Archive for February, 2018

A Peek at Rilla Alexander’s Drawing Table

h1 Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Looks like I’ve got cumulative tales on the mind lately. Today’s book — Jane Yolen’s A Bear Sat on My Porch Today (Handprint/Chronicle, March 2018), illustrated by Rilla Alexander — is, just like the book I featured on Sunday, another entertaining cumulative story. Jaunty rhymes, quick pacing, and Rilla’s exuberant retro illustrations mark this story of a bear who makes an appearance on a young girl’s porch, making himself at home.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #575: Featuring Denise Fleming

h1 Sunday, February 25th, 2018

“These are the NESTLINGS, tufted and pink, that cracked the eggs, brittle and blue, that lay on the grass, fresh and sweet, that cushions the weeds, dotted with seeds, that bind the mud, soft not soupy, that plasters the straw, rough and tough, that covers the string, long and strong, that wraps round the twigs, not too big,
that anchor the nest that Robin built.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

I’ve some art today from Denise Fleming’s new picture book, This Is the Nest That Robin Built (Beach Lane, March 2018). This is what the Kirkus review calls an “avian revision of a classic rhyme,” and that would be “This Is the House That Jack Built,” the popular cumulative rhyme. Here we meet the animals — squirrel, dog, horse, pig, mouse, and more — who, in one way or another, contribute to a nest (made of twigs, string, straw, mud, weeds, and grass) that a robin builds for her fledglings. The narrative’s structure is a cumulative one, just like the classic rhyme upon which it’s based, and these full-bleed spreads, which includes a gatefold towards the end, put readers right in front of the action. We are up close with these creatures, all the better to see the bold colors and textures of Fleming’s artwork. “After 28 years of paper-making,” she told me, “I decided to try a new medium. I make monoprints (using a gelatin plate) with texture and color and then cut up the prints and collage the bits and pieces. … I also use foam printing in the illustrations.” She says she will soon make a process video, which I look forward to seeing. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Ashley Crowley and Lucy Ruth Cummins

h1 Friday, February 23rd, 2018

“‘On the night of the blue moon, anything can happen,’ said the boy.”
— From Sara O’Leary’s
The Boy and the Blue Moon,
illustrated by Ashley Crowley


“This is not a valentine, since it’s got sharper edges than dainty old lace.”
— From Carter Higgins’
This Is Not a Valentine, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
(Click to enlarge spread)

Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got some brand-new board books.

That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about some picture book valentines. I’m following up with art today from Carter Higgins’ This Is Not a Valentine (Chronicle, December 2017), illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins, and Sara O’Leary’s The Boy and the Blue Moon (Godwin Books/Henry Holt, February 2018), illustrated by Ashley Crowley.


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Meet Lady Crystallia Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Last week over at Kirkus, I chatted with Jen Yang about her new graphic novel, The Prince and the Dressmaker (First Second, February 2018).

That chat is here, and I’m following up with some art from the book today.

Until tomorrow …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #574: Featuring David A. Carter

h1 Sunday, February 18th, 2018

“You are a burst of joy and … I love you.”
(Click to enlarge spread, which is sans text)

Here’s something a bit different today.

It’s not often that I feature novelty books here at the blog, including pop-up books. For one, you all know I love to show you the art inside of a book, and it’s challenging, for a couple of reasons, to show you pop-up art. But I’m going to do my best today. The book is from David A. CarterI Love You: A Pop-Up Book (Abrams), which was actually released at the tail end of last year.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Marianna Coppo and John Himmelman

h1 Friday, February 16th, 2018

“I don’t go anywhere.
Everyone comes to me.”
— From Marianna Coppo’s


— From John Himmelman’s Floaty

Valentine’s Day might be over, but I’m extending the celebration this week with some books, old and new, over at Kirkus today.

That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about John Himmelman’s Floaty (Henry Holt, January 2018) and an Italian import, Marianna Coppo’s Petra (Tundra, February 2018). I’m following up today with art from each book.


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My Kirkus Q&A with Jen Wang

h1 Thursday, February 15th, 2018

For a while, I’d wanted to write a story about a character whose super power was making clothes that transformed the wearer. I couldn’t think of a premise that fit until I was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race one day, and suddenly everything clicked. I’ve also wanted to do something fun, like a Disney princess movie but with more queer themes attached, and everything fell in line perfectly from there.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk with Jen Wang, pictured here, about her new graphic novel, The Prince and the Dressmaker (First Second, February 2018).

The Q&A is here. Next week, I’ll follow up here at 7-Imp with a bit more art from the book.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Jen Wang taken by Ye Rin Mok.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #573: Featuring Sonia Sánchez

h1 Sunday, February 11th, 2018

“And she did.”
(Click to enlarge spread, which is sans text)

“Ruby’s mind was always full of ideas,” opens Brenda Maier’s The Little Red Fort (Scholastic), illustrated by Sonia Sánchez. In a story whose framework follows that of the classic folk tale The Little Red Hen, we read as Ruby asks for her brothers’ help to build a fort in their backyard. But when she’s met with a series of repeated rejections, she forges ahead, building it all by herself. She learns how to do it; she draws up her own plans; she gathers her supplies; she cuts the boards for the fort; and she hammers and builds. (She gets some help from her mother, who knows her own way around a set of tools, as well as her grandmother.) The result is a pretty rad fort.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week

h1 Friday, February 9th, 2018


Feel like a laugh? Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got two new picture books for the funny bone. You can click on the image above to read about them.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some art from each one.

Until Sunday …

Seeing Into Tomorrow

h1 Thursday, February 8th, 2018

“Empty railroad tracks: / A train sounds in the spring hills
And the rails leap with life.”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Last week, I talked over at Kirkus with author-illustrator Nina Crews about her newest picture book, Seeing Into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright (Millbrook Press, February 2018). I really enjoyed that chat, which is here.

Today, I’ve a few spreads from the book. If you haven’t already read the Q&A and know the answer, you get seven points for identifying the talented man in the spread above.

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