7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #146: Featuring Richard Scarry, Matt Tavares, Petr Horáček, and Gail De Marcken

h1 December 20th, 2009 by jules

Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, 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.

This week, as a gift to you, I’ve got a little round-up of some holiday art. Okay, well, I say “holiday,” but this week it happens to be all Christmas in nature.

Ah, Richard Scarry. I’m ridiculously happy to have his art work at the top of this post today. Anyone else read Leonard S. Marcus’ Golden Legacy (covered here at 7-Imp in April of last year)? If you’re a Richard-Scarry fan and you have not read that, you’re in for a treat, as Marcus covers Scarry’s career in detail. The book also includes “A Few Words About Richard Scarry’s Working Technique” by Huck Scarry, his son: “He had a masterful sense of design and composition, and an amazing talent for explaining through drawings often very complicated information in a deceptively simple and always lighthearted way…The virtuosity of Richard’s handling of gouache paint in layers—first ‘wet-on-wet,’ then on to full-bodied opaque, testifies to an incredible mastery.” (As for that latter part of the quote, Huck was referring to 1963’s I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom and illustrated by Richard.)

These illustrations this morning come from Richard Scarry’s Favorite Christmas Carols (complete with a little keyboard, as you can see above), published by Sterling in October of this year — but originally published in 1990. I guess I can always do an Ode to Richard Scarry post another day—when I don’t have three other sets of holiday art to show you, as I do this morning—but suffice it to say that I’m happy that folks like Marcus have shone the spotlight on Scarry in the recent past. When I was a grad student, studying children’s lit, and then later a working librarian, I detected from more than one person a sort of Richard Scarry snobbery, if you will — that, since his books were so very mass-market during the height of his career, he was considered a sell-out, not “cool enough.” That’s codswallop and flapdoodle is what I say.

Here are two more images from the book:

Lowly Worm always makes me laugh. Why don’t we pretend we have a 7-Imp Christmas tree and put him at the top of that one, too. Whaddya say? Deal? Deal.

Next up is Kristin Kladstrup’s The Gingerbread Pirates (Candlewick, September 2009), illustrated by Matt Tavares. I’m thinking that the best word for this new Christmas tale is magical. Magical and funny — without ever being hokey about it. Oh, and swashbucklin’, too. This is the story of a boy named Jim, who makes a gingerbread pirate crew on Christmas Eve, deciding before bed-time to take the captain upstairs to his room and leave him there as he sleeps. As the drifts off, the pirate captain, complete with a gingerbread cutlass and a toothpick peg leg, manages to make his way downstairs (poor Captain Cookie: The stairs are as treacherous as cliffs) and embark on his own adventure: “{The boy} lay awake, listening for reindeer hooves on the roof. Captain Cookie seemed to be listening, too”:

“Where’s my crew?…And who’s this Santa Claus who wants to eat them?” This had me and my wee girls laughing outloud. Captain Cookie finally meets up with some crew members and is then astonished when he sees the Christmas tree (“a huge tree with stars in its branches”), and he’s also astonished to meet Santa.

“Back beside the starlit tree, the pirates watched as Santa Claus reached into an enormous bag. ‘What have you got there?’ the captain began. ‘It’s a ship!’ Wavy shouted, and the next thing Captain Cookie knew, his men were swarming its decks and rigging. ‘There’s cannons! And cutlasses!’ cried Dots.”
(Click to enlarge.)

I can’t give away the ending, OF COURSE. I love to see Tavares’ work, these dramatic watercolor and gouache spreads. As Kirkus points out, he handles the magical transformation at the book’s close with subtlety. Tavares brought us Lady Liberty last year in this gorgeous book. He doesn’t disappoint and, it seems, gets better with each book.

Petr Horáček’s Suzy Goose made an appearance at 7-Imp back in ’06. There’s been at least one other Suzy book since then — maybe more. And she’s also starring in her own Christmas title this year, Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star (also from Candlewick, September 2009). Horáček’s art work is always bold and brightly-colored; one wonders, at seeing his textured multi-media spreads, if he doesn’t cite Eric Carle as an inspiration.

In this story, the child reader gets to be one-up on Suzy (which child readers always enjoy), as she goes looking for a star to put atop the animals’ Christmas tree — yet naïvely ends up trying to catch one from the sky:

“It was Christmas Eve. Suzy Goose and her friends were gathered around the tree.
It was beautiful. But it was missing one thing.”

(Click to enlarge.)

This is a quiet holiday tale, good for a one-on-one, lap-time read.

And what holiday round-up would be complete without another picture book adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s Nutcracker tale? This lavishly-illustrated version, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, illustrated by Gail De Marcken (Orchard Books, September 2009) and story adaptation by Wren Maysen, features lush, richly-hued watercolor spreads. Publishers Weekly calls it a “glowing interpretation…This is a loyal and energetic version, best for read-aloud in multiple sittings, given the length of the text.” (Oh yes, it is lengthy.)

I’ll let the art do the talking here: You can see the level of detail De Marcken put into the illustrations. Click on each below to enlarge and see the full spread from which each illustration comes:

Of course, this adaptation will always be my very favorite, but De Marcken does a beautiful job with this. Here’s to another Nutcracker picture book in the world, this one well-worth your time.

* * * * * * *

Boring But Very Necessary Copyright Info:

Scarry artwork reprinted with permission from Richard Scarry’s Favorite Christmas Carols, © 1990 Richard Scarry II, published 2009 by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

THE GINGERBREAD PIRATES. Text copyright © 2009 by Kristin Kladstrup. Illustrations copyright © 2009 by Matt Tavares. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

SUZY GOOSE AND THE CHRISTMAS STAR. Copyright © 2009 by Petr Horácek. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press on behalf of Walker Books, London.

THE NUTRACKER AND THE MOUSE KING. Text copyright (adaptation) © 2009 by Wren Maysen. Illustrations copyright © 2009 by Gail De Marcken. Published by Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic. All rights reserved.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). I’m feeling kicky about the very kind responses to the announcement of our book deal. Several folks did their own posts about it, and I thank them. I have to say, though, I love any that lead off with Ralphie.

2). Many of you, I’m sure, already know the Kirkus news. I loved Roger Sutton’s post about it last week:

Kirkus had a reputation…for being mean. …Speaking only of the juvenile reviews, I think what people had trouble with was the fact that Kirkus was no coddler. Children’s books generally occupy a protected status because of their intended audience, and if you shouldn’t be mean to children, then you shouldn’t be mean to their books. “But kids like it” is a defense mounted in our field all the time, an argument that would be laughed right out of any critical conversation about books for adults. As well, preachiness is tolerated in children’s books (because preaching to children comes second nature to adults) even while grownups won’t stand for it in their own recreational reading. What Kirkus did was to treat books for children and adults the same in the same publication. Good for them…

I know, I know. I’ve never written a book that was reviewed by Kirkus, so who am I to talk? But I like what Roger fundamentally has to say about children’s books there.

3). In this recent post, I mentioned this new adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and how I tried (but failed) to secure the mad tea party illustration for one of 7-Imp’s headers. Well, never mind. I got it after all, with thanks to Sterling. Here’s the spread below (a rarely-spotted brown-haired Alice), and it’s been placed in the header of this page. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s by Australian illustrator Robert Ingpen.

(That’s a very Michael-Caine-esque Mad Hatter, huh? Click to enlarge.)

4). Susan’s “blackout poetry” at Chicken Spaghetti.

5). Now, this is just funny.

6). I’m not a big shopper. The world is full of thneeds, don’t you think? But we’ve gotten most of our shopping done. This is good.

7). It’s almost Christmas! Merry-merry to those of you who celebrate it, and happy holidays to all. I know a lot of folks may not be around this week, but to those who are: Happy & merry to you!

What are YOUR kicks this week?

{The tea-party image is reprinted with permission from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, illustrations © 2009 by Robert Ingpen, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

27 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #146: Featuring Richard Scarry, Matt Tavares, Petr Horáček, and Gail De Marcken”

  1. Cool to see some classic Scarry up top. Reminded me that it was his “Best Word Book Ever” that first captured the obsessive attention of our eldest bibliophile daughter.

    Jules, love the Thneed reference…good time of year to bust that one out.

    Quick kicks:

    1) Time with my kids. My wife flew off into the wild yonder to hang out with her parents and siblings before Christmas, so I took a few days off work and have been kickin’ with my little ones. Tons of fun, as long as I don’t try to do anything else. I’m sure appreciating my wife in her absence too — her job (parenting/homeschooling) is very hard and unfortunately thankless at times.
    2) An upcoming performance! I don’t expect anyone to remember one of my kicks from a couple of months ago, but a a friend got me to add viola parts to a couple of the songs he was recording…this week he said he’d like me to play with him at the CD release party. NOT a big-time thing in any way, but exciting for me.
    3) Free artsy stuff. This is already a few weeks ago, but I got one of those cool calendars from Rob Dunlavey, featured in the 7-Imp Kicks post a while back — nifty!
    4) Ice pics! I’ve been madly printing photos for the gallery show in January, including some more expensive canvas wraps, and they look great. Such a fun project.
    5) Outdoor skating. I put in a backyard ice rink this year, which has been great fun in the cold snap we had. Now we’ve had a few days in the low 40s(F), but it will freeze again soon enough.
    6) Daddy-daughter dates. I did one with Ivy on Monday — simple dessert and sketching session on our way to our violin lesson, but so awesome. No idea why we don’t make that happen more often with each of the kids.
    7) Instrumental music. This week I really dug into some Kronos Quartet and a few Danny Elfman soundtracks — wonderful as background music for working, although the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack made for a creepy mental environment.

    Happy holidays to everyone. Cheers!

  2. Codswallop and flapdoodle indeed! Hornswaggle, too. Lowly Worm is a beautiful tree topper! And oh, I wish I had seen the Gingerbread Pirates when I was looking for *the* picture book to put under the tree. So here are the kicks …

    1. 27 inches of light, fluffy snow and being stuck inside for a day (well, except for the shoveling part).

    2. An incredible sunrise this morning after the snowy day yesterday … the trees look like diamonds.

    3. Walking with my sweetie in the snow yesterday “just because.”

    4. Laughing as Catherine told me they were going to Lowe’s to buy sheetrock … as cover for Christmas shopping.

    6. Finished writing all the articles I owed everyone this month.

    7. Kick in waiting: Catherine discovering that Mrs. C left pajamas and her Christmas books under the tree.

    Jeremy – What a wonderful Daddy-daughter date. Can I come skate at your house? What a fun week for you!

  3. You’ve made my day already by giving Scarry some love! He is an amazing author and illustrator, always willing to spend a little extra time to put one more Lowly or Goldbug or Bugdozer into a picture for a kid to find.

    Christmas is a great time to spread the love to Patsy Scarry, too. Did you grow up scratching and sniffing The Sweet Smell of Christmas? I sure did.

    That book looks Richard Scarry-ish, but it was actually illustrated by Scarry-buddy J.P. Miller. Miller’s “Jingle Bells” is another Christmas delight!

  4. Oops, forgot to mention that we’ve also been enjoying one of Huck Scarry’s books lately: Steam Train Journey.

  5. Jules, thank you for the holiday art. I am going to find the Gingerbread Pirates. Hilarious.
    Congrat on the book deal! That is wonderful news.I absolutely love the backstories of books. And I love sharing them with students.
    Jeremy, where’s the gallery? Would love to see your ice pics.
    Terry, enjoy the snow, it was a year ago Portlnad was snowed in.
    My kicks:
    1. My niece, the one who went to NJ with me is expecting her first child. Due in June So exciting!
    2. On Friday, a family presented me with a $50 check for the library as a Christmas present. It was a first in 26 years in the building.
    3. Penuche fudge. Grandmother’s recipe.
    4. Fifteen days to hang out, bake, read, write, and play with the camera.
    5.My aunt turns 90 tomorrow. Couldn’t be there(now especially with the weather) so my brother composed a joint letter to send.
    6. My writer’s group…they make me stretch, we laugh and what great group of women.
    7. Favorite Christmas quote, Christmas has a magic of its own.” ~from Merry Christmas, Strega Nona.
    Have a wonderful week and Merry Christmas.

  6. Quick fly-by comment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!!

    Have to say that the Ingpen tea party spread is brilliant — blue teacups and saucers! blue and white checked tablecloth. Could this be the ultimate Mrs. Blueteaberrry party?

  7. Jeremy, stuff like this KILLS me. How DO you do it? Man, I wish I could be at that gallery show.

    So glad you got a Rob Dunlavey calendar. I did, too, and it looks nice on my wall. I’m ready for 2010.

    O, how I love the Kronos Quartet.

    The Daddy-daughter date sounds wonderful. That’s a good reminder to me to work harder to see that things like that happen with my husband, who would really love it. The weekends seem to get full, but we should make time for that.

    Break a leg at your upcoming performance! My WOOT for you is loud.

    Terry, “sheetrock” is, indeed, a very funny cover. I’ll have to remember that. Enjoy all that snow! (We have none, sniff.) So, may I ask which book(s) you chose for under the tree? That’s a good idea for a tradition, and it’s MRS. Claus who does it, did you say? Excellent. We usually get a kickin’ pop-up book for the girls for Christmas Eve, but this year we went for a lift-the-flap sort of knock-knock-joke book and a GAME!

    Tom, I have not yet seen those books. Will look for them. I didn’t know that Huck made books, too. Shows you what I know.

    Jone, Jeremy did, indeed, link to his ice-photos gallery of sorts on Flickr; I just now went and bolded the links in his comment. (At 7-Imp, I bold the links, or they can’t be seen very well.)

    Congrats to your niece! And what a nice gift for the library. Thanks for the Christmas quote-age, and happy birthday to your aunt. Pictured here is my grandmother, whom I saw yesterday and is 98 I’mnotevenmakingthatup! Go, Grace! Her b’day is easy to remember, since it’s 11/11/11.

    Jama, YES, you’d be right about that! Woo hoo! Happy holidays to you, Mrs. B.

    Happy holidays to all. I really figured I’d be mostly alone today. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Jules, that is too sweet of your grandma and you! Lovely. My mom’s b’day is Nov. 11, too. She says she was born at 11 a.m.

    My grandmother and her family lived in College Grove, TN, when she was a girl. That’s near you, isn’t it?

    I’d like an ice rink in my backyard, too!

  9. Yes, Susan! Very, very near. Rather, I grew up very near to there; I’m a bit farther from it now.

  10. Scarry was a favorite of my sisters’ kids when they were growing up. So glad to see someone give him this sort of attention. (And yeah, I’m with you — because the guy made a lot of good business decisions, he, uh, SOLD OUT? Talk about sweeping generalizations!)

    That is one terrific Tea Party illustration, isn’t it? Michael Caine: exactly! (And I love the look on Alice’s face, too. She looks just like I imagine a little kid would look under the circumstances: a little shy, a little spooked, a little excited — none of them mitigated by her being all the way at the other end of that very loooooong table from all the lunatics.

    My favorite thing about The Onion’s morning-talk-show segment about the Green Man series: the changing headlines superimposed on the interview, at the bottom. Best ones: “Green Man Character Evolves Over Series From Going Hatless To Wearing A Hat” and “‘Green Man’ Audiobooks Available For Those Who Find Books Too Hard.” HA!

    Jeremy, always so glad to see your photos (especially the ice ones), and good to see you here on Sundays. That was a long stretch of absence over the summer, so I guess I should be grateful that the winter months are keeping you closer to a computer — at least to post your weekly kicks. 🙂

    A quick lot of kicks from this quarter:

    * Geek kick of the week (oooo, love all those K sounds…): new software for the Blackberry. (Lets me read from and post to both Twitter and Facebook simultaneously. Whether this is a good thing for followers is questionable, but it’s fun for ME. Heh.)

    * On a lark, we decided to watch a “Christmas” movie other than the usual favorites: the first Die Hard. Love it. And then of course we also had to watch Die Hard 2 (Die Harder), also taking place at Christmas, and even 3 (Die Harder with a Vengeance) just ’cause we were on a roll.

    * But we saw, too, Scrooged — for the first time in many years. Sort of an uneven film (I never did like the long kinda preachy monologue at the end), but the supporting cast is brilliant. Carol Kane’s sadistic Ghost of Christmas Present and Buster Poindexter/David Johansson’s manic Christmas-Past cabbie deserve kicks of heir very own.

    (Nearly-irrelevant-aside movie recommendation, for those who like quirky films: 1997’s Hellcab, a/k/a Chicago Cab (which is how it appears at IMDB, which otherwise doesn’t do it justice).)

    * The first four hours of the Christmas shopping binge yesterday were wonderful. There WAS an additional 2-1/2 hours to get through, but we won’t speak of that. (Urk.)

    * Uncle-ish boasting… One of my nephews, early 20s of age, moved to LA right out of college a couple years ago, hoping to get into doing something with professional music (especially the movies, of course). He had a temp job with a new cable-TV show for a while, now he’s working full-time in an Apple store out there. BUT I just found out this week that he’s also doing an unpaid internship with a guy whose name I sorta kinda but not quite recognized: Hans Zimmer. Go ahead, click this link (IMDB) or this one (Wikipedia). WHOA.

    * The Missus has a Secret Wassail Recipe which I unleashed on the unsuspecting masses at work this week, via crockpot, at the annual bring-food-in-for-the-holidays extravaganza. I was surprised any was left over — about half the pot, actually. But then I learned that most people thought it was “just” cider (ALTHOUGH THE CROCKPOT WAS CLEARLY LABELED). I learned, furthermore, that aficionados of warm, holiday-spiced fruit beverages had gone crazy over it. And when I brought the crockpot out of the conference room and back to my cubicle and plugged it in there, the aroma drew people from around the floor. (Luckily, I’d also brought in an insulated jug so I could squirrel away a good batch for us later that night!)

    (P.S. It’s non-alcoholic, although outside of a work context, if so desired, the “extra spice” by no means hurts it, either.)

    * This was some great big honkin’ old week for 7-Imp posts, eh wot?

    Have a great week, everyone!

  11. John, we have discussed before that that’s Sam in Die Hard 3, right?

    Whoa. Congrats to your nephew. And Zimmer’s doing the score for Mars Needs Moms? That’s a children’s book. Wonder if it’ll be animated.

    I can say for sure I’ve never had wassail. Now my curiosity is piqued for sure. What’s secret about it? Do you mean it’s a super-secret family recipe or some such thing?

  12. I am popping in between explaining how to work the television to our guests for the millionth time, booking their travel for early January and making a birthday cake for tomorrow, but the kicks here are all lovely.

    1. It has unseasonally snowed before Christmas, much to the delight of our Australian rellies who arrived last weekend. I enjoyed walking in the snow as much as earlier this year but they were even more ecstatic and spent hours watching it snow and playing with it outside.
    2. It was a novelty brushing icicles off our Chrismtas tree when we brought it inside (it’s in a pot). More strange was the emergence of what I suspect were hibernating ladybirds which I had to boot back outside to another tree.
    3. We bought a fresh holly wreath with red berries from a roadside stall – inexpensive but very festive!
    4. My standard (but yummy!) gingerbread recipe worked out well with my new star shaped cookie cutters and they went down well at woek
    5. A very complicated (lots of collaborators!) work project is almost finished, just in time for the printers on Tuesday. And we’re all still friends. Phew.
    6. Our work Christmas party fell through due to problems with catering, but someone has already organised an alternative function room at a pub where those who are around can catch up for drinks before Christmas.
    7. We are all prepared for Christmas Day. We are going away Boxing Day, so I’ll take this chance to say Happy Christmas to everyone here!

  13. Oh yes, I know that’s her in DH3. I seem to remember you — who else? — telling me that she herself doesn’t like to be reminded of it. But I myself don’t think she’s got anything to be embarrassed about. I mean, maybe it’s not the sort of film she’d prefer to be in, or whatever, but I thought she brought to the part just what it needed.

    (When the helicopter blows up at the end? In a fantasy sequence in which I also appear, I’d be on the ground under the helicopter, and that character would survive by jumping into my arms. Ha!)

    I’d never heard of Mars Needs Moms until seeing that among his credits. (Now, Mars Needs Womenthat, sadly, I knew about.) The film adaptation will be a “motion-capture” film — I think that’s the term for what they used for, like, Gollum in the LotR films. (The director, Bob Zemeckis, also did the film of Polar Express — so maybe Mars Needs Moms will have that sort of vibe to it.)

  14. Fly-by kicks today. Love Richard Scarry books – I totally loved looking for Lowly Worm on the pages when I was a kid.

    I am a huge fan of the brunette Alice. One of my favorite little-seen movies is Dream Child, which I had the great pleasure of telling Peter Gallagher how much I enjoyed. I was working in a bookstore in Santa Fe during undergrad and he was filming in town, and was totally floored that I’d seen it a movie theater and not as a rental.

    Love your pictures Jeremy – congrats on playing the CD release party, and congrats on the upcoming gallery show!

    JES – love the Christmas-movie-marathon! I started mine on Monday with Bridget Jones Diary and am working my way to Love Actually.

    Emmaco and Terry enjoy the snow!

    Jone, the fudge sounds lovely!

    And Jules, great photo of you and your grandmother!

    My kicks are being in the Christmas spirit, a house that smells of baking, and now running out to finish up the Christmas shopping!

    Happy holidays everyone!

  15. Emmaco, my, it sounds festive there. Happy Christmas to you, too! Have fun at that pub Christmas party. Sounds like my idea of a fun holiday gathering. And enjoy visiting with the rellies. (I feel like I only get to say “rellies,” which is much fun to say, around you. If you’re not around, I just sound like a poseur.)

    John, well now, I’ve never heard of THAT science fiction movie. I’ll have to see if the husband has. Polar Express creeped me right the hell out; let’s hope Zemeckis does better with Mars Needs Moms.

    Happy holidays to you, too, RM! Why have I never even heard of Dream Child? Must fix that. Thanks for stopping by. Good luck shopping.

  16. Great kicks today – very festive and bright.

    Jules, I love Robert Ingpen’s Alice illustration — the soft blues and fall colors are dream-like. The Onion video was hilarious! The hosts had such hysterically over-the-top facial expressions and body language. Best of all was the photo with your grandmother — I miss both of mine a lot, but they lived to a ripe old age (96 and 103).
    Jeremy, such beautiful photos! You are so talented. And I want to skate on your ice rink.
    Terry, snow and trees like diamonds. Lovely.
    Jone, congratulations to your niece! I had to Google “penuche fudge”, and now I am very hungry. Brown sugar fudge with toasted pecans! Yum!
    JES, if I had to describe the smell of Christmas, it would be wassail. I wish that was cooking in my house right now.
    Emmaco, I love the visual of ladybirds flying out of your Christmas tree — apparently they thought it was *their* tree.
    RM, ditto to your kicks — I like them all, except the shopping part.

    My kicks:
    1) Experiencing Handel’s Messiah at Grace Cathedral in S.F. on Thursday night. We all joined in on the “Hallelujah” chorus and it was lovely.
    2) Going to a Dickens Dinner with our new friends at a lovely inn last night, complete with carolers who sang while we ate.
    3) Jules’ book deal news. WOOT! Still excited about that.
    4) This funny video about the oddities of Facebook: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soQDmb34LtE
    5)The good feelings of the season.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

  17. D’oh! My brain has been swallowed by all the christmas cookies and subsequent sugar rush – I forgot to include in the Dreamchild reference that the original Alice was a brunette (at least according to that movie). Which was supposed to be my point. No more cookies for me!

    Jill – love your kicks too – especially the Dickens Dinner!

  18. RM, I had gingerbread cookies for breakfast, so my brain must have been addled also, because I forgot to mention that Dream Child looks fantastic! I have never heard of it, but am adding it to the Netflix queue post-haste. I figure that anyone who appreciates Robert Walser must also have excellent taste in movies! Thanks for the tip.

  19. P.S. Netflix doesn’t list it. What is wrong with them?? I’ll have to look for it somewhere else. Bummer.

  20. RM, I’d never heard of Dream Child but I got really interested when I saw it was a Dennis Potter film. He also wrote Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective… If Tim Burton ever has nightmares about living up to someone else’s nightmares (yes, that parses :)), I bet it’s Potter!

    Jill, I know people who are sufficiently anal-retentive to sneer and say the Hallelujah Chorus was written for Easter, not Christmas. They don’t want to hear it now. They’re freaking NUTS. 🙂

  21. Jules, thanks for sharing the picture of your aunt. How wonderful for her to be so full of life still. And thanks for the link to Jeremy’s ice show. Wonderful stuff.

  22. Jill, love that video. Grace Cathedral sounds gorgeous. And listing the book deal as a kick? Aw shucks, thanks.

  23. I was one of those kids who carried around tattered copies of my beloved Richard Scarry books when I was a child. None of them had covers, I loved them so much.

    I love that Suzy Goose book. It put me in mind of Kitten’s First Full Moon.

    I’m late to the kicks on account of having been in NYC this weekend and then trying to get OUT of NYC yesterday, but it was a lovely trip and everything worked out swimmingly. It’s good to be home and reading everyone else’s kicks. Happy holidays, all!

  24. Sorry to be late returning … we’ve had a wee bit (27″) of snow that needed shoveling. We have lots of older neighbors, so we were out helping them … and making snow caves!

    Jill, I’m with JES. I know Messiah is for Easter, but oh, it is so beautiful. And Christmas is still about Jesus, right? Very cool that you were in the cathedral.

    Jules – The books were Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers and Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo. I (I mean the elf) loved Christmas Magic so much that it mysteriously arrived early in our holiday book box!

    Adrienne – The comparison to Kitten’s First Full Moon helps. I love that book, so I’ll go look for Suzy Goose.

  25. Adrienne, I also have fond memories of Scarry books from childhood.

    Glad you had a great trip to NYC!

    Terry, snow. I’m jealous. Let me know how you like Christmas Magic. Love your elf/book-giving tradition there.

  26. […] Iron Hans, retold by Stephen Mitchell (2007); Lady Liberty: A Biography by Doreen Rappaport; The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup (2009). {Ed. Note: Directly below are some spreads from and the cover of The […]

  27. Outstanding post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Cheers!

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