7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #41: Featuring Janet Morgan Stoeke, Minerva Louise, J. Patrick Lewis, and National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day

h1 December 16th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: This image is just for Eisha this week! She loves loves loves Ms. Minerva Louise. And then I reviewed the wonderful Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve (here) at the beginning of this month and thought, hey, maybe Janet Morgan Stoeke would be willing to share some Minerva Louise art work with us. Lucky for us, she was.

Somewhere, from far away in Ithaca, New York, I can hear Eisha squealing right now.

Janet also sent us a sneak peek at her next book — the cover, that is, pictured here. She says it will be published in June 2008 by Dutton Books and that “there are ‘real’ books sprinkled throughout – like a treasure hunt, at least for the teachers and librarians.” Janet also shared with us a bit about her art:

“I create my illustrations using layers. I make the top layer first, which is my best trick. I draw the black line, using Prismacolor black (a kind of colored pencil.) It’s got a wonderful crayon-like texture, and I get to hang on to that by separating it onto its own layer. It’s drawn onto rough heavyweight vellum, allowing me to easily trace and retrace the lines as I revise and edit. For the base art, I use a watercolor paper that doesn’t buckle or shrink (Aquarius II by Strathmore.) I trace the line onto it using a light table, so that the registration will be perfect. Then I lay in the gouache with several sizes of round brushes.

The printer shoots each layer, surprinting the black line over the color. This way the line remains fresh and fluid, and the color nearly always is held by the contour line. I say nearly, because every once in a while the color drifts or slurs past the line, which keeps it humble and home-made looking. (Tried computer color work, and it looked sterile to me.) Sometimes I will paint a watercolor sky that will take up its own third layer, and often there’s a layer for lines that reverse to white out of one of the colors (snowflakes or fireworks, for instance.) It’s a fun and free technique that I came up with after 8 years of production work at a magazine.”

Thanks so much to Janet for stopping by 7-Imp today and sharing. She has come to a place where there is much Minerva love, and we look forward to her upcoming title, too.

* * *

By way of explanation for any new folks (who we hope will leave their lists), our weekly 7 Kicks list is the meeting ground for listing Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week (whether book-related or not) that happened to you.

*******eisha’s kicks*******

1* MINERVA LOUISE!!! SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

2* Our second article for the Poetry Foundation website is up! Go see!

3* Haven Kimmel’s new children’s book is coming out in February! Thanks to Little Willow for giving us the heads-up. Jules has already asked for review copies, so hopefully we’ll get a co-review out sometime after the Cybils madness.

4* I got lots and lots of great-sounding Fantasy recommendations from our kind, thoughtful readers on Friday. Thank you!

5* New musical obsession: The Go! Team. I kept hearing “Grip Like a Vice” on the radio and loved it, and then I heard “Doing It Right” which pretty much sealed the deal. You can listen to both songs on their MySpace page, and you can watch the video for “Doing It Right” below. Go ahead, take a little dance break. Kick it old skool. We’ll wait here…

6* I just took a little dance break myself. Whew! How awesome is that song? They really know how to rock a glockenspiel.

7* This time next week I’ll be in Tennessee, hanging out with my baby nephew (not to mention my mom, sister, brother, sister-in-law, sister’s best friend and her new baby, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, dogs, etc.).

Happy Chocolate-Covered Anything Day, everybody {see below}!

*******Jules’ kicks*******

Eisha, what a great song! And I’d say that video is probably a fair representation of what the world looks like through Joey Pigza’s eyes.

I’m going to relinquish my kicks this week to do something different (except I will share two Quik Kicks):

  1. My three-year-old daughter’s been walking around all week, singing “She’s got the money and I’ve got the honey.” Heh. It’s very funny to hear. It’s from “Rich Woman,” an old blues song written circa 1955 by Dorothy LaBostrie and Mckinley Millet, covered on the new Robert Plant and Alison Krauss CD, which I can’t. stop. listening. to.
  2. This story I saw on the local news and found at this link. Why? It’s pretty kickin’ what that modern-day fast-food drive-thru Zen master did, and then there’s the element of FREE COFFEE in the story, too.
  3. Wait, one more! Speaking of my three-year-old, she said something today that made me laugh so hard and made me so happy that I wrote it down and can, therefore, share it with you all. I try to read lots ‘o’ poetry to her, and — needless to say, probably — we read lots of books together. So, she’s started making up nonsense poems with very sing-songy rhythms (the rhythm of a lot of children’s poetry — not all, but a lot). And she’s started making up nonsense words (and did you know that “attagirl!” means “great job with dinner, Mommy!” in Spanish?). Anyway, so today, as my husband was pretending to be a bear and chasing her and her sister around the house, she ran up to me, all out-of-breath, and said:

    “We’re trying to get away from the fogularly, fesky bear that lives in that busky ‘ol cave.”

    O MY GOD I LOVE IT.

Okay, here’s what I’m doing this week instead of Seven Kicks: Children’s poet and author J. Patrick Lewis has stopped by for a visit, and I’m going to use my kicks space to share two of his poems. Why today? Because today is National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day, a day certainly worth celebrating in our book, and he’s written a poem, “Chocolate-Covered Ants” (here on the left), to celebrate it. And also because Mr. Lewis (who I believe goes by Pat) also has written an original anthology of poetry for this Christmas season, entitled Under the Kissletoe: Christmastime Poems (Wordsong; September 2007), illustrated by Rob Shepperson. And my girls and I really enjoyed our library copy of this book. Unfortunately, I could not hold on to it long, as it was on hold at the library, in great demand and all that. But, fortunately for us all, Pat gave me permission to share my favorite poem from the book. You can read the Horn Book’s review of this anthology here (“each poem is a study in expressing content through form”). Consider this part of my round-up of ’07 holiday titles. It’s an enjoyable read. Thanks to Pat for sharing both poems with us. Here’s the Christmas poem then, “One Winter Night,” and happy holidays to all (and don’t forget to tell us if you had a kicky week).

(I know the poem’s text is huge, but I had to make an image out of it to get it to format correctly — and the spacing and formatting of this poem is important, obviously. And then, well, blahblahblah, I just ended up having to make it huge for it to space correctly in the post and look right. But I kinda love it — making a poem so big like that, like it’s a piece of visual art itself. Which in this poem’s case, it is anyway! Enjoy).

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28 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #41: Featuring Janet Morgan Stoeke, Minerva Louise, J. Patrick Lewis, and National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day”

  1. Well, I’m happy that Eisha got her squeal of the week with a picture of Minerva Louise. I nearly squealed with joy yesterday when I opened a package that came for me in the mail. Inside the envelope, I found a small pencil sketch of a girl and a rabbit from artist Annie Patterson. It was the original sketch for the snowflake she made for Robert’s Snow 2007, which I won in the third auction! Wasn’t that so thoughtful of her? I just loved Annie’s snowflake from the moment I set eyes on it in the gallery in October. It was one that I was determined to win.

    Thanks for the poems by J. Patrick Lewis! I have “Under the Kissletoe” and was hoping to have written a review of it and several other Christmas by now–but this time of year sure gets hectic–especially 2007 with Robert’s Snow!

    Jules, I used to love some of my daughter’s words. Sceletope and dead-down road are two that I remember. I wish I had kept a journal.

    We are in the midst of our second big storm in four days here in Massachusetts. I’m just hoping we get all snow and no ice.

    Eisha, I hope you have a great holiday with your family–you, too, Jules!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. Elaine, those are some great words, esp. “dead-down road.” Congrats on your beautiful drawing. That’s so nice.

    Enjoy the snow!


  3. What fabulous stuff here today — Minerva Louise and chocolate covered ants and made up words (puddin’ poetry) and all that dancin’! I can’t stop squealing!! Jules, I love that you have a fesky bear in your house! Eisha, pick me up on your way on down to Tennessee.

    Holiday Kickiness:

    1. Finally finished decorating our tree. Love taking out all the ornaments and remembering what makes each one special.

    2. Whipped up a batch of Sara Holmes’ Oatmeal Coconut Crisps. Dem’s mighty fine cookies! Gonna lock them up tight.

    3. Won a copy of PIPER REED, NAVY BRAT, right here! (more squealing)

    4. Also won a Daniel Mahoney picture book from Kris Bordessa at Paradise Found (Robert’s Snow giveaway).

    5. AND a Shawna Tenney book from Kate Messner’s blog (Robert’s Snow, too)!

    6. Cynthia Lord won a PADDINGTON pb on my blog, and posted a beautiful, touching post about how much Paddington has meant to her daughter, and how tickled she was to receive the signed copy: http://cynthialord.livejournal.com/376736.html.

    7. My writing group had a little holiday luncheon the other day. We exchanged little gifts and celebrated one member’s 2nd picture book sale!

    Warmest holiday wishes to everyone, and have a great week!

    P.S. For my 19th birthday, I was made to eat chocolate covered ants, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. The ants were a breeze, but the grasshopper legs got stuck in my teeth.


  4. Jama, I love doing number one, too. I’d never be one of those hang-themed-ornaments on my tree kind of gal (such as, say, all Victorian ornaments or something). I like remembering the story behind each ornament.

    And, for serious, you ate a caterpillar? You’re a brave woman.

    Thanks for visiting. I had a feeling today would be quieter than normal, since we’re getting so close to the holidays.


  5. Yes, I did eat a caterpillar! I took a tiny bite and saw a little head with beady eyes looking up at me from the piece left in my hand.


  6. That coffee zen story is great, Jules. I’m telling it to everyone I talk to! I’m glad to hear you and Jama are story-telling decorators too, I was shocked as a teenager when I learnt some people decorated their trees according to a different fashion each year.

    Enjoy seeing your nephew, Eisha!

    And I won’t be around for next week, so Happy Christmas to those who celebrate it!

    1. We had a work Christmas do during the week that was a lot of fun. A Scottish guy taught us a tradition he’d grown up with that says if you hold a ginger nut biscuit in a cupped hand and hit it with your elbow and it breaks into three pieces, you’ll have good luck. And I discovered that I rock at this tradition so have now adopted it as my own. I may change it to chocolate biscuits though as I’m not a huge ginger nut fan :)

    2. We had a beautiful frost-filled day during the week

    3. I bought some great books for my cousin’s children for Christmas. I’ve been buying the 11 year old books since she was born and have had encouraging results in that she gets in trouble for running late in the mornings due to reading in bed and also for reading too much at school. Score!

    4. Went out for dinner and then dancing with people from work Friday night. It was great fun – even though I’m not a coordinated person I have fun dancing and don’t get to do it a lot. Admittedly, we did have a mad DJ who would randomly change songs when he got bored but hey, it was a good night anyway.

    5. I bought a small white and blue swirly ceramic/pottery vase from a local vendor at a Christmas fair (or Fayre as they often seem to be called!)

    6. I slept in both days this weekend

    7. Today was cookie making day! Piles of cookies were made for our work mates. The house smells very nice indeed.


  7. What nice kicks this week.

    I have 3 really good kicks:

    1. Semester.Is.Over.
    2. Joshua Henkin’s “Matrimony” (on the TBR since October) was so, so good.
    3. Going to CA on Weds. Out of the snow :)


  8. Jama, I simply would not survive that.

    Emmaco, now that is a tradition I’ve never heard of — the Scottish one, that is. We also made cookies last night, and my girls were so excited about icing and sprinkling cookies, right? Well, my two-year-old KEPT EATING all the sprinkles, and I kept trying to stop her. Sure enough, at 1:30 a.m., she threw up. I was worried she was sick and took her temperature. I told my husband, who cleaned it all up while I cleaned her up, there’s no fever. Why would she vomit? And he said, well, it was very pink and had lots of sprinkles in it.

    The only good thing about it is that it’s proof to both of my girls about what I’m always telling them — that too much sugar can make you sick. But, poor little thing.

    And yay for dancing, Emma. I haven’t done that in so long.

    Kelly, congrats on the end of a semester!

    Emma, happy holidays to you, too. Kelly, have a safe trip.


  9. Good Day, all. I am a big fan of Minera Louise. Yay!! Love the illustrations this week. Eisha, love the group, thanks for sharing. I have someone musical to share in my kicks. Jules, write those words down! Love it…Elaine, I interviewed Annie Patterson for the Bloggin’ for a Cure. What a gracious person. Kelly, enjoy California.
    My kicks:
    1. A gift certificate to stay at the Hotel Monaco in Portland. The person could not use it. A dog-friendly and wonderful place. Used it last night as a get away with Chuck and our two four legged children. They are sending a sales packet to me as a possible site for the blogging conference next September.
    2. The Aaron Meyer Holiday concert. Hear him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyLnmDvP5_A
    3. Sleeping in until 8 AM. Unheard of for me.
    4. Dessert before dinner last night. A dark chocolate truffle from Leonidas (imported Belgium chocolate).
    5. The lights in DT Portland.
    6. Subbing in a kindergarten class Thursday PM. Overheard: “Are Santa and God friends?”
    7. Baking biscotti and making fudge today.
    Have a fabulous week all.


  10. Jone, you’re making fudge today? I’ll be there by five.

    What good kicks you had this week. I’ll go watch the video. Hope the boards are going well.


  11. This is what I get for checking in later than usual: I have been wasting–WASTING!–my entire day not realizing that it was National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day.

    I love Minerva Louise. She’s so silly.

    Kicks:
    1. The picture Jules daughter made me for my birthday. It is Rabbit and Piglet partying with a rock. She went for mixed media–marker and crayon on yellow construction paper, and I got it in the MAIL. :) What fun!
    2. Another of my birthday gifts was a boxed set of 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later.
    3. And I bought myself a brand-new car, a 2008 Honda Civic. The last time I bought myself a new car, it was 1994, and this is only the fourth car I’ve ever owned. Kind of a big deal. It makes me nervous, but it’s also cool.
    4. My BFF and my father-in-law and my dad and a friend from work really, really helped me through the whole realizing my old car was hopeless/getting a new car thing. I swear, I don’t know what I’d do without these people.
    5. Ice cream cake, a couple times.
    6. Christmas party at a friend’s house last night.
    7. Snowstorm today, excellent excuse to stay IN.

    Are you getting the snow in Ithaca, Eisha? We’re somewhere between six inches and a foot here, and it’s still snowing.


  12. We are totally getting the snow, adriennne, but closer to the 6-inch mark than a foot. We just drove up to Taughanock Falls to look at it in the snow. Gorgeous. And congrats on the new car!!! I get totally attached to my cars too, so I understand how hard that must have been. I seriously think I love my current car (Phoebe, a Toyota Echo) the way most people love their pets and/or children.

    Elaine, that sketch sounds lovely. What a sweet thing for the artist to do. And I hope you’re enjoying all that snow (not ice!) too.

    Jama, I know you listed kicks, but I can’t get past the chocolate-covered-insects thing. Ew. Was that, like, a dare or something?

    Emmaco, you’re exactly the kind of person I want to be to my nephew – the book-corrupter.

    Kelly, congrats on living through another semester – an extra-tough one this year, too. Have fun in CA.

    Jone – sounds like you celebrated National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day a little early. Good for you. And your student cracks me up.


  13. Oh, I’m later than usual today, but it’s because I have ALL my family cozy around me. My daughter’s home, and my husband’s back, and all is good.

    Jules, LOVE that poem. I’ve read it twice so far, and I’m going to do it again. And your daughter: she’s so amazing. Eisha: yeah for dance breaks…you know I totally believe in them.

    This week, I’m grateful for
    1. Jama featuring me on her blog on Poetry Friday. I love the picture of the door and I want to know where it is! It’s so magical looking.
    2. Making Green Chile Chicken Soup last night.
    3. Meeting Joey Pigza for the first time…what took me so long???
    4. Getting to love on my favorite books over at Little Willow’s blog.
    5. Long walk through the woods.
    6. My toes. Dark chocolate nail polish on your toes is a great mood-lifter. And hey! It IS chocolate-covered Anything Day!
    7. I at least started my Christmas shopping. And the tree now has lights, candy canes, and an angel on it. Maybe we’ll get to the ornaments tonight.


  14. Eisha, not exactly a dare, but the dorm kids pressured me to eat the bugs because 1) they were a gift, and 2) if I didn’t, they threatened to throw me into the quarry pond. So I ate the bugs, and they threw me into the pond anyway. Then they stole all my clothes and sold them at a boutique.
    I was a good sport. My reward: a 4′ tall Raggedy Ann doll and lots of cake.


  15. I love Minerva Louise. She reminds me of our chicken Bossy, who considers me her personal waitress.

    Happy start to the holidays, everyone. I’m a-travellin’ south soon, too.


  16. Ohh, Minerva Louise is so sweet. I’m glad to see her picture. It cheers me up as I’m grappling with this cruel, cruel, cold.

    Tonight, the family is attending our daughter’s Winter Spiral of Light. Here’s a link to some photos of a school that had their spiral of light outside: http://www.tarremah.org/2005spiral.html

    We are going to be inside! And I am thankful for that, because everything feels so chilly right now. Kertyschoo!


  17. Sara, I love it – chocolate-covered toenails. Perfect way to celebrate.

    Jama, honey, I don’t even know what to say, except I’m glad you survived your 18th birthday.

    Hey, Susan, if you’re travelling by car too, maybe I’ll see you at a rest stop or something.

    Ooh, Akelda, that’s just lovely. Glad you’ll be inside though – it’s cold up here!


  18. Adrienne, glad you liked the piece of art, even though she usually does way more elaborate stuff. She kept it simple and uncluttered just for your birthday. Congrats on the car. And ice cream cake. Mmm. I need to eat more ice cream cake during the year and not just on b’days.

    Sara, I said it once and I’ll say it again: Jama’s description of you and the way you see the world was spot-on.

    Susan, travel safely.

    Alkelda, enjoy the Winter Spiral of Light. And sorry to hear about your cold. I rarely get those things, but I’m still fighting one, too, that I’ve had for, like, two weeks. I miss the taste of food. I haven’t even had regular ‘ol coffee every morning in two whole weeks. I miss that, too. I hope you feel better very, very soon.


  19. I think that National Chocolate Covered anything day is good enough for me for all seven kicks. Wow! I had chocolate covered graham crackers earlier in the week, but I ate them all. I do have a couple of others:

    1. Tuesday is National Bake Cookies Day. Clearly, some of you are early. But can you bake cookies too often?
    2. The New England Patriots are still undefeated. I must admit that the top reason this makes me happy is that if it wasn’t true, Mheir would be unhappy. But anyway…
    3. I read two great historical novels this week: Someone Called Eva and Miss Spitfire. Both were excellent.

    And that’s all for tonight. I’m off to watch holiday movies with Mheir. I’ll be with family next Sunday, and probably won’t have time to stop by with any kicks, but I wish everyone a peaceful and joyous December, and a Merry Christmas to those of you who observe it.


  20. I just got back from the Leaf and Bean’s holiday party, and I had chocolate-covered strawberries that I got to cover myself in a chocolate fountain! I felt I should report back, in light of the holiday and everything.


  21. Adrienne, for a moment, I read your comment as “I got to cover myself in a chocolate fountain.” And I thought, “Man, there are worse ways to spend an evening.”:)

    We just got back from the Winter Spiral of Light. It was lovely! The kindergarteners had a teacher help them light their candles and then they had to sit quietly. Sitting quietly was hard, and I saw one of Lucia’s 6 year old friends repeatedly try to shush Lucia. Hah! Good luck.

    I’m off to bed soon. Bede made me a hot toddy with rum. I should have those even when I’m not sick.


  22. Jen, happy holidays and, Adrienne, mmm to those strawberries and going to Leaf and Bean and, Alkelda, enjoy your hot toddy. And get well soon.


  23. Sunday is over, but I’m still awake and thought I’d throw out a few comments anyway. So many people are baking cookies. After finishing 19 different kinds this week, I’m done for a while. My freezer is chock full and the folks at work still got massive plates full of goodies.
    My semester is not over yet, so I won’t be celebrating just yet. Here are a few good things from this week.
    1. The first grade musical at William’s school. It was excruciatingly bad and cute and I cried every time he sang or got up to say a line.
    2. Holiday lunch with my department. We had cookies (mine!), good food and a fun-filled gift exchange.
    3. The crown sonnet has wound its way to me and it is awesome so far.
    4. HipWriterMama’s handmade sock monkey fairy arrived at my house on Saturday. She’s beautiful!
    5. We got our tree Saturday morning and spent the day today decorating. I too love taking out all the ornaments and remembering what’s special about each one.
    That’s all for now. Have a great week all!


  24. Jules, I get where your daughter was coming from – who can resist the lure of the sprinkles? Sorry she had to learn about the cruel reality of ODing on them though!

    Jama, your bug eating story just gets more scary!


  25. Late as always posting. I spent the last 3 days sitting at my computer until I wrote *something* on a new book. Finally squeezed out 6 pages of chapter one, 5th version. As for Xmas, my tree has been for ages, the presents bought and wrapped so long ago, I have trouble believing the holiday hasn’t been here already! Isn’t it January yet?


  26. Hi, Tricia and Candice. Thanks for comin’ and leaving some kicks. Good luck with the rest of the semester, Tricia.


  27. Alkelda, I would have jumped in the fountain, but it was up on this tall counter and I’m kind of short and I couldn’t figure it out. Next year.


  28. [...] It’s Library Day by Janet Morgan Stoeke (Dutton [...]


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