Jules: Welcome to our kicks on this holiday weekend! We hope folks are around to kick with us.
I suppose this is the moment at the Mad Tea Party just after Alice “got up in great disgust, and walked off” and the Dormouse has fallen asleep instantly — just prior to being stuffed into a teapot, that is. This Mad Tea Party comes to us from freelance illustrator Kevin Tseng.
Kevin, who studied Biology and Fine Art at Washington University, has just written and illustrated his first book, Ned’s New Home (Tricycle Press, August 2009), about a friendly worm named Ned, looking for some new digs. He does live in an apple, so I figure decomposition is a harsh reality. I haven’t had the chance to read the book yet, but I invited Kevin to come share some of his art here on the first Sunday of the month when I like to highlight student or new-to-the-field illustrators.
Kevin says he’s a fan of the Alice books, and these images are from a few years ago — from his portfolio. Score. You know we love our Alice art. I love how the Caterpillar below can multi-task, what with his ability to cross his arms sternly at Alice and hold on to his hookah:
Ned’s New Home—rendered in cheery watercolors, as we can see below—is filled with “comic touches,” according to School Library Journal: “This reassuring tale will be appreciated by the read-aloud crowd while also supplying a subtle lesson in ecology,” the review added.
“I find inspiration in the whimsical, quirky, slightly odd, and somewhat cute,” Kevin told me. “Painting with watercolors is most pleasing, but some of my drawings also make their way into the vector world. I enjoy designing greeting cards, stationery, and other miscellany. Ned’s New Home, my first children’s picture book, was published in August by Tricycle Press/Random House; I am working on a second story that does not necessarily involve worms or apples…”
Here are some illustrations from the book:
These Mother Goose images below seal the deal, I think, if you hadn’t already noticed Kevin’s ability to paint warm, inviting watercolors for the wee’est of children. Wouldn’t you like to see him take on a nursery rhyme anthology for young babes?
You’ll notice above that Kevin says he enjoys designing greeting cards and stationery. Indeed, he once worked for a stationery company. Here are a couple of examples of some of that design work:
And, finally, this is Kevin’s zoo. I know a certain someone who would probably take a liking to this one. (As Jama puts it, “you just never know when you might need a good alphabet hit.”)
Thanks to Kevin for stopping by. I wish him the best with his book — and future titles. Again, here’s his web site.
As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is 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.
NED’S NEW HOME. Copyright © 2009 by Kevin Tseng. Published by Tricycle Press, Berkeley, CA. www.tenspeed.com. Images reproduced by permission of the author. All rights reserved.
It’s very nice to pause this weekend and focus on some kicks. I had my first instance of a child screaming NO MOMMY, DON’T LEAVE ME!! or something similarly unsettling (as said child wept and clung to my leg) this week, which was not unlike a karate chop to the heart, when trying to drop off my three-year-old at her little play-school thingy. (Poor thing is still trying to get used to her older sister being off in Kindergarten, I think). Not to mention, worst of all, that I have two friends not doing so well in their battles against cancer — both with persistent tumors and one with a tumor in the brain that she was told was simply inoperable at this point. Very, very sad, and life sure is unfair to some people, isn’t it? These things remind one to count blessings/kicks. I hold these friends in my thoughts. Constantly.
So, let’s try to find some kicks:
1). Without question, my first kick this week is this:
You all know I’m a fan of illustrator Julie Paschkis. (I checked here the other day out of curiosity and noticed that she’s running neck-and-neck with Adam Rex for Most 7-Imp Visits, due to my nerdy fan-dom.) Well, as I was chatting with Julie via email last week, I told her that my five-year-old is, once again, obsessed with one of her illustrated books. A while ago, she never let go of her copy of Julie Larios’ Imaginary Menagerie. (I had told Julie Larios about this, too, and she said that her goal is for the books she writes to be loved so much that they end up completely in tatters. I love that, and that’s exactly what my daughter was doing.) Now, the current obsession is Paul Fleischman’s Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal.
So, after it occurred to me to share this with Julie P. while I was chattin’ it up with her, she sent Piper a note that said everyone who makes books hopes for readers who care, and she sent her this postcard-sized piece of art above.
Yes, I got all teary-eyed. Illustration Junkie here.
She also wrote, “I hope you to get to wear lots of different kinds of shoes in your life.” I love it.
2). Eisha is my true-blue source for adult fiction recommendations, and remember a couple weeks ago that she recommended I am One of You Forever by Fred Chappell? I started reading it the other night. She wasn’t kidding. SO GOOD.
4). One of my posts from this week ended up in American Libraries Direct. My full name (not just “Jules”) was even listed as author. I don’t know how these things happen, but it was kinda neat to see, since thousands of librarians read that weekly.
Hey, wait… Thousands? Now I’m weirded out.
Nah, seriously. That’s just fun.
5). Mo Willems has created a commemorative poster to celebrate the Carle Honors this year (at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art — a place I HAVE, TRAGICALLY, NEVER VISITED). He says posters will be available through the Museum for “40 smackers.” Another item for the Christmas list. My girls just need that:
(Can you spot the Pigeon?)
6). My sixth kick is that I just saw—when linking to Adam Rex’s blog above—this. That’s from the upcoming Mac Barnett title Adam has illustrated. That’s the book that Adam promised us—when he and Mac visited in July—would make our heads bleed rainbows.
7). Hey, wait. Kick #1 is really this. I’m just saving the best for last:
It’s my husband’s birthday weekend! And cake will be had. Happy birthday to the best person I know (and 7-Imp’s tech support)!
1* Ya’ll know I loves me some Alice art. I especially love that first one, how the March Hare and the Mad Hatter are just chillin’, you know, shootin’ the breeze. And I love how Ned is managing to hold an umbrella in one of the spreads from Kevin’s new book. Although, I’d like to see an explanation for the suitcase…
2* Jules, I’m so glad you’re loving I Am One of You Forever. Call me when you’re done – we can quote our favorite bits to each other. And it just so happens that I am currently reading the sequel, Brighten the Corner Where You Are, and so far it’s just as good.
3* I’m also reading, based on the recommendation of two friends, Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Oh. My. Lord. How did I miss this when it came out? And why isn’t it as well known and beloved as those OTHER vampire books? It’s fascinating, with a very complex mythology and alternative-history, plus compelling characters and lots of danger. Oh, and the main character is a baker in a coffeehouse, so there’s lots of descriptions of yummy food.
4* My husband decided to buy himself (and me) an early/late birthday present (early because his b’day isn’t until October, and late because we won’t get to use it until November): tickets to see the Donmar Warehouse production of Hamlet starring Jude Law, which is moving to Broadway. WOOT! Doesn’t it look great?
5* Beautiful, beautiful, early-fall weather all week. Highs in the 70s, and all-sunshine (except for one really good thunderstorm). Perfect.
6* I did something really stupid last weekend, and I was in a real funk about it. I gave some money to a woman with a sob story, and I’m sure I was scammed. But I told a couple of friends about it at work, and they made me feel better.
7* HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BLAINE!
BONUS KICK: THREE DAY WEEKEND, PEOPLE!
What are YOUR kicks this week? Anyone around?