Well, I finally followed up on something I promised I’d try to do in my Caldecott-ramblings post, and that would be contact illustrator Sophie Blackall to see if she wanted to share some images and possibly some sketches from her latest illustrated picture book titles, Jacqueline Woodson’s Pecan Pie Baby and Rukhsana Khan’s Big Red Lollipop. In fact, as you all know, I like to feature student illustrators or those brand-spankin’-new to the field on the first Sunday of each month, but I’m breakin’ the rules today, since I promised this a couple weeks ago and can finally deliver.
The image opening this post (though the version that ends up in the book is slightly different) is from Woodson’s Pecan Pie Baby (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), which will be released this month. I’ve had an F & G for a while now, this new addition to your baby-about-to-be-in-the-house picture book collection. It’s about a young girl and her pregnant mother. The fact that Gia, the girl, refers to the impending brother or sister as “the ding-dang baby” gives you an idea of how she feels about it all. Telling Gia that the baby will probably arrive “by the time the first snow’s on the ground,” Gia wishes for a dry winter. She also decides the baby is merely a copycat, since her mother is craving pecan pie, something Gia and her mother both love and often share together. As the leaves fall from the trees and the days get shorter, the little girl’s anxiety builds to a dramatic moment at the dining room table one evening, eventually telling her mother she’s going to miss her “whole, whole life, before . . . before the . . . ding-dang baby.”
It’s a sweet (but not cloying) and engaging domestic drama, made all the more so by Sophie’s illustrations, rendered in Chinese ink and watercolor. “Blackall’s…stylized ink and watercolor images,” writes Publishers Weekly, “with their muted colors and slightly flattened perspectives, have a strong sense of style and calming warmth.” Sophie knows how to ramp up the emotion while still keeping us feeling cozy at the same time. Below are some more spreads from the book (without text), followed by sketches in some instances.
everybody looked at me.”
And below are some illustrations, as well as sketches, from Khan’s Big Red Lollipop (Penguin), released in March of this year, which the School Library Journal review called “gorgeous to the eye.”
It’s been a while since I’ve read this one (and it was a library copy, so I’m going off memory here), but it’s a well-crafted tale of sibling rivalry. Or, as the Publishers Weekly review notes, it’s about more than that. It’s actually about “the hard-won lessons emerging from clashes of identity and assimilation.” The book features a Pakistani family, who have different traditions swirling around birthday celebrations. After Rubina, the young protagonist, gets invited to a classmate’s birthday party and is told by her mother that she must bring along her younger sister, she’s humiliated and mortified at the thought. The book deals with what happens when she follows her mother’s wishes. “Dynamic visual design distinguishes this tale of sibling conflict in an immigrant family,” writes Kirkus. Below are some images and sketches from this title. Enjoy.
Can I go?’”
PECAN PIE BABY. Copyright © 2010 by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustration copyright © 2010 by Sophie Blackall. Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York. Reproduced by permission of the illustrator.
BIG RED LOLLIPOP. Copyright © 2010 by Rukhsana Khan. Illustration copyright © 2010 by Sophie Blackall. Published by Penguin, New York. Reproduced by permission of the illustrator.
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). Field trips with the first grader on beautiful Autumn days.
2). Though I grumbled about it impatiently at first, I grew to love HBO’s Carnivàle, all finished up on DVD this week. This is the show once described as “the perfect show for those who thought Twin Peaks was too accessible.” (HA.) It’s definitely like no other show I’ve ever seen.
3). The notion of a Nashville Kidlit Drink Night, à la the New York City ones. More on this later. Wish I’d thought of it myself. It’s an idea whose time has come.
4). My daughter’s teacher consistently sends her home with the BEST picture books for reading homework. Whew.
5). New (sorta) music from Sam.
6). A thoughtful gift from a thoughtful friend.
7). This is for the dog-lovers amongst us:
What are YOUR kicks this week?