If I re-named this blog, I dunno, Seven Impossible Julie Paschkises Before Breakfast, I’m quite certain regular 7-Imp readers wouldn’t be surprised. (I know the title would need some work.) I’ve featured Ms. Paschkis’ art many times before here at the blog, and it’s evident I’m a huge fan.
That would be why I contacted Julie about sharing some art from her two new illustrated titles — Where is Catkin? by Janet Lord (Peachtree, February 2010) and Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle (coming from Henry Holt in April). And, with Julie’s books, I am perfectly fine posting art from them sight unseen — as in, I haven’t even had a chance to read Catkin yet, but in the hands of Janet Lord and Julie, I’m not worried about its potential to be great. (It’s also received good reviews thus far, Kirkus calling it “lovely,” “gorgeous,” and a “visual feast,” and Publishers Weekly writing, “Paschkis’s bright, peasant-style illustrations bring cheery liveliness to Catkin’s world; they’re a bit like the art Wanda Gág might have produced had four-color printing been available to her.”)
Opening this post is a (text-less) spread from Catkin, and the cover is pictured above left.
Thanks to Chasing Ray’s Colleen, I got to read an early copy of Summer Birds, which—as the subtitle tells you—is a picture book biography of naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian, known for her observations on the metamorphosis of the butterfly (called “summer birds” during the Middle Ages in which Merian lived). Engle and Paschkis do a stellar job of shining the spotlight on an observant young woman, living during a time in which butterflies, moths, and frogs were believed to have sprung from the mud and were not seen as the miracles of nature they are, but instead as magic — and evil. “I disagree,” Maria says:
I am only thirteen years old, but I capture insects. I study them. I have to capture my insects in secret. Neighbors would accuse me of witchcraft if they knew. Everyone says insects are evil, but I know my summer birds are beautiful and harmless.
the summer birds do.”
A beautiful biography. I can’t wait till you all can see it, and I thank Colleen for sharing an early copy with me.
And here are a couple more text-less spreads from Catkin, which I look forward to seeing. Many thanks to Julie for sharing her art with us all again. Her art just makes my day is what it does.
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.
1). Good conversations with a new friend. Over coffee. She’s talented, too. See?
2). Whenever Kevin Henkes makes a picture book:
3). Reading Ellen Weiss’ and Mel Friedman’s Porky and Bess (Random House, February 2010), illustrated by Marsha Winborn, with my four-year-old this week. A perfectly charming chapter book. It involves Porky trying to make moon cake, the prerequisite being collecting moonlight in a can. LOVE THAT. Any of you know how to make moon cake? If so, may I have a slice if I ask politely and don’t make a mess?
4). Reading The Hundred Dresses with my six-year-old for the first time.
5). When I inadvertently sent an instant-messenge to an illustrator, whose name is very close in the IM roster to my husband’s, to please remember to bring some bread home for dinner. And she didn’t think I was NUTS when I apologized, once the initial confusion passed and we figured out what had happened. Thank you, Ashley Smith.
6). This song. Particularly, the piano right smack-dab in the middle.
7). That, as humans, one of our superpowers is NOT the ability to read one another’s minds.
BONUS: Hearing from an editor that, years ago, she saw a piece of art here at 7-Imp (as in, created specifically for 7-Imp) that she fell in love with and contacted the illustrator to see if he had any ideas for picture books. And now his first book as both author and illustrator is coming out this Fall. The illustrator told me that story a few years ago, and I remember it. But having the editor tell me this out of the blue this week made me even happier about the whole thing. I mean, really. DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW HAPPY THIS MAKES ME? I never wanted 7-Imp to be about me running my mouth about nothing, but instead for it to connect folks. And, in this case, it’s brought an illustrator and publisher together. I’m sure I’ll post about the book soon.
What are YOUR kicks this week?