Archive for April, 2017

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #532: Featuring Jerry Pinkney

h1 Sunday, April 30th, 2017

“Bravely, that little billy goat Gruff trotted across the bridge.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


Award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Pinkney has taken it upon himself in the past several years to bring us lucky readers a series of classic-tale picture book adaptations, including the 2010 Caldecott-winning The Lion and the Mouse. His latest, coming to shelves in early May, is The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Little, Brown), and it may be my favorite. Because there’s nothing, I have learned, quite like a troll as Pinkney does it. Masterfully-rendered is this troll, as you can see above.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Helen Oxenbury

h1 Friday, April 28th, 2017

— From Timothy Knapman’s Time Now to Dream,
illustrated by Helen Oxenbury


Today over at Kirkus, I take a look at Emil Sher’s Away (Groundwood, April 2017), illustrated by Qin Leng. That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Helen Oxenbury. I’m following up today with art from two of her newly-illustrated books — Julia Donaldson’s The Giant Jumperee (Dial, April 2017), which was a huge hit in a recent story time I did, and Timothy Knapman’s Time Now to Dream (Candlewick, March 2017).

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Looking Elsewhere . . .

h1 Thursday, April 27th, 2017


Like to read picture book imports? I do. Today at Kirkus, I talk to Kendall Storey, Co-director of the new imprint Elsewhere Editions (a new children’s imprint from Archipelago Books), whose three new titles are translated from the Portuguese, French, and Norwegian — and whose next titles will be translated from the Chinese, Finnish, and Estonian. (Pictured above is a forthcoming book illustrated by Roger Mello, the recipient of the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award.)

The Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …

Where John Keats Meets Chris Raschka . . .

h1 Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

“For nothing would he do / But scribble poetry …”
(Click to enlarge spread)

It’s National Poetry Month, and I’m specifically marking it today—though I hope you celebrate it year-round by reading poetry no matter the month—with the beautiful A Song About Myself: A Poem by John Keats (Candlewick, March 2017). Keats evidently wrote this poem in a letter to his young sister, Fanny, while he was visiting Scotland, and now it’s in picture-book form, illustrated by the one, the only Chris Raschka. (Ezra Jack Keats also illustrated this back in ’65 as The Naughty Boy, published by Viking Press.)

“When John Keats was just twenty-two,” Raschka writes in the book’s closing Illustrator’s Note, “he decided to get out of London and go for a walk. … Arrived in the hills of Scotland, he wrote a letter to his sister. … And at the end of traveling twenty miles through the mountains he wrote …: ‘We have walked through a beautiful country to Kirkcudbright—at which place I will write you a song about myself.’ This is where his poem sits in the letter — a poem he did not think much of and which does not really have a title.” Raschka adds:

John Keats is remembered as one of the greatest romantic artists of all time …. He can also be remembered as a loving brother, who wanted to make his sister laugh with a funny little rhyme ….

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #531: Featuring Brian Floca

h1 Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

“… Then an idea came to her. She found her nanny’s mop and
took the stringy part off the stick. She tied the stringy part to the crocodile’s head.
The yarn in the mop was the same shade of brown as Princess Cora’s hair.”

(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)

Good morning, one and all. I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Laura Amy Schlitz’s Princess Cora and the Crocodile (Candlewick, March 2017), illustrated by Brian Floca. Such a good book, all 80 pages of it. If you want to read all about it, head here.

Today here at 7-Imp is a bit of art from the book.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Maria Dek,
Matt Forsythe, Lois Long, and Marc Martin

h1 Friday, April 21st, 2017

— from John Cage’s Mud Book: How to Make Pies and Cakes,
illustrated by Lois Long


— from Marc Martin’s A River
(Click to enlarge spread)


“The forest grew still. The only sound was the wind rustling the leaves ….”
— From Kirsten Hall’s
The Gold Leaf, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
(Click to enlarge spread — the text here varies slightly from the text in the final book)


“The forest is full of burrows, hollows, and nests. …”
— From Maria Dek’s
A Walk in the Forest
(Click to enlarge spread)


This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got Helen Oxenbury on the mind. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Maria Dek’s A Walk in the Forest (Princeton Architectural Press, April 2017); Marc Martin’s A River (Chronicle, March 2017); Kirsten Hall’s The Gold Leaf (Enchanted Lion), illustrated by Matthew Forsythe and arriving on shelves next month; and John Cage’s Mud Book: How to Make Pies and Cakes (Princeton Architectural Press, April 2017), illustrated by Lois Long.

I’ve got art from each book today. Enjoy!

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The Power of the Green Pants

h1 Thursday, April 20th, 2017

“‘Would you like to be in our wedding?’ Jo asked.
Absolutely,’ Jameson replied, staring deeply into Jo’s bright eyes.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

Two of my favorite picture books thus far this year have the word “pants” in the title. “Pants” is, indeed, a fabulous word.

Today, as a follow-up to my Kirkus Q&A last week with author-illustrator Kenneth Kraegel, I have a bit of art from Green Pants (Candlewick, March 2017).

(More later on that other picture book …)

Until tomorrow …

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A Mighty, Mighty Peek at Picture-Book Process

h1 Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

One of my favorite things is when illustrator Tom Lichtenheld stops by 7-Imp to talk about the thought processes that go behind his work. (He’s done that at least once before.)

Today, he visits to talk about creating the artwork for Sherri Duskey Rinker’s Mighty, Mighty Construction Site, released earlier this year. This is the sequel to 2011’s Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (which has a great publication story). Bonafide bestsellers these books are. And this follow-up, which introduces some new characters, delivers the goods. Best of all in this new story, Skid Steer and Mighty Flatbed are explicitly she machines. Attagirls!

Let’s get right to it so that Tom can do his thing. I thank him for visiting.

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Remembering Patricia McKissack . . .

h1 Monday, April 17th, 2017


There have been several heartfelt tributes to author Patricia McKissack written in the past week or so, since her death on April 7. Tennessee’s own Chapter 16 pays tribute to her work at their site today, as she was born and raised here in middle Tennessee (and, as you will read, Nashville Public Library has some special art from one of her stories on its walls).

That is here.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #530: Featuring Sydney Smith

h1 Sunday, April 16th, 2017

“We go so high I can see far out to sea.”

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Joanne Schwartz’s Town Is by the Sea (Groundwood, April 2017), illustrated by Sydney Smith. You can head here to read the review, but let me say one more time here at 7-Imp: This is one of the most beautiful picture books you’ll see this year. In fact, this is one of the most beautiful picture books you’ll ever see. (Those are some serious words, but I mean them.)

I’m following up here at 7-Imp today with some art from the book, and Sydney also sent what he calls some sketches and B-sides. I thank him for sharing.


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