7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #142: Featuring Amy Schwartz

h1 November 22nd, 2009 by jules

I’ve said this before here at 7-Imp, and I’ll say it again today: I’m a big fan of Amy Schwartz’s picture books and the understated charm and humor of her stories and illustrations. I’ve occasionally told myself, Self: Why don’t you write a sort of Amy Schwartz Appreciation at the blog? But I guess I have discussed a few of her titles before here at 7-Imp, so we can consider my Ode to Amy a perpetual work-in-progress. I’ve also said before that I love the seeming simplicity of both her writing and illustrations, but there’s really a lot going on, including an undeniably strong child-centeredness that, in my experience, makes her books bonafide Kid Magnets. Amy can perfectly capture the details of a child’s world, what they truly care to pay attention to. (The book best exemplifying this would be the wonderful What James Likes Best from 2003.)

Lots of picture book authors try to create that one new book about Oscar-and-Felix-esque best buds, usually anthropomorphized animals, that will stick and perhaps become a series. Take David McPhail. In 2007, he brought us Sylvie & True (a giant water snake and a rabbit) and, just last year, Budgie & Boo (a bear and a bunny). I don’t know if he wanted them to be so huge that we’d see a sequel to either one. They were good books, but further stories about those characters didn’t happen. And WHAT I WOULDN’T GIVE to see another Cowboy & Octopus book. So. devastatingly. funny. Anyway, Amy’s new book, Tiny & Hercules, is all about two best buds whom I truly hope we will see again. Fingers crossed.

There are five stories here. In the opening one, “Ice Skating,” from which the illustration opening this post comes, Tiny (yes, the elephant) gets a hand …er, rather a lift from Hercules, his wee mouse friend, during a humiliating moment.


“On the ice, things went from bad to worse. Everyone was snickering into their mittens.
‘Don’t worry,’ Hercules said. ‘I have an idea.’”

In “Art,” Tiny and Hercules take an art class and learn that art is BIG, Tiny helping out Hercules when he frets over needing something STUPENDOUS and huge to paint.

In “Lemonade,” they decide to open their own business of sorts…

…and Hercules shows Tiny straight-up what it means to stand up, in more ways than one, for a friend in the face of arrogance and incivility.

In “Birthday Party,” Tiny gives a hand—or maybe a trunk—in a time of need (this spread is for Jama!)…

And, in the final story, “Knitting,” things don’t go as planned when the duo tries to do something together, yet observant Tiny’s kindness turns what could be an ugly smack-down between two not-so-laid-back friends into something good…


The next time someone picks up one of those overly-didactic books touted as good stories about morality for children (“honesty,” “integrity,” “empathy,” etc.), you can recommend this one by Amy. With books like this, who needs those preachy volumes? Each one of these tales is about friendship and/or kindness, one friend helping another in a time of need. Yet, Amy does it without sermonizing and without … well, without any sticky sweet syrup at all.

Thus ends my ongoing Amy Schwartz Appreciation. For now.

TINY & HERCULES. Copyright © 2009 by Amy Schwartz. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Roaring Brook Press, New York, NY.

* * * * * * *

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.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). Eisha turned me and my husband on to Deadwood, Season One, which we’re watching on DVD. Why can’t television have more characters like Calamity Jane?

2). Look, Little Willow: It’s another brown-haired Alice for you!

Book Kick: Sterling recently released a new edition of Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with art work from Australian graphic designer, author, and illustrator Robert Ingpen. Lovely stuff. I tried to secure the mad-tea party image for one of the headers of the blog, and I don’t think it’s gonna happen. But, hey, I tried.

Ingpen has a gracious Illustrator’s Note at the book’s close, dedicated to John Tenniel (“dedicated in awe to…Tenniel, whose skill and imagination made his work shine out at a time when black and white engravings from drawings was the only practical means of print reproduction for the illustrator”). And Russell Ash, an author specializing in literary history, contributes an essay to this volume. These are beautiful illustrations, and I’ve had fun poring over them in the past few weeks.

3). Okay, wait! Also: The Rest is Up to You! I flippin’ love this book, sub-titled A Boy Named Cohen Morano, 118 Artists, and a Watercolor Revolution (released by Chronicle). Take one third-grade boy, his artist father (who evidently wrote The Punk Rock Fun Time Activity Book, The Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book, and The Gangsta Rap Coloring Book), and the father’s friends and fellow artists, and you have a book that truly celebrates the rampant creativity of childhood. Aye Jay Morano took his eight-year-old son’s watercolor paintings and asked all kinds of contemporary artists to add to the paintings in their own way. It’s trippy is what it is. One artist (Don Pendleton) at one point writes, “I remember being young, and the first box of crayons I had, and the first time I started to sketch and color. . . . It was undoubtedly the most freedom I ever felt.”

Wow.

4) and 5). So, now I’m on a book-kick roll, and I have to mention at least two more:

Not Last Night But the Night Before—written by Colin McNaughton and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark—is a British import that Candlewick published in October. The text is nearly flawless, written in energetic rhyme, and will make Mother-Goose fans quite happy. (It’s also the perfect birthday book.) But what I particularly love are the illustrations. I tried to get some to show you, but I didn’t have any luck with that. But just look at that cover. That’s pencil and acrylic. I want to see just about everything else Clark has done. She’s new to me. (But not the rest of the world; as you can see here, I’m just dreadfully behind.)

When I wrote this post, I hadn’t yet seen Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion & the Mouse (Little, Brown). Now I have. I think I’ve said before that Pinkney’s beautiful illustrations alone have moved me to tears. (I am pretty sure it was this book that did it.) The Lion & the Mouse is big and bold (I LOVE that wordless cover!) and lush. The kick here was not only finally seeing it — but also enjoing it with my girls and then pulling out every adaptation of this story that we have to compare and contrast illustrations.

6). After reading Paste Magazine’s “Top 10 Best Debut Novels of the Decade,” I up and checked out Hillary Jordan’s Mudbound (2008), ’cause it sounded intriguing. I had to stop in the middle of composing this post to pick it back up and read more, ’cause it’s that good. I’ve been so hard on novels lately, giving up mid-way (my apologies to this novel), that it’s nice to find one I don’t want to put down.

Right. So, I didn’t set out for most of my kicks to be about books, but I guess it’s not the end of the world.

7). I got one of Farida’s wonderful Blue Rose Root Children to send to my friend as a surprise for her birthday. (Yes, we’re geeky Tennessee Williams fans.) She loved it. BUT OF COURSE. Just look at her:

It was very kicky-fun to mail that to her. It’s also awfully fun to browse at Farida’s Etsy site, isn’t it? I wish I had a Farida’s Dolls Fund.

BONUS: There was a tribute CD to composer Cy Coleman that came out in September, and my good friend (and regular kicker), Jill, sent me the tune-age this week. (Thanks, Jill!) I can go without some of the covers, but Sam P. (notice how I put “Sam P.” and not her full name, in case you’re tired of me talking about her?) does a sublime cover of “You Fascinate Me So” on there. Fiona Apple covers “Why Try to Change Me Now” (slowing it down considerably), which she also nails. It’s beautiful. That song was new to me, and I really love the music and lyrics. I found online Cy singing it at one of Art Ford’s swanky late-’50s Greenwich Village Parties, so I’ll close with that this morning:

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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30 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #142: Featuring Amy Schwartz”

  1. Aw, how kind of you to post that blue rose photo, Jules! It’s been a challenge getting the goth roses photographed well– the petals cast shadows on the faces.

    For once, I am toward the beginning of the list, so I’ll have to come back tomorrow (it’s still Saturday here in Seattle) to read everyone else’s posts.

    1. I finally had a satisfying gig.

    2. I’ve got a premium paying gig in several weeks (I truly did not think it would come through,and was surprised when it did).

    3. I think I might be ready to perform the musical version of the “Talking Yam” story soon.

    4. When I went out today to have breakfast with my friends, my husband vacuumed the house, cleaned the fingerprints off of the kitchen cupboards, and tidied the basement in anticipation of family coming in to town. What a husband!

    5. My daughter recently received some of the dolls from my childhood, and she’s having a great time playing with them. Today was the birthday celebration of all the dolls.

    6. I’m reading aloud The Secret Garden to my daughter, and the timing seems to be perfect, because she loves the story.

    7. The newly issued paperbacks of the Betsy-Tacy high school series arrived 2 days ago.

    Bonus kick: I actually kvetched on my blog!


  2. Hello fellow kickers,

    I’m half asleep (it’s still Sat. here in CA, too), but thought I would get my kicks in early. Before the kicks, I have to say that the sweetness in Amy’s art makes me wish her books had been around when I was a kid. And I wish Hercules had been around when I had my own humiliating moment this week involving spilled coffee during an important meeting.

    Jules, does Jerry Pinkney’s lion remind you at all of Pauline Baynes illustrations for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe? I immediately thought of that book. Glorious. Also, thanks for the Cy video, and let’s hope that Sam does a video for “You Fascinate Me So” some day soon.

    Farida, I am a HUGE fan of the Betsy-Tacy books from my childhood, and am so glad they are re-issuing them for a new generation. And will your nice husband please come to my house to clean? Oh, and I love your beautiful Blue Rose doll!

    My kicks:
    1) Surviving the coffee incident with a business mentor and getting invited to a holiday party to meet and make other business connections.
    2) Allison Hoover Bartlett has written a fascinating book about a man who loved rare books so much that he stole them. I met her this week at a book signing. Here’s a review:
    http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-et-book5-2009nov05,0,6077626.story
    3) My friend Emma had her first baby girl, now being fawned over by her three sons.
    4) Appreciation for non-catty friends after being around some rather back-stabby women today.
    5) The nice rain on Friday that made everything so clean and beautiful today.

    Have a good week, all!


  3. Jules, I love your colorful kicks this week. Thanks especially for the pointer in #3…that looks amazing.

    Farida, your husband is making the rest of us look bad. We’re considering revoking his club license.

    Jill, the lion had me thinking Aslan too. Glad to see the simplicity of rain show up as a kick.

    Oh, and the art here today looks like something my littlest one would adore. Will seek it out…

    Kickage:
    1) Hockey! I played my first game of the season tonight and enjoyed it immensely despite being horribly out of shape.
    2) Spudnuts. These things are obscene — homemade donuts made with potato water or some such thing. I ate too many.
    3) Symphony. Our local orchestra is pretty darn good, and I went to see their free dress rehearsal this afternoon — fantastic and therapeutic. And free.
    4) Recording music. A friend is doing a self-recorded album that is quite good, and he asked me to play a viola part on a couple of songs. Super hard, but it was fun and rewarding. I need to do more of this.
    5) Photos. I took tons in the past two weeks and it’s good for my soul.
    6) Salt ‘n Vinegar chips.
    7) Nino Rota. Geeeeenius.

    This reminds me that I am a loser for not following up on kicks from last week. Ugh! Have a great week, everyone.


  4. Happy Sunday,

    First, thanks to everyone for their concern and kind words last week. A few hours after I had posted my kicks, I learned that my aunt had passed away. I will be thinking of her especially this Thanksgiving.

    Jules, I love Amy’s work. Tiny and Hercules are indeed charming and heartwarming. Thank you for the adorable cake spread!! Squee!!! Of course, I also love the lemonade/grocery store spread, and the teacups — that tiny one tickles me pink. I like Ingpen, too. He draws good bears. I first saw the lion book in Hawaii and it was heart-stoppingly gorgeous.

    Farida: Love hearing you’re reading The Secret Garden to your daughter. My fave children’s book! The Blue Rose doll is so lovely. I need to visit your shop again soon.

    Jill: Sorry to hear about the coffee incident. The Bartlett book sounds intriguing!

    Jeremy: I’m drooling over spudnuts. It’s so cool you play the viola. Such a sublime instrument.

    A few kicks:

    Found out a college classmate wrote a book about Hawaii cuisine, which is coming out next month. The publisher is running weekly promotional giveaways, and last week I won a free copy!

    Checked out an “Obama” restaurant for my husband’s birthday. Will post about our experience at the Majestic this week.

    Received so many wonderful birthday wishes from blog friends last week — for my dad’s 95th birthday and my 29th birthday :). Love this community.

    Saw “An Education” (three magic words, “British Period Film” and I’m there). So well acted. Recommend it!

    WBBT interviews!

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


  5. How wonderful is Tiny and Hercules? Love them and that knitting story had me laughing.
    Jules, I, too, love Pinkney’s lion. And all those great book kicks.
    Farida, Blue rose doll…sooo sweet.
    Jill, sorry to hear about the coffee incident, been there with that only I fell asleep.
    Jeremy, so true, symphonies are theraputic. Who was featured? And taking photos is such a way to find solace, don’t you think?
    My kicks:
    1. The birthday party for the oldest grandgirl. She turned 5!
    2. Plans made for 3 nights at the coast during winter break (weather permitting).
    3. Tiramasu toffee torte cake was nother hit last night at the party. You can see a photo of the one I made for Bridget and read about the new auction here: http://tinyurl.com/yh3wd9y
    4. My writing group. They are fabulous.
    5. Looking forward to Thanksgiving.
    Have a wonderful week and happy turkey day.


  6. Jama, we posted at about the same time. So sorry to hear of the loss of your aunt. I hope the memeories of her will carry you thorough this sad time.
    How lucky to have a double birthdya celebration with both your dad and you.


  7. I LOVE friendship stories, and I HATE those character-building books. I had to finally buy a set for the library to stop people from complaining about how we don’t have them, but they make me feel dirty.

    I would like to join you on the Ode to Amy. She’s awesome.

    Jules, I do love The Lion and the Mouse, and The Ugly Duckling also made me cry–everyone is just SO MEAN to that poor baby.

    I would also like a Farida’s Dolls Fund.

    Farida, Yay to gigs!

    Jama, I am sorry about your aunt. Thanksgiving is a good day for remembering people, though, I think.

    My kicks:
    1. Yesterday a friend and I spent the day making and canning apple marmalade, pumpkin marmalade, and pear chutney.
    2. My house still smells all fruity.
    3. Also, I had a pumpkin bagel with cream cheese and apple marmalade for breakfast thig morning.
    4. Really, what I would like to do is sit in a corner and eat all the apple marmalade straight out of the jars with a spoon.
    5. The pumpkin marmalade and pear chutney are very good, too. (Although have you ever peeled and chopped and diced pumpkin? Dude, that is not fun. I think the memory is negatively impacting my ability to fully enjoy that particular marmalade.)
    6. After the work was done, we had dinner and played games.
    7. Today, I am going to see New Moon, which I anticipate is going to be wonderfully, delightfully, terribly awful. Can’t wait!!!


  8. You all! What a good thing to wake up to your kick-y kicks. Oh yes, I GOT TO SLEEP IN!

    Farida, ooo! ooo! I should see if my girls are ready for The Secret Garden. Great idea. Glad that your beeautiful wee one is enjoying it. SEVEN CHEERS for kick #3, gigs that went well, and your husband.

    Jill, I know you were mortified about the coffee, but it’s one of those stories that endears you to me more. Let’s start a club for the clumsies. I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who, when walking into a room, people are bowled over by my remarkable grace; instead, I walk into a room tripping over my feet. Usually.

    The Bartlett book looks intriguing. I had to stop at this — “first-edition ‘Lolita’ that Vladimir Nabokov inscribed to his friend Graham Greene” — and just be wow’ed for a moment. Also, I love it when it rains. Rain makes me happy. My mother-in-law, who gets sad without sun, thinks I’m crazy.

    Jeremy! Oh, #4 is so exciting! How much fun is that? And now you’re making me want to explore Nino Rota’s work further. I mean, all I know is from what films I’ve seen for which he composed music.

    You are NOT a loser for not following up on kicks. Shoot, it’s very hard to keep up at all the blogs in the world.

    “Spudnuts!” is going to be my new favorite swear word.

    Jama, I hope your birthday week was good every day of the week. “The Education” is new to me. Will have to look it up.

    Jone, happy birthday to your granddaughter! Tiramisu toffee torte cake? Seriously? You’re killin’ me. Tiramisu is the best cake ever, and I also love tortes.

    Adrienne, you have had one mighty good weekend, and your comment about character-building books making you feel dirty almost made me spit-take my coffee. Betsy Bird tells me that on this season of “30 Rock,” Liz Lemon has taken to saying “spit take!” as an exclamation, which makes me very happy. People have to tell me these things, as my husband and I are always one season behind.

    Enjoy the movie. I haven’t even read those BOOKS, and the whole phenomenon leaves me lost. One day, I’ll catch up.


  9. P.S. Here’s my 8th kick of the week:


  10. Hi Amy! Thank you for celebrating the strength and fun of friendships.

    Jules: Bonus points for the Oscar and Felix mention. I love The Odd Couple. :) YAY for brown-haired Alice! I saw a Cy Coleman musical just last night – City of Angels.

    Farida: Congrats on the satisfying gig and the upcoming gig as well! Rock the musical yams. You can do it! Hugs to the birthday dolls and their new owner. The Secret Garden is one of my favorite classics.

    Farida and Jill: I enjoyed Betsy-Tacy as well.

    Jill: Congratulations to your friend and her family!

    Jeremy: Hurrah and huzzah for all of the music which surrounds you. Enjoy the food, photos, and sports.

    Jama: My thoughts are with your family. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you find strength and comfort. Happy belated birthday to your husband and father, and happy birthday to you! Congrats to your former classmate.

    Jone: Happy birthday to your granddaughter!

    Adrienne: Sounds like a fun and productive day in the kitchen, Yummy.

    My kicks for the past week:

    1) Sanctuary for others
    2) The Winter Blog Blast Tour (WBBT) was, indeed, a blast!
    3) Coupons (I got $69 worth of stuff for $9)
    4) Staying calm
    5) Good stories
    6) Closing performance of the musical
    7) Watching my friends and students perform in a musical


  11. It’s barely still morning as I type this (yes, sleeping-in-late obviously a mini-theme today), but won’t be by the time I finish. But I get to say right now: Good morning, everybody!

    It was a strange, hollow-feeling week for some reason — actually, apparently for no reason at all. It’s not unusual for me to get through a week thinking I’ve just lived through a chapter in a Kafka novel (government work can have that effect), and of course (of course) there are rare insane hilarious Alice-style weeks… But I guess it should register as some sort of kick, or at least a twitch of the foot, that this was obviously my week to explore a bit role in something by Camus.

    Anyway: love the art this week, and especially the story. As you say, Jules, stories are common (and not even remotely just in kids’ books) about mismatched friends who find something rare and valuable in each other’s company. Authors who manage to tell those stories without driving the point in with a power nailgun should have a circle of Heaven reserved just for them. The story about Tiny and Herculese’s sweaters touched me, and I haven’t even gotten to read the whole thing yet!

    A bunch of little kicks to report…

    (1) The first one is for Jill and Jules and for any of the rest of us who sometimes think disaster trails in our wake. Many years ago — like, whole freaking decades — a woman on whom I had a secret crush (and who probably knew it; so much for secrets) once listened patiently as I complained about, I don’t know, knocking over a bowl of sugar or something. She laughed and when I saw her next, gave me a copy of a poem called “My Clumsiest Dear,” by someone named Nims. I’d never— oh, nuts. Wouldn’t you know it: I was just looking for a link to it online, only to find that Jules already knew of it, and posted about it here on a Poetry Friday well before I knew this little circle of Heaven even existed… Anyway, wonderful poem, well worth re-reading if you already knew it. (Especially if, in looking for a link to it, you tripped and fell into the doorjamb of the room you started out in.)

    (2) The Missus asked me this week where the expression “hunky-dory” came from. I said, probably the same place “peachy-keen” and “easy-peasy” came from. She pointed out, rightly (of course), that those two phrases make some sort of half-sense, while “hunky-dory” just sounds like a goof. (That wasn’t her word.) She suggested I blog about it. But it turns out it doesn’t require a blog post, because Michael Quinion of the wonderful World Wide Words site/e-newsletter already covered it — get this — ten years ago. (I must’ve slept through the alarm.)

    (2) Speaking of Aslan and Narnia, the geek-fave xkcd strip this week imagined a modern (probably MIT-bound) Lucy’s first encounter with the wardrobe. (The little pop-up caption, which you can’t see from the comic image alone, says, “Moments later, the White Witch rolls up and, confused, tries to tempt the probe with a firmware upgrade.”)

    (3) Dr. Strangelove: This was one of the first DVD purchases I made. Finally took it out of the shrinkwrap last night, and watched it for the first time in years. Still hilarious. But this time around, I was struck even more by the plausibility of the scenes aboard the bomber. (No idea if the jargon and procedures and such were legitimate portrayals of reality, but dang, they were believable.)

    (4) A couple weeks ago, I had a techie crisis on my home PC which I finally resolved (and I think must have Kicked about) last weekend. Several things happened this week to reassure me that putting distance between Windows and me was one of the best things I ever did for my sanity.

    (5) Also on a techie(ish) theme: keycaps on a typewriter/computer keyboard — the way their design has been tinkered with and adjusted for decades to be curved just so to fit nearly everybody’s fingertips, to discourage slippage onto adjacent keys without slowing down the speed typists. I like even the word “keycaps,” and that there’s a Wikipedia article about them. (The latter mentions that present-day keycaps are made more flimsy than earlier ones, though, because it was costing too much to make keycaps “more durable than the equipment on which they were mounted.” Ha!)

    (6) This is probably old news to everyone here but me: I just found out this week about The Cat on the Mat Is Flat, by someone named Andy Griffiths and illustrated by someone named Terry Denton. I would’ve LOVED to have a book like this when I was a kid — almost any age. (“WARNING: This book may self-destruct if used to teach a lesson.”) It especially kills me that it’s over a hundred pages long.

    (7) Is it in bad taste to include an overtly political Kick? If so, please ignore my mentioning this article in The Onion, “Area Man Passionate Defender of What He Imagines Constitution to Be” — I had to stifle my cubiclized laughter a dozen times while reading that at work the other day.


  12. P.S. Looking back at everyone else’s contributions of the day…

    Jules: Love the look of the new Alice book, and also love the name “Ingpen” for an illustrator.

    (While looking up more info on the book, I found an article (here) which mentions that his next project is an illustrated version of The Secret Garden, which fits in with several Kicks today.)

    That was a pretty scare link you provided to Emma Chichester Clark’s bibliography: 100+ books in only 20-some years.

    Farida: I’d never heard of “The Talking Yam” story. So thanks for including it at your blog. It was great — I bet the musical one is a wonder!

    Jill, I loved that article about the man who loved books so much. I identify with that guy, y’know?

    Jeremy: woot! to picture-taking as therapy. I mean, doing it for any reason is great. But its pacifying effect on the photographer’s mind is hard to beat.

    Jama: happy belated birthday!

    jone: congratulations on the upcoming nights at the coast. A wonderful time to find yourself next to nature instead of shopping. (Which is your cue to tell me you’re planning to visit outlet malls or something. :))

    Adrienne: The Missus planned to make something today which would make the house smell good all day. I kept proposing baked stuff — bread, cookies, brownies, pie — but she’s opted for chili. (I wear the sweet tooth in this household.) Sadly, eating apple marmalade out of a jar with a spoon is going right to the top of the list of Kicks I will probably have to postpone till the next lifetime. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as apple marmalade.

    Little Willow: I find something in your Kicks every week that I need to pay attention to more in my own life. This week, your #s 1 and 4 are the triggers. Thanks!


  13. I’m rushing to meet a friend on this blustery day, but had to say just a few more things in a big rush (thanks for indulging me yet again):

    Jama, so sorry to hear about your aunt. Hugs and good memories to you.

    JES and Jules, I am so bowled over by “My Clumsiest Dear” that I think Nims is my new favorite poet. I need a t-shirt that says “Misfit in any space”, and could so relate to “all ill at ease fidgeting people”. OH! And how beautiful is the line “only with words and people and love you move at ease”? That last one made me get all emotional. Thank you both for that poetry perfection.

    Oh, and JES, I am totally going to steal “cubiclized laughter”. Excellent.

    Happy, happy Thanksgiving to all!


  14. Little Willow, I’m with John on kicks #s 1 and 4. How was the Cy Coleman musical?

    John, you are brilliant for thinking of that poem, which never even CROSSED MY MIND. And it’s one of the world’s top-five best poems ever. So glad Jill got to see it.

    John, I love the wanderings you go on — based on your own wonderings and inquiries and based on the comments of others. It must be an amazing thing (in a good way) to live inside your head.

    I can’t seem to find The Cat on the Mat is Flat at either library system I use. Boo.

    The Onion article: Heh. This is funny, too.

    I’m with you on wanting something sweet-toothy today. I’m thinking snickerdoodles.

    Jill, so glad you like the poem.


  15. JES, yep, I do shop…I love the early morning to go and not because I have to buy something.
    Jules, do you want the recipe for the tiramasu toffee torte? I can email it.


  16. “We’re melting. Love, The Glaciers.”

    SPIT-TAKE!

    Little Willow, I have got to learn shopping from you.


  17. JES, Oh, but chili is very nice, too. I had no idea there were multiple types of marmalades until I got into this canning thing. Canning’s like its own little world. Or a cult. Whichever term you prefer.


  18. Jone, YES! Thanks in advance.

    I vote for canning as a cult.


  19. JES: I love discovering the origins of words, phrases, and idioms. Isn’t it fun? Go Lucy!

    JES and Jules: Enjoy the calm and the sanctuary. They may be one in the same, or one derived from the other, depending on what you need.

    Jules: It was very good. I was so proud of them.

    Adrienne: Thank you. I learned the power of coupons from my mother.


  20. Oh that gorgeous lion, that beautiful Nims poem, and that lovely lovely Cy Coleman song – this place is sustenance for the soul after a long week.

    Rough week/s gone by. More x-rays, vet calls, and cancer scares for my sweet pup – which is finally, finally resolved as a bone spur. Diagnosis done, treatment begun. And I let out the biggest sigh of relief. Ever.

    Also rough stuff, my company laid off a number of people this week – I was not among them, but so am very sorry for my coworkers – lousy stinky timing right before the holidays.

    So my kicks:
    1. Doggy diagnosis is DONE. (I was a wreck with the back and forth of it is/isnt/we don’t know yet/more xrays.)
    2. Still have a job.
    3. A poker game with coworkers and friends friday night – just silliness and fun and blowing off steam.
    4. Watched the movie Up! Loved it.
    5. Glee. My newest addiction.
    6. Baked a new recipe for sweet potato pie and it came out fabulously: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/11/sweet-potato-buttermilk-pie/
    7. The smile I always get when I read everyones kicks – gets me through the week.

    Have a great week everyone!


  21. I am hugging rm preston’s dog from afar and sending positive thoughts to the puppy’s loyal humans!


  22. Ugh, sorry to hear about a tough week, rm preston….and glad to see that your thankfulness survived.

    John, I’ll forever look at my Canon as a very large pacifier from now on. And I think I know you mean about a hollow feeling. I just chalk it up to November:
    “…No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
    No comfortable feel in any member –
    No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
    No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -
    November!

    Thomas Hood

    Jules, “SPUDNUTS” as a swearword is totally going to catch on around here. Coining credit to you.

    Jone, there were no big-namers featured with the symphony, but the Mozart flute/harp concerto was pretty amazing. I loved the rehearsal aspect too, where they played the individual parts separately, and then together so you learn how it all fits.

    Jama, a disclaimer: I do play the viola, but still very badly. :)


  23. RM, thanks for the nice kicks-comments. Sustenance for the soul is always good.

    I’m glad your dog’s okay. I’m sure that was scary. …and that pie? You guys are killing me. I just got the torte recipe from Jone and might have to make this pie, too.

    Jeremy, “spudnuts!” can be one of my safe, can-say-around-the-kids swear words. I’m tellin’ ya…It’s hard to avoid cursing after watching “Deadwood,” too. The creative cursing on that show is quite impressive.


  24. I love Amy’s work — so clean and rich at once. ANd this book looks fantastic (but, yikes, I have recently completed the art for a picture book about two friends, an elephant and a mouse !) It will be out in September. Hope you don’t think I “copied you”, Amy! Thanks for all the wonderful books you’ve made.


  25. Jeremy: I’ve always liked that little lyric from Hood… but always thought he completely ruined it with the exuberant exclamation point. :)


  26. ha! You’re right…in a present-day reading, that one bit of punctuation gives it a tongue-in-cheek twist that changes the tone of the entire piece.


  27. Hey everyone, it is Thanksgiving Day! I’m happy with my extra day off, and I am planning to doing something fun that’ll probably involve a car trip and seeing something new in DeForest I haven’t seen yet.
    You write something new at Thanksgiving?


  28. [...] In this recent post, I mentioned this new adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and how I tried (but [...]


  29. [...] Observant 7-Imp readers may remember that one day, back in November of 2009, I mentioned this great book (pictured below), buried deep in my kicks for that Sunday: [...]


  30. [...] fan of her picture books and the understated charm and humor of her stories and illustrations. Last November, I wrote a sort of Amy-Schwartz Appreciation one Sunday here at the blog. I’ve said even [...]


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