Archive for April, 2020

The Moon Keeper

h1 Thursday, April 30th, 2020

“Each night the moon grows bigger and bigger, until …”

Today, I’ve got some illustrations from The Moon Keeper (HarperCollins, March 2020), written and illustrated by an artist named Zosienka. This is her debut as both author and illustrator. Born in South Africa to Polish and English parents, she studied graphic design in London and, in addition to illustration, does stop-motion animation and print design. The Moon Keeper is the story of a bear, named Emile, who is one of many night creatures chosen to perform a particular task. Emile discovers he is the new moon keeper, and he is honored.

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The Phantom Twin

h1 Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

Today, author-illustrator Lisa Brown visits to share some process images from the creation of her newest book, a graphic novel called The Phanton Twin (First Second, March 2020). It’s the story of conjoined twins — the Peabody Sisters, Isabel and Jane — raised, since the age of three, in a carnival sideshow.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #688: Featuring Marie Caudry

h1 Sunday, April 26th, 2020

“Hello Bird, I’m the first one up. I found a carpet of strawberries and vines
close to the hole where I dozed off. …”

(Click image to see spread — and read text — in its entirety)

I’m greeting this Sunday with a Belgian import, Gauthier David’s Letters from Bear (Eerdmans, March 2020), illustrated by Marie Caudry. This is the sweet epistolary tale of one bear’s strange and slightly surreal journey to find a beloved friend — and the adventures had along the way.

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h1 Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

“It was not long before kings and queens from all over the world came to visit my castle.
‘It’s one hundred percent sand,’ murmured a king with a curly mustache.
‘And you can hear the ocean!’ added a queen with a fancy pearl necklace.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

I wish, with this book, that I could show you every single richly colored, detailed spread inside, but since I have only a couple of spreads today, you’ll have to promise me that you’ll try to find a copy on your own. This is something I’d highly recommend. Einat Tsarfati’s Sandcastle — originally published two years ago and translated into English by Stephanie Barrouillet — is now on shelves here (Candlewick). Or will be, that is, in early May. And it is mighty fun. Also, if you step inside these pages, you can at least temporarily visit a beach. An actual crowded beach!

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The House of Madame M

h1 Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

It’s tricky to write about books like Clotilde Perrin’s The House of Madame M (Gecko, April 2020), because it’s a paper-engineered one. That is, it’s tricky to show art from such a book, because there are flaps; pop-up elements (in this case, a pop-up fireplace); interactive moving parts, such as pull tabs; and even strings. These aren’t exactly things that can be captured in the static images at a website, but I have some art from the book for you today — in the hopes that you can still get a sense of Perrin’s distinctive style. (If you saw this 2018 book, you’re already familiar with the picture book joy she brings.) This one was originally published in French in 2019 and has been translated by Daniel Hahn.

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #687: Featuring Henry Cole

h1 Sunday, April 19th, 2020

Have you seen Henry Cole’s Nesting (Katherine Tegen Books, March 2020) yet? The story follows a robin, whom we meet on a spring morning when the ground is covered in frost. The robin sings, calling forth a female robin — and the two birds build a nest. Once they have finished creating the nest, the mother robins settles in and lays “smooth and blue” eggs. When they hatch, the parents feed their babies and protect them from storms and predators. (There is a satisfying and dramatic encounter with a snake.) Eventually, the baby birds take flight and “grow strong and can feed themselves. Their wings take them anywhere they want to go.” The close of the story, the nest now covered in snow, brings us to winter with the promise of spring arriving again, which is how we readers began this adventure.

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Won’t You Cyber-Join Us?

h1 Thursday, April 16th, 2020


This Saturday, April 18, at 2 p.m. CST / 3 p.m. EST, two-time Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry will do a live-streamed event via Crowdcast with Brookline Booksmith, an indie bookstore in the Boston area. I will chat with her a bit about her work, including her new novel in verse, and there will be a Q&A as well. Won’t you join us?

Here’s the info.

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

h1 Thursday, April 16th, 2020

I’ve a review over at BookPage of Suzanne Slade’s Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks (Abrams, April 2020), illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. That review is here.

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


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Outside In with Cindy Derby

h1 Tuesday, April 14th, 2020


Pictured above: Early character study and piece of final art

Over at BookPage, I’ve a review of Deborah Underwood’s Outside In (Houghton Mifflin, April 2020), illustrated by Cindy Derby. It’s one of my 2020 favorites, and that review is here.

Here at 7-Imp today, Cindy shares some process images, as well as final illustrations. It’s a lot of glorious art, and I thank her for sharing.


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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #686: Featuring The Drawing Brigade

h1 Sunday, April 12th, 2020

Today I’m highlighting The Drawing Brigade, a healthcare outreach project started by author-illustrator Bethany Barton and author-illustrator Katherine Roy. The two began this as a response to the growing COVID-19 crisis, and their mission is, as they put it, to “deliver joy through drawing to our nation’s healthcare workers during this time of need.”

They are asking anyone who wants to contribute, young and old, to make drawings to thank healthcare workers; take a photo of their drawing; and send it to them. From there, they will take the artwork and digitally send it to hospitals so that staff there can display the artwork on their screens and/or print it out for their staff rooms, as well as share them on the Drawing Brigade’s social media platforms. Pictured above is a recent contribution from Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell.

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