7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #230: Featuring Maureen Hyde
(And the Anarchy Contest Winners, Not to Mention
One More Note About Literacyhead)

h1 July 31st, 2011 by jules


“Francis knelt at his window, crumbling some of the bread into his palms. And when the birds saw that their friend was already up, calls of joy filled the hills as they flitted into town. The birds bustled into Francis’ hands, their twiggy feet pinching,
their horn-like beaks swiping left and right.”

This morning I’m featuring the oil paintings of Maureen Hyde, and evidently this is her first illustrated title (from Gingerbread House) in about twenty-five years. What she has illustrated here is an imagined boyhood story from the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, written by Josephine Nobisso. (Yes, since I posted about this picture book so recently, I figured I should mention this one sooner rather than later.) “Our story is set in the very early morning—before anyone else is awake to observe it—in order to propose an imagined moment in the boyhood of Saint Francis of Assisi,” the author writes. “Do forgive our taking liberties with history! Even though the details may not be true, they are, at least, possible. When one is a saint, after all, any goodness is possible.”

Seven possible goodnesses before breakfast. I like it.

And this one involves one growly wolf before breakfast, too, Nobisso basing this on two famous incidents from the childhood of the saint — one of them being when he converted the fierce wolf of Gubbio.

Deciding one morning to gather up the animals in the barnyard and collect breakfast, the boy sets off before anyone else in his house is awake. Before collecting eggs, however, he spies the shadow of a wolf, and this shadow follows him, hungrily, throughout his chores. Francis carries on—collecting those eggs, milking the goats, breaking the eggs into a bowl, pouring the milk—all the while reassuring the animals. Turning a corner, he then sees the wolf, “huge and beautiful,” and he catches his breath. “Her intelligent eyes flitted, as though wanting to speak. She pulled back her magnificent head, muscular ears nimbly twitching, listening, because now, the child was speaking to her.”

And…well, I don’t want to give away every inch of the book, so I’ll stop there. Nobisso writes with an immediacy that draws in the reader, and Hyde’s bucolic oils—she traveled often, “over two decades and two continents,” the author’s postscript says, doing these paintings—are rich and finely-detailed, bringing the boy saint vividly to life.

Here are some more spreads. Enjoy.


“The horses whinnied and stamped as the wolf’s shadow moved over the boy’s shoulders, but Francis reassured them as he broke one of the eggs into a stone bowl, and poured out some of the milk.”


“Francis carried the bowl to the base of the hill, away from the barnyard. Soon, the wolf’s shadow seeped around him, from behind. Francis turned then, and the sight of that wolf—huge and beautiful—made his breath catch…”


“When they reached Francis’ kitchen door, the animal bounded onto a rise and looked the town over. Licking milk from her jowls, she turned. Wolf and child gently studied each other. Francis smiled, and passing through the wolf’s shadow,
he let himself into the sleeping house.”

FRANCIS WOKE UP EARLY. Copyright © 2011 by Josephine Nobisso. Illustration © 2011 by Maureen Hyde. Published by Gingerbread House, New York. Spreads reproduced by permission of the publisher.

* * * * * * *

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) Well, best kick of all is that, as you read this, I’m either in the air, on my way to New York City, or—depending on when you make it to this post—I’m already there, walking around with wide eyes. And that’s ’cause I’ve never been to NYC before. No, really.

Today is devoted to wandering and exploring and quite possibly seeing some illustrator-type people I’ll get to meet in person for the first time. (No computer screens between us.) Yes, I’m wearing comfy shoes.

I’m in NYC for this. That’s tomorrow, and I’m super excited about it.

2) An illustrator told me a neat story this week about landing a book deal after being featured here. Those kinds of connections make me so happy, I can’t even say. Connecting is why I blog. No other reason for it.

3) I saw Biutiful with Javier Bardem, and it was so powerful and beautiful that I can’t get it out of my head. Let’s just take a moment, shall we, to look at Mr. Bardem in this role (as Uxbal) and wonder and stare and admire and quite possibly applaud, because that was some acting, let me tell you WHAT.

4) Here’s the wonderful Sendak portrait in Vanity Fair that I mentioned last week.

5) What’s that? You’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned Elbow in a while and are hankerin’ to hear them? Happy to oblige:

6) Have you seen Uncovered Cover Art? Wonderful.

7) Remember this post, what I so precisely called “the book-give-away contest thingy,” all about anarchy, and Jana Christy and John Seven’s new book, A Rule Is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy? The charge was to email me fifty words on your most anarchic act, because John and Jana had three copies of the book (with anarchic buttons) to give away. John, Jana, and I each chose a favorite anarchic story, and those winners are:

Cecilia Cackley: “At H-B Woodlawn, whenever the principal begins to speak, the students shout and clap and generally refuse to let him talk. It can be in an assembly, an awards ceremony, graduation or in front of the superintendent, but for at least a good fifteen minutes (don’t know what the record is) we do not allow him to speak. It’s all out of love, of course.”

Farida Dowler (who wisely noted that “anarchy isn’t about breaking the rules willy-nilly, but about self-governance”): “While I’ve done things with noisy defiance, my most anarchic act was quiet: in summer, instead of going to camp and participating in activities organized by adults, I read books all day. I had the space and freedom to regulate my own time without the bells and busywork of school.”

Denise Doyen’s “minor civil…disobedience” during the summer she was sixteen: “My boyfriend and I sabotaged trout pond at Disneyland Hotel. The staff starved fish so tourists would catch ’em fast. Hook hit water—instant bite. We felt that was mean, unsportsmanlike! So, we scavenged bread from dumpster behind Day-Old Bakery, hid under footbridge at night and fed the fishies. (Okay… we made out a little too.)”

Thanks to everyone for the anarchic entries.

NOTE: Please note Jan Burkins’ comment over at my post this week about Literacyhead.com. (Did you read that? Literacy + the visual arts makes me want to yell hurrah about 7,777 times.) Here’s what she wrote:

Literacyhead is running a special for readers of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Join Literacyhead in the next week and you will get two, one-year subscriptions for the price of one! Simply join Literacyhead through the subscription link at Literacyhead.com, then write to us through the link on the “Contact Us” page and tell us if you want us to extend your new membership by another year or give us the name and email address of the person you would like to give the extra subscription to!

What are YOUR kicks this week? And, remember, it may take a while for me to comment — perhaps even a few days. Until then…

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11 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #230: Featuring Maureen Hyde
(And the Anarchy Contest Winners, Not to Mention
One More Note About Literacyhead)”

  1. From Little Willow, who posted her kicks early (yesterday), and I’m copying and pasting here (how about that fourth and fifth kick, you all?!) —

    “I’ll be offline tomorrow – Might I post my kicks now?
    1) Play rehearsals
    2) Auditioned for an animated show
    3) Auditioned for a festival of new plays
    4 and 5) A piece I wrote was accepted into a monologue competition – and I’ll be performing the piece, so this gets two kicks, as writer and actress
    6) Cocoa
    7) Cheese”


  2. I am posting on Sunday night here so that I don’t do my usual Monday morning rush and only fit in one kick. I will try to come past again to read all the kicks, though!

    Jules, NEW YORK CITY?! I am so excited and happy for you! I hope you are having a fantastic time. NYC seems like one of those places that is so familiar from books & TV that it is hard to imagine it being real.

    Little Willow, a festival of plays sounds like fun! Congrats on all the good news, and yum to cocoa and cheese (though not together).

    my kicks from the last couple of weeks:

    1. Lots of planting going on, which makes me feel much more settled into our new place. We now have lemon and lime trees busily growing away, and a variety of small native plants that will hopefully grown up into screening shrubs
    2. We think my niece is saying my name! Well, mema which is pretty close to Emma (I also have vague memories of my youngest sister or counsins calling me thisa as a child).
    3. A busy week including a trip for work to Canberra. It was very cold there, -3c (26f) in the morning, so I rugged up in my UK gear and went for a walk in the frosty morning. Great fun, like being in a different country.
    4. Lots of catching up with work people I haven’t seen for ages
    5. Wedding dress shopping with my sisters yesterday was much fun than anticipated, I am not really a big white dress type of girl but we all enjoyed the time together
    6. I love my big washing line that is in the sun for most of the day. I know the use of washing lines outside is less common in the US than in Australia or the UK, and you guys are missing out. Yout can’t beat sunshine smelling sheets and clothes.
    7. strawberry season is well underway, so strawberries are cheap enough to be liberally added to all sorts of things


  3. A BIG week for me!
    1. My second grandson was born: Charles Hampton “Charlie” Marks arrived July 29 around noon in Little Rock, Arkansas and was welcomed by big brother (2 yrs 4 mos) William with whom I am charged with playing for the month of August – most pleasant assignment this GiGi could receive!

    2. The Macy’s promotion for RIF closes today after 5 weeks. I hope we can announce the results soon before I pop because the results as of last notification are TERRIFIC! Thank you everyone!

    3. RIF had a very successful visit to Tupelo, MS for a United Way Back to School Resource Fair on Saturday where our team gave out 6000 books to children and families from a 7 county area; these were families affected by the spring storms and most lost everyhting including the roof over their heads, many are living in cars if their car is still functional. School supplies, books, underwear, hair cuts, lots more!

    4. I am out of DC for a month! Of course I did not improve my standing with weather conditions, but the psychology of Little Rock, Arkansas is FAR better than what is in the air in DC right now!

    5. Peaches, peaches and more home grown peaches…juice dripping from my lips!

    6. My sister came through some surgery just fine!

    7. A friend who was diagnosed as having a recurrence of cancer learned after testing in three states and all doctors conferring it was a shadow that continued to show on x-rays until the end, hallelujah!

    Have a good week, we’re having fun drawing and painting and coloring and more here, just William and me!

    Carol Hampton Rasco


  4. I just recently received a copy of FRANCIS WOKE UP EARLY from Gingerbread Books. It’s truly gorgeous! I’m tickled to see it featured on 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast! Their book, IN ENGLISH, OF COURSE, is also one of my favorites, both for the intelligent way it addresses learning English as a second language and for the clever illustrations.

    Traveling mercies to Jules!


  5. (Congratulations, Nana Carol!!! )

    Jules, we have the best anarchists here, ever. I love that Disneyland story very much.


  6. Congratulations, Little Willow! I’m happy to read about peaches and lemon trees too. I appreciate Denise’s sabotage of trout-starving by giving the fish some bread, and am stoked to get a copy of my own A Rule is to Break.

    Kicks:
    1. My husband makes me breakfast! He just brought me a poached egg on toast.
    2. Farmer’s market today in Lake Forest Park. Apricot butter and black currant jam, you’re coming home with me.
    3. My daughter’s former kindergarten teacher was in town last week, and she came over to our house for dinner.
    4. I just saw the film “Children of Men.” Much to think about.
    5. Seatttle had 3 days of sun before reverting to grey. Yesterday, I worked in the garden.
    6. I won a copy of A Rule is to Break!
    7. Jules is going to NYC. I’m going vicariously.


  7. Hi everybody!

    Another Francis of Assisi book! (And how often do you get to say THAT in a lifetime???) (OTOH, “Assisi” is one of those typist-confounding words that make it difficult to know when to stop. Thinking of this book with the earlier one made me imagine we were caught up in some kind of Asssssissssissisi queueueueue.)

    So very much looking forward to learning what NYC does for you, Jules. (Note implicit assumption that it will do SOMETHING for you.) Have fun. Let yourself look up. :)

    Great kicks today. Congrats to the prize-winning anarchists (didn’t you guys have bit parts in The Big Lebowski?), and also to Little Willow: huzzah for acting out your own words!

    Kicks:
    1. This has to be yesterday’s keying in of the last sentence in the work-in-progress. (I didn’t add ‘The End’ because I felt self-conscious, even with no one looking over my shoulder. And because it’s really just the start of Hard Work, Chapter 2.)

    2. My only niece got engaged on Friday. Yay, Suse!

    3. The Stepdaughter’s birthday dinner out last night, at a seafood restaurant. I had seared rare ahi tuna, mmmmmmmm…

    4. We’re slogging through a marathon re-watch of all the earlier Harry Potter movies, to ready ourselves for seeing the final one. Still impressed by how much they managed to include, despite how much they had to leave out. And I will add, at risk of sounding like a creepy old guy, I still think Hermione — as channeled by Emma Watson — is one of the most prodigiously fearsome and yet attractive heroines ever put on film. If I were a boy of the same generation, I wouldn’t be able to stop looking at her… and afraid she might discover that. (Sheesh. That DID sound creepy, didn’t it?!?)

    5. On the HP topic: we were in Orlando last weekend; among our objectives was the new(ish) Harry Potter area of the Universal theme park. I’m not a huge fan of huge roller coasters, so didn’t get on any of them. But the “big” HP ride, something like ‘The Forbidden Journey’? Almost worth the price of admission, that one. It had me trembling on the brink, several times, between OmigodthisisFUN! and Omigodomigodsweetjesusmarymotherofgod…!

    6. Mary Roach‘s non-fiction. Funny, funny, informative, weird, and funny. It doesn’t hurt that she’s a trivia addict… the footnotes in her books should be collected for one of those bathroom-reading anthologies.

    7. A/C, blessed A/C. (He said, cowering — but not sweating — from within his outsized carbon footprint.)

    Have a great week, everyone!


  8. P.S. Bonus kick: I understand Tumblr even less than I understand Twitter. But the tumblog (is that the right word??) called Teaching Literacy is consistently interesting, and often very, very cool.


  9. Ooooo, the text/illustrations of Boy Assissi being stalked by the lurking wolfy shadow must surely make for a suspenseful read for kids.
    The Mediterranean quality-of-light is nice too. Thanks for sharing.

    Jules – Have a blast in NYC! Enjoy looking over all the fab art and meeting/greeting illustrators. (Pass on a ‘hello’ to Sean Qualls for me. We judged Golden Kites together this year and he was great.)

    Thanks for nudge to watch Biutiful; my son bought me a copy, said it was his favorite performance by an actor. Gonna watch it tonite.

    Lotsa good kicks today:
    LW – applauding especially loud for #5.
    emmaco – “mema”. Hey, someday you will “Auntie Em”!
    Rasco – no kidding, a big week for you. Welcome Charlie. Go RIF!
    Jan – sharing “In English” lead.
    tanita – thank you. : – )
    Farida – I really love the whole idea of “quiet anarchy”.
    JES – your posts always make me chuckle (and wish I could effervesce on a blog like you and jules manage to do consistently.)
    Oh, and yes, I did appear in TBL: as Dumpster Diver #2. Ha!

    My kicks this last week of July:
    1. A compliment from a person I admire.
    2. My uncle Ralph’s 81st birthday; my cousin meant party for his 80th but she did the math wrong . (!) So we celebrated 80 yrs + 365 days.
    3. Finding out I’ll receive the fine book: “A Rule is to Break”. Yea!
    4. I am completely taken by these amazing mud sculptures:
    http://www.public-domain-photos.org/the-mud-maid-in-the-lost-gardens-of-heligan.html
    http://www.public-domain-photos.org/the-giants-head-in-the-lost-gardens-of-heligan.html
    5. Summer rain.
    6. Baby birds nesting outside my office window — took flight. Bye!
    7. Looking forward to SCBWI Summer Conference next weekend.

    Have a great week everyone. August is here.


  10. Hi, everyone. I’m here now, though no one else may be! Better late than never, right?

    Little Willow, I hope those auditions went well.

    Emma—I mean, Mema—so good to know you’re settling in. That must feel good. I’d hang our clothes on the line in a heartbeat if it didn’t make my husband sneeze all day. Nothing like sunshine-soaked clothes. And strawberries….mmm.

    Carol, your kicks are so particularly kickin’ that I might just go find you on FB right now (since I’m slow this week) and congratulate you.

    Jan, just read IN ENGLIGH, OF COURSE, and I liked it, too.

    Tanita, your story was pretty kickin’, too. (And at first I read “archivists,” instead of anarchists. Jetlag?)

    Farida, speaking of poached eggs, I had a lovely breakfast here with Betsy Bird and Liz Burns and MotherReader, and I had poached eggs on some of the best scones I’ve ever had. … I wish you could have really and truly gone to NYC with me. Dang, I still just want to have actual coffee together. In person. Not just cyber-coffee.

    John, nope, not creepy. I don’t think so. I’m reading the series now with my daughters (though I suspect I’ll have to stop soon), and we watch the movie after each book. (DANG, THE ADVERBS in Book Three seem to the the worst, but I digress. Otherwise, we’re having fun.) … I am laughing outloud at your description of the HP ride. And congrats on kick #1, John! WOO and HOO and WOO again!

    Denise, hope you’re having a great time at the conference! When do you leave? Safe travels. (That Mud Maid sculpture made me gasp. I have this sort of odd phobia of really large statue/sculpture-type things. Flew over the Statue of Liberty on Sunday, and I was a safe enough distance away to not start CRYING. For real.)


  11. [...] editor Heidi Kellenberger has been touted by NPR’s Fresh Air, School Library Journal and the Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast [...]


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