7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #217: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator Nora Krug and Author Molly Rausch

h1 May 1st, 2011 by jules

I’ve had some sick daughters of late—not anything really terrible, mind you (knock on some cyber-wood)—but burning foreheads and nasty colds? Yes, I know of what author Molly Rausch speaks here.

Molly’s first picture book, My Cold Went on Vacation (Putnam, January 2011), illustrated by Nora Krug, gives us the perspective of one such pesky cold bug. The young boy you see in bed above starts out with a runny nose on Wednesday, which turns into an achy throat on Thursday and a burning forehead by Friday. On Sunday, however, his cold is gone: “I wonder where it went…” he says. Molly and Nora map out that cold’s adventure: Last summer, it hit Iowa; before that, Las Vegas. “My mom says I caught it on the school bus. But I don’t remember catching anything. I’d like to know where it went. And when it’s going to come back again.” Did his cold go on vacation? he wonders. To Canada? Flying over the Sahara? In the end, he discovers that the cold didn’t travel too far after all: It simply crossed the hall to his sister’s room.

The idea for this book came to Molly about four years ago, “joking around with Nora when we were both getting over colds,” she told me. “I wrote her an email saying that my cold went on vacation and I was sure it would be back soon. She answered with oh yes, I got a postcard from mine a few weeks ago.” Eventually, Nora suggested such an adventure tale for a children’s book. “It was great fun collaborating with her! We both love to travel, and each chose certain places we definitely wanted to send our cold.”

Molly is a native Marylander and received her MFA in Painting from SUNY in 2003. She now writes, paints, and builds treehouses in New Paltz, New York. (No. Really. I’ve even seen one of her business cards, which says “Hudson Valley Treehouses and Typewriter Repair.”) “This is my first book and the first actual story I’ve written since grade school,” she added, “although I do write a lot and my artwork tends to focus on intersections and communication. Some of my recent projects include an underground tunnel in Rosendale, NY, and a Lost & Found Drawing Booth in New Paltz. I love the alphabet and believe those twenty-six letters, all lined up, contain everything one could ever possibly say or think, making it one of the most beautiful and efficient mechanical objects I can imagine. Language is a funny thing, and children naturally wonder at word play we may take for granted as adults. As the main character says, ‘My Mom says I caught it on the school bus, but I don’t remember catching anything.’ That part was definitely my own mom talking, and I can remember thinking it was a ridiculous idea.”

This is illustrator Nora Krug’s first picture book, too, though she’s hardly new to illustration. Her artwork has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, and the Guardian. Her work, including some animation, has been recognized by the New York Art Director’s Club and the Sundance Film Festival and has earned her two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators. Her graphic novel, Red Riding Hood Redux, a new interpretation of the fairy tale and told from the viewpoint of each character in the tale, was published by Bries. Krug, who grew up in Germany but now lives in New York, is an associate professor in the Illustration program at Parsons The New School for Design. Nora is currently working on an encyclopedia of ghosts and spirits for an Italian publisher and a series of biographical comics for publication here in the U.S.

I enjoyed this picture book, one that takes a playful child’s-eye view of illness, and if you can’t already tell from the spread above and the few spreads featured below, Nora’s palette will wake you right up — not to mention she has a style all her own, though Publishers Weekly described it as a “cross between the work of Maira Kalman and Roz Chast.” Her “quirky, electric-hued pictures combine folk art and cartoon sensibilities,” they added. Needless to say, this is a fun read for the next time your favorite wee person gets a nasty cold. (Plus, the endpages are some of the most fun I’ve seen thus far in 2011.)

Here are some more spreads. Enjoy.

MY COLD WENT ON VACATION. Text copyright © 2011 by Molly Rausch. Illustrations © 2011 by Nora Krug. Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin, New York. All images reproduced by permission of the author.

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Note for any new readers: 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). Given the tornado destruction in the South this week, my biggest kick is that my own family and friends are all okay. We were terrorized by storms for nearly 24 hours, but my house is still standing. Not everyone can say that. This post from NPR’s Ann Powers says it all. That Neko Case song about a tornado stalking someone has always given me the chills, even without actual storm devastation.

2). As I was telling some friends, I was only moderately interested in the royal wedding this week. I didn’t actively dislike the notion of watching it, but it just wasn’t on my radar. But when I tuned in to it Friday morning (certainly not at 3AM, but afterwards, after having dragged myself out of bed to get my girls to school) and saw footage of the festivities, I found myself surprisingly intrigued. Given asshats like Donald Trump* this week here in America and his rampant, racist ass-clownery, I was impressed by how classy the event was. No idiotic showmanship going on. Showmanship, yes — but traditional and elegant and real. Refreshing. And, evidently, the lipreaders of the world have announced that Kate turned to William to say, after the wedding, “I’m so happy.” Now, isn’t that lovely? That’s how everyone should feel on their wedding day.

* (Donald Trump hardly deserves any more attention, but I had to type his name (shudder) to make a point.)

3). This news makes me very happy, as a picture-book geek. I’m going to read the hell out of that blog.

4). I love this video below, circa I-Have-No-Idea, of Mr. Rogers breakdancing. Or trying to. Poor guy gets made fun of all the time, but no wonder kids loved that show. He looked children right in the eye and listened. (I watched him as a kid; I’m analyzing it all now as a grown-up.) A quiet show like that would never survive today. Also, that is the last tune I’d pick for breakdancing. (‘Cause, you know, I breakdance all. the. time.)

5). I also love this brief interview with Sendak.

6). Cinnamon rolls and croissants and Brie cheese and fresh fruit and coffee with new friends.

7). It was an Innocence Mission kind of week. Here’s to gentle rains for a change:

(If anyone wants to see the lyrics, they’re here. “Gentle the Rain at Home.” I hope my parenting is such that my daughters say that about my home when they’re older and come back to visit. Actually, come to think of it, that’s my life’s goal.)

* * * * * * *

Several Announcements From Out of Nowhere:

* If you’re so inclined, check out the Kickstarter endeavor to raise funds for the publishing of the children’s story from the father of illustrator Cassie McDaniel, Beto’s Burrito. Cassie illustrated the story. “Our funding goal was fully met 2.5 days from launch,” Cassie told me yesterday, “which I am so grateful for. It means the book will definitely be printed. We can still collect pledges until the end of May though, which will support a better and/or larger print run.” Here’s more information, for any interested folks.

* Speaking of Kickstarter, see Gregory K. Pincus’s project here and help get poetry into schools.

* Boston author/illustrator David Biedrzycki is gearing up for the release of his latest book, Me and My Dragon, due out next month from Charlesbridge. David is holding a story-writing contest for students across the nation. “By submitting their own ideas for dragon-inspired activities,” he told me, “kids will be entered into a contest where the grand prize is a free author visit to the winning student’s school. More information on the contest can be found here on my website.”

* Finally, this is author Jack Ferraiolo of the forthcoming Sidekicks (which I haven’t read, but I’ve noticed has gotten some starred reviews of late). This just made me laugh, yes indeedy it did. It’s especially good, given it’s his first book trailer. When it’s time for Betsy, Peter, and I to make a book trailer for our book, think I can get Jack to show up and at least do the laugh he lets loose at the beginning of this trailer?

What are YOUR kicks this week?

14 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #217: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator Nora Krug and Author Molly Rausch”

  1. Hi all,

    I haven’t been kicking here for a few Sundays, and I missed 7-imp and all of you.

    My midnight kicks:

    1) Jules, your first kick is also mine — so very glad that you and all of my friends and relatives in the southern part of the U.S. are safe. Keeping everyone who went through such horrific storms and devastation in my thoughts and prayers.
    2) Spending a beautiful day in Carmel/Monterey with my boyfriend, where we met up with my parents. Feeling very grateful.
    3) The kindness of strangers.
    4) Seeing the very talented Gregory Alan Isakov in concert over a week ago. Here is one of his beautiful songs:
    5) Support from the people I love.
    6) Seeing the movie “Jane Eyre”. One of my favorite books, and a beautiful film.
    7) Just finished another lovely book — Rilke’s “Letters on Cezanne”. I love his description of the countryside on a visit to Prague: “…hilly like light music and suddenly flat again behind its apple trees, flat without much horizon and divided by ploughed fields and rows of trees like a folk song from refrain to refrain…”.

    Hope everyone has a sunny week!

  2. Happy May Day!

    So glad you and yours are safe and sound, Jules. How scary it must have been waiting out the storms passing through.

    Thanks for featuring Molly and Nora’s book. How much do I love that Molly loves the alphabet? 🙂

    Hi Jill! Carmel/Monterey is so beautiful — glad you had a lovely time visiting. And what a beautiful Rilke quote! I’ll look for Letters on Cezanne.


    The Royal Wedding! Loved. Every. Minute.

    We have baby foxes. I think one of them scampered by my window just as I was typing this.

    Our great-nephew (age 1) is coming for a visit in two weeks! This will be my first time seeing him in person and I’m really excited. Also, he just got a new baby brother a couple of weeks ago (though he won’t be visiting due to previous engagements) :).

    One of our relatives got some good health-related news. What a relief!

    The trees are green again. I feel like I should be using words like “leafy glade,” or “nature’s canopy.”

    Made it through Poetry Month. Phew. Had a rough start, but was able to post everything I set out to post. Great fun working with all the Potluck Poets.

    Mother bird dutifully sitting on her nest. Sometimes we watch each other through the front door panes.

    Have a good month, everyone. Wishing you lots of flowers and merrymaking!

  3. On the run today, but here are my kicks:

    1. Eric Carle Museum with Yolen, Michelson, and Lin.
    2. NYC for Children’s Book Week.
    3. National Poetry Month concludes on a high note.
    4. My YA novel goes out to an editor.
    5. Revisiting Etienne Delessert’s artwork.
    6. Reading David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.
    7. And an experiment with trimeter rooted in a real event:

    The Poetry Reading
    By Steven Withrow

    The laureate guffaws
    And leads with an awkward pause
    Into another poem

    That links a rebel coup
    Across the sea to a new
    Atrocity at home

    And even though the crowd
    Are in his camp and loud
    As republicans of Rome

    With their applause when it comes
    Too many bite their thumbs
    Under the collegiate dome

    For this invited guest
    To put the line to rest
    From his most recent tome

    Just begging to be signed
    Before those leaving find
    A sky of tarnished chrome

    © Steven Withrow, all rights reserved.

  4. Hello Jules and jama and jill and all to come.
    I loved the genesis of Molly and NOra book and how much fun they had with it. The cold left a post-it for my daughter this weekend.
    You know, Jules, I sit down to tell you about 70 kicks and then I read your blog and Gentle Comes the Rain blows my mind and Mr. Rogers makes me nostalgic and, well, I have trouble recalling what the heck my kicks were cuz yours were so delightful.
    So here it is:
    I am sitting on my porch. It is morning. The chickens next door are clucking. The winds twirl in and out of the soundtrack of the doves, the cardinals and the blue jays. A perfectly white gardenia is blooming right outside my front door. All of which reminds me of the baby shower I went to yesterday where the Austin Kidlit community filled a basket full of beautiful books for the next little one to join this gorgeous world.
    Happy May Day.

  5. A cold taking a vacation…love it, especially when the Mom wouldn’t let the boy out on Saturday, I can relate. Love the illustrations and the backstory of the book.
    Jules, I am so glad your family was safe in all that weather ruckus. How did the girls do with the storms? I feel for those who lost homes and family. Cinnamon Rolls are on my list this week too.
    Jill, Oh to visit Carmel again.
    Jama, thank you for the post on your blog, too much fun and baby foxes? Oh to photograph them.
    Steven, thanks for the Eric Carle link.
    Lindsey, your morning sounds lovely.
    My kicks:
    1. The poetry shared this month on the blogs along with my student poetry. (I didn’t meet a personal goal at Deowriter,this past week has been about my aunt’s failing health)
    2. Matt Holm at Silver Star last Tuesday. Wild. Fun. Fabulous.
    3. Spring weather.
    4. Tulip Festival yesterday. Photos on FB.
    5. Watching grandgirl 1 take photos at the Tulip Festival.
    6. Outside today to pull weed and plant.
    7. A second grade class is writing letters to my cousin’s class so we can have a SKYPE visit.
    Have a great week.

  6. Jules: I too am glad that you and yours are safe. *hug* And I loved watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a kid! Cinnamon rolls, croissants, Brie cheese, fresh fruit, and coffee with new friends? Want want want.

    Jill: Letters on Cezanne sounds lovely!

    Jama: I love how I can tell when the kicks are yours even before seeing your name. Hahaha!

    Steven: I still can’t get over how beautiful a name Etienne Delessert is. . .

    Lindsey: That is one amazing baby shower gift!

    Jone: I hope your aunt feels better soon.

    My kicks:

    1. Music.

    2. Reading books.

    3. Shopping.

    4. Affection.

    5. Cousins.

    6. Men who aren’t afraid to cry when moved.


    Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!!!

  7. I always like hearing about how an impromptu comment hits an author and percolates, percolates, percolates, as the idea seeps into creative part of the writes brain and then, becomes a book!
    My recent cold was the annoying visitor who way overstayed his welcome. Cough, cough.

    Jules: so glad you and yours dodged the worst of the tornado. I’m an earthquake girl, used to those, a tornado is just beyond my experience; death winds dropping out of the sky. Sounds so scary.

    Thanks for the Read Roger/Heavy Medal news, and Sendak mural. And I have to say, yours is a great life goal.

    I’m in Portland OR, treating my college son to a little TLC this last weekend before his finals. Just doin’ a little laundry, stocking the refrigerator with some healthy food (Question: Do all college kids live on Top Ramen, Cocoa Crispies, Coke and pizza? I think they do! How do they survive for four years?)

    Jill: loved you Rilke quote! Thank you.

    jama: I recall your fox tales from last year. So jealous. I’ve only once caught a fleeting glimpse of a fox in the wild (on Catalina island, which has its own tiny, rare, native fox.)

    Steven: your poem really has me thinking.

    jone: hello from Sellwood. Thinking of ya. Beautiful tulip pics!

    Tarie: your students are very lucky.

    My kicks this week:
    1. Portland is abloom – tulips, azaleas, plums, daffodils, green-green-green trees.

    2. Read Jeannine’s book “Borrowed Names” this week. Wonderful. Her poem about not letting life’s to-do-list stop one from writing (in daughter Rose’s voice to Laura Ingalls Wilder) is now taped to my office wall.

    3. Listening to college-kid voices–so passionate/so casual, intense/blase, sure/unsure.

    4. At a school visit, to a very enthusiastic class and teacher, came a touching ritual. The class lined up, and each of the 21 kindergartners introduced him/herself to me, thanked me for coming and firmly shook my hand. “Hello Miss Denise. My name is Armando. Thank you for coming to our kindergarten class.” It was a precious morning.

    Have a great week everyone!

  8. Denise, what a great mom you are. You have hit a great weekend weather wise to be in PDX.
    Tarie, glad to hear you are teaching again.

  9. Hi Molly! I too love word play and the alphabet. Best of luck with your books and illustrations!

    Jules, I’m glad that you and yours are all right.

    I hope that all of the Imps and their extended families and friends are all right.

    Congrats to the McDaniels on the Beto’s Burrito fundraiser.

    Good luck to Gregory K. Pincus for his Kickstarter fundraiser.

    Good luck to Steven Withrow for his YA novel.

    Jill: Welcome back!

    Tarie and Jill: Yay for good people, good visits, good music, good books, and good movies.

    Congratulations, Teacher Tarie!

    Jama: Hello to the canopy and the birdies.

    Lindsey: Sounds like a beautiful day.

    Jone: Sending strength to your aunt and your family.

    Denise: Always nice to stop and smell the flowers. Glad that you had such a sweet audience at your school event.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Launching http://www.elizabethzechel.com for illustrator/author Elizabeth Zechel
    2) Launching the redesign of http://www.ericluper.com for author Eric Luper
    3) New credits on my IMDb page!
    4) Attending my friend’s play
    5) Revisions
    6) Upcoming events
    7) Less stres

  10. The computer cut me off as I was typing the word “stress.”

  11. I dropped by to let you know that your blog has been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award. Congrats! Follow this link to know what you need to do next.


  12. I read and enjoyed everyone’s kicks, and it’s late and I’m stunned by the statement from Obama, but I’M HERE.

    Jill, love that Rilke quote. Thank you. So glad you had a good time with family — and lovely weather.

    Jama, OF COURSE I thought of you when I read Molly’s statement about the alphabet. Good to hear your relative got good news, and congrats on getting to see the great-nephew!

    Steven, thanks for the poem, and congrats on the YA novel getting to an editor.

    Lindsey, well, I’m glad you like coming here. And, my, but those are lovely kicks.

    Jone, I forgot to say—I KNEW I FORGOT A KICK; it was bugging me as I went to sleep last night—that I got my poetry postcard. Thank you!….And my best to your aunt.

    Tarie, yes, as someone else said (they took the words from my mouth), your students are lucky.

    Denise, yes, those angry winds are scary, even when you grow up used to the warnings. Love the school ritual kick. Wow. And I also like listening to younger high-school age and college-age students talk. It’s the social anthropologist wannabe in me.

    Little Willow, glad there’s less stress. I hope it continues. Congrats on the credits — and web work!

    Katie, aw, thanks!

  13. Love the traveling cold, and how the story came about!

    Jules, so happy you and yours are safe! And couldn’t agree more with your statements about asshats and ass-hattery. I also felt indifferent about the wedding, but when catching it on dvr was surprised how sweet they both were, and how moving it was.

    My kick is the sunshine this weekend. I’m exhausted from enjoying it!

    My eyelids are drooping, so happy May Day to everyone!

  14. Hi, Rachel. Hope you got enough sleep. Happy May!

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