Archive for June, 2022

Rachel Elliott’s The Real Riley Mayes

h1 Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

Happy Pride Month! It’s not over yet. Let’s celebrate with Riley Mayes. She’s the star of a new graphic novel from Rachel ElliottThe Real Riley Mayes (Balzer + Bray, May 2022). I’ve got a review of this one over at the Horn Book. A starred review — because it’s that good.

That review is here, and below is some art.


Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #800: Featuring Richard Jones

h1 Sunday, June 26th, 2022

“Trace the drops … a dot-to-dot that
makes a secret map.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

Meg Fleming’s meditative Wondering Around (Beach Lane, May 2022), illustrated by Richard Jones, is an ode to wondering at, observing, and engaging with the natural world and features children who “wander on the outside … and wonder on the in.”

Read the rest of this entry �

“The Newbery and Art” at the Horn Book

h1 Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022


It was my pleasure to contribute a piece to the Horn Book’s recent issue (the May/June 2022 issue) celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Newbery Award. I wrote about the Newbery and art, which involved me lugging home, multiple times, a trunk full of award-winning illustrated novels and picture books, all in the name of research. Lovely.

That article is here, or you can click the image above, a screenshot from their site.

“I didn’t know I could climb so high. …”

h1 Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

How about a French picture book import? I’ve a review over at the Horn Book of Morgane de Cadier’s‘s Just to See (Blue Dot Kids Press, May 2022), illustrated by Florian Pigé and translated by Johanna McCalmont.

That review is here, and below are some spreads. [Note: Reading this review at their site may require a subscription to the Horn Book.]


Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #799: Featuring Rahele Jomepour Bell

h1 Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Early sketch
(Click image to enlarge)


Final spread: “Anger comes from deep inside and bursts out. But then, it’s gone.
And then, I have room for a new feeling. One that feels much better.”

(Click spread to enlarge)

It’s a pleasure to welcome illustrator Rahele Jomepour Bell to 7-Imp today. She shares some early sketches from Angry Me (Groundwood, May 2022), Sandra V. Feder’s new picture book. “I get angry,” the book opens. A girl stares in the mirror, her body hunched and rage on her face. The book explores the girl’s sources of anger: when she feels that people are being mean, even when it’s all “a mistake”; when things don’t feel fair; when she’s fatigued or frustrated; when other children hurt her feelings; and when she’s sad. The second half of the book explores the ways in which she attempts to deal with the strong feeling: “When I get angry, I try to remember to use my words. … But sometimes, even my words come out sounding angry.”

Read the rest of this entry �

Ali Bahrampour’s Monsters in the Fog

h1 Thursday, June 16th, 2022

One of my very favorite picture books this year is Ali Bahrampour’s Monsters in the Fog (Abrams, June 2022), which I reviewed for BookPage. To read more about this very funny book, you can read the review here. (Pictured above is the entertaining title page illustration.)

Today, I’ve got some spreads from the book, and Ali also visits to share some early sketches. Lucky me — because I always like to see an artist’s early sketches — Ali managed to find these, adding that he throws almost everything away as he works. Here’s what he says about the book:

Read the rest of this entry �

Pip and Zip

h1 Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

I love to see those well-crafted picture books that address, in one way or another, the COVID-19 pandemic — the ones that are a snapshot of these unsettling times. Elana K. Arnold’s Pip and Zip (Roaring Brook Press, August 2022), illustrated by Doug Salati, is a new one that, in particular, captures the beginning of it all when the whole world seemed to shut down.

Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #798: Featuring Red Nose Studio

h1 Sunday, June 12th, 2022

(Click spread to enlarge)

If anyone is going to add to the large stack of picture books about construction equipment, I’m glad it’s Red Nose Studio. Chris Sickels is the artist behind it all (here’s my 2013 interview with him). He creates sculptural and 3D illustrations, and for Build! (Anne Schwartz Books, May 2022), he created “hand-built sculptures made from scraps of wood and found objects, mixed in with some wire, clay, paint, fabric, and a shovel full of imagination.”

Read the rest of this entry �

The Queen in the Cave: “The wonders were infinite.”

h1 Thursday, June 9th, 2022

The U.S. edition of Júlia Sardà’s The Queen in the Cave (Candlewick) was released last month (it was first published in the UK last year), but I read it months before that. (I ended up with an early review copy.) And it’s been on my mind all that time. This, what the publisher calls a modern fairy tale, is Sardà’s debut as both author and illustrator. And it’s mesmerizing.

Read the rest of this entry �

See You Someday Soon

h1 Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

It can be challenging to write about a picture book with die-cuts. Ideally, you manage to find a copy of the book to experience the book design for yourself — and let the die-cuts and page-turns surprise you in the ways they are meant to. I do hope you can find a copy of Pat Zietlow Miller’s See You Someday Soon (Roaring Brook, June 2022), illustrated by Suzy Lee (winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award for illustrating!). It is a playful and bighearted intergenerational tale that bursts right out of the gates with color, shape, and movement.

Read the rest of this entry �