Archive for November, 2019

Sydney Smith’s Small in the City

h1 Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Early sketch

Author-illustrator Sydney Smith visits 7-Imp today to share some sketches (lots) from Small in the City (Neal Porter/Holiday House, September 2019). I reviewed this one for the Horn Book, and you can read a portion of that review online here. I love this book, but don’t just take my word for it. It has already won a 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award, and Sydney also won a Governor’s General Literary Award in Canada.

I’ve also got some final spreads below. I thank Sydney for sharing so many beautiful sketches and such. Let’s get to it. …

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #663: Featuring Angel Chang

h1 Sunday, November 10th, 2019

(Click to enlarge spread)

Dave Eggers’s Most of the Better Natural Things in the World (Chronicle, November 2019), illustrated by Angel Chang, follows a white tiger. She carries a chair on her back, lugging it across the globe and across various landscapes — a gorge, a valley, a lagoon, an alpine lake, a chaparral, a tundra, and much more. Each spread contains the name of each geographic settting. She stops to sit and take in a breathtaking vista (pictured below) that appears in a dramatic double gatefold spread. The book closes with a four-page glossary that gives more information on each landscape.

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The 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books, Featuring A Million Dots

h1 Friday, November 8th, 2019

Did you see the announcement a week ago today of the 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books? I always look forward to this list. The 2019 books — as chosen by judges Bruce Handy, Jessica Cline, and Jillian Tamaki — are here.

Today, I’m featuring some spreads from one of those books — Sven Völker’s A Million Dots (Cicada, September 2019). The book opens with the one tree you see above, and by the time you are done reading it, you have counted to a million (over a million, actually). And that is because with each page turn, you are doubling the number you see. So, you go from 1 to 2 to 4 to 8 to 16 to 32 to …. You get the idea. All the way up to 1,048,576, which appears in a dramatic gatefold spread. All of this is laid out in Völker’s uncluttered and pleasing graphic style. Yes, a million dots are involved. “[H]ow quickly two (trees) begets 256 (freckles),” writes one of the NYT judges.

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Brendan Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still

h1 Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

The Horn Book has posted my review of Brendan Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still (Chronicle, August 2019). That is here, if you’re so inclined to read it.

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


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #662: Featuring Rudy Gutierrez

h1 Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

Nic plays the double bass and, after a performance at his school (where he pulls off an “epic solo”), he heads to his grandfather’s, the giant instrument strapped to his body like an over-sized backpack. As he wields his way through the busy city streets — managing to carry the instrument as gracefully as possible; getting past a vicious dog; overcoming the rain and disparaging comments from other children (“nice tie, chump”) — he hears music in the city noises (the “whoosh, whoosh” of windshield wipers) and the rain (“plunk, plunk, plunk”) until he’s safe and warm at granddaddy’s. Granddaddy Nic is also a musician, and waiting with him are his friends — a drummer, a saxophonist, and a trumpet player. It’s time to make music.

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