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.
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.
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.
* 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?