7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #147: Featuring
Sebastian Meschenmoser

h1 December 27th, 2009 by jules

This squirrel here looks a lot like how I feel about now, post-holidays. And I didn’t even have that much eggnog. The holidays can get just crazy, you know? It is Sunday, right? I’m not even sure what day it is anymore.

Anyway, happy holidays to all, and I hope everyone had a joy-filled, dysfunction-free holiday, indeed. For the VERY LAST kicks-post of this year (this decade, in fact), I’m sharing some spreads from one of my favorite—if not, my very favorite—picture books of 2009, Waiting for Winter by German author/illustrator Sebastian Meschenmoser. Heaven bless Kane/Miller — for many reasons, actually, but in this case, for bringing us the first American edition of this title in June of this year, having originally been published in Germany in 2007.

I already mentioned this back in July, but Waiting for Winter, I promise, is like no other picture book you’ve seen all year. The book—what Kirkus called a “perfect marriage of words and pictures”—tells the story of Squirrel, determined to see snow this year, since he “usually stays inside in winter” and has never seen the white stuff. Waiting is hard; in fact, the illustration opening this post depicts Squirrel’s difficulties in waiting out Mother Nature: “Waiting for snow is boring. But what is Squirrel falls asleep? He might miss it.” Deciding to get some exercise (in a spastic and very funny wordless spread), he is spotted by Hedgehog, who joins with Squirrel in waiting for winter. They decide to sing sea shanties, as Meschenmoser shows in three laugh-outloud (mostly wordless) spreads, including this one in which we see there will be no peace for their poor neighbor, Bear:


(Click to enlarge.)

I mean, see how passionately they’re beltin’ out those shanties? How funny is that? Bear decides that he’ll simply have to help Squirrel and Hedgehog watch for snow. They know it’s white and wet and cold and soft, seeing as how Deer has informed them of this. “But what if the first snowflake has already fallen?” they wonder. Hedgehog finds a toothbrush: “White and wet and cold, it’s the very first snowflake! Winter will be wonderful when it snows properly.” But, no, Squirrel has found a tin can: “It’s white and cold, and inside, it’s a little wet. Winter will be wonderful!” (Each of these epiphanies is followed by a wordless spread of what each animal’s version of snow falling through the sky looks like.) Neither type of “snow” is soft, Bear points out. “It’s a good thing that he has found it.”


(Click to enlarge.)

Winter will be wonderful! (But the snow is a little smelly.)”

But, ah, see that snowflake there and how it’s drawn the animals’ attention? We’re then absolutely treated to the four final, wordless spreads in the book, including this fabulous (and once again funny) one:


(Click to enlarge.)

I don’t think this book was covered heavily in the blogosphere, but I do know that Betsy Bird covered it here. (“It is smart, clever, beautifully illustrated, and downright funny. Each season there is one good ‘snow’ book that comes out for kids. This book should be considered the good snow book of this and any other year…”) And this from David Barringer of The New York Times (in this November round-up), which I love a whole, whole lot, especially since I have been reminded several times lately what utter crap, to be blunt (and I mean the heavily schmaltzy, dripping with syrup, hyper cutesy stuff), people like to push on children in the name of children’s literature:

In Waiting for Winter, the brilliant pencil work of the author and artist Sebastian Meschenmoser brings to sketchy, scratchy life a charming, idiosyncratic character. Squirrel is as unkempt and uncombed as a parent on Sunday morning, but as innocently impulsive as a child bouncing on the bed…If the sight of hulking, slouching old Bear doesn’t make you laugh out loud, then you have no heart. These creatures are not slickly cute but refreshingly sympathetic. They do not ask to be admired. They look as if they need a hairbrush—and a cup of hot chocolate.

I had hoped that Meschenmoser would stop by for a breakfast interview this year, but it didn’t work out. Maybe one day. But it’s fitting to be celebrating this title today (especially Southerners like me — we’re still waiting for winter ourselves), as the last Sunday feature of 2009, since—as I mentioned—it’s one of my favorite titles from this year.

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.

* * * * * * *

WAITING FOR WINTER. First American Edition copyright © 2009 by Sebastian Meschenmoser. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Kane Miller, Tulsa, OK.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). Christmas was good. I hope you all had a great holiday. As always, I am grateful for my own happiness and health, as well as the happiness and health of my husband and girls.

2). I GET TO SEE EISHA THIS WEEK! Oh yes I do.

3). I got the one thing I wanted most this Christmas. Little did I know it includes a SIGNED BOOKPLATE. It’s a beautiful book, showcasing the life and work and inspirations of John Burningham, whose picture books and art I have long adored:

4). And then I also got surprises like this, which is also a beautifully-made book and a must-have, methinks, for Sendak fans.

5). Steven Withrow’s very funny (think: gloriously dark) Christmas poem, which is here.

6). During my kindergartener’s last week off from school during the holidays, both girls will take a special week-long art class. So, it’ll be art art art and more art all this week.

7). Great, kickin’ music—mixed CDs and otherwise—from my friend, Jill.

BONUS #1: This article is all about the fabulous Tricia of The Miss Rumphius Effect, who sometimes comes kickin’ with us and whose blog many of us adore.

BONUS #2: These below were a gift and have oft warmed my feet in the past couple of days. I wonder what Sendak himself would say of such a thing.

Did you all have a great holiday? Hope so. Anyone around?
If so, what are YOUR kicks this week?

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28 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #147: Featuring
Sebastian Meschenmoser”

  1. Jules said “one of my favorite—if not, my very favorite—picture books of 2009…” Wow! That’s saying something. I fell in love with this book because of the illustrations. Can’t wait to see what our reviewers think! I’m afraid I look more like the bear than the squirrel this morning! Bed head – ‘nuf said!

    It has been an incredible Christmas. Probably one of the best we’ve had. With that, I’ll start kickin’ …

    1. Enjoying two days of Christmas, just the three of us!
    2. Bill’s reaction to the photo calendar filled with pics of his “girls.”
    3. Catherine’s one-woman play of The Night Before Christmas … and the mouse “stirring” ingredients for muffins.
    4. The Giants and the Colts both winning last Sunday.
    5. Last but not least, keeping Santa alive one more year! (despite some early doubts from Catherine).


  2. Jules,

    Happy Post Christmas! Love your slippers–and “Waiting for Winter” looks great!

    1. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family. I was happy to be finished with all the food preparation yesterday–and to have time to put my feet up and relax. I need to start rich food and holiday dessert detox ASAP.

    2. Looking forward to spending a few days with dear friends in the mountains of New Hampshire. We’ll be welcoming in the New Year together. Of course, this means more food preparation for me–as Mike and I will be making a few of our culinary specialties.

    3. I learned how to Elf Myself
    http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/SYZV1Ak5krevNhuQ

    Happy New Year to All!!!


  3. Oh, what a delightful winter book. I hae been that squirrel.
    Jules, Love the slippers! What a wonderful Christmas you had. Tell Eisha hello!
    Terry, how wonderful to keep Santa alive one more year. You can always do mysterious things even after child figures it out. That’s the fun…unexplainable happenings if your believe in the spirit of giving.
    Elaine, I hear you with the holiday dessert detox…and isn’t elf yourself fun?
    My kicks:
    Christmas Eve, family around and the princess sleeping bags and nighties a hit for the two older grandgirls.
    Crab in red sauce for dinner on Christmas Eve.
    The weather was wonderfully sunny this week. Cold but sunny.
    Saw Sherlock Holmes Christams Day…did not dissappoint!
    The CYBILS NFPB shortlist is complete. My panel rocked BUT you have to wait until January 1!
    Have a great week.


  4. Wow, I love those drawings. I’ve added it to my post-holiday book buying list. I also got the Burningham book (with signed bookplate!). I’m so glad that you, as a fellow Harvey Slumfenberger fanatic, also got a copy. Thanks for another year of great posts!


  5. Just thankfor for another Christmas with family and that everyone is safe, sound and healthy! I love watching the excitement of Julie’s girls, for Christmas is always better through a child’s eyes. :)
    Julie and Blaine soon celebrate a ten year anniversary! And Grandma and Pop will babysit, if she needs us. Happy New year and decade, everyone!


  6. Terry, you know, while I was composing this post and looking for other blog reviews of the book, I saw one at The Reading Tub that launched some kind of virus when I clicked on it. (No worries; I have a very good virus-catcher thingy.) Isn’t that weird? Oh well. I tried to link to what I assumed was your review of the book.

    One of your best Christmases? That’s fabulous is what that is. I bet that one-woman play was a big hoot.

    Elaine, so glad you had a good Christmas, and have too much fun in New Hampshire. You’re going to have a great 2010, I know it. Oh, and funny video. I didn’t know that JibJab made it look like one was singing these days.

    Jone, I saw your FB pics of the holiday. Looks like you all had a blast! I so want to see Sherlock Holmes. Last night, we had the offer of a kid-free night in which to go see that, but we opted to stay home, take the tree down, and clean up all the Christmas stuff. Does that make us old? I dunno, but I’m glad to have my living room back.

    Matt! You got it, too! Boy, am I just slowly reading it and savoring all the lovely images. Thanks for liking my posts. I’d bet money you’ll really love Sebastian’s book.

    Hi, Mom! I might take you up on that.


  7. Now that’s a clever idea for a storyline. I think a sleigh ride over drifts of tin cans or a toothbrushball fight would have to be pretty wonderful winter diversions, as long as everybody wore suits of armor. And those are some coooool illustrations. Love the combination of, uh, not sure what the term is… sort of the non-fictiony look of the draughtsmanship, until you actually examine the faces and poses of the subjects — the cross-eyed snowflake-examining bear’s great! (In the same figure, I did double- and triple-takes at the hedgehog’s fur. Still not sure what that one patch is, but it looks like s/he had a bad encounter with some electric garden shears. Heh.)

    Jules, how great is it that you’ll get to see Eisha this week? (AND I loved seeing that your own in-real-life holiday visitor dropped a comment here. :))

    Steven W’s what-I-got-for-Christmas poem cracked, me, UP. But it should probably be marked off-limits for kids with brothers/sisters of their own — is there a rating for that? — I suspect the world would end up with a lot of suddenly-only-child households.

    Elaine, the Elf Myself thing knocked me over backwards.

    It was an altogether weird Christmas week for us, in almost too many dimensions to count. To start off the kicks, though, I’ll just cite one surreal (and long, sorry!) example:

    * Thursday, I did some last-minute grocery shopping with a list The Missus had drawn up. Because it was last-minute, it included a sizable grab-bag of oh-wait-I-just-thought-of items with no particular theme: dinner rolls, cinnamon red-hots (candies/cake decorations), soap, etc. For various reasons, I had to do this shopping at an unfamiliar grocery store, so of course it took me forever to find everything. The last item to get was a red-white-green bouquet of flowers, so I left the cart parked at the end of an aisle near the cash registers for about two minutes while I returned to the flowers-and-plants section. When I got back, my cart was gone. I finally found it parked in what I can describe only as a miscellaneous area — with two items still in it. (One was a bag of individually-picked bagels, the other was the rolls — how I knew this was my cart.) Everything else had been returned to the shelves, presumably by an overzealous manager or stock clerk. Luckily, I still had my list. Unluckily, (a) I tend to cross things off as I pick them off the shelf, so some items were now unreadable, and (b) I’d thought of some other UN-listed stuff we also needed, and could no longer remember all of it.

    Anyway, the story of how I grocery-shopped twice on Christmas Eve 2009 for exactly the same items is apparently destined to be repeated often. Wouldn’t want to repeat the experience itself, though!

    * We’re down to one cat ourselves, but this was an entertaining reminder of the pleasures of having many at once.

    * Learned this week about InstaPaper — sort of an advanced online-bookmarking thingy — which I may or may not actually end up using much. (It’ll be more interesting to iPhone users, I think.) But one of the examples of InstaPapered pages which they linked to was this looooong article — a 1965 profile, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” which blew me away.

    * My favorite gift this year was from my “kid” brother: three custom-mix CDs of music from a couple of bands which I listened to when I was in college. He remembered those bands and albums specifically because no one in his musically adroit circle of friends knew anything about them, at least yet. And he remembered sneaking them off my album shelves to listen to on his own, and then putting them back in EXACTLY the same places just in case I actually cared that they’d been moved. He could’ve skipped sending me the CDs; the cover letter which came with them, detailing all the above and how the music seemed to mirror things he thought to be true of me, was worth the price of Christmas this year.

    * Took off from work Wednesday, thinking (mistakenly) that The Missus would be home all day, too. But no. So since she needed the car, I was “stuck” at home with the dog. In a Florida suburb, this is as close as I can come to recreating the fond snowed-in-for-Christmas memories I have from a New Jersey childhood. So I read, and played with the dog, and did a lot of online stuff, and watched TV…

    …and that’ll do, I think, for now. Have a wonderful and SAFE New Year’s celebration this week, everyone!


  8. P.S. This, for gingerbread-house fans of a certain off-center persuasion…


  9. I’ve been absent these last few weeks, but the end of the semester was more chaotic than usual this year.

    1. Thanks to Jules and everyone else who’s left such nice comments about the article. It’s actually an old piece that the university republished. I was surprised to find out that my site is STILL banned in China.
    2. My mom has been visiting since the 9th of December. I’m so grateful she didn’t have to be alone for the holidays. It hasn’t been easy for her, but I’m thrilled she’s here.
    3. Thanks to my husband, I am officially Kindle-fied. (Yes, I just made up that word.) I’m having fun playing with it. Jane Austen novels cost 99¢! Now I can have Jane with me wherever I go. I also bought TENDER MORSELS and a volume of Billy Collins poetry.
    4. Watching William at Christmas was so much fun. He has been buried in Lego and building toys and is having a ball.
    5. I gave my husband a Wii for Christmas. He and William have been playing like mad. I haven’t jumped in yet, but will round up some courage in a day or two.
    6. My sister and her family arrived yesterday and are here for a few days.
    7. My mom got a lovely gift the day after Christmas in the form of a contract on my childhood home. The house has been on the market since August 3rd, so this is a welcome relief.

    I have weeks worth of kicks and could go on forever. I’ll end by saying how much I’ve missed visiting and reading your kicks. Best wishes to all for a happy new year.


  10. John, ZOMBIE GINGERBREAD HOUSE! So perfect. I love that it’s edible, too.

    Thanks for the link to the Esquire article. Will explore later.

    That CD—and the accompanying letter—sound pretty great. There’s not much better than a mixed CD someone makes with you in mind. But that one? That’s made of specialness.

    Sorry about that overzealous grocery manager — or so we suspect. Yeesh, two minutes is hardly an eternity.

    Tricia, sounds like you had a warm, family-filled holiday — and still are. So glad your mother was with you. Excellent news on the contract, too! Enjoy the rest of your holiday break. You deserve a rest after all that grading and assessing.


  11. Glad you had a good Christmas, Jules. Love the slippers! Enjoy seeing Eisha, too.

    Mheir and I had a lovely quiet Christmas here with just the two of us, and then we had a few friends over for Boxing Day. Today I’m planning to curl up on the couch and read all afternoon…

    Happy New Year, all!


  12. Jen, perfect way to spend the afternoon. I’m a little bit jealous. Enjoy — and Happy New Year to you, too!


  13. Glad to hear you all had a good Christmas, Jules–and such fun gifts you got! I hope you aren’t trying to climb any stairs in those Max slippers, though. Talk about mischief of one kind and another.

    Jone, I also enjoyed Sherlock Holmes.

    JES, Omigosh, I love that gingerbread house. Lucas and I have got to got to got to make one of those one of these years.

    It’s good to be hearing about everyone’s good holidays.

    My kicks:
    1. I got a blu-ray player that streams Netflix RIGHT TO MY TV!!! I know this should not be my #1 kick, but for a movie-lover who’s had a fairly pathetic TV setup for a long, long time, this is very exciting.
    2. My friends and family all around me this week. That’s my real #1. I swear.
    3. I also got lots of paper for Christmas. I love that my F&F understand and support my incessant writing with blank books and spiral notebooks and post-its and paper in all its wonderful forms.
    4. Sherlock Holmes!
    5. The Princess and the Frog!
    6. Cookies with cream cheese frosting.
    7. Chocolate-covered cherries.


  14. Tricia, a new use for Kindle…to keep volumes of poetry on ti. Love it. I may have to get “kindle-fied”
    Hey, I just watched the Georgia O’Keefe movie that has been on my dvr…what a great show.


  15. Adrienne, what a good Christmas you had, you. Congrats on your blu-ray player; I don’t even really know what blu-ray means, truly, but it sounds great. Now you can stream 30 Rock.

    We also saw The Princess and the Frog and have determined that Tiana (is that her name?) is the only princess who doesn’t need to get a job. (“Get a job, girl” is what I started muttering to princesses like Ariel, which makes my five-year-old laugh, yet my four-year-old starts crying about how PRINCESSES DON’T NEED TO GET JOBS. She’s so earnest about it.)

    Jone, if you’re still around: Which movie?


  16. Happy Holidays!

    I feel like I have been looking like the squirrel the past few days! What lovely illustrations, especially the whole tired-with-bed-head.

    My holiday kicks:
    1. My co-workers squeals Mon-Thurs when I brought in a new Christmas treat each morning for our team.
    2. Being a Christmas fairy for a friend.
    3. Christmas eve watching Love, Actually with the pups and getting a “Merry Christmas I miss you” text at just the right moment.
    4. Sherlock Holmes on Christmas day – love me some RDJ – but it was also nice that the female leads were smart characters too!
    5. Pretty earrings for a present.
    6. My present to me – fitting back into my favorite jeans.
    7. Long phone calls with family and friends.

    Have a great week everyone, and a great year to come!


  17. Even though I’m glad my living room is back, I’m starting to think I should have gone to see RDJ, too.

    So glad you had a good week, RM! You have a great week, too, and happy new year (soon) to you!


  18. Jules, To tell you the truth, I don’t know much about the mysterious blu-ray, other than that it is supposed to be a clearer and crisper picture, which I can see from the one blu-ray I’ve watched so far. The player plays DVDs, too, so that’s good. And the Netflix. I’m learning a lot about technology this month.

    Seriously about Tiana. I have to get that “Almost There” song on my iPod. (Max, incidentally, said quite emphatically when we left the theater that he did NOT like that movie and would furthermore never ever watch it ever again. What does he prefer? Dinosaur Train on PBS. Ah, well. He is only four.)


  19. Adrienne, yes, that is a really great song. Piper’s decided Tiana and Belle are the best, since “Belle likes to read books.” (I think I said that first, but oh well, if she’s gonna parrot me, it could be worse.)

    Dinosaur Train IS pretty great.

    Enjoy that blu-ray. Our t.v. is from 1994. It might even be on its last leg.


  20. p.s. I’ve already told Jama she needs to see that movie, what with all the restauranting.


  21. Oh how I have missed you all!!! Those slippers are positively kickin’ bad. And now I must have the book Waiting for Winter. This is the second great review I’ve read this morning.

    My long overdue kicks:

    1. I am 3/4 of the way through my MLS and still sporting a 4.0. First Time Eva for me. I can hardly believe it.

    2. My little boys are old enough to play legos all together. Yowza!

    3. We are having a really great winter break all together in this old house. My oldest is about to join the Air Force so I am treasuring every minute.

    4. Knitting mittens and hats for everyone. I love knitting mittens!

    5. Celebrating a year of re-gaining health. Feeling strong & rested. Yay!

    6. Finding time to catch up with bloggers.

    7. Snow!


  22. Andi, so glad you are healthy, going into 2010. REALLY glad about that! Congrats on that 4.0 AND being 3/4 of the way done.

    Snow? Jealous. Still have none. Ah well.


  23. Wow. I have been wanting to know more about this book, and of course this is the place to find out. You are SUCH A GREAT WRITER! I enjoyed your review immensely, and I can’t wait to read this book. I almost bought it for Christmas, I almost struck gold, didn’t I?!


  24. [...] How neat!  Cynthia Leitich Smith and I apparently tied by getting three titles apiece onto the Cybils nomination lists.  Woot!  This year I nominated my books immediately and correctly.  No word on what our three titles are, but I’m betting good money that Waiting for Winter by Sebastian Meschenmoser probably made the cut onto the picture book list.  That book is brilliant (as proven by a recent Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast post). [...]


  25. [...] so if you haven’t seen any of his stuff yet, get thee to a library/bookstore! (and check out 7-Imp’s feature on him to see some more of his amazing [...]


  26. Speaking of messes, take a look at the comments under the Curb Appeal story. The one about what a mess the Vons shopping area is pretty much hit the nail on the head. That place is a total disgrace to the valley.


  27. [...] to fly] [иллюстрации из книги Waiting for Winter] [о Waiting for winter на seven impossible things] [ о Себастьяне] [список [...]


  28. I went over this website and I believe you have a lot of wonderful info, saved to bookmarks (:.


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