7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #166 (Mother’s Day 2010 Edition):
Featuring Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise

h1 May 9th, 2010 by jules


“‘Are you brave enough to witness the Meanest Mother on Earth?’ asked Little Rabbit. ‘She has two heads. And green teeth!’ ‘She sounds terrifying,’ said the owl. ‘She is terrifying,’ said Little Rabbit. ‘And ferocious, too. Why, if you just look at her the wrong way, she’ll chop off your tail and eat it—in one bite.’
‘Oh, I have to see that!’ said the skunk.
‘One ticket, please!'”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

I love Kate Klise’s and M. Sarah Klise’s Little Rabbit books. How about you? Today, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’m featuring some art from Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Earth, released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April.

Little Rabbit’s room is a mess, but he pays no mind, since he hears—and sees from his playroom window—the circus passing through town. When his mother tells him he can go to the circus after he cleans his playroom, he gives it a weak effort and then pretty much throws a fit, as pictured below.

And this idea he has, post-fit? He climbs out of his playroom window and joins the circus, touting the promise of his new act: The Meanest Mother on Earth. Oh snap, you say? That’d be right. “If you can sell one hundred tickets to see her, you’re in tonight’s show,” the ringmaster tells him. The spread opening this post gives you an idea of how exactly Little Rabbit goes about advertising his new gig.


“‘I never get to do anything fun!’ Little Rabbit yelled. ‘It’s not fair! You’re so mean! I’m . . . It’s . . . You’re . . .’ But he was too angry to continue.
Then Little Rabbit had an idea.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

Having sold the tickets, he goes home, tells his mother he has a surprise for her, blindfolds her, and leads her to the circus. In one very dramatic spread, we see that he’s standing in the middle of the circus ring with a spotlight on himself and his mother, with a full house watching, as the ringmaster announces, “And now, for our final act of the evening, I present to you the Amazing Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Earth!” Eventually, all the animals in the audience are throwing peanuts at the two of them, angry that she’s not actually that terrifying.

Yeah. I know. GULP.

But, like most mothers, Mother Rabbit not only has a plan (hinted at in the below spread), but she also knows a whole hell of a lot about that complicated thing called unconditional love. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I was pleased with it, having wondered in the circus scene how exactly Mother Rabbit would handle Little Rabbit’s behavior. Yeah, he’s a jerk to her, but this is how it goes with kids sometimes. I wonder what Daniel Zalewski of The New Yorker would have to say about this picture book title. I like this one and think it works. And I love the domestic dramas of Little Rabbit’s world—all the great Little Rabbit titles—and think they really resonate with child readers.


“It was almost midnight when the animals left. ‘Next time, I’ll clean my playroom myself,’ said Little Rabbit. ‘Yes, you will,’ said Mother Rabbit.
‘I have no doubt about that.'”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

And, so…I hope you all mamas out there are having a good Mother’s Day, as Mother Rabbit is. (Don’t worry. She’s okay in the end.) And that’s even if you’re wee one is whining at you, too.

* * * * * * *

LITTLE RABBIT AND THE MEANEST MOTHER ON EARTH. Text copyright © 2010 by Kate Klise. Illustrations copyright © 2010 by M. Sarah Klise. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Harcourt Children’s Books, Boston, MA.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

Hi, everyone. I don’t want to go on and on and on about my birthday, which was this week, as Eisha made clear, so I think I’ll forego seven separate kicks, except to say that most of my kicky-ness this week was all wrapped up in the sweet and kind birthday greetings I got from friends and family. First of all, I got an iPod Touch. LOOK AT ME, FINALLY ALL 21st-CENTURY. I also had some more of the Emily-Gravett-inspired Chocolate Guinness cake, pictured here, my birthday-cake request this year. My friend, Natasha, also got me a cake, and I had coffee and cake for breakfast with her one morning; I got a blueberry plant; my friend, Jill, gave me a long-distance birthday call; my daughters made me art; and, best of all, my almost-fourteen-year-old nephew emailed me a recording of him playing and singing “Let it Be” on guitar. (I had gotten him a Beatles songbook for Christmas.)

Other kicks-of-note: I had vanilla vodka AND sake at this yummy place, as well as the fabulous and to-die-for Asian wonton nachos; the tooth fairy visited our home for the first time; and I love this video.

Oh, and Eisha’s video for me. That was a true surprise. And now it’s my turn again. She better be shaking in her kick-ass boots.

Thanks again to everyone for the birthday wishes. It was a joyful and busy week (the “busy” part being why I’m behind on reading your—yes, YOUR—blog). What are YOUR kicks this week? And, again, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas and mama-types out there. (Lots of my friends have mothered me in one way or another, which is why I say “mama-types.”)

* * * * * * *

NOTE: Those of you who remember this post may be interested to hear what author James Kennedy had to say this week in the way of a follow-up:

Back in January, you were kind enough to blog about The Order of Odd-Fish fan art show I had coming up in April. … We just wrapped it up! And it was raucous. Opening night was a gallery show of over 100 pieces of Odd-Fish fan art, which turned into a costumed battle-dancing tournament that recreated the “Dome of Doom” scene in the book. We built a dome out of PVC pipes, a costumed marching band rocked the 250+ audience, and the tournament climaxed when we tore the heart out of the winning dancer and we fed her to a huge snake-monster!

Most of the Odd-Fish fan artists—both teen and adult—were in attendance. One man (whom I’d never met before!) came all the way from San Francisco as a character from the book. Dizzying fun! The week after the opening party, I hosted field trips from schools for readings, writing workshops, etc. at the gallery.

Here’s my recap of the night, complete with bizarre pictures, lurid video, and shocking revelations. It was a great night for weirdness in young adult fantasy.

Thanks, James! Man, that looks like fun.

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21 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #166 (Mother’s Day 2010 Edition):
Featuring Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise”

  1. *stealing a piece of Guiness cake and lick lick licking the frosting*

    Well, you put it out there, so I helped myself! Glad you had a wonderful birthday, Jules — let the celebration continue! Love the Sam video, and the Little Rabbit book looks intriguing. Now that you have a blueberry plant, you have to make sure it produces tons of berries so you can make me a pie and invite me to a proper blueteaberrry tea.

    Today’s Kick: Mothers. And bloggers named Jules ♥.


  2. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms — and happy belated birthday to Jules! (Today’s my mom’s birthday and my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary too!) My kicks:

    1. LIBRARY OF THE EARLY MIND will premiere at Harvard University in the fall: http://childrenslitproject.wordpress.com/
    2. My secret new project is going very well.
    3. A great week for sijo:
    http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/2010/05/monday-poetry-stretch-sijo.html

    Naturalist underestimates tiger’s vertical leap.
    Filmmaker breaks her camera, a vain attempt at rescue.
    Poet begins another draft, yet one more wayward sijo.

    4. A flurry of new babies and soon-to-be parents in my life.
    5. Working on a new 7-Imp interview with David Saylor, art director and VP from Scholastic and founder of Scholastic Graphix.
    6. Planning a trip to NYC!
    7. Planning another trip to Vermont!


  3. Hi, Jama and Steven! I just realized it might be scarce today, since folks are probably busy for Mother’s Day. Thanks for stopping by.

    I am going to be out all day. I should have mentioned this. I’ll be back later and hope that no one’s kicks get eaten by spam. If so, I’ll save them later. And I’ll come back to savor these kicks later, too.

    Bye, all!


  4. Happy Mother’s Day, post-birthday, and Sunday! Whew! What a week it’s been, and already time for a new one.

    A few kicks:
    1. Sending my students off after their final exam…and NOT crying. A triumph for an easily-attached bird like me.

    2. Eisha’s video. It really did make my day! I want to be that sort of friend to the people in my life. Especially the waffle part.

    3. New striped bedsheets, the kind that stay perfectly cool and crisp in the summer.

    4. Time with my toddler nephew. Right now he’s Dr. Seuss’s biggest fan, which is fine, but I keep shoving Chris Raschka and Lauren Child books at him, hoping they will eventually catch on, too.

    Have a great week!


  5. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the parents out there!

    Hello to the Klises and their bunnies. 🙂

    Jules: I’m glad that you had such a great birthday!

    Hola, Jama.

    Have safe and fun travels, Steven.

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Promotion: When an actress in a supporting lead role had to drop out of the musical staged reading that performs this week, I was given her role. I had one rehearsal yesterday and will have dress rehearsal Tuesday, and that’s it. We have two performances, one Thursday and one Friday. Yesterday’s stumble-through went really well.
    2) Rehearsals, for both the aforementioned musical and the other musical, which runs at the end of this month.
    3) and 4) Hope and kind people: I auditioned for one play on Friday, where I was happily surprised to run into an actress who played my mother in a musical last year, so we caught up after we tried out. I am under consideration for another play by an awesome director. I auditioned for a short film on Saturday and had a wonderful experience.
    5) Patterned legwear
    6) Stocking up
    7) Organizing


  6. Hi All and Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful Mom’s out there,

    Rushing through my kicks on a busy Sunday. So glad you had a great B-day, Jules — you deserved it!

    Congratulations on the acting promotion, LW! WOOT! Love your positive kicks. Hi to Jama, Steven and Julie.

    My kicks:

    1) My Mom, on this Mother’s Day. Very grateful for her.
    2) Being included (well, one very small quote) in the Sam Phillips interview that appears in today’s Los Angeles Times. Very exciting experience!
    3) Attending yesterday’s rare book seminar in Alameda, and learning a lot.
    4) Finishing a big work project with good results and a happy client.
    5) Helping the volunteer groups I work with.
    6) Eisha’s video for Jules’ B-day. Classic!
    7) Not setting my expectations too high.

    Have a sunny week, everyone!


  7. Fly by to wish all Mother’s Day greetings. Love the Klises. Dealing w/back due to asthma cough which is subsiding. Grrr. Weather gorgeous today and am heading to daughters for brunch.


  8. Wow, that cake looks delicious Jules. Though Eisha’s waffles and Bailey’s coffee sure looked good too. And a blueberry planet is a perfect present.

    Congrats on the promotion and all the auditions, Little Willow! And I have a weakness for patterned stockings too.

    Julie, I am jealous of your crisp and stripy sheets. Ours are getting very worn but as we’re planning to move later this year are trying to wait for new ones.

    Hope the brunch helped cure the cough, Jone!

    1. My new niece is settling in well! Here is a mobile phone photo when she was only a few hours old. She is even cuter now (hurrah for skype letting me see her!), with a definite propensity to pull her eyebrows down in a frown when looking around this strange world. My sister is going well too.
    2. Last weekend we went camping in the Lake District. Our campsite was in a beautiful quiet valley and our tent looked at a field full of sheep with ridiculously cute black and white lambs.
    3. Highlights included a walk around the hills around Grasmere, visiting a couple Wordsworth’s birthplace (which was unfortunately flooded late last year, so the heritage garden was still quite scrappy), an old farm, and listening to a Tawny Owl hoot outside our tent.
    4. We came home via Hadrian’s wall, which admittedly was an almost two hour detour but it was definitely worth it – wonderful to see the wall and the beautiful scenery in that part of the world.
    5. British asparagus is everywhere in the shops! And in our house!
    6. I not only remembered to turn stale bread into breadcrumbs and store them in the freezer, I made a bread and butter pudding thing with rhubarb compote for dessert last night. Very yummy!
    7. I have reasonably high hopes for the brioche hamburger rolls that are finishing rising in the kitchen right now


  9. [Blowing through for now…]

    Hi, everyone, and HMD (Kicks Edition) to y’all!

    Jules, dang, I’d forgotten all about that chocolate Guinness cake. Time for me to plant the seed of Birthday Yet to Come in the nearest cake-maker’s ear…

    Little Willow — as you know, I love your usual Kicks style, which is something like your shooting a paintball gun loaded with kicks at the wall here. But I do love when you sometimes expand them, as you did today. Thanks and as always, very happy that things are so poppin’ for you!

    Jill, what’s a “rare book seminar”? (I’m assuming “rare” modifies “book” and not “seminar” — here, it would definitely be the latter. :))

    (And btw, modest Jill’s not-insubstantial quote appeared in this article… together with what was apparently a glancing mention BY NAME in a quote from SP herself!)

    Quick kicks:

    1. Hard, glittering bits of undeniably good news sometimes buried like diamonds deep in the center of gray fruits of sadness.

    2. This blog, which I just found this week — in particular the 5 [and more recently 6] senses Sundays posts.

    3. Mom’s Day (and — crossed fingers — webcam chats…)

    4. Doggie vulnerabilty. Sorry. Complete sucker here.

    5. A very cool Georgia O’Keefe database online.

    6. I’d forgotten but was reminded last night why I always liked the caper film The Anderson Tapes so much.

    7. Blackened tuna.


  10. Hi JES,

    To answer your question, the rare book seminar (and yes, the “rare” refers to the book, although the seminars are pretty rare also) was a full day of learning about how to identify and catalog first editions using reference books and other sources. It was put on by a bookseller friend of mine, for other booksellers or anyone who loves books. He limited the size, so there were only 6 of us. Very interesting and fun.

    Thanks for linking to the Sam article — I was just so happy to get the chance to toot Sam’s horn — she doesn’t do that herself very well.

    Your kick #1 is beautifully written (as all of your posts are), but I’m sorry for the sadness.

    Thank you for the O’Keefe link! Wonderful. I’m off to check out the blog and the film you mentioned. Have a great week!


  11. hey! did i mention, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JULES! AND ALSO HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL MOTHERS!

    My kicks:

    1* My own mom, who kicks so much ass.
    2* My sister gets to transfer to Berkeley on a full scholarship.
    3* I’ve been super-social this week, and went out almost every night.
    4* Then I bummed around all weekend doing almost nothing.
    5* Rereading Haven Kimmel’s novels.
    6* Talking it out with friends and exes.
    7* Um… I’ve started blogging again. I hope to keep in touch better with my online friends now that my life is settling down a bit.


  12. Eisha!…

    …blogging again!

    …..[runs off to follow link] (he’s such a sucker for links)


  13. Jama, I just love you, and yes, we’ll have some blueteaberrry tea together.

    Steven, do you know how badly I wish I could see that premiere at Harvard in the Fall? Congrats!

    Julie, love your kicks, and yes, Eisha’s a great friend, huh? Glad you’re there for your nephew, pushing good titles. I get to meet Raschka in person soon! More on that later.

    Little Willow, what exciting kicks! Congrats! And good luck with #1, big-time good luck. Oops. I mean: Break a leg. And WOOT to striped legwear, too.

    Jill, I’m still excited about the article. And congrats on a happy client. And I want to hear later all about the rare book seminar.

    Jone, happy mother’s day, and I hope the brunch was yummy.

    Emmaco, your kicks are always works of art. You’ve made me hungry, too. Anyway, I’m so happy to read about kick #1, in particular, and when I’m done typing here, I’m gonna get take a look at that new baby!

    John, I like your first kick. I know you all had a hard week. Thanks for the links, too. I’m gonna go check out that blog.

    Eisha, you started it! Whee! I’ll go take a look.


  14. Happy birthday Jules, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, and happy Sunday to everyone. Today was a double-header: we went to see the children’s play “The Bremen Town Musicians” with friends, and then stayed at the Seattle Center to watch “Roving Mars” on IMAX. This was my daughter’s first cinema experience. I also received THREE mother’s day presents this morning, all bead and felt jewelry that she made for me, plus several cards. Has a mother ever felt so loved? 🙂


  15. Kickin it way late today. Really loving the illustrations, and the premise of “The Meanest Mother…”

    Again, Happy happy birthday Jules!

    Hi Eisha! That video really hooked me! It was quite awesome!

    Woo-hoo LW!

    Congrats Jill on the quote!

    JES, sorry for the bad stuff, happy to hear abou the good.

    Emmaco – Hadrian’s Wall! Wow!

    My quick kicks:
    1. Got my copy of “The Clock Without a Face” this week.
    2. Read Laini Taylor’s “Blackbringer” and fell in love.
    3. Soccer, softball, gym.
    4. Reading on the porch with the dog in the sunshine this weekend.
    5. Short hikes with good friends.
    6. Fresh salads.
    7. Betty White on SNL. Best. Show. Ever.

    Have a great week everyone!


  16. Farida, so glad you had a happy Mother’s Day.

    Rachel, there wasn’t one unfunny moment on that SNL, huh? The digital short was, quite possibly, the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Also: Fresh salads: Mmm.


  17. what a lovely surprise! thank you for making mother’s day even nicer over here in berkeley, california!

    i was lucky enough to get to MEET my favorite penpal today with my family. pre-website, *rebekah* wrote me after reading our first book, REGARDING THE FOUNTAIN, the old-fashioned way, through the publisher. and i wrote her back. i do this a lot, as does sister kate, but they don’t all turn into penpals. but this one did. we have written letters back and forth for 12 years. sent gifts too. (she knit the sweetest baby blanket, booties and toy giraffe after our son was born.)

    another reminder of the power and reach of books. what a terrific thing, huh?

    regards and honored to be here,
    sarah klise


  18. I’m a day late, as I prepared a bit of a feast yesterday and entertained at my house. I think my kick has got to be that it went well.

    I’m glad to hear everyone else’s kicks, and Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Earth is a fantastic title. Must get for library.


  19. I’ve just discovered your wonderful blog through the Kidlit community. Thank you for this great resource!

    My boys (ages 4 and 6) love the Little Rabbit books. You are dead on when you say they resonate with child readers. Every one we’ve read has touched on some experience we’ve had. This latest one sounds right up their alley. It will definitely be going on my list of books to look for.


  20. I’m back!! After months of 7-Imp lurking and a lack of imagination and inspiration when it comes to thinking of 7 kicks, I finally have some:

    1 – My Mother’s Day gift was a combination of two of may favorite things – food and glossy magazines. I got 4 new ones to add to my pile.
    2 – My MIL made me some lemon squares as my Mother’s Day gift. Yummylicious.
    3 – Fred finally got to feel the baby kick yesterday. I’m not sure he really believed my rapidly expanding belly is due to baby and not cake until now.
    4 – I finally made my first purchase for this baby. Being #3, she will have a lot of hand-me downs, which is great, but it’s always fun to buy new stuff too.
    5 – And this purchase was cloth diapers. I’m actually going to try cloth with this little bub. And how could I resist when the name of the company is Bumgenius?
    6 – I talked to my Mum in London for nearly two hours on Sunday. It was so nice to just chat about random stuff. I can’t believe it has been nearly a year since I last saw her and my Dad. They will be coming for a visit in November, which can’t come soon enough.
    7 – Cy and Ruby have discovered the genius which is Scooby-Doo cartoons from the late sixties and early seventies. Don’t worry, we have no intention of introducing them to Scrappy-Doo, that little bastard.


  21. Hi, Ms. Klise! What a great penpal story, and so glad you stopped by here. Thanks for making good books.

    Adrienne, a feast with friends is a great reason to not be online.

    Thanks, Kate. Yes, they are great books, aren’t they?

    Zoe! Can’t wait to meet this baby, and good luck with cloth diapers. Let me know how it goes. And you’re right: Down with Scrappy!


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