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!)
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: 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.
3* 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?
6* 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.
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?