(Click to enlarge spread.)
Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, 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.
As I type this, I’m getting ready to head to Knoxville, Tennessee, for this wonderful conference, so I’m going to keep things short and simple (ahem, short for me, that is) this week. I’ve got things to pack and CDs to pile up in my car for my road trip. (Have bluegrass, can travel.) However, I do hope folks will leave their kicks, as I’ll be back and reading them by Sunday.
Now, normally the first Sunday of each month, I share the work of a student or brand-spankin’-new-to-the-field illustrator, but I’m going to shake things up and do that next week instead. I didn’t want to slight a shiny new illustrator today, since I’m mostly on my way out the door. Instead, I’m pleased to be showing you spreads this morning from Yukiko Kato’s In the Meadow, illustrated by Komako Sakai. I’m a fan of Sakai’s work. I know I’ve not seen everything she’s done and want to correct that. I love Emily’s Balloon (2006) and The Snow Day (2009), though I haven’t seen this one yet (2010). Evidently, she’s super popular in Japan (her home), and I’m happy some of her titles have made it here to the States.
This June, Enchanted Lion Books will release this First American Edition of In the Meadow, originally published as Kusahara (The Meadow) in Japan in 2008, the story of a young girl, visiting the river with her family, who gets lost—in more ways than one—in nature. The story and illustrations so lyrically capture a young child’s beguiling, yet frightful, experience of having wandered a bit too far from the parents and of having arrived knee-deep into the swaying grasses of a meadow. Taking the child’s point-of-view, Kato writes with an immediacy that draws in the reader and gives us an array of sensual delights — what the girl sees, smells, touches, and hears: “I push my way through flowers and leaves. They smell like toothpaste, minty and sweet. The butterfly flitters and flutters over the meadow. Wait, wait, butterfly!” It is chasing this butterfly that leads her deep into the meadow, far from her family. She may end up experiencing loneliness and a bit of fear, but the trip was worth it — and her mother was never far behind, it turns out.
Sakai’s spreads (rendered in acrylic paints and oil pencils) cover every inch of the pages, inviting us into the little girl’s lush, green world. Her work to me has always been reminiscent of Marie Hall Ets: Both women create illustrations that capture emotions so well and are intimate and honest. Sakai knows exactly how to direct our focus to the emotional core of the tales with her color choices, perspective, and line. She places us right in the center of all the action, as if we’re traveling with the young girl. Kirkus once wrote about Sakai’s work that it appears simple yet is incredibly sophisticated. This is true.
Here are more spreads from the book, since the art speaks volumes and speaks better than I. (That should be my 7-Imp slogan.) Enjoy.
Hmm…do I want to go?”
(Click to enlarge.)
(Click to enlarge.)
IN THE MEADOW. Text copyright © 2008 by Yukiko Kato. Illustrations copyright © 2008 by Komako Sakai. First American Edition © 2011. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Enchanted Lion Books, Brooklyn, NY.
As mentioned, I’m going to keep it simple this week, but I would like to point out some news items (of sorts) and Things I Really Saw That I Liked This Week:
1). This audio slideshow (with British picture book author/illustrator Anthony Browne speaking) is such a lovely tribute to picture books that I whooped aloud after seeing it. The artwork on display in the slideshow is from the illustrators that Booktrust chose for their Best New Illustrators Award 2011 (British award). Good choices, I say.
2). This is a great video interview with Shaun Tan, who was awarded the Astrid Lindgren prize this week. (This is not long after winning the Oscar. He’s having a good year, that talented man.)
4). If you haven’t already heard about James Kennedy’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festival, why, go read! You have till September, if you’d like to play along.
5). Speaking of playing along, thanks to all who contributed to this 7-Imp challenge this week. There’s still time to play, if you’d like. People were supposed to vote for their favorites by 3PM on Thursday, but clearly my rambly directions made little sense. (Now you see what my children suffer, I suppose.) I will somehow pick a winner early this week and promise to announce results then. Sorry I’m generally disorganized, but I really do appreciate everyone who came and celebrated handlebar moustaches with us.
6). I am crazy in love with this. And my response to the imposter syndrome thingy he discusses is: a) Who knew it’s a real phenomenon? and b) I really needed to read that.
Okay, off to talk about children’s lit with many, many smart folks. What are YOUR kicks this week?