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.
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!
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.