7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #50: Featuring Sophie Blackall

h1 February 17th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: Anyone else remember when illustrator Sophie Blackall was featured by Jennifer at not your mother’s bookclub in October during the Blogging for a Cure/Robert’s Snow effort? And remember how severely kickin’ her snowflake was (“foxtacular elficide,” anyone?)? Well, ever since then we’ve wanted to feature some of her art work here at 7-Imp (and I recently reviewed the beautiful Red Butterfly, which made me want to have her stop by WAY WAY MORE). So, we up and asked, and here she is. WOOT!

She is sharing with us today some illustrations from her forthcoming new title, written by Meg Rosoff (whose Meet Wild Boars she illustrated in 2005) and published by Henry Holt, Jumpy Jack & Googily. I happen to have an ARC of this title — which will be released in April, I believe — and it’s wonderful and makes me laugh out loud in a rather snort-like manner. Pictured above are Jumpy Jack and Googily in the flesh. Jumpy Jack is a rather nervous snail who is terribly afraid of monsters. And, well . . . if you haven’t noticed yet, Googily is a monster himself. The story opens thusly:

“I’m nervous,” said Jumpy Jack to his best friend, Googily. “There could be a monster nearby and I’m scared of monsters.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Googily.

I love it. Jumpy Jack needs Googily to check behind or under or around just about everything they pass — check for monsters, that is. And, since Googily is a very good best friend, he does so. Shoot, if you can’t rely on your best friend to reassure you about monsters — even if he is one — then who can you trust? I’ll leave the rest of this story to unfold for you when the book is released, ’cause it’s much fun. And Sophie’s illustrations (rendered in Chinese ink and watercolors) once again slay me and make me wish ever-so fervently that I had one OUNCE of artistic talent.

So, okay, here they are again. Let’s say goodbye to this unforgettable duo and get to our kicks. Here they are enjoying some afternoon tea (“‘What if there is a monster under the table?’ said Jumpy Jack. ‘What if there is a monster with long thin feet that jumps out from under the table and frightens me so much I nearly faint?’ ‘Ho ho ho,’ said Googily. ‘Now you really have gone too far.'”)

{P.S. Fans of 2005’s Meet Wild Boars may be happy to know that, according to Rosoff’s site, this Fall will bring us Wild Boars Cook from Rosoff and Blackall.}

Many thanks to Sophie for stopping by and sharing her art work with us!

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 Sophie). We hope you’ll share your kick-worthy moments from the week.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

Hoo, boy, what a week. Lots of not-so-good stuff, like finally catching one of the bugs going around at work (Remember last week one of my kicks was NOT getting sick? Hubris. That’s what that was.), and the husband being in tech week for the latest show he’s designed so we couldn’t do anything for Valentine’s Day, and my in-box at work starting to fill up in that scary, teetering, avalanche-prone way… but then there were some seriously hardcore kicks to balance it all out. Such as…

Paul Lisicky1* The Cybil Award winners being announced, and all the happy authors sharing their excitement all over the ‘net. That was lovely.

2* The Nonfiction Picture Book judges did me proud by choosing their winner a day ahead of schedule, in spite of not receiving some of the review copies they were promised and having to hunt down some books on their own. Thanks to the NFPB nominating committee members who were willing to send their Mark Dotycopies along, too.

3* I got an adorable Valentine Card: a wicked-cute pic of Jules’s daughters wearing rhinestone-studded cat-eye sunglasses I got them last spring.

4* I got around to finishing some long-postponed domestic-type stuff, like ironing and hanging curtains.

5* Friday night I went to one of the most amazing literary events I’ve ever attended: Paul Lisicky, Mark Doty and Denis Johnson Denis Johnsonall read from their works at Cornell, and then my poet-neighbors (who invited me to the reading) snuck me into a private reception afterwards, where I got to talk Tennessee childhoods with Mark Doty and stringent religious upbringings with Paul Lisicky, not to mention meeting lots of other cool literature fans. Seriously, it was about as good as it gets.

6* My husband is designing his first official off-Broadway show.

7* And we’ve made plans to go out for a delayed Valentine’s Day date at a New Orleans-style restaurant that purports to have fried green tomatoes. I am so excited about this I can hardly stand it. Expect a full report in next week’s kicks.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

Eisha, glad your week took a turn for the better; so glad you got to hear and chat with Doty & Lisicky & Johnson (which sounds like a law firm but is way better); and I hope you feel better, too.

My week was sort of similar in that, even as late as Friday, I was ready to just start the entire week all over and try again, but then it got better by the time the weekend arrived.

1). My husband got a bonus at his job that is going to help us out tremendously. This is his first real job for a for-profit company, so this seriously good (for us anyway) chunk ‘o’ change is something to which we are not accustomed. He also held an impressive poker face about this news for daaaays, apparently, ’cause he wanted to see my face when I saw the check. (A bonus-from-work automatically takes my mind to the Griswolds and their swimming pool. Anyone else? I just can’t help but go there.)

2). I’m reading an ARC of Meagan BrothersDebbie Harry Sings in French (Henry Holt; to be released in May), and I love it so much I don’t want it to end. Seriously, I’ve been reading it slowly. On purpose. And I had to put it down for days after the PERFECT end of one chapter about mid-way through the book. I just wanted to savor the beautiful ending to this chapter for as long as I could.

3). Valentine’s Day gifts and gift-giving: Ghirardelli chocolate for Valentine’s Day from my husband; a copy of Roman Holiday for him from me (we saw this at the historic Tennessee Theatre one summer before visiting Rome ourselves on our honeymoon); and my mother throwing a Valentine’s Day party for my girls.

4). A couple of very kickin’ library trips, bringing home some great, new titles, including Billy Collins Live: A Performance at the Peter Norton Symphony Space.

5). Seeing another marionette show yesterday at the Nashville Public Library, performed by Wishing Chair Productions. And overhearing this argument yesterday morning between my girls:

Two-year-old: “We’re going to the LIBERRY!”
Three-year-old: “It’s library!”
Two-year-old: “No, LIBERRY!”
Three-year-old: “No, I said it’s LIBRARY!”
{and on and on . . .}

Could we possibly be raising library nerds? Hmmm . . .

6). Sorry this is such an ARC-y list, but I got a copy of Charlotte Voake’s new picture book, Tweedle Dee Dee (Candlewick; April release date, I believe). I seriously adore her work. She’s in my top-ten list as far as favorite illustrators go. I’m working on getting permission to show you some of the art work in this lovely, lovely book.

7). Eisha taking Poetry Friday this week, since I wasn’t feeling in-
spired by poetry in any way on Friday (and I still haven’t even read her entry. I’m so behind on blog-reading this week that I’m behind on my own. Pathetic, I tell ya.) Anyway, about all I had was seeing Blades of Glory and laughing embarrassingly hard at the name of the poetry anthology by Chazz Michael Michaels, “ice-devouring sex tornado”: Let Me Put My Poems In You. Nah, a good Poetry Friday entry that would not have made.

Here’s a treat for everyone, particularly the authors out there. This made me laugh. Thanks to Lisa Graff’s blog for the link.

And here’s one more Sophie Blackall image from me and Eisha to you. To start off your week just right, here’s the skipping girl from Sophie’s web site. Enjoy! We hope you’ll share your kicks from this week . . .

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22 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #50: Featuring Sophie Blackall”

  1. I will tell you my kicks later.

    First, something that YOU will get a kick out of, I know:

    Click me! Meow! Hats! Meow!


  2. I *love8 Blackall’s artwork featured here! And Jumpy Jack and Googily sounds SO funny and fun.

    My kicks:

    1) I just received a copy of the anthology my new YA short story is in–“Comfort Food” in Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths. It’s exciting to be able to see and hold the book, and see my name in print. 🙂

    2) I finally wrote an article for the local children’s writing organization I belong to (I’ve been wanting to write it for so long), and it felt good to get it done and send it off.

    3) I received some ARCs of books this week, and some of them I *know* I’m really going to enjoy, which is always such a lovely feeling. In particular, I love the artwork and feeling in Like A Windy Day by Frank Asch and Devin Asch.

    4) I finally got the cold/flu that’s been floating around here, and last night I felt wretched. But this morning I feel better (though definitely still sick), and it makes me appreciate everything more, to feel a bit better.


  3. Jumping Jack and Googily, how adorable and the little girl jumping rope, precious. Love them. I hope you are feeling better Eisha, the literary event sounds like it was a blast. Jules, think of Valentine’s Day this way: everyday should be Valnetine’s Day. The restaurant you are going to sounds delish.
    My kicks:
    1. The CYBILS announcement was terrific. I love the choice we made for poetry. It is such a great book and all the books were wonderful.
    2.The days are getting longer. The sunset sky was fabulous yesterday and the birds are chirping in the morning. (That said, I am severely disappointed that we did not get a good snowfall in the valley, all went to the mountains).
    3. I am typing this on my new lap top. It feels decadent but my computer decided to crash on Friday and with everything coming due for the national boards, I could not afford to let it wait to see if it could be fixed. It is the hidden cost of the national boards.
    4. Getting roses two days before Valentine’s Day because “they night run out”. What a sweetie. We celebrated 16 years.
    5. Thursday Poets Club was fun, we played with conversation hearts candy and created a group poem.
    6. My digital recorder arrived. So I hope to get a podcast up soon (probably after national boards).
    7. Living in Portland, which was declared one of the greenest cities to live in.
    Have a great week.


  4. Oh, Eisha, how does the campus look? I haven’t been able to go back for fear it is all modernized and all now. But the reading and reception must have been awesome. And congrats to your husband–he must love being in creative mode.

    Jules, congratulations to your husband and you! Bonuses are always good.

    I adore Sophie Blackall’s work. My daughter’s are huge fans of the Ivy & Bean books. Sophie’s artwork cracks them up.

    My kicks this week:
    1.The handmade Valentine cards from my children and their squeals, “Look at mom’s happy cry!”
    2. The beautiful azalea and hydrangea plants from my husband. Now my mission is to keep them alive so we can plant them outside once spring arrives.
    3. The Wednesday Wars. Wow.
    4. Eggplant parmesan lasagna. Home cooked goodness.
    5. My order of Laini’s Ladies arrived. So pretty!
    6. I went into my first grader’s class to talk about books and it turned out great…the kids didn’t even mind missing a little bit of recess (which they could see outside their window if they wanted to, but didn’t even look).
    7. My critique group.


  5. Congratulations to both of you and your husbands…those work accomplishments are not small things! I’ve been working in the nonprofit world for so long that I’m always stunned to hear what people in the “real world” are bringing home! : )

    I haven’t done this in a while, so I thought I’d pop in:
    1. We had our theatre’s big fundraiser last Sunday night, and it was a great success, both from a partying standpoint and a financial standpoint.
    2. We have finally broken the weeks-long gloomy greyness, and have had some stunning days of blue skies and sunshine. This has helped lift my husband’s mood considerably.
    3. Asparagus was on sale for $1.49 a pound this week. When you’re surrounded by several feet of snow, asparagus just screams “SPRING IS COMING”. I’m going to eat as much as I can.
    4. After having my butt chewed out by a parent whose child did not make it into this year’s children’s show, I received a lovely email from another parent who thanked us for treating her child with respect and dignity even though she froze at her audition and didn’t get a part. I think I love the second mother.
    5. We’re opening a show at the ski resort next week, so I’ve been spending a lot of time out there this week. Wee ones in ski suits….I want to eat them up.
    6. Jules’ valentine with the girls on it…SOOOO cute…I will eat them up after I’ve finished the ski tots.
    7. My husband cleaned up his side of the bathroom counter. It’s a small thing, but man oh man, does it make me happy!

    Have a great week, y’all!


  6. Little Willow, OMG, that kitty in the JAYNE HAT!!! Thank you!!! I’ve sent it on to all the cat/Firefly fans I know.

    Cheryl, congrats – that sounds like a fun anthology. And I know what you mean – that feeling of goodness and energy and relief after you’ve been sick is almost worth the sickness.

    Jone, a new laptop AND a digital recorder – very cool. Can’t wait to hear your podcasts. And that Chuck of yours is totally a keeper.

    Vivian, isn’t the Wednesday Wars great? And don’t worry, Cornell is still very pretty. The reception was in the A.D. White house. Sooo lovely.

    Tracy, mmmm, asparagus! You’re right, it’s SO spring! And tots in ski suits are the cutest.


  7. Little Willow, aw man, thanks for the image.

    Cheryl, what great kicks, especially number one. Congratulations! WOOT!

    Jone, way to go on the laptop. I reeeeeeally want one, but I can’t quite justify it yet. I’m so behind on blog-reading, Jone, that I’ve missed your blog and hope I haven’t missed any of the students’ poetry (especially that talented Clare).

    Vivian, which books did you talk about to the first graders? Oh, do tell!

    Tracy, those early ’90s bumper stickers were on to something: Mean people suck. Sorry about that parent yelling at you. And let me just say generally, Tracy, that the baby pic of you on your blog makes me scream PUDDIN’ every time I see it.


  8. LOVE those illos. Will have to keep an eye out for the Rosoff book.


  9. I love this week’s pictures! And the cat, Little Willow!

    Vivian, I’m glad the school visit went well, it sounded a bit scary I thought! But if they stayed in over recess, wow!

    Eisha, I’ve never had fried green tomotoes, but I dig your enthusiasm. Am looking forward to the report!

    My list (sorry about the length!):

    1. As many of you undoubtedly know by this point, the Australian government apologised to the Indigenous population for past laws such as those that saw children forcibly removed from their parents to be brought up institutions. Not only does acknowledgement of past wrongs seem like a good place to start, there were also plans laid out for better ways of addressing problems like the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. I feel both proud and optimistic.

    2. A kind internet friend lent me the two recent Connie Willis novellas. There is nothing nicer than coming home to a parcel containing books!

    3. Our boiler (which gives us hot water and heating) went on the blink this morning. Faced with a technical helpline that only opens Mon-Fri (because who need advice on weekends?) and a guidance manual that told us the problem was low water pressure and to simply increase the water pressure, we thought we were in for days of no showers and a cold house. Luckily we figured out that if you take the bottom off the boiler and turn two levers on at the same time, water topped up the boiler. Yay! Still feel this could have been in the guidance book though.

    4. We went to a housewarming cocktail party last night. Yes! An actual social event! There was great conversation, yummy cocktails and I even survived the walk to the train in sub-zero temperatures.

    5. Plus I met some new people at a work lunch this week. It was fun hanging out with a bunch of women my age (even if they were all seemed obsessed with Valentine’s Day. I knew it was a big deal in the US, but it’s also more recognised here in the UK than in Australia).

    6. There was a booksale raising money for an orang-utan foundation at work this week. I took in some books and came home with a pile more. You didn’t want me to ignore the needs of the orang-utans, did you?

    7. I’m just about to go eat the meal I can smell cooking and then watch Veronica Mars. The perfect evening!


  10. Hello Friends! I’m sure if I took some time to think about it I could come up with a list of kicks, but the last few days have been so wonderful that I don’t even remember the rest of the week. My Poetry Friday post was melancholy, as I’ve really been dreading William’s birthday. Many great folks stopped by to offer comments, and when the day arrived (yesterday), it flew by with many smiles (and only a few tears, all happy ones).

    Today we went to the circus, and boy, were we blown away. It was magnificent, and seeing it through the eyes of a seven-year old was magical.

    I’m now off to put everything to rights so that I can settle in front of the fire for the second installment of P&P tonight. Have a great week!


  11. I love Meet Wild Boars, so I am anxious for their new book, esp. now that I’ve seen pictures.

    Little Willow, The cat in the Jayne hat is the best thing I’ve seen all week. Why have I not been photographing my cats in a Jayne hat???

    My kicks:
    1. Some of my storytime kids brought me homemade Valentines this week. Awwww.
    2. One of my storytime kids brought me homemade heart-shaped rice krispy treats in addition to the homemade Valentine. Yummmm.
    3. I finished an article I’ve been struggling with for a couple weeks.
    4. I had a couple meetings out of the library on Wednesday, and it was a nice change of pace.
    5. I have finally found someone I think I can beat at Scrabulous.
    6. I finally got to see Fido, which I’ve been wanting to see for approximately five million years.
    7. I had three excellent dinners with friends this week (two at restaurants, one I made here at home). Life doesn’t get better than that.


  12. Emmaco, way to represent those orang-utans! What good all-around kicks you have this week.

    Tricia, happy birthday to William. I missed your Poetry Friday entry and all other blog-reading this week, as I’ve said, so sorry I couldn’t send well-wishes for a better day on Friday. Glad you had fun at the circus.

    Adrienne, rice krispy treats. Mmmm. Heart-shaped = even better.


  13. I really love the kicks this week. Eisha: mmm, fried green tomatoes. And Jules, I had to laugh at your girls’ conversation because my husband’s mom grew up outside of Nashville, and she still occasionally calls the library “the liberry.”

    I had a good week, too good to list everything here, but one fun thing was that my husband gave me a digital picture frame for Valentine’s Day, and I’ve programmed it to show photos while Lucinda Williams sings “I Just Wanted to See You So Bad.” It’s awesome. Now I just have to figure out how to digitize the thousands of photos I have stashed away…


  14. thanks, Eisha and Jules! I’m glad you understand about holding the anthology and the feeling after being sick. I’m feeling pretty sick again, but at least I know from this morning that it’s getting better.

    I really like your practice of 7 kicks; I think it’s such a positive, healing thing to find the things we’re glad for. I can’t always do seven, but i’m always glad to think about it.

    Jules, I’m so glad your husband got that bonus; extra money can really help out! And your girls’ library conversation is sweet. And Eisha, the literary events sound fun, and that your husband’s doing a broadway show sounds exciting.

    Everyone here has such lovely kicks; it’s nice to read them!


  15. Oh my gosh. The “Jumpy Jack and Googily” illustrations are TO DIE FOR. *melts*


  16. Oh. And I’ve never participated in one of these…but I suppose it’s never too late to begin.

    1. Having an audition for a musical
    2. getting a callback for a lead part in said musical
    3. having the most amazing conversation with my best friend that I’ve had since she moved away last summer
    4. reading a couple of really good, totally different books: Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey and I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
    5. Looking forward to a short getaway to CA this week
    6. Lost
    7. Encouraging quotes


  17. I forgot to mention that the rice krispy treats were also pink. This made them taste even better.


  18. Kelly, I know, aren’t the pics great? I love that jump-roping girl.

    emmaco, I imagine fried green tomatoes are pretty scarce on both of the continents you hang out on, but if you ever get the chance you must try them. Kudos to the Australian government – seems like the US government could learn a thing or two from that.

    Tricia, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to William, and glad the circus was so enchanting.

    adrienne, I didn’t even know rice krispy treats came in pink, or heart-shaped. You are obviously loved.

    Sara, what a perfect song for digital picture viewing. Nice choice!

    Erin, welcome! I enjoyed I’d Tell You I Love you… too! Break a leg on the callback!


  19. Jules, Eisha, Emmaco, and Adrienne: I have always been a fan of cats in clothing, and I have the pictures to prove it, much to my cats’ chagrin. As per (purr) the Jayne hat, I though you Firefly fans would appreciate that.


  20. Oh! Since I was out of town and offline last weekend, I never did post my kicks!

    1-2-3: Friends visiting (one from out-of-town and two from out of the country) that I hadn’t seen in person in at least four years

    4: A healthy, clean, organized grocery store with tasty, affordable (or reasonably priced) food

    5: A lovely museum — with free admission AND two Degas paintings AND one random Roman-Egyptian piece

    6: Peppermints.

    7: Movies and books that appeared when referenced.


  21. LW, thanks. I love that you listed your kicks on a day that was decidely not Sunday!


  22. […] are serious perks to having poets for upstairs neighbors. Like, they loan me books. And take me to readings by excellent authors. And invite us up to play Rock Band. And introduce me to hilariously surreal products on a cool new […]


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