7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #172: Featuring Marcellus Hall,
J.D. Lester, and Hiroe Nakata
(Oh! And a Little Treat from Dan Santat)

h1 June 20th, 2010 by jules


“If I were a musher, we would glide on arctic snow/
And gaze up as the northern lights put on their brilliant show.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

Yes, I’m purposely putting up this snowy spread as the first image in this post, in case it’s as hot where you are as it is here in Tennessee.

It’s also beautiful, yes? It comes from Marcellus Hall (whom I’ve mentioned previously at 7-Imp, seeing as how he did the wonderful illustrations for Lee Bennett Hopkins’ City I Love). That spread comes from Sherry North’s Because I Am Your Daddy (Abrams, May 2010). Sometimes here at 7-Imp, I’m actually organized and timely, and today would be one of those days: I have some Father’s-Day-related illustrations for you all. Happy Father’s Day to all you papas out there, including my own babies’ daddy (yes, I’m trying to sound all Southern and I’m saying that in my best East Tennessee accent, but I don’t think it’s translating well via cyberspace) and all 7-Imp readers who are daddies themselves.

Sherry released Because You Are My Baby, also illustrated by Hall, in 2008, that one all about powerful mamas. This new title is all about what one father would do for his daughter, as you can tell by the spreads I’m featuring today, Publishers Weekly calling it a “stylish depiction of fatherly devotion.” Kirkus writes, “Hall’s simply gorgeous retro-styled watercolors depicting a dad with his dark-haired daughter and her dolly go to town with each premise — the image of the three of them surfing is nothing short of breathtaking in its jewel-toned splashy motion.” (Don’t have the surfing one to share today. Sorry. But they’re right about that spread.)

Let’s take a look at a few more (the repeated “if I were”s so very much make me think of this wonderful song, but I digress), and then we’ll take a quick peek at another good title for Father’s Day — with a brief visit from the author, too.


“If I were a scientist, we would dig up ancient bones/
And find the biggest dinosaur the world has ever known.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)


“If I were an inventor, I would make a high-tech tree/
That pops open a tree house when you turn the secret key.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)


“If I were a librarian, we could venture anywhere./
Wherever we decide to go, a book would take us there.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

Lovely illustrations from Marcellus Hall. On to one more book…

In 2009, author J.D. Lester penned this board book. For today’s second featured book, Lester paired up with illustrator Hiroe Nakata (who will be visiting 7-Imp soon) again to create this follow-up title (Random House, April 2010):

Like the first book, it’s a sturdy board book and perfect for your weest of children. Here’s J.D. (who lives in Lexington, Kentucky, not far from me, y’all) to tell us a bit about it, along with a peek at some of Nakata’s light-filled watercolors (or what look to be watercolors to me). You can click on each of Nakata’s spreads to see them in more detail:

* * * * * * *

J.D.:…When my daughter was a few months old and I was still a seriously sleep-deprived new mom, I remember calling her a series of bleary-eyed, sometimes comical love names. There was Sweetiepie, of course. And Sugar. And Little Angel. But, here’s where it got interesting: There was Puppy Pants and Boo and HoogieWoogie. (See? I wasn’t kidding about the sleep-deprivation.) My husband was about as bad. We’d laugh at each other’s spontaneous, hilarious, nonsensical endearments.

One night around 3 a.m., as I was collecting our infant daughter for a feeding, I shushed her with yet another improvisational love name and—WOW!—I suddenly had an epiphany about the experience of motherhood that felt urgent and beautiful and profound all at once.

And The Question I remember asking myself, as I literally froze in my tracks, was this:

‘I wonder if a mommy rhinocerous loves HER baby this much? What about a mommy firefly? And, in their languages, do they think of silly love names for their babies, like me, simply because they cannot help themselves?’

From that moment on, every time we’d see an animal or insect at the park, the zoo, an aquarium or pet store, I’d ask myself what its baby nickname might be. Since I started folding the nicknames into a rhythmic song for my daughter, I didn’t want them to be random or too-easy; I wanted them to relate to some aspect of the critter’s habitat, appearance, behaviors, or funny quirks. I wanted her to learn something new, and think, as we had fun together.

There is so much dazzling wonder everywhere in nature, and children especially help us stop and appreciate all of those things in a new, surprising way. I had a ball amusing us with our animal and insect ‘research,’ and it’s just plain good luck that it turned into a baby board book… and then another…

I’m sending a special Father’s Day wish to all the dads out there who know exactly what I’m talking about when I say children open our eyes AND our hearts! If you’d like a chance to win a custom-inscribed copy of Daddy Calls Doodlebug for your little buddyboo, courtesy of Robin Corey Books/Random House, please visit me on my Facebook author page and simply post your child’s nickname there. I promise I won’t laugh. (Okay… well… I might.)

Happy Father’s Day!

BECAUSE I’M YOUR DADDY. Copyright © 2010 by Sherry North. Illustration copyright © 2010 by Marcellus Hall. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Abrams Books for Young Readers, New York, NY.

DADDY CALLS ME DOODLEBUG. Copyright © 2010 by J.D. Lester. Illustration copyright © 2010 by Hiroe Nakata. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Robin Corey Books, New York, NY.

* * * * * * *

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 * * *

1). I had such a great time at my alma mater this week, volunteering and seeing friends, that I cannot even say. My task was to do help out with landscaping on that gorgeous campus and it was hotter than the surface of the sun outside, but it was still beyond great.

2). Here’s a little surprise from Dan Santat. It’s his caricature of Pau Gasol, which Dan posted on Facebook and I got his permission to re-print here. Dan says that his wife refers to Gasol as “Frankensol” and that he likes to call him “The Greasy Bee Gee.” I like to call him Inigo Montoya, and I say that with great respect. (Seriously, have you read about him? Dude is multi-faceted, to say the least.)

So, here’s the thing: I don’t really watch sports. I get way too worked up about competitive things. Not ’cause I’m competitive in a jealous, ugly way, but because the pressure just becomes so much for me — in a fun yet entirely too neurotic way. As Eisha has mentioned here before at 7-Imp, when we’re playing Pictionary and if you’re on my team, I’ll give you high-fives so hard, I will nearly break your wrist. I CANNOT SIT DOWN DURING THAT GAME. So, yeah. This is why I don’t watch sports. I get super invested and way too worked up. But I caught the end of the NBA finals in a sports bar in Knoxville when I was there this week, and I got all sucked into it (it was a sports bar: I had no choice but to get sucked in) and excited. And I liked watching Pau. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. Now I’m this raving Lakers fan. Not really: I shouldn’t commit to any teams, given my over-excitement. But it was a fun game to watch.

3). I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THIS DOCUMENTARY IN ITS ENTIRETY. (Go, Steven Withrow!)…

(Go here to read more.)

4). Fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden.

5). I love this new-ish blog, We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie. This gives you more info, but as Ariel S. Winter, the author, put it, “the basic idea is children’s books by ‘adult’ authors who you never knew wrote children’s books.” (And, in the spirit of Father’s Day, I also love his Flickr site, Dad’s the One With the Pipe. Oh, and here’s even more writing from him over at McSweeney’s.)

6). This PW article isn’t exactly a kick, but I am glad to see this brainstorming happening, as someone who posts primarily about picture books and illustration anymore. I’d also have loved to have been in that room for that discussion.

7). My story time this week went fairly well, I think. It was fun. Kitten’s First Full Moon is always a champ with the kids.

* * * * * * *

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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20 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #172: Featuring Marcellus Hall,
J.D. Lester, and Hiroe Nakata
(Oh! And a Little Treat from Dan Santat)”

  1. 1. Toy Story 3 – So awesome that it completely wiped the nightmare that was Marmaduke from my memory. (My son is still going to owe me FOREVER for that one though!) As usual I wanted to go play with all my old stuffed animals after seeing Toy Story, but it really is great.

    2. Got a haircut – HUGE haircut! My hair is now the shortest it has been since I was 9!!!! I was really bored with it though and started thinking I was acting like one of those women who clings to their high school self because they are afraid to leave that image behind and, well, I just decided to go for it. It’s basically chin length now and when my husband said I looked FIVE years younger that was all I needed to hear!

    3. I think that haircut counts double, don’t you?

    4. I’m reading about Greek history for a “Cool Read” in my August column. A ton of stuff I did not know and written with some nice pop culture references, etc. so I’m not over whelmed. (I think it will be great for HS students.)

    5. Got Jenny Davidson’s upcoming YA book INVISIBLE THINGS. Totally looking forward to that.

    6. Found out that I’ve made a cover blurb – my first ever cover (a quote from a Bookslut review). Very pleased about this as I loved the book. (More on this when the cover is available for showing.)

    7. Writing research went well this week – makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something before the actual writing!


  2. Wow, Mr. Hall’s watercolor streak sure doubles well as a band of Northern Light.

    And the trailer for Steven’s documentary promises some great moments and insights into the authors and illustrators. Can’t wait ‘til it’s at a film festival near me.

    Thanks for sharing the touching, father-themed art, Marcellus, Hiroe and Jules, and the festive caricature, Dan.

    My Kicks:

    1. My #1 son is home from college this week before heading back to summer school. : – )

    2. He ordered a piece of Boston Cream Pie at an LA restaurant last night and the waitress corrected him, “Honey, I think you mean Lakers’ Cream Pie”. Ha!

    3. I second Colleen’s endorsement of TOY STORY 3. John Lasseter and company just nailed it!

    4. My #2 son turned me onto these stop-action super-graphic graffiti wall animators (his art teacher showed a couple of their videos to the high school drawing class.) The work that goes into creating the projects is unbelievable. The video runs on too long (I don’t think they should have looped it x 2.) But it’s fascinating to watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uad17d5hR5s&feature=related

    5. Ground out another few stanzas of my picture book. Painstaking, but I think the heart of the story is beginning to beat.

    6. My bestest friend from kindergarten (!) contacted me through facebook; ’tis a brave new (and small) world.

    7. My husband, FATHER of my boys, still reads to them. He’ll sit in his library chair and lovingly read a chapter of Dune or The Road or Tom Sawyer aloud to his grown and nearly grown sons. (sigh)

    Happy Father’s Day to you Dads, and happy Father’s Day moments to the rest of us.


  3. Happy Sunday, and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

    Love the dad-themed books, Jules. My fave spreads are the owls and the library books. Glad your storytime went well, and that you had fun at your alma mater. Landscaping? What other untold talents do you possess?

    Congrats on the cover blurb, Colleen!

    Lakers’ Cream Pie (giggle). Love that your husband still reads aloud to your boys, Denise.

    My Kicks:

    1. My Dad, of course. At 95, every day he’s still with us is a gift.

    2. I got a haircut too!

    3. Saw two spotted fawns the other day. SO adorable.

    4. Tried a new Indian restaurant. Love me some nan and veggie biryani.

    5. Watching “Glee” reruns. I missed them the first time around.

    6. Read that Maira Kalman is working on a PB based on her Abe Lincoln “Pursuit of Happiness” essay. Lurv her.

    7. Trees. Shade. Coolness.

    *Waiting to see if the earth shifts when the whole world goes to ALA this week* :)


  4. Hi, everyone! I need to go make pancakes and then see this Toy Story 3 that EVERYone raves about (everybody but two people), but here’s my quick hello. And I’ll be back later in the day.

    Colleen, congrats on the brave haircut and the cover blurb! Can’t wait to see both.

    Denise, have fun with your son. Thanks for the video link, which I’ll watch later for sure. And congrats on progress with your picture book.

    Jama, Indian = mmm. My favorite. So glad to read #6. Also: I got your email and will respond when I get a sec today.

    Oh, and “landscaping” meant I picked up hedge trimmings and weeded. Just a bunch of alum doing simple stuff around campus to make it look better. Nothing too impressive on my part.


  5. Thanks for sharing the trailer for Library of the Early Mind, Jules! The director and I are very excited to be able to share more about the film with all of you.

    1. Putting the film’s trailer online is my first kick.
    2. Listening to (and loving) Rebecca Stead’s WHEN YOU REACH ME on audiobook.
    3. Reading aloud Tao Nyeu’s BUNNY DAYS to my daughter.
    4. Talking by phone with The Horn Book’s Lolly Robinson about our Harvard screening.
    5. Learning that Jeff Smith’s Fone Bone character from the BONE comics was almost called “Fnochen Knochen” in the German translation. He’s still “Fone Bone.”
    6. Watching a few reruns of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT on TV.
    7. Celebrating Father’s Day with my two best girls.


  6. Steven, I wish so hard I could see the premiere! It’s gonna be great; I can tell.

    I will always remember the first time I read Bunny Days to my girls. We laughed so hard.

    Happy Father’s Day, Steven!


  7. p.s. I’m heading out. If anyone’s kicks get snagged by spam, I apologize. I’ll release the hounds as soon as I get back.


  8. Hello everyone, and Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dads out there!

    Glad to hear that you had a great time at your alma mater, Jules. Love Dan’s caricature of Pau — I think he’s rather attractive, but I’ve always liked the Greasy Bee Gee types.

    Colleen, very brave of you to get that hair cut (mine hasn’t changed much in years), and glad it turned out so well.
    Denise, how nice that you get to visit with your son, and big Woots! to your husband for reading aloud. I sometimes read aloud to myself, which either makes me crazy or charmingly eccentric (I choose the latter).
    Jama, big Happy Father’s Day to your Dad!
    Steven, the trailer looks fabulous! Can’t wait to see the film.

    My kicks:
    1) My boyfriend Bob just got a much, much better job — he was commuting 3 1/2 hours every day, and now will be only 10 minutes from his new office. So happy for him!
    2) Volunteering the past few days, which always makes me feel good.
    3) Taking big steps.
    4) Getting an unexpected tax refund. Feeling almost tender towards the IRS today (but not too tender).
    5) Eating quinoa for the first time last week (yes, I am a late bloomer), and finding it to be quite tasty. Hoping to locate some good quinoa recipes. Any suggestions out there?
    6) Finding out that Tom Selleck (who still makes me swoon) has a new series coming out in the fall called “Blue Bloods”, about a family of New York cops, created by the Soprano writers. Jama, are you with me on this?
    7) Listening to Patsy Cline. Here’s a sample:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-wJNpWgss8

    Hope all of you have a great week!


  9. Hello, all! I’m back from the “Hobbit wedding” I attended in Ontario last week. One of my nieces was the bride, who wore pale green silk chiffon with long sleeves. The funny thing about my relationship with my inlaws is because my husband is the youngest of a family of five, the nieces and nephews from his oldest sister are of my generation, and my sisters-in-law are of my parents’ generation. I’ve told all of my nieces and nephews (plus their children) that no one over 12 has to call me “Auntie Farida.”

    Kicks:
    1. Around the 27 minute mark of NOVA’s “The Pluto Files,” you can see Clyde Tombaugh’s son show astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson the telescopes Clyde made out of farm equipment: http://video.pbs.org/video/1425502261

    2. My daughter’s just learned about the three different kinds of levers from David MacCaulay’s The Way Things Work.

    3. I got to meet a fellow blogger in Toronto last week en route to our wedding destination.

    4. Last year, a sane-age friend of my daughter’s gave her a copy of The City of Ember because she enjoyed it so much. We’re reading it aloud and enjoying it, but I realized quickly that the undercurrents were definitely YA dystopia. This is the first novel I’ve read to her that I’d never read prior to sharing it.

    5. Father’s Day present for my husband: Secrets of the Universe: How We Discovered the Cosmos. Conveniently, I get to enjoy it as well!

    6. After 38 years, I feel as if I’m just beginning to wake up. (This isn’t a feel-good kick, but a growing-pains kick.)

    7. Colors.


  10. Jill, triple squee on the new Tom Selleck series! It’s about time. While you’re in a tender mood, feel free to share part of your tax refund with us. ☺

    Also, I’m crazy about Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” DH and I love it and always request it when we can in restaurants, piano bars, etc.


  11. Jama, we must compare notes on Tommy’s series once it begins. As for my refund, I don’t have the check yet, just a notice that I am getting one, and a request that I let them know “If you think we made a mistake…”. I’ll be sure and do that (wink, wink).

    I’m crazy about “Crazy”, too. A true classic. But I always request “Feelings” at piano bars, just to watch people cringe when they play it. Evil, I know.


  12. Jill, thank you for the Patsy Cline break. She had a seriously bad-ass voice.

    I’m very, very happy about your boyfriend’s new job. When I read it in your email, though I still haven’t responded (doh), I did a little happy squeal….I’m also proud of you for your big steps.

    I have no quinoa recipes, but I need to send you some other veggie ones.

    Farida, whoa to kick #6. And now you’ve made me want to get The Way Things Work for the girls. …So glad you had a good time on your trip. I had wondered about you all.

    Jill, hey, I was just listening to “If” by Bread. I think that goes in the “Feelings” category. LOVE that song, though (“If”).


  13. Jules, “If” is a lovely song that makes me cry every time I hear it. Not cheesy like “Feelings” at all, so I don’t put it in the same category. “Afternoon Delight” and “Having My Baby” fall into the “Feelings” category, but not “If”, in my opinion.


  14. *chokes*

    “Having My Baby” and “Feelings” = definitely cheesy. “If” doesn’t bother me. But I can do without Willie and Julio’s, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.”


  15. The thing about “If,” as I was just telling someone, is that it’s got that KILLER melody, not to mention the line, “and when, my love, for life is running dry / you come and pour yourself on me.” DAMN, that’s good. The end of the song is all tragically bad, what with the Armageddon and the couple flying off into space like in a bad Chagall painting, but that one line — and the gorgeous music — make up for it.

    I’ve not heard of this “Having My Baby” song. I’ll have to explore.

    Jama, laughing. so. hard. Yes, the Willie and Julio song is a bit much.


  16. What great Daddy books. I’m going to have to get both of those when my husband and I have children, since he loves reading out loud (even if it’s just to me!)

    Hmmm… my last week mostly consisted of a writing workshop called Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. So my list would probably go like this:

    1. WIFYR
    2. WIFYR
    3. WIFYR
    4. WIFYR
    5. WIFYR
    6. Sleeping in
    7. Toy Story 3!

    I think that sums up my week. Many happy moments from the workshop, though.


  17. I got so worried when this site wouldn’t load for me yesterday! :)

    Happy Father’s Day to Blaine and to all of the parents out there!

    My kicks for last week:
    1) Being Tink
    2) Blossoming Daisy
    3) Counting
    4) Napping (attempts)
    5) The Tony Awards
    6) Being proud of a friend
    7) Making the most of a bad situation


  18. Debbie, so glad the workshop was fun, and Toy Story 3 is a riot.

    Little Willow, really? I’ll have to beat up the site if it won’t let you in. You’re still playing Tink? That rocks. I started reading Peter Pan to the girls yesterday.


  19. Jules: Computer troubles are not fun! The workshop performances are complete. Shall see what happens if and when it moves forward in the future – hoping they’ll contact me!


  20. [...] Grandma Calls Me Gigglepie by J.D. Lester, {published by} Robin Corey Books (this is the third title from one series); Snow Happy! by [...]


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