7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #163: Featuring D.B. Johnson

h1 April 18th, 2010 by jules

Here’s one of the many great things about featuring some spreads from D.B. Johnson’s newest title, Palazzo Inverso, this morning: I can post these images right-side-up or upside down. I could be hammered on, say, an entire bottle of Courvoisier and screw up the images, and they would still work. (I don’t know why I said that. I don’t even own any Courvoisier. Not to mention I would never Blog While Hammered. That sounds like a support group, doesn’t it? Oh, and not to mention I can’t remember the last time I was hammered. But isn’t “Courvoisier” fun to say?)

I am, arguably (but just maybe arguably), author/illustrator D.B. Johnson’s Biggest Fan. I have already made clear the many reasons why in my March 2009 interview with him. Or, as Daniel Pinkwater nailed it in his 2009 7-Imp interview, D.B. Johnson is a genius. ‘Nuf said.

Because of my excessive fan-dom, I get extra squealy over his new titles, and Palazzo Inverso will be released next month by Houghton Mifflin. LUCKY ME has seen an early copy. Really, really observant 7-Imp readers may remember that this was the one title I wanted most to see in 2010. Well, now is the time, dear readers.

The new title is a reverent and playful homage to M.C. Escher and his mind-bending, impossible buildings, telling the story of a boy apprentice, named Mauk, to a master architect. Since the book can be read right-side-up or upside down—and since the story loops around, asking the child reader to turn the book topsy-turvy and read the upside-down text at the top of the page, only coming back to the very beginning—it all begins with an arrow directing the reader to the first sentence: “EVERY DAY WAS THE SAME.” Mauk has to get up, head to work. But this day ends up being different, as he finds his route to work to be slightly disorienting and then, when he arrives at the Palazzo where the Master is working, “workers wheeled their carts in all directions…What was different?…here were the bricklayers with a full cart—spilling bricks on the ceiling!…All around him workers were falling down stairs, hanging from windows, and shouting…Workers were walking on their hands down the stairs! The water in the fountain was falling up instead of down…”



(Final spread and sketch)

Our poor discombobulated protagonist is baffled, as the workers around him blame the Master. Then, when everyone gathers around the drawing of the building, the Master accuses Mauk of changing his drawing. And, well…I don’t want to give it all away, except to say again that the text loops, the reader turns the book upside down, and a new adventure begins. Johnson also includes an Author’s Note about Escher.

It’s all what Booklist calls an “undeniably impressive bit of optical trickery with an even neater narrative flip at the conclusion.” The book demands that child readers stretch their imaginations, and I mean really stretch them. And this is such a good, good thing — and not surprising, given the great respect Johnson has for child readers and their smarts. Certainly, this picture book isn’t for everyone, but it’s a challenging mind-bender for your older picture book reader. And, well, not only that: Shoot, a child’s never too young to see such masterful mucking with perspective.


I hope you see a copy when it’s released in May and come back and talk to me about it. Here are some more spreads and sketches from the book (I’m not going to include any text/captions with them, as I won’t know which to pick: the bottom or top text), and I thank D.B. for sharing them. To see some other spreads from the title, you can re-visit my ’09 interview with D.B., in which he talked a bit about the book and previewed some art from it.







* * * * * * *

PALAZZO INVERSO. Copyright © 2010 by D.B. Johnson. Published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Mass. Sketches and spreads reproduced by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

* * * * * * *

As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New folks are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *
(in no particular order)

1). The way my four-year-old dances. She busts some bad-ass moves. I snapped a bunch of pictures this week as she danced, especially since she gets this wicked intense look on her face as she gets her groove on. See, pictured here?

2). She also has learned to pump her legs and swing her own self. She’ll head out to the swings at 7ish every morning; she loves it that much. At this point during the day, I’m still shuffling around, squinting and glaring simultaneously, grunting at folks monosyllabically, and looking for coffee. I do like swinging with her, though, when I’m awake. Who doesn’t love swinging?

3). My friend, Jill. And Eisha. They were good listeners this week during some of my darker, more pathetic, more neurotic moments, and they’re always good listeners. They’re my people. My tribe.

4). Finally seeing Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Cuss yeah, it was good. I read that book to my girls when they were younger, and they hooted. But they didn’t remember it. Anyway. We all enjoyed the movie. I think I need a trademark gesture, like Mr. Fox has. Any ideas for me?

5). This great interview with Natalie Merchant on her unusual new CD, which I super-bad want. P.S.: Does she ever age?

6). And, on that note, this this this! I wasn’t so sure at first, but I love every single cover/performance on there. Beck is always a kick for me.

7). Seeing this short video on David Wiesner’s upcoming Fall picture book. It makes my brain hurt to see how he’s mucking with media in the narrative, but it’s a very good kind of hurt:

BONUS: Good old-fashioned manners. We went out to eat one night this week, and I noticed that each of the ladies at the table next to us sat there for the first fifteen minutes looking at their respective phones and texting and such. FIFTEEN MINUTES without saying a word to one another or acknowledging each other. I’m glad my people have manners.

Also: Showing Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Three-Stooges footage to my girls, seeing as how my kindergartener is a one-person slapstick performance anymore these days.

Here we go. Just for fun:

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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28 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #163: Featuring D.B. Johnson”

  1. Palazzo Inverso looks amazing. Maybe soon I’ll be recovered from trying to get my head around how Marilyn Singer did Mirror, Mirror and will have a new challenge. Jules, I love when you show us sketches as well as the finished work. And your dancing daughter.

    Kicks:
    1. Thank you for the Borrowed Names kindness on Poetry Friday!
    2. Saw and smelled a trailing arbutus, sometimes called a mayflower (but so are many other tiny white flowers).
    3. Read Alice Munro: Too Much Happiness.
    4. My students gave Shel Silverstein lots of love during poetry week, but we also got some Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, of course Lewis Carroll, and others. Highlights were one student’s memory of her grandfather, retired from the Navy, reciting, “We must go back to the sea again” on his boat and a British student’s description of Michael Rosen wowing her class.
    5. So much great poetry on the internet this month!
    6. I’m not fond of baby showers as a genre, but I love my yoga teacher and I’ll be there this afternoon. If only to whisper, somehow: if you don’t meet your goal of getting back to work in two weeks, you are still a great person.
    7. Apple blossoms!


  2. Palazzo Inverso reminds me of Escher…incredible. Kids will love it.
    Jules, your daughter would fit in with the grand girls.
    Jeanine, can’t wait to get my hands on Borrowed Names.
    So the end of my week pretty much was a downer.
    Thank you to all who have left encouaging words about libraries…(those unaware, district has deemed that I should NOT teach and go between two schools next year for library.)
    But the goodness in my life:
    Susan Blackaby, author of Nest, Nook Cranny got to come to my school for Fmily Library Night courtesy of the PTA).
    My library colleagues are banding together to show the district BOTH all day Kindergarten and library can exist.
    The poems of the students.
    Have a great week. Feel free to join the ” I bet I can find 1000 people who support Evergreen Libraries on FB.


  3. Wow! Palazzo Inverso has me all twisted and turned around and amazed and astonished. Trés cool!

    Love your kicks — dancing daughter, Buster Keaton, David Wiesner — sorry to hear about those dark, neurotic moments, but glad you had some good listeners to pull you through.

    Can I just say that whenever Jeannine writes her kicks or her blog posts — it’s like reading poetry. I’m wondering how she acquired such a deep well of beauty and is able to access and express it so consistently. Sigh.

    My one kick this week is that we are the proud godparents of two fox pups/kits! Fuzzy (whom we refer to as “he” most of the time, but who is really a “she”), allowed them to play outside their den last week. Adorable romping balls of fur! We’ve named them Kit and Kaboodle :) .

    Happy Sunday!!


  4. Jone, we were posting at the same time. Sorry to hear about your job situation. Hope you and your colleagues are successful at convincing the District!


  5. Palazzo Inverso looks like one of those books I will stare at and stare at.

    Jone, That sucks. I am sorry. Even from a distance, I see how good you are at what you do, and, as I always say, school libraries are some children’s ONLY access to libraries. Communities need to invest in them.

    Jules, Your yellow room has white trim. Mine too. I really need a four-year-old girl dancing around to show it off, though, although Max is a pretty fun dancer, when he decides to dance, which is not often.

    Also, Natalie Merchant performed some of the songs off that CD at PLA, and it was wonderful. She dressed kinda librarian-y, and she had a SLIDESHOW with pictures and stories about the poets whose work she’d adapted, and she talked about some of the libraries where she did research. The songs are great, too. I just got the CDs this week, and I’m really enjoying listening to them.

    Also, I thought this same thing about her not aging when I saw the promo posters and the CD cover, but in life she does look older–still so lovely, though. It’s a shame we live in a world where public figures have to worry about looking young all the time. She seems like the type of person who would find it dismaying to be heavily airbrushed.

    I’ve gone on long enough. My kicks:
    1. I had dinner with eisha on Thursday!
    2. My presentation went well that day, too.
    3. They even had my books for sale at the conference, which I completely wasn’t expecting. It was like unexpectedly running into a friend.
    4. That day, I also did unexpectedly run into a real, live friend who I was so glad to see. She came to my presentation, too. I’m always really touched when people I know do that because they can listen to me whenever (and maybe MORE THAN THEY WANT TO already).
    5. I learned how to play “Little Bunny Foo-Foo” on my piano without sheet music this week. My teacher asked me to do this as a challenge, and I thought he was crazy, but I did it (and, okay, it’s an easy song–but I’m a beginner).
    6. I do just love my piano.
    7. Lately, I am loving this recipe for a broccoli/red onion/apple salad with a honey mustard vinaigrette that I got out of Mollie Katzen’s The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without. That’s such a good book.


  6. Jules,

    Love the photo of your dancin’ daughter.

    “Palazzo Inverso” looks like an amzing picture book. Like Jeannine, it made me think of Marilyn Singer’s book “Mirror Mirror.”

    David Wiesner’s book looks fascinating too.

    Nothing much exciting or great going on around here of late. The weather has been cold, damp, and gray lately.

    MY KICKS

    1. My Poem “Things to Do If You Are King Kong” is featured today at GottaBook. I felt honored to be asked to be one of the writeres participating this year in Gregory’s Thirty Poets Thirty Days National Poetry Month Project this year.

    2. Still feeling inspired and writing new poems.

    3. Working on my Things to Do collection so I can improve it and submit it to a publisher. I was heartened when so many people left positive comments about my “Things to Do If You Are the Moon” poem at my Poetry Friday post. That gave me added impetus to get going again with that collection.

    4. Got word from NCTE that the POETS AND BLOGGERS UNITE: USING TECHNOLOGY TO CONNECT KIDS, TEACHERS, AND POETRY session that I will be participating in at the Convention in Orlando in November has been accepted.

    Have a great week, all!


  7. Jeannine, I’ll trade you your arbutus for re-discovering this week Gillian Welch’s beautiful song about the acony bell (not surprisingly, titled “Acony Bell”). Man, I love that song. But I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a real acony bell in the wild. I wanted to name one of my daughters Acony Bell, but my husband didn’t go for it. I guess it is a bit much.

    So fun to read, Jeannine, about your poetry session. I envy you your job.

    Jone, I’m still so sorry about your yucky news, but thanks for the reminder about the Facebook group.

    I’m with you on Jeannine’s kicks, Jama. She turns even those into a work of art. Welcome to Kit and Kaboodle! And you know another kick for us all? Your blog this month. Wow.

    Adrienne, that’s actually not the Yellow Room, but the Yellow Room does, indeed, have white trim…Eisha emailed me that you all got together and that next time I need to fly up there OR that she’s going to drag you to middle TN next time she visits. So good that you got to see her, and it’s extra good that your presentation went well. Neat that you got to see Natalie perform, though I’m bummed to find out she allows for the airbrushing of her beautiful face. Also: It makes me happy that your piano makes you happy. A friend of mine tried to convince me to get one anyway, despite thinking I don’t have room, and cram it into our kitchen. I dunno if it’d fit, but I might ponder that idea.

    I wish I liked broccoli, Adrienne. So healthy for a person. The rest of that salad sounds stellar to me. Maybe I need that cookbook. We Danielsons know we need to eat more vegetables, but we can’t find vegetable dishes that really fire us up. I tried a new one two weeks ago that ended disastrously.

    Elaine, congrats on your proposal getting accepted! And thanks for the heads-up about your visit at Greg’s. Here’s hoping you all get some sun up there.


  8. P.S. Here’s “Acony Bell”:


  9. Hi there, D.B.! Thank you for sharing your artwork with us. I like the topsy-turvy black-and-white.

    Jules: Yay for dancing and swinging! Manners are important. Good comedic timing deserves applause.

    Jeannine: Enjoy the flowers and the celebrations.

    Jone: Sending you good job-related vibes. May more good things come your way.

    Jama: How adorable! Love the names, Kit and Kaboodle. Hello to the cute little foxes and the proud fox mom!

    Adrienne: Little Bunny Foo-Foo, hoppin’ through the forest… Say hi to your piano for me! I owe you an email. I’m trying to catch up!

    Elaine: I have to send your King Kong poem to a friend + his family who love King Kong!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Hitting the ground running
    2) Rehearsal
    3) Performance
    4) Offer
    5) Updating headshots
    6) Another rehearsal
    7) In time


  10. Happy Sunday, everyone!

    Love D.B. Johnson’s illustrations! I immediately thought of Escher, and this piece in particular: http://artgill.free.fr/images/Eischer%2038.jpg
    What a wonderful concept for a children’s book! Jules, little Ada is a natural born Dancing Queen — I love that intense look on her face. And thanks for all the great videos and links. But especially thank you for your kick #3 (see my kick #1).

    Jeannine, I was thinking how poetic your kicks sounded, and then Jama described them perfectly. So lovely.
    Jone, so sorry to hear about your downer week, and I hope it all turns around for you. What is happening to libraries is scary and sad.
    Jama, Ooh! I want to see Kit and Kaboodle! Are they fox terrier pups? Photos, please!
    Adrienne, congratulations on your presentation and the piano playing love. See my kick #2.
    Elaine, “feeling inspired and writing new poems” = a fabulous week in my book!

    My kicks:
    1) Jules. I’m honored to be one of your kicks, and especially to be your friend. You’re my people, too, and I thank you for being there for me this week during my own dark moments.
    2) Learning to play a few guitar “sounds” (I can’t call them notes or chords yet, since I’m just starting) and feeling such happiness from this new experience.
    3) Making a successful dinner for the adult literacy board on Monday night — one person came back for fourths!
    4) Seeing an old friend for dinner on Wed. night and catching up.
    5) Seeing the movie “Date Night” with my boyfriend last night — highly amusing and fun.
    6) The importance of being encouraging to others, as shown by this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp3ka4E77YM
    7) Remembering to slow down: http://zenatplay.com/ponderings/urgency

    Have a great week, all!


  11. Little Willow, my spaceship passed yours in Cyberville, but wanted to say hello. As usual, you have great kicks — hitting the ground running is my favorite. Have a great week!


  12. To D.B. Johnson: “You had me at: the mirror-ball eyes!”

    Jules: dancin’ daughter’s intensity, Mr. Fox’s cheekiness, and Acorny Bell’s swoony soul – there’s GOT to be a cool signature move/sound in that combo somewhere.

    Shared Kicks: Buster & Weisner vids, Borrowed Names in my shopping cart, kick-ass librarians, fox pups (!), Little Bunny Foo-Foo by ear, King Kong in a bullet proof vest (ha!), hearing that someone else loves rehearsing.

    My Kicks:
    1. rhymezone. http://www.rhymezone.com/
    Especially “search in Shakespeare” option in the drop-down menu (down arrow next to ‘find rhyme’). If I’m ever feeling pissy and sorry for myself while searching for the right rhyme — I go to rhymezone and type in “moon” and hit “search in Shakespeare”. Never fails to shame me into buckling down and working harder.

    2. Listening to five 14-year-old friends banter in the backseat of my car.

    3. This frenetic Alice demo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gew68Qj5kxw

    4. Mentor/friend’s book hit the NY Times Bestsellers list. I love being happy for people I love. [Barbara Bottner’s “Miss Brooks Loves Books… (and I don’t)”]. Miss Brooks is a hoot, and talk about kick-ass librarians!

    5. Poetry Month.

    6. My workshop proposal, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Rhyming Picture Books” was accepted for this year’s SCBWI’s Summer Conference. Yea!

    7. Finished Chapter 68.

    Great kicks everyone (as usual.) Enjoy the next week and the extra-poetic days of April.


  13. Jules, I love that photo! (and your daughter looks remarkably like you I think!). And that’s lovely she likes swinging so much she heads on out to do it first thing. What a great way to start the day.

    And what a talented bunch of people hang out here poets and beginner musicians – love hearing about how you’re enjoying learning the piano, Adrienne, and guitar, Jill!

    Sorry to hear about the library situation, Jone, hope it works out OK.

    Still no news on my yet-to-be-born niece who is now 10 days late! But in the absence of her arrival, I still have had a good week:

    1. Despite the ash cloud covering the country the weather has been lovely.
    2. I cycled up to work with my pilates mat strapped to my front basket and didn’t knock anyone over on the way. And I think the bright purple colour attracted some cute goldfinches who accompanied me part of the way.
    3. I was nervous about teaching a 3 hour class in Oxford yesterday (generally I actually enjoy giving presentations and lecturing, but three hours?!) but it all went well.
    4. And afterwards I had finger sandwiches, an excellent scone with clotted cream and ham and half a piece of lemon cake!
    5. We also visited the Ashmolean museum, which was very well laid out and included interested exhibits such as how the staff conserve items and the history of money.
    6. There is a new Indian restaurant in town, and although its décor is very bling (lots of sparkly tiles and little laser lights beaming around the room) the food was reasonable and yummy – lots of great vegetable dishes in particular.
    7. Fuse #8’s top 100 children’s books list inspired me to read The Westing game (excellent!) and to give in to my temptation to buy the pretty box set of the Wrinkle in time books (justification: my copy in Aus is a UK copy where the first line has famously been changed – who knows if anything else was? Safest to buy a US copy).


  14. Thank you, Jules, for this post on D. B. Johnson; I am fascinated and more!

    7-kicks
    1. A trip of overwhelming scenery, fun and relaxing spa-visit, delicious food and READING time in Napa Valley…didn’t matter one bit that it rained most of the time.

    2. Staff who are working hard as RIF prepares to move to a different address in DC….ten years of accumulated “stuff” in this one place with MORE stuff that was brought when RIF last moved, never opened…but everyone is joining together and purging & pitching!

    3. WHERE THE MOON MEETS THE MOUNTAIN by Grace Lin…wow!

    4. Baby William is 1 now, and I am headed there this week to play and visit while his parents are out of town….wa-hoo!

    5. Participating in the Guys Lit Wire “wish list” program purchasing books for two American Indian School Libraries in honor of Teen Literature Day as part of Library Week. Consider buying a book or two or three, lists are up until this coming Wednesday! http://guyslitwire.blogspot.com/2010/04/making-difference-one-book-at-time-guys.html

    6. THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot. It struck a chord in my soul, I will be thinking about all this book said for a long time to come.

    7. Redbud and dogwood trees in full bloom, the start of the tulip parade thoughout DC and northern Virginia!

    Have a great week!


  15. I have a funny Courvoisier story to tell. It’s too long, though, even for one of my 7-Imp Sunday comments — guess I’ll have to blog about it at some point!

    What an ingenious (genius!) idea for a picture book: a plotted version of Escher’s drawings. Aside from its stated target age range, I bet any kids of any age who are just starting to get interested in art, perspective, and architecture would draw a lot of fascination from its pages. Predictably, I guess, I had to play around with a few of the images by rotating them 90, 180, and 270 degrees (something I’ve never tried with Escher’s “real” work). Mind-expanding to see the differences in what’s apparently going on, what’s being emphasized, what is easily overlooked, [etc. etc.], in one view vs. others.

    And I really liked the way the spread of Mauk crossing the bridge evolved from sketch to final: the change in perspective(s) on the three bridge arches.

    Trademark gesture: let’s see, it’s got to be upper body, so you can employ it to effect even when you’re sitting at a table… It can’t be too audible, so you can use it when you’re someplace where silence is a virtue (a theater, a perhaps too-familiar monologue by family member)… It’s got to express something — some sense or some response — characteristic of you, Jules…

    …Hmm. Maybe something like the old Victor Borge “audible punctuation” routines. How would you illustrate an exclamation point in ASL, if ASL actually is (or could be) capable of illustrating exclamation points? I’m thinking of a quick downstroke of an index finger, followed by a sort of non-voiced “Pttt!” as you stab the dot at the bottom. As in: “Jules says: [downstroke][dot][Pttt!]

    Or, well, not. :)

    I love the samples I’ve heard of the Natalie Merchant CD and love the concept. (You alerted me to it a couple weeks ago, Jules.) What a great National Poetry Month treat!

    I missed kickin’ with y’all last week. This is already long enough, so I’ll just focus on my kicks from the last seven days, and be brief about that:

    1. The Pooch recovering awfully darned fast — almost too fast! — from the double knee surgery.

    2. Two blogs which I manage for a paying customer had to undergo a significant (Blogger-related) technical change in the last week… and it happened with only a couple of apparently minor hiccups.

    3. The Fall: OMG. Thank you so much for recommending it, various-Seven-Impers!

    4. Having a DVR has completely remade our TV watching. In a good way (as long as by “good” you don’t mean “…which we’ve been able to significantly cut back on it”).

    5. I just looooved this “10 Minute Tale” written and directed by Neil Gaiman, starring Bill Nighy and Amanda Palmer (probably not coincidentally, NG’s fiancee).

    6. Finding out, courtesy of the NY Times, that I don’t have to feel weird about not liking cilantro.

    7. An author named David Shields has “written” a recent book called Reality Hunger. You can find out plenty about him and the book via a Google search, but, in brief, his premise is that fiction needs a complete makeover! a revolution! we need fiction to emulate latter-day music! and modern art! etc. The book itself consists entirely of numbered paragraphs, each of which is a direct quotation from some other source. He really didn’t want to include ANY citations, but the publisher talked him into including 10 pages of citation-style notes at the end.

    All of which is preface to Shields’s appearance on Stephen Colbert’s show. An instant-classic Colbert demolition of an unknowing interviewee.

    BONUS (even though I know one more link will probably toss me into the spambucket): I’m a huge fan of the comedian Demetri Martin. this bit, in which he discusses good, bad, and “interesting” types of control, has reduced me to giggles every time I’ve watched it.


  16. Little Willow, hope the offer was an exciting one. And word UP, manners are important.

    Jill, I bet you’re playing more than just “sounds” on the guitar, and I saw the kick #7 video earlier this week, as you know, but it still blows my mind, watching it again, since that is often how my mind feels.

    Denise, hubba wha? Does the Alice for the iPad really have those bouncy, moving things? I get confused by this new-fangled stuff. And OOO! OOO! I l love that Miss Brooks Loves Books… I got an ARC forever ago and fell in love with it. I asked the publisher about doing a post on it; I think I agreed to a blog tour? I’ll have to look that up. I LOVE THAT BOOK, and it even makes me CRY. ….Congrats on getting your proposal accepted, too. Boy, I’d love to hear that session.

    p.s. Rhyme Zone is very fun.

    Emmaco, your niece is late? It seems like just the other day we heard about that pregnancy. So wild. Congrats on your class going so well!…New Thing I’m Learning From You Today = clotted cream. What’s that? Of course, I’m reading about it now, and YUM. Also, I LOVE Indian food…probably my favorite cuisine. And also NO ONE ever tells me Ada looks like me. Wild. (She looks a lot like my mother.)

    Carol, the book in kick #6 sounds good and is new to me, so thanks for the tip. Good luck with the move, have fun babysitting, and so glad you got to visit Napa Valley. Jealous! But in a happy way.

    John, I will patiently await your Courvoisier story. …I like your suggestion for my trademark gesture, and yes, I believe that is exactly how you’d do it in ASL!

    !!

    Glad The Pooch is okay, and so glad you saw The Fall. (Thanks again, Denise!) Thanks for the links, John. I enjoyed the Gaiman film. Does he do those often? And I’m wondering if Eisha’s seen the cilantro link. She freakin’ hates that stuff. Gonna go watch Colbert now. Thanks.


  17. P.S. to Shared Kicks

    Jules — yes, (I think) Alice on iPad must come with all those bells and whistles. ‘Cause there are whiz kids in other vids sharing clips of their free copies that they got so they could pre-test the “moving parts”.

    emmaco — 3 hr. lecture to Oxford students? I’m in awe.

    Rasco — Great idea. Bought 3 books for the cause. SHORTCUT NOTE to other potential donators: When you get to Powell’s website, hit wishlists in top right corner and then put in this e-mail to access the two American Indian Schools wishlists, guyslitwire@gmail.com

    JES — 10 Minute Tale made me smile, especially when the dining room lights began to twinkle.


  18. Augh!

    P.S.S. You’ll also need the schools’ addresses, which are listed on the link Rasco gave.


  19. My kicks:

    1. Over 600 Books bought off the Powells wish lists for Alchesay High School & Ojo Encino Day School so far.

    2. OVER 600 FREAKING BOOKS BOUGHT!!!!

    3. Pretty much all of the rest of my kicks are about the wish lists because this has completely dominated my life for the past week. But it has been such a huge success – I can’t believe how awesome it has been. I have received so many kind emails/comments from authors asking if they can send signed copies of their own books (YES!). I email an editor friend at Penguin and ask if she can help spread the word and she emails back asking if they can send a box of their books direct to each school (YES!). Several publicists emailed to say they had copies of books that were on the lists and asked if they could send them direct (YES!). And talking to both schools, hearing their initial shocked responses to what is coming their way (and the bulk of the books won’t arrive until this week) has been amazing.

    I love changing the world. And from the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you who has helped make this happen. The internet is made for projects like this and boy, are we ever succeeding big time.


  20. Colleen, you’re a rock star.


  21. This is J.A.Q. (just a quickie), as I have family in town. It’s been a very busy two weeks with different groups of guests coming in to town. My 92 year old grandfather died on Thursday, and I am sad about that. However, my husband and I hope to bring out daughter out to visit my one remaining living grandmother sometime soon. I’ve been pretty lucky to have had three sets of grandparents, but that also means more beloved people to have to say goodbye to.


  22. Stop! Hammer time!

    I was going to type that anyhow based on your “hammered on Courvoisier” comment, but your daughter’s photo clinched it for me.


  23. Love the art this week (as usual). The Escher-like quality also reminded me of the movie Labyrinth when David Bowie is being his wicked self and running all over the stairs with the baby.

    Everyone has awesome kicks – jules, your daughter looks simply FIERCE getting her groove on. Great pic.

    Fox kits, clotted cream, rehearsals & offers, student poems, great presentations, being inspired, piano & guitar lessons, accepted proposals, pooch recovering, and successful TBD – wow!

    My quick kicks:
    1. First long run of spring
    2. Acupuncture
    3. Migas/brunch/good friend
    4. Lots of long-distance conversations
    5. Re-activating library card for old/new county
    6. Getting an email from a big-hearted friend with a touching memorial to his dog who just died (who we knew very well). My friends have such huge hearts.
    7. Caloi (other dog) surviving emergency health crisis, and getting to help her feel better and recover.

    Have a great week!


  24. Farida, again, sorry about your grandfather.

    Kelly, HA!

    Rachel, here’s to a quick recovery to Caloi. And aren’t library cards the best? I was so excited to get my daughter’s first one.


  25. These are great kicks, with a stellar feature on the intriguing D.B. Johnson. And when sassy dancing is involved…well, even better!

    My kicks:
    1. Finally getting my hands on a copy of Chris Raschka and Vladimir Radunsky’s “Hip Hop Dog.” This duo always blows me away.

    2. Watching favorite Sesame Street clips online and feeling so nostalgic I just HAD to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and cut off the crusts, first grade-style.

    3. Reading endlessly about Lewis Carroll and nonsense literature and having it deemed official research.

    4. Driving past a glittering fairground in the dark, thinking of cotton candy and hard-won goldfish.

    5. Looking forward to my best friend’s impending nuptials to a man who makes her swoon.

    6. Tempering the difficulty of job-hunting and graduate school completion with cheese. LOTS of cheese.

    7. Reading Lynn Barber’s “An Education,” which is sometimes startling but mostly charming. A life spent asking questions of interesting people and writing about them…does it get any better?


  26. Julie, I like your kicks. Especially tempering stress with cheese. And Lewis Carroll research. And oh how I want to see Hip Hop Dog.


  27. Farida: I am so sorry for your loss.

    Rachel: My heart goes out to your friend and his family.


  28. Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.


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