This above is one of my favorite illustrations from 2009. (Later in this post, I’ve got the entire spread from which it comes, since you just have to see that, too.) On that bus is one of my favorite characters from 2009, too, the monster of Peter McCarty’s Jeremy Draws a Monster, released by Henry Holt in September. He’s pictured a bit closer up—BOO!—to the left here. Anyone else seen this title yet? I’ve been sitting on these illustrations for months now, hoping that McCarty would stop by for one of my illustrator-interviews, and holding the illustrations for that. But I’m thinking at this point that he’s maybe swamped — but can perhaps stop by one day later. I hope. I’m a fan, particularly of his Hondo and Fabian books, which are a big, big hit in the Danielson household.
Jeremy Draws a Monster is an odd, little book. And you know I like my offbeat picture books. What we’ve got here is a little boy, who lives on the top floor of a big, tall apartment building and who never goes outside. Then, in the spirit of Harold, he draws a monster one day…
Immediately, the monster—without saying so much as “hey, you”—demands that Jeremy draw him a sandwich. “Arrgh…I’m hungry!”
Well, he continues making demands: He likes toast, so he wants a toaster; it’s too quiet, so he needs a record player; he likes to play checkers, so “draw me a checkerboard!”; he wants to watch the game and needs a television; and, since “somebody might call,” he needs a telephone. Jeremy whips up all these things with his pencil, including a big pink hat: “Are you going to sit there all day? Draw me a hat. I’m going out!”
Jeremy’s relieved when he leaves — only to hear banging on the door later. “The monster had returned”:
So, you guessed it. Jeremy draws him a suitcase and a bus ticket:
And, here for you to click on and enjoy up close and in detail, is the full spread I mentioned at the top of the post. I love this spread. Click to enlarge:
In the end, Jeremy joins the other kids outside.
“With simplicity and quiet depth, a boy creates a challenge and meets it, ” writes Kirkus. What McCarty does with his pen, his watercolors, line, ample white space, composition, and what one reviewer once called his “whispery” style of illustration speaks volumes about the loneliness of Jeremy — a loneliness he manages to eradicate by taking charge of his own creative impulses. Best of all, as the School Library Journal review pointed out, “both story and illustration leave lots of room for speculation and discussion.” That reviewer also noted McCarty’s end papers and how children will pore over them. I found myself doing that. I love these. Here’s a portion of one. Which are Jeremy’s drawings? Which are Peter’s? I love how McCarty messes with us:
I gotta see him in that hat one more time, before we all start kickin’. How ’bout you?
JEREMY DRAWS A MONSTER. Copyright © 2009 by Peter McCarty. Published by Henry Holt and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a 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. New folks are always welcome. Please, come kickin’…
1). My girls are taking an art class every other weekend. This weekend, the kids learned briefly about Jackson Pollock and then went outside on a beautiful, warm Fall morning to action-paint. Interestingly enough, my youngest found the idea of spontaneously dribbling or flicking paint onto a canvas to be altogether preposterous. This is the same child who colors ever-so carefully within the lines. The oldest child flicked and dribbled and splashed and smeared with abandon.
2). I went this week to this fabulous East-Nashville art gallery for the first time ever to see an exhibit of works (”Proto Pulp: Classic Books of the Future”) done by local, aspiring children’s-book illustrators. I should say I barely made it: I was there on the last day during the last hour the gallery was open, but I’m so glad I went. I saw some great stuff and talked to the gallery owner about perhaps featuring some of those illustrators’ work here at 7-Imp in the future.
3). I went with an old friend, and we went to get coffee afterwards. I could talk to her forever, even if we were distracted by kids we had to wrangle a lot. Oh, and my oldest daughter went with me, too. Just me and her on a date. Our own day out. Hadn’t done that in a while.
4). This drawing my five-year-old made. Can you tell what it says?
5). You should read the emails between me and Eisha. Nope, you shouldn’t. They might scare the uninitiated. We have fun with creative cursing. You know how you can talk trash with your really great friends and they know you’re not serious? And you know how they’re few and far between? Yeah. That. This week, she came up with my new. favorite. bad. word. ever. I nearly wounded myself laughing. Sorry, but I can’t even repeat it.
6). I edited the “About the Blog” page (and the ones under it) here at 7-Imp to reflect my new reality of solo-blogging. I didn’t want to do this so soon. But my fingers were about to fall off from explaining to folks who emailed “Dear Eisha…” or “Dear Eisha and Jules…” that Eisha had stopped blogging — folks, that is, asking about review copies, etc. I hope I edited well.
What are YOUR kicks this week?