Archive for June, 2016

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree

h1 Thursday, June 30th, 2016

“Down, down slid the snake from the leaves of the tree and gobbled up the boy with his whirly-twirly toy, one day in the eucalyptus, eucalyptus tree.”
(Click to enlarge)

I’ve got a few spreads today from Daniel Bernstrom’s One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, May 2016) as a follow-up to my chat with Daniel at Kirkus last week.

The book was illustrated by Brendan Wenzel.


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Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jennifer K. Mann

h1 Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

When I read Two Speckled Eggs in 2014, Jennifer K. Mann’s debut as both author and illustrator, I knew I’d found an author-illustrator whose books I’d want to keep an eye on. This book (and Jennifer’s next two books) was right in touch, and authentically so, with the topsy-turvy, always intense feelings of young children. In Two Speckled Eggs, Mann addresses the drama that can be a young girl’s birthday party — issues of inclusion, individuality, and (as the Publisher Weekly review notes) “geek pride.” And in last year’s I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard, she sensitively addresses teacher-student dynamics and the vulnerabilities of children in the care of adults in a classroom. This year’s Sam and Jump, released in May, is a tender story of loyalties forged and friendship found.

I invited Jennifer over for a cyber-breakfast to hear more about her work and see a bit more art. Her favorite breakfast is toast, spread with a little chipotle puree, mashed avocado, a fried egg, and a little sea salt. (This sounds so good to me that right about now I am wishing this were a real breakfast.)

Let’s get the basics from her while I set the table for breakfast. I thank her for visiting.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #489: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Sara Kendall

h1 Sunday, June 26th, 2016

“‘Why prince,’ she said, ‘you don’t look well!'”
(Click to enlarge)

It’s not the first Sunday of the month, which is when I normally feature the work of student or newly-graduated illustrators, but Sara Kendall’s work, which I’m featuring today, is too good to follow any rules. So I’m posting it now.

Sara is getting her BFA in illustration from the College for Creative Studies in Michigan and will graduate next Spring. I’m not only featuring her paintings today, but she is also here to talk a bit about her work and future plans. She recently had work in the Society of Illustrators’ Student Scholarship Show 2016 and discusses that a bit below. I thank her for taking the time to visit and share art.

P.S. Sara is putting the finishing touches on a brand-new painting right now, and when it’s done I’ll add it to this post. [Edited to add, 7/1/16: That painting, Gangs of Wonderland (casein and acrylic ink on illustration board), has been added below. About this painting, Sara says: “It’s me as Alice and Daniel Day Lewis as the Mad Hatter.”]

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Christian Robinson

h1 Friday, June 24th, 2016

“After lunch the kindergarten kids learned about shapes. ‘A rectangle has four sides,’ said the teacher. ‘One, two, three, four. And a square has four sides, too. In fact, a square is actually a special kind of rectangle!’
‘Wow,’ said the school. ‘I did
not know that.'”
(Click to enlarge spread)

Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got Come Home, Angus and contemporary parenting on the mind. That link is here.

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Last week at Kirkus, I wrote here about Adam Rex’s School’s First Day of School (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2016), illustrated by Christian Robinson. I’ve got some spreads from the book today.


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My Kirkus Q&A with Daniel Bernstrom

h1 Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

I wanted language to move and breathe on the page — to live. And maybe, as a visually-impaired child and adult, I learned how beautiful sound can be. I saw what I could do with words and punctuation. I so desperately wanted to share how words could live and breathe and sing for others, sighted and sightless alike, just as they did for me.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Daniel Bernstrom, pictured here, about his debut picture book One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2016), illustrated by Brendan Wenzel.

That is here this morning. Next week at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some art from the book.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Daniel used by permission of HarperCollins.


Il Sung Na’s The Opposite Zoo

h1 Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

asleep . . .”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Here’s some art today from Il Sung Na’s The Opposite Zoo, released by Knopf in March.

The Opposite Zoo of the book’s title, readers immediately learn, closes when the sky turns dark, but “the monkey’s door is OPEN! Time to explore. …” Here, the monkey visits, on each spread, animals that are opposite in nature (tall, short; soft, prickly; shy, bold; etc.), and when the sun comes up and the zoo opens, the monkey heads back to his cage. That’s it, in terms of story line.

But readers will want to stay for the visually striking, beautifully textured art from Na, rendered (I think) via ink and colored pencils. “With a coloring style that feels as if someone took a firecracker to a box of crayons,” wrote Minh Lê at the New York Times, “Na makes turtle shells as dynamic as a peacock’s plumage.” It’s true. This is art to pore over and enjoy, no matter your age. The text is spare; the brightly-colored art with its graceful lines is electric and appealing, making this a book children will want to read and re-read.

The art can speak more than I can. Here are a few more spreads. Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #488: Featuring Culpeo S. Fox

h1 Sunday, June 19th, 2016

“When the moon slithers into the open skies,
surely some trickery is afoot.”

(Click to enlarge spread, sans text)

Sometimes this happens: You see a beautiful picture book and, without thinking things through, you assume it was just released. Then you find out it’s a couple years old.

I was just about to tell you about Manasi Subramaniam’s The Fox and the Crow (Karadi Tales), illustrated by Culpeo S. Fox, when I just now realized (when looking for an image of the book’s cover) that Betsy Bird wrote a lovely, detailed review of it here:

Gorgeous to eye and ear alike, the story’s possibilities are mined beautifully and the reader is left reeling in the wake. If you’d like a folktale that’s bound to wake you up, this beauty has your number.

Then I realized she wrote it in 2014. And that the book was actually released then. Long story why, but I thought this one was newly-released here in the U.S. Even though I tend to focus on new picture books here at 7-Imp, just to keep things easier, I can still tell you about this one, though. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Silvia Borando and Ingrid Fiksdahl King

h1 Friday, June 17th, 2016

“a jump rope held tight … the trunk of a very young tree
or the stem of a flower?
— From Ann Rand’s and Ingrid Fiksdahl King’s
What Can I Be?
(Click to enlarge)

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Adam Rex’s newest picture book, School’s First Day of School (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, June 2016), illustrated by Christian Robinson. So good, this one. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Silvia Borando’s Near, Far (Candlewick, June 2016) and Ann Rand’s What Can I Be? (Princeton Architectural Press, May 2016), illustrated by Ingrid Fiksdahl King. Today, I’ve got a bit of art from each book here at 7-Imp.


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Some Witches Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, June 16th, 2016

“… They all breathe hard from the run. A little harder than usual, because of what is looming above them: the long staircase that leads to the parlor of Zia Pia,
fortune-teller and healer.”

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted here with John Bemelmans Marciano about his new series, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, The Witches of Benevento. I follow up today with some of Sophie’s art from the books.


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The Week I Fell in Love with Archives

h1 Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Back in April of this year, I received the James Marshall Fellowship from The University of Connecticut’s Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. I spent a week looking through the James Marshall Papers there. (It was wonderful, and I still miss the very smell of the boxes.)

Today, I have a blog post up at the University’s site, all about my research there. If you’re a fan of James Marshall’s work, you might like to see the rare images up at the post (three of approximately 800 photos I took!).

That blog post is here.

Until tomorrow …