Archive for July, 2017

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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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eva Eriksson

h1 Friday, July 7th, 2017

“Then Ella put the two heart halves on the ground. She laid them close together so they made a whole heart. …’Rest in peace, dear hearts!'”

Today at Kirkus, on account of a summer slump, I’ve got Seven Impossibly Good Bits of Book News. That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about lazy summer (re)reading and mentioned Rose Lagercrantz’s See You When I See You (Gecko Press), illustrated by Eva Eriksson and coming to U.S. shelves in August of this year. It’s a wonderful addition to this wonderful series. Today here at 7-Imp, I’ve got some illustrations from that.


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My Kirkus Q&A with Leda Schubert

h1 Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Who invented the hot shower? I owe most of my first lines to that brilliant person. I can research and write and think and suffer, and then one morning—if lucky—the shower gods deliver a sentence. It is that sentence that allows me to stop researching endlessly and begin to write ….”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author Leda Schubert, pictured here, about her new picture book biography of Pete Seeger, Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, June 2017), illustrated by Raúl Colón.

That Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Leda’s photo taken by Bear Pond Books.



h1 Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

(Click to enlarge)

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Antoinette Portis’s new picture book, Now (Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook, July 2017). That is here.

And right here at 7-Imp are some spreads from the book.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #541: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Sophie Page

h1 Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

It’s the first Sunday of the month, and that means that here at 7-Imp I showcase the work of a student or debut illustrator. Today, I’ve got the artwork of Sophie Page, a mixed media and 3D illustrator and a recent RISD grad. Sophie is based in Brooklyn.

Sophie talks a bit about her work below, and I thank her for visiting and sharing today. Let’s get to it. (Pictured above is If Only He Stayed a Bear Forever, one of her personal pieces and her take on the fairy tale “Snow-White and Rose-Red.”)

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