7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #85: Featuring Dan Santat

h1 October 19th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: Welcome to our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on 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.

This week we welcome illustrator Dan Santat, pictured here in first grade, just ’cause I freakin’ love that picture. Dan is—one day out of the year—Santa Claus, but he’s a children’s book writer and commercial illustrator on the other three-hundred-and-sixty-four days. And he fights crime on the side. That’s what he’ll tell you at his web site/blog (where you also learn that, in no time at all, he’ll have an addition to his family. Oh my, that’s an exciting time! We wish him and his family the best) . . . That swingin’ illustration which opens this post is a teaser: It’s from a forthcoming title Dan has illustrated, Chicken Dance (Sterling Publishing), written by Tammi Sauer and to be released next year.

Dan graduated from Art Center College of Design in 2001, setting out to be an animator. Soon after, he got a job working as an artist in the video game industry and, the very next year, sold his first book manuscript, The Guild of Geniuses (pictured below), to Arthur A. Levine Books after Arthur saw Dan’s dummy book and portfolio and offered him a two-book deal. Guild of Geniuses was released in 2004, and it won both a Bronze Medal in book illustration from the Society of Illustrators and the Marion Vannett Ridgeway Honor Award for best debut author/illustrator.

Dan has also illustrated The Secret Life of Walter Kitty by Barbara Jean Hicks (Knopf, 2007 — mentioned here at 7-Imp) and Rhea Perlman’s Otto Undercover series (Harpercollins), both pictured below:

The many faces of Snookums

The many faces of Snookums

Dan is also the creator of an animated series called “The Replacements” for the Disney Channel. “It was originally based on a children’s book proposal that I was working on that ended up finding its way to Disney,” he said. “I was heavily involved in development. I’m hoping I can some day do the book, but now it’s all tied up in the Disney Legal Dept.”

The show’s debut was in 2006, and it is currently in its second season. Meet Agent K and Dick Daring (you know, I dress like Agent K during my off hours, too) . . .

What else? Let’s see. Dan also created the 2006 Macy’s Day poster. And his forthcoming books will be The Ghosts of Luckless Gulch by Anne Isaacs (Atheneum), coming this November; Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo by Ayun Halliday (Disney Hyperion), coming in 2009 (hey, I read and lurved her book on motherhood, which I reviewed in something like my FIRST POST EVER at 7-Imp. Wild. But I digress); the aforementioned Chicken Dance; and The Calendar Club by Nancy Star (Scholastic), which is out now, but only through Scholastic Book Club, according to Dan.

Currently, Dan is working on a chapter book series with author Lisa Yee. “I’m writing/illustrating my own graphic novel, The Domesticated Four,” he told me. “The story is about four superhero house pets who compete for the affections of their owner, world famous superhero Captain Amazing, by entering his sidekick auditions.”

Fortunately, Dan sent some art work from each upcoming title. Kickin’, I say. Here’s a preview of The Domesticated Four, and the rest follow:


From Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo by Ayun Halliday (Disney Hyperion),
coming in 2009


From The Calendar Club by Nancy Star (Scholastic). Hey, that adult looks like
Kelly Fineman, don’t ya think?

And three spreads from The Ghosts of Luckless Gulch by Anne Isaacs (Atheneum), coming this November:



Man, I know it took a while to get to kicks, but I LOVE IT when illustrators deliver like Dan did today. Many, many thanks to him for sharing all this art work with us, and once again, we wish him the best of luck with the upcoming, new, wee babe!

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* Okay, well, obviously the art. And the author photograph.

2* The fact that my husband made it safe to Seoul. And sounds like he’s having a pretty good time.

3* I just saw Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and while it isn’t the best movie ever, it may totally have the best soundtrack ever.

4* I got a dress for $15 at Old Navy, and got tons of compliments when I wore it to work. Probably because I wore it with the scarf that Jules gave me last Christmas.

And… that’s prolly it. It was kind of a low-key week, kicks-wise. How ’bout you, Jules?

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

I have to say thanks again to Dan. WOOT! I’m looking forward to those new books . . .

1). Author/illustrator Annette Simon sent me the loveliest, most thoughtful gift, and I thank her again.

The one and only Wiz as Dorothy Gale2). My local public library, whose story times I frequent with my girls, has a new, energetic, terrifically nice children’s librarian.

3). That same librarian sent my girls off this week from story time with little treasure bags they made themselves, and we took a nice walk on Friday in the cool, gorgeous Fall weather and tried to fill those treasure bags with things like flowers, rocks, leaves, etc. We didn’t find much, but the journey was fun. And we’re loving the cool autumn weather. We even had some hot chocolate this week.

4). Speaking of the girls, my youngest turned three this week, which is a kick in and of itself. But also some of my long-distance friends sent her the loveliest little gifts and cards and such, which was also kickin’ and terrifically sweet. They are too kind, and—just in case they’re reading—I thank them again.

5). The poem Sara posted on Poetry Friday. It is here in its entirety. Whew. Blew me away. PERFECTION.

6). We’ll be trick-or-treating at the zoo today, and—given my post from Wednesday—I thought I’d share that Dorothy and Toto will be joining us (pictured above).

7). The McCain/Obama roast. McCain zinging Obama and Obama zinging McCain at the recent Alfred E. Smith Dinner. Of course, I enjoyed the latter more, but it’s fun to see them light-heartedly tease each other and self-deprecate. Two weeks before the election. Only in America. I laughed out loud when Obama said (and I partly paraphrase): My greatest strength? My humility. My biggest weakness? “It’s possible that I’m a little too awesome.”

* * * * * * *

Two quick mentions our readers might be interested in:

* To celebrate the release of Something Wicked, Alan Gratz’s second Horatio Wilkes mystery (which officially was released this past Thursday, I believe), Dial Books is offering a special promotion: They’re letting folks read the first Horatio Wilkes mystery, Something Rotten, for free. “You read that right. Free. Gratis. Complimentary. No charge,” says Alan. You don’t have to register, you don’t have to give your e-mail address, and you don’t have to buy something else to read it. All you have to do is click here. I think this promotion ends on November 30th, so hop to it, if interested!

* Chronicle Books is having a promotional sale from now through 10/23 on a selection of children’s/YA Halloween titles, which you can find out more about here. I know this seems rather commercial-y, but I told them I’d pass it on, since a lot of our readers are (duh) book-lovers and might be interested in book sales for their own children, their libraries, their classrooms, etc.

* * * * * * *

What are YOUR kicks this week?





31 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #85: Featuring Dan Santat”

  1. Wow, I went to Santat’s website. What a blas. So is his art. And the anticipation of a new one. I just had to comment on that (My baby grandduaghter was actually due today!)
    Eisha, don’t you love whent you can find a good bargain?
    Jules, Cutest Dorothy e-v-e-r!
    My kicks:
    1. Oldest granddaughter giving “Zucchinis” (she could not say “Bitsakeena”spelling made up) This is where you pinch the cheeks and give kisses.
    2. Middle ganddaughter saying she was going to hold baby sister “forever and ever>”
    3, A good week at school, nothing spectacular, just a good week, things went smoothly.
    4. Chuck and I getting the dining room painted “Chamois” by Ralph Laurent paint. We made a good team.
    5. Finished re-reading Patry Francis” Liar’s Diary for book club. Loved it just as much.
    6. In the middle of North of Beautiful (ARC) by Christina Chen Headley.
    7. Student poetry is coming alive.
    Have a great week.


  2. That first illustration from Chicken Dance made me think at once of a late-’90s computer game called “Grim Fandango.” (Some images on the Wikipedia page should give you an idea why.) Then when I read he’d worked “as an artist in the video game industry,” and saw some (not all) of his other work, here and on his site, I thought, like, Hmmm… Alas, no sign anywhere (including in the game’s credits) that he actually worked on GF.

    But wow, the guy has TALENT!

    Eisha: Haven’t seen “Nick & Norah” yet. Somebody somewhere must have made up a list or website of “so-so movies with Class A soundtracks”; it sounds like N&N might be right up there. Is it music from a particular genre, or from all over the map?

    Jules: That Dorothy & Toto combination is gonna need more than one basket when they go door-to-door, if you get my meaning. (Oh, and I’d missed Sara’s poem on Friday — thanks so much for the heads-up, it’s great!)

    Some kicks:
    1. Staying home from work Weds. with nothing in particular in mind to do. (One of the few perks of being an adult with vacation time in reserve: telling the grown-ups you’re gonna play hooky on Day X, and they can’t do anything to stop you.)
    2. The Missus and I watched a recent Brit comedy the other night, “Death at a Funeral,” which had us doubled over throughout. Highly recommended, obviously!
    3. Vicarious pleasure department, division of good things happening to good people: learned the other day that a recent acquaintance signed with a MAJOR lit agency. Truly a big deal.
    4. The debate.
    5. Oh, and you know what’s interesting? I’ve started to catch myself in the act of noting, “Hmm — this would be something to mention on 7 Kicks day…” Which itself is a kick. (Translation, for the inattentive: thanks!)
    6. Finally, after a couple months’ procrastination, started an occasional series of blog posts on the topic “perfect moments.” And wouldn’t you know it — what pushed me over the edge was an item on an animation website.


  3. LOVE the Dorothy and Toto picture, Jules. That is priceless. And ok, Dan’s illustrations are impressive, too. Eisha, I’m glad to hear that about the N&N soundtrack. Because really, how sad would it for the movie to have a lame soundtrack?

    1. The Red Sox made what is becoming a classic comeback the other night when facing elimination, and down by seven runs. The last game of the series is tonight, and Mheir and I have all of playoff rituals set to go (you might have to be a long-time Red Sox fan to understand).
    2. I re-read one of my favorite books, Katherine Neville’s The Eight, in anticipation of reading the long-awaited sequel. I had to put off various blog-related tasks to do it, but I have no regrets.
    3. The Cybils nomination lists will be out tomorrow, with a record number of nominations. And Sheila’s database for keeping track of the nominations is amazing!
    4. I made chocolate chip brownies this week, just because…
    5. I joined FaceBook, and even though it’s a bit of time sink, I’m having a lot of fun with it. And I heard from a high school friend that I hadn’t talked to in years and years.

    And that’s all I can think of. Happy Sunday!!


  4. Jone, one day I want to watch you in action with your students and poetry. How’s that punkin puddin’ head granddaughter of yours doing, too?

    JES, I also find myself naming things (in my head) as kicks during the week, and even though this sounds awfully Dr.-Phil of me, I find that just getting in the kicks frame-of-mind helps me look for The Good and be a bit more half-glass-full during the weeks….congrats to your newly-signed friend, and I gotsta see this “perfect moments” bit. I only had time once this week to visit your blog, and I saw the very, very bizarre, yet oddly entertaining, Kermit/Talking Heads bit. Memorable, indeed.

    Jen, yes, wouldn’t it be a sad, sad thing if the soundtrack to that movie was lame? Oh, and I’m so glad you’re on Facebook. I find it to be the opposite of a time-sink, though I never thought I’d join. Well, perhaps it does eat up a bit more time, but what I find is that it really does make it easier to keep up with friends. I’m sure the argument here is that you will always make the effort to keep up with your truly, truly bestest of friends, online social networks or not. True. But I am keeping up better with acquaintances, former colleagues I no longer live near, finding old high school and college friends (as you did), etc. I lurv it.

    Chocolate chip brownies…..mmm.

    I hope everyone has a great day. I’m off to get dressed as a witch (no comment from my children or husband as to how, depending on the day of the week, this is not a stretch for me) and spend the day costuming about. If the server snags anyone’s kicks, 7-Imp apologizes in advance, and I’ll free them from the evil clutches of spam once I return. Or, if Eisha’s around today, she can.

    I hope everyone’s out enjoying the beautiful Autumn weather (at least here’s hoping it’s beautiful where you are).


  5. Eisha, it’s so great when one gets compliments on clothes that aren’t expensive (like my favourite ebay skirt). I haven’t even gotten around to reading N&N let alone watching the movie…

    Jules, trick or treating at the zoo sounds fun and intriguing. Do the animals give out treats? :)

    Jone I’m glad your eldest granddaughter is being taught good skills like kissing and cheek pinching :)

    JES thanks for mentioning the film you enjoyed, I was just trying to update our waiting list for lovefilm (netflix equivalent) so it’s timely!

    Jen chocolate chip brownies for no particular reason are a perfect example of a kick, I think

    My list:

    1. Local apple growers brought their wares for us to sample at work one day this week. I bought some red ones whose name I have forgotten and some yummy crunchy yellow ones called Egremont Russets. Plus apple jelly.
    2. I have a potato planter for next year, courtesy of someone at work who didn’t need it. Looking forward to trying to grow potatoes!
    3. After SO much deliberation we bought a bread maker, and I think it was definitely the right decision, I can’t wait to make my own bread for weekdays (rather than saving the baking for weekends)
    4. Bought lining to go with the material my sister sent over, just need to get around to visiting the dressmaker now. Also picked up thread and needle so I can sew on a button that fell off a cardigan about 9 months ago
    5. Picked up some new bulbs to add to my stash from last season
    6. We made a delicious roast chicken stuffed with lemon, garlic and thyme for dinner last night (and the potatoes came out perfectly, which is the part I like the most)
    7. Today it’s all about the food, we FINALLY ordered a vegetable box from a local scheme, looking forward to trying out some new veggies (even if the first box includes beetroot…any beetroot cooking suggestions?)


  6. Kudos to Dan for this impressive body of work, including all of the projects that lie ahead. I liked the look of The Secret Life of Walter Kitty, and I look forward to seeing his work with Lisa Yee. The Domesticated Four sounds awesome as well!

    eisha: Long-distance howdies to your husband. We were rocking out to the N&N readergirlz playlist at work this week.

    Jules: Happy birthday to your youngest! Three is SUCH A GOOD AGE. Have fun at the zoo. Remind Dorothy that there’s no place like home. Yay for the energetic new librarian and the treasure bags.

    eisha and Jules: I thought of you both earlier this week when I saw a woman on the subway carrying a stuffed Patrick (from SpongeBob) dressed in SPARTAN! attire.

    Jone: Re: “Zucchinis” – too cute. Glad that your grandgirls are doing well. North of Beautiful is lovely! Enjoy.

    Jes: I too make mental notes for future Kicks posts.

    Jen: I have had chocolate chip cookies and I have had brownies, but I have never had (nor heard of) chocolate chip brownies. They sound delicious. Rock on for Cybils records! I can’t wait!

    emmaco: I’ve been craving apples for a solid week now. Woo hoo for the bread maker! Have fun with your various projects. I just ate some salad with beets. Yum.

    My kicks:
    * Read-through for musical #1
    * Submitting something important directly (albeit it electronically) to a casting director
    * Being asked to reprise my role in musical #2 – a musical I did last year is running again!
    * Read-through for musical #2
    * Orange juice
    * Being comfortable
    * Being happy


  7. jone, I wanna give that grandbaby some zucchinis, too!

    JES, the N&N soundtrack is all indie, all the time. The movie even had cameos by Bishop Allen and Devendra Banhart. Congrats on the aimless vacation days. And I’ve been meaning to see Death at a Funeral since I caught a preview on a DVD recently – now I really want to see it.

    Jen, too true about N&N. Best of luck to your beloved Sox, and OMG those brownies sound awesome.

    emmaco, you ARE all about the food, but it all sounds delicious, especially those apples. I’m lost on the beetroot, though.

    Little Willow, as always, break a leg! Or, in Spartan-speak, COME BACK WITH YOUR SHIELD, OR ON IT!


  8. Wow, Dan’s a busy guy. I love Snookums; I’ll be looking forward to the new books a’coming.

    Eisha, I’m totally listening to the Nick & Norah soundtrack RIGHT NOW. Love it.

    Jules, So you’re the witch and your daughter is Dorothy–is the rest of the family thematic or are they doing their own thing? And, seriously, your daughters are just so darned cute.

    Jone, You guys ROCK getting that painting done. I have a couple painting projects to do here, and I note that wishing they’d get done doesn’t help. I leave the paint and brushes out for the elves in the night sometimes, but that hasn’t worked out for me yet, either.

    Jen, I’m baking chocolate chip pumpkin muffins with fresh pumpkin today. Who needs a reason?

    Emmaco, I got a bread machine this past January, and it’s been great for my mid-week bread needs. Enjoy!

    I have a cold, so that’s been kind of sucking, but on the bright side:
    1. The cold is slightly better today.
    2. #1 allowed me to go out apple-picking earlier today.
    3. It is a perfect day for apple-picking–chilly but very sunny.
    4. We continue to have incredible fall colors here.
    5. I did a few work-related presentations this week, and they all went decently, by which I mean, two went really well and one went okay. I’ll take that; it was crazy to schedule that much in one week.
    6. I at long last watched the first disc of Simon Pegg’s Spaced. I am so in love. How sad that there is only the one disc left. Sigh.
    7. I listened to this episode of This American Life while on a walk earlier this week: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1255. Act one made me laugh so hard that I had to stop walking and sit down. I wish something made me laugh like that every day.


  9. Forget Elvis Poultry. Dan Santat is the rock star behind CHICKEN DANCE. I am so thrilled to be working with him on this project. :)

    If you scan through his blog to the September 26 post, you can see additional artwork from CHICKEN DANCE that features the chickens vogue-ing, doing the move from Pulp Fiction, and, among other things, performing the grand finale lift from Dirty Dancing. So. Very. Cool.

    Thanks for featuring Dan here today!


  10. Every week, I end up alerting a friend or two to the coolness of 7-Imp’s Illustrator of the week. How do you guys come across these amazing artists and their crazy projects? My boys totally fell in love with Mini Grey, and now I am going to look out for Santat’s stuff, for sure.

    Eisha—I have friends in South Korea, an English teacher and librarian couple. They’re two of the nicest people I know. Let me know if your hubby would like to meet them and has time. I imagine his work is intensive, but I figure it can’t hurt to offer!

    Jules—Is that Glenda standing beside Dorothy? Hmmm?

    You guys are killing me with the chocolate! I really, really, really, really shouldn’t eat chocolate. And now I want some.

    I hardly know where to begin this week. My experiences this week have been either mind-bogglingly sprawling (jury duty-related adventures) or so modest that they I wonder if anyone else would be as fulfilled by them as I was.
    1. The first day of jury duty, during an extended lull, I was brave enough (heart beating like a madman) to go into the two jury lounges and announce that I had Save Darfur Coalition “Million Voices” campaign postcards if anyone was interested in signing one. Some people awkwardly looked away, but a bunch of people signed postcards and a few took postcards home. Yay!
    2. This next one is a long kick, but I can hardly believe this happened to me: I took the bus into downtown to the courthouse, the first day with my father-in-law and the second day solo. On the second day, my bus was in an accident! Nobody was hurt, but everyone had to get off the bus and walk up to the next bus stop to wait for the next bus. When the next bus came, everyone piled on, and I started singing “Another One Rides the Bus” in my head. The song made me so happy I must have looked like a grinning maniac, and I was *this* close to bursting into song right there, crammed onto the bus with everyone. But that wasn’t all! Then a man in a wheelchair needed to get off the bus, and a bunch of us in front had to get off the bus for him to get out from the middle. Shortly after we re-boarded, some jerk made a crass comment to me, and I spent the rest of the bus ride and walk to the courthouse doing the best I could in my head to picture myself assertively turning to that guy and telling him how rude his comment was. Usually, that kind of thing would have had me in tears. I think adrenaline from the crash and glee from “Another One Rides the Bus” counteracted an upset. Right after the insane bus ride, while I was waiting for the courthouse elevator, a woman in a wheelchair/ scooter started talking to me, unintelligibly, about how she broke her foot. A couple men in fancy suits walked up to wait for the elevator. Immediately, one of them asked her, “Is there somebody you can sue for that?” I dashed for the stairs and ran up five flights!
    3. For lunch on day two of jury duty, I ate at Sree’s, a place I have been wanting to try. I also had time to hang out at the downtown library.
    4. Everyone on the jury seemed amiable—not one rude, grumbly, or grumpy person to spoil the dynamics. In fact, after we had sat around all day in this little conference room, when the guy in charge finally came to take us to the judge, we were all laughing so hard about something that he had to ask us to quiet down because the courtroom was on the other side of the wall! We didn’t know that!
    5.- 7. A smattering of happy little things: I strummed my five-year-old’s guitar a little, and now he insists that I am the best guitar-player *ever*. Our compost pile plus two holes in the yard = no holes and no pile. I found The Happy Hocky Family by Lane Smith for $1. I made some boring but yummy lentil and chickpea soup. My husband took the boys to a birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese, leaving me home alone, not getting over-stimulated and not eating bad pizza. I sent a lovely present with them.


  11. Okay, William and I are crazy about The Replacements and I LOVE The Many Faces of Snookums (and I am NOT a cat lover)!

    Eisha, I’m glad your husband has had safe travels so far. And Jules, another birthday in the house? What fun!

    Here are my kicks for the week.
    1. Pumpkin carving
    2. Hot, roasted pumpkin seeds
    3. Clean, crisp sheets on the bed
    4. Homemade sauce (buckets of it) and chicken parm
    5. Temperature finally dropped out of the 80s – I hope fall is on its way
    6. Two-day teacher workshop during my fall break that went swimmingly well
    7. Cybils nominations – 61 in NFPB!

    Have a great week all!


  12. Oh, boy. When I have it together enough to come visit ya’ll on Sunday, it makes me so happy.

    I am so ready for the Santat/Sauer Chicken Dance. Mercy, that looks fun. And I also really love that art for Luckless Gulch. Very, very much.

    And Eisha, I got me a cheapo skirt this week, too. So satisfying. As is your little Dorothy, Jules…

    OK, kicks:

    1. I got to hold a 5 pound baby. 5 pounds. Teeniest little punkinhead you ever did see. In fact, I think you’d have to call her a gourd head. She’s way too tiny for punkin.

    2. Yesterday, I lay on the couch with my youngest — each reading our own books — and then we both napped.

    3. Last night I cleared away about three massive piles from around my desk while watching Friday Night Lights instant download from Netflix.

    4. We made caramel apples yesterday! Dipped in crunched up hazelnuts!!!

    5. I also joined Facebook and I don’t have the foggiest clue as to how to use it yet, but I think I should be satisfied that I’ve asked people to be my friend and they’ve said yes.

    6. Today we went to Maker Faire, this wild event devoted to do it yourselfers, innovators, creators. It’s hard to explain conceptually, but suffice it to say that we watched 220 pound robots fight… made smoothies on bike-powered blenders… witnessed a huge, life-sized mousetrap crush an old dishwasher… made funky homemade fabric lunch sacks… witnessed belly dancers and fire sculptors… built rubber-band cars… made keychains out of Scrabble and Mah Jong tiles…

    7. I guess the University of Texas is now the hottest football team on the planet. Or something like that. I have to admit this doesn’t matter to me, but everyone in town is so happy about it. Which is, you must admit, a kick.

    Happy week, guys…


  13. I believe that pretty much any dessert is improved by the addition of chocolate chips. Sometimes I use mint or peanut butter chips in the brownies, but the chocolate chips are the classic.


  14. I cannot show that Dorothy picture to my daughter. She will insist on having the costume as well. She also wants a Mary Poppins costume. I told her, “You can be anything you like as long as you find the clothes in your dress-up pile!” She’s going to get a visit from the Halloween Fairy this year. After collecting candy in the neighborhood, she’ll leave it out for the Halloween Fairy will who take the candy and leave a FANTASTIC present in exchange. My daughter’s teachers are always lauding the Halloween fairy. I think they’re thankful Halloween falls on a Friday this year so they don’t have to deal with the following day’s sugar high!

    My low-key kicks this week:
    1) After seeing Brian Vogan in concert last Sunday (he’s totally got the magic in a subtle Woody Guthrie kind of way), I composed a simple hello song I think I can use in storytimes. While I couldn’t resist throwing in a “surprise” chord (i.e. on that briefly breaks out of the key in which the song is written– I’m sure there’s some official terms for it), it’s still pretty simple. I may share it on the blog sometime.

    2) We’re eating the second loaf of pumpkin bread with orange butter that I won at auction last year. My friend who put the item up for auction baked the bread a few weeks ago. We ate one right away and stuck the other loaf in the freezer.

    3) Speaking of freezers, I itemized everything in the freezer and cupboards! It took two weeks, I think, to make time and space for it. The idea is that as we use up stuff we cross things off the list, add to them when we buy new things, etc. I found things I’d forgotten we bought!

    4) I received a copy of Paul Ellis’ “Dragonfly Races” from a publicist last week. It’s pretty good. I’ll probably review it soon. Every time I hear “Wabi Sabi Soul” I think of that new book Wabi Sabi illustrated by Ed Young.

    5) I’m getting a kick out of my daugfhter’s marionette shows.

    6) It looks as if I will be getting a promo video done in the new year! I hope it comes to fruition. I’m excited about it, and it’s really cool how it even came to be possible. After it’s done (knock on wood), I’ll have a story to tell you.

    7) Eric Ode and I are writing a poem/song about tying one’s shoes and using a fork.


  15. Awesomeness. LOVE Dan’s work. SO glad to see him featured here.

    Have a great week!


  16. Funny thing about that photo you tagged with a resemblance? I was born on April Fools Day. (Check out that poster on the tree.)


  17. Emmaco, no, the animals did not distribute candy, but wouldn’t that have been fun? My husband did keep telling our oldest that she might have stay at the zoo, which sounds really cruel, but it’s been a running joke all week: He kept teasing her about how she’s really a monkey (and she knew he was teasing, lest anyone decide my husband’s a punk) — she’d contest it, and he’d fine some way to trick her again. For instance, she’d be all, “but I don’t have fur!” and he’d say, “well, your mother and I shave your fur every night while you sleep.”

    Guess you had to be there.

    Emmaco, congrats on the bread maker. I had one once. It never worked quite right. I need to try this again. Bread — simply bread — is my favorite food.

    Little Willow, I was hoping, at the end of our zoo trick-or-treating, that Dorothy could just click her heels three times and we could be home, but it didn’t work like that, blast it all.

    Go, beets! And congrats on that role reprisal. I echo, as always, the break-a-legs!

    Adrienne, nope, not thematic, though I guess my oldest, dressed as a princess, could have pretended to be Glinda and I coulda been the wicked ‘ol witch. My husband’s costume was Himself.

    I’m glad you feel better. How about that “Spaced?” I lurv Daisy and want her to be my neighbor. And thanks for your kick #7. I’m so going to carve out time this week to listen to that. Anything that made you laugh that hard…

    Hi, Tammi! Can’t wait to see the book!

    Kathe, oh goodness, I’m glad no one got hurt in the bus accident. And I’m glad jury duty has been a good experience.

    Tricia, to clarify, Snookums is the main character from The Secret Life of Walter Kitty; that’s just a spread from it, and I typed that. It’s not the title. Anyway, it’s a fun book. Dan’s art is tres retro in that one.

    Tricia, I’m looking forward to our pumpkin-carving, too, and my oldest is so curious about roasting the pumpkin seeds….the temp’s dropping here, too. We were all shivering outside tonight.

    Liz, your kick #2 is seven kinds of awesome. And hazelnuts on your caramel apples? Mmmmm. Because I think I’m certfiably crazy, I’m throwing a Halloween party Friday night, and I might just have to try that.

    Jen, YES! I get TEASED in my family for putting chocolate chips in everything. Finally, a kindred spirit.

    Alkelda, do share the song in kick #1. That would be fun. And, as for kick #7, have you told Dan Zanes yet?!

    Hi to the Kellys! Kelly F., see? That illustration is made for you.


  18. Dan’s a busy man! I enjoyed looking at his art.

    Jules, I love the picture of Dorothy and Toto.

    I missed my kicks last week because I had a busy holiday weekend. On Saturday, I went to the movies with a group of my best old girlfriends–two of whom I’ve known since first grade. We went to see Burn after Reading–a black comedy by the Coen brothers. We all enjoyed it. On Sunday, I attended a gathering of family and friends from the area who attended a family wedding out in New Mexico in June. I brought some kick a*s chili that I made, some homemade guacamole, and a big jug of margaritas. We had a blast. P.S. The weather was gorgeous.

    This past week I’ve been really upset by some of the campaign tactics of certain Republican groups. I believe they are inciting racism and hatred. I watched an online video today about a community in Ohio where a man hanged Obama in effigy. And did you see Michelle Bachman, a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, on Hardball with Chris Matthews late last week? That woman is scary–claiming that Obama and other liberals in Congress are anti-American and should be investigated by the press!!! Smacked of McCarthyism. I was so upset that I made a considerable online contribution to the Obama campaign. That helped make me feel a little better.

    I was born in 1946. I remember the fight for equality, the killing of civil rights workers, the bombing of a church where four young girls died, etc. The incendiary tenor of the rhetoric I’ve been hearing lately sends a cold chill down my spine.

    Sorry for venting–but I hate some of the stuff I’m witnessing here in my country in the 21st century.


  19. Look what crawled out of the woodwork again!!

    Gorgeous, gorgeous illustrations, thanks for sharing girls.

    I only have one kick to share, but it’s so happy making, it’s good enough for seven. My landlord decided NOT to kick me out of my place! Woohoo!!

    Backstory. Earlier in the year I got behind on my rent due to circumstances beyond my control – ie my ex-boss was useless at putting my pay claims through so I would go for weeks without being paid properly and literally not have enough money to live on. Now that I’ve got a second job, I’m earning almost enough to cover the rent, so it should no longer be an issue, and the landlord decided to let me stay on.

    I suspect I’ve been allowed to stay because the letting agents couldn’t find anyone else willing to rent my tiny attic room at the price they charge. Which suits me fine – while I don’t like being over-charged but this has been my home for 6.5 years, I was not looking forward to moving out and was having difficulty raising the money needed for both a deposit and a month’s rent in advance in order to move.


  20. Elaine, hanging Obama in effigy? Please say it isn’t so.

    Michele, many congratulations to you. What a relief it must be….And welcome back.


  21. I love Elvis Poultry, because I love all things Elvis (and roosters are pretty cool too). Can I please take Snookums home with me, in all his guises? And I agree with Jone – “cutest Dorothy ever”. I’m also happy to discover that others mental notes for kicks – I have even been known to write them down as they happen, in case I forget by Sunday.
    Adrienne – chocolate chips AND pumpkin, in a muffin!!!???!!! I think my tastebuds would explode with joy.
    Alkelda – I really need to itemize my freezer because I always end up with a dozen chicken pieces and sauce that I can not identify.

    Things have been a lot better this week, even though our computer is on the blink, which is why my post is so late (we think we may have to replace the video card. . . . fun stuff). The best thing is – I actually have some kicks this week which are:

    1 – Reconnecting with family. We spent a few hours yesterday visiting with Fred’s uncle, who he hasn’t spent any significant time with since he was 3 (that would be Fred, not Uncle Steve). Steve is a really cool guy who hosts a music festival in his front yard every Memorial Day weekend – check it out at http://theacousticcafe.com/
    2 – Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins!! On Friday night, we went to Tate Farms (http://www.tatefarmspumpkins.com/) to pick us some pumpkins, go on a hayride, play in a corn crib, and throw cotton around. Cy has a great time, and one of my highlights was. . . .
    3 – Meeting a golden retriever who for a split second had me believing in ghosts – I though it was our dear old dog, Gus, loping along. What a treat.
    4 – Cy had his first “sleepover”. I suppose because we were sleeping in the same house, I can’t really call it that, but for the first time ever, Cy slept in a room with his cousins and he didn’t freak out. Cy is the shyest kid in the universe, so that was a really big deal for us.
    5 – I drove into Nashville for a board meeting of the Nashville Area Library Alliance because I was invited to be a member of a panel discussion about library school programs. It went really well and I got to visit with the library director for Belmont University and we had a terrific chat about accents and linguistics which I really enjoyed.
    6 – The Tennessee Titans are 6-0!!!!!!!!
    7 – My YouTube obsession of the week is the latest Kaiser Chiefs video for “Never Miss a Beat” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz40P1hFvWs). They are a band from Leeds, England and they rock!!! (If you like that one, check out some of their other tunes: “Ruby” (yes, a partial inspiration for our little stinker’s name), “Everything is Average Nowadays”, “Oh My God”, “Everyday I Love You Less and Less”, “I Predict a Riot” and a bunch of others.) I would absolutely love to see them in person, but I don’t see them coming to Tullahoma TN anytime soon.


  22. Hi, Zoe! First of all, I’m sorry about your computer woes (I think Eisha can relate), and I’m glad to hear nothing about last week’s babysitter worries, since maybe that means she (meaning, your babysitter) is okay and everything’s taken care of. And that Ruby is still in good hands.

    But, secondly, OMIGOD EDGAR MEYER WILL BE IN FRED’S UNCLE’S FRONT YARD NEXT YEAR? I’m a huge fan of Edgar Meyer. That man seeps talent from his very pores.

    And I’m also very glad you saw a beautemous golden retriever who brought back Gus to you for a moment.

    And I very much enjoyed that video. The costumer had fun. Thanks for introducing us to them. I’m definitely going to check out more of their stuff.

    Zoe, I have an idea that I should have thought of sooner. I’m going to email you.


  23. Jules, I have a friend who always claims he’s “a member of the proletariat” for Halloween. I thought about being a princess this Halloween, but instead I’m going to go with my old standard, Little Red Riding Hood.

    I likewise love Daisy. I can’t wait for the next disc to arrive in the mail. (Tomorrow, I hope.)

    Zoe, The muffins are so easy to make: http://www.watat.com/archives/2005/11/adrienneas_worl.html. Mmmm.


  24. LOVE Elvis Poultry! The domesticated four looks like its going to be lots of fun too. Great stuff, as usual.

    I am late this week due to my two big kicks:
    1. The bf came home Saturday after being in Europe for work for a very long nine days. Woo-hoo! The dogs and I are very happy he is home.

    2. A very good friend who I haven’t seen in 4 years is here for a 2 day visit. Yay! The two of us went out to dinner last night to catch up, and I had a pumkin risotto that was simply heavenly, and a pinot noir that complimented it perfectly.
    More shopping and food to come today!

    Have a great week!


  25. jules – The babysitter worries are no more – I even found a sitter for the other children that Judy could no longer watch. Also, you should think about coming to Acoustic Cafe to see Edgar Meyer. The event is incredibly family friendly, and the girls would have so much fun playing and listening to music. There are planty of places to camp, if you like doing that, or there are some hotels fairly close by. We have been going since 2005, and always have a blast. (Uncle Steve is so busy running the show that we never get to hang out with him, hence the get-together this past weekend).
    Adrienne – thanks for sharing the recipe. I will have to make some soon.


  26. Adrienne, that proletariat bit made me laugh out loud. Clever friend.

    Also, Daisy very much reminds me of one of my best friends from high school, who now lives far away from me, unfortunately. I also wish she (Tracy) were my neighbor….hmmmm, I say that a lot. I pretty much want control of my own neighborhood and who lives in it, don’t I? Maybe we can start a commune.

    RM, congrats on your two very awesome-esque kicks. I’m glad your boyfriend made it home safely. And have fun w/your friend. I wish Eisha could come visit for two days.

    And you don’t need to apologize for being late on kicks. We like it when people come any ‘ol day of the week.

    Zoe, you found a sitter for the other kids? You rock. YES, arm twisted on coming to an Acoustic Cafe gathering. I’m so there.

    Everyone, I get to see Zoe this weekend!! Kick-in-advance!


  27. We like it when people come any ‘ol day of the week.

    Funny, I was just thinking (after revisiting this week’s Kicks for the skeenteenth time) how buoying this feature and all the comments are, week after week. I do love the way the thread just builds, and builds, and builds…


  28. eisha: “COME BACK WITH YOUR SHIELD, OR ON IT!” made me laugh out loud. Thank you.

    Adrienne: I hope that you feel better soon. Kick that cold to the curb!

    Kathe: Wow, what a week! I am glad that you are okay.

    Tricia: I’ve yet to try pumpkin seeds. I like pumpkin-related items, so it’s a fair guess that I’ll like the seeds as well.

    Liz: Sounds like a fun fair – but your #2 kick is the sweetest on the list!

    Jules: “There’s no place like home!” We just had our first music rehearsal for the holiday musical with the new cast, and I was SO COMFORTABLE and HAPPY. The director called me Andrea McCardle. It was AWESOME.

    Oh, and before we even started, I had a fifteen minute conversation about books with one of the girls playing one of my younger sisters.

    You don’t want to see my schedule for the next three months. I am seriously insane.

    Jen: Chocolate chips = good.


  29. JES, buoying? The kicks list says: That’s just about the best compliment ever. And it thanks you.

    Did I already say that I also write down my kicks during the week, lest I forget them? Nice exercise for one’s mental health, too.

    Little Willow, I had to look up who Andrea McCardle is, but now I’m in the know…Eisha’s Spartan talk made me hee-haw laugh, too…My heart is always happy to hear when you’re out evangelizing books to young ‘uns. Continue to break legs and enjoy rehearsals and general theatre-making.


  30. [...] blogger Ayun Halliday’s first children’s book. And some of you may remember when Dan stopped by 7-Imp last October (right before his son was born); in fact, at that post, he previewed some art from [...]


  31. Intriguing. Have been trying to learn a different language for a while now so this is highly relevant! Thanks.


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