7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #212:
Featuring Amy Schimler and Shadra Strickland

h1 March 27th, 2011 by jules

(Click to super-size each.)

Every now and then at 7-Imp, I like to give the spotlight over to those who create illustrations for the wee’est of all wee readers. One such illustrator is visiting today, and her name is Amy Schimler. Her bright, colorful art work all about nature, geared for the big eyes of the youngest of children, is also fitting right now, given that Spring is upon us. Here in Tennessee, Spring graced us and then pulled back a bit, so at this point, I’m ready to dive into Amy’s world and live there a bit until Spring regains her senses and descends upon us again.

An illustrator and surface designer, Amy studied painting and fiber arts at the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as well as the Massachusetts College of Art, and continued her studies in textile and surface design at RISD. She currently lives in Georgia and is here this morning to show us some illustrations from her new title, as well as some other portfolio pieces. (The spread opening this post is a portfolio piece, and the one below it is from her newest title.)

Without further ado, here’s Amy.

* * * * * * *

Amy: Splish Splash is an interactive board book, published by Little Simon. It is a “touch and hear” book, which incorporates a variety of fun materials that mimic the sounds of the animals in the book. In this case, animals which you might find along a river’s bank or by a lake or pond. My art director did a very creative job sourcing the appropriate materials to make the various sounds. I especially love the munching beaver (the reader rubs his/her finger on a swatch of Velcro embedded in a log).

“Dragonfly dips for a drink. FLIT FLUTTER FLIT FLUTTER.”

This is the reverse side of the dragonfly’s wing that creates the fluttering sound
when the tab is pulled.

On this spread, a crayfish makes a ‘SNIP SNIP SNAP SNAP’ sound
by flapping his claw.

The original illustration for the back cover.

This book was inspired by where I live outside of Atlanta, Georgia. My house is on a lake surrounded by critters that inspire me on my daily walks.

When I snapped this photo it was a “six turtle day.”

Blue-headed dragonfly near the lake by my house.

I began my illustration career as a textile designer. I continue to sell my pattern designs in addition to illustrating children’s books.

Another page from Splish Splash.

In 2010, I was honored to find out that a book I illustrated, Why is the Sky Blue?, published by Ladybird Books, was chosen by Booktime.org in the UK as one of their featured books, along with Eric Carle’s “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” Said the Sloth. Over 750,000 book bags were distributed in the UK to first-year state school students.

Another book I illustrated for Little Simon.

Here are additional illustrations from my portfolio:

(Click to enlarge.)

(Click to enlarge.)

* * * * * * *

Many thanks to Amy for visiting. I hope those colors woke you up as they did me, even before I had coffee in hand.

All illustrations are © 2011 Amy Schimler and used with permissions.

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). Spring. Even if it retreated for a bit here in Tennessee. This new image, celebrating it all, is from Shadra Strickland, who says the illustration will soon be available as an Etsy print:

2). Okay. Ahem. Music kicks. Please just humor my musical ramblings here for just a wee moment (or, er, skip ahead if you’re tired of hearing about my new favorite tunes):

The new Elbow CD, build a rocket boys!, significantly improved the quality of my days this week. Sweet heavenly poodles in hot air balloons (I don’t know where that came from…it just came off my fingers, and I’m gonna leave it), it is GREAT. Every time I’m done listening to an Elbow CD, I just want to hang out with Guy Garvey. And his choirs. I want to be his friend and have him give me a gentle shoulder charge and bust me out with his hacksaw (I know, I know, slightly baffling, but just get the new CD already, as you won’t be disappointed anyway) and ride shotgun in his car and pound my fists on the table with him over some beers. Yup. Anyway. The new CD is pretty much flawless.

Also: Where has Raphael Saadiq been all my life?

And are you tired of hearing about Middle Brother? Er. Sorry. Still wearing out that CD, and this song is beautiful. Here they are live on the streets at South by Southwest. (And how much do I wish I could go to that one day?)

Finally, speaking of South by Southwest, if it hadn’t been for NPR’s thorough and thoroughly entertaining coverage of it all, I wouldn’t have heard about Trampled by Turtles. I see a CD purchase in my future:

(Do you ever jot your kicks down so you won’t forget on Sundays? I do. Nice little exercise in gratitude, but I digress. Anyway, since this band is still so new to me, I did a double-take at first when I saw “trampled by turtles” jotted down on my desk calendar. Momentarily, I forgot it was a band’s name and wondered what in the actual hubba-what that could be about.)

We had a go.3). I finally watched Get Low on DVD, which I had wanted to see in the theater when it initially came out in 2009, and that beautiful film broke. my. heart. Where was Duvall’s Oscar nomination that year? For shame.

4). Here’s one of my very best friends (and a long-time friend, too) featured in a local Nashville paper. Also pictured: Archimedes the owl. Gorgeous. (And how about the sunlight in the lovely photo?)

5). The look on my seven-year-old’s face when I played her “Housework,” as performed by Carol Channing, from the classic Free to Be…You and Me. My girls know how very much I loathe housework, and—after discussing with them how day-time television commercials make it look like women really love to clean toilets and that being the reason I avoid them altogether (day-time television, that is, not the toilets)—a friend reminded me of Channing’s recitation. I grabbed my copy of the CD, played it for the girls, and watched the seven-year-old’s face light up. (I can’t find it in its entirety anywhere online—that is, where I can link so that you can hear—but here are the words, written by Sheldon Harnick. Not the same as hearing Channing rapid-fire speak it.)

6). In the realm of Picture Book Kicks: Hubba wow, is this collection of wisdom something 7-Imp is cheering loudly in the sidelines. I’ll even throw in some spirit fingers. And check out this Sendak-sighting and bit of thrilling news.

7). For your listening pleasure, I sign off with Elliot Road covering The Louvin Brothers:

What are YOUR kicks this week?

20 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #212:
Featuring Amy Schimler and Shadra Strickland”

  1. Thanks, Jules. Great post, lovely art. See you Saturday!

    My kicks:
    1. Visiting the RISD Museum
    2. Helping a lost dog
    3. Sharing books with friends
    4. Reading Galway Kinnell
    5. Discussing Egyptian myths
    6. Looking for spring
    7. And a new poem:


    By Steven Withrow

    New snow encircled the parking lot,

    Though April had held the weather warm
A week; by evening’s light, I caught

    One downy flake on my tongue, a dot

    Of melting white in a springtime storm,

    Then locked the car door, and hid the keys,
    While standing among a million moths,

    Or parallel-earthly oddities

    That coat the ground and enrobe the trees
    In frozen ceremonial cloths,

    And if that day I hadn’t been late

    Already for an interview,
    How I might have intertwined my fate
    With theirs as they fell, resigned my weight
    Of human matter, and dropped down too.

    I won’t pretend that this notion made
    My body change, transmogrified
    By thought to flurrying fluff; I stayed
    Long enough to float under the shade
    Of a cumulus cloud, before moving inside.

    ©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  2. Amy, I love the birds at the top and
    Shadra, the Spring puddles are exuberant!

    I know I had spring in my grasp not long ago….its gone now.
    SO I am :
    1. sitting here with a warm chai in my hands,
    2. listening to the wind howl
    3. wearing wooly socks
    4. next to a toasty heater
    5. still in my pajamas
    6. relaxing while three sick kids are sleeping the day away.
    7. feeling like I’ve won the lottery

    thanks Jules!

  3. Hi guys, I’ve missed kicking with you! But we now have moved in, have a table and internet so I’m all set.

    Love the illustrations (and the photo of the turtles). I’m glad it’s starting to feel like spring in your neck of the woods, Jules and Steve. (and strange how normal the timing of northern hemisphere seasons after just a few years, must be all the cultural influences of movies, books etc coming into play)

    Amy your kicks sound very cozy!

    Recent kicks:

    1. Moving in has gone well, and the unpacking is starting to look manageable
    2. Unpacking books has been like meeeting old friends again
    3. Getting to see our niece change week by week – she took her first steps alone a few days ago!
    4. Small things about the house are still exciting. Having my own sturdy washing line (as opposed to airer that flips over in high winds). Finding new plants in the garden we hadn’t noticed before.
    5. The dawn chorus in the bush nearby is lovely, if noisy, there are even whipbirds
    6. I had to do a four-wheel-drive course for work during the week, and as I am not a confident driver was not looking forward to it, but it went really well. I got a lot out of it.
    7. Friends over for a leisurely breakfast today

  4. I want that dragonfly, both the picture and the photo. Amy’s book is so springish,love it! Shadra captures the best part about spring:puddles!
    Jules, the photo of your friend with the owl is soo cool and so is her work. Thanks again for all the music links. And emphasizing Spring,
    Steven, thank you for each week’s poem. Amy, your list is a poem and Emmaco, glad to read you are settling in.
    My kicks:
    1. Oldest grandgirl and writing a story together.
    2. The support for libraries at the budget meeting this week. Still don’t know our status for next year.
    3. The student poems are shaping up.
    4. Prepping for National Poetry Month.
    5. Only four days of school this weekand then…
    7. Internet Free Zone during spring break.
    Have a great week.

  5. Jules, I want to go to South by Southwest with you! And I should buy a copy of Splish Splash for baby Kezhia, huh?


    1. My baby niece Kezhiaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

    2. Playing games with my younger cousin Lina. Heeheehee.

    3. Happy Lemon, a bubble tea (boba) place from Hong Kong with a new branch here in the Philippines.

    4. Finding out my former student is one of the owners of Happy Lemon – Philippines. He was my best student! Got to talk to him when I was at Happy Lemon Friday night. :o)

    5. Korean pop songs.

    6. Not being afraid to sing and dance along to songs being played in restaurants. Hahaha!

    7. Jules is on Twitter. Wooooooot!

    Have a good week, everyone. :o)

  6. Good morning, Kickers!

    What wonderful art from Amy Schimler. Made me feel like a little kid — not at all a bad way to feel. The next-to-last image from her, though: it’s apparently not from an existing book, but made me wonder if anyone has ever done a boared book: a board book about boars. (Kinda like Kramer’s coffee-table book about coffee tables.)


    On a more serious note, a question: of Amy’s book covers reproduced here, only one includes her (or anyone else’s) name. That (I mean, omitting the name) is not a common practice, is it?

    Jules, I’m sorry, but I had to laugh when I read about you writing down “trampled by turtles” and then forgetting what it referred to. I was just thinking about how complicated your, uh, mental work process must be. I mean, I know you listen to things like Pandora and Ping and plain-old CDs and so on, and always imagined that in your own Pivot Interview you’d have to confess to never doing without music. So I was just thinking how difficult it must be to be so hooked on good music: that you must have to stop what you’re doing every 5-10 minutes, asking yourself What was THAT?!? and writing down a note to yourself for later exploration… And then, there you were in this post. Being entrampled.

    Thanks for the reminder about Get Low. Queueueued.

    (And btw, here’s the entire Carol Channing/Housework bit — on YouTube. :))

    Thank you as always for the poem, Steven — and for helping the lost dog!

    Amy, I could have sworn your kicks sounded like they’d been composed 3-4 months ago. 🙂

    Ah, emmaco — back to your classic through-the-looking-glass form, I see. “There even whipbirds”: as in, “Well, well, well, whipbirds are present, too — who’d have thunk?!?” While the rest of us are all, like, Whipbirds? WHIPBIRDS?!?

    jone — there was a time, I know, when I never checked email (or later, the Web), not even once, for a whole week. I think it might’ve been around October, 1958. Good for you for pulling it off.

    Tarie, I thought the same thing about Jules on Twitter. Well, that was my second thought. My first was, “Oh, good — she found something to fill up that cavernous free minute in her daily life.” 🙂

    Some kicks here:

    (1) Still basking in the afterglow from SibFest ’11, especially now that we’re all trying to consolidate our photos into a single slideshow. Even if no one but us ever looks at ’em all, they still (for us) sort of say: This is why we did this.

    (2) This week, during The Pooch’s morning walk, I’ve noticed the call of a bird which sounds like a high-pitched fluttering warble of a 1950s-era science-fiction B movie flying saucer. It goes on for anywhere between 7 and 12 iterations of (apparently) the word “wheedle,” and it even includes a Doppler effect as though the flying saucer is approaching, passing overhead, and then moving away. Like wheedle *wheedle* wheedle WEEDLE *W*E*E*D*L*E* WEEDLE wheedle *wheedle* wheedle…

    (3) Which makes me wonder how many UFO reports are based on sound (or, I don’t know, maybe smell and taste and touch) instead of visuals.

    (4) It also makes me think what a perfect word “wheedle” is. (In the same way as the British “whinge.”)

    (5) Finally watched Zombieland last night. Many, many spit-takes. And then followed it up with The Blues Brothers. More of the same (and some of the latter spit-takes were tinged with nostalgia, which makes them even better).

    (6) Finished Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow. What a great book!

    (7) During the SibFest, part of my mind was occupied with thoughts of how I might resolve some outstanding problems in the Work In Progress. Now chomping at the bit to get back to it.

    (Bonus) This may jeopardize any hopes I have of ever being taken seriously as a music listener, but this week I downloaded the MP3s of John Denver’s 1970-something An Evening with… album and, zomg, it’s as good as I remembered.

    (Bonus Bonus) I found out the source of the “z” in “zomg.” My life is complete.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  7. More soon, but I have to quickly say:

    JOHN E. SIMPSON! You found the Channing performance. How did you find it? I looked and looked and LOOKED yesterday. I swear, now I’m adding a missed calling to your already long list of missed callings (in my head anyway): Information Science. You’re a web ninja.


    More soon….

  9. Hi again, all. It’s so nice to see visitors every week. I see things like social media sites making people comment less, which is fine. Really, it is. I’m not going to complain about the way the tide is rolling. But that’s to say that it’s nice some folks still stop by to share kicks. Almost seems old-fashioned, given the prevalence of things like Facebook and Twitter.


    Steven, thanks for our (almost) weekly poems. Still pondering that lovely one you shared today. REALLY looking forward to meeting you this week.

    Amy, yes! Those kicks do read like a poem. Ah. I want a heater next to my feet.

    Emmaco! So nice to hear from you. So glad you’re settling in. What I Learned From You This Week = whipbirds. (Always something. How much do I love how John described your kicks as through-the-looking-glass?) Enjoy the breakfast. Congrats on overcoming the drive course.

    Jone, I always look forward to the student poems. Happy almost-Spring Break. Big plans?

    Tarie, me, you, South by Southwest one day. It’s a plan. But first we must meet one day. (Let’s just meet there.) Preferably your OBSCENELY CUTE niece will be with you. Ah, thanks for the Twitter welcome. I’m still stumbling around. It’s mostly for blog and Kirkus stuff.

    John, good question about the book covers. Maybe Amy can weigh in?…If you watch Get Low, tell me what you think! I think there were a FEW, tee-niny holes/questions I was left with that perhaps the movie should have taken care of, but the story? The acting? Hubba whoa. It helps I knew nothing about the plot. Please try to go into it, knowing nothing about the plot. …. I just fell in love with kick #2, John. Love Zombieland. … So glad, again, that you enjoyed SibFest. And PLEASE DO TELL: What is the “z” for?

    And no, really. I love John Denver. Anyone who wants to make fun of him can do so behind my back, all whispery, please. I ask.

  10. Well, the trick is that the “z” — allegedly, I guess I should say — doesn’t really stand for anything. They say that its first occurrence, whence it boiled out into the outside world, was in some sort of gamers’ chat/IRC session. Somebody wanted to type “omg” in all caps but missed the left-Shift key and hit the “z” instead. Everybody was so taken with it (it IS sort of charming) that they just went with it as a form of omg-emphasis from then on.

    A nice story, anyhow.

    So glad you like John Denver, too! The Missus had asked me to download some JD music for her, so my first go-round was with something called The Essential John Denver because it seemed the most complete. But because I’ve got that live-concert album burned into my synapses, I couldn’t get used to the order of the songs — or their studio/single versions. So it was all, like, y’know, Hello again, Amazon MP3 page… I’m back!

    He did a Playboy Magazine interview in which the interviewer confessed to a great deal of cynicism about JD’s image — whether it was an act, “no one could be that good and innocent” etc. — but came away a believer. 🙂

  11. That makes me like him even more.

    You should hear The Innocence Mission cover “Follow Me.” Well, here you go: http://tinyurl.com/49vldth. Enjoy.

    Great story about the mysterious “z.”

  12. Hi all,

    Late kicks, mostly due to technical difficulties (I have a more colorful term for those, but I will spare you). This is a great place to come to raise one’s spirits, so thank you all for that.

    Jules, thanks for all the great music, especially Middle Brother (great harmonies), and for our impromptu chat, which brightened my day.
    Steven, lovely poem, as always.
    Amy, I spent a longer than usual amount of time in my pj’s and wooly socks today also. Seems like that kind of day.
    Emmaco, love your kick about unpacking your books — I think of my books as friends also.
    Jone, good luck with the internet-free zone! Not sure I could pull that off, but it’s a good goal to have.
    Tarie, I love names like “Happy Lemon”, and I’m always looking for new tea places.
    JES, love your description of the call of the bird sounding like a flying saucer. With the way things have been going in the world lately, it wouldn’t phase me at all if you told us that it actually WAS a flying saucer. Oh, and thanks for sticking “Rocky Mountain High” in my head.

    My kicks:
    1) Getting to see Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain last night in San Rafael. AMAZING. Just flat out, jaw-droppingly fabulous. Holbrook is 85 years old, and he has 2 hours of material committed to memory, which he executes flawlessly. It was an honor to be in his presence.
    2) Visiting with my brother last weekend and having a lot of laughs.
    3) Collaboration and inspiration.
    4) Seeing the movie “The Lincoln Lawyer”. Nothing Academy Award-worthy, but a good solid drama. Matthew McConaughey isn’t bad on the eyes, either.
    5) With the disasters in Japan weighing heavily on all of our minds, I wanted to share this artist’s work. His “Lightning Fields” images were created by applying an electrical charge from a 400,000-volt generator directly onto a negative, and the results are really beautiful: http://www.sugimotohiroshi.com/LighteningField.html
    6) Blues pianist Pinetop Perkins died this past week, and I wanted to post this article and video to honor him: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/22/134772075/pinetop-perkins-on-mountain-stage
    7) A sun-filled forecast for this coming week, which I can’t wait to experience after all of this rain!

    Happy week, everyone!

  13. I read that Diana Wynne Jones died yesterday. I never met her, but I read her books, and so I will miss her. The Tough Guide to Fantasyland makes me laugh, and Dogsbody is one of the few novels about dogs that I really love. (It’s about Sirius the Dog Star, but also about Sirius as a mortal dog.)

    1. I cannot resist a staircase. On my walk today, I decided to go up the water tower stairs seven times. The first sets of any stair-climb is the hardest for me, so when I was into the groove of repeated journeys up the water tower, I had to smile as people tromped upward, groaning about how hard it was. It is. But it does get not-as-hard.

    2. I’m going to be 39 tomorrow. I’m not quite sure what I think about that. It’s going to happen, regardless of what I think of it. However, there is a pedicure in the deal, plus a glass of Lillet with a friend.

    3. Most days, I get five fresh fruits and veggies into the family. That is an accomplishment.

    4. I’ve told my immediate family that all I want from them for my birthday is original artwork. The man and the girl have been busy and secretive all day.

    5. I have good friends.

    6. When my husband and I send our daughter to the bathroom to get ready for bed, we start an hour early. She dances around in the bathroom for 45 minutes and we get a breather.

    7. Tomorrow morning there will be coffee.

    Happy last week of March 2011, everyone!

  14. Jill, thanks for the links. I shall explore. So good to catch up today.

    Farida, happy early birthday. You go on with your bad self and those staircases. I have good friends, too. Isn’t it the most supreme kick? Enjoy that coffee.

  15. New Elbow album… YES! Must have it! Also, love that Shadra Strickland print, which isn’t surprising as I’ve loved every single thing she has ever touched.

  16. Oh, those colors make me wish for sunshine and spring, and less rain here. Twenty-one staright days of rain (and thankfully I missed at least 5 of those!)

    Jules, I love your music kicks, although I admit sometimes it takes me a couple of days to listen to all of them. : ) And I definitely remind myself that some standouts should be included in kicks every week.

    Steven – hooray for helping a lost dog!

    Amy – wooly socks a toasty heater and pajamas sounds like a perfect Sunday morning.

    Jone – Hope you have a great spring break! I couldn’t last a whole week when I tried internet-free, I made it a whopping 3 days – hope you have much more success than I did.

    Tarie – Your adorable niece sounds, well, adorable! Happy Lemon sounds like the kind of cafe I imagine you to frequent. (Bright, sunshiny, lots of energy, and happy.)

    JES – Glad SibFest was a success. Must check the Carol Channing video. John Denver and The Muppets Christmas Album is on my playlist every year…gotta love him.

    Jill – Jealous in a good way you got to see Hal Holbrook’s Mark Twain. He is such an amazing performer…jealous of the sun headed your way too. : )

    Farida – congrats again on your stair-climbing accomplishment. And happy early birthday to you – pedicures are a fabulous way to celebrate!

    My kicks:

    1) Wonderful vet called this morning, Saturday’s test results for Ingrid came back normal, so she’s still doing well. And is still a very happy dog. Which makes me happy.
    2) Indoor soccer game today. We lost, but it feels so good to run like hell, and push yourself.
    3) Indi Cowie, a 16 year old soccer phenom, girls can do anything: http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/03/24/magazine/100000000742167/freestyle-soccer-star.html?ref=magazine

    4) A Saturday of work, errands, and accomplishing things.
    5) Which gave me a Sunday morning to sleep in.
    6) Slowly getting back into work after my amazing vacation. (I don’t know how much of a kick that really is, but I have to work, so I guess its a kick.)
    7) Took an optimism test at Oprah.com, and I am a Super-Optimist. Apparently we super-optimists recover from adversity well, but are prone to accidents due to being over-confident and taking risks. Good to know. Next time I’ll slow down instead of speeding up at the yellow light.

    Have a great week everyone!

  17. JES, you are one to talk about being through the looking glass when you have flying saucer birds whizzing around your head! Very cool indeed. But I am glad to know that living in Australia is still different enough to the US that I can continue to amaze folks with everyday things (as you all do for me every week!).

    Farida, I was also sad about Diana Wynne Jones dying, as I love her books too (including Dogsbody). You are sounding very healthy what with all the stair walking and fruit&veg eating. Happy Birthday!

    Glad your dog is healthy, Rachel!

  18. Sam, glad you like Shadra’s work. New Elbow CD is flawless.

    Rachel, good news about Ingrid. And those indoor soccer games sound great. I need to start a kickball league or something. (I love kickball.)

    Emmaco and Farida and everyone, may Ms. Jones rest in peace.

  19. And wow to that video, Rachel. I didn’t even know that a sole stall was a THING someone did till now.

  20. […] a big THANKS to Jules over at Seven-Imp for sharing my “Spring Splash” print on her blog. Check that out along with the work of Amy Shimler. You’re in for a real […]

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