7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #207: Featuring Sarah Young

h1 February 20th, 2011 by jules

I have only one illustration for you all today, but it’s a whopper of an illustration and positively terrifying, which—-given the book’s subject matter—is a compliment:

“Theseus rounded a twist in the walls, and the stench of the beast came rushing toward him. He knew it was there, hidden in the dark, at the end of the passage. He stood still. Could the Minotaur see? He was sure it had scented him. He heard it snuffling and questing; and then, with a great bellow, it was upon him.”

Don’t you love that? Wait, there’s a monitor between me and you, so I can’t hear you, but if you love it as much as I, you can always comment below.

This comes from illustrator, painter, and printmaker Sarah Young, who lives in England. It is one of the many arresting illustrations from Greek Myths by Ann Turnbull (also British), published by Candlewick. Now, I had thought this was a brand-new title, but it just so happens that every link I see online, including the book’s very home on the Candlewick site itself, is saying it was released in November of 2010. The copyright info also states 2010. Color me confused. And slightly behind. Could it be that this one got lost in the stacks of books all over my home and I assumed it was slightly newer than it is? Yes, it could be. Either way, it’s a book I like. I happen to have an emerging seven-year-old who is downright obsessed with myths, particularly if they involve monsters and particularly if they’re Greek, and we’ve been enjoying this one. (Shh. Don’t tell on me, given that the suggested age range for this one is “grade 6 and up.”)

What’s particularly effective here is how Turnbull links the stories together. Here’s what she wrote in the book’s intro:

In this collection you will find a mixture of nature myths, hero tales, and stories of the struggles between gods and mortals. I have left out Odysseus’s travels and the Trojan War because these are separate story-cycles that deserve a book of their own. The more myths I read, the more I realized how many of them link together. Some stories, like Arachne, stand alone, but many others lead from one to another.

For instance, the book opens with the story of Arethusa. As Arethusa is fleeing Alpheus, having just become a stream, traveling in darkness, “under earth and sea,” she sees “the cold king of the Underworld, Hades, and beside him a young girl, his bride, crowned with a diadem. The girl was pale, and Arethusa saw in her eyes a fear like her own.” The next story is—you guessed it—Persephone’s. These are the first two stories of the first section, “Earth, the Heavens, and the Underworld,” followed by “Monsters and Heroes” and “Gods and Mortals.”

For her source material, Turnbull referred to early versions of the myths, ones collected by ancient Greek poets and historians. So, as she explains in the intro, readers will read that King Midas does not have a daughter and that Pandora opens not a box, but a jar.

Young’s mixed-media illustrations are by turns haunting and evocative. Oh, and as mentioned, hair-raising when need be. (I’m talking ’bout you, Chimaera. His eyes alone might have taken care of my nightmares for the next several years. I repeat, however, this is all good and effective and necessary. We are talking about a monstrous, fire-breathing, shrieking, hissing creature with a serpent-headed tail after all. Anything less than startling and hideous, anything that would have not scared the pants directly off me, would have been … well, to be professional and eloquent about it, lame-o. Medusa and her sisters might also make you soil your pants slightly. Again: GOOD thing.)

And I’m not exactly sure Young’s technique on the featured illustration today, but I love the marks on the creature’s back that look like strokes of paint done with her fingers. Such texture. I want to reach out and touch him. Well, kinda. He looks like he’s somewhat scratchy.

I hope, if you’re eating breakfast while reading, that the hideous Minotaur didn’t make you spill your hot coffee or tea, dear readers. If so, you may send me the dry cleaning bill.

* * * * * * *

GREEK MYTHS. Text copyright © 2010 by Ann Turnbull. Illustrations copyright © 2010 by Sarah Young. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, 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.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1). I went this week from being that weirdo you know who never turns on her clunky ‘ol 18th-century cell phone (which lived deep in the recesses of my purse and never saw the light of day and which I only owned in case, say, my leg suddenly caught on fire or a mean dog were chasing me) to someone who owns an actual iPhone 4, which does everything but brew my coffee. (I am confident that, in time, it will do that as well.) I can now engage in that phenomenon that the young ‘uns call texting, and if you have the same phone, I can even call you all Jetsons-like, a call during which you can see my actual face ON A VIDEO SCREEN. Bless my soul, people. All this fancy-pants technology. And I’m always online — at all times, if this gizmo-thingy is with me. (This is something the balance of the rest of the world already experiences—at least if we’re talking the Haves vs. the Have-Nots—but I’m tremendously slow sometimes and generally do everything in life backwards.) To be clear, I refuse to perpetually have my head in the phone and text while I drive and other such hooliganism, but this does mean I can quite easily and zippy-quick read music blogs or listen and download music, which is all that really matters about this newfangled contraption. It also has a camera. The above photo is hardly remarkable and far from flattering, but it marks one of the First Photos Taken On My New Thingamajig. It features me smooching my five-year-old to death, which is how I spend approximately 77.777% of my days.

2). An unexpected valentine in my mailbox.

3). Hide spaces.

4). Reading the creepy Island-Where-Dreams-Come-True (or “Dark Island”) chapter in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with my girls (and the conversation about dreams it generated), not to mention starting Edward Eager’s Seven-Day Magic with them.

5). I have a little list of music kicks this week. I’m just gonna have at it below. I figure most people just disregard my musical ramblings and videos anyway (which is perfectly fine — we’re all busy people who don’t spend our entire days on blogs), but if you’re so inclined to hear some good new (in most cases) tune-age, here is what made me want to sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world this week:

* Early Johnny Cash demo, circa 1955! Click here. ‘Nuf said.

* Astonishingly, I failed to mention this when I saw it months ago. I’m all stunned that I forgot, since my love for Elbow is hard to put into actual words. This is from their forthcoming CD, scheduled to be released in early March. (I’m not x’ing off my calendar or anything like that.) This is exquisite and was recorded in a lovely and very well-equipped studio. It’s something you turn up and kick back and listen to with eyes closed (or not, if you want to see all the lovely instruments) with your coffee in hand. And just savor.

“Lippy kids on the corner again begin settling like crows … The cigarette scent, it was everything then … Do they know those days are golden?” Guy Garvey is a genius, I tell you. Also, I am in love with those piano notes at the very, very end.

* The music of The Low Anthem has finally entered my life. I’m slow, but I’m now (mostly) complete. Holy wow, they’re good. The below song from 2008’s Oh My God, Charlie Darwin makes me ache, particularly the last verse.

Their brand-new, to-be-released-next-week CD is still streaming today at NPR for free (and will stream there till Tuesday).

* Sam Phillips doesn’t make traditional music videos. Case in point: She’s so media-shy that you don’t usually even see her appear in them. Here’s a song off her brand-new CD. I could sit and watch that rain fall onto that lens ALL DAY. I could. It’s rather mesmerizing. Plus, what a great song, huh?

* Last one, promise: I fell straight for this song — without passing go and without collecting $200. You can click play there and listen. “All I need is some sunshine.” Indeed.

6). As if Mother Nature heard both me and Timber Timbre, the sun came out this week and the temps kicked it up a notch so that my daily walks weren’t so shivery.

7). My friend had a beautiful baby boy this week. He was late, which can make a very pregnant woman feel shouty. (I know this from my second pregnancy.) He is thoroughly beautiful, though it’s so early that I’ve only seen pics thus far.

Bonus Kick #1). Donuts with a friend in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Not just any donuts, mind you. Donuts that are the stuff of legend, evidently, in this part of middle Tennessee, and it was my first time at this donut shop.

Bonus Kick #2). Getting some stuff mailed off to friends this week. Finally. When you have things like a big, ugly writing deadline giving you the stink eye, accomplishing the simple tasks becomes a kick.

Bonus Kick #3). I really want to hang out with this German DJ dude. No really, he says (in another video) that music is his drug and that’s all, and I choose to believe him.

Have mercy, I’ve written a novella. Sorry?

What are YOUR kicks this week?

26 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #207: Featuring Sarah Young”

  1. Oooo, that is one intimidating Minotaur. Nice cover too. Both my boys loved reading Greek myths; I recall Scylla & Charybdis acted out in our bathtub to the swirling, splashing doom of many a plastic soldier.

    Jules, congrats your cell phone upgrade; enjoy your gadgets and extended internet reception. (It’s a sweet picture!) And here’s deserved applause for mailing off your deadline stuff. (clap-clap-clap)

    My kicks this week:
    1. Just finished “Moon Over Manifest” – great characters and setting.

    2. Watching 31 Days of Oscar on Turner Classic Movies (as I can.)
    Here’s today’s line-up: http://www.tcm.com/2011/31Days/index.jsp

    3. Red velvet Valentine cupcakes. : – )

    4. A wonderful idea: Like many struggling main streets, my town has empty store fronts. Someone clever decided to make them look not-so-empty or depressing by filling the windows with children’s artwork.
    The closed bakery has crayon renditions of Campbell’s Soup Cans – very colorful with odd flavors, like “Cloud Soup.” And the closed gift shop window is full of photographs by local high school students.

    5. When my son’s midterms were over (yea!) we went to see screen-ing of the 5 Oscar-nom animated shorts. My prediction, for those who place bets: “The Gruffalo” – based on children’s book with quite the stellar cast. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq1ddK-Rlng

    6. And Shaun Tan’s short “The Lost Thing” was cool too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnWMDD8ayGY

    7. It’s raining, raining, raining here and my good cat Zeek is being all snuggly and purry. “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…”
    Have a good week everyone.

  2. Hello iPhone girl and all Sunday kickers!

    Cool minotaur illo! I was really into Theseus et. al. at one time, even visited Crete to satisfy my curiosities.

    Thanks for more new music. Love Sam’s camera song :).

    Denise, could you hear me squeeing over the bakery shop window with the soup can drawings? Wonderful idea!

    Had a good week:

    1) I, too, received a lovely unexpected Valentine. Cupid is on the loose!

    2) Pinkish roses from DH.

    3) Made three people in different parts of the world very happy. Involved 3 picture books, a blog post, and a birthday dinner.

    4) My dentist, who wears shirts with tiny checked patterns and sings James Taylor songs while I’m in the chair.

    5) Getting outside to enjoy a dose of warmer temps.

    6) Surprise poetry book from a publisher that I love.

    7) Audrey Hepburn.

    February is slipping through our fingers! Catch it while you can! And have fun. 🙂

  3. Newish Greek myth books, I want them, I need them. They are all the rage at school. Yay and that cover will draw everyone in.
    Jules, are you in the period where you feel the phone is smarter than you? I don’t have an I-Phone but I felt that way when I got my droid. Love the pic and congrats on writing a novella, no sorry needed.
    Denise, a trip to the bakery reminds me that I am headed to Grand Central this AM. I have the Grufalo in my library.
    Jama, Glad the temps are warming up.
    My kicks:
    1. An invitation from someone to participate in their April Poetry Blog event.
    2. The announcement of the CYBILS! WOOT! I have a small display at school.
    3. Valentine’s DAy and my 19th anniversary.
    4. An invitation to show my photography at a local Pizza Pub.
    5-6. Letters of support for libraries to the school superintendent and the board by Mitali Perkins (she SKYPED with us) and Lisa who brings her dog to school for the R.E.A.D. to Dog program.
    7. Shopping at IKEA for book cases for the library (poor DH, he was overwhelmed).
    Have a great week.

  4. Denise, interesting you should mention The Gruffalo short. I had a still photo from it to show today, as a note or a kick. (I think it’s great that it was adapted into a short film.) But the post was so long I’m holding it for later. Thank for those videos. I had no idea about The Lost Thing. …Enjoy your movies, and I love kick #4.

    Jama, if we could catch February in our hands, I would be the first to do so, since I need more time to write! I’m trying to talk it into staying, I am. I want to meet your dentist. Also, your blog makes people happy every day.

    Jone, happy anniversary! Did you get married on Valentine’s Day? Congrats on the photography invitation. That is super cool, indeed. And, go, Mitali! That is great she did that.

  5. I just requested the Greek myths book from the library. Please forgive the sluggishness… after the sendoff of a guest early this morning, we all went back to bed. I slept in, but am still reeling from the ramifications of extra sleep.

    1. My godmother came to visit.
    2. We went to Bainbridge Island.
    3. Strappy platform sandals.
    4. Sunshine 3 days in a row (when snow was the projection, too).
    5. Poached eggs on toast.
    6. Interrupting Chicken.
    7. I finally finished A Game of Thrones. Whew. Now I don’t have to read it anymore. But foolish me, I ordered the sequel.

  6. Love that minotaur and those songs. The first one made me remember being a girl, coasting down a big hill on my bike on a sunny spring day (for some reason!).

    Jules – I know you’ll put that phone to good use! Need to start the Narnia series with my kids, too.

    Denise – MOON OVER MANIFEST is on my to-read list, would love to see “The Gruffalo,” and need some of that cloud soup!

    Jama – I need to switch dentists!

    Jone – Happy anniversary!

    Saints and Spinners – Haven’t had poached eggs in ages. May have to make some tomorrow for breakfast.

    My kicks:

    1/ Seeing 7yo getting a swoosh-y basket from really far away at his game and them still losing but not quite as badly as they usually do.
    2/ Going to the park this a.m. in this beautiful spring weather!
    3/ Make-your-own-pizza potluck with good friends last night and listening to our kids playing together from the next room.
    4/ Going to a grown-up party tonight with live music. (More social events this weekend than I’ve had in 6 months!)
    5/ Getting ready to send out a manuscript.
    6/ Trader Joe’s salt water taffy.
    7/ Playing guitar for the first time in a long while and the surprised looks on my kids’ faces when I belted out “Carey, Get Out Your Cane.”

  7. Hi all,

    Jules, congrats about the iPhone! May I suggest that you get Shazam and Hipstamatic as applications? Lots of amazing things to add. Thanks for all the music.

    Denise, love the movie kicks! Just saw “The Social Network” last night, and going to see “The Illusionist” today.
    Jama, Ha! about your dentist. Good to get someone who relaxes you, and he sounds fairly laid-back.
    Jone, Happy Anniversary!
    Farida, I’ve always wanted to visit Bainbridge Island — it looks beautiful.

    My kicks:
    1) A wonderful Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend, who sent me roses, took me out to a lovely dinner, and gave me three great books. I’m very lucky.
    2) Sam’s new CD, “Cameras in the Sky”, which I love more every time I listen to it.
    3) Finding out that my friend Kim is engaged.
    4) Attending the International Antiquarian Book Fair last weekend in S.F. I feel honored just to be around so many beautiful rare books.
    5) Watching the documentary “A Man Named Pearl”, which was recommended by Sam Phillips. One of the loveliest movies I have seen in a long time. Here is a trailer:
    6) Getting to know a new friend
    7) The song “Lotus Flower” from the upcoming new CD from Radiohead. The lead singer in this video dances like me, i.e. spasmodically and not very well.

    Have a lovely week, everyone!

  8. Jessica, sorry I flew past you in Cyberville, but I’m always driving too fast. Congratulations about the manuscript! I also love anything from Trader Joe’s, so thanks for the taffy recommendation. Must try it!

  9. The usual mad scramble today to get five minutes on the computer before going to work! And I can’t listen to music due to sleeping people. But the day is off to a good start with everyone’s kicks!

    Jules, that is a gorgeous photo! I too got a fancy pants phone when we moved back, and it’s been better than I expected having access to the internet more often. I don’t worry about running out of book on the train so much any more! But I haven’t managed to be much better about social media, next project.

    Denise, I saw children’s pictures up in empty stores in a flooded town in the UK last year, and agree they cheer up an otherwise dismal sight! Oh, and thanks for the link to Shaun Tan – I love his still work so a short sounds great.

    Jama, poetry and making people happy, sounds like a great week.

    Jone the dog and reading program sounds intriguing. Will check it out later.

    Jessica, I have always wanted to try taffy, especially the cool sounding salt water taffy. I have only visited the US for a half day and then a day on stopovers but spent a good portion of that time at the supermarket eating strange foods. I will definitely go to Trader Joes if I make it back one day!

    1. Lifeline bookfest was postponed twice due to floods, but made it a couple of weeks ago! An enormous second hand book sale, all for charity – which means you are obliged to buy lots of books. This year I had a couple of good finds, not as good as previous years possibly, but I did have the added enjoyment of getting board books for my niece (four for a dollar).
    2. A few weeks back we went to Mon Repos up the coast, and saw baby turtles hatching. Very cute! I had hoped to see a nesting adult as I saw heaps of hatchlings when I volunteered at the site as a teenager, but all my companions were delighted with the hatchlings, and of course I was too as they are so cute (see here for proof ).
    3. Our boxes arrived from the UK! All in one piece, very impressive seeing as we squished stuff in. We will unpack in our new house.
    4. Which is another kick – all financing etc went through ok, the contract is now unconditional so we move into the new place in 2 weeks!
    5. We are having fun buying some new things (shiny new washing machine on the weekend!), but are also lucky in having a family here as we can scrounge stuff we need too, like a fridge. Much easier than when we moved to the UK without that network.

    Eek, must dash!

  10. P.S. (peeking back in)
    jama – Hepburn: “My Fair Lady” (sigh) is featured Oscar film tonight.
    jone – Grand Central (smile) next time I’m in Portland. Photo show!
    S & S – sleeping in…
    Jessica – Yea, manuscript and surprising kids with Joni Mitchell. Ha!
    Jill – will LOOK at “A Man Named Pearl”, thanks.
    emmaco – my son volunteered at turtle hatchery in Costa Rica last August; he helped nesting moms & eggs but missed the hatchlings.
    jules – liked all the music but loved Elbow; I smiled at the shot of the electronic pianist taping down the base key to create the “heartbeat”.

  11. Farida, how ’bout that Interrupting Chicken? Glad you had sunshine, poached eggs, and a good visit-slash-trip.

    Jessica, my congrats, too, on the manuscript, and have fun at the party.

    Jill, I wish The Illusionist were playing around here. Thanks for that trailer. I’ll have to find the film. I saw that someone recently took the Thom Yorke dancing in that video and put it to a Beyonce song, which was just painful to see.

    Emmaco, I never thought I’d mutter “puddin’ head” when seeing a turtle. They are, indeed, punkin cute. Glad your stuff arrived, and good luck unpacking. How exciting that you move so soon…

  12. Denise, you are a major film source for me, you know. I’m surprised you haven’t seen the documentary. (I haven’t either, but it just seems like you’ve seen EVERYthing and I can always ask you your opinion on movies.) One day I want to recommend a movie that makes you go, DAMN SKIPPY, thanks, Jules! (Like when I try to find a song that makes Little Willow do that!)

    YES to the heartbeat of the Elbow song! YES! Isn’t it wonderful? I could watch them all day. And Jill figured out they’re touring this year with Villagers (whom I shared in this post). Man, I wish I could see that show. Wonder if they’ll come close to Nashville.

  13. That illustration needs to be accompanied by the LL Cool J hit Mama Said Knock You Out.

    Denise, Jules, film buffs:
    Your thoughts on the following films would be delightful – I’m purposely naming some of my favorite films that aren’t as well-know here –
    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
    The 1972 version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (John Barry, you are missed.)
    Happy Accidents

    My recent kicks:
    1) First day of work on the awesome apocalypse party film!
    2) Overnight shoot (rain! cold! patience!)
    3) Office shoot
    4) Connection
    5) Commitment
    6) Adjustments
    7) Acceptance

    Have a great day, everyone, and remember: Minotaur will knock you OUT, but don’t worry — I’m gonna bring the string. 🙂

  14. Gorgeous!

  15. LW – Sure. For what it’s worth, l’ll tackle a film:

    I’m a night owl (Jules recalls our “Stay Up and Make Something” poster) and so I’m often awake at 2 or 3am when old B & W films roll. I’ve seen “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers,” late-night, piece meal, over the years. I don’t think I’ve ever sat and watched it as a whole – without working on some project at the same time — so I don’t know if I can do it justice. But I’ll share what I like (and don’t like) about it.

    The director, Lewis Milestone, worked as a film-cutter and then a picture editor BEFORE he became a director and so like David Lean (one of my idols, w/same job-trajectory) Milestone had a keen sense of how each shot would cut together, how each transition would work. “TSLofMI” is melodramatic, per film noir, but it never wallows; it is cut and directed with pacing (the movie equivalent of a ‘page-turner’).

    Well, how can one not adore Barbara Stanwyck in her hay day, dressed in stunning Edith Head ensembles: capes and gloves and strategic embroidery that leads your eyes to all the curves and sexy niches. Tailored to death! And her acting… she switches from teary vulnerable to killer cold, believably, on a dime.

    Film noir just goes to town with dramatic lighting; here, mostly on the blonde ingenue (who looks like petit Lauren Bacall with Brook Shields eyebrows.) Those band-lit doe-eyed shots; over-the-top but cool.

    The overblown music in movies of this era really annoys me. To my modern ears those swelling crecendos feel condescending: “cry here”, “gasp there”, da-dun-DUN. I know, twas the style, but it takes me out.

    Watching early Kirk Douglas is fun. But, knowing him from later stardom, its hard to totally buy him as the wimpy, unsexy, conniver.

    This is getting too w-a-y long (sorry Jules.) In the future. when you start your side-line music blog (with all your free time, ha!) I’ll be happy to be one of your guest film-corner contributors (in my free time, ha-ha!) Little Willow, that’s my take on “TSLofMI”. And you have a time-machine, spell or something (like Hermione in Harry Potter) which is how you do all you do in an amazingly short time span.

    Clips from film at:

  16. Little Willow, haven’t seen any of ’em! (Sorry.)

    And kick #1 is so mysterious and thrilling-sounding…

    Blogger from Vintage Kids’ Books…: YES, indeed.

    Denise, yes, I recall that poster, as in I’m FINALLY going to take it to get custom-framed this weekend! Can’t wait!

    Denise, deal. Music blog with film-post contributions from you and LW.

  17. Denise: So many bonus points for not only having seen the film but for taking the time to chat with me about it! I agree that it is well-edited, and I love the score music. Barbara rocks. I am NOT a fan of the scene outdoors, wielding the fiery branch — that just bothers me, because would they have done the same thing if they were both the same gender? No, they wouldn’t have dared — and some of Lizbeth’s bits are incredibly pouty, but, not having seen her in other roles/films, I don’t know whether that’s her acting or if I ought to attribute that to the time period and directing.

    I echo your laughter when considering the concept of free time.

    Can you imagine if I DID have Hermione’s necklace, or Dr. Who’s TARDIS?


  18. Jules,

    I guess a number of us had some “springy” type weather last week. It was great having a couple of sunny days with temps in the fifties around here. Now it’s definitely back to winter again in Massachusetts.

    My kick of the week was celebrating my daughter’s 31st birthday–belatedly–with her and her husband on Sunday. I made Sara’s favorite lobster dish and Mike and I drove up and spent the day with Sara and her husband. I wish they lived closer so we could see them every week.

  19. Elaine, so good you got to see her on her birthday.

    And it was a bit chilly again here today. Boo. Definitely ready for warmer temps that unpack, stick around a while, and wear out their welcome.

  20. Interesting the difference between classy scary (like that illustration), which I think feeds kids’ minds and builds them up, versus cheesy scary (like vampire stuff or TV) that I think degrades minds.

  21. Shelley, yes. That could be a whole post in and of itself, indeed.

  22. Wow, that’s a GREAT Minotaur! Love the marks and the textures!

  23. Isn’t it, though?

  24. Jules, thank you for the Low Anthem recommendation. Holy Wow sums it up.

  25. Matt, they are all I’ve been listening to all week. Soooooo good.

  26. Yeah, the new one and Charlie Darwin have been playing quite a bit on my ipod. It was the only thing that could pull me away from watching this repeatedly:


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