7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #68: Featuring Kyrsten Brooker

h1 June 22nd, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: Is it really true that British cats drink tea? Well, this globe-trotting cat, brought to life by illustrator Kyrsten Brooker, knows. He’s the star of Caroline Lazo’s Someday When My Cat Can Talk (Scwartz & Wade Books, April 2008), the story of one little girl’s fantasy about her cat. Someday when he can talk, he’ll tell her lots of things, including the story of how he “hopped a ship and where he stowed away” in order to launch his European adventure, including a trip to England, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Greece, and Holland. I love Kyrsten’s collage style (don’t forget to throw in some oil paints) and always enjoy her books (I reviewed Jacqueline Davies’ The Night is Singing back here in ’06). Kyrsten even opens the book with a map and itinerary of the cat’s adventures on the endpapers. These are illustrations which reward if you take the time to pore over them with your favorite wee one (and the book, I’m here to say, can also launch you into your closets for a search of your own globes and can lead to some informative geography discussions with children before you know what’s hit you).

Here’s the girl and her fearless feline: “My cat,” the girls says, “will tell me all these things when he talks to me someday. Until then, when the sun goes down, he always sneaks away.” Many thanks to Random House for use of the images. I wanted to chat with Kyrsten to see if she wanted to add any thoughts on her art-making, but alas and alack she’s travelling. Maybe another time.

As a reminder, our 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. Anyone is welcome to come list their kicks, so have at it.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* I love the cat’s spats in the first illustration up there. So dapper!

2* And this is maybe a spoiler for Jules’s kicks, but that last photo of Ada with the troll bridge Cracks. Me. Up.

3* Someone carved a gigantic peace symbol into a slope on Cornell’s campus. Kind of like those big geoglyphs in Peru, but different.

4* Last Sunday, I went to a yummy new (to me) restaurant with some friends: Dinosaur BBQ. As a vegetarian, I was mainly in it for the fried green tomatoes. I was not disappointed, and they even had a few veggie options. I only wish I’d had room for dessert.

5* Both of my current temp jobs have been extended.

6* This weekend is the annual Ithaca Festival, and it’s my first time to experience it. The festivities kicked off Thursday with a parade that was frankly… hilarious. It was explained to me beforehand that the whole idea behind the festival, and the parade in particular, is Ithaca residents reclaiming their town after the college students go home for the summer. I’d also been told it was kind of wacky. But I was still delightedly surprised at parade participants like the He-Man Chainsaw Marching Band (exactly I do think this series has the most awesome covers.what it sounds like – guys revving chainsaws in an attempt at synchronization), the Volvo Ballet (station wagons in giant tutus, swerving back and forth along the street), and the SufferJets (I didn’t even know Ithaca has a roller derby team – obviously, I will be attending their next meet). There were more conventional parade elements too, like actual marching bands and floats, plus stilt-walkers, fire-jugglers, unicycle-riders and belly dancers… There’s a photo collection here, if you want a peek.

7* I fought it as long as I could, but I finally broke down and bought New Moon. I really need to work on updating my resume, there’s a job I meant to apply for that needs a writing sample, I’ve left Jules hanging on several co-reviews… not to mention I really need to do something about this laundry pile and my kitchen floor… but I keep looking over at the bookmark stuck in the middle of the book, where I was able to reluctantly tear myself away long enough to type up these kicks… *Sigh* There goes another weekend.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

I’ll try to be brief about my kicks, ’cause I have so many pics!

We had a very busy week (and I hardly had time for blog-reading, so I’m feeling terrifically behind today on everyone’s news and book-thoughts).

1). My oldest and I took a parent-child art class. The things we’ll do for art in our household! It was at this beautiful place in Nashville, and we had great fun. But we live approximately thirty miles from it, so the sixty-mile round trip each day in downtown lunch-hour Nashville traffic about wore me out (I even skipped this great event yesterday just so I could have one day of not going anywhere. Man, I hope they do that another year). Anyway, the kickin’ art class is my Number One today, because we really did have fun. Here are some tissue-paper flowers my little artist made:

2). I really love beautiful snail-mail stationery, all waiting for you in your mailbox like a little gift. Alkelda sent me a really lovely card (made by these talented people), and it included the second thoughtful surprise she had lined up for me after she did this: She had Sam and her violinist Eric sign it. AND her daughter drew me a picture from The Twelve Dancing Princesses. How fun!

3). I’m actually reading a book written for adults. It’s been a while.

4). The Boston Globe–Horn Book winners and honor titles. Excellent choices.

5). My husband and I are watching Season One of The Sopranos. Me likey. (Jen, didn’t you say fairly recently that you all started this, too? What season are you on?)

6). TadMack and Alkelda!

6½). The latest issue (June ’08) of The Edge of the Forest. Good stuff, as always.

7). Cheekwood (where we took the parent-child art class) has another wonderful fairy tale exhibit. You wander through their gorgeous gardens and stumble upon fairy tale worlds. I took some pics this week. We stumbled upon the big bad wolf (you can slide down the inside of him), scaring some poor pigs; Rapunzel’s tower; Red and another wolf; and the troll.

You can see there in that last picture that the Troll was a bit frightening to a two and a half year old, closing her eyes to shut his scariness out, but we eventually waved our finger in his face and told him he didn’t frighten us, and we crossed his bridge with great courage (and then did it about ten more times).

What are your kicks this week?

* * * * * * *

Two spreads from SOMEDAY WHEN MY CAT CAN TALK by Caroline Lazo, illustration © 2008 by Kyrsten Brooker, posted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved.

24 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #68: Featuring Kyrsten Brooker”

  1. I love these illustrations. I’m still waiting for Someday When My Cat Can Talk to come in for me at the library. The title and concept are similar to things I keep threatening to write.

    eisha: Enjoy the festival, the updating, and the writing!

    Jules: Ooh to the artwork and to fairy tale land. Hurrah for the signs and such being in multiple tongues.

    My kicks:
    1) Having hope
    2) Points for trying
    3) Pursuing projects
    4) Pushing myself
    5) Phone calls that had to be made
    6) Performances to come
    7) Spreading the word about Poison Ink

  2. Kick #1: Whither away so early, Red Riding Hood? Yay! They get it that kids LIKE that kind of language! Isn’t that line fun to say??

    Kick #2: Lots of roller coasters and water rides with my son and his girlfriend’s family. We had such a big time, screaming and playing at Busch Gardens and Water Country. And the weather? Fantastic!

    Kick #3: A meal at The Trellis in Williamsburg, topped off with their homemade chocolate ice cream.

    Kick #4: I’m ready to re-tackle the revisions.

    P.S. Eisha, that parade sounds awesome. You need to organize the Librarian Brigade next year!

  3. My cats do talk, but I often wish they had a larger vocabulary.

    Eisha, Ithaca is so cool. Seriously.

    Also, Dinosaur BBQ=yum.

    Jules, Your girls are so, so, so cute, and those fairy tale exhibits are so fun. Someday my dream library will have something like that out in the yard. (It’s not much of an option in WPL’s current location, as we are in a strip mall.)

    Little Willow, Yay to hope. 🙂

    Sara, Oh, how I love roller coasters! How fun!

    My kicks:
    1. On Monday, one of my dear friends was sworn into the NYS Bar. This friend lives in NC now, so it was great to get to see her and to be there for such a big day.
    2. #1 led me to Buffalo, where I experienced one of the several impressive hail storms they had that day. My car would like to tell you that golf-ball-sized hail is more funny in the abstract, but it was an amazing thing to see.
    3. I beat my friend Olivia at Scrabble on Tuesday night. She’s a competitive tournament player, so this was something.
    4. This past Feb, I used part of my tax return to buy a share in a local farm for one of these deals where you get a box of produce each week, and at long last, this was the first week I got a box. It was AWESOME–beautiful spinach, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, and (sorry to say this in front of you, Tricia and Eisha) cilantro. I can’t wait to see what I get this week!
    5. It’s strawberry season, which is the the first big harvest here in WNY and lasts maybe three weeks if we’re lucky. One of our library regulars brought me a great big bowl of fresh-picked ones earlier this week, and then I went and got a flat of them yesterday. So I’ve been making strawberry lemonade, spinach salad with strawberries, and strawberry smoothies. I’ve been eating strawberries on pancakes. I’ve been eating whole strawberries and freezing strawberries to eat this winter.
    6. The peas are out, too, and they’re yummy even though they can’t quite compete with the strawberries.
    7. Dutton very kindly sent me an ARC of John Green’s Paper Towns this week. It was a thrill to find it in my mailbox, and so far, I’m really enjoying it. I hope to get some time to finish it today. This was a good week but also a not-enough-time-for-reading (or blogging) week.

  4. Happy Sunday!

    Eisha, that parade sounds so so cool! I wonder if He-Man Chainsaw guys eat cilantro (thanks for reminding me, Adrienne). And yay for those temp job extensions. Would love to eat at Dinosaur BBQ.

    Jules, your girls are beyond adorable! Love the closed-eyes picture. Love the fairytale exhibit. I’m a big fan of handmade stationery too. 🙂 Thanks for including the link.


    1. Krysten’s cats drinking tea picture. Are you trying to kill me here? I think my eyes rolled back in my head when I first saw it. Definitely swoon worthy.

    2. Yeah, I agree. Tadmack and Alkelda.

    3. DH got me some multi-colored roses for my quarterly birthday.

    4. Received first-ever snail mail letters from my niece and nephew (8 and 10). Have gotten lots of thank you notes, but two- page letters describing their school year are very special. Love child handwriting.

    5. Survived the dentist. Had been dreading those crowns for 2 years. Glad it’s over.

    6. Fixed two computer problems.

    7. Blueberry pie.

    Have a good week. Yay for strawberries!

  5. Ooh, I know girls at school who will love that book. I agree with Adrienne about cats.
    Eisha, I might break down and read New Moon as well. The movie (for the first book) is being filmed in the Portland area.
    Jules, those pics of your daughter are totally cute, especially the troll pic. Seriously, the blogging conference needs to be in Nashville some year.
    My kicks:
    1. TadMack donated a book for the blogging conference dinner doorprizes.
    2. Dinner at the home of three students(Clare the poet and her sisters).
    3. School is out! I work a half day tomorrow and I am done.
    4. Strawberry season here as well.
    5. Overnight stay at my granddaughters this week was a blast.
    6. Getting ready for our trip and we are taking the pooches.
    7. Planning for next year: a monthly bookclub for 3-5 grades with the public library.
    Have a great week. I hope to post from the road next Sunday.

  6. I made the kix twice in one post? It goes to my head, I tell you. Jules, the fact that you didn’t make it to the puppet festival makes me so sad (though I understand why), but those photos of the girls in the fairy tale exhibit make me happy again, so that’s all good. Eisha, you know that buying New Moon just means you’re going to have to capitulate and buy Eclipse. And then there’s Breaking Dawn… what are you going to do? TadMack has said, “Enough” and walked away from it all, which takes a certain mettle in this Kidlitosphere.

    My kicks:
    1) Four pounds of rhubarb went into the freezer last night while two pounds turned into rhubarb-strawberry compote. (Magically!)

    2) TadMack’s new book, A La Carte, plus a sweet little gold luckenbooth thistle bookmark tucked into it.

    3) It’s official– Pierce County Libraries is booking me for 8 programs in the fall! PCL is a bit of a drive for me, but I think that the gigs are going to be worth it.

    4) I’ve met up with a voice teacher whom I think is going to be a good match.

    5) My husband gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the farmer’s market.

    6) Tonight we’re going to see “Avenue Q.”

    7) The garden.

  7. Little Willow, impressive alliteration on your kicks list there. Glad you had a good week.

    Sara, I am with Adrienne in that I live for roller coasters. And I haven’t even been on the country’s best ones. So much goodness is yet to come for me in my roller coaster life. Sounds like you had an excellent week. Good luck on the revisions.

    Adrienne, to have bested a Scrabble Wiz is a kick, indeed. And all your produce and strawberries. I wish there were a place around here where we could do that. But we have been making our own strawberry smoothies a whole, whole lot around here lately. We threw some blueberries in last night.

    Oh, and I can’t wait to hear more about John’s new book.

    Jama, I applaud your dentist survival, too. I had to make two dentist trips recently, one that involved drilling. I always have dreams that my teeth are falling out, and I don’t think there’s anything in the slightest bit symbolic about it. I just am afraid they’ll fall out. Anyway, congrats. And what is your “quarterly birthday”? I’m behind on blog-reading. Did I miss your b’day? Or is it a blog b’day?

    Jone, GO CLARE! You already know I think she’s one of the next generation’s poet laureates. Congrats on school being out, and have a safe trip.

    Alkelda, eight programs? Rock and rawk on. Is your Gloria going to go with you? Okay, so I know she probably doesn’t, but I still laugh about that comment your husband made. And did you tell her I love my Twelve Dancing Princesses art?

  8. Before Friday I had so many great things to report ( I think), but something so rotten has happened to me professionally that right now I’m having a hard time seeing the good stuff.

    The best news is that after three long weeks of doctors visits, tests and more tests, I found out that the lumps (2 of ’em) doctors found are benign. I think this alone counts as numbers 1-7.

    I’m glad to be here reading about all your great things. Here’s hoping next week I’ll really have some great news.

  9. The Ithaca festival looks like it was fun enough to justify moving cities, even without all the other nice things about your new home, Eisha!

    Jules I’m glad your art classes went well, I love the piccies of the fairy tale woods (and your cute daughters!).

    I’m glad the lumps were benign, Tricia, that’s definitely worth 7 kicks.

    Adrienne, I’ve been dithering for ages over joining a farm box scheme. Your box sounds delicious!

    My list:

    1. I was feeling all mopey and homesick on Friday until I received an unexpected parcel of books from the wonderful Lady Schrapnell from So Many Books!
    2. I bought a cute red blouse with a red ribbon around the middle. Seeing as it has short sleeves I don’t know how much I’ll get to wear it, but still, cute!
    3. Yesterday we watched a parade out of our windows. It consisted of the local firetruck, and the local primary school children dressed up as characters from musicals – very cute!
    4. A surplus of bananas and strawberries (in season here too!) has meant lots of yummy smoothies this week.
    5. A scary meeting for work went a lot better than I had feared.
    6. Today was the first sunny and warm (ish) day in a while so I decided to see how hard it was to ride to work. Despite my continuing ineptness with things like gears, it was great fun! And I did not slip down inside the cattle grids like I had feared.
    7. I made it to the nursery in time to buy some “picking lettuce” seeds. It’s too windy to sow such fine seeds today, but I hope to be talking about my yummy fresh lettuce here in a month or so!

  10. Tricia, so glad the lumps were benign. Hope you have a better week this week.

    Jules, years ago, when I first read the Paddington books, I learned that he celebrates twice a year — once on his own birthday and again on the Queen’s birthday. I thought, why not make it quarterly? You can wait all year for your real birthday, and sometimes things don’t go well. With quarterlies, you have 4 chances, that many more good wishes. So I picked one day each quarter (June 18 purposely because it’s also Paul’s bday), and convinced my husband to play along. It’s sort of like 4 chances to remind myself of my blessings, and I then try to pass on positive vibes to others on those days. A few people have even adopted quarterlies for themselves! I highly recommend it :)!

  11. Congrats on the PCL gig Alkelda. Tricia, I am glad the lumps were beign.

  12. Little Willow, break a leg on those performances-to-come.

    Sara, from what I can tell, it doesn’t look too hard to make up a reason to be in the parade. I’m sure I’ll think of something. And I’m not such the roller coaster girl, but I do love a good water park. And homemade chocolate ice cream.

    adrienne, glad you survived – and even enjoyed – the hailstorm. I’m like you – I love me some wild weather. And the produce thing sounds awesome (except the cilantro, but whatever works for you).

    Jama, if you ever find yourself in central NY, I’ll happily take you to Dinosaur BBQ. And I like your quarter-birthday idea.

    Jone, yay for summer! Have a lovely trip!

    Alkelda – I’m so jealous – Avenue Q looks hilarious. And congrats on the library gigs. Also, I wish I knew how TadMack did it – these books are like crack.

    Tricia, I’m so very very glad about the benign lumps. And I hope the professional sitch gets better.

    emmaco, your parade sounds substantially more adorable than mine. Although mine had a few kids, too, and lots of dogs. And you know, you can still wear the short sleeves with a cardigan!

  13. YAY TRICIA! Oh, YAY. 🙂

    I am not a fan of rollercoasters. I’ve only been on a few (the first of which I was pretty much forced on, but that’s another story) and my body, especially my stomach, doesn’t seem to enjoy them.

    Adrienne: Hope is the thing with feathers.

    eisha: Thank you!

    Jules: Crazy week that it was, I’m glad it’s done, and I hope this week is better and brighter!

  14. Me too, Little Willow. I can get motion sick on a porch swing.

  15. Happy Sunday Evening, Ladies!

    I love the fairy tale exhibit, Jules.


    1. My husband was away on business for Father’s Day…so today my daughter, her boyfriend, and I took my husband out for an early dinner for his traditional father’s Day meal: Peking/Beijing Duck. We also got some shrimp tempura, crispy fish, and sushi. Yum!

    2. My husband and I are heading out to New Mexico this week for a wedding. We decided to stay a few extra days to do some sightseeing and hot air ballooning.

    3. I finally found a lovely–and comfortable–dress to wear to the wedding. What a relief! With the sale at Macy’s and my $20 coupon–I paid less than $60 for the dress.

    4. Work is coming along on the second collection of poems that I’ve been working on this spring/summer. I now have fifteen poems written. The research has been quite time-consuming–but I’m learning a lot.

    5. My husband and I had dinner last night at our favorite restaurant. I had the risotto with chorizo, shrimp, corn, and peas. DELICIOUS!

    6. The weather here in Massachusetts has been glorious all week.

    7. I’m back doing my brisk daily walks again and feeling so much better than I did in the late winter/early spring when I had a respiratory infection I couldn’t kick.

  16. Tricia, that is fabulous news, though I’m sorry to read about rotten news re work. I hope it all works out. Thank goodness you’re healthy.

    Emmaco, I wish much growth and success for your lettuce seeds. Your parade sounds about as fun as Eisha’s, too.

    Jama, brilliant. That’s brilliant. ‘Cause birthdays are the best.

    Eisha, you could represent 7-Imp in the parade. ‘Cause, you know, everyone would know exactly what you were doing. But, hey, still . . . it’d be a reason to be in it.

    Little Willow, I hope your week is better and brighter, too. Have you ever seen those magnets that say something along the lines of “do something once a day that scares you” (I forget the exact wording, but Adrienne would know, ’cause I sent her one)? Anyway, that makes me think of you, too, what with your fearless auditioning and trying new things all the time. I wanna get that magnet, too, as a reminder to myself.

    Elaine, it’s so good to read about you feeling better and having beaten that awful infection. Have a safe trip to New Mexico — and have too much fun.

  17. Tricia, Oh my that is good news, and I know the tests and the waiting are an ordeal by themselves.

    Emmaco, Picking up my produce was like getting a present, going through all the bags and seeing what wonderful things were inside. After one week, I’d highly recommend it. 😉

    Jules, It’s Eleanor Roosevelt, right here in my office where it can remind me what’s what: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” And Little Willow, I keep that quote from Emily about hope right next to it. (And right next to that, I have a post-it I wrote to myself some time ago that says, “CALM DOWN!” I need to remind myself about that a lot.)

  18. Thanks, Adrienne. Found it. Little Willow, this is so you:

    And, while we’re on the subject of magnets and as my Facebook friends know, I really love this one, too, and need to just get one already:

  19. Ooh, Elaine, you’re having a very good food week. And I’d LOVE to go hot-air-ballooning in New Mexico. You must take many pics and share them with us!

    Jules, it’s as good a reason as any – I still haven’t figured out what the guy parading in a costume made of plastic grocery bags was about, not to mention the crash test dummy, or the people wearing masks of Cornell’s president’s face, so I don’t think making any kind of sense to other people is a prerequisite.

    And I totally have that “Do one thing…” magnet too, ’cause I’m a big chicken about a lot of stuff and need a constant reminder not to be.

  20. Wow! Everyone has had such a great week! I love the kitties with tea too – although I am sure my kitty would not have tea with many other cats, certainly not the dogs, and maybe only sometimes with me. I love the parade, and the fairy tale woods with the girls (so cute!).

    1. Finishing The Age of Innocence – it was a great read, although it took a while to get through. The pace was much slower than we are used to, but so much happens in a glance – so many emotions can be conveyed by a simple pressing of a hand, so much passion smoldering under the conventions of the day. It is interesting to contrast that time and all of the strict rules of etiquette to today when there is so little etiquette expected. While we certainly have much more freedom and much more in the way of choice, a little etiquette can go a long way. I am glad I finally read it.
    2. A visit from a good friend in Atlanta who I had not seen in a year.
    3. Happy hour with colleagues and same good friend – so good to catch up! (On work and personal lives.)
    4. Getting to the gym 4 days out of 5 this week.
    5. Getting a great deal on a dress shirt and dress pants when shopping.
    6. Running with my boyfriend.
    7. Having my boyfriend take me out to dinner at a very nice restaurant – and then having both of us getting completely spoiled by waitstaff and kitchen! Ten-01 in pdx is amazing! (Plus we went to Powells after dinner and I bought a few more books!)
    I am a lucky girl this week! I hope everyone has a wonderful week this coming week!

  21. RM, word to #1. For some reason for me, it’s like fingers going down a chalkboard for me to see a table of people in, say, a restaurant sitting there texting or yakkin’ on their cells instead of talking to one another. And call waiting? I could go on about the anti-etiquette of that so much that I’d surely start to irritate, and I think I’m the minority on that one anyway. But I think it’s, hands down, the rudest modern convenience.

    Anyway, blah blah I’m going on….thanks for kicking with us again. Glad you got to visit with a good friend and got quality time with your boyfriend. Plus, happy hour to boot.

  22. Jules: To answer your question, my “Gloria” does sometimes come with me to gigs (not to perform), but only when Bede is along too.

    For me, call waiting serves one purpose: to let me know that someone else is trying to call and to remind me to check messages when I’m off the phone. On the rare occasion that it’s worth it to interrupt the present phone call, that person usually knows in advance (i.e. “Someone’s going to call me when she needs a ride as as soon as her plane gets in.”).

    What gets me (and this is not a kick, but a rant) is when someone calls me to book a gig, and then asks me to hold on while another call is coming in on his/her cell phone.

  23. Love your kicks, Jules! I love Cheekwood and all the great exhibits and programs they do! Wish I wasn’t so far away (Spring Hill)!

    Did you go to the Scarecrow exhibit this past fall? My Literacy Launchpad students and I had a scarecrow featured named “Reid Toomey.” I’m planning to submit another one this year!

    Here’s some photos of Reid!

  24. Jules –

    Holy Smokes, that is AMAZING that you posted pics of Rapunzel earlier this Summer and we had to meet on Haven Kimmel’s blog – it is FATE.

    If anyone is interested in the painting/illustration of the Enchantress, it is by another TN artist, Denise Johnson, she is amazing!!!!! Just a new college graduate, young one, early 20’s, you can see more about her on my blog (www.sherfickart.typepad.com) and I can always give anyone her e-mail – I think she is just awesome for illustration/bookcovers.

    Anyway – what took you so long for New Moon???? I’m almost embarrassed about reading ALL Stephenie Myers and I devoured the last one in one night . . . but my favorite is THE HOST . . . and I am counting down the days until TWILIGHT hits the movie theatres (72 days???).

    You are great! I am honoured to have been previously, before you “met” me, on your blog!

    For Art’s Sake,

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