7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #202: Featuring R.W. Alley

h1 January 16th, 2011 by jules

Yup, I’m still showing you some picture books from 2010.

Now, back in 2008, I didn’t cover here at 7-Imp There’s a Wolf at the Door: Five Classic Tales (Roaring Brook Press), written by Zoë B. Alley and illustrated by R.W. Alley. (I’ll throw in the cover below.) But I liked it an awful lot, this book that was also met with many starred reviews. (And I remember that Jama Rattigan covered it here in November of that year.) R.W. illustrated that title in a comic panel format. He and his wife Zoë returned to that format in last year’s There’s a Princess at the Palace: Five Classic Tales (published in September 2010, also by Roaring Brook), which I’m featuring today. And I like this companion book, too, which was also met last year with some excellent reviews. (“Smartly hysterical,” wrote Kirkus.) This book, like its predecessor, is over-sized (in both physical dimensions and in its sarcastic wit) and lots of clever fun.


(Last year’s title)

Taking five classic fairy tales—Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Frog Prince, and The Princess and the Pea—the Alleys link them together as one large tale, while still respecting their respective fundamental plots. Booklist called it a “fractured and delightfully bewitched royal family record.” (For instance, Cinderella, aka Princess Ashley, and her prince charming, Prince Dennis, have a baby girl at the close of Cinderella, and at a celebration for the newborn, one elderly lady-slash-witch who wants to attend said celebration is spurned, so …well, you can guess which fairy tale is next. And it features Princess Dawn, the offspring of Cinderella/Ashley and Dennis, as Sleeping Beauty herself. And on it goes in this manner.)

These are detailed comic spreads, with lots of rip-roarin’ action in tiny, tiny panels with wry humor and snappy jokes in spades, as you can see in the spreads I’m sharing today. (Click each to enlarge slightly.) This isn’t necessarily your story-time read-aloud; it’s a grab-your-favorite-kid-and-plop-her-on-your-lap read-aloud, a book for poring over and reading slowly, savoring every speech balloon, each punny joke, and all the wise-guy commentary from the two mice who inhabit each story.

Here are some spreads. Again, click to enlarge slightly. (You’ll want to do so in order to read the text.) Enjoy.

THERE’S A PRINCESS IN THE PALACE: FIVE CLASSIC TALES. Copyright © 2010 Zoë B. Alley. Illustration © 2010 R.W. Alley. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Roaring Brook Press, New York, New York.

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.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1. Well, the announcement of the 2011 ALA Youth Media Awards this week was the biggest kick of all. Needless to say, given the focus on illustration and picture books here at 7-Imp, I was most eager to hear the Caldecott winner, and I was so thrilled it was Erin and Philip Steads’ A Sick Day for Amos McGee. Remember on another kickin’ Sunday way back in 2009 (version #122), dear kickers, when Erin stopped by to show us the book when it was still a work-in-progress? YES! It won! That Caldecott committee. So smart! I was so very excited that my family, building a snowman outside, heard me whoopin’ and hollerin’ from inside the house as soon as the Caldecott Honors were announced (seeing as how I’m a fan of Bryan Collier’s work and since I’ve been saying for years now that I want David Ezra Stein to get a Caldecott already.)

2. This month’s Nashville Kidlit Drink Night and talking about the big award winners over drinks with other children’s-lit enthusiasts.

3. Feeding blueberry pancakes and strong coffee to some new friends who visited — and who are undeniably lovely and fun people.

4. Finally saw Winter’s Bone, which so many film critics named as their top 2010 film. Good stuff. There was a pivotal scene in the movie (hinted at in the movie poster) that I won’t forget for a long, long time. And John Hawkes as Teardop? So. very. good.

That’s about it this week. Really, the Caldecott announcement took care of the rest of my kicks!

What about you? What are YOUR kicks this week?

22 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #202: Featuring R.W. Alley”

  1. Wow, There’s a Princess in the Palace seems like such a great book!

    And I’m also super happy that the Caldecott went to Erin and Philip Stead’s A Sick Day for Amos McGee. =D

    Mmm, blueberry pancakes and coffee. Do I get some too, if I come over? =D

    I was in my mother’s hometown for quite some time visiting relatives. Here are my latest kicks, from one to skerjillion:

    My baby niece Kezhia!!!!!!! She’s already so cute and smart at two months.

  2. We’re all friends on Facebook, right? I have pictures of Kezhia in my Facebook albums and at my first blog Into the Wardrobe. If ya’ll are interested. Hee hee hee.

  3. 1. Jules, not just your family heard you whoopin’ and hollerin’. The Caldecott glee shot up here to Mass. and was one of my biggest kicks.
    2. Tarie, yay for cute and smart babies!
    3. Cross country skiing makes the snow seem fun again.
    4. Character and setting: yes. Plot: not so much. But got a few key glimpse this week.
    5. Maybe theme will be on its way.
    6. Applesauce cake for breakfast. Because it’s Sunday.
    7. Bookstore outing this afternoon. Love Toadstool Bookshop in Keene, NH.

  4. The Ally’s have delightful books that I MUST add to the collection. The illustrations are so whimsical.
    Jules, I want to come to your house for pancakes. Glad your Kidlit night was successful.
    Tarie, nieces are the best aren’t they?
    Jeannine, Yay for applesauce cake…soounds yummy.
    My Kicks:
    1.The Awards the week at ALA were exciting. I was glad to see some of my nonfiction picture books get awards: Dave the Potter and Ballet for Martha.
    2.Finally feeling human again after battling a sinus infection all week. Missed 2 and a half days of school.
    3.Participating in the 365 Porject. It’s a photo a day upload. Am behind because of bring sick.
    3. Three day weekend.
    Short and sweet and glad to be better. Have a great week.

  5. Tarie, of course she’s cute and smart, and she’ll be very well-read, too, thanks to you.

    Jeannine, I drooled a little bit at “applesauce cake for breakfast.” Have fun at the bookstore, and congrats on progress on your writing.

    Jone, good to hear you’re feeling better. Enjoy the three-day weekend.

  6. Oh, and of course you’re all welcome to blueberry pancakes for brunch. If any of you were in Nashville and didn’t stop by, I’d cry.

  7. I love all kinds of mashups. (Aside: all kinds of mashups, not all mashups!) So the very concept of this multi-fairytale tickled the heck out of me — so happy to see that the artwork and writing live up to the premise! (Featuring mice as a sort of droll Greek chorus is something which far too many books fail to do. (Remember the mice in the scene titles in Babe? These two seem to have been among them.)

    Jules, your awards fanfares on Monday just made me grin. It was like one of those “viewers select the winners” reality-TV clips, of the hometown audience (often elbow to elbow in a bar) watching the results show. You weren’t in a bar, and there was just your voice in those FB status updates, but I loved all the hooting and backslappery. 🙂

    Tarie, nieces (and nephews!) should have a permanent kick allotted to them.

    Jeannine: your kick #4 tickled the heck out of me. Gotta love those early glimpses of what’s coming, hmm?

    jone, that photo-a-day thing sounds VERY ambitious. Good for you! (One good thing about digital cameras: you probably won’t have to wait a week to catch up. Ha.)


    1. As you may know, one of my best blog-friends was among the most severely wounded victims of the Tucson shooting last week. This pretty much kept my mind (certainly the back of it, and often the foreground as well) on one subject in the days since. But OMG and jump for joy, even with multiple gunshot wounds, she managed to post an entry overnight last night. It had been very very nice to read all the comments on her blog since last Saturday, from people all around the world, but I can’t tell you how much better it was to see something from “Ashleigh Burroughs” herself!

    2. Set up tentative plans to get together with my three sibs over St. Pat’s weekend, in SC. (They’re all in NJ, but I haven’t seen any of them — video chats aside — in two freaking years.)

    3. Catching up on Doctor Who episodes from prior seasons. The one I watched last night was a brilliant mashup in its own right, with characters from multiple Doctor Who seasons and tie-in series all banged together into one 60-minute burst.

    4. The honky-tonk music and voice of Leyla Fences.

    5. I was going to mention (in last Sunday’s never-got-around-to-it Kicks) that we’d finally seen and really, really liked the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes film. Ditto the most recent HP film, Deathly Hallows Pt. 1. (My gosh have those kids grown, and I don’t mean just physically.)

    6-7. Sorry, I’ve gotta punt and turn these over to the big ol’ grin-inducing thrill of #1.

    …BUT a sort of bonus Kick-but-not-quite: Jules, I almost fell over when I saw the local entertainment guide here in town, their “The Week Ahead” calendar — Lost in the Trees is playing here on Tuesday. The odds of seeing them, alas, are not good. But my mind will be there!

  8. Fun fractured fairytales; thank you Alleys. I’m a sucker for smart aleck mice with corner commentary… or song (link here removed because JES beat me to it. Ha!)

    Jules – thanks so much for your post-award coverage this week with all the art, links and trademark ENTHUSIASTIC whoops.

    Winter’s Bone. Teardrop. Yes! Also, really taken by Dale Dickey’s Merab (key in your haunting scene.) You could FEEL her considerin’.

    Tarie – Skerjillion joys over your niece made me want to visit a baby.

    Jeanine – Congrats on your yes-es and glimpses. And mmm to applesauce cake. Never had any but it sounds like comfort in a pan.

    jone – Glad you’re feeling better: looking forward to photos on Solace.

    JES – Wow, we travel on the same wavelink sometimes (while you were passing me in the fast lane of cyberspace, I was linking to the exact same 13 secs of Babe.)
    Your friend, Ashleigh’s post at the Burrow is moving, funny and wise.

    My kicks this week:
    1. Writing 1/11/11 on a couple checks and a manuscript page.

    2. Hubby and son making great use of the juicer we bought the family for Christmas. Yesterday: berry-apple. Today: peach-papaya-orange.

    3. I love that the live ALA crowd screams, whoops and hollers in the background as the books we celebrate (yea!) are announced.

    4. A flock of wild tropical parrots (lime green heads, black wings) who visit my neighborhood when the palm trees fruit swooped in this morning. 30 of them SQUAWKING. Great-grandbirds of escapees from a long-gone 1930s arboretum. Now, colorful, happy immigrants.

    5. My third pass at Chapter 71 cut-the-mustard. Whew. Moving on…

    6. Writer in my critique group is getting married next week. She seems so happy and philosophical about it all. Reminded me of romantic, thoughtful letters in “Charles & Emma” (which I just finished reading.)

    7. As I type, hubby and son are attempting juicer hummus. : – )

    Take care all. Enjoy the week.

  9. I’m running a bit late for work but wanted to pop in – will come past later to read everything at leisure (though phew, glad your friend is OK JES).

    1. My family and I are all fine in the QLD floods. My aunt, uncle & cousin were told that their house had gone under, but when they returned only the carport had flooded – strange, but good!

    2. We went to help clean up their flooded neighbour’s houses yesterday, and there were people helping out everywhere. Apparently there were tens of thousands of volunteeers across the city, so many the council had to turn them away from the buses they were running. Very heartening to see that even in a big city there is community spirit (as I would have thought, but common for people to think otherwise).

    3. We are very fortunate in Australia. Compared to poorer countries we were able to warn and prepare most people for the floods, and will be able to quickly help them recover. (But still send good thoughts to the victims of the flash flooding near Brisbane – they still haven’t found the bodies of many missing people).

    4. So many overseas friends sent concerned emails and messages to me – lovely to know how connected we all are.

  10. While I am scared to death of mice, I have always loved them in picture books, and these are particularly cute, as is the duck.

    It’s been a few weeks since I have left kicks, mostly because of an intense work schedule, and I have missed it. Hope all of you are having a wonderful new year so far.

    Tarie, Kezhia is a beautiful name, and I’m sure she is completely adorable!
    Jeannine, there is nothing I love more than a great bookstore, especially considering how few of them are left. Enjoy!
    Jone, so glad you are feeling better.
    JES, I had no idea that your friend was one of the victim’s of the horrible tragedy in Arizona, but I am so happy that she is doing better. My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families.

    My kicks:
    1) Having time to kick today! Grateful for work, but very glad to be getting a break.
    2) I may have mentioned this before, but my boyfriend adopted two of my parents’ feral kittens at Christmas, and I have been visiting with them as often as possible. Lucy and Ricky are total sweetness.
    3) The King’s Speech. Such a great film!
    4) Spending time with my friend Cynthia in S.F. yesterday. Great conversation and good food.
    5) Sunshine!
    6) Homemade stew and cornbread.
    7) Listening to my new Duke Ellington box set. 93 songs, every one of them a perfect gem.

    Have a great holiday weekend!

  11. 365 project is an online photo community…http://365project.org but I am trying to post at my Solace blog as well.
    Denise, hummus, yum…do you put roasted red peppers in yours?

  12. Denise and Emmaco, I must have just whooshed past you in Cyberville. I do tend to drive too fast sometimes.

    Denise, I loved your description of the wild tropical parrots! I have been to see the parrots on Telegraph Hill in S.F., and there is something so magical about them. Little flying works of art.
    Emmaco, I am so glad that you and your family are safe. So many tragic weather stories lately, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by these floods. Glad you could let us all know that you are safe.

  13. Denise: Ha! on the nearly-cross-linked mouse video. At first I didn’t think of Babe; my first thought about the mice here pertained to the last page Jules showed above, apparently the last in the book — because it also plays with the Aesop’s Fable about the city mouse and the country mouse. I must’ve heard you thinking out loud. 🙂

    emmaco: HUGE relief about your safety and security in the flooded Down Under. And an astute comment about the fortunes of living in well-off countries.

    Great to see you (as it were) out and about, Jill! I’m looking forward to seeing The King’s Speech, although I rather flubbed my first description to The Missus. (I made it sound like a movie about elocution, I think.)

    And I trust Lucy and Ricky are the kittens and not your parents, ha.

  14. John, wow, what a great post from your friend. So glad she’s okay. And you get to see all your siblings soon? That’s wonderful.

    Denise, how was juicer hummous? And I loved kick #3, too. 100 Scopes Notes has video footage of the announcements, too.

    EMMACO! SO GLAD you are okay. Must be so sad to see the destruction…

    Jill, I didn’t know you had the Duke Ellington box set. ROCK and RAWK.

  15. JES: So glad your friend is getting better!

    Emmaco: So glad you and yours are safe and sound!

  16. Fly-by! Hi, Imps. Howdy, kicks. Hello, Zoë and R.B. (and your fine fairy tale creatures!) Here are my kicks from the past seven days:

    1) Friday’s audition.
    2) and 3) Saturday’s auditions, one of which I just learned I booked and await details…
    4) Today’s webseries shoot.
    5) Go-get-’em.
    6) Coincidences.
    7) Intuition.

  17. Little Willow, I hope the details you’re awaiting end up being good ones — good news, that is. I know you always go and get ’em.

  18. Happy late kicking! Busy three-day weekend is making me late this week. Both There’s a Wolf at the Door and There’s a Princess in the Palace look wonderfully fun and funny – can’t wait to get a chance to read them both.

    Jules, coffee and blueberry pancakes, yum!

    Tarie -love cute and smart babies!

    Jeannine – cross-country skiing and a trip to a bookstore sounds like the perfect weekend.

    Jone – glad you’re feeling better!

    JES – so very happy your friend is not only ok, but able to post such lovely and insightful thoughts – here’s to her healing quickly and completely!

    Denise – those fresh juice combinations sound delicious!

    emmaco – so glad you and yours are ok!

    Hi Jill! Duke Ellington Box Set – so so jealous! Also jealous of your sunshine – we’ve had nonstop rain for days….

    LW – Hooray for booking auditions! Go get ’em indeed. : )

    My kicks this week:
    1) All my hard work last weekend paid off, and on Monday settled a big case in a good way.
    2) Celebrating the result with a spa night later in the week – massage, steam room, sauna, foot soak. Sigh, wish I could do that more often.
    3) Feeling so relaxed and happy after spa night that I baked cookies and brought them to work Friday – its fun to see that it is so often the little things that make people happy.
    4)Currently reading “Catching Fire” by Suzannne Collins and enjoying it.
    5) A visit with my friend Jeff and his 3 silly greyhounds. They always make me happy. And he made me pose for photos
    6) Shopping for baby shower presents for a good friend. (Although babies r us is VERY overwhelming. I’ve never seen so many diapers in my life!)
    7) Three day weekend AND last night my co-ed indoor soccer team finally won a game! We were a bit shocked and confused, since we’ve lost all 12 games prior to this one.

  19. Love that picture of you and Johan, Rachel! Congrats on your big case and the SPA NIGHT. (I’m jealous.) And congrats, too, to your soccer team. Woot!

  20. Jules and Rachel: Thanks! I am still waiting for details about the role & project I was offered, and I have a callback for the other project I auditioned for that same day. YES.

  21. Hi Jules! I thought Princess in the Palace was even better than Wolf at the Door. So glad to see it featured here! As for kicks, I was telling a special ed teen student about Newton’s law of gravity, and he replied, “Well, that’s just his opinion.” In your face, Isaac!

  22. Little Willow, fingers crossed for you.

    Kate: HA!

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