7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #49: Featuring Sylvie Kantorovitz

h1 February 10th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: These bedfellows here aren’t as strange as they seem. If you have read this year’s Cybils-
shortlisted
Go to Bed, Monster! by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz (Harcourt, 2007), then you know that is Lucy, who couldn’t sleep, and her late-night creation with an “oval body. A square head. Rectangle legs. And circle eyes. When she added triangles, the shape turned into a . . . MONSTER!” Move over, Harold. When her monster roars at her, the intrepid Lucy says, without missing a beat, “You don’t scare me . . . Let’s play!” And play they do until Lucy herself starts to get worn out and tries everything in the book to get him to sleep already, Wing cleverly turning the tables on the child/caregiver relationship and bed-time struggles. I reviewed this title back in November of last year. It’s a winner, I tell ya. And it’ll be up to the judges in the category of Fiction Picture Books to decide if they think it’s a Cybils winner this year (award winners are announced this week, so keep your eye on the Cybils site).

Many thanks to Sylvie Kantorovitz for stopping by this week to share some of her illustrations from this book with us. These were rendered in oil paints and oil pastels, yet look a like like Lucy’s crayon, do they not? I love it. If you’re a fan of the book, Natasha Wing, the author, was recently interviewed over at Just One More Book!! Sylvie also tells us that she and Natasha are currently working on the book’s sequel, Go to School, Monster!, and having fun doing so. The release date has not been announced, but I’m sure if you keep your eye on Sylvie’s site as well as Natasha’s new blog, you’ll be kept in-the-know.

When you visit Sylvie’s site, you’ll see that you have the option of clicking on “children’s books” or “paintings and drawings.” Below is an illustration from the latter category (which includes a series of paintings from nature, the “unconscious,” and a series of figures), showing a much different side of Sylvie. I am particularly fond of this oil painting, called simply “cello.”

Many thanks again to Sylvie . . .

As a reminder, 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 (as well as featuring wonderful artists like Sylvie). We hope you’ll share your kick-worthy moments from the week.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* This week’s illustrations. Love that monster.

2* It’s embarrassing to admit this, but I finally got my books in order, for the first time since the move.

Mama Makes Up Her Mind3* I rediscovered Bailey White. While organizing my fiction, I ran across Mama Makes Up Her Mind and decided to reread it. Sublime. That woman makes me proud to be southern. Now, why hasn’t she put out any books in, like, 10 years?

4* This is going to sound weird as a kick, but… remember that day-long-job-interview-with-presentation I had a few weeks ago? I had been thinking very, very hard about it ever since, and had decided that I really didn’t want the job. For many reasons that are too complicated to go into here, it just didn’t feel like the best fit for me. I was dreading what I was going to do if they offered it to me, though, because I knew I really shouldn’t take it but I was afraid an actual job offer might sway me back the other direction. However, I found out this week that they went with one of the other candidates. *Whew*

5* Almost everyone I work with has been dreadfully sick lately, but so far I haven’t caught it.

Good Omens6* All the fuss over the primaries makes me realize that there are only a few months left in the current president’s administration. Can I get an “Amen”?

7* I’ve also been rereading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and reading it out loud to my husband. I knew he’d get as much of a kick out of it as I do. I wonder why there isn’t an audio version of it out yet? It’s a lot of fun to read aloud.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

Eisha, I remember reading that Bailey White book forever ago. Whoa.

An illustration from Grimm's Fairy Stories by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by John B. Gruelle and R. Emmett Ownen; image in the public domain1). A friend of mine, who has brain cancer, went to Memphis to have an MRI, and the doctor called and told her it was all clear. LET ME HEAR IT NOW: WAHOO!!!!!!! And again? WAHOO!!!!!!!

2). I say this at the risk of sounding like an ingrate of a house-bound stay-at-home suburban soccer mom with a gin-and-tonic in hand or something, but I had a hard week as a mother. Nothing unusual. Just kids bein’ kids. My girls are very close in age, so I play referee a lot. But I felt like a particularly awful mother at times, called out to the god “Calgon” quite a bit, and turned to this again in desperation, which I had shelved and hoped I wouldn’t need (that shows you what I know). My husband was extra understanding and even gave me a random surprise to try to cheer me up. Best of all, he told me I was a wonderful mother, which is what you really need to hear when you are about to pull your hair out with the eight kerjillionth whine of the day.

3). But it wasn’t all hard. We finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and read Grimms’ Snow-White and Rose-Red (pictured here and not at all the same story as Snow White). And my oldest keeps making up more unforgettable poems (or “poms” if you’re her).

4). Okay, still on the children: We went to a pirate birthday party today for one of our little four-year-old friends, who has a filthy cool tire swing in one wicked cool, humongous tree in his yard. And for my oldest’s upcoming birthday party, she decided she wants it to be a dinosaur party. I’m sorry if I sound like a snob, but I’m really glad she doesn’t want to have a party like this. (Should I add “yet”?)

5). A friend of my brother’s for whom I’d do just about anything invited me to join Facebook. God help me. I did. It’s addictive, and I’ve found some old friends and chatted with them, and many kidlitosphere bloggers are on there.

6). Eisha and I have a co-review lined up for Monday. We haven’t co-reviewed in a while, and it was fun.

7). Finally reading a copy of Jazz on a Saturday Night by Leo & Diane Dillon; Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleischman and Julie Paschkis; and Legend of the Chinese Dragon by Marie Sellier, Catherine Louis, and Wang Fei. These are three books that, as a picture book lover, made me very happy. Wow, wow, and wow. Especially to the art work.

By the way, can any WordPress users tell me how to right-align an image? I’ve got my self-proclaimed computer geek of a husband working on this, but maybe there’s some easy answer I’m missing. It makes me crazy to not right-align some of these images, and I’ve been wanting to learn for a while now. The second Kantorovitz image up there really wants to be on the right and tells me the whole post would look much better that way. Anyone?

And what are your kicks this week?

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24 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #49: Featuring Sylvie Kantorovitz”

  1. Happy Sunday, All!

    Eisha, I’m glad the library job thing worked out for you in the end. The right one will come along, and it’ll be worth the wait! And thanks for mentioning the Bailey White book. I’ve yet to read it, and really want to now. (Love Southern writers!) Jules, sorry to hear about your pull-out-the-hair week. Your husband was so sweet to reassure you. Sending you some special virtual Calgon, guaranteed to give you picture book hallucinations.

    My kicks:

    1. Reading I Heart You, You Haunt Me, by Lisa Schroeder. Definitely love verse novels. (Don’t you think Sara should write one?)

    2. Receiving some positive feedback on one of my submissions. Keep your fingers crossed!

    3. My husband and I celebrated an early Valentine’s Day last night at one of our favorite restaurants. Their homemade iron skillet chocolate pie is to die for (will post recipe this week)!

    4. Five deer hung around our yard all day yesterday, just lying down and resting or nosing around for acorns.

    5. A flock of robins touched down, on their way back from their sunny vacation down south. Spring can’t be too far away.

    6. Reading and studying all kinds of fascinating stuff about chocolate. I think I should become a chocolatier.

    7. Sylvie’s images this week. So cool how she made oil paint look like crayon!


  2. Note to self: Make sure to check the short lists of the CYBILS and add to book order. Eisha, a hearty AMEN from me regarding the cureent administration. I remember when I didn’t get a middles school library job and was so relieved, so I understand your kick about not getting the job.
    And Wahoo, Jules for your friend. Love the dinosaur party theme.
    My kicks:
    1. Being able to help my daughter out on Monday. I got to babysit for her when she developed a migraine. (she hasn’t had one in years).
    2. The wood stove pizza place by our house offers Gluten free pizza crust! Yippee.
    3. Naps, I love naps.
    4. My principal. She understood my need to work on the national boards on an early release day.
    5. Chuck and I watched all three Bourne movies over the last two weeks…never had seen them. Thank you Netflix.
    6, Started Eat, Love, Pray for book club.
    7. The 10 minute massage by a parent who comes weekly to do massages and donates 30% back to the school.
    Have a great week.


  3. Good Morning, all. Jules, great news about your friend. I keep thinking about Robert’s Snow and how much cancer touches every one of us. Eisha, I read Good Omens this summer and loved it. I hope Gaiman and Pratchett complete another book together.

    Here are my kicks for the week.
    1. I had lunch with a friend who gave me a copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict as a congratulations for getting through our review. Between this and all the Masterpiece shows, I’m in heaven.

    2. I bought a new journal this week from the Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company), whose motto is “We’re number one at number two.”

    3. Laughing in the aisle of a local store while picking out Valentine’s day cards for the men in my life. Sentimental I am not.

    4. Spending a wonderful Saturday morning poking around the shops in Carytown while William attended art school.

    5. The hour-long conversation with my brother, punctuated by lots of laughter.

    6. The new recipe I tried for cranberry-orange scones. They were amazing. Next up, blueberry oatmeal cookies. Yum!

    7. The anticipation of the Cybils. I can’t wait!

    Have a wonderful week, everyone.


  4. Hi, everyone. Thanks for stopping by. It’s unusually quiet this morning.

    Jama, yes, if Sara wrote a free verse novel, I’d drop everything and read it. Good luck with your submission, and I LOVE seeing deer!

    Jone, massage and naps. Sounds like my kind of dream week.

    Tricia, I love me some scones. I made some myself once, actually, and they weren’t too bad, if I may say so myself. I might have to try cranberry-orange. How is William enjoying art school?


  5. P.S. Kimberly at lectitans contributed her own list here.


  6. Like an idiot, I didn’t fill in my personal info before I hit “submit comment.” That’s definitely not a kick, except a kick in the pants. Anyway…
    Hurrah for your friend, Jules! That’s good news indeed. And I’m glad for you, Eisha, that you decided not to take the job before they offered it to someone else. Now, ;et me see if I can remember my kicks:

    1) Four public gigs scheduled for the next few months.
    2) My dancing rainbow silks went over well at the birthday party where I performed yesterday.
    3) Obama!
    4) I finally got to read Ellen Emerson White’s Long May She Reign.
    5) Bulbs are poking up through the ground more and more every day.
    6) The video on this website: http://smekday.com/
    7) Homemade meat pies.


  7. Jama, that is seriously cool about the deer. Did you take pics? And how awesome would it be to be a chocolatier?

    Joan, here’s an AMEN from me for naps! I just had a particularly good one.

    Tricia – okay, I just had to check out the elephant poo paper website. That is amazing. Kinda gross, but amazing.

    Akelda, that video is the height of hilarity. And “meat pies” reminds me that I need to see Sweeney Todd…


  8. Wow, Jules, your number one item is great news! It’s good to hear the stories where cancer doesn’t win.

    Eisha, I’ve been there with that job decision too (and it’s amazing how agonising it is deciding before we’re even offered a position!) so I’m glad it worked out OK. Amen to item number six.

    Jama, I’m firmly in favour of you becoming a chocaltier and selflessly volunteer to be a taste tester for you.

    Jone we’re on a netflix type of system and we’re loving it too! It’s so nice to catch up on things we’ve always meant to watch!

    Tricia, I actually started drooling when I read cranberry-orange scone. Yum!

    Akelda, thanks for the cool link!

    My very homely list:

    1. I made myself go out of my way to try on yet more shoes in London (this has been a long quest), and found black work shoes! Because I have strange sized feet and want good shoes I can walk everywhere in this is not an easy feat!
    2. And, more embarrassingly, I actually bothered to get out of my layers of clothes and try and buy on new underwear this weekend
    3. There have been beautiful clear days this week and I’ve been happily soaking up the sun
    4. The crocuses are coming out in my pots and they look beautiful! Sorry for judging you as boring skinny little flowers when grown in pots, crocuses!
    5. I made a batch of chocolate brownies this afternoon
    6. And there’s an eggplant, tomato potato concoction in the oven now
    7. I’ve made sure I’ve had time for reading books as well as websites recently, which has been great


  9. Eisha — Amen on the job.
    Jules — Wahoo on the friend.
    To all the rest of you, an iron skillet chocolate pie!!! (OMG does that sound good, or what???)

    I feel like my kicks this week are mostly just about surviving the tough stuff:

    1. Daughter’s pinkeye appears to be under control.

    2. We survived (with a lot of giggling) our slumber party for 7 year olds. Nobody went home bleeding or crying.

    3. The girls’ Valentine’s projects are in progress. (The thing is, they can get a little… um… ambitious with their creative endeavours and suddenly there are 14 still to make and… you get the idea…)

    4. The weather was ripe for a good run today.

    5. My husband and I negotiated a remodeling arguement relatively well. Sort of like the slumber party — nobody crying or bleeding.

    6. Girl Scout cookies and LaCroix fizzy water.

    7. The blogger crown sonnet is more than half done and it is delectable!!!!!


  10. AMEN, Eisha.

    And WAHOO, Jules, indeed.

    I love Go to Bed, Monster, so this week’s illustrations are extra-fun.

    Jama, Robins, really? Robins? Have I mentioned that it’s snowing like crazy here today? And there’s more wind? I love the wind, but it is endless this year and making quite a mess of everything in WNY.

    Alkelda, That video is The Best Thing Ever.

    Now for me:

    1. I got my taxes done, and I’M GETTING A REFUND!!!
    2. I also saw my retirement money guy this week, and someday I’M GOING TO BE ABLE TO RETIRE!!!
    3. Seriously, between 1 and 2, I’m feeling in control of my finances. This has taken a few years of work.
    4. We had a meeting of the Library Club on Tuesday night, and I swear those kids are The Best. They are just smart and funny and energetic, and I am so glad I started that program.
    5. I also started some serious work on a project at the library that really needs to be done that I’ve really been putting off. That always feels good, like cleaning out a closet or something.
    6. My BFF and I went for Lobster Bisque at the Leaf and Bean Friday night. Mmmmm. Mmmmm.
    7. I won the January monthly chocolate contest over at Robin’s blog, and the chocolate turned out to be these amazing brownies that were even better than the brownies I make myself, which is saying something.
    7.5. I followed up the brownies by getting a quart of this chocolate milk I’ve been hearing people rave about from a local farm, the Pittsford Dairy, and ohmygoshitisreallyreallyreallygood.


  11. Yay for chocolate! Emmaco, I think part of a chocolatier’s job IS to taste, but if I ever need an assistant, you’re the one! Send me some of your brownies, anyway.

    Adrienne, free brownies? I MUST visit Robin Brande more regularly. Speaking of robins, yes, there was a whole big flock. We tend to see them in February here in Virginia (lucky).

    I did take some pics of the deer, Eisha. Will try to post them sometime.

    I second the Obama!, Alkelda :).

    Tricia is always baking/cooking something delicious. Adopt me, please.


  12. Jules, I’m really happy to hear about your friend. I’m hoping I’ll hear some good news about my friend with stomach cancer some time.

    I avoided the problem of having to deal with my children’s sibling rivalry–I have an only child!

    Eisha, you’re sure to find a job that suits you perfectly!

    Let’s see about my kicks…

    1. I’m turning the clock back to Superbowl Sunday. I didn’t have time to write my kicks last Sunday. So the Patriots lost. No big deal! We had some good friends over for dinner and to watch the game. My husband made his fabulous homemade pizza, eggplant lasagna, and meatballs. I made a salad with mixed greens, blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and sliced pears–and two decadent desserts. YUMMY!!! I won the pot and had a great time with my friends. We laughed all night. My daughter joined us around halftime and enjoyed listening to the sixty somethings’ wisecracks and funny comments. She was amused by her elders.

    2. What seemed to be another computer disaster for me–was not. Although it seemed my computer had died again, when my husband removed the cord to the printer–he was able to reboot the computer and it came back to life!

    3. My husband and I are taking our daughter out to her/our favoirte restaurant tonight for her twenty-eighth birthday, which actually falls on the 12th–but my husband will be away on business this week. The restaurant is in Salem, Massachusetts, in an old building where Alexander Graham Bell made one of his historic telephone calls.

    4. For the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of pain in my left shoulder and down my arm–and pins and needles in my hand. It’s been difficult to sit at the computer and write, to drive, and to sleep. I thought I might have a pinched nerve or a rotator cuff injury. I finally went to see the doctor on Friday. She thinks it’s a muscle spasm. The pain medication seems to be helping–and I have to see a physical therapist. I’m just glad it’s nothing major.

    5. The other day, I brought home a bunch of great children’s books–including Priscilla and the Hollyhocks and Dizzy.

    That’s all I can think of for now! I hope I’ll have 7 kicks next week!


  13. Hey, there. I checking in late because I was in NY all weekend, which is my big kick. I got to meet my agent for the first time—and like her even more now. And I came home with two signed David Wiesner books, speeches by Susan Patron and Richard Peck ringing in my head, new friends, sore feet, and lots and lots of inspiration! Oh, and when my son picked me up at the Metro station, he said: Mom, you look pretty. Good boy, that one. 🙂


  14. emmaco, congrats on the successful perfect shoe hunt. and i love anything involving eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes.

    liz, as someone who has suffered through many remodeling/decorating/furniture-buying “discussions” with my husband that resulted in plenty of crying and bleeding, I congratulate you.

    adrienne, you’ve already done your taxes? And one day you get to retire? You are totally my hero.

    Elaine, so glad your shoulder pain isn’t anything serious. And I’m the last person in the world to care about football, but even I thought the superbowl was pretty dramatic this year. I don’t have a favorite team or anything, but I always love it when underdogs win.

    Sara, welcome home, and I’m glad you had such a lovely time.


  15. This is my first time leaving kicks…

    jules, i’m so very glad for your friend. that is truly gratifying news.

    and i’d also like to commiserate with many regarding caring for stir-crazy kids!

    1) Finished an online pharmaceutical class (10 minutes ago) that was way more work than it was supposed to be. Hooray for being done AND only 12 more weeks of med school. absolutely crazy that it’s almost done!!

    2) my three year old has discovered the Frances books and walks around shouting ‘here we go marching, rattley- bang!’ i think they’re helping him work through new sibling issues. (and, maybe, hopefully, picky-food-ness?!?)

    3) the baby boy is working on rolling over, which is hilarious to watch.

    4) i also say OBAMA!!!!

    5) was able to make a difference for a new-mom-friend with a two-week-old; did some grocery shopping, did some laundry, held her hand and told her it would get better and better.

    enjoy your weeks and thanks for creating such a fun community.


  16. Alkelda, blast it all, I can’t watch that video. Gotta download QuickTime, I guess. And re those dancing rainbow silks, was that with the three-year olds? I’m still in awe of anyone who can keep three-year-olds quiet and attending for over 30 minutes.

    Emmaco, I laughed out loud at your actual drooling when you read about those scones. Reading about Tricia’s scones inspired me to try to make some today, but I never made it. But I plan to tomorrow: Chocolate chip ones. Mmm. Scones. (And even though I didn’t get those scones made, I did make more of that creamy tomato soup, which was all inspired by Jama. You guys keep me fed well).

    Emmaco, speaking of your eggplant and tomato and potato concoction (YUM), my youngest daughter’s middle name is “Elisabeth.” And if I tell her any more that her name is really “Ada Potato,” which in itself is fun to say, she’ll say, “no! My name is Ada Elibabababeth.” Lots of laughing ensues. Do I sound cruel? Maybe so, ’cause I keep doing it. It’s OBSCENELY CUTE that she can’t say “Elisabeth” correctly right now. She’s always just generally obscenely cute. I’m going to eat her up.

    And, Emmaco, I’m glad you made time for blog-reading (which is what I assume you meant). I haven’t been this week. Ergh. I’m behind on my favorite blogs . . .

    . . . which would be why I do NOT know a thing about this blogger crown sonnet Liz speaks of. Is this different from the earlier sonnet-writting amongst many blogs? I must find out. Liz, glad the pinkeye’s gone and that you generally survived what sounded like not the best week ever.

    Adrienne, congrats on that refund. And mmmm to those brownies.

    Elaine, that salad sounds great. I actually get compliments from my family on my salad-creating skills. I’m not boasting. Well, I guess I am, ’cause I’m generally a disastrous cook and baker, so to get complimented on something culinary does, indeed, make me want to boast. Your salad sounds yummy. I’m sorry about the muscle spasms, but I’m glad the meds are helping. And I LOVE those books you mentioned — Priscilla and Dizzy.

    Sara, so glad you met your agent and liked her even more in person. And isn’t Richard Peck a great speaker? I got to interpret for him once.

    Eisha, I also laughed out loud at the mental imagery of you and B. fighting and drawing blood over the remodelling decisions. I can only imagine.

    Hi, Lauren. Boy, do I love it when new people visit, and I hope you come back. I love that you jumped right in. Anyway, I particularly love your kicks, ’cause first of all, #5 is AWESOME and so very very cool of you to have done (’cause it’s so necessary — early motherhood is like boot camp!). Also, my daughters are discovering Frances right now, too. They are fascinated. Great books. Congrats on your class being done. Twelve more weeks of med school and you’re totally done, as in a bonafide doc??


  17. Jules…

    Look back at this post from November (about half way down the post). It explains the Crown Sonnet we’re in the midst of… It’ll go public soon!!!


  18. Jules, who even needs to read beyond your #1? That’s fantastic! The best news ever for everyone who’s involved, I’m sure. YAY!


  19. Jules, you do seem to have an awful lot of evidence to support your assertion about your incredibly cute daughters 🙂

    I’ve been trying to make sure I have plenty of time for reading novels and fun non-fiction this year, so the blog reading is lower (but still around!).


  20. Ohh, i love, love, love these illustrations! Beautiful. 🙂 Go To Bed Monster is one of my favorite picture books. it’s so neat to see the art here–and also to see another side to Sylvie’s art.

    a few of my ‘kicks’:

    1) i don’t have to move as soon as I thought i do–so i have a bit more breathing room. Yay!

    2) My dog. Again. She’s just the sweetest, most loving little creature i know. I love how she leans on me all day.

    3) I’m re-reading my favorite Tamora Pierce books and enjoying it. My very favorite is the first in the Immortal Series, Wild Magic, with Daine who can talk mind-to-mind with animals. My next closest favorite is Alana: the First Adventure, and that’s the book I’m in now. It’s such a warming, comfy feeling to be in a favorite book, a book you love, and have it still be just as good as you remember it.

    4) My best friend called me tonight, and we had a lovely chat. I love connecting with people I care about.


  21. eisha: Organization rocks. I am glad that your careful deliberations have led to a solid, personal conclusion. Good Omens was okay in my book, but not stellar – I like Gaiman more than Prachett, and that book felt very Prachett. OOH – For a great double-team collaborative amazing series, I recommend The Menagerie by Golden & Sniegoski. Great cast of characters – literary, historical, mythological – I love the depiction of Eve especially – and the writing is seamless – can’t tell which author wrote what. Unless it’s about dogs — then it’s probably Tommy’s work. 😉

    Jules: WAHOO!!!!!!! WAHOO!!!!!!! Hugs to your family and more WAHOO!!!!!! for your friend! Oh, I love that you read them SW&RR. YAY! I read that many times as a kid – a lovely illustrated paperback edition. Jazz just came in the store today and I plan to read it tomorrow-ish.

    My kicks:

    New website client who rocks!
    http://www.robinpalmeronline.com

    Dancing around my room

    Seeing people I know on stage in a comedy

    Planning for visits here

    Planning for visits there

    Feeling appreciated

    Looking around and catching myself smile


  22. Thanks, Liz and Robin and Emmaco.

    Cheryl, WOOT for not having to rush on your move. Big sigh ‘o’ relief, huh?

    LW, your kicks could almost be a poem. Nice-looking web site, as usual.


  23. Gracias, Jules!


  24. […] Kantorovitz, featured on February 10, 2008, sharing with us an illustration from last year’s Go to Bed, Monster! by Natasha Wing […]


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