7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #94: Featuring Karla Gudeon and John Burningham and David Ezra Stein
December 21st, 2008 by Eisha and Jules
(and In Which Eisha and Jules Send Season’s Greetings and Such)
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.
And this week we’re kickin’ it holiday-style as 7-Imp’s greetings of the season and happiest-of-holidays wishes to you. The first image above, since Hanukkah this year begins at sundown today, is from artist Karla Gudeon, whose medium is dry-point engraving, a kind of hand-pulled printmaking (along with watercolor). Karla has stated that she uses “concepts culled from a lifetime of joyous Jewish experiences to create works that evoke warm responses and a familiar sense of shared human experience and common bonds.” The piece of art work opening the post, entitled To Life, as well as the ones pictured below—Sabbath Peace, The Whole Mishpochah (mishpochah being the Hebrew word for “family”), and Repairing the World—are courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts, owned by poet and children’s book author Richard Michelson.
The second spread above is from John Burningham’s Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present, which I rambled about here in ’06 and here and here last year, that last post celebrating the fact that Candlewick reprinted the title last year, heaven bless ‘em, and which is not only my favorite holiday book, but I think it’s one of the best picture books EVER. And I think it’s safe to speak for Eisha, too, when I say that. If you’ve never read it…well, that makes me want to gasp, which I do not out of arrogance or impertinence, but really, I would only be gasping for your own well-being and out of concern, seeing as how there’s a hole in your life you must fix immediately by finding the nearest copy asap and experiencing it. I will even admit: The book is so good it makes me cry every time. It’s not sad, mind you. It’s just that it’s near to burstin’ with joy (and ooh! Such mystery on the final page), which makes me so happy that I cry, and also it’s so perfectly PERFECT and I love sharing it with my own children now. And I think that only John Burningham could have pulled it all off.
Whew, that was my annual Harvey Slumfenburger tribute. I’m done now.
Here are the other beautiful images from Karla Gudeon:
And, last but not least, illustrator David Ezra Stein, whose work you know I adore (I may have mentioned that, oh, just a few times here at 7-Imp), created this lovely piece of “winter wallpaper”:
By way of that piece of loveliness, we also wish you a happy winter solstice and general greetings of the season. May it be filled with happiness and wonder and light and lots of hot cocoa.
1* I love all the art this week. It’s all great, but I especially love those dancing ladies. I also share Jules’s love for Harvey Slumfenburger. It truly is the best Christmas book ever.
2* The husband and I went on a sort of actual date: we had sushi IN THE RESTAURANT, not take-out, and then we went to see Quantum of Solace. Here’s what I think: I love the new direction that the Bond movies are taking, Daniel Craig is perfectly cast, and the opening credits song is made of unadulterated awesome:
4* I had my three-month end-of-probationary-period review at work this week, and it just confirmed what I’d already been feeling – I’m definitely in the right place.
5* Speaking of, we had our holiday party at work, and it turns out there are some incredible bakers amongst my co-workers. I’m still stuffed.
6* I think my Christmas shopping is done. Early. I know, right? Totally unlike me. And it’s made me that much more excited about going home for the holidays.
7* We’ve had lots of lovely snow this past week, and we’ve got even more coming. My poor husband has to go out of town for another design gig, but I’m happily settled in this weekend with my cocoa, my flannel PJs, my books, and lots of presents to wrap. *sigh* I love winter.
And to all our beloved friends… May you all have a Merry Happy Jolly-Good Holiday Season! Be warm, travel safe, and enjoy yourselves!
Many thanks to Candlewick, Richard Michelson, and David Ezra Stein for the great art work today. Here are my kicks:
1). Speaking of John Burningham, as we have been in this post, I did a Web search to see if anyone has ever released a collection of his works or if there’s some sort of book about his art work (since he’s my second favorite illustrator of all time) which is similar to, say, this. I couldn’t find anything, but I did find this. Could it be that in the Spring my wish will come true? Man, I wish I knew more.
2). My girls and I headed into Nashville this week to visit the kickin’ story time they have going in the main branch of the Nashville Public Library. We used to go weekly but hadn’t been in months (you have to be really committed to that drive). One of the rock-star storyteller/performers remembered my girls and asked where we’d been all this time. It was very sweet.
3). While my girls picked out a gift for Eisha at my favorite little store in Nashville, I think I brushed right past Emmylou Harris (I say “think,” because if it wasn’t her, she most certainly has a doppelgänger in this world). I adore her music. She even came into the bakery next door, where we headed after leaving the shop, and stood right in front of me, getting her coffee, and I was STILL too shy to say hi.
4). I’ve been listening to this hysterical holiday essay from David Sedaris. It gets me every time. It’s thanks to Adrienne I first ever heard it. I’m also reading Ann Patchett’s The Magician’s Assistant. So far, it’s quite good . . . My girls and I are also reading Roald Dahl’s BFG this week. My four-year-old already talks a lot like The Big Friendly Giant anyway, what with her redunculous made-up words, so she’s getting a big glumptious, wondercrump, whoopsey-splunkers kick out of that character.
6). My husband and I watched “The Last Man on Earth” with Vincent Price, which was the first ever movie adaptation (from back in ’64) of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend — before “The Omega Man” with Chuck and before last year’s adaptation with Will Smith. HA. It was funny in spots — in that old-horror-movie kind of way. Having said that, it was also still successfully creepy.
7). A friend of mine has co-authored a paper entitled “Causation, Prophetic Visions, and the Free Will Question in Harry Potter,” to be published in Reading Harry Potter Again: New Critical Essays, edited by Giselle Liza Anatol (forthcoming from Praeger/Greenwood). This friend of mine would harrass me to no end if he knew that I have a very low tolerance level for complicated discussions of philosophy — or, okay, even rather elementary discussions of philosophy (“I know what I know, if you know what I mean, do do ya,” in the immortal words of Edie Brickell). But I might actually read that.
My last kick, which is really the best one, is that Christmas is almost here, and let me just say that with a four-year-old and a three-year-old, it’s exponentially more fun. It can be crazy-making, too, but all in all, it’s tremendously exciting. I hope everyone has a great holiday—or, in the words of Raymond Briggs’ scowling, cognac-drinking Father Christmas—”Happy blooming Christmas to you…” (another must-read, I find, during this time of year. So funny.)
What are your kicks this week?
Boring—but very important—copyright info:
HARVEY SLUMFENBURGER’S CHRISTMAS PRESENT. Copyright © 1993 by John Burningham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.
Karla Gudeon images reproduced with permission of R. Michelson Galleries. All rights reserved.
David Ezra Stein image © 2008 reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.