Jules: When Eisha and I co-reviewed the wonderful Kaline Klattermaster’s Tree House by Haven Kimmel this past February, we featured some of the book’s interior illustrations by Peter Brown, which made our long post way more entertaining to read. And I took that opportunity to ask Peter if he’d let us feature him one Sunday; lucky for us, he said yes. Peter is the creator of the Chowder books and also did cover and interior art for both Barkbelly and Snowbone by Cat Weatherill, which we’ve covered here and here at 7-Imp (the latter with Betsy Bird). Visiting Peter’s site (one of two, the other dedicated to Chowder himself), I also see that his first book is one I must find and read, seeing as how his description for it at his site begins with: “Have you ever been pooped on by a bird?” and is, apparently, about a penguin and what he does when “he feels the humiliating sting of goose poop on his favorite jacket.” (I say there’s nothing like a bit of scatalogical humor on your Sunday morning). That was in 2005 when Publishers Weekly called Peter “a promising new talent.” And writers might get a kick out of visiting here and clicking on “Books” and then “How I Work” to see Peter’s trenchant, illuminating commentary into this complicated process called writing.
Peter stopped by this morning to share these wonderful illustrations, to tantalize us with work from a forthcoming title, The Curious Garden, due to be published in Spring 2009. Here’s what Peter had to say about it:
It’s about Liam, a boy living in a very dreary city, who discovers wildflowers and plants growing on an old, abandoned railway. He decides to become a gardener to take care of the mysterious plants. Years later, thanks to Liam’s hard work, new gardens and gardeners have popped up all across the city. If this story seems familiar at all, it’s because I was inspired by the true story of the “Highline,” where wildflowers and plants completely overtook an old, abandoned railway in the center of Manhattan.
Here are two more illustrations from The Curious Garden. We’re so pleased that Peter stopped by to share with us this morning, and we’re looking forward to this title and future creations from Peter. Many thanks to him!
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 artists like Peter). You — yes, you reading now — are more than welcome to leave your kicks from the week, whether you’ve ever done so before or not.
1* Peter Brown! Those illustrations rock!
2* Temps have gotten up to the mid-70s this week, with gorgeous sunny skies and deliciously cool nights. It’s perfect.
3* My current temp job should have ended, since they filled the position I was filling in for. But they kept me on for a special project. I’m working for an academic department that happens to have a bunch of books, videos and DVDs that they loan out to professors and students. They’ve asked me to make a proper library out of it.
4* As part of that project, I have to go through all the old personnel files of former professors, to compile a list of them so I can identify books in the collection by faculty authors. Friday, I was making my way through the records, and had just gotten past the Ms and into the Ns when I found a file labeled… Nabokov, Vladimir . Yeah, seriously. He taught at Cornell in the 1950s, which I kind of knew, but… I certainly didn’t expect to just blunder upon his file. There wasn’t anything with his actual signature or anything – I’m sure all that’s been moved to an archive – but there was a copy (the old onion-skin carbon copy type) of his resignation letter saying he needed to write full time, and the original letter from his wife Vera telling the chair of the department what to do with the stuff he’d left behind in his office (including a pair of skis).
5* Then, after working through the Ns and Os, I found a file for Paz, Octavio. At the time he was appointed as a visiting professor, he was serving as the Mexican Ambassador to India. Did you know that? I didn’t know that.
6* On Thursday night my husband and I went to see a lecture presentation by Andy Goldsworthy, an artist we both admire. He’s been a Professor-at-Large for Cornell for the past 8 years, and had used student labor to complete some of his projects during that time. It was totally inspiring. I wish there were a less-cliche way to say it, but there it is.
7* We’ve discovered a new show, thanks to Netflix’s recommendation: Jekyll. It’s a BBC series about a modern-day possible-descendant of Dr. Jekyll who has recently started dealing with the same, er, personality issues. It could have been really cheesy and stupid, but for the most part they pull it off. James Nesbitt is amazing as the title character(s), and it has more than a fair share of clever, funny dialogue.
1). Spring weather and making elaborate drawings of a dino-world on the driveway with my girls, using HUGE pieces of sidewalk chalk. Pictured above is dino-hopscotch, don’tcha know (and the big river and the dino-blueberry bushes and etc.). This was when we had just gotten started; I think every inch of the driveway was filled when we were done.
But this is not half as cool as how the middle schoolers—where Andi (cloudscome) of a wrung sponge works—took the poems in their pockets from Wednesday (Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day) and wrote them on the sidewalk (pictured here). Here’s her post about it.
All of the Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day posts from this week were great. I was too disorganized to come up with something in time myself, but I enjoyed everyone else’s posts, too numerous to name here.
2). Speaking of others’ great posts, also too numerous to individually mention here, all the Operation Teen Book Drop posts were great, too, though—again—I was too scattered this week to participate myself. Little Willow, I know, worked very hard, in particular. Seven cheers to everyone who rocked the drop. (Speaking of Little Willow, check out this creepiness she posted this week. That’s not bad, as book trailers go.)
3). And, speaking of Spring, taking walks with my girls.
4). I’m co-hosting a baby shower today for one of my best friends, who has had a difficult time with this pregnancy (blood clot, lots of bed-rest, and—as a result—having to use way too much leave time from work for bed-rest when she was going to use it to stay home with the baby as long as possible after the birth). The shower should be a good, happy time for her.
5). This piece about the stage adapation of Timothy Basil Ering’s Frog Belly Rat Bone by a company, Rogue Artists Ensemble, who possess a “hyper-theatrical style, combining puppetry, music, video projections, and innovative prop design.” You can see video footage at that link. Apparently, the annual Los Angeles Times/UCLA Festival of Books has invited Rogue Artists Ensemble to perform at this year’s festival on Sunday, April 27th, so if you live in that area and go see, please do report back!
6). Seeing some beautiful Paso Finos this week with my girls and their Granddad. Watching the horses trot around a coliseum while judges rated their ambling gaits was new to me. Seeing them up close while walking through some stables was even better.
And, one more: Finally getting our library copy of Dog and Bear: Two’s Company. So funny. You all know that Jama Rattigan interviewed Laura Vaccaro Seeger, right? I still haven’t found 30 minutes to sit down and read that, but I haven’t forgotten. I’m saving it for a time when I know there will be no interruptions. Same for a lot of the interviewees Elaine is hosting over at Wild Rose Reader. She’s rockin’ it for National Poetry Month.
What are your kicks this week?