7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #230: Featuring Maureen Hyde
July 31st, 2011 by jules
(And the Anarchy Contest Winners, Not to Mention
One More Note About Literacyhead)
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.
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.
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…