7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #71: Featuring Jen Corace

h1 July 13th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Happy Sunday, everyone!

So, what do you do when there are tentacles in your hallway?

Jules: We’re featuring the illustrations of artist and freelance illustrator Jen Corace this week, and we’re excited to be doing so. Some of you may have seen this Spring’s Little Hoot, released by Chronicle Books, another pairing of Jen and author Amy Krouse Rosenthal (who also created Little Pea in ’05). I’m actually not terribly familiar with Little Pea (I read it once and liked it is about all I can say on that), but I’ve got a copy of Little Hoot, and it’s . . . well, a hoot. Go check it out. When Betsy Bird reviewed it in January, she wrote: “Here’s the deal with illustrator Jen Corace… uh… she’s awesome. Not very descriptive but whatcha gonna do? Maybe it’s her design background and alternative feel, but when Corace illustrates a book, that book has done been illustrated, consarn it.” We couldn’t agree more.

Let’s pause for another moment of Jen awesome-ness:

Jen has also illustrated Cynthia Rylant’s version of Hansel and Gretel, to be released this Fall by Hyperion. Adrienne, who is the world’s super hugest Jen fan, sent me the ARC, and it’s very fabulous. I can’t find the book cover online to show you, but run — don’t walk — to your nearest library or bookstore to get this in September, ’cause it’s expertly adapted and beautifully illustrated with Jen’s singular touch. It opens like this, which stole my fairy-tale lovin’ heart right out from under me:

It has been said that guardian spirits watch over and protect small children, and that may be so. But there are also stories of children who find the courage to protect themselves.

Such is the story of Hansel and Gretel.

Damn skippy, Cynthia. Damn. skippy.

I wish I could show you Jen’s gorgeous image of the children on the large white swan, but here’s another kickin’ image Jen sent from the book.

And below are a couple more of Jen’s pieces. I can’t tell you much about them; Jen is very busy moving as we speak and she’s mostly offline, so I didn’t have the chance to ask her if these are random works or from forthcoming books. Since she’s swamped right now, we thank her ESPECIALLY for taking the time to send these images. You can visit her blog to find out more about her art work (and to purchase prints! Or just take the short cut straight to here. I want this one!)


Sleeping With Lions


Sitting, Thinking, Staring

Thanks again, Jen!

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 * * *

eisha: Ooh! I AM familiar with Little Pea, having read it with great success to a few groups of preschoolers. And some first graders, too, I think. Jen Corace rocks! Speaking of…

1* I can’t help thinking of that as a portrait of Aslan and Lucy up there. Love it.

2* My computer is back! Remember how it died over Christmas? And I’ve been bumming my sister’s old laptop ever since? Well, I finally got up the courage to take it to a repair place, certain they were going to tell me it was hopelessly fried and that all my music, my photos, everything was gone forever. But no. It just needed a new power supply. Roxy’s all better now, and it didn’t even cost that much. I feel silly I put it off for so long.

this book is Extremely Good and Incredibly Powerful3* Also, obviously, I had a great time at home last weekend. Hanging with Jules & Co. was wonderful. So was seeing my mom, my aunt, my uncle, my cousins, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my incredibly huge, adorable, and MOBILE nephew.

4* It was neglectful of me not to mention it before, but Jules gave me a copy of Sam Phillips’s new album, Don’t Do Anything, a couple of weeks ago. J. has already raved multiple times here about how good it is, so I won’t repeat it. But it is awesome, and I thank you, Jules. As always, you’re too good to me. She and the girls also gave me some lovely stationery, yummy chocolate espresso sauce, and beautiful drawings for my still-over-a-month-away birthay.

5* Speaking of birthdays, I finally got a couple of presents mailed off to my sister. Only a week late – not so horrible, right?

The Host is not quite as addictively compelling as the Twilight Saga, but still pretty good6* I read a couple of good books this week, and both were actually for grown-ups: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, and The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Like I said, both good, but in very different ways.

7* I’ve been asked about doing some research/data entry work for a bibliographic database over the next few months. The pay isn’t exactly stellar, but I can do it from home, in my pajamas, with my music playing, and a big bowl of ice cream with chocolate espresso sauce at my side, which makes it the Best. Temp. Job. Ever.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). Jen Corace.

2). I’m feelin’ good this weekend. I had a blog identity crisis of sorts this week, which I know sounds insufferably dramatic. More on that later anyway, ’cause Eisha and I will probably post soon about changes at 7-Imp. But the kick here, despite feeling really good about how I’ve re-prioritized things, is that I’ve got a new project for work — a challenging one, but it’s good to have almost double the hours.

3). My family and I heard Kerry Madden read from her latest book at a bookstore in Nashville this week. Her sister-in-law played her guitar and sang songs from Jessie’s Mountain. It was fun, and my girls got to dance around to songs like “Don’t Kick the Devil Dog.”

I really never set out to put pics of my kids on the blog, but I swear they glue themselves to my lap, once the camera is turned on (Eisha can attest to this after her recent visit). I like how my four-year old is too busy pretending to read to even give us the time of day. She’s ready for the Maggie Valley trilogy, I suppose.

4). Adam Rex’s forthcoming book, which I’ve seen and is made of 100% awesome. No fillers. And discovering at the aforesaid bookstore visit that there’s a new Kevin Sherry giant squid book. Who knew? Not I. We promptly came home with it. It’s hard to top I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean, which gets me every dang time, but it’s good to see the squid back.

5). I did some more volunteer storytelling this week at my local library, and this sign out front cracked. me. up. And that’s ’cause I look like an afterthought after the name of the mute, over-sized, hairy sports mascot (which is okay. It’s not like I’m insulted. It’s just funny). And it makes me look like a one-name performer. Like Cher. My husband says I should go by just “Julie” and perhaps create a whole new “Julie Jams” program. Every time I get the children up on their feet to sing with me, I can end the songs with jazz hands. Whaddya think?

6). My husband pulled from the depths of his old high school closet at his mother’s house his late ’80s Japanese Fender Stratocaster. It looks like this. Maybe I should plug that in to the amp and really jam. ’80s style. I’ll cut myself some bangs and hair-spray ’em up real high, too, y’all.

Seriously, it’s a pretty savagely cool guitar.

7). Last, but not least, Fernando Falcone gave us permission to post this in one of the page headers of our blog:

How cool is that, my friends? And what are your kicks this week?

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23 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #71: Featuring Jen Corace”

  1. Eisha, so glad you have your computer back. I know what it feels like to have computer problems. I had two crashes in less than a year.

    Jules, love to see pictures of your two little darlins!

    I missed the kicks last week so I’ll post my kicks for two weeks.

    1. July 3rd we had a wonderful time visiting with old friends and watching fireworks from the second floor deck of our host who lives along the beach.

    2. We spent the Fourth of July with friends on a beautiful boat moored in Marblehead Harbor. Fireworks again!

    3. Our traditional drink for the Fourth is margaritas–which I usually bring in a big thermos. This year, our friend and host–who is fighting cancer–asked if I could mix up a batch that has no sugar. So…instead of the bottled margarita mix I made the drinks with fresh-squeezed fruit juice. In addition to lemon and lime juice, I used orange juice to sweeten the margaritas. Delicious!

    3. We had boiled lobster for dinner on the boat. I LOVE lobster!

    4. My daughter and her boyfriend visiited last Sunday–so I made lobster rolls for dinner.

    5. Sara’s boyfriend just got the cutest yellow lab puppy. He’s adorable! They’re bringing him here for another visit again today.

    6. I made some yummy guacamole yesterday.

    7. We finally got some relief from our humid heat wave!

    P.S. My 39th wedding anniversary is on the horizon. My husband and I got married on July 19, 1969–the day before Neil Armstrong stepped on the surface of the moon.

    Have a great week!!!


  2. Eisha, My not-so-secret dream is to make enough money writing so I can do it full-time, and while I would like to say it’s because I want to devote more time to my art (which is partly true), the idea of working from home in my pajamas contains an allure I cannot resist.

    Jules, That sign IS a stitch. I had to read it about five times to even make sense of it, which might just be a great marketing strategy for the library–you know, forcing all the readers to SLOW DOWN when they’re driving by.

    Elaine, GUACAMOLE! I have some avocados here at home right now, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to make some myself today.

    1. Jules got JEN CORACE illustrations. If you put Jules’ awesomeness and Jen Corace’s awesomeness in a jar, the jar would explode, even if it was a big, thick, glass one. That’s how powerful their awesomeness is.
    2. I love “Sitting, Thinking, Staring” in particular. Personally, I like to devote a lot of time to all three activities, and I love that Edward Gorey-esque portrait on the wall, and who doesn’t love jackalopes?
    3. My caterpillars have all built chrysalises at the library, and my butterflies are still all happy and alive.
    4. Raspberries are in season.
    5. AND cherries.
    6. AND BLUEBERRIES. I’ll be doing some freezing today, yes I will.
    7. ‘Tis raining here in WNY, and it’s the perfect day for it. A good friend of mine (co-children’s librarian Jason) got married yesterday, and my gift to the happy couple was to help out setting up the rehearsal dinner and to help coordinate/make food for the reception, which was a casual outdoor picnic-y affair. It all went really well, but it was A LOT OF WORK, and I am grateful that the rain is giving me an excuse to sit on my couch doing restful things today.


  3. I am back from my trip. I coudln’t blog from the road last week. I love Little Pea and will soon purchase Little Hoot. And those illustrations for Hansel and Gretel, wow!
    Jules, your little ones are totally precious! Eisha, I may have to break down and by the next Meyers book or get in line at the library. Happy anniversary, Elaine, I was in France the day you got married. Adriene, how cool to have butterflies in your library.
    My kicks:
    1. Meeting with Laini this week to work on the conference. Look for a registration form to fill out this week and where to send the money.
    2. Returning home from vacation. I like to travel but I love coming home.
    3. Chuck, who bought a 2 foot green and orange stuffed dinosaur, did a little repair, and washed it up making it look like new and fiving it to our youngest grand daughter.
    4. The look on granddaughter’s face and her dancing around Dino the Dinosaur, singing “Dino’s my best friend, he is amazing.”
    5. The weather, fabulously perfect in the northwest.
    6. My other granddaughter celebrated the nation’s birthday by wearing her “Fourth of July” dress for 8 days. (her mom did sneak it into the wash a couple of times)
    7. Summer vacation!
    Have a great week.


  4. I meant “giving” not “fiving”. Oops.


  5. Elaine, those juicy margaritas sound delicious – and I’m usually more of a daquiri girl. And watching fireworks from a boat! That’s the way to celebrate.

    adrienne, THANK YOU. I was trying to remember the word “jackalopes” when I looked at that illustration, and was about to refer to my copy of “Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature” to remind me. Oh, and give my congrats to Jason!

    jone, your granddaughters tickle me – love the dino song, and I love the 8-day-dress. Welcome home!


  6. Ooh!! I get to say “Fernando Falcone” again. (I assure you my accent is fabulous, but I need a red cape.)

    You ladies have outdone yourselves today with Jen awesomeness and crazy good kicks. Eisha, I’m SOOOO happy for you that Roxy is back! (And have you heard the buzz on cilantro recently? You have your revenge!)

    Miss Julie, if you ever take your Jam on the road, please sign me up for your back-up group. You = front person, champion reader/storyteller. Me = pajama uniform, cheerleading, jazz hands, and doodle-e-doo.

    How much do I LOVE that photo of the Daniels and Kerry Madden?!

    Kicks:

    1. Lunched with a writer friend and had a delicious crab cake roll! YUM.

    2. My cousin from Hawaii surprised me with a visit (she was here for an education conference). She brought tons of kona coffee, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate dipped macadamia shortbread cookies, and some t-shirts her son had designed.

    3. Participating in the Live Journal hometown photo-a-day challenge initiated by Cynthia Lord.

    4. We have two beautiful, adorable fawns — they’re all spotty and gangly and follow their mother everywhere.

    5. Finally washed and ironed our bedroom curtains and cleaned the windows.

    6. Finally saw “Once,” and loved it. Now I have to get the CD.

    7. Bear madness! Reading bear books, new and old, and retrieving some long lost bears from the basement for the Teddy Bear Picnic on my blog July-August. Everyone, please join the fun by posting about your favorite bear books!

    Have a great week, and stay cool!

    Happy Anniversary, Elaine :)!


  7. Oh, MAN, do I have kicks! But, I have to kick-agree with Eisha here about the fabulous Jen Corace’s Aslan and Lucy. And roses. Oh, yes, it’s them, and they’re gorgeous.

    My #1, doesn’t-get-any-better kick is getting a preview of the cover art for my next book. It. Is. AMAZING, and made me shriek and left me speechless. Jody Hegwill is a stellar artist.

    My #2 kick is the Suissôtel spa in Tallinn, Estonia, where I had a massage, then did a cycle of sitting in a steam saunas, taking ice an cold shower and swimming laps for a couple of hours. MAN, I felt good afterwards.

    My #3 kick is silly — but I’m just ridiculously happy the title for my second book was accepted. I am REALLY BAD at titles, and my editor was pretty amused at my first try. I will now always think of MARE’S WAR as “the title that DIDN’T sound like an 80’s movie.”

    #4 – I finished my line edits in my revision, which means I can go on three days of computer free vacationing to the Highlands with no guilt whatsoever.

    #5 – I am going to the Scottish Highlands for three days and I’m going to stuff in all kinds of sightseeing and hiking and not check my email. Hopefully by the time I get back, my kicks will no longer be obsessed with my book and my writing, and I will have maybe moved on to something else (sorry!).

    #6 – I bought two handmade wool hats in Estonia. I love hats, and where we were in Tallinn is inexpensive and has places which are as cute as Disneyland without the rides. (Pretty little cobblestone everythings.)

    #7 – I I got NEW BOOKSHELVES and am getting rid of one hundred and sixty-one books to a B&B, and a women’s health center so that teens can have good things to read while on vacation, and while tense and seeing a doctor.

    It’s been a busy week, and I can’t wait to see what other great things have happened to everyone else. Cheers!


  8. Elaine, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY in advance! What great kicks you have — you all are livin’ it up something serious.

    Adrienne, so glad that the wedding went well and that you’re getting rest. The Jen images are especially for you! And I’m glad you got a kick out of that library sign, too. I cracked up and drove back with my camera just to get a pic.

    Jone, so glad you had a good time travelling. You and Laini are working your tails off, too, on this conference. Wish I could be there.

    Jama, I’ll take your back-up “doodle-e-doo”s any time. Thanks for the heads-up about your bear posts. I wouldn’t know, ’cause I don’t think I read a single blog this week. I’ll think about the bear books. This comes to mind now, though I know you’ve seen that post before.

    And, my oh my, the fawns sound beautiful.

    TadMack, have too much fun in the Highlands. And congrats on all the good book news, especially the cover. Your book donation sounds awesome, too.

    My kick #8: My husband and I just decided to take our wee girls to their first movie today — in a theater, that is, with the huge screen and the big speakers and all that. I know the four-year old’s ready; the almost-three-year-old…. well, it might be a bit much for her, but we’ll see. I’m so excited. This is one of those Firsts, you know?

    Thanks for kickin’ with us, you guys.


  9. Eisha, congrats the best temp job ever. I so miss the working at home thing, I was eyeing off pyjamas at the shops today and wishing I could buy them to wear around the house during the day!

    Jules (or “Julie” the librarian star), I hope your girls liked the theatre! They are too cute to keep off the blog.

    Elaine, your margarita mix sounds so nice and summery.

    Adrienne, butterflies in the library are a fantastic addition!

    Jama, the fawns sound very cute!

    Tadmack, wooly hats are one of things I liked most about my British winter. Glad you got some cute ones!

    1. I just went clothes shopping (imagine me making that groan of Sideshow Bob’s) and found a pair of grey trousers that fit! As in, not only does the top bit fit but the length is correct! I could wear them right now if I wanted to! I am not sure this has ever happened before (yes I am short).
    2. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but when I moved here I decided to match everyone else and buy a waterproof jacket. It is great fun walking around in the rain with the hood up! (It only works in lightish rain though. When it rains properly your bag and legs just get too wet.)
    3. I’m in the office enough at the moment that I’ve been able to start pilates classes again this week – it felt great to stretch.
    4. Yesterday evening we took advantage of the long summer evening to ride across the common to the next town for dinner and then rode back again
    5. I have caught up on some long overdue emails which means I can stop mentally wincing whenever I think about one of the recipients
    6. We bought a wok! Can’t believe we lived without one for so long.
    7. Cherries are in season. Mmmmmm.


  10. jama – FAWNS!!! How beautiful! Also, those cookies sound amazing.

    TadMack, any time you’re tired of your life, I’m ready to take over. Spas, massages, and the Scottish highlands… I could totally do that.

    emmaco, I’m so impressed over the pants. That hardly ever happens to me either, and when it does it feels like a miracle. Congrats!


  11. Eisha, that’s great news about your computer. I had something similar with my car radio, where I left it not working for some six months, and then it only took about an hour and a half to get it fixed. But better to get it done eventually… Jules, LOVE the photo with Kerry, and this week’s art.

    My kicks:

    1. The Red Sox are back in first place in their division, just in time for the All-Star break.
    2. After yet another reviewing drought, I wrote six reviews yesterday (only half of them posted yet), catching up on my most recent reads. The ones that I read around my move and never got around to reviewing, well, they’re still on the “hope to review someday” shelf. But it’s still progress.
    3. I’m liking the new ABC Family channel drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager (which was a recommendation from Liz B.). And it’s nice to have something new to watch during the summer.
    4. Mheir and I went out for excellent teppanyaki on Friday night, just because… It reminded us of being at Disney World (we always go to the place in Epcot).
    5. I reserved my hotel for the Kidlitosphere conference (thanks, Jone!).

    And that’s really all I can come up with. It was kind of a long week filled with extra-tedious stuff at work. But at least I have books…


  12. I’m in Santa Fe right now, which is one big kick, and am writing this after having made a mojito from scratch. We’ll see how this goes (I just typed “scratchy” so that may be the indication of things to come). Anyway, here goes:

    1) “Falstaff” opera on Friday night at the Santa Fe Opera house.
    2) I got my mom’s partner’s Nano to work, plus I showed him how to upload his picture onto Facebook, AND I cleaned up my mother’s computer desktop. It was a mess! Librarians may crave order, but they don’t necessarily carry through.
    3) The guitar I’m using on loan has light steel strings. I put medium steel strings on my guitar at home to strengthen my fingers. Now that I’m playing a guitar with light strings, barring chords is a breeze. Okay, so I still have to pause a second during chord changes.
    4) The bookings for my Pierce County Library gigs have been finalized. Two of them are waaay out there so they may end up being daytrips for my family to explore other parts of Washington we’d never venture into had I not gotten those gigs.
    5) “Come Together” with Travis Picking sounds kind of cool.
    6) I’m going through a blog-liberation of sorts, where I’ve stopped caring who’s linking to me. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love it when people link to me, but it’s no big deal anymore if I link and they don’t. Why was that ever a big deal? I don’t know. Ego, I suppose.
    7) Santa Fe. Have I mentioned that already?:) The terrain is gorgeous, and I really kvell to the scent of juniper that wafts over everything.


  13. Emmaco, as usual, lovely kicks, but special congrats on getting caught up on email. I’m seriously considering an email bankruptcy myself, just deleting everything, and starting over. Why do I have almost 7,000 messages? I mean, really. Do I need all of them?

    Jen, wahoo for your beloved Red Sox, and what is teppanyaki? I could look it up, I know.

    Alkelda, so good to read you’re enjoying Santa Fe. And congrats on more bookings, too.


  14. Jen, I drove a car with a broken air conditioner IN TENNESSEE for over a year. What is it with us? Congrats on the review progress, btw.

    Alkelda, The Host takes place in the southwest – Arizona, mostly – and it made me really really want to see some of that terrain you’re hanging out in.


  15. I love her old-fashioned style in these pieces – the colors, the lines, the characters, the character, the classy style of them all!

    I have a request in for Little Hoot at the library, and I just added Hansel and Gretel to my booklist Books to Read aka forthcoming releases.

    emmaco: Short people rule.

    eisha: Aslan! Sniffle. Congrats on the reacquisition of Roxy. Good luck with the research!

    Jules: Vibes to you. I’m glad that you and yours got to see and hear Kerry and company. They look very happy. Jack from Will and Grace would call you Just Julie with vogue hands!

    Rock on with the Fernando Wonderland image!

    My kicks for the week:
    1) Vacaciones con mi familia!
    2) Finally getting a response – and even though it wasn’t the response I wanted, knowing that my determination and follow-through are strong and in full effect, and I shall not be deterred!
    3) Bonding with a tiny salamander
    4) Along the same lines, having critters once again prove that I am the Pied Piper of Animals
    5) Performing (I had a Fourth of July gig!)
    6) Making things last
    7) Hoping for the best (Again, not letting the pettiness of others deter me. Ever.)


  16. Little Willow, if you bonded with a salamander, you should read Write Naked, but then that might be what you’re talking about anyway.

    I’m going to send you Generation Dead this week. Possibly perhaps even tomorrow. Pinky promise.

    Glad you had a good week!


  17. Sorry. Teppanyaki = Japanese steak house, where they grill the food at your table. I might be spelling it wrong…


  18. Late as usual. But, Wow! What great kicks and what great illustrations! Jen Corace is awesome!

    I have to do a shout-out about Santa Fe to Alkelda. I lived in Santa Fe for several years, and worked/interned at the Opera when I was in undergrad – I hope you enjoyed the sunset! Oh, and if you get a chance, Tecolote Cafe is one of the best places for breakfast – the pinon pancakes are killer, as are the muffin baskets.

    Ok, my kicks for the week:

    1. Jen Corace (I want the one titled “me and you, you and me” in the fine art section of http://www.jencorace.com )

    2. Fernando Falcone giving you permission to post that gorgeous illustration. I had a good friend over for breakfast this a.m., and was showing her your blog, and she remarked how much his work reminds her of Pan’s Labyrinth. I agreed!

    3. Cooking breakfast for that same friend and catching up – delightedly learning she may get her dream job in the next month or so. Even though it will mean she has to move back to the east coast for it – ITS A DREAM JOB.

    4. Running 10 miles Saturday morning, and feeling pretty ok afterwards. I am on track for my half-marathon.

    5. Finding a great vintage dress to wear to a wedding reception this weekend, and then finding the perfect pair of shoes for the dress!

    6. Getting an ipod nano for my birthday from my boyfriend – he’s the best!

    7. Finally persuading same boyfriend that we needed a hammock. Yay!

    7.5 Getting a copy of Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath from the library today, and devouring half of it already while relaxing in the above-mentioned hammock.


  19. RM, I’m so glad you explored Jen’s site! Isn’t it great?

    I’d love to hear what you think of The Underneath when you’re done. I loved it.

    Happy hammock reading!


  20. She is an actual little tiny salamander. I named her Auryn.


  21. 1. That incredible Falcone art!
    2. A day in the river
    3. Little Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs
    4. Del McCoury concert from archive.org
    5. Avoided speaking with annoying person.
    6. Pinkwater reading Hoboken Chicken Emergency on CD
    7. Virginia Tech Horticultural Gardens


  22. Sam! I love that you left your kicks. Is #6 a new thing? I. must. hear.


  23. […] for the reading program is The Arts. When I visited yesterday, I had some arts-stories in mind. (No “Julie Jams” or jazz hands, I’m sorry to report.) So, as Adrienne might put it, here’s What I Did Yesterday as […]


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