7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #93: Featuring Leslie Evans

h1 December 14th, 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. Absolutely anyone is welcome to list kicks, even if (or especially if) you’ve never done so before.

Today we welcome illustrator Leslie Evans, whose linoleum block prints from Carole Gerber’s Winter Trees adorn our post today; thanks to Charlesbridge, who published this title this past June, we have some more spreads from this lovely book below. This book is all about the wonder of winter and its trees, as seen through the eyes of a young boy and his dog, taking a walk in the snow, exploring shapes and textures and colors and the life of the trees: “Trees that once had leaves are bare. / They’re dressed instead in lacy white. / Snow dusts their trunks / and coats their limbs / with flakes that outline them with light.” We see—through the boy’s eyes—the maple tree, the beech, birch, and oak, as well as the yellow poplar, evergreen, and more. The book even closes with a spread about how to identify trees in winter.

It’s a quiet, little wonder, this book. The verse is uncluttered and reverent, and Leslie’s brightly-colored block prints, decorated with watercolor and collage (with some digital enhancement, as well), are striking. Kirkus Reviews called it a “subtle, stylish wintry nature walk” and a “visually striking, cozy winter read,” and Booklist wrote, “{t}he blend of play, science, poetry, and art is beautiful.”




Leslie, who graduated with a B.F.A. in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, has her own letterpress studio, Sea Dog Press, in Watertown, Massachusetts. Her other children’s titles are listed here at the site. A lot of you may remember her block print illustrations from Hey There, Stink Bug! by Leslie Bulion (Charlesbridge, 2006) and The Leaf Jumpers, also by Carole Gerber (Charlesbridge, 2004).

Leslie’s art work will next appear in Faces of the Moon, written by Bob Crelin, and to be published by Charlesbridge in July 2009. Here is what Leslie had to say about it:

The publication of this book has been timed to coincide with the International Year of Astronomy 2009. The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei…

The book features a clever hands-on device by the author featuring the waxing and waning of the moon which I think children (and adults) will really enjoy. There is also additional material provided after the main text for readers to continue their exploration of the moon and space. The illustrations are hand-watercolored linoleum cut prints.

Pictured here is the “Full Moon rises at sunset and sets at sunrise” spread:

“The FULL Moon, big and bright and round,
with not a shadow to be found,
now rules the heavens all night long
and sets upon the break of dawn.”

Many thanks to Leslie for stopping by, especially for our sneak peek at the new title, and to Charlesbridge for sharing the art. We’ll say goodbye to Leslie with her holiday greeting, Season’s Eatings (methinks those cookies are doomed), and don’t forget to check out her site for more information and news:

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* What fabulous art. I love linoleum block printing. The detail on the moon kills me. And that dog is definitely up to no good.

No means NO, Santa! Serious!2* Speaking of up to no good… here’s my nephew, meeting Santa. I love the “WTF?? I DO NOT WANT YOUR CANDY CANE, YOU FREAKY OLD MAN” expression he’s got going on.

3* Christmas shopping is mostly done and/or decided.

4* I got together with Dana last weekend to make some homemade gifts. I’m not usually Martha Stewarty, so that was a novel experience for me. Apologies in advance to the friends and/or relatives who are doomed to receive my efforts.

OMG, you would not believe how good these are. I mean, were.5* While purportedly shopping for others, I scored a very cute buttony tweed vest at H&M for myself. I’ve been wanting one for ages because of Dr. Cameron on House.

6* I’ve been enjoying delicious homemade treats from co-workers and friends, like these insanely decadent chocolate thumbprint cookies, courtesy of Dana and Justin.

7* I was very, deeply saddened to find out that my AppleCare extended warranty doesn’t cover accidents, since my new laptop encountered a bit of one recently. More bad news: they told me it would take 5-7 business days to repair. But the kicky part is that, after taking it in Wednesday afternoon, I got a call Friday that it was already fixed.

8* BONUS KICK: Judy Blume!

How ’bout you, Jules?

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

Eisha, I. LOVE. THAT. SANTA. PIC. And those cookies? Mmm. I want to pull one right off the screen and chow down.

It’s nice to be joining together to list kicks with Eisha and with everyone this week. It always is, but I just feel, I dunno, wobbly this week. My husband’s work keeps laying off people; we’re both nervous about the economy; I feel really sad for people losing their jobs, especially at this time of year; my mother-in-law’s partner is very ill and hospitalized; and my girls and I got sick yet again this week. I don’t mean to be all gloomy; I’m just saying it’s nice to gather together all cyber-like and point out the positives. The Sunday kicks always help me find the little joys and remind me that our health and happiness is what really matters, as corny as that might sound.

1). Because my oldest was ill this week, we missed the local library’s evening story-time event, in which you could come to the library in your PJs AND have holiday cookies AND meet the Snow Queen herself, which really bummed us all out. BUT, as it turns out, that very night we got a significant (for us) amount of snow! The four-year-old, who had been ill, was well enough to go play in it the next morning. WOOT! It’s unusual in middle Tennessee to get snow before January. This picture here is right before I got pelted with a (wee) snowball.

2). I finished the novel We Need to Talk about Kevin, which had been recommended to me. And holy crap, it was terrifying. I have a new understanding now for what Zoë meant when she said that she read it when she was pregnant and that it was not unlike reading a horror novel. But the kick here is that Lionel Shriver is a really terrific writer (although, having read two of her novels lately, I’m going to move on to someone else.)

3). My husband and I rented and watched Persepolis, and I highly recommend it. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and the animation—with hints of shadow puppetry—is superb. You can see what I mean here with a small trailer (I’m doing my best to talk someone else into seeing it and talking with me about it.)

4). Puppet shows with my girls this week. I captured this photo of the intense drama that was taking place, complete with an audience of stuffed kitty cats (not pictured), who were deeply absorbed in the show. My four-year-old gets the credit for the creative title of this particular production. (Before you ask, I’m not sure about this “chickety” breed of pig either.)

5). Stuffed versions of Max and George appear prominently in our Christmas card photos this year. In fact, my three-year-old is making almost the exact same mischievous face as Max. This is normal for her.

6). I picked out Eisha’s Christmas gift. And her nice husband’s.

7). Good books: I read Skim, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (and that would be thanks to Susan’s November post about the New York Times Book Review’s great slide show of Best Illustrated Children’s Books 2008); I’ve started Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book; and I’m reading Elisha Cooper’s memoir on his first year as a father.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

* * * * * * *

Illustrations from WINTER TREES. Text copyright © 2008 by Carole Gerber. Illustrations © 2008 by Leslie Evans. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA.

FACES OF THE MOON illustration reproduced with permission of the illustrator and publisher. All rights reserved and all that good stuff.

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31 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #93: Featuring Leslie Evans”

  1. Judging from those colorful pictures, Leslie Evans : dogs :: me : cats. :) Growing up, winter trees were simply bare. We didn’t see leaves change color, really; they were green, then brown, then gone. It’s nice to see leaves actually changing colors in books and other media sources! Best wishes with Faces of the Moon. It sounds and looks lovely. I do so love the moon, especially when it appears as a waning crescent!

    eisha: That picture needs to be on the cover of their holiday cards. Or one of those Hallmark Out of the Blue cards. Or a scrapbook. Hurrah for cute buttony tweed vests! Oh, Dr. Cameron, I enjoyed your character at the beginning of the series. Now, not so much.

    Jules: *crossed fingers* for your family, close and extended. Glad that the (tallest) wee one is feeling better. Woo hoo for the woot and cheers for their shows. I haven’t read Kevin or Perse (1 or 2, or seen the movie) but I’m familiar with them. Prince of Stories for another Gaiman rocktastic time!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Three days in a new theatre*
    2) Turner Classic Movies, for airing Strange Love of Martha Ivers as I type this
    3) Cats, including one with a name close to one of my own
    4) Characters, including one with a name close to one of my own
    5) Clairvoyance (for better or for worse, and getting through the worse and getting to the better)
    6) Clarity when recording a voiceover audition
    7) Coincidence (movies, elbows, assumed)

    * We had a one-weekend engagement out of town at another theatre. It was AMAZING. WONDERFUL. AWESOME. “It” meaning everything, singular and plural, solo and ensemble, the shows, the trip there, the trip back, the audiences, EVERYTHING. I deeply regret not going through the Alice doors. Good girl that I am, I restrained myself because I was never directed to go through said doors, and I didn’t want anyone to think I was goofing off or messing up my blocking.


  2. I put Winter Trees on hold (How have I missed this book? Looks like just the sort of thing my collection needs.) and Percepolis at the top of my Netflix queue (I was really irritated that I missed this in the theater, and I didn’t realize it was out on DVD.). I should start tracking how much of my spare time is spent on consuming things I learned about here at 7-Imp. I think it would be significant.

    Eisha, I’m with your nephew on Santa Claus. When my mother would ask me if I wanted to visit Santa when I was a kid, I’d always say no. I really didn’t want a live intermediary between me and my toys.

    I’m giving away some homemade gifts this year, too, which I’m hoping people will like. I’ve never done homemade gifts before. I know I’d like to get the stuff I’m giving away.

    Jules, You have a puppet theater in your house? ROCK! Also, are those yellow walls I spy? The walls in my living room/dining room (it’s like one big space) are yellow. People always comment on it using words like “Interesting” and “I don’t think I could paint my walls such a bold color.” But the yellow makes me feel cheerful.

    Little Willow, Reading your kicks almost always gives me a burst of energy.

    My kicks:
    1. Having a day off on Monday to recover from my (successful, happy, fun, and tiring) San Francisco trip.
    2. Tuesday was my godson Max’s third birthday. We’ll have the big party today, but we shared an ice cream cake Tuesday evening (since our birthdays are two days apart–see following kicks). Max brings a lot of joy into my life; I’m glad for the excuse to celebrate him.
    3. As an early birthday present, my godson Lucas took me out to breakfast Wednesday morning. Well, since he’s nine, I drove, but he paid. It was really freaking cute. I’ve never seen him use money before. He’s just getting so big.
    4. My birthday on Thursday was a full day, but the most important thing that happened was that a friend had surgery, and it went really well. I visited her that day and again last night. She’s looking good and will be ready to come home from the hospital today. WOOT!
    5. Lucas also had a chorus/band concert on Thursday. Tammy brought a magazine to read, but I find these concerts riveting. I think they’ll get boring when the kids are older and more polished, but at this point, I love watching them bop their heads and try to get their loved ones’ attention and swing their legs that don’t quite touch the ground when they’re playing their instruments.
    6. After the concert, we stopped by a library (not mine) to pick up some things, and it was one of those ordinary-but-happy times where we were having fun not doing very much at all. I love that.
    7. Friday night, we went out to dinner at a place called Good Luck that serves really interesting dishes, all family-style so you can try everything. It was so, so, so yummy.

    As a general kick, I can get kind of panicky when things get busy (I start worrying that I’m not attending to things I should be or that I’m not going to be able to do the things I have to/want to do), which they do no matter what this time of year, but I’ve been a little better able to relax and enjoy all the activity this year. That’s been nice.


  3. What a gorgeous book—I love block prints. I’m not sure why, but they have raw energy.

    LW, I agree about Eisha’s picture. That little guy is going to be an actor for sure—look at that unforced emoting.

    Jules, glad you got to Persopolis. I’ll discuss with you! You pulled one of my favorite frames.

    Kicks:

    Fuse 8 linked to the music boxes here, but look at all the other great stuff: http://jenkhoshbin.com/home Can you 7-Interview her?

    Giving books for Christmas. My mom and dad opened theirs early! They said they couldn’t resist. (They liked my choices. Yay!)

    My son had the worst, crappy week of love. I think I might have given him bad advice. But he’s still speaking to me. Why are girls so difficult? Ok, this isn’t a kick. But I’m grateful he will share this stuff at all.

    Gingerbread. I. love. the. stuff. I can never understand why it’s not a year-round thing.


  4. Little Willow, we missed you last week! Your kicks always energize me, too, like in an I-can-take-on-the-world kind of way.

    And now we find out you’re clairvoyant, too? Rock it.

    Adrienne, if you watch Persepolis, I think on the DVD you have the option of watching the English version, which I believe includes voice work from none other than Iggy Pop?? We watched the French version and did the sub-title thing — not sure why, but I do love hearing French, for many reasons.

    Sara, I’m so glad you saw it, too. Let’s discuss one day. Did you watch the making-of feature on the DVD? Wow just wow. I can hardly believe another movie beat that one out for Best Animation at the ‘ol Oscars.

    Anyway, Adrienne,

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!!

    …and I’m glad you had a great week.

    Back to Sara….Just look at that web site you sent us to! I’m going to explore more later, and sure, that’d be a fun interview. And…I’m sorry for your son. If you think you gave bad advice, don’t beat yourself up. I’d be very unsure giving a teenage boy advice, too. I’m sure you did great.


  5. Little Willow, I suspected you were clairvoyant. It just fits with everything else you can do. Sounds like the out-of-town gig was a fabulous adventure.

    adrienne, I love the image of all those kids swinging their little legs as they play their instruments. And Lucas buying you breakfast. Good kicks, those. Also, yes, Jules has yellow walls in her kitchen, and it’s a cozy happy place to be, just like your living/dining room.

    Sara, THANK YOU for the link to Jennifer Khoshbin’s art. No art moves me like art that involves books and words. I am full-on in love. Also, best wishes for your son. In the immortal words of Nazareth, love hurts. Also-also, YES, what’s with the conspiracy to keep gingerbread confined to winter? I had a spicy-gingerbread-chai-latte yesterday while I was out shopping and it was SO GOOD. Why can’t I have those year round?


  6. Happy Sunday!!

    Love the art this week, especially “Season’s Eatings!” Just look at that dog’s face (resembles mine, most of the time). And I wish I could attend a puppet show at your house, Jules. Sorrry to hear it’s been a wobbly week.

    Eisha, do you like tormenting us with those chocolate thumbprint cookies? I’m with your nephew on the Santa thing. What a great picture!

    Glad to hear you had such an awesome, amazing, wonderful run of shows, LW!! Yay for exciting, fulfilling experiences :)!

    And Happy Belated Birthday to you, Adrienne! Nice banner, Jules. ;)

    Kicks:

    1. Finally got all my gifts shipped out. Now the holiday can begin!

    2. Loved the Rilke “To Music” poem Jules posted for PF.

    3. Won a prize in MotherReader’s Comment Challenge.

    4. Went to a friend’s booksigning yesterday and had tea with other writer friends afterwards.

    5. Received an ARC of Grace Lin’s “When the Mountain Meets the Moon,” and can’t wait to read it!!

    6. Finally decorated our tree; I love remembering special things about each ornament as I put it up.

    7. Right at this very moment, there are seven deer resting right outside our kitchen door. We love having them close to the house; it feels so peaceful. You know why they’re here, right? They’re waiting for their reindeer cousins to arrive. Until then, they are quite content cleaning each other’s ears.

    Have a great week! Happy Holidays, All!


  7. Love these illustrations especially the moon one. Winter Trees is on the CYBILS list for NFPB.
    Eisha, that photo is hysterical! Truly card worhty. And those cookies….yummy!
    Jules, I agree, the amount of people out of work makes me appreciate my job even more. I hope your family is on the mend.
    Little Willow, sounds like the production was fabulous, Happy Belated Brithday Adrienne, Sara I should send you some of the gingersnaps I made, and Jama a booksigning and tea sounds like so much fun.
    My kicks:
    1. We are getting snowed in!!! Wrote about it here: http://deowriter.wordpress.com/2008/12/14/one-single-impression-distraction/
    2. Baking my father’s gingersnap recipe.
    3. All set for a baking frenzy.
    4. My granddaughter’s first Christmas program.
    5. The gift exchange party I attended. It is always such a blast.
    6. Saw Tropic Thunder and got presents wrapped last night.
    7. Watching the birds feed at the suet, hummingbird feeder (they actually winter over!)
    Have a great week.


  8. Adrienne, I forgot to answer your questions: Yes, when we moved in, the entire house had to be re-painted and carpetted, too. And I’d always wanted a yellow kitchen. It makes me cheery, too, esp. since I’m not a morning person. My kitchen does its best to try to make me smile in the morning, ’cause I need all the help I can get, pre-coffee. Oh, and the girls’ room is yellow, too.

    And that is sort of a puppet theatre, as in it hangs in any ‘ol doorway (doesn’t have four walls, that is). My mom bought that from some catalog. Isn’t that a great gift for a child? And, as you can see, there’s that little plastic pocket up front for sliding in the name of your play. And the curtain actually opens and closes. I love it. Here are a few more pics to see it better, including the kitty cat audience:


    I just found it online if you want it for your liberry or godchildren (though sometimes the bar on which it hangs falls down and makes us crazy, it’s overall a great thing): http://www.hearthsong.com/hearthsong/product.do?section_id=0&bc=1005&pgc=68

    Jama, I love hearing about the animals who frequent your home. Deer are my favorite. I wish I could see #7. And, ooh ooh, Grace’s new book sounds so good.

    Jone, lovely photos at your blog. Did you like “Tropic Thunder”? My new favorite person is the Blockbuster employee who JUST went outside in the cold — when I asked if, by some wild chance, there was a copy of “Stepbrothers” behind the counter that had just gotten turned in — and found a copy for me in the drop box by the curb (I already emailed in a nice comment about it to, er, Blockbuster World Headquarters or whomever, ’cause it was that rare kind of customer service). Just looking at the cover of that DVD makes me laugh out loud, so I’m looking forward. I think probably only Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly could pull this off.

    And, Jone, what performance was your granddaughter in? Did I tell you Piper was the Mayflower for her first performance ever? Sweet.


  9. Oh, love the puppet theatre picture! I had seen those that hang in the doorway, and wondered whether they were any good. Now I might consider sending one to my great nieces in NH.

    Also, got the title wrong for Grace’s book; should be “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.” And Jone, I’m a gingersnap girl, too! Happy Baking :)!


  10. Eisha, I also reeeally like those super cool lino prints. I’d love to learn to do that some day. And Jules, I can relate to feeling wobbly — most of this fall I’ve been just a bit off, less optimistic and more blah. Hope things go the right direction for you over the holidays. Persepolis looks amazing.

    I thought of 7-Imp right away when I read this article about gratitude this week — sharing kicks each week is a recipe for happiness. You’re geniuses. Happy geniuses. Anyway, things I’m thankful for this week:

    1) That thankfulness makes us happy
    2) One last mountain bike ride last Sunday afternoon
    3) Noon-hour hockey this week, my traditional winter exercise when the snow stops my biking season
    4) Miriam Toews
    5) A couple of great hang-out sessions with friends
    6) Violin practice…seriously, this has been the best thing for my soul this fall. I played in an empty house with hardwood and huge vaulted ceilings and imagined it as a concert hall.
    7) Listening to Frightened Rabbit…I sent the 6th song on that page to my wife and asked her if she’d be old fashioned with me.


  11. Jules, she was an angel. You reminded me to request Stepbrothers. TT was funny and I laughted but not as much as when I watched Knocked Up. Different humor and I think the present wrapping distracted me. But what great cameos: Tom Cruise, Nick Nolte, and Matt Mc? Wow…


  12. Tired after a weekend of visiting people for the weekend in Sheffield, but perked up at all the cute pictures! The scorning of Santa! The kitty audience! It doesn’t get better than this. OK, the lists are great too.

    Jules, my sisters and I loved performing, I wish I could post that puppet theatre back through time to us. Glad you had fun in the snow! And oooh to your vest.

    Eisha, those biscuits look so good I might make them next weekend.

    Happy Birthday Adrienne! It sounds like you had a great week for it!

    Have fun being snowed in Jone! Your photos look so exciting!


  13. Oh and thanks for the extra evidence that the gratitude lists are a great idea, Jeremy – there seems to have been lots around about this recently but I’ve never seen the once a week suggestion before. Hail the wisdom of our hosts.


  14. Three cheers for homemade gifts!

    Persepholis looks really good. Has anyone else read any Barefoot Gen?

    Jules- I am going to show Samuel (5) the picture of the kitty audience. He’ll get a big kick out of that and talk about it for days, probably.

    1. I am turning an action figure into Traction Man for Samuel for Christmas. I have a scrubbing brush and google eyes to put on it. Does anyone have any other ideas for accessories? Maybe Aunt Annie will knit something for him. . .

    2. My husband and I made cookies together on Friday night.

    3. I ate cookies for lunch on Saturday. Don’t tell the boys! I coordinated a team of bakers for the library cookie exchange/ sale, and I was really proud of them for the variety of cookies they made: pistachio cream cheese, cinnamon almond tea biscuits, Russian wedding cakes, blackstrap molasses ginger snaps (by me and my husband), white chocolate macadamia nut, chocolate crinkles, dark chocolate kisses, and more! I don’t know which makes me happier: helping with the cookie sale or eating the awesome cookies.

    4. I made a new recipe: babotie, a South African lamb casserole. It was so good that Jonathan and I ate the whole pan! (http://www.recipesworldwide.org/courses/main-course/bobotie-baked-ground-lamb-curry-casserole) We had braised kale with it. When I hear some of my friends talk about what picky, non-veggie-eaters their husbands are, I truly appreciate that my husband craves and requests foods like kale.

    5. We rearranged the front room for our Christmas tree. Our tree is only a 3 foot fake thing, so rearranging a room for it is kind of a joke, but it is refreshing to change up the room for a while.

    6. I went cloth napkin crazy at the thrift store when I found a bunch I really liked.

    7. We had a phone call with one of our former students the day before she returned to Yei, Sudan, where she works. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yei) (http://www.iris-sudan.org/)


  15. I love WINTER TREES. I got a copy for myself a few weeks and had planned to write a review of it for my blog. Of course, I haven’t written a review yet. I get so busy at this time of year.

    MY KICKS

    1. Grace Lin returned from Montreal recently. We got together one day last week for brunch at Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge. We both got the delicious red flannel hash. I had mine with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.

    2. My husband and I had dinner with two of our best friends last night at a new restaurant in our area. The food was outstanding–especially the potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms and Parmesan cheese and the toffee pudding. The husband of the couple we dined with was diagnosed with a rare form of peritoneal cancer just over two years ago. Doctors told him he had 2-12 months to live. I am so thankful he is still alive and doing well with homeopathic remedies. We’re planning to welcome the New Year in with them at their timeshare in New Hampshire.

    3. The ladies of my family–my daughter, mother, sister, and my sister’s two daughters–came to my house today to make dozens of pierogis for Christmas Eve. It’s become part of the family tradition.

    4. My husband and I were glad that we missed the worst part of the storm that hit New England on Friday. Unfortunately, my daughter was without electricity for more than a day.


  16. Sara and Eisha, I make gingerbread year-round. Screw that winter-only thing, I say.

    Jules, How cute is that cat audience? I love the idea of a puppet theatre you can hang in the doorway–that might be a thing for my house. I do have quite a collection of puppets, and I’m always trying to think of new ways to use them. I’m enthusiastic about my puppets, but not exactly skilled with them. We have one of those wooden puppet theatres at the library, which the kids use all the time, but we have yet to use for a program. I have to talk to Jason about that again….


  17. Gorgeous art, yet again! You know I’m not so much a picture book person, so I love coming over here and finding out about art I didn’t know existed. It’s like a little mini-course every week.

    Eisha, your nephew’s face is priceless. And, Jules, if I could remember it better I’d talk about Persepolis with you. I loved the book (esp. the first one) and the movie as well, I do remember that much.

    Kicks for me:

    1. classes are over! I always love my classes (ok, not always, but I pretty much did this time) but I’m also always glad when they’re over.

    (yes, there’s grading to do, but I’m procrastinating right now. pay no attention to the piles of blue books…)

    2. open house at the visual arts center today–all kinds of people making art and a chance to catch up with all kinds of nice folks.

    3. various fun singing opportunities this week.

    4. and the Rilke poem you posted for Poetry Friday, which still makes me swoon!

    5. somehow tonight’s dinner of leftovers is making me happy–because the fridge is cleaner and the food turned into all kinds of awesome when it got repurposed. I love leftovers.

    6. lunch with Tricia and another writing friend this week. Not that we got to talk about writing, but it was still fun to catch up.

    7. I am actually now confident that the grading will get done.

    special bonus kick: got an acceptance to one of my favorite conferences. Nashville here I come!


  18. Jeremy, glad you’re still enjoying the violin. Did your daughter join you in your perfect venue there? … Oh, and thanks for yet another music tip. Earlier this afternoon, I listened to the MySpace link you sent us to.

    Emma, hope that your Sheffield trip was a good one, even though you’re beat. Oh, and I’m glad you and Jeremy like kicks-listing weekly; I agree that it lifts one’s spirits….Before each dinner in our home, we say our Gratefuls, and that’s also nice. We started it this past summer, and the very first day we did it, my three-year-old (then age two) said, “I’m grateful for CHRISTMAS gifts!” Yeah, this was in July, so I was kinda bummed, but now they’ve caught on, and it’s things like “I have the best family” and other stuff too nauseatingly sweet and cute to share here (though, of course, it makes me very happy to hear). If that’s not good for my mental health, I don’t know what is.

    Kathe, I love your Traction Man idea. If I think of more accessories, I’ll let you know. Let us know how it goes. ….and what is Barefoot Gen?

    Oh, and white chocolate macademia nut: MMMMM. Also: MMMMM to ALL those other treats you mentioned.

    Elaine, I love it when strong, interesting, beautiful, smart women of the family get together, like you all did, and do things. You should see Eisha and her mama and her sister together; they fit into that category. They’re a hoot. I always wanted to have girls, and I hope they will want to cook and generally hang out with me when they’re older. Anyway, that sounds like fun, and CONGRATS to your friend for living it up long past his diagnosis.

    Adrienne, I think you need that puppet theatre.

    Libby, congrats on classes being over. And that conference sounds great. Why have I never heard of it when I’m right next door in Smyrna, TN? …I’m glad you liked the Rilke (Jama, too). I loved the comment you left.


  19. jama, 7 deer? That’s amazing. Congrats on winning Mother Reader’s prize, and on getting all your Christmas gifts mailed already. You are ON IT!

    jone, YUM, I love me some gingersnaps. And I have got to see Tropic Thunder already.

    Jeremy, I’m putting Miriam Toews on my to-read list right this minute – she sounds like my kind of writer. Also, thanks for the music link – I love what I heard, and will have to seek out more.

    emmaco, MAKE THE COOKIES. You won’t be sorry. They’re actually just a little salty, which shouldn’t be good but it is.

    Kathe, making a Traction Man action figure is so totally genius. And you just made me drool on my keyboard a little over those cookies.

    Elaine, say hey to Grace for us. And that potato gnocci sounds ridiculous-good. Glad you escaped the worst of the storm, and that your friend is doing so well.

    Libby, YAY for winter break! And for leftovers – I’m a big fan too.

    jules, you’re too sweet about me and my fam. I mean, my rellies (using emmaco’s word!). And OMG, your girls are more adorable every day. That snowball pic is awesome, and should totally be your Christmas card.


  20. Love the moon picture. Eisha, those cookies look SO GOOD. LW, I’m so glad that your out of town engagement went so well. And Jules, I don’t think you sound corny at all. I’m completely wiped out after hosting a dinner party for 10 adults and six kids yesterday (it was fun, and people did bring fabulous contributions, but it was still a lot of work). And I stopped by here just to say hi, and recharge a little bit by reading everyone’s kicks. So I get it. Anyway, I’m now inspired to share a few brief kicks:

    1. I’m loving Hershey’s mint truffle kisses.
    2. I adored Graceling.
    3. I just bought books for all of my family members for the holidays.
    4. Mheir and I still enjoying holiday movie watching.
    5. It’s raining today (and we really need the rain here, so it really is a kick). We might see snow on the hill tops in the distance tomorrow.
    6. And, oh yeah, I formally announced that I’ll be blogging with Pam Coughlan and Susan Kusel for PBS Parents (in addition to my own blog). Thanks again to everyone here who commented when I guest posted for them, and helped show how vibrant the children’s book blogging community is.
    7. The amazing and supportive response that Pam and Susan and I have all seen from the Kidlitosphere about #6. You guys rock!


  21. Hurrah, soon my plan of having the whole world use Aussie words will be complete…


  22. Jen, congrats again. As I think I’ve said before, PBS is in good hands. Glad your dinner party went well; that sounds like fun. I thought of you and your holiday-movie-watching binge recently. It’s about time for me to watch “Elf” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” two must-haves.


  23. Kids, dogs, and snow, those are awesome!

    Jules, that puppet show rocks! And Eisha, thanks for the link and pic of those chocolate thumbprint cookies – I promptly went out and bought all the ingredients and will be making them later today.

    We have snow here – pics of dogs enjoying it at my place. I wish it would snow even more.

    My kicks this week:
    1. SNOW!
    2. Playing with the dogs in the snow.
    3. Watching The Golden Compass with the bf. Another great book he has never read that he loved. (Jules, in answer to last weeks question, he is my reluctant reader. I am hoping that the movies will help overcome that a little. At one point, when Lyra and Iorek were running through the snow he said, “What a great story!”
    4. Having a warm house.
    5. Having a job.
    6. Reading everyone’ s kicks!
    7. Having a place to share kicks. So nice to celebrate happiness and thankfulness.

    Have a great week!


  24. I love the art this week, and Eisha, I agree that the dog looks like he is up to no good. You just know that in the next picture, the cookies are all gone. And that picture of your nephew is the very reason Cy, at 4 years old, has never visited with Santa – he would pitch a fit.
    Jules – I love the puppet theatre. I saw a really cute miniature version at World Market in Murfreesboro on Saturday, but I like the idea of a version that hangs in the doorway.

    I love Christmas music, and we have been playing it all week at home, so my kicks this week are:
    1 – “Little Drummer Boy” sung by Johnny Cash (of course, this is Cy’s personal favorite).
    2 – “The Christmas Song” sung by Nat King Cole.
    3 – “Baby. It’s Cold Outside” sung by Dean Martin.
    4 – “The Gift of the Magi” sung by the Squirrel Nut Zippers.
    5 – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” sung by the Jackson 5.
    6 – “Blue Christmas” sung by Elvis.
    7 – “Last Christmas” sung by Wham.
    Bonus kicks:
    8 – The entire Phil Spector Christmas Album, “A Christmas Gift for You”.
    9 – Ray Coniff and the Ray Coniff Singers, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” album. (Their version of “Ring Christmas Bells” makes Fred think of a black and white Cold War Spy movie).

    This will be my last post for a while as I finish work on 12/19, and won’t be back until next year. As we don’t have a working computer at home, I won’t be able to visit for a while. So. . .

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS Y’ALL!!!


  25. LOVE the artwork (tho’ the winter-trees book does make me ache to experience winter for real again, sometime).

    And of course am nuts about everybody’s kicks, too!

    Here were a few of mine:

    * Watched Christmas Vacation yet again. Still completely cracks us up. (Loved seeing, this time around, that Angelo Badalamenti did the original music/orchestration. He did the “Twin Peaks” score, too — talk about versatile talents…)

    * Vicariously: Judy freaking Blume!

    * Dumped a mess of Christmas-music CDs into a single giant playlist, which I shuffled and re-shuffled, like, 20 times. And then proceeded to burn the mix to NEW CDs, without “adjusting” it. The kick: unexpected, surprisingly apt juxtapositions of songs I’d never have imagined butting up against one another.

    * Watched (and was wowed by) Marathon Man again, for the first time in probably 20 years. (But just can’t believe, per the “making-of” documentary on the DVD, that Dustin Hoffman was close to 40 when he made that!)


  26. RM, maybe you can talk him into reading the Pullman books. That would rock…glad you had a good week and have snow.

    Zoë, we love that Squirrel Nut Zippers CD somethin’ fierce in our house. I am partial to their version of “Evergreen.” We used to make Christmas mixes for friends, though we stopped, and it was always so much fun. I think we got up to Volume Five, but don’t quote me on that. My favorite Christmas song of all is Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” ’cause Satchmo forgets most of the words and just ad-libs and laughs through most of it. It’s fun. But, you know, Elvis and “Blue Christmas” is a close, close second, if not a tie.

    Have a great holiday, Zoë! See you in ’09.

    JES, we missed your kicks last week… Speaking of Christmas Vacation and the holiday music mixes my husband and I used to make, we made an, ahem, alternative version one year for people with a similarly warped sense of humor, and my husband put that Chevy Chase monologue on there, in which Clark Griswold goes off on his boss — you know, the “holy shit, where’s the Tylenol” bit. EVERY SINGLE YEAR, we watch that movie (it’s required viewing), and every single time that monologue makes my husband laugh until he cries.

    And who would have EVER guessed that about the composer for both that movie and Twin Peaks. Versatile, indeed.


  27. Jules…no, that imagined concert hall was a solo session…it was kinda dreamy because almost everything a beginner violinist (like me) plays sounds awful, but in that room everything sounded great. Oh, and I love the idea of saying gratitudes before the meal. We used to do it before bed, but got out of the habit…time to start again.

    Eisha, I’d recommend that you try A Complicated Kindness first…I thought it was wonderful. It’s told from the point of view of a 16-year-old, so it could almost be considered a YA novel.

    Glad you both liked Frightened Rabbit. Seems like one of those bands destined for greatness. I’d recommend buying the album, as the whole thing is strong…but lots of samples online too.


  28. “Christmas Vacation” is required viewing in our house every Christmas Eve – my husband, FIL and BIL crack up every time, even though they have watched it dozens of times. We also have to watch “Scrooged”, another side-splitter. Is Bill Murray ever not funny? “A Christmas Story” kills ‘em too. For me, it is “Elf”. And “A Muppets Christmas Carol”, for Cy of course. Boy, I can not wait to watch Christmas movies this year.


  29. Wah! I’m sorry I missed the kicks yesterday. We had a lot going on this weekend, and blog-reading was virtually nonexistent. Here’s to everyone getting better, staying better, and having fulfilling jobs that pay the bills!


  30. Jules- Barefoot Gen is a (semi-)autobiographical graphic novel series about surviving Hiroshima. It’s by Keiji Nakazawa and was initially published in 1973. I’m starting book two soon, probably this week. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barefoot_Gen


  31. [...] created Winter Trees and Leaf Jumpers, as Leslie mentions below. In fact, Winter Trees was featured here at 7-Imp way back in [...]


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