Farrar Straus Giroux, April 2015), where Emily Jenkins wrote, in part:

Wan is a greeting card designer and the creator of many board books. Her curvilinear and comforting style recalls Hello Kitty and other Japanese pop art in its fat dark lines and squat characters, but the hero has an antic physicality and a wide range of emotional expressions. Her world feels safe and joyful, even as the hero experiences anger and frustration.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eric Carle

h1 Friday, September 25th, 2015

“‘Let’s trade hats,’ / The rider said, / But, ‘Neigh, neigh!’ / Said the horse.
‘Let’s trade heads / Instead, okay?’ / And so they did, / Of course.”

(Click to enlarge)


This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got a round-up of Fall 2015 picture book imports — or at least those written and/or illustrated by folks from other countries. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Eric Carle’s The Nonsense Show (Philomel), coming in October. Pictured above is a spread from the book.

Until Sunday …



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THE NONSENSE SHOW. Copyright © 2015 by Eric Carle. Illustration reproduced by permission of the publisher, Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, New York.

One More Moment with R. Gregory Christie …

h1 Thursday, September 24th, 2015

(Click each spread to enlarge)


Here’s a quick post to share a bit of art from R. Gregory Christie’s new book, Mousetropolis (Holiday House, September 2015), as a follow-up to our chat last week at Kirkus.



Until tomorrow. …

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Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by R. Gregory Christie. Used by permission of Holiday House.

One Picture-Book Roundtable Discussion Before Breakfast #4: Featuring the Women of Finding Winnie

h1 Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Sophie: “This was the last painting to be finished.
I felt a little bereft when it was all done.”

(Click to enlarge)

Back in the day, I used to do what I called picture-book roundtable discussions here at 7-Imp — in which the author, illustrator, editor, and art director/book designer would join me to give readers varying perspectives on one picture book title. I’ve only done three of these, though I really do enjoy them, and the last one was back in 2011. Wow. It’s been a while.

But I’m happy to be doing it again today with such an impressive book in the spotlight. That book is Lindsay Mattick’s Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. It’ll be on shelves next month from Little, Brown.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #450: Featuring SCBWI

h1 Sunday, September 20th, 2015

I spent all of yesterday at the SCBWI Midsouth conference, as I was invited to speak at a session. I got there early to hear the keynote speaker, author-illustrator John Rocco. He’s pictured here, making a salient point.

Since I’ve been busy with that this weekend, I don’t have a picture book or art to feature, but I figured that, at the very least, I could share this action shot. (Cue action music as you read.)

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Julie Paschkis

h1 Friday, September 18th, 2015

“It’s okay / to stare at / the parrot. …
Se puede / ver / al loro. …”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Today over at Kirkus, I take a look at Eric Carle’s newest picture book, The Nonsense Show (Philomel, October 2015). That link is here.

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Since I wrote here last week about Julie Paschkis’ beautiful new picture book, Flutter & Hum / Aleteo y Zumbido: Animal Poems / Poemas de Animales (Henry Holt, August 2015), I’ve got a bit of art from it today.

For those interested in reading more, Julie wrote about the book here last week.

Enjoy the art!

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Some Gregarious Art Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Three years … of blood, sweat, and tears, which aren’t always my own. There’s too much to write in terms of what I’ve learned, but at the end of the day I know that I feel free,
and we’re doing something that helps people.”


This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to author-illustrator R. Gregory Christie about his new picture book, as well as GAS-ART GIFTS (“Gregarious Art Statements”), what he’s referencing in the quote above — the bookstore and art studio he opened in Decatur, Georgia, about three years back.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of R. Gregory Christie used by his permission.

Milk & Cookies & Two Mice with Sergio Ruzzier

h1 Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

That’s right. Instead of breakfast, I’m having some cookies and milk today. The above image is the back cover illustration for the new picture book from Sergio Ruzzier, Two Mice (Clarion, September 2015).

I’ve found myself saying lately about a small handful of books, “this is one of my favorite picture books of 2015.” This surprises me, but I guess it shouldn’t, since it’s nearly Fall. Two Mice is on that list. A big story of adventure corralled into a small trim size, just right for tiny hands, it’s this perfectly-contained little universe from Ruzzier, who I think has one of the most distinctive styles of any illustrator working in children’s literature today. The very spare text itself consists of a highly-pleasing number pattern (1-2-3, 3-2-1) all throughout, making it an engaging math puzzler for preschoolers, especially those first beginning to read, and the story is thrilling and cozy all at once.

Sergio visits 7-Imp today to talk about that text and to share some of his watercolors from the book (including some preliminary images). I thank him for visiting.

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