Archive for July, 2016

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #494: Featuring Serge Bloch

h1 Sunday, July 31st, 2016

“And anyone else who wants to join in.”

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Ian Lendler’s Saturday (Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook, July 2016), illustrated by Serge Bloch. That review is here. Below are some spreads from the book; I always like to see Serge’s art.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Ivan Chermayeff and Giselle Potter

h1 Friday, July 29th, 2016

“… and look proudly at my dollhouse.”


Please! I was thinking I was thinking I love you a billion a zillion a whillion
a gorillion a hippopillion a rhinocerillion an elephantillion”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got Randy Cecil’s Lucy (Candlewick, August 2016) on the mind.

That is here today.

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Last week, I wrote here about Sandol Stoddard Warburg’s The Thinking Book (AMMO Books, May 2016), illustrated by Ivan Chermayeff and originally released in 1960, as well as Giselle Potter’s This Is My Dollhouse (Schwartz & Wade, May 2016). Below is a bit of art from each book.


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Jon Agee’s Lion Lessons

h1 Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

A zippy-quick post (because I’m in the final stages of packing a home this week)! Have you seen Jon Agee’s newest picture book, Lion Lessons (Dial, July 2016)? Here’s a story filled with Agee goodness — his understated humor, solid storytelling, and soft, no-nonsense palette. This one is about a boy who takes up lion lessons, just as the title tells you. His teacher, a great lion with (if you pay attention to the book’s details) a degree from the Harvard School of Claw, takes the boy under his wing, teaching him Looking Fierce, Roaring, Choosing What to Eat, Prowling Around, Sprinting, Pouncing, and Looking Out for Your Friends (all kicked off with some stretching). The boy isn’t exactly a star student, but there’s a lot of humor along the way — especially, as mentioned, in the details of the spreads. The boy succeeds in the end, complete with a Lion Diploma and the adoring creatures pictured above. (A lionhearted pounce, after all, can also go hand in hand with looking out for a friend.)

Here’s a bit of art from the book so that you can see more for yourself.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #493: Featuring Geraldo Valério

h1 Sunday, July 24th, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

Today’s post is a bit of a sneak peek at an upcoming picture book from Groundwood Books. Geraldo Valério’s Turn on the Night will be out this September, but I’ve got a few spreads from it today.

This is the wordless tale of a girl, at night, who’s fallen asleep, book in hand. This book looks very similar to Valério’s very story. Suddenly, the creature in the pages of the book leaps out through the window, and the girl is nowhere to be seen. Readers realize she has become the wolf-like creature who has leaped out of the house. The following pages show her as the wolf having a night-time adventure with the rooster just outside of her home, as well as a deer they meet. They fly to a star, the rooster grabs it, and the wolf returns to her home, lighting up the stringed lights around the headboard on the girl’s bed — really, he lights up her entire room. There, suddenly, is the girl again, sleeping happily.

It’s a simple, but magical, plot with Valério’s rich colors; the palette is dominated by deep blues and lush greens. He captures with a seeming ease the euphoria of dreams of flight, as well as the cryptic nature of dreams, even ones that leave you with a smile on your face. The Publishers Weekly review writes that there is a “giddy sense of possibility” in this story. Indeed.

Here are a couple more spreads. Enjoy!

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My Q&A with Jonathan Auxier

h1 Thursday, July 21st, 2016

‘What is the point of a storybook?’ is actually a really difficult question to answer because, at the end of the day, stories are largely frivolous: They don’t fill an empty belly or suture a wound or shelter the lost. And yet every reader knows that something almost mystical transpires when the right reader finds the right story. I was trying to articulate the meaning of that transaction. Ultimately, I found the easiest way to answer the question was to invert it and ask ‘What happens if we lose our storybooks?’ And that question became the foundation of the entire novel.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to novelist Jonathan Auxier, pictured here, about his newest book, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard (Abrams/Amulet, April 2016).

That is here this morning.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Jonathan used by his permission.


On Falling with Elisha Cooper

h1 Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

Author-illustrator Elisha Cooper and I started chatting about his new memoir, Falling, back in May when he was at the Sendak farm as a 2016 Sendak Fellow (hence the mug above), and I’m just now posting our conversation. (The Danielsons are moving to a new home this summer, so I take all the blame for the slow pace of this chat, though since I always enjoy talking with him, let’s just say I did it on purpose.)

Falling (published by Pantheon in June) is sub-titled A Daughter, a Father, and a Journey Back, and it tells the story of discovering a lump under his five-year-old daughter’s ribs and her subsequent diagnosis of cancer. With tenderness, wit, and precision, he writes about the changes in life brought about by the pediatric cancer, outlining his daughter’s treatment and even post-treatment, and the hopelessness he felt as a parent. But, as you can see in our chat below, the book is also infused with a spirit of hope (and, fortunately, his daughter is also now cancer-free). As the Publishers Weekly review notes, it’s a memoir that is poignant but never melodramatic.

Let’s get to it. Finally. I thank Elisha for taking the time to chat. (Bonus: There’s some art below.)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #492: Featuring Harry Bliss

h1 Sunday, July 17th, 2016

“A boy sheep is a ram. He has horns. The horns do not come off.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review here over at BookPage of Jeanne Birdsall’s My Favorite Pets: By Gus W. for Ms. Smolinksi’s Class, released by Knopf this month. Here at 7-Imp today, I’m featuring some of the books spreads from Harry Bliss.


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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jeff Newman

h1 Friday, July 15th, 2016

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got story time on the mind. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Dan Richards’ Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?, illustrated by Jeff Newman (coming to shelves in August from Simon & Schuster). Today, I have a few spreads from the book, but Jeff also shares some preliminary images.

You’ll see below some early sketches, as well as some (the ones broken into four grids) that represent an early version of the story in which Evan and his mother spent most of the story at their apartment. (In the final version, they stay at the zoo.) You’ll also see some finishes from, as Jeff puts it, “a more stylized, scrapped version of the book (before we took it in a slightly more realistic direction).”

I thank Jeff for sharing.


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Jeannie Baker’s Circle

h1 Thursday, July 14th, 2016

“Following an ancient, invisible pathway high above the clouds,
each bird takes a turn to lead the way south.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


Last week, I chatted over at Kirkus (here) with Australian author-illustrator Jeannie Baker. It was fascinating to read her description of her collage-making process. Today, I’m following up with two spreads from her newest book, Circle (Candlewick, May 2016).

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The End Game with Isabel Roxas

h1 Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

Pictured above is, according to illustrator Isabel Roxas, one of many cover designs from Minh Lê’s debut picture book, Let Me Finish!, released by Disney/Hyperion last month. This is the story of a young boy trying to read, trying to reach the end of a book and experience the surprises in store, yet all around are his animal friends, revealing spoilers at every turn. At each spoiler, the boy picks up a new book, only to have its ending revealed as well. Lê paces the story well, building tension as the story progresses (and as the boy attempts to steal away and find a successful, interruption-free reading spot), giving readers a mammoth-sized surprise of his own at the end. (But I won’t ruin it for you.)

Roxas has illustrated many books in the Philippines but currently lives in the U.S. and is here to talk about creating the illustrations for this one. I thank her for sharing. Let’s get to it.

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