Archive for July, 2017

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #544: Featuring Mariachiara Di Giorgio

h1 Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

How about another import today, dear Imps? Last week we had a German one; today is one from Italy.

Professional Crocodile was originally published in Italy this year but is also seeing publication here in the States in early August (Chronicle Books). It’s a book conceived by writer and publisher Giovanna Zoboli, who is also one of the founders of the Italian children’s book publisher Topipittori, and it’s illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio.

In this wordless story, readers follow a crocodile during the course of his day. The illustrations are divided into panels of various sizes, though some spreads are continuous, full-bleed ones. The crocodile dresses and behaves as if human. Di Giorgio’s dynamic city scenes will beguile readers; there’s a lot to pore over and take in, and there’s a good dose of humor in the details. At one point, when the crocodile hops on a crowded train, we see mostly humans but also a few other animals. Hmm. … Where is he heading? child readers will wonder.

He’s actually heading for the zoo. Once there, he removes his clothes in a locker room and then waltzes right into his enclosure where, on the final spread, humans gape at him through a glass partition. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus Today

h1 Friday, July 21st, 2017


This morning over at my Kirkus column, I’ve got Barbara Dacosta and Ed Young’s new picture book, Mighty Moby (Little, Brown, August 2017).

That is here.

Until Sunday …

The Artwork of Thi Bui

h1 Thursday, July 20th, 2017

— From Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir


“The streetlights look brighter and the roads aren’t so busy before the sun comes up.
Dad turns on the heater and tells me stories. A kid at my school said my dad’s English sounds like a thick, dirty river. But to me his English sounds like gentle rain.”
— From Bao Phi’s
A Different Pond, illustrated by Thi Bui
(Click to enlarge spread)


Last week over at Kirkus, author and poet Bao Phi and I talked here about his debut picture book, A Different Pond (Capstone, August 2017), illustrated by Thi Bui.

In March of this year, Thi also released her debut graphic novel, The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Abrams), the story of her family’s escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the rebuilding of their lives in America.

I’ve got art here at 7-Imp today from both books.

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My Kirkus Chat with Seymour Simon

h1 Thursday, July 20th, 2017

When I write, I’m more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than in trying to teach facts. The facts may change, but the enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”

* * *

This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to author-illustrator Seymour Simon about his newest nonfiction picture book and his career of making books for children, which has spanned over 300 books and nearly 50 years.

That is here.

* * * * * * *

Photo of Seymour Simon © Charles Harbutt and used by permission.

Antje Damm’s Waiting for Goliath

h1 Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

“Bear has been sitting and waiting since dawn.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

How about a German import this morning? Over at BookPage, I have a review of Antje Damm’s Waiting for Goliath (Gecko, August 2017), translated by Sally-Ann Spencer.

That is here, and today here at 7-Imp I have a few spreads.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #543: Featuring Suzy Lee

h1 Sunday, July 16th, 2017

“This beautiful day …”
(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Richard Jackson’s This Beautiful Day (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, August 2017), illustrated by Suzy Lee.

That is here, and below are a couple more spreads from the book.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Lauren Tobia

h1 Friday, July 14th, 2017

“‘Shh!’ she said. ‘Amazing Anna Hibiscus is busy growing up.'”
— From Atinuke’s
You’re Amazing, Anna Hibiscus!, illustrated by Lauren Tobia
and coming to shelves in September


Bao Phi, photographed by Anna Min

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got a Q&A with author Bao Phi, pictured above. We talk about his new picture book, A Different Pond (Capstone, August 2017), illustrated by Thi Bui.

That is here. Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll have some art from the book.

* * *

Also pictured above is an illustration from the Anna Hibiscus chapter book series. I mentioned in last week’s Kirkus column that new titles are coming out in the Fall (Kane Miller), and so today I have some of Lauren Tobia’s illustrations from those new books. More artwork is below.


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Pete, Leda, Raúl

h1 Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Listen. Pete participated his whole life. He led marches to end wars;
he stood on peace lines in cold and snow, heat and rain. …”

(Click to see spread in its entirety and to read the full text)

Here’s a follow-up to my Kirkus Q&A last week with author Leda Schubert. These are some spreads from Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing, illustrated by Raúl Colón.


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A Smorange Kind of Book

h1 Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

(Click to enlarge spread)

“The illustrations in this book were rendered in fruit.”

That’s the illustration note on the copyright page of Adam Rex’s newest picture book, Nothing Rhymes with Orange (Chronicle), coming to shelves in early August. (Even better: The copyright page info is all laid out as if on grocery receipts.) See the cover here? The apple and strawberry and blackberry and blueberries are stealing the show, proud as they are of their rhyming natures, but Orange is muttering, “So I guess I’ll just stand over here then.” What rhymes with orange after all?

An exuberant group of fruit-friends starts layin’ down some fruit rhymes in this very funny book: “Hit the beach in your cabana with a peach or a banana” is but one of the catchy rhymes. You may sometimes feel afraid of The Rhyming Picture Book, because in the hands of lesser authors, there can exist some sing-song rhyme-mangling that feels like an assault to one’s senses. But no worries. That is not this book.

Orange can be seen on the sidelines. Orange is unassuming, to say the least. Maybe has some self-esteem issues. Definitely engaging in some self-pity. “Hey, are you guys going to need me for this book?” Orange asks amidst all the rhyming, with maybe a bit too much hope, on the banana page.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #542: Featuring Christian Robinson

h1 Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Christian’s art in the studio, sans text
(Click to enlarge)

Poet Julie Fogliano has a way with words, and in her newest picture book, When’s My Birthday? (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press), illustrated by Christian Robinson, she’s at her most child-friendly (which is saying a lot, since I think her previous books are inviting to—and delightful for—child readers). This one will be on shelves in September.

I was just about to type that birthdays are extra-special days for children, but hell. I get excited on my own birthday too, and (you can ask my friends) I’m a bit of a birthday bad-ass — in that I can tell you when your birthday is if we are good friends. Or I can, at the very least, get a few days close to it. (I always assume EVERYONE can do this, but evidently not.) It’s a fun party trick. And that’s because they’re little holidays for everyone — it’s your one special day to celebrate your very existence. I recently got into a conversation with my daughters about how I think most holidays are over-rated, and when they asked what the best holiday is, I had to say, simply: Birthdays.

This is a picture book (a tall, vertically-oriented one, as if the book itself is a giant candle) that celebrates the thrill children get when anticipating a birthday and all that comes with it — cakes, chocolate, candles, parties, presents. Even wishes. It’s a heap of unfettered joy, this one. Fogliano’s text is infectiously rhythmic and perfectly paced—this one begs to be shared aloud—and she even sprinkles in some nonsense words (“I’m just dreaming of my bluuuurfday” and “time for cakey / wakey wakey”). The text is from the point-of-view of an unnamed narrator (though we see one young girl multiple times), first wondering when the birthday will come; then dreaming of what the celebration will be like; and then, suddenly, “in the morning it’s my birthday!” Here, the child can hardly sleep from the excitement, but when she finally does, it’s “happy snore and snore to me!”

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