7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #102: Featuring Polly Dunbar

h1 February 15th, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

“‘Quick!’ said Doodle. ‘There’s a feast!'”

Jules: Hello? Anyone out there? I’ve been checked out all week with some kind of dastardly flu-like thing. And a big pile of work. A big pile of work that stuck out its tongue at my dastardly flu-like thing and said it had no pity for me. (This is, ultimately, a good thing, since self-pity gets one nowhere, though it didn’t make it any easier to have that pile of work saying nah nah nah nah nah in my face.) I’ve felt rather removed from everything all week and like I’m finally just now emerging, since—as of yesterday morning—the room was spinning a little less and words on the computer screen were a little less jumpy. I hope all our devoted Sunday kickers are doing well and that you all come along and kick away and share your fabulous lives today.

Even though it wasn’t the sunniest week, I’m still ready to list kicks. And that’s ’cause blessings can always be counted and, truly, there’s always someone who has it way worse. This I know. These illustrations today from British illustrator Polly Dunbar can be considered my numero uno kick. As you know from my May interview with her last year, I’m a big geeky fan of her work, and she’s one of my favorite illustrators working today. In that interview, she mentioned some new (at that time) books, the Tilly and Friends books. Here’s what she said about them:

I have been working on the Tilly-and-friends series for a couple of years now. They are about a little girl called Tilly who lives in a yellow house with her five friends, who are all animals! The stories are about the joys and difficulties of friendship. Each character has their own book. Yes, the first two will be published this autumn. They were inspired from my days of house-sharing, at one time I shared a room with three friends?! There were always ups and downs! I have spent so much time with these characters, they really do feel like my friends now. Oh dear, maybe it’s time for a break?

Well, it turns out that the first two—Hello Tilly and Happy Hector—were released, just like Polly said they’d be, last Fall (by Candlewick), and evidently this slipped my mind altogether. This amazes me, ’cause I love following her work. This is what I get for being slow sometimes. The brand-new ones—Pretty Pru and Where’s Tumpty?—were just released this month. Lucky for me, I managed to see all four of them this week and immediately asked the folks at Candlewick if they could share a spread from each one, which I could, in turn, share with you all. And that’s ’cause they’re wonderful and fun and charming-in-that-Polly-way in about seven different directions — and also all in the name of further evangelizing Polly’s fabulous art. Hey, if you’ve got a blog, you’re evangelizing something, right? Why not let it be excellent art.

The books are wonderful for the youngest of children — especially, I might add, if you have an emerging reader in the home or if you work with them, since the text is uncluttered on the page and not too challenging for them to read. They’d also work as great read-alouds for a group story time for preschoolers as well as good lap-reads, which I know from experience (I think my girls must have requested them seven times a day this week). The characters—Tilly, Hector, Pru, Tiptoe, Doodle, and Tumpty—are insta-endearing, but not syrupy-so, and with two of the books, in particular (Happy Hector and Pretty Pru), Polly shows us once again that she can tell a masterful domestic drama, in which children see their own strong emotions played out in the characters.

Oh, and they’re a big ‘ol hoot, too.

Opening this post is a spread from Hello Tilly, and the second one above is one from the sturm-und-drang drama of Happy Hector. Pictured below are spreads from the two just released, Pretty Pru and Where’s Tumpty? Enjoy all the cheery spreads, and consider it a 7-Imp valentine to you!

As a reminder, these Sunday posts are 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, of course, is welcome to list kicks — even if, or especially if, you’ve never done so before.

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

Aw, Jules, I’m sorry you’ve had the icky-bug. But thank you for snagging us some awesome Polly Dunbar art for our kicks. I love that Tumpty’s painted trunk.

I’m gonna keep it short and sweet:

1* My money tree plant came back from the dead. Weird, but cool.

2* At work, we kicked off our Charles Darwin exhibit in honor of his 200th birthday. This was a huge undertaking, and it turned out excellent.

3* Valentine’s Day dinner at a yummy greek restaurant.

4* The Cybils winners! The Sci-Fi/Fantasy panel had a lovely round of discussions to come up with our two winners.

Happy Darwin Day and Valentine’s Day everybody!

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). As already mentioned, that art.

2). I commissioned Farida to make one of her lovely nature-table dolls for my oldest daughter’s upcoming fifth birthday. It arrived in the mail in record time. Here she is! She even made her to look like my daughter and used her favorite color, blue. She’s a forget-me-not! And Farida sent Piper a note along with the doll that is from Mother Earth; it is so sweet it made me cry. AND SHE THREW IN A WEE DOLL FOR MY YOUNGEST. How thoughtful is that Farida?

Have you all seen Farida’s new Spinneret site with her textile creations? If anyone else wants one of her beautiful dolls for yourself or someone you love, you can check that out. She also tells me she will have a limited number of dollies for sale late spring at her new Etsy store, which is likely to open on May 1.

3). My oldest found a four-leaf clover yesterday and seemed to have a sort of euphoria over it all. My mother has this knack for looking down and spotting them instantly like nobody’s business — in a big ‘ol field of grass, that is. Really, it’s wild. When I told her, she said my daughter must have The Gift, too.

4). Carin Berger’s interview (in which she mentioned Hubert’s Hair-Raising Adventure) made me want to go get a stack of Bill Peet books from the library to read with my daughters. So I did. I’d never noticed before how often a dark, spooky forest that requires the protagonist to be either stupid or brave or both plays into his stories. My three-year-old is obsessed with Cowardly Clyde.

5). My uncle sent me a piece of art he made, a photo collage. He likes to say it’s bad, but it’s not. The photos combine a bit of Nashville’s botanical gardens and a bit of the granite of Maine (where he lives).

6). Re-connecting with my 9th grade best friend with whom I had lost touch altogether. I’m 99% sure I’ve 7-kicked this one already, but really, it’s so great to keep talking to her.

7). Tire swings.

What are your kicks this week?

* * * * * * *

The very-necessary copyright info for the spreads in this post, with thanks to Candlewick for letting me bug them about sharing art:

HELLO TILLY. Copyright © 2008 Polly Dunbar. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Inc., on behalf of Walker Books, London.

HAPPY HECTOR. Copyright © 2008 Polly Dunbar. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Inc., on behalf of Walker Books, London.

PRETTY PRU. Copyright © 2009 Polly Dunbar. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Inc., on behalf of Walker Books, London.

WHERE’S TUMPTY? Copyright © 2009 Polly Dunbar. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Inc., on behalf of Walker Books, London.

35 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #102: Featuring Polly Dunbar”

  1. Polly Dunbar’s work is SO cute. I have to admit that books for little ones where the characters can get angry were really important to my wee (now 17) brother, who did a lot of inarticulate screaming when he was small. He would recite angry character narration from his books until he could figure out his own angry dialogue. Books like these are really, really, REALLY important for the Littles — and the bigs who’d really like them to stop screaming and talk already. Yay, Polly Dunbar!

    Wow! Spinneret! Is that cool, or what? Farida as spider, I guess comes with the embroidery, but boy, can she also work the wool felt. (Farida as sheep? Um…) The Etsy thing is going to quickly become an addiction…

    Kicks —
    1.) How hard Aquafortis worked on our site overhaul, and how nice she’s been about me basically bailing on co-blogging with her (except for reviews and interview, which is why we moved them to one site)
    2.) All the supportive Kidlitosphere friends who turned out for my PR moment this week,
    3.) My sister’s 13th birthday on Monday, and
    4.) Six months for her, bully-free, and counting.
    5.) Bench pressing 100 pounds. Finally.

  2. Eisha, the Charles Darwin exhibit sounds interesting. I saw a recent poll that found that only 39% of Americans believe in evolution. Kind of scary if the findings are correct, huh???

    Jules, love the doll Farida made for your older daughter. I hope you’ll be feeling well again soon.

    I am a HUGE fan of Polly Dunbar’s art. I was absolutely crazy about her illustrations in HERE’S A LITTLE POEM: A VERY FIRST BOOK OF POETRY. It’s a great anthology of poems–and her illustrations for the book border on the sublime. It’s my favorite “new baby” gift book now.


    1. My daughter Sara got engaged yesterday. Her boyfriend proposed to her at the top of a mountain in New Hampshire. My husband and I are so happy for the two of them. Sara and Jerry are a fantastic couple.

    2. We had a fabulous Valentine’s dinner with three other couples last night. Each couple cooked/made a different course and brought wine to serve with it. (Actually, Mike and I made two dishes.) Everything was delicious–including the conversation and laughter.

    That’s about it. Have a good week, ladies.

  3. P. S. I forgot to include a BIG kick of the week. I was the highest bidder in the February Small Graces auction. I am now the happy owner of a second original painting by my good friend Grace Lin!

  4. The facial expressions in the characters Polly Dunbar creates are dead on! I am wickedly impressed. I used to think alligators had two facial expression: smug and you-are-about-to-die. Evidently not, they are totally hip to tea with elephants. I love it!

    1) The GRE is over. My scores were average, which is probably a euphemism for stupid, but PRAISE your benevolent spiritual leader and kind thoughts, it is over. My Qualitative scores were higher than my Verbal scores. Which probably means the Linguistics Department will just forward my application to the Math Department.

    2) I interpreted for Arun Gandhi, grandson of Gandhi, yeah Gandhi Gandhi, this week. I am such a occult follower when it comes to nonviolence.

    3) I booked a wedding for this summer. Yeah $, boo Bridezilla!

    4) The local NPR station, WUOT, is plastering my ugly mug all over cable-land. (Thank goodness we only have rabbit ears) If you would like to see: http://wuot.org/mysource_tv.html

    5) Valentine’s Day with my bride. (Please do not tell her she is down here in the bottom three kicks)

    6) Someone was talking about the reincarnation of a money tree– well– my account seems to have more money than expected so I totally believe resurrection is possible.

    7) Freedom from Grad school; references, essays, videos and testing for a while!

  5. Jules, I hope you are on the mend. I hope I avoided the illness by being gone all week, it was rampant when I left school to go to the conference.
    Eisha, how cool to have the Darwin exhibit. Did you see the one in Chicago?
    Elaine, I agree with you about the book, Here’s a Little poem. Tanita, whoohoo on the bench press.
    My kicks:
    1. Polly Dunbar art, way cool.
    2. My 17th anniversary yesterday.
    3. It’s a long story but a niece I have not had contact with contacted me on FB.
    4. The conference I attended this past week.
    5. Coming home and having a four day weekend.
    6. CYBILS announcement, love that Nic Bishops’ Frogs won NF. First time I saw the book I thought: winner.
    7. Swimming in a pool with snow falling all around me.
    Have a great week.

  6. Tanita, you crack me up. “Except for reviews and interviews” hardly sounds like you bailed on blogging. I haven’t seen the site overhaul; I’ll have to go look.

    Here’s the link to Tanita’s PR moment for those who haven’t seen it. Woot!

    Congrats on your bench pressing, TadMack. Speaking of exercise, being sick for way too long this week was a wake-up call to me. I’m going to actually start using the $200 exercise bike I just HAD to have last year.

    Elaine, congrats on Sara’s engagement. That is too, too exciting!

    Jeffrey, I was wondering the other day if your GRE hell were over. No way were your verbal scores NOT the highest?! And look at you on that WUOT video. You look like you could be signing Ed Young’s tale of the tsunami, too, what with that big wave you’re telling that student about. You go, plugging that public radio. I used to mentor interpreting students at UT, and I’d tape NPR stories for them to interpret — for practice.

    Jone, glad you had a good time at the conference. And happy anniversary! And I hope that no mention of your nephew means he’s doing even better.

  7. Oooh, Finding Wonderland looks beautemous — new, improved, even spiffier. Nice job, ladies. I’m jealous — all our 7,000 links on the right over there on this blog need some serious cleaning up or deleting, and I just keep putting it off.

  8. “‘Oh no,’ said Hector” made me LAUGH OUT LOUD. I love how that spread tells a story all by itself, and Hector’s understatement.

    Eisha, You guys are doing just one cool exhibit after another there.

    Jules, Glad you’re feeling better and rejoining the world.

    Farida’s dolls are amazing, aren’t they? That Etsy store is bound to be dangerous.

    Tanita, BENCH-PRESSING 100 POUNDS? Wow. Sara blogged, like, a year ago about push-ups (okay, more than a year ago: http://saralewisholmes.blogspot.com/2007/10/drop-down-and-give-me-twenty.html), and she inspired me to start doing them and building up my upper body strength. And, okay, so I haven’t been consistent in my trying. But I can do fifteen or twenty good push-ups in a row now (depends on the day), and I’m pretty proud of that because I think I could do two or three when I started. THEY’RE HARD. Anyway, this bench-pressing thing seems completely beyond me, so I’m impressed. GO YOU!

    My kicks:
    1. Part of me hates to say it because it was so terrible for the people who died, but I was so relieved that I didn’t know anyone on that plane that crashed in Buffalo (next city over–it’s cheaper to fly in and out of there than it is here, so I know a lot of people who do so on a fairly regular basis). I have a lot of sympathy for those who did know someone.
    2. Sunny days, like today. The above-freezing temps are causing some flooding around here, but it’s not so bad.
    3. The muralist finished our Gazebo renovation project this week, and it all turned out just the way I hoped it would.
    4. My co-children’s-librarian at WPL brought me back all kinds of goodies from NY Comic-Con.
    5. Speaking of work, our assistant director is retiring in a few weeks. She’s a friend, so I have mixed feelings about the whole thing (yay for her, but boo for me not seeing her every day), but my boss announced our new AD on Thursday, and I approve of the choice wholeheartedly.
    6. I am just loving turnips lately. How did turnips get such a bad rep? They are so, so, so yummy.
    7. I’ve been feeling relaxed and happy and content this week. A lot of times I feel like I’m under a lot of pressure, which I generally am, although a lot of it’s self-imposed. Something in me seems to have changed, though, and decided to opt out of it for a while. I’m glad for that.

  9. No word from AZ about my nephew, so I think he is on the mend. Don’t know what will happen to his Navy carreer though.
    Adrienne, I have a co-worker really retiring (she retired and got rehired) this year, I will miss her a lot but great for her.

  10. Happy Sunday!

    So glad you’re feeling a little better, Jules. Eisha keeps making me jealous with her work projects.

    Congratulations to Sara and Jerry, Elaine!! And Happy Anniversary, Jone :).

    How exciting that Farida’s going to open an Etsy store. Her dolls are adorable. Can’t wait! And Tanita bench pressing 100 lbs? She’s now Super Tanita. Remind me not to get on her bad side.

    Oh, and I LOVE Polly Dunbar. Can you hear me squeeing over the first spread? Love Trumpty, too. Her characters are endearing and hit just that right note of childlike without being cutesy.


    1. Cybils winners. It was great being a poetry judge and hashing over the books.

    2. Slumdog Millionaire. I couldn’t speak for five minutes after it ended. It was that amazing and brilliant. It deserves all the attention and accolades, and taught me a lot about cinematography and storytelling.

    3. Sara’s perfectly poached Poetry Friday poem (do you like the alliteration)?

    4. After serious avoidance, I finally joined Facebook. It’s too much fun, and I can see I’m in big trouble.

    5. Lovely V Day with roses, dim sum, and chocolate!

    6. Renee Coates sent me a lovely coloring book and calendar as a thank you for doing the art giveaway on my blog.

    7. Taylor Swift. That girl just makes me happy every time I see her. 🙂

    Happy President’s Day tomorrow. As Abe Lincoln once said, “If I were two faced, do you think I’d be wearing this one?”

  11. I am squarely in the loving Polly Dunbar camp. Her illustrations add so much to Jane Yolen’s selections in Here’s a Little Poem. I also love Farida’s creation for the birthday girl. What fun!

    I must say I’m enjoying reading all the Valentine’s day kicks. I’m not one for commercial holidays, and since I profess to be unromantic, this is one we avoid like the plague. We do, however, take the opportunity to share funny love cards (of the Shoebox variety), but that’s about it.

    Here are my kicks for the week.
    1. Picked up my Libretto book for the show. We have two full company rehearsals this week to run through the music.
    2. Got measured for my costumes. Who knew we had a costume shop at UR? It’s in the basement of the theater building and looks like the workroom from Project Runway. Theatre majors and minors, as well as students enrolled in Theatre Appreciation must work lab hours. They make all the wardrobe pieces for the University productions. I would have LOVED this as an undergrad.
    3. Salmon cakes and risotto for dinner last night.
    4. After revamping my site I got some nasty e-mail. The kidlitosphere listserv was incredibly supportive.
    5. After the hate mail I decided to push the envelope a bit, so I wrote a thematic book list on “low brow” topics – poop, underwear, etc. It was good fun.
    6. Lots of folks participated in the poetry stretch this week–writing love poems without terms of endearment. Jane Yolen’s was achingly beautiful, Douglas Florian’s was oh so clever, Sara’s was just simply amazing, and there were many others.
    7. My poetry princess peeps.

    Have a great week all!

  12. Thanks for mentioning my site and dolls, Jules! It was a pleasure to make the forget-me-not dolly for your daughter. It’s good to read everyone else’s kicks, too. I am impressed by TadMack’s bench pressing, thrilled that Elaine was the high bidder on a Grace Lin painting AND that her daughter got engaged– well, I could list everyone else’s kicks, too, but then that would be repeating. Okay. We’re off to Orcas Island with my mom and aunt for a couple of days, and that is a big kick.

  13. I second (third, whatever) all the love for Polly Dunbar and Here’s a Little Poem.

    Woo! Tanita! I bet Eisha doesn’t weigh even 100 pounds, so you could bench press her the next time we have a KidLit conference. Hee. Except I believe Eisha the Spartan warrior queen might have other defenses up her well-armored sleeves. And Adrienne, I bet you can do your push-ups in a cute dress, can’t you?

    Jules, I’m sorry you’ve felt like crap. It’s so hard when you’ve got little ones, too, because they just don’t wait for you to get better again. I almost missed your kick #7 because it was hidden under the picture, but YAY for tire swings. Although how you rode one while feeling dizzy, I don’t know.

    My kicks this week include getting a singing valentine from the daughter of a friend, a not-too-sappy, perfectly wonderful letter from my husband, and multiple hugs from my son. Also, I have a dinner invite tonight from some friends I haven’t seen in a very long time. I’m using that to motivate myself to get my writing work done for the day.

    Thanks for all the egg poem love. Tricia is superb at pushing all of us with her poetry stretches.

  14. Tanita, I’m speechless at the 100 pounds thing. I might let you bench-press me, just for Sara, but carefully, ’cause I’m ticklish. Also, I’m so glad your sister is having a better time of it lately.

    Elaine, big congrats to your daughter and her beau. And that shared V-day dinner sounds like a great idea – YUM.

    Go Jeffrey! GRE, WUOT, and Son-of-Gandhi all in one week! No wonder your wife got shunted toward the bottom of the list. Not that anyone’s counting.

    jone, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! 17 years with such a funny, thoughtful guy as your Chuck is quite the kick.

    adrienne, glad you’re cutting yourself some slack, and I’m also glad you approve of your new AD. And OH! I need to email you because the Poets Upstairs and I are talking about going to the IMAX in Rochester to see The Watchmen and maybe I can meet up with you too!

    jama, welcome to Facebook! Isn’t it the biggest time-suck ever? Lots of fun catching up with people I probably never would have found otherwise, though. And I have just got to see this Slumdog Millionaire already.

    Tricia, who would send you hate mail? Tell me and I will KICK THEIR ASSES. No, seriously, though – sounds like you put it right in perspective. And I’m excited for your performance – sounds like quite the production. Break a leg!

    Alkelda, that doll you made for Piper is my favorite one yet. So freakin’ beautiful! Count me among the future fans of your Etsy shop.

    Sara, a singing valentine? There’s something you don’t get every day. Have a lovely dinner tonight!

  15. 1 Started last week at an Illustrator’s day where I met E.B. White and David Wiesner and Brian Biggs and Nick Bruel and also bumped into Adam Rex. Lucky me!
    2. Hubby gave me 2 dozen pale pink roses for V-day, and they are opening beautifully.
    3. My JASNA meeting was a success (and I was quite nervous going into it, so all is well).
    4. 2 Jane poems written last week. And 2 non-Jane poems, too, both of which might actually be pretty darn good, albeit sad.
    5. Lunch and a visit to Children’s Book World on Friday with Jenn Hubbard – hooray!
    6. CHALICE by Robin McKinley. I’m not done yet, but I am in love.
    7. CORALINE in 3D. So good. Not as great as the book, but still: so very good.

    Must get those Polly Dunbar books. I love her earlier work (HERE’S A LITTLE POEM), and think those characters and spreads look pretty spiffy!

  16. Adrienne, my favorite part is the last spread in which Pru is getting squished on the couch. It makes me and my girls laugh every time. And yay for kick #7.

    Jama, thanks for sending me to Sara’s poem, since I’m behind on my favorite blogs. I’m glad I didn’t go another day without reading that. And, as a nominator to a judge in the Poetry category, I can say GOOD JOB! Excellent choice.

    Tricia, I think you handled those emails perfectly well. And, yeah, everyone gave you great advice. You go. When is your show again?

    Farida, have too much fun on your trip.

    Sara, I never actually got on the tire swing myself, but last Sunday before I got sick, the girls were at a birthday party in which they were in a great, old-fashioned one hanging from a big ‘ol tree. They were in love with it, and I had fun watching them (and pushing them really high). And then yesterday there was one at a park we went to. I think we need to hang up one ourselves already in our own yard.

    Kelly, two dozen roses. Ooh la la. How exactly did you meet E.B. White, assuming you mean Elwyn Brooks?

  17. I am now in love with Tumpty. Those pictures are adorable. My grandfather used to collect elephants, and I still have a sentimental attachment to them. Thanks for the illustrations! Here are my kicks:

    1. The Cybils winners, of course!
    2. Like Jules, I’ve been enjoying re-connecting with people from my childhood (on Facebook). I put up my 6th grade class picture, and several of us had fun identifying everyone.
    3. Really positive responses to the read-aloud discussion that I’ve been having on my blog (feedback is still coming in – this has really touched a nerve, and I love it).
    4. We’ve had a couple of sets of friends visiting lately, with more to come, and have been having a good time.
    5. A long weekend!
    6. Yesterday we went to a winery, where they gave us chocolate, and me a rose, along with the wine tasting. It was a nice way to spend some time on Valentine’s Day.
    7. Positive responses to Kidlitosphere Central (with kudos to Pam).

  18. Jen, WHOOOOA. You touched a nerve at that read-aloud discussion link. That is awesome. I’m going to have to carve out some time to read the responses, but I think it’d really be worth it. All those fabulous minds weighing in….thanks! It’s like I’m in grad school again (my prof and advisor was big on this topic, too).

  19. Jules: So glad there’s a light at the end of the flu tunnel. (Mixed emotions, though, that the light apparently comes from a computer screen.)

    Eisha: Darwin — how cool!

    In fact, I want to my first kick to be finding out this week that Darwin and Lincoln were born on the same day. And then remembering that this year was Poe’s 200th, too, and then being inspired to learn who else was born in 1809. And then wondering what was in the water they were all drinking that year.

    Grab-bag of other kicks: Valentine’s Day, definitely. (The Missus is still The Sweetie.) Crazy just-before-waking-up dreams this week. Formerly a sneerer at “social media,” suddenly realizing that Facebook, at least, can be pretty darned cool. The Alien(s) movies. Laurence Fishburne’s new character on CSI. Sunday-morning mimosas from leftover Valentine’s champagne.

    Oh, and as much as I loved Polly Dunbar’s art here today, I also did one of those snort-and-chuckle things at Jeffrey’s description of alligator faces. 🙂

  20. Sara, I fully can do push-ups in a cute dress. I strive to always wear something I can fight/make a quick getaway in, because you just never know and I don’t want to be the subject of a headline like, “Local Librarian Eaten by Bear: Eyewitnesses Say Her Dress Was Too Tight for Running.”

    Eisha, Ooo–such a good idea about the IMAX. It’s the next exit down the expressway from me, so that would be very convenient for meeting-up purposes. I take the IMAX for granted because it’s so close, but I guess there must not be too many around, as it seems to draw people from far and wide.

  21. Eisha, there’s heaps of Charles Darwin stuff on over here for the anniversary but I haven’t made it to any exhibits yet. I’m glad you’ve got one at your work – he seems like an interesting person. And I always think that period would have been heaven for a natural historian

    Jules, your daughter is very lucky – a lovely doll AND a gift for finding four leaf clovers.

    I love the artwork today, especially the comforting colours and cute characters.

    I’ve left my kicks way too late this weekend – so many lists up already! – so have only got three kicks together:

    1. It’s only one and a half weeks until I go to Australia! I am having trouble concentrating on other stuff because I’m so excited.
    2. We went to Anglesey Abbey yesterday to see the snowdrops. They were gorgeous as always (see I am an old hand at this bulb business after my second winter) but I was even more excited by their lovely winter garden, which consists of trees and shrubs with beautiful coloured bark/stems that are made apparent by the lack of leaves.
    3. I have handsoap that smells of ginger and clementines and makes me smile when I use it

  22. I am definitely going to have to get those Polly Dunbar books for my littlest’s fourth birthday next month. Adorable and perfect for our household!

    So glad to read everyone’s kicks. Sometimes I come here at the end of the day just so I can cheer for everyone else. Happy thoughts! Big smiles! Woo Hoo!

    It’s been a quiet week in lake woebegone so my kicks are short:

    1. I am finally reading Octavian Nothing vol. 1. The vocab is challenging me and the cruelty is gobsmacking me. Somehow the formal language makes it all the more horrifying. Did you all tell me that it was going to be this way and I forgot?
    2. Valentine’s day was full of construction paper hearts, hugs and candy. Sweetness!
    3. I have really great friends IRL and online. You all make me happy!

  23. I had two fun kick-ish events this week. On Friday night, our library held a book lovers’ bash. During December and January, people had voted on their favorite books of the year (didn’t have to be 2008 books, though), and party was held in honor of that. (The Edgar Sawtelle book won, and for teens, it was, of course, Twilight.) Anyway, I had fun conversations with several people I hadn’t even met until Friday night. Book talk and wine. Yay.

    Yesterday was a Kids Love Authors Day at a relatively nearby bookstore, and I went. I had a ball chatting it up with several authors and finally found the Christo book on The Gates. Yay!

  24. Kelly, how awesome to be in the room with so much illustrator talent. And woo, aren’t you the prolific one with all those poems. You’re an inspiration, is what you are.

    Jen, V-Day at a winery sounds like the best plan of all. And I love Kidlitosphere Central – thanks for all your work on it.

    JES, that is cool about 1809, isn’t it? We’re following up our Darwin exhibit with a Lincoln one for that very reason. Quite a year for pariah geniuses. And hey – I had mimosas this morning too! And bellinis! It’s almost like we were drinking together.

    adrienne, good advice about action-ready clothing. I’m gonna have to rethink my work wardrobe. Luckily, pajamas are great for running AND fighting, so weekends are pretty safe. I am totally going to email you as soon as I have a Rochester plan, but I think we’re looking at like March 7th or something.

    emmaco, ginger and citrus are among my very favorite smells, so your soap sounds heavenly to me. Also, I’m in love with the idea of a winter garden – do tell me you took pics?

    cloudscome, I don’t know if we specifically warned you about that, but you are so right – the contrast between the coldly formal language and the horrors Octavian describes is brutal. I’ll be very interested to see what you think when you’re finished.

    Susan, what fun booky things you had going on this week. I haven’t read the Sawtelle book – have you? I’m intrigued now.

  25. I love the artwork this week – something about the colors and expressions that are so warm, sweet and fun!

    Sorry you have had the flu Jules, its definitely going around here too. I had it earlier this week, and now the BF has it. yuck. Hope you are feeling better soon!

    Eisha – Go Darwin! There were NO RABBITS! (I had a high school biology teacher who WORSHIPPED Darwin, and for weeks before we got to him in our book, would write on various sections of the chalkboards – ‘There were NO RABBITS!’ So now I can never think of Darwin without remembering that phrase and that class.)

    Kicks this week:
    1. Stayed home sick Mon/Tues, and won the movie “P.S. I Love You”in a giveaway. (The being sick was not part of the kick.)
    2. Joint v-day present to each other as proposed by BF – savings account for next year’s vacation. The money we would’ve spent on various presents and dinner now goes towards a fun get away!
    3. Stayed home and cooked maple and rosemary marinated skirt steaks, oriental sweet potatoes for V-day dinner, and had romano and garlic bred with EVOO as an appetizer.
    4. Watching P.S. I Love You after v-day dinner. Not what I expected, but gosh Gerard Butler is cute and charming, and the shots of Ireland were gorgeous.
    5. Feed and Octavian Nothing Vol 2 are waiting for me at the library.
    6.Went to a baby shower for a good friend this afternoon. Lots of great people, and very fun to catch up before her life gets crazy again. (Its baby No. 2)
    7. The BF and his dog Caloi graduated from Animal Assisted Interaction class on Saturday. Now they just need to pass the exam/eval in order to get certified. VERY proud of both of them!

    Have a great week!

  26. Eisha, I took photos but alas the cord that connects my camera to the computer has gone missing. It was here last week so I hold hopes that next weekend I will be able to write “my search for my missing camera cable forced me to clean up the study and revealed many forgotten treasures”

  27. John, you have to tell us at least one of your crazy just-before-waking-up dreams.

    Emmaco, have a blast on your trip. May I also squeeze into your suitcase and go with you?

    cloudscome, good to see you here and thanks for stopping by. I recently re-read Octavian, so I know what you mean.

    Susan, that sounds like a kickin’ library event. Yay for good programming for adults….

    RM, congrats to the BF and Caloi! I also think #2 is a great idea.

  28. RM, if you’re still following this thread… LOVED the “There were NO RABBITS!” bit. You may be interested that the key phrase is honored in a song called “Ain’t No Rabbits in the Burgess Shale” by a group called the Galapagos Mountain Boys. (!) Bluegrass, at that. (!!)

    Here‘s a review of the album on which it appears, called Darwin, Darn It! I just downloaded and listened to a couple songs via iTunes and don’t believe I’ll ever think of Mr. Darwin in quite the same way again.

  29. Glad you’re feeling better. There’s nothing I hate worse than a pile of work with an attitude. I’ve got one right over there. But I’ll show it. I’m gonna take it down…just as soon as I read blogs and go for a swim!

  30. JES –
    Thanks for the link! I loved the review and especially the lyrics. I’m going to have to use the BF’s itunes account to check out the songs.
    Mr. C isn’t listed on staff at my old high school anymore, or I’d send him an email with the link. I can only hope he is already aware of it – I swear, he taught a great biology class, and i have great memories of running around the school with friends gleefully shouting “There were NO RABBITS!” Yeah, nerds, but then, it was a school for nerds.

  31. Lots of goodies in here this week…and the Dunbar books look wonderful. My quick kicks:

    1. Attended a presentation at a local gallery and heard about a fantastic project linking a love of food, art, learning and social justice. Too cool. Wonderful tie-in with Kiva.
    2. More time spent taking photos of ice…and still buzzing from last weeks’ kicks experience.
    3. Played late-night hockey with friends. Such amazing exercise and fun.
    4. Ping-pong night with a friend in town that I’ve known since we were my kids’ age. Also beers by the fire and playing violin in his huge shop with amazing reverb.
    5. Sushi with a dear cousin I don’t see often enough.
    6. My five-year-old digging into “real” chapter books this week after having gone through a long love affair with easy readers…now on to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ivy and Bean and others.
    7. Job security. Not that you can ever predict how things are going to go, but my work feels stable right now…cause for thankfulness.

  32. Mary Lee, way to show that work.

    Jeremy, that Instill Life sounds neat. So does ping-pong and violin.

  33. Fly-by posting! Must catch up later. 🙂 Hope all is well for all of you.

    Jules: Feel better! Make the four-leaf clover gift into a story. I’m serious. Do it. Or I’m totally asking permission to steal it for something else.

    eisha: Happy holidays! Happy exhibiting! 🙂

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Visitors & watchers
    2) Shows
    3) Sunshine
    4) Transport
    5) Audition
    6) Coraline (in 3-D!)
    7) Special

  34. I’m back from my trip! I had to check in to see all the kicks that came after mine. We all had a good time on Orcas Island. One nice thing I brought back was a handmade pine storytelling/guitar-playing stool. No more playing on the couch for me. (Shhh, don’t tell my guitar teacher that I was still playing guitar on the couch.)

  35. LW, I give you permission to steal it.

    Sunshine is a great kick. Good luck with that audition.

    Alkelda, glad you had fun.

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